Narsee Monjee Institute Of Management Studies-2 Essay

N ars ee Monjee Institute Of Management S tudies,

Bangalore School Of Law (SOL)

Sociology project


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SUBMITTED BY – Kratika Singh


BA LLB BAT CH 2 019 -24

SUBMITTED TO – MS. S ukanya Ghosh


F.R.I.E.N.D.S is a popular American tv sitcom created by David Crane and M arta Kauffman .

The story revolves around a group of six friends named Mon ica, Chandler, R oss, Rachel,

Joey and Phoebe. This is a comedy which is well received and appreciated by my generat ion ,

Chandl er’s sarcasm, Joey ’s humour, Monica ’s obsession with cleanliness, Ross ’s mistakes

and lastly pho ebe ’s soothing yet h ilarious music is how we identify FRIENDS in today ’s

worl d. FRIENDS has taught us how adults are progre ssing in the world in a very comical

way. This tv sitcom is considered a very progressive one for its ’s generation as it highlighted

problems which we re consider ed not normal to be discussed on a national platform like

television at that partic ular time. However , through this assignment I intend to highlight the

social issues that I observed in FRIENDS. W ritten belo w are the social issues I feel the tv

sitcom highlighted .

1. Y oung people who were very much on their own without significant

parental interaction .

Six friends named Joey, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Ross and Phoebe were dependent

on themselves .

By watching F.R.I.E.N.D. S. we c an observe that the young people in the show were

dependent on themselves . They are not dependent on their parents. They do jobs and

ear n their daily bread. Although they did face problems such as unemployment, not

having suffic ient money but we need to understand that bein g independent is not only

limited to earning money , being independent is also about learning to make yo ur own

decisions, facing difficulties and being both mentally and physically at peace w ith

oneself . Being independent is a social issue because it comes with a lot of challenges

which in this tv series was highlighted in a comical way.

2. Being of a different sexual orientatio n is completely normal

Carol w as the first wife of Ross, they were divo rced beca use Carol was a lesbian.

Carol was in a relationship with a girl named Susan , we even witnessed their

wedding. But what was more interesting was that Carol and Susan were raising Ben

on their own. This partic ular incident i s a social issue because belonging to a different

sexual orientation is no t accepted well in our society , because the mindset of our

society is limited only to hetrosexua l relationships but through this show the

ster eotype was broken as it was the first time a lesbian wedding was shown in

telev ision.

3. To take a stand for yourself

In th is point we are talking about how Rachel left her fianc? at the altar as she wanted

to live alone and away, although she did face difficulties like finding a job and

handling he r expenses as she came from a very rich household where servants were

always around her and whatever she desired was available but now, when she left her

life of comfort and went to earn a living herself. W e observed her progress in every

season of the s how including her ups and do wns, we saw how Rachel became

independent in every aspect. W e can say that Rachel was a portrayal of how a women

of this era should be.

4. Being a single mother is often considered a taboo

In this tv series we observed th at Rachel was bearing Ross ’s child Emma. Rachel

turned down proposals of both Ross and Joey as she wanted to do so. Rachel raised

Emma on her own by co -parenting with Ross . Being a single mother in our society is

con sidered a taboo as no body expects a wom an to raise a child alone because the

mindset of people in our society is limited to thinking that a woman can ’t raise a child

and manage herself alone. It is also seen in our society that a single mother has to face

harsh judgements of society as people have already started thinking that she is weak

but Rachel proved that she was strong and very cooperative with Ross as they were

raising Emm a together.

5. Be gender neutral rather than being sexist

Joey in a particular ep isod e is seen wearing a shoulder unisex bag for which he was

mocked and judged as people assumed him to be “gay ” or “girly ” this happened

bec ause society has a particular mindset of how a man should be or act like which is

sexist. W e have also seen how Joey expresses his liking towards applying makeup for

which he b ecame a laughing st ock for his friends. This is a very important social issue

highlighted in this tv seri es as a viewer we may laugh through out the episode bu t if

we introspect , we understand how liking more feminine things does not make one less

or more “manly ”.



In a particular episode we see that Rachel hi res a male nanny who ’s ext remely well

qualified but this does not go well with Ross . Ross basi cally represents a typical

mindset of a stereotypical society where men are supposed to do the work which

requires extreme labo ur and women are supposed t o be more homely or do work

which does not require much of the physical labour. In this episode viewers observe

how Ross is very adamant about removing the nanny from his jo b by mocking him

and it was done on purpose by Ross as he knew that n anny was sensitive.

7. W hen Ross was not a good role model for his son Ben

In an episode audience we see how Ben is playing with a barbie to which Ross reacts

in a very abrupt manner which can be defined as a male chauvinist and a very sexist

behaviour . Upon seein g barbie in the hands of Ben , Ross in shock and angrily asks

“why is my son playing with a barbie? ”, Ross even blames Carol and S usan for

making Ben play with barbies , it is also seen that Ross tr ies to incline Ben towards

more “boyish ” toys. During the end of the episode we see how even Ross was playing

with barbies and holding a kitty party in his garden. W e can clearly observe a n ironic

and hypocrite behaviour .

8. W hen Monica was fat shamed.

Throughout the ten episodes of FRIENDS one thing that was consistent was fat

shaming Monica. It was obvious that Monica was fat during high school bu t it became

a re lentless punchline whic h was very offensi ve. It was extremely embarrassing when

Joey shouts and says that “some girl ate M onica ” when they were watching a video of

Monica preparing for her prom while eating a s andwich . In all the ten seasons

Monica ’s friends n ever le her forget about the time when she was fat. This is a social

issue because even in our society we have few people wh o keep reminding us about

how we look and how we should try and be more “appealing ”.

9. Be inclusive and respect everyone , d on ’t be transphobic.

It’s no secret t hat there was an underlying homophobic and tran sphobic tone to

FRIENDS, but particularly with the character of Chandler. Chandler ’s mom played by

Kathleen Turner was a transgender Vegas drag queen , something of w hich C handler

was constantly embarrassed . Chandler ’s dad was always a butt of jokes f or his sexual

orientation who is never referred with right pronouns . The gang does n’t hold back

questioning the genitalia chandler ’s da d has which is super invasive .This is a social

issue as it creates signifi cant stresses for transgender people which can lead them to

feel ashame d, low self esteem, alienation and inadequacy. Transgender youth often try

to cope with the stress by running away from home, dropping out of scho ol, using

drugs or self harming.

10. W hen Ross became an obsessive and controlling boyfriend.

Ross became an obsessive and controlling boyfriend to Rachel, which was an

extremely toxic trait . He was so obsessive that he didn’t even trust Rachel when she

went out for dinner with her friend Mike and stalked her co mpletely. Although it was

hilarious to watch back then but if you watch it with a perception in your mind you

happen to feel extremely uncomfortable and toxic.

11. N o job is small

Initially when Rachel was finding a stable job for herself she had to work in a coffee

shop called central perk. Rachel thought her job of being a waitress at the coffee

house extremely small compared to her friends who were all doing a well to do job. It

was then Rachel ’s friends made her realise that her job was no t small as she was

doing it for herself and not to appeal the masses. Through this epis ode we c an a lso

observe how difficult i t is to adjust in a new surrounding and starting from a scratch,

and all the jobs should be well appreciated in this societ y.

12. Age gap between the lovers

This point highlight s the relationsh ip shared between Monica and Richard. Often

society view s the relationship between lovers who share a huge age di fference in a

very pessimistic manner as they t hink that one or the other is either a gold digger or

for some o ther personal reasons they are together. However , FRIENDS showed the

relationship between Richard and Monic a in a very mature manner which is indeed

com mendable.

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