11 Offensive AF 'Friends' Jokes You May Have Missed The First Time Around
Have you ever sat down in front of the television or computer, ready for a nostalgia-driven comfort binge of an old sitcom only to have your viewing experience jolted by an off-color joke? That happens a lot when it comes to all the offensive AF things said on Friends. While no one is saying that the massive '90s sitcom was perfect — close-eyed watchers have a lot of questions about certain plot points — it was also not exactly politically correct.
Though Matt LeBlanc recently told the BBC that he believes that Friends wasn't problematic and stands the test of time, I'm not sure the actor who played Joey is completely right about this one. One moment you're watching a goofy argument between best friends or siblings on the sitcom, and suddenly you're hit with a body-shaming joke or some glaring homophobia. If didn't stop their either — it dabbled in sexism and classism in some pretty unfortunate ways.
While I'm not saying it's impossible to watch the series and still enjoy it with a modern sensibility, you probably should be prepared to cringe, at least a few times, per season as you make your way through the episodes on Netflix.
Here were some of the most offensive things said on Friends.
1. "Some Girl Ate Monica"
The first time we get a glance at "Fat Monica" is in Season 2 with "The One With the Prom Video." The first thing Joey said upon seeing a young Monica was this joke that would set the tone for all the body-shaming jokes that would come after. And there were a lot of them.
2. "Ridiculously Dull Bobby"
In season 2 Monica's boyfriend "Fun Bobby" undergoes treatment for his alcohol addiction. After he quits drinking the friends decide he no longer "fun" with Chandler re-naming him "Ridiculously Dull Bobby." The idea that someone needs alcohol to be a good time perpetuates a harmful stereotype and is deeply insensitive to the struggles many alcoholics undergo in their journey to sobriety.
3. "What Are You Talking About, One Woman?! That’s Like Saying There Is Only One Flavor of Ice Cream For You.... Welcome Back to The World, Grab a Spoon!"
Joey's women are like ice cream analogy in the first episode points to an ongoing problem with his womanizing character. Joey so often objectifies women as something to be gained and it's just not cute in today's society (and it wasn't really back then either).
4. "What's my boy doing with a Barbie?"
In Season 3's "The One With the Metaphorical Tunnel" Ross couldn't handle the idea that his toddler son might prefer playing with a Barbie instead of action figures. His obsession with getting his boy to stop playing with a "girl" toy gender stereotypes at a very young age.
5. "How Goes The Dancing?"
Monica says this to Joey in the Season 4 episode "The One With the Ballroom Dancing." Joey agrees to help the super learn how to ballroom dance, and Monica's implication that somehow dancing would change a person's sexual orientation because it's not "masculine" is a homophobic joke premise.
6. "Imagine yourself living in a supermarket and you will understand."
Joey says this to his attractive roommate Janine in Season 6 to explain why he doesn't think the two of them should have a flirtation. Not only is he comparing a woman to food (again), but he also doesn't listen to her when she says that she's not attracted to him. He refuses to believe that she's just not into him, which is a pretty gross world view for a man to have.
7. "Don't you have a little too much penis to wear a dress like that?"
Though Chandler's father is never referred to as transgender in the series (the term wasn't as widely used back then), his dad (played by Kathleen Turner) works as a drag performer and prefers to present as female in all her appearances. The other characters clearly disregard her gender preferences and often don't refer to her by her preferred name Helena Handbasket. Chandler's mom Nora says this to Helena at Chandler's wedding in the Season 7, episode "The One With Chandler and Monica's Wedding."
8. "So you’re just, like, a guy who’s a nanny?”
Ross can't seem to get his head around the idea that a man can work as a childcare provider in the Season 9 episode "The One With the Male Nanny." As if his ideas of what constitutes as women's work versus men's work isn't sexist enough, he even asks the babysitter, played by Freddie Prinze Jr., if he's gay.
9. "Wow, you look just like your son, Mrs. Tribbiani."
Joey get's excited about a unisex bag he got for an audition — he loves all the compartments and how it looks — but the show makes a point of making fun of him for the leather satchel. It's an attractive bag! Who cares what gender you are if you like it?
10. "Hey check me out, I'm a slut!"
In possibly the most cringe-worthy back-to-back episodes, "The One That Could Have Been (Part 1 and 2)," the show explores an alternative universe when Monica didn't lose weight. Most of the offensive jokes revolving revolve around her having an uncontrollable hunger. In it she loses her virginity to Chandler and seems so grossly thankful that he is interested in her sexually, with an implication that men don't normally find her desirable because she is plus-sized. She says this line after she has sex for the first time. Not only is the word "slut" not great, but in this context it also seems to be making fun of non-slim women enjoying sex for the sake of sex.
11. "Dumb old perfect-for-the-job Hilda"
In Season 7, Rachel is confronted with the choice of hiring for an assistant either an older woman with years of experience or a hot dude named Tag. All her friends encourage her to chose the more qualified employee, to which she she makes this ageist response. Also, she goes ahead and hires Tag, objectify him in the office, and has an affair with him. Great business role model that Rachel.
You may have missed these offensive Friends jokes the first time around, but now you'll be able to keep an eye out for them during your next rewatch.