New Delhi, Oct 1 (IANS) The popular American sitcom “Friends” is considered to be an iconic show, and is still wildly popular. But “The Good Doctor” star Hill Harper has called out the show for lack of diversity, and says the sitcom didnt reflect the world in its true sense.
It’s been 25 years since “Friends” found its way onto the small screen, and started its journey to create history. The show has made Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry household names with fans still referring to them as their characters’ names. The first episode was aired on September 22, 1994.
From Rachel and Ross’ “on again off again” romance or Monica’s obsession with cleanliness or Joey’s love for food and the group’s long conversations on the couch of Central Perk, everything about the show is still embedded in the minds of the fans.
What was missing from the show? Diversity, says Harper, who is proud to be part of a diverse show “The Good Doctor”.
“I think the fact that we (‘The Good Doctor’ team) are so diverse, without ever really talking about it…It doesn’t impact the stories or how the characters interact. It’s just a reflection of what the real world looks like. And I think that sends a powerful message. In fact, my friend Gabrielle Union, who is an actress, once said to me, ‘Wow, this show is so diverse. I even had to check my own mindset, because I was like I’m so not used to seeing that’. When you go to a real hospital, they are super diverse,” Harper told IANS.
“The thing is that we tend to under-diversify images on television…Like in the show ‘Friends’, which is set in New York City…It was ridiculous. I mean, that is fiction. If you are in New York City, you would never see a show or a coffee shop, that is so non-diverse,” he added.
According to Harper, “The Good Doctor” depicts the melting pot of the US.
“The Good Doctor” is revolves around Shaun Murphy, a young autistic surgical resident at a hospital, and digs into the lives of doctors at the hospital. Harper essays role of Dr Marcus Andrew in the show. The third season of “The Good Doctor” will premiere in India on October 8 on Colors Infinity.
“Our show is about opening your heart and celebrating diversity, celebrating different mindset, different viewpoints. And I think there is an impact to that. It’s very positive,” he added.
Opening up about how the show sparks discussion about people with autism, Harper, who has also appeared in “CSI: NY” and “Limitless”, said: “On a daily basis, someone reaches out to me and say, “hey, my son, or my cousin, or my daughter or I’m dealing with autism and issues around autism’. And what I’ve heard most consistently is that they are able to point to the show and say, ‘That’s how I see the world’. It helps people understand that different people who are dealing with different issues, see the world differently, but it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong.
“It just means that they see it differently, and seeing something differently is ‘okay’.”
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)