UK government ridiculed for using 23-year-old Friends reference in coronavirus PSA
The One Where They Have To Deal With A Global Pandemic
On Monday, Coronavirus restrictions in England were tightened so that social gatherings are now limited to just six people.
The so-called Rule of Six has some pop culture connotations - which we saw when everyone on social media made the same joke about S Club 7.
And another thing you can use a Rule of Six to make a reference to? The popular 1990s sitcom Friends. I probably don't need to explain to you what Friends is, because you are a human being that is alive in 2020, but just to reiterate, it is a show about six friends who hang out together.
So the government - or their ad agency at least - have thought "Let's make a Friends reference, that is a thing that kids like." And we get this:
That’ll be another £800k please pic.twitter.com/8pN3UFSKZB
— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) September 17, 2020
Apparently "COVID-19 isn't on a break". Because that is a thing that they said on the show, right? Get it? The loveable sitcom couple Ross and Rachel were on a break. But Coronavirus is not on a break? The virus that has killed 41,000 people in this country is different from Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer. Do you get it?
The post has been mocked on Twitter.
They think Friends is a modern reference pic.twitter.com/C5fExLVuTc
— Jarmo (@jarmodj) September 17, 2020
Next it will be “only Slytherins gather in groups of seven”
— Paul Brannon (@ppbrannon) September 17, 2020
— B2B (@born2bank) September 18, 2020
Is this real?! This is so tragic.
— Sass (@blatantly_sassi) September 17, 2020
In case you didn't get the visual reference, the frame is meant to be like the one that is on the door of Monica and Rachel's apartment.
Friends ran between 1994 and 2004, with 236 episodes over ten seasons. And in the government's defence, the show does remain very popular today despite airing its final episode over a decade and a half ago.
In 2018 Netflix reportedly paid $100 million for the rights to stream Friends, and even though they are coy with their viewing figures, it is widely believed to be one of the most consistently watched shows on the platform. It also has found a new base of fans who weren't even born when the show first started, who discovered it in reruns.