Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NO ONE TOLD ME LIFE WAS GOING TO BE THIS WAY:  So, Lucy's back from two weeks of sleepaway camp and insisting that lots of her peers -- both there and from school -- are marathoning Friends now.  Should I be worried, or is all the innuendo going to go over her head?  (And what about the retrograde homophobia?)

Of course, when I was that age, I was watching Three's Company and Cheers, and I survived, so ...


  1. Adam C.10:41 AM

    Definitely want to hear from folks who've watched more recently than I (as in, since the original run), but my recollection is that even the abundant innuendo is subordinate to the outright frank discussions. We've got another 12 days til we pick up the imminently 14-y.o., so it'll be interesting to hear what her camp peers have impressed upon her. Right now, she's pretty much all about Doctor Who and Bob's Burgers, both of which play on multiple levels, but she's ready for edgier stuff. Hell, I'm positive she's read much edgier stuff than her current TV faves.

  2. I wouldn't worry about "retrograde homophobia" wrt Friends, because Friends isn't homophobic. I've seen this complaint/accusation about Friends elsewhere, but I just don't see it in the show myself. The show had a LESBIAN WEDDING in its second season, for goodness sake.

    An episode people often refer to when discussing Friends' alleged homophobia is the one where Chandler's female coworker thinks he's gay. (Note: that's not the episode title.) But the casualness with which the friends discuss whether or not Chandler has a "quality" qualifies more as acceptance of gayness than anything else. And Chandler's confused response - "He's a he?" - is nowhere near homophobia or gay panic.

    (This could lead naturally into an interesting - but potentially angering - discussion of how people discuss current stand-up comedy: Seinfeld's "colleges are too PC", recent "Amy Schumer's a racist" pieces, etc. I will just say that, wrt Friends, just because a show makes gay jokes doesn't make the jokes, or the show, homophobic.)

    (Apparently, I have THOUGHTS about this.)

    The innuendo might be more troublesome - "Looks like HE'S the one getting the job" is but one of many classic examples - but I'll leave that to others with similarly aged kids to worry about that one.

  3. AndreaJ11:43 AM

    I will admit this is one area of parenting where I am rather lax. Both my 12 and 8 year old watch Friends, usually because I have it on all the time in the late afternoons on TBS. Most innuendos go over their heads. We watch Modern Family as a family and the 8-year-old has questions about Cam & Mitch that we answer and then kind of move on, no big deal. Taking a look at the 1984-85 TV schedule, when I would have been 12 going on 13 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984%E2%80%9385_United_States_network_television_schedule), my sisters and I (one older, one younger), watched all of the nighttime soaps (Dallas, Dynasty, Hotel, etc) and I remember watching shows like Newhart, Magnum, and Hill St. Blues together as a family. I think we all turned out okay! My vote - let her watch Friends!

  4. Watts1:13 PM

    It's funny you mention "Three's Company" - it was forbidden in my house for being too raunchy. As was "The Golden Girls." However, we watched "Night Court" as a family. Inconsistency FTW.

  5. Adam C.1:23 PM

    Right - how is Dan Fielding < Jack Tripper on the creepy ogler scale?

  6. Watts1:29 PM

    I know, right? Although Dan Fielding gave us the motto Father instilled in us all through childhood, "Suck up or die."

  7. There is so much outright goofiness in this show that it's easy to forget how dark it is, and I think kids take away what they can handle.

  8. Genevieve3:37 PM

    It's a lot less graphic in its innuendos than stuff 14/15s are watching (e.g. How I Met Your Mother). I would bet some of the innuendo will go over her head and the milder things won't, and anything that doesn't may lead to a conversation with you.
    At that age I was also watching Three's Company and Dallas and such.
    I'd let her watch it.

  9. christy in nyc10:37 PM

    The Golden Girls was my absolute #1 favorite show when I was in the 4-11 range. Then I was forbidden to watch Ren and Stimpy when I was in the 10-13 range. THEN I was left alone with Showtime in my room from age 15 or so. Parents, man. Who knows.

    I would probably sound downright insane if I really got into how much I feel I've gained in life from having binged 70s sitcoms as a tween in the 90s. For me tweendom was the perfect time to get to know 20 years ago via mainstream culture. (I also had a stack of crumbly old MAD Magazines, but mostly it was all about the TV). Honestly, the dumb gay jokes? To a smart kid? It'll probably only make the show seem hella old.

  10. Marsha3:12 PM

    I watched the full run of Soap with my father starting when I was about 8. Didn't hurt me none. I missed a whole lot of the content, I'm sure.

    I can't imagine what there is to be worried about in letting her watch Friends so long as you keep the lines of communication open on anything she might want to discuss.

  11. My 8 and 9yo both watched the series with me earlier this year. Honestly, most of the innuendos went over their heads. Certainly, at their age, I was watching Three's Company, Dallas, MASH and probably even worse, the NEWS.