Friends Creators Step In To Defend 'Homophobic' Chandler
Millennials watching Friends for the first time are LOVING the super 90s outfits, but aren't so keen on the casual homophobia and sexism.
It's true that Chandler recoils whenever someone insinuates that he's gay, and we got a lot of laughs from the episode in which he takes on pathetic, 'girly' traits after listening to a women's 'quit smoking' tape - but the show's creators insist the jokes weren't written with malice.
In fact, Marta Kauffman reminded us that Kathleen Turner's character (Chandler's cross-dressing father and drag queen Helena Handbasket) was transgender - a pretty progressive move for its time. That said, Turner herself admits that jokes poking fun at the character 'haven't aged well'.
David Crane, who is gay, strongly rejects the opinion that Chandler was homophobic. “He has his own anxieties and issues, but I don’t think the character was homophobic in the least.”
“His father’s transgender,” Kauffman added..
Ray Bradford, director of entertainment media for the LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD, said that even in 2018, Turner's portrayal “wasn’t what we hate seeing on TV by a mile.”
“Images don’t exist in a vacuum — you look at where they were at that time of progression of TV and our country, and also where we are now and the standard,” Bradford said. “When I looked at Kathleen Turner’s character, there was nothing tragic about it. It was not a story line depicting her as a killer or a psychopath or a sex worker 0r anything like that.”
Those saying Friends is homophobic should consider Carol and Susan's lesbian wedding, too. 'The One With The Lesbian Wedding' earned Friends three nominations and a win for Outstanding Comedy Series at the GLAAD Media Awards.
Jessica Hecht and Jane Sibbett, who played Carol and Susan, told Comedy Central all about filming those scenes - and how progressive their roles were at the time. Check out the video above!
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