Friends – A critical analysis

Friends, Drew Carey, Dawson’s Creek, Seinfeld: all popular American television programs portraying white America. Ross, Chandler, Joey, Rachel Monica, and Phoebe: all white characters on the television show Friends. Why don’t these characters have any minority “friends”? What happened to programs such as the Cosby Show or the Fresh Prince? Why are all-white television shows so popular in America and what happened to minority-based shows? Today’s television depicts popular white America while leaving out minorities. The lack of ethnicity on television gives America an inaccurate idea about minorities.

We live in a society where ethnicity is always depicted as sinful. When you sit down to watch television you don’t expect to see minorities on television shows. At the same time people are not shocked to see minorities being arrested or convicted on the news. What would be the public’s reaction if they went to watch television and saw six minority “friends” on a show just after watching an all-white neighborhood rioting on a news program?

Friedns reinforces the humorous “all-American” lifestyle. Six white, unmarried, young Americans living and interacting together, reinforcing the idea that it is okay in today’s society to be racially biased in choosing friends. By viewing this particular show and others like it, our society may or has come to the wrong conclusion about different ethnic groups. If people want to diversify their children, how do they let them watch programs like Friends? The group of “friends” are never seen with any minorities. They hang out at a cafe/bar in a large city. On occasion, if you pay close attention, you just might see an African-American or Mexican -American in the background. In one episode Joey has a part in a play. When the scene was over I had counted three minorities’ heads in the background, while I didn’t have enough time to count the crowd of whites. In the same episode, Rachel finds a new boyfriend (guest Ben Stiller) who is also white. Thus, all relationships portrayed on Friends are of white couples. This strongly reinforces the immorality of interracial relationships. People in society today do not see a homogenous portrayal of all-white society as they walk down a city block. Why do television shows, for the most part, display a perfect white homogenous society?

I find myself watching Friends among many other white television programs every day. You know that the majority of America also watches them also or they wouldn’t be on the air. Friends is so popular because it poses all the qualities that people enjoy. Number one, the characters are all beautiful or handsome. Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow are all irresistible female actresses while Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and Matt LeBlanc are all good-looking actors. They all fit into the mainstream glamour of today’s media. People look up to and imitate popular actors and actresses as these. Next they all fit into the category of whiteness. Prominent people in America for the most part are white and this is what people are used to. Lastly the show is very humourous. Joey and Chandler play the cute, dumb guy roles. Always doing stupid things and making wise cracks and comments. Phoebe plays the funny, stereotypical dumb blond role. What’s not to like about these funny, sexy characters? Friends is a lovable show that is compelling to the American public, reinforcing the idea that whites are dominant figures over minorities. As a critical viewer you are able to see how this reinforces the idea that television gives American an inaccurate view about minorities.As a viewer of popular American television, I myself have come to the conclusion that these shows impact the viewers indirectly as it may seem. The repetition of white television shows can make a viewer biased. When a predominantly minority-based television show is on, it’s not the same. Viewers are not used to these types of shows, reassuring the fact that white shows stay popular in America. What do minorities think about the lack of ethnicity? I asked a friend of mine who is an Asian American, and also a student at CSU. Giving it no thought, he said he noticed the lack of ethnicity but he “still loves watching Friends.” This leads to the conclusion that popular American television shows may have brainwashed many people. With this firsthand evidence, one can get the feeling that white dominance in American society is viewed as okay in today’s world.

While the public loves Friends, the produces and stations love all the money that comes with the popularity of the show. One simple reason for all-white homogeneous shows to be aired on television is because of popularity. And with popularity comes money. In

In a money-driven capitalist culture like ours, people will get whatever the money maker happens to be. For instance, can you as a reader name off the top of your any popular minority-based shows other than the Cosby Show and the Fresh Prince? If so, there certainly cannot be many. Television is all about what the public wants to see and stations are not going to air predominantly minority-based shows that make no money. With this one can come to the conclusion that with today’s television displaying a lack of ethnicity, Americans of all races can have an unjust idea about ethnicity and how races interact with each other.

Read more at Suite101: A Critical Media Analysis of “Friends”

Read more at Suite101: A Critical Media Analysis of “Friends”

Read more at Suite101: A Critical Media Analysis of “Friends”


5 Responses to Friends – A critical analysis

  1. Nicole says:

    A complete LACK of opinion in regards to minorities is not a “domination” of them, nor does it demonstrate a bias, nor is it unjust. No one is being attacked here. It makes complete sense that people who have things in common with each other bond together more than those with diversity for the mere sake of diversity . . . heavens forbid that you not like that this is the way it works in the real world as well.

    You are also disregarding the diversity the characters DO have in their different racial/ethnic backgrounds, such as Italian and Jewish. Lumping them all together as purely “white” and saying that this shows a lack of diversity shows your own bias.

  2. Dude with a laptop says:

    Ross goes out with a black girl and him and Joey both hit on a black chick. There are a handful of minor roles played by minorities, also don’t forget that Joey and all the other Italian characters are portrayed negatively.

  3. Erin says:

    If the show is so racist, then why does Charlie (an African American woman) play such a huge role in dating two of the main characters??

  4. Friends fan says:

    I would like to point out some inaccuracies in your Friends-facts: Ross and Joey dated Charlie, an African-American woman. They also went on a date with a character portrait by Gabrielle Union, and Ross dated an Asian woman for almost an entire season. Also, Ross’ ex-wife is gay, which is also a minority. Phoebe was married with a gay ice-skater.

    Plus, Phoebe isn’t portraying a dumb-blond (???) if anything she is a very strange lady who happens to be blond. And Chandler surely isn’t a cute, dumb guy either. You don’t seem to know the characters very well.

    And yes, I can name other popular minority-based shows others than the Cosby show and the Fresh Prince: Family Matters, My wife and kids, Everybody hates Chris, Ugly Betty, Moesha, George Lopez, The Jeffersons, Sister sister, …

    I’m not saying you’re completely wrong, but you should rewrite your article and find stronger arguments and correct facts. Otherwise it’s just a Moo-point.

  5. Pingback: The one about Friends | Woman. Legend. Blog.

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