Like most people in my age bracket I spent many Thursday’s watching Friends in my late 20’s early 30’s. I recently became aware, upon watching re-runs it was not the family friendly show I had imagined it to be. Perhaps that’s the perspective having kids will give you, or perhaps it is age (maybe both). I was watching an episode at lunch, an early first season episode. It was the one where Ross goes to the doctor with his ex-wife Carol (before they switched actresses) for an ultrasound. I believe it may be the first time we actually meet Carol’s new significant other, Susan.
I remember thinking in the past that Susan was unreasonably mean to Ross. It would make sense for Ross to be uncomfortable around her. If it were a man Carol was dating no one would expect him to get along with this other guy great at this stage. But for some reason Ross is supposed to just not care. As I think about it, Susan is just a bad person.
The thing that got me in watching the re-run was that Carol planned on having a hyphenated last name for the baby she’s carrying (the one she and Ross created). But that was her and Susan’s last name. Geller was nowhere in the mix. Susan acts outraged that Ross wants his child to have his last name. She yells, “It’s my baby too!”
Except it’s not, and they never deal with that reality.
When Ross says that there was none of Susan’s sperm in there she even ridicules his contribution by saying “We all know how hard that is” in reference to making sperm. Again I have to go back to the, what if Susan was a man scenario. No one would think it was Carol’s new boyfriend’s child as well. Would he be a part of that child’s life? Potentially, but it wouldn’t be his child. Let’s not forget this is very early in Carol and Susan’s relationship. Who knows how long they would be together? And Carol is giving Ross’s child her new girlfriend’s name. How self-absorbed are these people?
I recently read a good book by Ben Shapiro called Primetime Propaganda. Perhaps, that’s where my perspective comes from here but I think all that was intentional. Of all the characters there were only two consistent relationships, Ross and Monica’s parents and Carol and Susan. The other characters walked in and out of relationships over the 10 year run. Susan and Carol were the ones in a committed, long term relationship. They were the ones with rights to Ross’s and Carol’s baby. I don’t think this was unintentional. I think that this was an attempt to project a particular view of what people in homosexual relationships were like. How they should be viewed. It was a concerted effort to push the culture in a more liberal direction.
They were pushing this world view on us back then and I didn’t even notice.