Times pass and societies change, something that we can observe in the evolution of audiovisual fictions over time. We all understand when approaching a series or movie from years ago that they are “daughters of their time” and we value them with that in mind. Something that you fully understand Martha Kaufmanncreator of the mythical ‘Friends’, work of which she feels very proud as well as self-critical.
The perspective of the years
Marta Kauffman made history creating with David Crane one of the most memorable comedies on television. ‘Friends’ was broadcast between 1994 and 2004 and, although a lot has happened since then, it is still present in the series scene. Not only because of the reunion of the actors in the special ‘The Reunion’ but because of the great affection that continues to be held for it, becoming one of those fictions that the platforms fight to have in their catalog.
The years obviously show and Kauffman (also the creator of ‘Grace and Frankie’) has acknowledged on more than one occasion that regrets how he portrayed certain issueshow to treat Chandler’s mother, a trans woman, as masculine:
We kept referring to her as “Chandler’s dad,” even though she was trans. The thing about the pronouns was something that she did not understand at that time. That’s why we didn’t refer to her character as “she”, that was a mistake.
Another thing Kauffman wishes he had done differently is the widespread shortage of black people in the cast of the series, something that was greatly influenced by the death of George Floyd in 2020:
I have learned a lot in the last 20 years. Admitting and accepting blame is not easy. It is painful to look at yourself in the mirror and I am ashamed that I did not understand it better 25 years ago. It took me a long time to understand how I internalized systemic racism… And this is how I think I can participate in the conversation as a white woman.
Kauffman refers to the 4 million dollars you plan to donate to a project in African and African-American studies at Brandeis University in Boston. The creator adds:
There are thousands of things that I would surely have done differently. I have talked about it in the past and now I have very strong feelings about my involvement with the system. But at the time I didn’t know that I didn’t know.