TV & Movies

A Classic Friends Episode Was Censored In The UK For An “Explicit” Reason

The Season 4 episode originally aired in 1998.

Originally Published: 
David Schwimmer as Ross Gellar in 'Friends'
Warner Bros. / 'Friends'

Although Friends is widely recognized as one of the most successful and beloved sitcoms of all time, some of the show’s most memorable storylines weren’t always so well received. This includes the Season 4 episode “The One with the Free Porn,” which was reportedly censored in the UK upon its original broadcast in 1998.

As fans will recall, the episode in question sees Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) and Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) discover that they have access to a free explicit channel on their TV, much to their delight. With several references to pornography throughout, the episode aired in a much later time slot than usual in the UK and received limited syndication in the years following. Meanwhile, any visuals of the explicit movies playing on Joey and Chandler’s TV set were also censored.

Over on Reddit, some UK-based Friends fans revealed that they had never seen “The One with the Free Porn” as it was “barely ever shown” on the sitcom’s original UK home, Channel 4 and E4. However, fans also noted that once Comedy Central UK secured the rights to Friends, the Season 4 episode was eventually broadcast in its entirety. “Comedy Central picking it up was great, they showed unedited versions, with no jumps to random audience laughter because they cut a ‘rude’ joke,” one user recalled.

As fans pointed out, this wasn’t the only classic Friends episode to have received censorship treatment in the UK, and Redditors went on to share several other jokes and storylines that were cut from the show.

NBC/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

“I know that due to the watershed regulations in the UK, E4 edited out a tiny bit of the scene in Season 9 where Chandler gets back from work in Tulsa and decides to watch porn before switching to the shark program,” one fan shared.

Meanwhile, another user pointed to the Season 4 episode “The One with the Cuffs,” claiming that several lines were edited out of the episode when it originally aired. “The last three lines were cut out of the episode when it was shown around midday, to avoid the word b****,” they recalled.

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