21 What-ifs: This Would Happen If Friends Was Set In Mexico City 

Friends is a synonym of New York. The streets, smells and slang of the Big Apple transpire in almost every scene of the show. However, one of the big missteps of the Warner Bros. sitcom was its lack of diversity: few non-white characters were given major roles, and New York seemed to be as white as a glass of milk.

In the spirit of diversity and trying to let our imagination run wild, here’s 21 what-ifs… Imagine Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, Phoebe and Rachel actually lived in Mexico City, a metropolis as richly complex as New York. If the famous amigos were chilangos (slang for Mexico City dwellers) their lives would be a tad spicier and a bit more chaotic.

Venga, pues!

1. Joey would be a struggling telenovela actor

Credit: Friends. Warner Bros.

Part of Joey’s charm has to do with his constant failures as a thespian. In Mexico City he would get minor roles in period telenovelas and would have to wear ridiculous costumes and talk in old-fashioned Spanish. She would also receive a cachetada or two.

2. Phoebe would open a trendy spa in La Condesa: “El gato apestoso”

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.

“El gato apestoso” means “smelly cat”. If you are fans of the show you get the reference. Phoebe would be an esoteric guru in trendy La Condesa, a gentrified hood full of hipsters and lovers of all things organic.

3. And she would live in Coyoacán

Credit: 168119-Coyoacan. Digital image. Expedia

But Phoebe would not live in La Condesa, but in the hippie central of Coyoacan, the home of Frida Kahlo and El Hijo del Cuervo, a bohemian bar where we can totally picture her singing a tune.

4. Ross would teach at the UNAM

Credit: UNAM-mexico-city. Digital image. Tellanto

The Universidad Nacional is the oldest university in the continent and home of the country’s brightest minds. Dr Ross Geller would certainly lecture here. His students would think he is a snob, un fresa.

5. And he would have grown up in Satélite

Credit: images.jpg. Digital image. Fuerza Mexico.

This suburb has a personality of its own and its inhabitants, satelucos, often deny actually being chilangos. The Gellers would be one of the oldest families in this area north of the city, once sold as suburban paradise.

6. Monica would end up working at Pujol (one of the best restaurants in the world)

Credit: download. Digital image. Gourmadela.

Mexico City has a buoyant culinary scene. Monica would work her way up and end up working at chef Enrique Olvera’s Pujol, which is often voted as one of the top 15 restaurants in the planet. Tacos never looked so good.

7. Chandler would take Monica rowing to the Chapultepec Lake

Credit: lago-de-chapultepec. Digital image. TripAdvisor.

Rowing in this greenish lake smack in the middle of the city is a common date. It is a bit kitschy, but so is Chandler. We can imagine them tripping into the water and Monica getting a horrible allergy and ending up in hospital. Pinche Chandler!

8. Ross and Rachel would have a hot date at the top of the Torre Latinoamericana

Credit: torre-latino-cdmx-dos. Digital image. Mexico Desconocido.

This is one of the first high rises in the city, and Ross and Rachel could have a Sleepless in Seattle moment watching the endless sea of lights flickering below them. Ay, cositos! 

9. “The one where Little Ben would get lost in Perisur”

Credit: Friends. Warner Bros.

Perisur is one of the biggest malls in the South of the city, El Sur. Rachel would babysit little Ben and lose him while window shopping and daydreaming of haute couture. He would be saved by a heroic abuelita.

10. Joey’s flirting phrase would be “Qué transa, chiquita?”

Credit: Friends. Warner Bros.

TBH Joey is a bit creepy and sleazy. His catchphrase in Spanish would sound even stickier than his famous “How you doin?”. He would rightfully get slapped a time or two.

11. Rachel would work at the Palacio de Hierro in trendy Polanco

Credit: download (2). Digital image. Sordo Madaleno Arquitecto

After cancelling her wedding Rachel would work as a waiter for years and they find her dream job as a personal shopper for fresa ladies from Las Lomas and Polanco in this superfancy department store.

12. Joey and Chandler would go to Teotihuacán to try to hook-up with gringuitas

Credit: Panoramic_view_of_Teotihuacan. Digital image. Wikipedia

This archeological site is just an hour out of Mexico City. Whenever both of them were single, the dynamic duo would try to flirt with American tourists in their broken English, pretending to know the history of ancient Mexico.

13. Central Perk would be a hipster cafe in La Roma: Delicia Central

Credit: coloniaroma. Digital image. Dinero en Imagen

La Colonia Roma is one of the most traditional neighborhoods in the city. It is full of amazing colonial architecture and recently has become home of all things hipster, organic and yummy. Central Perk would be Delicia Central, a homy yet sophisticated cafecito.

14. Gunther would be an Spanish chavaruco: Pierre

Credit: uELlY02. Digital image. Memes del Chavoruco.

One of the funniest secondary characters in the show is the manager at Central Perk. Instead of German he would be French and his name would be Pierre. He would be the epitome of the chavoruco: the stereotype of the man in his 40s or 50s who feels and acts like he is 20.

15. They would all get together on January 6 to eat Rosca de Reyes

Credit: Giphy. @iequezada

One of the most amazing traditions in Mexico is getting together on January 6 and sharing a delicious round, donut-shaped pastry with hidden plastic or ceramic (in the fancier versions) figurines of baby Jesus. Whoever gets it is obligated to buy tamales for everyone on the Day of the Candelaria, February 2.

16. And Joey would actually EAT baby Jesus to avoid buying everyone tamales

Credit: Friends. Warner Bros.

He is a voracious eater, so he wouldn’t just eat most of the rosca, he would also swallow Jesus because he is cheap.

17. They would ALL complain about the traffic

Credit: Trafico_Ciudad-1-e1513188266727-960×500. Digital image. Animal Politico.

Mexico City’s traffic was recently classified as the worst in the world, so many episodes would start with characters being grumpy, sweaty and uncomfortable after spending hours sitting in a hot car.

18. Phoebe would also open a vegan taco stand

Credit: tacos-veganos-de-jackfruit-e1494947848296. Digital image. Mercado Flotante.

Phoebe was ahead of her time. In the 1990s she was a weirdo, but today she would become a business mogul, particularly in trendy CDMX (Mexico City’s official name). She would open a taco stand and serve tacos al pastor made with jackfruit. Yum.

19. Joey, Chandler and Phoebe would be chairos 

CreditGiphy. @am85

Mexico City is the epicenter of a social division that has deepened in Mexico between the upper-middle and upper classes and basically everyone else. After the election of the leftist AMLO as president (he starts his mandate on December 1), his supporters were called chairos. Given Joey, Chandler and Phoebe’s more modest origins, and their support for social and gender justice, they would likely belong to this camp.

20. Monica, Ross and Rachel would be fifís

Credit: 1142_fifi_620x350. Digital image. SDP Noticias.

On the other hand, the other three are quite privileged, so chances are they would be sort of conservative and terrified of a left-leaning government. They would proudly be fifis, a term coined by AMLO.

21. They would all have maids, so Friends would have many more characters

Credit: Devious Maids. Lifetime.

Social dynamics are different in Mexico and it is common for even middle-class households to hire a domestic worker. The characters in Friends would most likely have some hired help, giving the scriptwriters endless possibilities to discuss class issues and add a joke or two.

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If You Had A Friend Speak To You The Way You Speak To Yourself


If You Had A Friend Speak To You The Way You Speak To Yourself

It’s a hard reality to face: the fact that we often treat our friends and spouses better than we do ourselves. After all, this might be because it’s a little bit easier. When we see our friends, we don’t necessarily always see the flaws. In fact, it’s easier to see how beautiful their flaws are and we shower them with compliments and praise about their appearances.

But what if our friends spoke to us the way we speak to ourselves.

See someone of the sweet replies to the question, below.

“Not long at all. In fact, I routinely remind myself to talk to myself like I would to a friend. We are our own worst critics.” –Irritabl

“That bit of advice really changed how I talk to myself when I’m alone. Like, if my best friend were telling me “well you probably aren’t good enough anyway. You should put more effort in to being prettier/being funnier/acting like [insert other person]” I’d be so, so hurt.

That kind of talk is nasty and not constructive! So don’t put up with it from anyone—including yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is constantly tearing you down, right?

And yes, it’s easier said than done. But the tricks that helped me curb the negative self-talk are:

  1. Recognize when it’s happening. Learn the difference between self-criticism and self-hatred. There’s a difference between saying “Ugh, I really should have done better on that work assignment. Those careless mistakes add up.” and “Everyone thinks you’re stupid now, why didn’t you do a better job on something so simple?”
  2. Get to the bottom of those thoughts by asking questions. I still fall victim to the “people think you’re…” thoughts, and every single time I have to ask myself “Who actually said that? Do you know that for sure? What’s making you feel defeated/nervous/inferior without any evidence? And even if someone DID say it—do you care what they think?!”

Those answers usually help me reframe whatever I’m feeling. Bc 9 times out of 10 it boils down to me fearing the worst and creating a situation where my insecurity gets the best of me.

Sorry for the Ted Talk, just feel rly passionately about this.” –NOTORIOUS_BLT

“Exactly. I always try to put myself in “best friend shoes” when I catch myself criticizing inwards.” –bradynelise

“I would be like ‘damn sister you do NOT shut up and you contradict yourself a LOT.’” – throwra_sillyinquiry

“Love this! Me too, but a few years ago, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. I have been changing the way I speak to myself and I feel so much better… and now I am so glad I stuck with it/me!” –formidableegg

“They would be out the door, kinda sucks being a self aware mentally ill person cause you know it’s not true yet convincing yourself otherwise feels impossible.” – annonforareasonduh

“Haha, this is exactly what I do with my kids. If they say something mean about themselves, I say, ‘I’m sorry, NOBODY is allowed to talk to ____ like that!’ If they say, ‘But I’m saying it to MYSELF,’ I say, ‘I would never let anyone say something like that to you. Why should I let YOU say it to you?’

Hoping to raise my kids to be a little nicer to themselves than I am to myself.” –JoNightshade

“Well… not very long. For the most part I’m pretty nice to myself but on hard days I often think things like “you’re not good enough. You’re such a failure.” And if someone said that to me even once I’d cut them off. I try to be nice to me though.” –owthrayaway3

“Ideally? Not long at all. In reality? Probably a very long time – years, or maybe even decades. Part of struggling with crippling depression is letting people treat you really horribly.” –clekas

“Yeah, me too tbh Or well, I’d end up not talking to them Because I’d isolate myself in my room for a couple of months and even they’d grow tired of me, but ya know I’ve had some really shitty friends in my short, short life and honestly seek out ppl who will criticise me more than they compliment me bc it makes me less uncomfortable.” –HelloThisIsFrode

“I agree with this. I just realised this and lament to myself that I wasted 20 years on such a ‘friend’. The pandemic isolation helped in bringing these thoughts to clarity and limited my availability. Thankfully I have a friend who’s really supportive and understanding so I’ve been redirecting my energy towards her.” –CheesecakeGobbler

“Along with the depression, throw in being raised by a parent with narcissistic personality disorder and you’ve got me too. I’d love so say I would kick my toxic ass to the curb, but I know I’d just take the abuse. I’ve got a recording of my mother’s greatest hits playing all the time in my head.” –LesNessmanNightcap

“Yeah, I was going to say “where do you think that voice in my head came from?” I’m no longer the person who would stay friends with someone who was mean to me, but it took awhile to get to that place. But I am still my mother’s daughter and I learned negative self-talk at her knee, listening to her guilt trip and shame herself. I think I’m much better, but I do wonder what my son will hear that I don’t even realize I’m doing.” –ElizaDooo

“The way I used to self-talk? Not for a second. It was pointed out to me by a therapist in one session–she told me one time to stop it. I stopped. I didn’t realize how much I was driving myself insane. I have an inner monologue that drones on anyway, but add in insults and barbs and it was quite brutal.

I’m glad I kicked that negativity out. Now, to address the earworms….make it stop.” –Roscoe_cracks_corn

“Not long at all. Now realizing this doesn’t magically make all my self-hate go away or build a desire to treat myself better.” –Neravariine

“I have such a friend. Over a decade so far, hopefully forever. I love her to the moon and back. She knows me truly, I can rely on her, I can trust in her honesty, I don’t have to filter sugarcoating to get down to her true opinion. She’s like a mirror, showing me all my flaws but also all my best sides. She made me a better person without ever trying to change me. She taught me better awareness towards myself, my actions and surrounding, and with this also better self-reflection and self-love. She kept me down on earth but also pulled me out of the darkest places. Everyone should have a friend like this.” –Fitzgeraldine

“Great timing for this question! I’ve been working on self compassion and trying to soften my inner critic. One thing that often I’ve been trying to remind myself is to treat me the way I treat my friends – so after a few months working on this with total awareness, I can proudly say I would be a longtime friend of mine.” –Lila007

“I kept her around for almost 2 years before I realise the way she talks to others is actually how she sees herself, which is saying a lot more than she would admit. Since she’s too stubborn to get therapy but very willing to act as a therapist (she sucks, all she ever did was doling out “tough love” cuz thats how she wants herself to be but she failed, so she expects everyone else to be tough), I cut ties w her. For good. Went to therapy myself to rid of internalized hatred I developed from being around her. She reached out once, I wasnt very keen to reconnect especially now she’s even worse after joining a church and trying to get every part of it into her life. 2 years of my life wasted on someone like that. Dont repeat my mistake.” –


“I am and always will be my own biggest hype person. If I can’t believe in myself, how can anyone? How can I achieve my goals? Internal me is also very dubious of the intentions of others. Which preserves myself, even if it does keep me distanced from others until I can truly trust them. My parents were shit. I was, by far, the most resilient of my siblings and maybe my self hype is the reason why.” –cuddlymammoth

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David Schwimmer, The Actor Who Played Ross In Friends, Defended The Show After Backlash Over Insensitivity And Lack Of Diversity


David Schwimmer, The Actor Who Played Ross In Friends, Defended The Show After Backlash Over Insensitivity And Lack Of Diversity

“Friends” is loved by everyone. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never spent an entire day on the sofa, binge-watching the 90s comedy. But it’s safe to say that some of the jokes, punchlines, and themes of the show wouldn’t have been very well received in 2020 —aka some of the show’s storylines have been regarded as more than a little problematic. Here are some examples. 

“Friends” originally aired in the 90s —but with Netflix reviving the craze for the show a few years ago, millennial viewers noticed a few insensitive punchlines.

The show was on air since 1994 and up until 2004. But since “Friends “started streaming on Netflix just a few years ago, modern day fans have found issues with the way the show depicts and handles some issues —like its lack of diversity for instance, or its depiction of women and LGBT people. 

Pretty much everything about “Fat Monica,” for example.

The whole ‘Fat Monica’ storyline fed into the media’s perpetuated image of overweight individuals as punchlines and nothing more. She only became a “worthy” character after she lost the weight, or at least that’s how the show made it seem.

Exhibit B. The treatment of Chandler’s trans dad.

Chandler’s homophobia and jokes about his transgender parent were awful. While the addition of a proud gay character in a show during the 90s was a huge step forward in television, they totally misrepresented the community. The show conflated transgender people and drag queens. In trying to expose and dismantle some prejudices, they also perpetuated others.

The objectification of women by the male characters

There’s a Thanksgiving episode where Ross and Joey are trying to leave so they can go and meet Joey’s good looking roommate and her dancing friends. And just like this one, there are many other episodes in which “the boys” spend the whole show trying to think up ways to trick women into sleeping with them —in this particular episode, Joey literally calls the women “objects” —and I’m triggered.

Joey’s sexism usually went unchecked—and he was downright creepy a lot of times.

Most of Joey’s scenes revolved around women —and a lot of them are problematic. Sure, he had his good and sweet moments, but it’s super problematic that he can’t remember who he’s slept with, or how he makes his roommates make breakfast for his conquest and then dump them for him. His roommate’s search was also awful: “Female, non-smoker, non-ugly.” —Seriously?

The constant examples of fragile masculinity.

The male characters frequently had to make a HUGE issue out of their fragile masculinity. Here’s an example for you: In the episode where Chandler moves in with Monica, she has him making cedar sachets with old pantyhose. Chandler asks to leave to go do “guy stuff.” He then finds Joey learning to knit and Ross applying face powder to try and minimize the contrast of his overly bleached teeth. He leaves in disgust. Later, after pointing out all the feminine touches Joey’s new female roommate has applied to the old apartment, Chandler points out that Joey is turning into a woman. “Why would you say that? That’s just mean,” asks Joey. “Now I’ve upset you? What did I say?” replies Chandler. “It’s not what you said. It’s the way you said it… Oh, my God! I’m a woman!” exclaims Joey in disgust —*ALL THE EYEROLLS*

Ross has been one of the most criticized characters.

The character of Ross has seen a lot of criticism, for his dismissal of the importance of consent, his possessiveness over women, the casual anti-gay comments and more. 

Even the show creators have admitted to feeling uncomfortable with some scenes. 

The creators spoke about their regrets at Tribeca Film Festival’s “Friends” 25th anniversary. When asked by the audience if there were storylines that they regret, Kauffman had a couple of examples ready: “the one when Phoebe starts dating her sister Ursula’s stalker, played by David Arquette (“we did a lot of rewriting on that to make it work”).” “It’s much harder for me to enjoy the good moments when there are moments in it where I’m going, ‘Oh my God, we let that happen? We did that,'” she explained.

Meanwhile, co-creator, David Crane, admitted he doesn’t remember a lot of specific scenes and jokes after working on 10 seasons 15-25 years ago, said that when he does stumble upon an episode, he’ll occasionally wonder, “Wow, really? We went with that?” “There are some that are better than others,” he said.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, “Friends” star David Schwimmer who played Ross, said he”doesn’t care” about the backlash, because he believes it comes from the show being taken out of the context of its time.

When asked about the backlash that the show went through after its Netflix renaissance, the actor said; “I don’t care.” A few articles and several Twitter threads suggested that the show’s jokes hadn’t aged well, like Chandler worrying about seeming gay, or jokes about Monica’s weight. “The truth is also that show was groundbreaking in its time for the way in which it handled so casually sex, protected sex, gay marriage, and relationships. The pilot of the show was my character’s wife left him for a woman and there was a gay wedding, of my ex and her wife, that I attended.”

“Friends” is a product of the pre-“woke” era when it comes to race, too. 

“Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends,” Schwimmer says. “But I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of color. One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women. That was a very conscious push on my part.

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