Los Angeles Times writer Greg Braxton attacked the popular TV Sitcom “Friends” reunion special because according to Braxton the show “ignored diversity.”
Braxton writes “at a time when the television landscape is becoming increasingly diverse and inclusive, it’s uncomfortable — if not outright inappropriate — to raise a glass to a sitcom that was so blind to the multiculturalism of the world where it took place. ”
“It’s a conversation that was already happening when the series, which premiered in 1994, marked its 25th anniversary in 2019. Which makes the failure to confront the subject head-on in the long-delayed special, appearing a year after the murder of George Floyd sparked massive protests against police brutality and amid the ongoing conversation about race relations and white supremacy in this country, all the more glaring,” he adds.
Braxton later writes that “the cavalcade of guest stars included such actors of color as Lauren Tom, Gabrielle Union, Mark Consuelos and Craig Robinson” but notes “their interactions with the main cast were mostly brief.”
Aisha Tyler was asked in a 2018 interview with InStyle what it was like to be the first black woman cast in a recurring role on the show.
She replied “You know, honestly, it was a great experience personally and creatively. I don’t think that I felt like, even though I knew that was a milestone, I don’t know that I felt like they turned it into something more than what it was, which was just a love interest for Ross… There [wasn’t dialog] about the fact that it was an interracial relationship. There was no commentary on the show about my character being black, and I think they had just written this character as this kind of love triangle between Ross and Joey. They happened to hire a black woman, which — I don’t know that I’m advocating for colorblind casting any more than I’m advocating for people doing a better job at making shows diverse.”