If you've been online at all in the past few years, you probably already know that one of the biggest issues even the most die-hard Friends fans have with the beloved comedy is the show's lack of diversity. It's something a lot of ensemble sitcoms since have been mindful of, and now one of the titular friends herself is speaking out about it. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Lisa Kudrow gave her thoughts on what a new version of Friends would look like today and said, "It'd be completely different. It would not be an all-white cast, for sure."
The series, Kudrow added, "should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong," and she agreed with her co-star David Schwimmer's comments that the show was ahead of its time in many ways. "There was a guy whose wife discovered she was gay and pregnant, and they raised the child together? We had surrogacy, too. It was, at the time, progressive," she said, referencing the storyline where Ross (Schwimmer) co-parented a son with his ex-wife and her new wife, as well as the one where her character, Phoebe, carried a child for her brother and his girlfriend.
Earlier this year, Schwimmer talked about the history of Friends and in addition to saying he pushed for his character to date women of color, he also said, "Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends." Those comments caught the attention of Erika Alexander, one of the stars of Living Single, who wrote asked on Twitter, "Hey @DavidSchwimmer @FriendsTV, r u seriously telling me you've never heard of #LivingSingle? We invented the template. Yr welcome, bro." (Living Single, the iconic '90s sitcom about six black 20-somethings in Brooklyn, premiered a year before Friends.) Schwimmer later responded with an apology, saying, "I didn't mean to imply Living Single hadn't existed or indeed hadn't come before Friends, which I knew it had."
There's an understandably heightened interest around Friends right now (even more than usual, which is saying something!) in light of the back and forth surrounding its long-awaited reunion, which is set to debut HBO Max but was pushed back due to to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, there seems to be some hope around it being filmed toward the end of the summer, so here's hoping the stars do, in fact, align and we're given the gift of all six friends on our TV for the first time since the show's finale sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, you'll be able to stream every episode of Friends on HBO Max when the streaming service debuts on Wednesday, May 27. And Kudrow stars in the upcoming comedy series Space Force, which premieres on Friday, May 29 on Netflix.