Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow in “Friends: the Reunion”. AP photo
Marta Kaufmannone of the creators of friends along with David Crane, he talked about the lack of diversity on the show and somehow hoped to fix it by donating $ 4 million to the African American and African American Studies Department of Brandeis University, near Boston.
The special one Friends: Reunion it has brought the show back into cultural conversation since last year, but reruns and reruns ensured it never quite went away.
friends originally aired on NBC during 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004which serves as a stepping stone to the careers of Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer.
“Friends” aired on NBC for ten seasons, between 1994 and 2004. AFP photos
Although the show ended a long time ago, it has continued to live on through platforms such as Netflix and HBO Max, the current owner of its exclusive rights.
However, seen through the lens of 2020, friends it’s a show that has left some commentators arguing that it ignores diversity, to the point that every episode can seem like it the whiteswallowing in a fountain to the rhythm of I’ll be there for you from The Rembrandt.
Despite being set in a multicultural place like Manhattan, the most important role it played friends for a black actor it was Charlie, played by Aisha Tylerthe paleontology professor who dated Joey (LeBlanc) and Ross (Schwimmer). But he didn’t appear until season 9, only appearing in 9 of the 236 episodes. of the program.
“I’ve learned a lot over the past 20 years. Admitting and accepting guilt isn’t easy. It is painful to look in the mirror. I’m ashamed that I didn’t know better 25 years ago“.
The “George Floyd factor”
The killing of George Floyd in police custody and the subsequent summer of nationwide protests in 2020 had an effect on the way Marta Kauffman saw friends and its lack of diversity in retrospect. The protests also renewed claims for compensation for slavery, an idea that had found its way into shows such as Guardians on HBO the year before.
The “George Floyd case” was a trigger, Kauffman said, for awareness and “course correction”. AFP photo
This was the climate in which Kauffman began to reconsider the legacy of friends and finally came to the decision to make an endowment for a gifted chair in the department of African American and African American studies at the private university in Waltham, Massachusetts.
“It happened after what happened to George Floyd that I started fighting for accepting systemic racism in ways I never realized, “he continued.” That was really the moment I started looking into the ways I had participated. I knew then I needed to correct the course“.
Self-criticism with the return
Kauffman also hinted at why Friends: Reunion it did not openly address the issue of diversityfeeling it wasn’t the right place.
“I don’t know how the two were related. And also I don’t know how we could have dealt with it in that context of that meeting, getting into all the things we did wrong. And there were others … In this case, finally, I am literally putting my money on par with what I think, “he said.
According to LA Timesthe Marta F. Kauffman ’78 Chair in African and African American Studies, among other things, “will support a distinguished scholar with a concentration in the study of the peoples and cultures of Africa and the African diaspora “.