Just read this article about Seinfeld, if you’ve ever watched the show it’s worth a read.
I think it makes an important point, but one that should especially be taken into account regarding the show that owes it everything — Friends.
The difference between Seinfeld and Friends? If this article is to be taken as correct, the villainy and frankly anti-Christian behaviour in Seinfeld is to be read as satire. But by the time we get to Friends, all the characters have these same heathen attributes — they are all mean, all selfish, all promiscuous, all rich, all prejudiced — but it isn’t satire, we are made to empathise with them.
I remember my Dad saying that he thought the thing people like about Friends was that it had serious bits in it, but I think that’s the thing we should dislike about Friends. By inserting drama it becomes a show which can no longer be read as satire, I can’t watch Friends and think ‘is this what we’ve become?’ — which in theory I can with Seinfeld — I watch Friends and I think, ‘this is what we’re like and I love it’, which is awful and potentially dangerous.
I think my school-friend Zach summed it up well when one day he said, ‘I wouldn’t want to be friends with any character from Friends‘. He’s right. Rachel is a stuck-up, vein, mean-girl; Phoebe can often be homicidal; Ross is psychopathic; as is Monica; Chandler is emotionless and sarcastic to the point of death; and Joey is a greedy womaniser. All these are interesting characteristics in our society worth satirising, but the issue in Friends is that they are celebrated and encouraged.