'Friends' Co-Creator Confesses Regret Over Show's Lack Of Diversity: "I Didn't Do Enough"
Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman has expressed her regrets about the lack of diverse characters on her popular TV show. Read her comments below...
Marta Kauffman is reflecting on the shortcomings of her hit '90s and early 2000s sitcom Friends.
Kauffman co-created Friends with David Crane and also served as an executive producer, writer, and casting director on the show.
But if she could do it over again, she'd make a point to address its problem with diversity. Across the show's 10 season run, its cast had only two prominent guest stars who were people of colour - Lauren Tom and Aisha Taylor, both of whom played characters who dated David Schwimmer's "Ross Geller."
Friends is streaming now on HBO Max
The beloved series is now streaming on HBO Max, where the show's much-discussed reunion special will also land sometime later this year or in 2021.
And while this streaming access has in recent years introduced Friends to new generations of fans, it's also reopened it to criticisms of representation and its lack of diversity.
Kauffman addressed this very topic during a recent ATX TV Festival virtual panel. "I wish I knew then what I know today," the now 63-year-old TV producer admitted tearfully.
Marta Kauffman wants to run her shows differently
Kauffman went on to share that she's been soul-searching to determine how to improve today and moving forward.
"We've always encouraged people of diversity in our company, but I didn't do enough. Now all I can think about is what can I do? What can I do differently? How can I run my show in a new way?
"That's something I wish I knew when I started showrunning," she explained, adding that she wished she knew that "all the way up through last year."
But some commentators, such as those with E!, were unsatisfied with her apology, noting that such complaints existed throughout the original run of Friends.
Today, Kauffman serves as showrunner on Netflix's Grace and Frankie.