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The Gender Spectrum and Friends: How America’s Favorite Sitcom Screwed Up an Entire Generation

Originally posted on The Stake:

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by Miles Behn

It feels strange to pick on a show like Friends. Sure it defined a generation of viewers, but how could Friends know what the future would bring? How could it know that the same year it concluded, gay marriage would be legalized in Massachusetts? How could Friends know how completely trans, gender, and race issues would change in America? After all, it’s just a sitcom—it’s the chaotic accounts of six (rather wealthy), white 20-somethings.

Let’s give Friends the benefit of the doubt, and rely on the age-old adage that always negates change—it was a different time. After all, the Defense of Marriage Act was only introduced in 1996 (two years after Friends premiered), and LGBT issues were on the sidelines for most Americans. The fight was happening, but it wasn’t part of our entertainment media. It was the 90s. The economy was thriving, and TV shows…

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The Challenge is back!

TJ Lavin, Bananas, Wes…the good, the bad, and the ugly have returned! And I couldn’t be more excited!

Initial thoughts on Battle of the Exes II:

  • First of all – Diem and Knight have passed away. How awful it is to think about this fact while we watch these pseudo-celebrities partake in such mundane and reckless activities; bickering and hurting each other over what is ultimately a silly game… Their deaths make the MTV challenge shows sort of depressing and sad – like the curtain’s been lifted and we realize we’ve been watching something so meaningless. It’s like an existential play – but instead of Waiting for Godot we are waiting for TJ Lavin to tell us who wins and even when we find out, it’s not that satisfying. Seems like a stretch to get existential while discussing an MTV show but that’s where I’ve found myself…onto the trashier stuff!
  • Bananas and Wes are lookin’ old and haggard!
  • Why does everyone hate Nany? Sounds like a lot of slut-shaming, not sure if she deserves all the shit she’s getting
  • Are You The One cast-mates will just never be on par with RW cast – it’s like JV and Varsity, Big leagues and the minors…AYTO is a weird insulated environment but ultimately more about how stupid can you be at logic games and how many people can you hook up with…whereas Real World just as weird and insular but more about finding oneself, getting drunk and cussing your roomies out, discovering your sexuality, talking about racism, reconnecting with your baby mama, opening up about your eating disorder, and eating a lot of Subway and other product placement. The Real World is…dare I say it: more REAL than AYTO. AYTO cast-mates do not seem to be as well vetted for TV – I’ll leave it at that.
  • The only thing I’ve really learned from these shows so far is that reality TV relationships do not last…(Exhibit A: Danny & Melinda’s marriage)
  • More to come…god I love this show!
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