All progress is war on the past and millennials are particularly merciless combatants.
The arrival of Friends on Netflix UK has had this neo-Victorian generation reaching for its fainting couch. Through woke eyes, the hit NBC sitcom isn’t a diverting entertainment but an artefact of racism, sexism and homophobia.
If you were a twentysomething during its initial run, or a teenager dreaming of being a twentysomething, Friends was more than just a sitcom — it was a lifestyle choice. This is a polite way of saying it wasn’t terribly funny, except in broad and winsome moments, but it sold a frothy fantasy of deferred adulthood and we were buying. You weren’t supposed to question how Rachel and Monica, a waitress and a chef, could afford a two-bedroom loft in the Village or what sweet terms of employment allowed Chandler and Ross, an IT manager and palaeontology professor, to spend all day nursing mochas in Midtown.
Friends existed in that easy, techy, gently liberal, Clintonian bubble known as the Nineties. There were no problems in Central Perk that couldn’t be quipped away and the real world seemed relaxed too — not carefree but content. The Twin Towers loomed over the opening titles for another seven seasons.