Scroll To Top
Women

5 Times Friends Was the Best Lesbian Show On TV

5 Times Friends Was the Best Lesbian Show On TV

5 Times Friends Was the Best Lesbian Show On TV

As Friends celebrates its 20th anniversary we remember those times it was lesbian when nothing else was.

TracyEGilchrist

Back before shows like Orange Is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, Faking It and even The L Word, LGBT women took whatever crumbs of representation we could from pop culture, and one place we could get it was on a little juggernaut of a sitcom set in the Village (aka Warner Bros. studios) circa 1994. This week Friends celebrated the 20th anniversary since its premiere, and as devotees of the massively popular series, we felt an homage was in order.

At its inception, Friends promised “I’ll be there for you,” and it was, beginning with the introduction in the pilot of Ross’s ex Carol and her new girlfriend Susan. Over Friends’ 10-year run Carol and Susan occupied an important space on the series as recurring characters who were a solid, well-rounded lesbian couple raising a child. The humor derived from their relationship was built solely around Ross’s insecurity over his wife leaving him for a woman. But none of the other friends ever blinked an eye at the same-sex couple. If the relationship in and of itself weren't enough, Friends completely broke ground when Carol (Jane Sibbett) and Susan’s (Jessica Hecht) wedding became the first lesbian wedding ever on a scripted show.

But it wasn’t just the Carol/Susan relationship that provided Friends’ lesbian-ish moments. Sure, the female leads, Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox), and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), were straight, and the show occasionally put them in the position of playing it queerish for the benefit of Joey’s and Chandler’s reactions. But let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want to see Rachel and Monica make out to wrest their apartment back from Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler (Matthew Perry)?

That said, here are the 5 Times Friends Was The Best Lesbian Show On TV. 

5) The One With Rachel and Monica Making Out – But We Don’t Get To See It

Rachel and Monica lose their killer apartment to Joey and Chandler in a bet, so they’re stuck with the ugly “boys’” apartment until they can figure out a way to get their place back. After several failed attempts at re-entry to their apartment, the girls come up with a fool-proof plan -- make out for one minute for Joey and Chandler. Back then, we all wanted to see that make-out session, even if it was completely utilitarian. 

 

4) The One With The Girls Fantasizing About Being With Strippers 

Ross and Joey were too busy to help Chandler get through stage 3 of his breakup with Cathy (Paget Brewster). Stage 3 being when he gets out of the sweats, heads to the strip club, and eventually pictures himself with the strippers. Luckily, Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe stepped in. Not only did they take him to the strip club, but their fantasizing about which stripper they would chose if they were gay, got Chandler to the next phase --sort of. Oh, Chantal. 

 

3) The One With Phoebe Picking Rachel Over Monica 

Phoebe walks in on Monica and Rachel flipping through a Playboy and joins in on the fun. But it gets ugly when super-competitive Monica asks who the the girls would pick if they were to sleep with a woman. 

2) The One With Winona Ryder, Rachel, The Kiss, and Their Coconuts Banging Together

One of the all-time funniest Friends episodes, Winona Ryder guests as Rachel's former sorority sister with whom Rachel had indulged in a drunken make-out session on luau night. Ryder's prissy character pretends she doesn't remember that the two shared kisses while their coconut bras knocked together, until Rachel plants one on her. Never one to stand by and just watch as things unfold, Phoebe gets in on the act. 

 

1) The One With the Lesbian Wedding, Big Boo, and Newt Gingrich's Half Sister 

20 years ago Friends' lesbian wedding was destination TV. Queer women, and the rest of the country gathered around the television to watch something they'd never seen. Ross steps in to walk Carol down the aisle when her parents refuse to support her wedding to Susan, meanwhile, out lesbians Lea DeLaria, Candace Gingrich, and Georgia Ragsdale have cameos at the reception. Carol and Susan's wedding was so groundbreaking that it pre-dated Ellen DeGeneres's coming out on her sitcom. Even if the vintage wedding gowns seem overdone today, this was absolutely the best lesbian TV that had happened up to that time. 

Advocate Channel - HuluOut / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.