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Rick Santorum No Friend Of "Friends" In His 2005 Book

"Friends painted a picture in which having a baby as a single woman is easy, something that changes nothing. Of course, as any parent can tell you, having a baby changes everything. Where was that truth on Friends?"

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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, in his 2005 book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, blamed the hit sitcom Friends for exposing young people to unrealistic expectations about parenting and sex.

"On the most popular show on television for years, Friends, one character, Rachel, had a baby out of wedlock," wrote Santorum. "The Parents Television Council notes that 'Baby Emma was conceived as a ratings gimmick … the product of a one-night stand with ex-boyfriend Ross. Over the next few months we watched as Rachel battled baby blues because her pregnancy and growing belly got in the way of her social life.'"

Santorum said Friends inaccurately portrayed single motherhood as easy.

"After the birth, what happened to baby Emma? Rachel was still enjoying a great social life, dating, and hanging out at the coffee shop," Santorum wrote.

"Friends painted a picture in which having a baby as a single woman is easy, something that changes nothing. Of course, as any parent can tell you, having a baby changes everything. Where was that truth on Friends? What happened to the baby? Where were the hours and hours of Rachel's interaction with little Emma, the minute-by-minute loving care, the absolute dependence and the absolute responsibility? That's the reality, but it is not what we see on TV."

The passage on Friends was part of a larger condemnation of television programming.

"Rarely do characters end up pregnant or get a sexually transmitted disease," Santorum wrote.

"There are 15 million new sexually transmitted infections every year in this country, but television characters rarely, if ever, get one. America's teenagers and young adults don't live inside a television sitcom. That's the point, of course: young people hardly ever see the real-life results of extramarital sexual activity."

Santorum wrote that "bad culture lies" and sex on TV "needs to reflect the truth."

"Bad culture lies," Santorum added. "I'm not saying sex has no place on television—though it could certainly use less in the programming, not to mention ads. I'm saying it needs to be honest. It needs to reflect the truth. Kids conclude from what they see on TV that true love is validated through sexual engagement, that sex is the natural and normal result when two people like each other. And what follows from sex is, of course, true happiness. With all this sex going on outside of marriage, you'd think we should be a pretty sexually satisfied society. Of course, we are not."

Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Megan Apper at megan.apper@buzzfeed.com.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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