Friends ended 15 years ago, but fans and critics alike can’t stop watching. When it landed on Netflix in 2015, the scrutiny intensified, especially around matters of the show handled issues of diversity and homophobia.
Speaking to The Guardian, Schwimmer is still all-in for the show, despite the serious backlash his character Ross has come under for his treatment of Rachel (Jennifer Aniston): “I don't care. The truth is also that show was groundbreaking in its time for the way in which it handled so casually sex, protected sex, gay marriage and relationships. The pilot of the show was my character's wife left him for a woman and there was a gay wedding, of my ex and her wife, that I attended.”
He continued: “I feel that a lot of the problem today in so many areas is that so little is taken in context. You have to look at it from the point of view of what the show was trying to do at the time. I'm the first person to say that maybe something was inappropriate or insensitive, but I feel like my barometer was pretty good at that time. I was already really attuned to social issues and issues of equality.”
Schwimmer’s character dated an Asian woman and a black woman, but that’s about as diverse as it got, despite his best efforts.
“Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” Schwimmer said. “But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.”
This all comes as the show celebrates its 25th anniversary of the premiere, and rumors of a movie featuring Schwimmer, Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc are swirling.