Matt Le Blanc responds to millennial viewers who called 'Friends' homophobic and sexist
As times and opinions change over the years, the books, films, and shows that were once popular begin to take on a different tone. TV skits from our parents' generation, for instance, can be quite uncomfortable to watch in the context of the modern day; and, if you pick up a novel from 100 years ago, you might just be a little shocked about how it talks about women or minorities.
Sometimes, however, you don't even have to go back too far. In fact, some of the most questionable material probably happened within our lifetimes. I mean, just take a look at Friends.
Personally, I love the show - but I can't help noticing some uncomfortable moments when I watch it back on Netflix. There's Joey's lecherous behavior (obviously), ongoing jokes about Chandler's sexuality, and an overwhelming absence of non-white characters.
Oh, and let's not forget that one episode where Ross literally goes to a self-defense instructor so that he can learn "how to attack women."
Actually, come to think of it, there's a whole lot more than that. Chandler's father - who is now a trans woman - is always the butt of the joke whenever she's mentioned or shown, Monica's weight managed to become a running gag for pretty much the entirety of the show's ten-year lifespan, and there's literally an entire episode dedicated to Ross trying to get his son to stop playing with Barbies.
So, when Matt LeBlanc was recently challenged about certain jokes and attitudes in the sitcom, everyone was keen to hear what he had to say.
Unfortunately, he was pretty quick to dismiss any allegations of wrongdoing.
"I've heard those rumors too about people taking pot shots at Friends, but I don't want to get into that," he said. "I disagree with all that."
He then went on to compare his role as Joey with his current job as a presenter on Top Gear (which, needless to say, has also had a relatively sketchy history when it comes to needlessly offending people), and insisted that both shows do their best to avoid "political content".
"On Top Gear we tend to steer clear of any sort of political content, nothing too topical. On Friends, we steered clear of that kind of thing, too. Friends was about themes that stand the test of time - trust, love, relationships, betrayal, family and things like that," he said.
The thing is, nobody was necessarily asking for an apology from LeBlanc - nor were they blaming him for some of the things Joey Tribiani said. More than anything, people just want some acknowledgment that the shows of yesteryear tended to be a teeny bit offensive sometimes - because that's the only way that the greater masses will also realize that, "hey, actually, it probably wasn't ok to make all those homophobic jokes in poor taste back then, and it's still not alright now."
Regardless, Friends still remains one of the best sitcoms ever - and we're still not giving up hope that there will be a reunion...