Friends: Carol and Susan

One of my early memories of seeing the media portray lesbians is from the show Friends. Growing up, it was new to see this and I never really understood what was going on until I learned about homosexuals in high school, but the show introduced this as one of the earliest forms of same ender relationships. The series did not have it present in every episode, but it started heavy and generally declined as the series progressed.

In the first episode of the show, one of the main characters, Ross, is introduced with a man whose wife, Carol, is actually a lesbian and finds out for himself. Throughout the show, we see Carol and her spouse, Susan, once in awhile. The reason for this is because Carol is pregnant with a child of Ross’, Ben, and the 3 of them raise the child, although custody belongs to Carol and Susan. So once in awhile we see Ben be dropped off to Ross by Carol or Susan.

One of the peak representations of the two was during the episode, “The One With the Lesbian Wedding” in which Carol and Susan elope. Since this was very new in television, a controversy struck up  in which two counties decided not to air the episode due to the fact of gay marriage. Even in the episode, we saw portrayals of both supporting and protest of the wedding from the parents of the two. Susan’s parents were ok with the decision while Carol’s parents were against the wedding the whole time.

When it comes after the wedding, after seeing Ross acceptance of the wedding by telling Carol to forget what her parents say about it and marry Susan, Ross and Susan stop with their little feud they established in the beginning of the series and build a friendship. This then helps out during the rest of the series with raising their child, Ben.

Carol is seemed as the typical housewife representation of a women while Susan picks up more of the masculinity in the relationship. They both show signs of feminism early within the series, especially Susan who early in the show during Carol’s pregnancy would make a few snarky remarks about Ross making “a typical man’s decision.” Carol is a sixth grade teacher while Susan is in the commercial filming business. They both however share the nurturing type of stereotype of women when it comes to their child Ben. The intersectionality of the two both fall under the lesbian, female, white, feminists,parents, moms, and middle class.



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2 thoughts on “Friends: Carol and Susan

  1. Nice analysis of this secondary relationship in Friends. Although this wasn’t one of the main storylines, it did offer a fuller view of LGBT characters than was typical. I didn’t realize that some counties chose not to air it!

  2. You are so awesome! I do not think I have
    read a single thing like that before. So nice
    to discover somebody with a few unique thoughts on this topic.

    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is required on the internet, someone
    with a little originality!

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