The cast of Friends
Friends is now available in the UK and Ireland on Netflix Getty Images / Handout


  • The sitcom is now available on Netflix in the UK and Ireland
  • But how well has it aged since first airing in 1994?

Almost 15 years since the last episode aired, Friends is now available to watch in the UK and Ireland on Netflix.

Friends first hit TV screens in 1994, and Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica and Phoebe are now household names. For its time the show was progressive in many respects, including by showing gay marriage and parenting; Rachel turning down a proposal from Joey and Ross to be a single mother; and Monica proposing to Chandler, to name a few.

But just like Sex and the City and Love Actually, some parts of the show have aged less well than others.

Below are five moments that would rightly cause a Twitter storm if they were aired for the first time now.

Chandler's gay dad

Chandler is scarred by his father coming out as gay after it is revealed he had an affair with the pool boy. And his father's new life as a drag queen in Las Vegas called Helena Handbasket is a source of deep embarrassment. While it's fair enough to paint a parent's infidelity as difficult, that doesn't excuse the homophobia and transphobia that comes with it.

It's never confirmed that Chandler's father is a trans woman, but the fact that she attends his swim meets as well as his wedding in women's clothing suggests she's more than just drag queen, using female impersonation to make money.

Nowadays, you would never have transphobic insults like "don't you have a little too much penis to be wearing a dress like that?" launched at Helena, characters wouldn't refer to her using her birth name Charles, and the whole narrative would be handled a little more sensitively (we hope).

Joey's relationship with his roommate Janine

In season six, dancer Janine LeCroix moves in with Joey for half a dozen episodes. And his behaviour goes from womaniser to a sexual harasser who sees her as an object.

Take the time that he turns up the heating in the hope she'll walk around in her underwear. Or when she tells him that he doesn't find him attractive and instead of accepting it replies: "it's because I was trying to repel you, believe me you'd feel a lot different if I turned it on". He then refuses to give up seducing her when she disagrees.

Ross asking a nanny if he's gay

Although Ross isn't the most hyper-masculine character - one episode centres on him defending his salmon pink shirt - he just can't get his head around his daughter's nanny being a man.

Not only that, he breaks the law by asking Sandy if he's gay. After Sandy breaks into tears after recalling his relationship with his last client Ross adds: "you've gotta be at least bi." Ross later fires Sandy because he's too sensitive.

Paolo assaulting Phoebe

In season one, Rachel starts seeing Paolo: a cringe-worthy Italian stereotype depicted as a Lothario with an uncontrollable sexual appetite. And when he asks Phoebe for a massage and he grabs her behind then flashes his erection at her, the gang treat it as an act of infidelity rather than him assaulting her at work. Post-Silence-Breakers, this scene would be unthinkable in a new series.

Monica hooking up with her childhood optician

Sure, consenting adults can get together regardless of a 21-year age gap, as Richard and Monica do. Their relationship, her subsequent heartbreak and how inadequate Chandler feels in his shadow is a narrative that runs through the series.

What is unsettling are the references to Richard watching Monica grow up - in the scene below she says "I'm dating a man whose pool I once peed in" - and how they have their first kiss during an eye appointment. Yikes!

The total lack of diversity

Despite living in downtown Manhattan - one of the world's most famous melting pots - there is a stunning lack of diversity in Friends. In the decade that the show ran, no people of colour played main characters - apart from Charlie, Ross' paleontologist girlfriend in season nine.