Marta Kauffman is expressing her regrets. In a previous interview with the Los Angeles Times, the creator of Friends explained that she felt “guilty” about the lack of racial diversity in her successful sitcom and decided to make a donation of $4 million to establish a professorship in African and African American Studies.
And now, as reported by Variety, Kauffman has also expressed regret for the show’s consistent use of incorrect pronouns to refer to Chandler Bing’s transgender mother. In an interview with the BBC that is slated to be broadcast on July 11, she is quoted as saying, “Pronouns were not yet something that I understood.” “Consequently, we never referred to that character as a “woman.”
That was a mistake of judgment.
The figure in question was described in Friends as Chandler’s father, a gay man, and a drag performer by the name of Helena Handbasket. She was frequently the punchline, and Kathleen Turner brought her to life on screen.
They asked me, “Would you like to be the first woman playing a guy playing a woman?” when they approached me about it. “Would you like to be the first woman playing a man playing a woman?” In an interview with the Gay Times in 2018, Turner noted that she didn’t think Friends “aged well” in terms of the portrayal of LGBTQ+ rights in the show.
When considering the situation in retrospect, Turner, like Kauffman, likely would have chosen differently. She told Andy Cohen in 2019 that she would turn down the part if it was offered to her again “because there would be actual people able to execute it.”