Friends is a feel-good sitcom, relatable to many from all walks of life. Nevertheless, one particular scene involving Ross’ ex-wife Carol and her partner Susan caused a stir back in the 90s after breaking new ground on television.
Friends is still very much a cult series despite having no new episodes released in almost twenty years. Over the course of 10 seasons, the smash TV sitcom follows the chaotic lives of Joey, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe, Rachel and Monica as they navigate relationships and careers in pre-millennium New York. The show’s 236 episodes provide mostly harmless PG comedy, suitable for audiences young and old. However, that doesn’t mean to say Friends is without controversy, as evidenced in a Carol and Susan scene that was banned in parts of the US.
“The One With The Lesbian Wedding” was a trailblazer of an episode
Cast your minds back to the early days of Friends and you’ll remember that Ross was previously married to Carol Willick, who is also the mother of Ross’ son. Carol left Ross shortly before the first episode of the show when she realized that she was a lesbian.
Carol meets future partner Susan at the gym which is when she discovers her true sexual orientation.
Fast forward to 1996 and season 2, episode 11 (“The One With The Lesbian Wedding”), and Carol and Susan decide to tie the knot. Initially, Ross has mixed feelings about Carol moving on and remarrying, but ultimately comes around to walk her down the aisle following her parents’ disapproval.
Iconic Friends episode was banned in America because of Carol and Susan scene
However, the episode gained significant attention when it first aired as it was one of the first-ever lesbian weddings depicted on TV.
The episode sparked particular controversy in the more conservative areas of the US at the time. It depicted so-called ‘objectionable content,’ and so the episode was banned from some U.S. network affiliates. Despite the ban, “The One With The Lesbian Wedding” became one of the most-watched television episodes when it eventually aired in 1996, attracting 31.6 million viewers.
In 2023 the storyline may seem completely uncontroversial, but back then it was something TV audiences hadn’t really seen before. Nowadays it is seen as one of the most important Friends episodes as it paved the way for more LGBTQ+ storylines and TV scenes to follow.