by Gia King
Following the recent launch of HBO’s premium streaming service, HBO Max, Friends fans have flocked to the service, eager to binge the six New Yorkers’ wacky misadventures to their hearts’ content. Recently, however, some of the series’ more devoted watchers have been quick to point out that not all episodes of the beloved sitcom have survived the migration to HBO Max.
Fan favorite “The One Where Ross Eats Children,” the twenty-sixth episode of the series’ sixth season, has seemingly been removed from HBO Max’s streaming catalogue. The episode in question depicts Ross Geller (portrayed by series star David Schwimmer) engaging in child cannibalism for an uninterrupted twenty-two minutes, a departure from the series’ standard multicam format.
Many are decidedly outraged at the omission of what is often cited as one of the best episodes of the series, having won two Primetime Emmy Awards for writing and Schwimmer’s performance. Some cite the removal as historical cleansing, stating that Ross’ cannibalism is a product of its time and should be treated as such. Other fans believe that the episode is a pivotal moment in Ross’ character development, and a source of one of his most famous catchphrases: “Boy, do I love the taste and texture of the flesh of children.”
Twitter user @SchwimmerLuvr has since created a viral twitter thread detailing the importance of “The One Where Ross Eats Children” to the series, and denounced the removal as an act of “unprecedented censorship,” arguing that the show’s groundbreaking subplot in which Rachel defends her daughter from the dangers of Ross’s gnashing teeth “will now be practically incomprehensible to new viewers.”
The #LetRossEatKids movement, presumably stemming from the hashtag used to conclude the thread, has grown in popularity and veracity overnight, with many calling for HBO head Robert Greenblatt’s immediate resignation. Schwimmer himself has commented on the supposed removal, explaining that “eating kids is the kind of thing that every actor dreams of. I hope we get to see the culmination of that dream again one day.”