Analysis of TV series Friends

Topics: Gender role, Gender, Role Pages: 5 (1738 words) Published: March 4, 2014

Friends the TV series.
Teacher: Julien Fournier
387-302-HR s. 00001
Heritage College
May 3rd, 2013
By: Tayler C

TV is a very popular source of entertainment meaning allot of people are watching and absorbing everything that is being said and done. Mass media has a huge impact on the way people perceive certain people, situations, etc. especially when it is coming from a show loved by many. The TV series Friends premiered on September 22nd in 1994 and became an extremely successful sitcom that lasted 10 years ending in January of 2004. Friends is a sitcom that involved the lives of 6 friends that lived in New York City. Throughout the seasons the viewers were able to see each character’s lives develop, and see the everyday struggles they come across, whether it is relationship problems, marriage problems, or the everyday random issue. Each character had specific qualities that made the viewers fall in love with all the characters in different ways. This sitcom had a huge fan base of people of all ages and is still popular 9 years later meaning that it has a significant influence on many and not always in the best way. The TV series reinforces stereotypes and gender roles through the characters.

David Crane and Marta Kauffman created the series Friends. When they decided to develop a TV series they were inspired by their own lives. They thought back to the time when they had just finished college and began to live on their own in New York City. The time that they spent living in New York City is when they were trying to find a career that they were passionate about to start their lives, and at the same time attempt to balance a relationship. Finding careers while dating, and handling everyday issues seemed like a good concept for the show. They thought it was such a simple idea that so many could relate to that it would eventually progress into something big. Although Friends2

Friends did become big it was not always as popular. At First the reception of the critics started off to be a very harsh evaluation. Later as the show continued it did progress to more positive reviews which eventually ended up in ranking the best sitcom of its time therefore playing a hug role in influencing many. Throughout the series the scenarios and characters at times reinforced stereotypes and gender roles without the viewer’s recognition. The comedy in the show displays the gender roles and stereotypes in a lighter sense without directly offending anyone which makes the viewers unaware of the influence it is having on them.

Friends reinforces gender roles mainly through the characters of Joey, Chandler and Ross. Gender roles are cultural and personal, they determine how males and females should think, speak, dress, and interact within the context of society. Each character is put through several situations where their reactions reinforce a certain gender role influencing viewers to think that is how a male or female should be/act. John Sloop the author of the SAGE handbook of gender and communication demonstrates how the characters reinforce gender roles by acknowledging the episode titled “The one with the baby on the bus”. The episode involved Joey and Chandler being mistaken for a homosexual couple because they are seen together with a child. When they are approached as a homosexual couple it is noticeable that they are both offended by the comment. The offence they take to the comment is noticeable due to them both rambling on about how they are straight of course, reassuring the person that they are in fact heterosexual. The way they ramble on shows that their ego was hurt in fact they acted as Friends3

if a piece of their masculinity has been taken away. Their reaction in this episode gives viewers the idea that being homosexual makes you less of a male which is far from the truth, but because this is how popular celebrities are reacting it is...

Cited: Galvin, M. & Dow, B. J., (Eds). (2006). The SAGE handbook of gender and communication. Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Garcia-Munoz., & Fedele, M. (2011). The Teen Series and the Young Target. Gender Stereotypes In Television Fiction Targeted to Teenager. Observatorio (OBS), 5(1), 215-226.
Macmillan Dictionary. (2001). Dumb Blonde. In Dictionary. Retrieved April 11, 2013, from
Signorielle, N., & Lears, M. (1991). Children, television, and conceptions about chores: Attitudes and behaviours. Sex Roles, 27(3), 157-170
Sloop, M.& Wood, J.T (Eds). (2006). The SAGE handbook of gender and communication. Sage Publications, Incorporated.
Villani, S (2001). Impact of media on children and adolescents: a 10-year review of the research. Journal-American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(4), 392-401.
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