17/05/2020 11:45 BST | Updated 17/05/2020 11:47 BST

Friends' Lisa Kudrow Addresses Latter-Day Criticism, Claiming Show 'Should Be Looked At As A Time Capsule'

The Phoebe Buffay actress has insisted the show was considered "progressive" during its time on the air.

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Former Friends star Lisa Kudrow has defended the hit show, suggesting that critics should consider it a “time capsule” rather than focussing on its more problematic aspects.

Lisa played Phoebe Buffay in all 10 series of Friends, which has now been off the air for 16 years, but gained a new following in recent times when it was made available to stream on Netflix.

Not everyone watching the show for the first time on the streaming service was impressed, though, with some pointing out parts of Friends that had not aged well, namely the lack of diversity and some jokes that could be perceived as offensive to the LGBTQ community.

Asked whether she thought Friends would be different if it were made in 2020, Lisa told the Sunday Times: “Oh, it’d be completely different. Well, it would not be an all-white cast, for sure. I’m not sure what else, but, to me, it should be looked at as a time capsule, not for what they did wrong.”

JC Olivera via Getty Images
Lisa Kudrow at the Emmys last year

She added: “Also, this show thought it was very progressive. There was a guy whose wife discovered she was gay and pregnant, and they raised the child together? We had surrogacy too. It was, at the time, progressive.

“Yes, it’s a fun comedy. But it’s also about people connecting, and part of what appeals about it now is that young people have this unconscious nostalgia for personal connection. And not just right now during the pandemic, but before that.”

Lisa’s former co-star Matt LeBlanc has previously hit back at the show’s modern critics, insisting: “I’ve heard those rumours too about people taking pot shots at Friends, but I don’t want to get into that. I disagree with all that.” 

NBC via Getty Images
The cast of Friends pictured in the 1990s

Earlier this year, David Schwimmer also referenced the much-discussed diversity issues surrounding Friends in an interview with the Guardian, revealing he had “campaigned for years to have Ross date women of colour”.

As part of the interview, David also said: “Maybe there should be an all-Black Friends or an all-Asian Friends.”

However, many people on Twitter were quick to remind him of the 90s sitcom Living Single, which followed the lives of six Black friends who lived together in Brooklyn, New York.

David later insisted that he had been aware of Living Single, and that his words had been “taken out of context”. 

He tweeted: “I didn’t mean to imply Living Single hadn’t existed or indeed hadn’t come before Friends, which I knew it had.

“Please remember in an interview quotes are often pieced together and taken out of context, and then these quotes are re-purposed in other articles by other people who are trying to be provocative.”