5 times the series defied social norms (and 5 times not)

The hit sitcom, Friends focuses on group dynamics of 6 characters going through everyday life and working for social stability. Their daily activities featured a variety of social interactions and subsequently reflected changing cultural and social norms.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Most Relevant Moments From The Show

Take, say, Sandra Green who went straight from her father’s house to the sisterhood house to her husband’s house. His daughter, Rachel, on the other hand, lived her life on her own terms. But a lot has been written about Friends and its inability to reduce prejudice. Compelling arguments can be built for both sides.

ten Defy: Phoebe has followed her own pace

Friends Phoebe meets Bitsy Hannigan

Out of the tight-knit group of people, Phoebe Buffay always walked to a different drum beat. She acted independently and once put down Ross in her attempt to convince her of evolution. She resisted Pottery Barn for a long time because she didn’t like her things to be mass-produced.

Phoebe’s biggest wishes were world peace and good things for the rainforest. She refused to abide by traditional “acceptable” standards of conduct and refrained from lying about her childhood experiences in front of Mike’s parents on the Upper East Side.

9 Didn’t Challenge: Separate Expectations for Boys and Girls

Friend Jack praises Ross while Monica watches

Season 1’s “The One with the Sonogram at the End” showed how prejudiced the Gellers were towards Monica. By the end of dinner, she was overwhelmed by the long list of damaging expectations her parents placed on her.

Judy and Jack Geller couldn’t help but adore Ross, as they had little expectations of their daughter. Jack set a limit to Monica’s potential by pointing out that “people like Ross had to aim for the stars” and thanked God their daughter didn’t “try to get it all.” Judy refused to eat Monica’s food and she actively lied to her friends about her daughter’s profession.

8 Challenge: adoption

Friends Monica and Chandler meet Bill and Colleen

After struggling with infertility as a couple, Monica and Chandler decided to adopt. The biological mother was a young girl named Erica who reasonably put her babies (originally baby) up for adoption because she knew she did not have the adequate means to care for them.

RELATED: Friends: 5 Reasons Monica & Chandler Are The Best Couple (& 5 Reasons They Are The Worst)

Friends accurately depicts the actual struggles of the Bings’ adoption journey. Monica and Chandler met with adoptive parents, Bill and Colleen, to familiarize themselves with the process. The show normalized adoption by considering various aspects of the deal and creating a welcoming and loving environment for babies Erica and Jack.

7 Did not challenge: traditional age gap

Friends Rachel Breaks Up With Tag

Friends adopted a hypocritical position on the acceptable age difference between men and women. Initially, Monica and Richard Burke’s romance was looked down upon, but her friends eventually returned. He was his family’s ophthalmologist, his father’s close friend, and they were 21 years apart.

In contrast, Tag and Rachel’s age difference was negligible. She had a seizure on her 30th birthday and suddenly realized she was too old to date a 24-year-old with a different set of priorities. All things considered, Tag and Rachel’s age gap acted as a barrier in their relationship, but not so much in Monica and Richard where the main point of contention was whether or not to have children.

6 Defy: share wedding expenses

Friends Jack Judy and Monica meet the Walthams

Friends set an example by making Jack and Judy pay for half of Ross’ marriage to Emily. It is in no way obligatory or more acceptable that the parents of the bride bear the full cost of the wedding. “To hell with tradition. We’re happy to do it,” said Jack as Stephen Waltham handed him his share of the bill.

Although Emily’s dad tried to take advantage of Jack and basically accused him of remodeling his home, the show nonetheless set a good example by removing traditional norms.

5 Did not challenge: Ross and Rachel’s fake marriage

Friends Judy make Rachel and Ross pretend they're married

On Geller’s 35th wedding anniversary, Ross and Rachel had fun watching people walk up to them and congratulate them on the baby and the wedding. They were taken away by Judy who forced them to pretend to be married. “Even though we think it’s just wonderful that you have this baby out of wedlock, some of our friends are less open-minded. That’s why we told them you were married,” she said. declared.

RELATED: Friends: 10 Ways Ross & Rachel Are The Worst Sitcom Couple

Friends wasted a great opportunity to dismantle the taboo surrounding single-parent families, and instead Ross and Rachel accepted the lie and made weird stories about their marriage.

4 Challenge: surrogacy

Friends Phoebe says goodbye to triplets

Phoebe’s friends and her birth mother were hesitant about her agreeing to be a surrogate mother for Frank and Alice. She defended her position by saying that the gift of life was the most beautiful of all. Everyone advised him to think about it, but despite everything, they professed their love and support.

Frank and Alice were able to count on Phoebe’s selflessness and the show explored another dimension of motherhood. Phoebe has done the best thing by helping her brother and sister-in-law have children. She put her body to the test, but in the end she happily gave the triplets.

3 Did not challenge: the idealization of marriage

Friends the gang strike marriage deals with each other

Friends, overall, reinforces the idea of ​​marriage and sees it as a stepping stone to a successful life. Throughout the show, Ross idealizes the concept of marriage and yet fails to defend its sanctity.

For people like Chandler, Rachel, and Phoebe, marriage has never really been on their radar. While Chandler fell in love and wanted to be with the woman of his dreams in due course, Rachel and Phoebe made bizarre marriage deals with Joey and Ross. Phoebe almost said yes to David because Mike didn’t want to remarry, and Rachel got a hint of jealousy when Monica got engaged.

2 Challenge: segregation in the workplace

Friends Ross invites Joey to lunch with him

Season 4’s “The One With Phoebe’s Uterus” was a revelation in that it went beyond the usual group dynamics by showing conflict in the workplace. During Joey’s stint as a tour guide at the Ross Museum, he realized that scientists and tour guides couldn’t have lunch together due to occupational segregation.

It was Ross who drew everyone’s attention to the unacceptability of the division. He invited Joey to sit with him and called on everyone to break down the barriers.

1 Did not challenge: lack of higher education

Friends Ross and Joey play Chandler's Statess game

Joey, unlike the rest of his friends, dropped out of college and started acting. Siblings Geller and Rachel Green come from well-off families and have benefited from their social capital. Joey and Phoebe, meanwhile, grew up in poverty in America. He had seven sisters and only one of them (Dina) had access to higher education.

In “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs,” Ross shamed Joey for his lack of education, saying “It’s a little shameful that a bunch of well-behaved adults and Joey can’t name all states. ” While Phoebe made up for her lack of formal education by learning skills and languages, the point is, Joey didn’t have to go to college to be an actor, let alone be blamed for it. .

NEXT: Friends: Joey’s 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Story Arcs

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About Marjorie C. Hudson

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