F.R.I.E.N.D.S has forever been one of the most loves shows on television, always celebrated for its inclusion and liberal spirit. However, this year, on the 24th anniversary of the show, DU Beat brings to you the other part of the conversation about the who’s weak, abysmal portrayal of the LGBTQIA+ community and communities of colour.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. has been one of the most loved shows in the history of television since 1994. In its journey of 10 seasons, the show traces the journey of six reckless adults living in Manhattan and their lives revolving around love, friendship, and family. Today, as we celebrate its 24th anniversary on 22nd September, 2018, we bring to you a few shades of the show that were left uncoloured.

Throughout the 90’s, TV shows introduced gay characters, culminating with Ellen’s coming-out episode in 1997 and Will & Grace debuting in 1998. The first gay kiss happened on TV on LA Law in 1991. TV commercials also started showing pairs of men/women who could be viewed as couples.

Friends, thus became a part of the movement by offering more LGBTQIA+ characters, though problematic in their representation. The show reflected the reality of gay characters, to a certain extent, but avoided all forms of direct physical intimacy between gay characters. For instance, the episode featuring Carol and Susan’s wedding did not have a kiss.

Season 1, episode 8, where everyone thought Chandler was gay
Season 1, episode 8, where everyone thought Chandler was gay

However, the show’s representation of minority communities and their portrayal through its characters does become highly problematic. Every time, Chandler says the word, “gay”, we can hear panic and shame in his voice. The show was also identified as largely homophobic with its anti-gay jokes and portrayals.


There were various instances in the show where we could blatantly see the anti-gay sentiment. Ross aggressively asks a male nanny if he is gay. Monica judges Chandler for knowing songs from all musicals. Joey complains about queer women not sleeping with him and there is an entire episode where Rachel remembers making out with her university friend, Winona Ryder, and then pities herself for thinking about that, with romantic interest.


Unfortunately, it’s characters like Chandler and Ross who are most disturbed with queerness, despite having gay family members. There is also an entire episode on Ross freaking out about his son, Ben playing with a Barbie infront of his queer co-parents.

Season 3, Episode 4
Season 3, Episode 4

“Their lesbianism and Ross’ discomfort with that was definitely something the show used as a punchline. The people from minority communities were mainly side characters, not one main character was queer. Chandler and Joey made homophobic jokes continuously. The show fed into the discomfort and stigma around men doing things that are not masculine so the whole Nap Buddies episode, with Ross and Joey sleeping together,” says Akanksha Rao, a third year Economics student of Jesus and Mary College.

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Chandler’s attitude towards the LGBT community becomes very problematic as all his references towards his father are full of contempt and mockery. Chandler’s transgender father is often referred to as her birth name ‘Charles’ rather than her new name ‘Helena Handbasket’. Incorrect labels are used when the cast are talks about her and lots of jokes are made about her gender.

“They tried to show chandler as ‘feminine’ and that’s why he always had a problem getting girls, as people thought he was gay,” says Jayita Pande, a second year student of B.Com. (Hons.) at Jesus and Mary College.

Since people assume Chandler to be gay, he gets overly sensitive about them thinking of him as too feminine. In the show, being gay is also portrayed as something to be ashamed of. There’s an entire episode about Chandler finding out that people assume him to be gay and he comes of as scared and ashamed. This brings him across as an extremely homophobic character, constantly feeling the need to prove his ‘manliness’.

Apart from this, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that these characters, despite living in Manhattan, do not encounter queer people or more people of colour in their lives. Unfortunately, the show creators centred the story around six white, heterosexual characters who conform to the norms at every chance possible. There really wasn’t any multicultural diversity in the show. The closest they got to it was through Ross’s Asian girlfriend, Julia. The only prominent black character throughout the series was Dr. Charlie Wheeler, who was also portrayed in a very negative light.

The show has always has major influence on teens all over the world and while adults, continuously surrounded by discourse about making the environment more queer friendly, are able to understand that the gay panic was a part of the period and the storyline did not mean to cultivate an anti gay sentiment, the impressionable kids watching the show still get swayed by the skewed representation and the faulty portrayal.

The question, however, does remain whether the homophobia that reflected in the show was a product of an anti-gay sentiment within the production or a genuine effort to start a discussion revolving around different gender identities.


Feature Image Credits: Vox

Muskan Sethi

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Sometimes loving yourself means taking a break from giving so much of yourself to the rest of the world.

-Angel Lindberg Vazquez

 In today’s world, there is this wide uproar to embody the best virtues you discover around yourself. To be more accepting, to be more outgoing and to lose yourself; because reportedly losing yourself is the key to finding your truest essence – arguably, there is some truth to this too. More often than not, this philosophical outbreak confuses me in all my trial-and-error methods of understanding the young minds in college. Are we truly accepting, to the high extents that we presume ourselves to be? Are we truly that welcoming? These are all subjective answers, and unsurprisingly, the youth will agree that they are all these things and much more. But it is our duty to question, to doubt and therefore to discover the truth. Now truth, again, is a matter that is governed by perspectives. So what we do infer is that to discover truth, you need to discover yourself. This discovery will root from the retaining of your own identity. Your own self.

It is natural for many of us to feel at home in college; to not be outcasted. We are fed with this idea that college life is all about the people and your experiences. But in college, you will realise that there are prejudices, hypocrisies, and vanities – present as they are everywhere. You will realise that you are not smart enough, or have some other inferiority of your own liking. These days you will be shook, when you face a reality that will question your outlooks. The most challenging task that you have to accomplish then is to find an answer. It is not that difficult, look closely and you will find answers – within yourself. My argument borders on pessimistic idealism, some might say, but always remember, the greatest power is in you. No question is too big nor too difficult for your comprehension. Believing in yourself is the first step towards the manifestation of the best version of you. And this is what college is about – becoming.

There are some days, when people will make you question your mannerisms and behaviorisms. When you will be left to fend for yourself – am I being too judgemental or too critical or am I out of place? In my not so humble opinion, the fear of judgement feeds on insecurities. Preaching acceptance and practising it are diametric, to say the least. One of my seniors told me once, that to have a judgment means to have an opinion; and that is the idea of education – to invite our self-introspection, to form opinions. In rude terms of this materialistic world, when something true takes roots, others will try to escape from it or in other words, they will escape from themselves; and in that they end up losing themselves. Once assumptions are made, once people start presuming, the only thing to do is steel ourselves against their supposedly true ideas. I have learned this time and again that apology is not taken in its intended spirit by an ignorant mind. It is always something that diminishes your own character in their eyes.

The choice is always ours, and ours alone.

People don’t like people for being people these days. You like a model, an ideal image of a character. If someone doesn’t suit that image, you will criticise them, and not even to their face. They can claim all their shams of maturity and sensitivity/sensibility are true, but they know the truth, and unsurprisingly, we do too. When something real happens, people will revert to their unrealistic models. And for all I know, I am not a model. And neither are you.
Judgment and criticism and appreciation follow in a particular fashion, but more often than not, ignorance will only have eyes for the first two.

Whatever you are, hold true to it. Embrace yourself and then embrace this world. No one is you, and that is your power.

 You might be wondering – what is the meaning of friendship and acquaintances then? I do not seek to inspire anyone into a lifestyle of devil-may-care attitude, at all. All I wish for us to learn is that there is a truth, sheer truth within us. I wish to tell you that obstinacy of a character that you are is not wrong. I wish to tell you that this obstinacy must also be withdrawn; not because someone tells you to do so, but because you feel this yourself. So never falter in your own musings, because the best that the world deserves is you and vice versa.

Always question and always answer yourself.

Some days, when I am myself,

Alone and alone, self-cornered, self-doubted,
I fail to explore myself, even when
I am, I think, myself.
And these days I ask myself
In no uncertain terms: who am I?

I forget myself these days,
Failing reminders – I am,
I am myself and my joy is in me.
That endless joy, unmeasured,
Unending – I am, I was, I will be.
An endless ocean, my deepest depth, I am.

Strange how I should lose myself,
Bereft of warmth, bestowed with doubt.
On days like these, when you make me
Question myself and all of me,
I feel reduced, but I learned to rise too.
And so I will, always. I will.

Because on these days,
When I lose myself to your denial,
I find myself too, and I find more.
More to Myself.


Feature Image Credits: Favim

Kartik Chauhan
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It is a fact universally acknowledged that people make experiences. But can anyone put a number on the latter? Can experiences matter more than people?

 The general consensus about life will advocate the importance of people in life. All the memories that we create are fragments of people we choose to savor. I think it is partially true. My partial doubt is based on the fact that sometimes, in our quests to unravel the ideas of happiness in life, we cross certain limits. These limits are those of truth, the truth of our own identities. When we start giving importance to people over ourselves, my doubt comes into play. In college, this problem of self-actualisation takes a sidetrack as we seek for validation, more than anything else. It is a challenge now, to contain your identity. You start a battle with yourself, fighting hard against the tide of truth, for the simple reason that people will matter a lot in your explorations. It is true but to an extent. These people will be your best places at times, but some people might make you question your ideals, push you down or trample you. The only wise choice you have then is to trudge a path of your own making. I must mention this at the outset, experiences will gain meaning with your indulgence, and the involvement of others will always be secondary.

A few days ago, as many other Freshers, I dealt with a minor crisis of emotions. We come to a new world, anticipating great things. Somehow, we fail to see that prejudices and vanities are scattered everywhere in this world. When unreal standards are met with reality, especially when you are caught off-guard, the smallest instances can be troublesome. The moment you begin to see your opinions being shaped forcibly by an outer element, return to your guard. It is never right to let others feed on your vulnerabilities. Talk them out. As Tyrion Lannister tells Jon Snow, “Once you have accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.”

Acceptance is always the answer. Analyse yourself. In a moment of doubt, seeking advice is helpful. One of my seniors once told me that college is all about experiences. Some you will share with people, others will be your own. Every experience that is your own delivers a powerful lesson. Remember yourself in all this chaos that mandates the presence of people to ensure the best days. You are the people you need. You are your experiences.

There is something extremely important that requires our remembrance. These three years are meant for us, after the completion of this phase, there is a greater reality that awaits us. Every senior will narrate to you the stories of their survival and transformation through their time spent in college. This is only a pedestal. There are uncountable rungs that must be climbed yet. A thousand joys await you, a million smiles, because you are here, in the midst of an opportune haven. Give yourself these wings. Become the best version of yourself, and do not be a pleaser. The best people, the best relationships, the deepest bonds are established of their own accord. Something as soulful as friendship cannot feed on falseness. There will always be love. People will make you question this at times. But I firmly believe, that your experiences will tell you otherwise.

So indulge in all experiences. It is true, experiences require the involvement of people, but people are only party to the experiences. The adventures you go on will supersede the company. I do not wish to demolish the idea of relationships. In fact, all I wish to say is that people will find you, and adventures will too; all that matters is that you give priority to yourself. ‘Into the Wild’ taught me a valuable lesson. I suggest everyone to watch this cathartic joy of a movie. I read once, that shyness can ruin the best of opportunities. Do not withhold yourself from this exposure. Remember these days, for the days they are, not necessarily the ones you spent them with, to revel in earnest.



Feature Image Credits: tico.ca

 Kartik Chauhan
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Display of affection has largely been limited to romantic relationships. Letters, well-thought-out presents, and grand gestures are often not extended to parents, old friends, grandparents, siblings, and cousins because we take them for granted, but life is unpredictable and we do not have the luxury to lose the opportunity to show our love.

Overt signs of affection include using kind words, verbally reminding the people in our lives that they are loved, going out of our way to make them feel better. More often than not, these gestures are not extended to the people we love the most. Telling your parents you love them sounds silly to a lot of people, “Of course I love them, they are my parents! I don’t need to say it out loud”, is the first thought that comes to mind. We spend a considerable chunk of our lives hiding positive emotions from the people closest to us while anger and resentment are readily expressed.

The biggest mistake we can make, in terms of interpersonal relationships is taking someone who matters a lot to us, for granted. Regret can be unforgiving to those who do not appreciate their gifts and the worst of all regrets is the regret to have not loved enough. Indian middle class households are particularly prone to be unnecessarily stiff, even when there is an ocean of emotion inside. Our parents show their love through “Did you eat” or “Please go to bed on time” rather than by “I love you” or “I am so proud of you”. But their hesitation towards showing love does not give us the license to do the same; it then falls upon us to ensure that we show them the love we feel, even if it is unprecedented in our household.

In our impatience and youth, our fearlessness and arrogance, we assume no harm can come to us or to the ones we care about. We aren’t hardened enough; our purview of the world is utopian. This makes take what we have for granted. Unfortunately, life is far from fair. Tragedy, loss, sickness, separation are an established truth, something we will eventually have to face. Perhaps then, we would regret our audacity and ungratefulness but that regret would come too late. It is therefore imperative that we show love to those we care about without the fear of sounding too sentimental. The greatest gift that human beings have is the gift of emotion; our emotions are complex and all-consuming and sometimes giving them free-reign is the best thing we can do. Therefore, love fearlessly and do not be afraid to let it be known.


Feature Image Credits: Catholic March

Kinjal Pandey
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Stories are written, characters are portrayed, love stories happen, but sometimes they can become so deeply entrenched in your life that everything changes and how unimaginable it may sound if I were to say that a TV show has the power to do that!

Aired in 1994, F.R.I.E.N.D.S is one of the most iconic shows of all time that has continued to win the hearts of people, generation after generation. But let me tell you, watching this show is not healthy because you end up in a vicious cycle of tantalising, and ever so obsessive temptation for the show, that once you have plunged into this ocean, there is no swimming back. Here the characters become your friends, their problems become your problems, their smile gives you a reason to smile and their happiness becomes a reason for yours. Joey’s warm hugs, Monica’s dominating yet amiable demeanour, Ross’s silliness, Rachel’s immaculate sense of dressing and gossip, Chandler’s awkwardly loveable and desirable humour and Phoebe’s sassy nature with a big heart are traits that all fans wish to imbibe.

Addiction to this show is unavoidable. It becomes the medicine for you when you are ill, sad, low or even happy. Regardless of the emotion, it acts like that sweet syrup you are ready to gulp down your throat without any reason at all.

The emotional void caused, when you haven’t been able to see the episodes for a long time, (long time here means like a couple of hours ) is incomparable. You end up giving the show and its characters more room in your heart (even bigger than Monica’s apartment) and doesn’t bother you, rather it gives you a sense of peace.

This timeless TV series is a temptation that teaches us that love is friendship and it is all about ‘sharing and receiving (Joey did explain that well!) Sometimes the gamut of sentiments are so overwhelming that they often roll down your eyes, sometimes there is silence and sometimes they just erupt in the form of a loud roar of laughter. Trust me, you will not be the same person anymore after watching this series and your outlook towards the world will change with the blink of an eye.

So understand one thing, when life is always stuck in second gear, and when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, this show will be there for you, because with F.R.I.E.N.D.S, nothing is off the table.

Riya Chhibber

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During the first few days of a post-exam relaxation phase, it’s obvious that binge watching becomes an irresistible choice of indulgence. So after getting tired of sleeping for hours, I decided to turn to my television’s aid as a cure to my remaining exam hangovers. As I lay curled up in bed, flipping from one channel to another to find the most perfect show in a maze of television series, I immediately stopped at a place which relaxed the motion of my hand instantly.

Despite watching each episode more than a hundred times and owning a set of all its seasons to increase the numbers even more, I still knew I’d be unable to find any show better than FRIENDS to give me the solace I needed. That’s when I was drawn to a realization that despite being addicted to numerous shows throughout my teenage years, I always found myself coming back to those few all-time favorite classic American series which not only possess a power to cheer us up within seconds, even today, but also make us relive a bundle of golden memories that we hardly get time to remember and cherish in our busy lives.

So while some are still being aired in India (luckily), and some aren’t (unfortunately), here is a list of the TOP FIVE American Television Sitcoms of 1990s that we never seem to get enough of – and neither do we ever hope to!

1. FRIENDS (1994-2004)

With more than twenty years of its release, it remains till date, undoubtedly, the most loved and sought-after show ever produced in the history of television. Centered on the lives of six friends in Manhattan and their impetuous ups and downs, this show makes one generation after another laugh uninhibitedly and teaches the older ones that some addictions (or almost all jokes of this show) never get old. From Ross’s professed love for dinosaurs and Phoebe’s unique ice-breaking song collections to Monica’s neurotic enthusiasm and Chandler’s biting sarcasm, there was something hilariously charming in each one that glued us to them forever.

Whether it’s Joey’s “How you doin’?” to his utter refusal for sharing of food or Ross and Rachel’s “We were on a BREAK” fiasco to Phoebe’s signature composition- Smelly Cat, there’s always something one can easily find to smile or laugh about in all its episodes which almost make us oblivious to our problems in life, as long as we’re in their presence. As time passes by, these six friends in ten seasons of happiness are bound to “Be there for you” for life.

(Currently being aired from Monday-Friday at 9 pm on COMEDY CENTRAL, India)

First episode of Season One, Friends

Image credits: www.stylearena.net

2. Full House (1987-1995)

There is something magical about this very name which brings a wide smile across anyone’s face who has ever been lucky enough to watch it. Contrary to the popular belief, this American family revolutionized the family culture in the most real and sweetest way possible. The awesome trio of Danny Tanner, the Father (the sensible one), Uncle Jesse, his brother-in-law (the handsome one) and Uncle Joey, his best friend (the dorky one) showed how raising three little girls- DJ (the tomboy one), Stephanie (the mischievous one) and Michelle (the coolest one) under one roof was no piece of cake, and yet, in their most cracking sense of humor handled every single dilemma from their very first steps, school days to boyfriend dramas in an unbelievably adorable way.

Apart from Jesse’s ‘Elvis’-ness and Joey’s goofiness, what made this show even better were the comical ways in which the sisters never left a single chance to mess with each other. DJ and Stephanie’s arguments on the most random issues being complimented with baby Michelle’s priceless reactions were served like an icing on top of the cake.

Michelle Tanner, the youngest, funniest and cutest of the three siblings in Full House.

Image credits: www.cdn3.teen.com or www.lovelace-media.imqix.net

3. That 70s Show (1998-2006)

Set in the spirit of 1970s- the decade of love and rock ‘n’ roll, this is one show that dials up every possible level of craziness and gets you fixated on the most ridiculously flawed group of teenagers after only one episode. The major plot revolves around Eric Forman, a typical geek with a forever-confused look, born to Red and Kitty Forman, a father who lived for the joy of his son’s embarrassment and a vivaciously cool mother whose wittiness was incomparable to that of any teenager.

With Eric’s consistent chaos with his sensible girlfriend, Donna and the pretty rich brat, Jackie’s clash of views with her incredibly dim-witted boyfriend, Kelso, were the two relationships which formed the foundation of a never-ending amusement. Fez, a young ambiguous foreigner and Hyde, the indifferent sarcastic king of the group further completes their entire entertainment package with a kick. The influence of the gang remains as strong as it ever was as I still find myself grooving to their title song, nodding my head along with them and singing its lyrics; and finding a comfort like no other.

(Currently being aired from Monday-Friday at 8:30 pm on FX)

‘Cheap Trick In The Street’- the theme song of That 70’s Show. Caution: Highly Addictive. Listen at your own risk.

Image credits: www.8smash.com

4. Seinfeld (1989-1998)

All those who’re aware of this show know exactly just how amazing it is to reminisce some of its best moments with another Seinfeld fan/s, especially since one gets to live such moments quite rarely. Being aired only for a brief period of time in India and then rerun with a couple of episodes few years back was not enough to do the show justice. While the trend of the 80’s fashion or payphones may have been outdated, the jokes certainly haven’t.

Be it Elaine’s goofball complexity and quirky attitude towards life or George’s hilariously adorable “paranoid, totally inadequate, completely insecure” character’s relatability, Kramer’s epic entries, wackiest expressions and static hairdo to Jerry’s alluring charisma, everything in the show just blended perfectly well together. Like every true Seinfeld fan, I would have to say, “That’s gold, Jerry! Gold!” and so it shall always remain, with all the present sitcoms in comparison to it being simply “Yada Yada Yada…”

Seinfield’s Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer- the coolest group of friends television has ever witnessed.

Image credits: www.img.buzzfeed.com

5. The Simpsons (1989-2016)

The very fact that a show of the 90s has been able to garner such an endless amount of love and appreciation that its story continues till date, reaching a peak of 27 seasons is more than enough to mark its appeal in the world. Set in the town of Springfield, the Simpsons are an exceptional, one-of-a-kind family that every child wished to be a part of. The humorous affairs mostly concentrate on the lives of Homer Simpson’s atypical anti-father/husband figure running on the ambition of unproductive-ness, endless donuts and laziness, his wife Marge, an ideal housewife and a caring mother who tries her best to keep her family as remotely sane as possible with their three kids- Bart, the impulsive troublemaker, Lisa, the vegan, smarty-pants and Maggie, an infant of the family.

Over the years, after having witnessed a plethora of animated shows, it has been proved that none of them have been able to come anywhere close to this pure comedic brilliance of animation and achieve the replacement of a family as dysfunctional and idyllic as the Simpsons.

Homer and his wife, Marge Simpson- the most EPIC couple of the animated world of television.

Image credits: www.i.imgur.com

I sometimes wonder how life would have been had these shows never been produced. Well, certainly not the greatest one, that’s for sure. If only I could go back in time and watch each one of them all over again, for the very first time, I would. So while these sitcoms continue to remain close to my heart, I’d suggest those who have never watched some of them (or any, God Forbid!) to take out some time in these holidays and experience the nostalgia of 1990s along with happiness and laughter on a whole new dimension.

Happy Holidays!

Shagun Marwah

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