Popular sitcoms like Friends are an excellent example of how TV has become more socially aware. Some of the Friends Episodes would not be allowed in a show made today, but some episodes showed that the show was way ahead of its time. The show is still top-rated almost 30 years after it first aired, and streaming services let a new generation see the group of friends from New York in the 1990s.
The one where everything started (S1. E1)
When we first meet Monica, she is telling her friends about a date she went on with a man she had always liked. After her date told her it had been years since he had been intimate with a woman, she decided to break that cycle on their first night together.
One Who Has Breast Milk (S2. E2)
Even now, there are still different opinions about breastfeeding. People have other ideas about whether or not parents should breastfeed their kids in public, but in recent years, TV has tried to make it more familiar.
The one with the wedding of two women (S2. E11).
Many things about how the LGBTQ+ characters in Friends were treated don’t hold up well today. In today’s movies and TV shows, using a person’s sexual orientation as a punchline is an old-fashioned way of doing things that makes audiences cringe.
The Fantasy of Princess Leia (S3. E1)
Sitcoms from the ’90s often showed heartbroken lovers getting back at each other in dangerous ways when they broke up. Today, authors are trying to get away from this trope and instead show protagonists who are emotionally intelligent and know how to deal with their feelings.
One That Has a Symbolic Tunnel (S2.E4)
In recent years, the differences in gender norms have become less clear. People of any gender identity are shown in the media doing things often associated with being male or female. This is done to normalize the idea and stop harmful stereotypes.
The one where Monica and Richard hang out with each other (S3. E13).
Ross’s character has been criticized for being a problem in the past few years. This could be because people’s ideas about unintentional misogyny and small slights have changed over time. Even worse is that other people still thought he was a good person.
The One Where Phoebe’s Uterus Appears (Season 4, Episode 11)
It was against the rules to even hint at sex on TV for a long time. Today, these ideas are shown on TV as standard parts of life, especially for men and women in their 20s.
This is the 100th (Season 5, Episode 3).
Everyone has an idea of what it means to be a mother, but for a long time, ways of having a baby and raising it that were thought to go against social norms weren’t shown much on screen. But friends looked at single mothers, adoptive mothers, and surrogate mothers.
The One Where Chandler’s Dad Appears (S7. E22)
Chandler’s relationship with his transgender father has changed in many wrong ways. The writers seemed confused about what it takes to be transgender or what it means to be a drag queen. There was also a lot of pronoun confusion that would not work in a modern sitcom.
Rachel goes back to work in this episode (S9. E11)
Rachel went from being a broke waitress at the start of Friends to a high-level manager at Ralph Lauren by the end. When she had a baby, she had to decide whether to stay home with the baby or go back to work.