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The Longevity Of 'Friends'

Gettyimages | Noam Galai

In a new profile with The Guardian, Friends star David Schwimmer addressed his time on the iconic sitcom and how it has gone on to define his career.

"The older I get and the more my perspective shifts, the more you realise just how good you had it. That 10-year run with that particular cast, that group of writers, those directors. It was an amazing time professionally, but mostly creatively."

He also opened up about how the cast has kept in touch over the years, like when they had the reunion that kicked off Jennifer Aniston's Instagram.

"We all had a little reunion dinner at Courteney’s house recently. Everyone drifts and everyone has families and gets on with it so there are different relationships among the cast, but I’m probably closest to LeBlanc on a regular basis. I’m the only one that lives in New York."

A Product Of Its Time

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Schwimmer also addressed the sort of backlash to Friends, with modern audiences calling out the repeated instances of fatphobia, homophobia, sexism, and racism. Schwimmer counters the criticism:

"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."

The Importance Of Context

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Schwimmer defends the show and explains that most people forget that Friends was a product of its time and that the '90s just weren't as woke as the world is now.

"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.

"Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends. 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."

A 'Conscious Push' On Schwimmer's Part

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Schwimmer pointed to the Judaism of Ross and Monica as an addition to the show that he appreciated in terms of representation.

"It’s interesting also how the show handled the Judaism of the characters. I don’t think that was earth-shattering or groundbreaking at all, but I for one was glad that we had at least one episode where it wasn’t just about Christmas. It was also Hanukkah and, even though I played the Hanukkah armadillo. I was glad that we at least acknowledged the differences in religious observation."

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