Friends is primarily a show about a bunch of white people who live and/or congregate in an impossibly large New York City apartment. The show is extremely white in every way possible, despite being set in one of the most diverse cities in the country (though it was filmed on a lot in Los Angeles). Apparently, David Schwimmer tried to change that.
“I was well aware of the lack of diversity and I campaigned for years to have Ross date women of colour,” Schwimmer told the Guardian in a recent interview. “One of the first girlfriends I had on the show was an Asian American woman, and later I dated African American women.”
One of Ross’s girlfriends, Julie, was portrayed by Asian-American actor Lauren Tom. Another, Dr. Charlie Wheeler, was played by Aisha Tyler, and Ross also briefly dated a character played by Gabrielle Union. “That was a very conscious push on my part,” Schwimmer said.
Of course, despite managing to inflict Ross’s unending whininess on a diverse collection of women, Schwimmer did apparently forget that shows about non-white friends also exist, telling the Guardian, “Maybe there should be an all-black Friends or an all-Asian Friends.” As several thousand people on Twitter pointed out after the Guardian published their interview, there was, in fact, an all-black Friends—Living Single, which ran on Fox from 1993 to 1998 and centered on the lives of six friends in their 20s who live in the same Brooklyn brownstone. Sound familiar?