Friends Co-Creator Explains Use Of Pronouns & Lack Of Diversity In Show

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Friends co creator Marta Kauffman has admitted that she regrets the improper use of pronouns in the popular sitcom.

Running from 1994 to 2004, the American sitcom Friends followed the eventful lives of six friends, Chandler, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, Rachel and Ross, living in Mahattan in New York.

However, Kauffman has since admitted regret at how Chandler Bing’s transgender father was represented in the show.

“We kept referring to her [Chandler’s transgender parent] as Chandler’s father, even though Chandler’s father was trans”, she said during a recent interview.

“Pronouns were not yet something that I understood. So we didn’t refer to that character as she”, the Friend co-creator added. “That was a mistake”. 

Kauffman On Friends’ Lack Of Diversity

Kauffman also spoke about the show’s lack of diversity. She even conceded that she may have inadvertently colluded in the “systemic racism in our business”. 

“Friends has been criticised in a number of ways”, she explained. “The biggest one being that we did not have enough representation of black people”. 

“And over the course of the last few years I’ve gotten to the point where I can say unfortunately yes, I am guilty of that. And I’ll never make that mistake again”. 

“I was clearly part of systemic racism in our business. I was unaware of that, which makes me feel stupid. That was a very valid, extremely difficult criticism which still… I get emotional about”. 

Reflecting in hindsight, Kauffman also added, “If I knew then what I know now, there are certain things I would have changed. But I didn’t know them and I have since learned”.

Last year, the sad news was confirmed that Friends actor James Michael Tyler passed away after a battle with cancer. More here.

“happy set and a happy crew”

Marta Kauffman who co-created Friends with David Crane, has also insisted that she builds “safe” and “tolerant” work environments.

“I like very much to create an environment where we have a happy set and a happy crew”, Kauffman stated.

“It’s very important to me that where we are is a safe place, a tolerant place, where there’s no yelling”, she continued. “I fired a guy on the spot for making a joke about a trans cameraperson. That just can’t happen”.