Taylor’s Team Pick:
Hey, remember when we all watched Friends? I have no idea why we did, but it’s an immutable fact so don’t go trying to deny it. Well, some clever and enterprising individual has compiled ever single homo-offensive, homophobic, or just plain awkward homosocial moment in the show’s entire run into 50 minutes and now it’s on YouTube! It’s pretty epic to watch all in one go, so you might want to make a drinking game or have a friend nearby to punch gently.
From Bitch’s writeup and interview with video editor/creator Tijana Mamula:
“The whole point of this project is to show the very extent to which homophobia pervades the show, and how it changes over the years. It only makes sense to do this if you can give an idea of the scope of the issue. Otherwise it would have been like, ‘Oh look, there’s twelve homophobic jokes in Friends.’”
There is, in fact, ninety minutes’—a whole movie!—worth of homophobic jokes in Friends, as she found. But with some guidelines, and editing with a sitcom-narrative in mind, Mamula cut it down to forty-five. The result was Homophobic Friends, which is not embeddable, but you can find it on Youtube.
Mamula’s montage doesn’t just treat you to an onslaught of eye-searing ’90s fashion. There’s Ross berating his ex-wife’s new girlfriend (at one point Susan literally saying “We’re getting married” cues the laugh track), Steve Zahn’s character “coming out” as straight (clearly hilarious because things are hard for teh straightz), and approximately one gazillion “no homo” moments between Chandler and Joey. And it’s not just homophobia, there’s the transphobia played for laughs when Chandler learns his father has been living as a woman for some time, and lots of gender policing—often from Ross. “I’m just not that comfortable with a guy as sensitive as you,” Ross says to Sandy, a straight male nanny (played by Freddie Prinze Jr.), firing him for basically threatening Ross’s masculinity. “That’s fair,” responds Sandy, a typical response from the queer, or perceived-as-queer characters of Friends, who are written to rarely react defiantly, or insulted, or taken aback at the blatant ignorance hurled their way.
And that’s the thing—Mamula’s aim wasn’t to bring attention to Friends’ wealth of lazy jokes, but their sheer pervasiveness of the show’s epic run. “Homophobic Friends [is not an] attempt to ridicule the underlying homophobia, but rather strives to bring this attitude to the viewer’s attention in all of its apparent normality.”
Thanks to Taylor’s pal Eliot for the link to the vid!