Dr. Steve Macek talks about the 90s sitcom ‘Friends’
Instagrammable tourism and extreme ’90s nostalgia met and had a baby. Congratulations, it’s “The ‘Friends’ Experience.” Jonathan Mayers, the co-founder of Superfly X, which produces “The ‘Friends’ Experience,” said the exhibition is designed “to celebrate these television shows that we all love.” The show started as a 30-day pop-up in New York City and Boston in 2019. They decided to bring it to Chicago for 2020. While this ‘90s sitcom still remains to be a tremendously popular show it hasn’t exactly aged well.
Dr. Steve Macek, professor and chair of communication at North Central College, was interviewed by the Naperville Sun on how we reckon with our past favorites compared to the current standards.
“I’m familiar with the nostalgia around ‘Friends.’ When I was in grad school, I had a column in the student newspaper (The Minnesota Daily) and got some of the most negative letters to the editor for the one I wrote about ‘Friends.’” In the column, Macek pointed out issues such as the all-white cast. “That’s one thing that I still stand by — New York City projected by the show is a complete distortion of the New York of the time and to this day. It looked like a suburban strip mall circa 1990.”
Still, Macek says things have changed, and probably for good. “Thirty years from now you’re not going to have the same nostalgia for the streaming shows from now. There’s a defined niche for ‘Pose’ and another for reruns of ‘Duck Dynasty.’" The fans of those shows don’t connect with each other, Macek said.