There’s nothing worse than watching a TV show or a movie that you really loved 10 years ago, only to discover that nestled within its nostalgia is a bad-taste joke that would never fly in a 2019 world.
Similar to the Milkshake Duck phenomenon, it seems part and parcel that every beloved sitcom pre-2010 must be put under the same microscope.
Bustle has released a piece taking down 13 moments from the series’ nine-season run that would never make it past producers in a post-PC world.
Number one on the list is arguably the most famous joke from the whole show, the Soup Nazi. Writer Angelica Florio reasons that because a bunch of scumbags are trying to make Neo-Nazi’s a thing in 2019, it’s not right for a show that premiered almost 30 years ago to use to the term as a punchline.
To be honest, having to hear countless people do their terrible “NO SOUP FOR YOU” impression is much more of a plague on society than that joke is.
Florio’s other gripes range from a running joke where Jerry and George are mistaken for a couple to Jerry accidentally getting someone deported.
Most of them are legitimately concerning and you wouldn’t catch any themes of the such in modern sitcoms but it begs the question; what are the purpose of these retroactive takedowns?
Is it to try and financially harm creators? ‘Cause Jerry Seinfeld has more money than God and this is after starring in a movie where a bee is alluded to be in a relationship with a human woman.
Is it to try and point out how blind past shows were? ‘Cause people already know. Seinfeld concluded that some of the material in the show is offensive and that it would never work today.
Steve Carrell, breakout star of the US version of The Office – another show that doesn’t fare well in present culture – also admitted that it would be a flop today saying, “There’s a very high awareness of offensive things today — which is good, for sure but at the same time, when you take a character like that too literally, it doesn’t really work.”
Is it to shame people into not watching these shows? ‘Cause, personally, my favourite show of all time is Scrubs and due to its time, some of the jokes have aged horribly. It hasn’t stopped me re-watching the whole series every year – I just do it with a cringe every time something is bad. Fans are resilient like that.
We get it, culture is changing rapidly for the better of all people and this means that pop culture that we once loved can often contort into offensive material. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to guilt people into loving it any less.
So watch Friends, watch Seinfeld, watch The Office, view them with perspective as a product of their time…and after maybe watch an episode of Atlanta or Insecure to remind yourself what fantastic, inclusive television is coming out today.