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Friends Quotes That Haven't Aged Well

There's no doubt that "Friends" is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. While it was on the air, from 1994 to 2004, it maintained high ratings and was lauded by critics. With the help of streaming services, the show has only maintained its popularity over the years — if it's not even more popular than it was in the '90s. The series follows the personal and professional lives of six friends living in New York City — Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Ross (David Schwimmer) — and gave viewers ten seasons of antics, misunderstandings and memorable moments to laugh out loud about.

All that being said, "Friends" premiered its pilot episode nearly three decades ago — and even the series finale is now 17 years old — so, naturally, some of the content hasn't exactly aged well. From a main cast that excludes any people of color to an array of jokes that utilize gender stereotypes, there's a lot to be critical about when rewatching episodes through a present day lens.

But, what exactly are the quotes that really make viewers cringe because they're so outdated? Read on to find out the "Friends" quotes we think have aged the worst.

Dude, they're not objects ... Just kidding!

Joey is the resident ladies' man of the friends — in fact, much of his characterization hinges on the fact that he enjoys dating around and sees most women as potential conquests — excluding Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe, although that doesn't exactly stop him from hitting on them from time to time.

One of the lines that really drives home just how Joey views women comes in the Season 6 episode "The One Where Ross Got High," in which Joey and Ross are trying to speed up Thanksgiving at Monica's so that they can join a get together with a group of dancers, including Joey's current roommate Janine (Elle Macpherson). When Ross makes a comment about joining the dancers by euphemistically saying that they "still get to go to sweet potato pie," Joey sternly responds, "Dude, they're not objects."

Even Ross is taken aback, as it's completely out of character for Joey to defend women. But then, Joey grins and says, "Just kidding!" It's a blatant reminder of Joey's lack of respect for women — and Ross's too, as he is relieved when Joey is kidding. Essentially, even Joey will admit to treating women like "objects" up to the point that him pretending to defend them is an effective joke to make in front of his friend. It's not a good look for Joey, despite the fact that it's an essential part of his character.

What's my boy doing with a barbie?

Most fans would agree that Ross, as a character, hasn't exactly aged well, for a number of different reasons. One of those is his aggressive insistence on gender stereotypes — an example of this on display is in the Season 3 episode, "The One with the Metaphorical Tunnel." In the episode, Carol (Anita Louise Barone) and Susan (Jessica Hecht) drop by Monica's apartment to drop off Ben — who happens to be holding a Barbie doll that he likes playing with. Ross, as soon as he sees the doll, turns to Carol and Susan accusingly and says, "What's my boy doing with a Barbie?"

Carol calmly explains that Ben picked it out at the toy store and has been enjoying playing with it. Still uncomfortable, Ross tells Carol and Susan he's fine with it if they are, but as soon as they leave he's demanding Ben to give up the Barbie and tries to tempt him with a monster truck, a "dino soldier" and, later, G.I. Joe. Clearly, Ross is fine with Ben playing with a doll, such as G.I. Joe, as long as it's traditionally considered a "boy's toy" — a mindset that is now quite dated and problematic.

In the end, Ben has attached to the G.I. Joe when Carol and Susan come to pick him up — but we never see Ben switch, leaving the question of exactly how forceful Ross was in getting him to give up the Barbie.

Are you gay?

In the Season 9 episode, "The One with the Male Nanny," Ross and Rachel are on the hunt for a nanny for their daughter Emma, as Rachel is preparing to go back to work. After interviewing a few under qualified applicants, Sandy (Freddie Prinze Jr.) shows up. Sandy has a degree in early childhood education and a stellar work history — but, much to Ross's chagrin, Sandy is a man.

After Sandy says he understands that having to leave your child to go to work is like "leaving behind a piece of your heart," Rachel agrees, but Ross replies, "Are you gay?"

Nowadays, it's obvious how offensive the question is — not only does it equate being gay to being feminine, it further implies that only women can be emotional about leaving their child. In the end, Ross has such a hard time with the fact that Sandy is a male nanny — another instance of Ross problematically pushing gender stereotypes — that they end up firing him. When Sandy asks why Ross has such a problem with it, we find out that Ross has some childhood trauma from his father making comments about him not being manly enough in his interests. Clearly, like with the Barbie incident, Ross is projecting from his own insecurities, but it doesn't excuse his behavior.

Two guys in one night? Wow.

It's not just the men of "Friends" who say some questionable things. In a Season 10 episode, "The One Where the Stripper Cries," Monica makes a not-so-great comment about Rachel's dating habits.

In the episode, Ross finds out that Chandler once kissed Rachel at a college party when she and Monica were visiting Ross at school. After Chandler argues that it happened so long ago that it no longer matters, Ross angrily explains that it does because it was the same night that Ross also shared his first kiss with Rachel. After hearing this, Monica retorts, "Two guys in one night? Wow, I thought she became a sl*t after she got her nose fixed."

Essentially, referring any woman a "sl*t" is uncalled for, as women shouldn't be shamed for the choices they make when it comes to sex, but it's especially harmful when it comes from your best friend, as Monica is to Rachel. It's also not the first time that Monica has made comments about Rachel sleeping around — in another episode, Rachel makes a comment about how she doesn't sleep with guys on the first date and Monica gives her a skeptical look and then begins to name several men that Rachel did sleep with on the first date. Comments like these likely wouldn't slide in a modern, more sex-postive setting.

Don't you have a little too much penis to be wearing a dress like that?

By far, one of the elements of the writing that aged the most poorly is the treatment of Chandler's dad Charles. In the earlier seasons, Chandler tells stories about how his gay dad cheated on his mom with the pool boy before the divorce, then went on to star in a gay stage show in Vegas. Then, when we finally see Charles, it's revealed that Charles works as a drag performer. But when Charles shows up to the wedding still in drag, it brings up the question of if Charles is actually transgender — despite the masculine pronouns being used. To make matters worse, the part is played by a cisgender woman, Kathleen Turner (in what it supposed to make the "funny" situation of Chandler having a trans — or dressed in drag — parent even funnier).

In the Season 7 episode, "The One with Monica & Chandler's Wedding Part 1," Charles asks Chandler's mother, Nora (Morgan Fairchild), "Aren't you a little old to be wearing a dress like that?" And Nora responds, "Don't you have a little too much penis to be wearing a dress like that?" It's undeniably a transphobic comment, one that is still extremely offensive to Charles despite the ambiguity over whether the character is trans or dresses in drag.

In recent years, Turner has stated she would not accept the role today and co-creator Marta Kaufman expressed regret over the treatment of Charles in an interview with USA Today. Kaufman, also refers to Charles as "transgender" in the interview, making the treatment of the character — including this offensive line and the use of he/him pronouns — arguably worse.

Rachel calls Erin a "tramp"

In Season 7, "The One with Ross's Library Book," as Joey leaves the apartment in the morning, he lets Rachel know that the woman he slept with the night before, Erin (Kristin Davis) is still in the apartment. Then, he even asks Rachel to mention to Erin that he doesn't want anything serious, but Rachel refuses and calls him a "pig."

When Rachel and Phoebe take a liking to Erin, they encourage Joey to pursue something more serious with her and, at first reluctant, Joey agrees and soon realizes he really likes her. Erin, however, admits that she doesn't have a "real spark" with Joey and wants to break it off. Phoebe then says, "No spark? Didn't you sleep together?" to which Erin admits that she did. Phoebe's comment is already bad enough; Erin didn't do anything wrong by sleeping with Joey despite not seeing a future with him — Joey does this all the time. Then, Rachel makes the situation even worse when she calls Erin a "tramp." Rachel says it as she looks away, so it's unclear if Erin was meant to hear it or not.

Regardless, Rachel and Phoebe are perpetuating double standards by making derogatory comments about Erin for doing the exact same thing that Joey does all the time. Rachel having called Joey a "pig" earlier in the episode doesn't make up for the fact that she and Phoebe judge Erin for sleeping with Joey then dumping him soon after.

Hi, bubbles. Manly.

In the Season 8 episode, "The One Where Chandler Takes a Bath," Chandler realizes how much he enjoys taking bubble baths, despite his initial reluctance because he associated the activity with women. Monica manages to quell Chandler's hesitance by telling him she got him a toy boat to put in the bath with him to make it "a boy bath."

Phoebe, however, isn't hesitant to make fun of Chandler taking a bath. At the end of the episode, Chandler is in the bathtub with Monica standing in the bathroom as well, when Phoebe shows up. Phoebe, hearing them in the bathroom, walks in (despite Chandler's objection), and when Phoebe sees Chandler, she sarcastically says, "Hi, bubbles. Manly."

The line points to the show's larger issue of using gender stereotypes for laughs. Up until that point, the implication was that Chandler's shyness about being a man who likes baths was just unjustified insecurity — really, who cares if a man likes baths? Even with Monica's "boy bath" comment, it was clear she was just humoring him so that he could enjoy his bath in peace. When Phoebe makes her comment, the show is justifying Chandler's fear — in other words, "Friends" is telling viewers that men shouldn't like baths and, if they do, they're making themselves fodder for jokes.

Some girl ate Monica!

Another big issue that's ongoing amongst "Friends" is their frequent use of fatphobic comments — specifically, about Monica, who used to be a lot heavier than she is in the present day of the series. The first and one of the most egregious comments comes in the Season 2 episode "The One with the Prom Video."

In this episode, the friends sit together to watch a home video from the night of Monica and Rachel's prom — and Joey sees for the first time that Monica used to be fat. And what exactly is his reaction? He points at the television, eyes wide, and says, "Some girl ate Monica!" It's a tasteless comment toward fat people — and toward his friend, who is sitting right near him — that has definitely not gotten any better with age.

There were countless fat jokes throughout the show's run, and this one starts the not-so-great trend.

My god, what did she eat? Her family?

Just because Monica is the one who used to be fat doesn't mean she doesn't partake in her own fatphobic jokes, such as in the Season 7 episode "The One with the Nap Partners."

Monica finds out that Chandler once broke up with his camp girlfriend because she had gained a lot of weight in between summers. At first, Monica is horrified that Chandler did that to someone, even bringing up her own insecurities about Chandler only being able to fall in love with her because she lost all that weight, and encourages Chandler to apologize. Then, Monica asks how much weight the ex-girlfriend gained anyway and Chandler says, "145 pounds." To that, Monica responds, "In one year? My god, what did she eat? Her family?"

It's another straightforward fatphobic comment, but, arguably, made even worse by the fact that it's coming from Monica. Monica spends the entire episode defending the woman who gained weight, just to judge her when the weight gained turns out to be more than she expected.

I like the way you look. What are you?

In Season 10's "The One with Ross' Tan," Ross decides to get a spray-on tan after seeing how good Monica's tan looks. While at the tanning salon, the employee explains that Ross needs to choose between three tanning levels, 1 being the lightest and 3 being the darkest. The employee asks, "How dark do you want to be?"

Ross, looking at the employee, says, "Well, I like the way you look. What are you?" To which the employee quickly — and without humor — replies, "Puerto Rican." Ross, then uncomfortable, blurts out that he'd like a level two. The present day viewer, too, feels quite uncomfortable at Ross's question.

The exchange really highlights how few characters of color there are in the show — to the point that an ignorant Ross can't even tell the difference between a spray-on tan and the natural skin tone of a nonwhite person.

Boy scouts could've camped under there.

In the Season 1 episode, "The One with a Dozen Lasagnas," while Phoebe is at work, Rachel's boyfriend at the time, the Italian who barely speaks any English, Paolo (Cosimo Massimo Fusco), comes in for a massage. When she recounts this to the friends (minus Rachel) later, she reveals that, while she was massaging him, he grabbed her butt. Startled, she backed away, and then Paolo turned over onto his backside and Phoebe narrates, "And all of a sudden, his hands weren't the problem anymore." Monica asks, "Was it ... ?" And Phoebe responds, "Oh, boy scouts could've camped under there!"

It's a line that gets a lot of laughs from the in studio audience, despite the fact that it's making light of sexual harassment. Even though the friends are horrified by what happened, the whole thing is framed as Paolo "[making] a move" on Phoebe, as Phoebe herself describes it, and not as someone harassing a masseuse with unwanted advances while she's just doing her job. Phoebe even ends the conversation by saying that Rachel "is going to hate" her, as if the situation was really just was Paolo showing interest instead of a much more serious issue (even though that wouldn't have been Phoebe's fault either).

We can imagine that, had this scene been written today, Paolo's actions would have been treated more seriously — and he wouldn't have ended up with a free lasagna from Monica.