Friends Creator Regrets Show’s Handling of Chandler’s Transgender Parent

August 16, 2022 0 Comments

Soon after responding to criticisms about the sitcom’s lack of diversity, Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman expresses regret over the show’s handling of Chandler’s transgender parent. Co-created by Kauffman and David Crane, Friends premiered on NBC in 1994 and lasted for ten successful seasons before going off the air in 2004. The mega-hit sitcom was led by six white actors – Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer – who recently reunited last year for a highly-anticipated reunion on HBO Max.,Though Friends was set in New York City, the sitcom featured very little diversity and is commonly criticized for its lack of roles for people of color, despite guest appearances from Lauren Tom, Gabrielle Union, Mark Consuelos, and Craig Robinson. Friends is similarly criticized for depicting Chandler Bing’s transgender parent, who was called Charles on the show. Portrayed by Kathleen Turner, the character had relationships with men and worked as a drag queen in Las Vegas under the stage name Helena Handbasket.,Related: Friends: How Monica & Chandler’s Proposal Episode Broke A Show Tradition,During a recent interview with The Conversation on BBC World Service (via Variety), Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman expressed regret over the show’s representation of transgender people. Kauffman recognized it was a “mistake” to misgender Chandler’s transgender mother as his “father.” Read what she said below:,Kauffman’s comment comes less than a week after the Friends co-creator responded to criticisms about the show’s lack of diversity which she is now “embarrassed” by. To reckon with how Friends missed the mark on diversity, Kauffman pledged a $4 million donation to Brandeis University’s African and African American studies department for an endowed professorship. Now, in light of her recent comments, it remains to be seen if Kauffman will take similar action to help rectify the show’s transgender representation.,Friends has been praised for its inclusion of a lesbian couple – Ross’ ex-wife Carol (Jane Sibbett) and her partner Susan (Jessica Hecht). However, the same can’t be said for its depiction of Chandler’s transgender parent. Other than being misgendered, the character was often the butt of transphobic jokes, including Chandler refusing to accept her gender identity, deadnaming her, and pretending to retch while seeing her perform on stage. In 2019, Turner also expressed regret over how the character was portrayed and said she would not accept the role if offered it today. Turner and Kauffman’s comments are just one of many signs the television industry is changing the way it thinks about proper LGBTQ+ representation.,Next: Friends Season 3 Chandler Joke Foreshadows Mondler’s Pregnancy Struggles,Source: Variety