Ageing like a fine wine or a moldy cup of tea.
TV shows and films from the last century are constantly under scrutiny for outdated and offensive jokes. And I understand why – I wouldn’t want to watch a show released in this decade to have a joke about “Transvestites” and “Poofters”. Obviously, these are the kinds of phrases that are unacceptable – especially with how society has grown since reaching the 21st century.
The LGBTQ community was the butt of the joke for most things, along with People of Colour, back in the 1900s. Should we get rid of them?
No. Whether a show has aged like a fine wine or a moldy cuppa, they need to be kept around. It gives us a linear linage of when hate jokes ended and real jokes began.
But I will say this:
The differences between Porridge and Friends is 20 years.
In Porridge, you’ll hear the occasional sexist joke and comments on Gay Men, it was the topic of the times. Bearing in mind that the AIDS crisis was still ongoing. The show, however, didn’t show us (LGBTQ) in the worst light. Yes, there’s slurs involved – but anyone watching a film from that century or before, expecting there not to be any, is ignorant. Porridge was written for the audience it had, on the BBC for primetime viewing. It had racist jokes to, aimed at Jock – who was played by Tony Osoba – the first black scottish actor to be on primetime TV. I’m not pardoning the show – the comments are terrible. But the difference is that Porridge was written for it’s time. While Friends was written for 70s and aired in the 90s.
I am a partaker of old shows, and the reason I can go into Porridge without feeling insulted is because I know the time it’s from. It doesn’t excuse it, but I understand it.
Friends on the other hand, there is no understanding that I can take for jokes about a Trans Woman, Gay Men, Women, and everyone else the show poked fun at (there were a lot, nobody can say otherwise) to be in a show that aired in the 90’s and 00’s. I’ll rewatch it every now and again, for the laugh of it.
But when everyone complains about shows from the 70s like Rising Damp and Porridge, I will keep pointing out the shows from early this century that have done the same and even worse, in a time when we certainly fucking know better.