‘Friends’ creator regrets mistaking Chandler’s trans mother

Martha Kaufman

Marta Kauffman, co-creator of Friends, not only sorry for the lack of diversity in the casthe also feels bad about the show’s portrayal of a transgender character.

In a clip from Kauffman’s upcoming interview on the conversation on the BBC World Serviceremembered the election to refer to the transgender mother Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) as his “dad.”

“Pronouns weren’t something I understood yet,” Kauffman admitted. “So we don’t refer to that character as ‘her.’ That was a mistake.'”

Portrayed by Kathleen Turner, Chandler’s trans mother, Amanda Bing, appeared in several episodes of “Friends,” including “The One with Monica and Chandler’s Wedding, Part 1.”

“Friends” co-creator Marta Kauffman also created Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie.”
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Kathleen Turner in "Friends"
Kathleen Turner played Amanda Bing on “Friends.”
©Warner Bros./Courtesy of Everett C

In 2019, Turner said on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” that she wouldn’t take the role today “because there would be real people capable of doing [the role].”

Kauffman, who also created Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie”, told the BBC how he has changed his sets to be more inclusive.

“I really like creating an environment where we have a happy set and a happy crew. For me it is very important that we are in a safe place, a tolerant place, where there is no yelling. I fired a guy on the spot for making a joke about a trans cameraman. That just can’t happen,” she said.

Martha Kaufman
Marta Kauffman apologized for the show’s lack of diversity. Above, Turner as Amanda Bing and Perry as Chandler Bing.
©Warner Bros./Courtesy of Everett C

“Friends” has been for a long time criticized for its lack of diversity. The popular show, which ran from 1994 to 2004, features a group of six straight white best friends living in Greenwich Village, a famous gay neighborhood in New York, a historically diverse city.

Recently, Kauffman finally admitted the show’s flaws andd pledged $4 million to his alma materBrandeis University, to fund a chair in the school’s African and African American studies department, one of the oldest in the country.

Kauffman’s full interview with the BBC airs on July 11.

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Written by Editor TLN

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