‘Friends’ is globally popular but Deadline has noted that Chinese fans have complaints since they can only see a censored version of the show. They reported that multiple episodes have been edited, especially those with LGBTQ content.
According to Reuters, several streamers including Tencent, Youku, and Bilibili, started streaming Season 1 episodes on Friday. However, fans began to take note that it was different from the American version.
As per Deadline, there’s a moment where David Schwimmer’s character, Ross, shares that his ex-wife is a lesbian. However, this scene has been deleted. Another instance Deadline reported is where Matt LeBlanc’s Joey Tribbiani is supposed to go to the strip club. This has been altered. Instead, he says that he’s going out to play.
Even the fans’ outcry about the censorship has been buried, as per the Reuters report. On Weibo, the hashtag “Friendshasbeencensored” has been buried and doesn’t yield any results, the report claims.
The Chinese government is infamous for censoring content that doesn’t align with the national interest. Content may be censored for belittling cultural traditions or posing a threat to social morality.
Recently, there was plenty of chatter about the censorship faced by David Fincher’s cult classic movie, ‘Fight Club’. There, the ending was altered. Instead of showing the sequence where financial institutions are fitted with explosives, the new ending showed a title card stating that the protagonist’s plans had been foiled.
After internet backlash, the ending was restored, as were most of the censored parts, except for the sex scenes in the movie. Ironically, Chuck Palahnuik, the book’s author, has hailed the Chinese movie’s ending as being closer to the original source material.
China’s censorship has often been critiqued for altering the content or presenting it in an incomplete manner. For example, in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the part about Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality was downplayed.