‘Friends: The Reunion’ Full of Nostalgia and Surprise

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The cast of “Friends” during their reunion special on HBO Max. (Courtesy YouTube)

By Makena Reynolds, Arts Writer

 

“Friends” was the series that changed the blueprint of sitcoms forever. While it garnered a cult following during its years on air, its resurgence in popularity, due in part to streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max, made it a staple in the past year of social isolation.

On May 27, the titular “friends” reunited to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of wrapping the show’s production. The show was hosted by James Corden and featured the six main cast members — David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc.

The One Where They Have a Reunion

Although the reunion was targeted towards the fans, it was just as special for the cast, who had not all been in the same room together since they wrapped filming in 2004. As the six of them reunited, one could not help but get emotional — within minutes the actors had jumped back into “bits” as if no time had passed.

An unforgettable segment from the night included a remake of a trivia game from “The One With The Embryos” in season four. In this reunion version, the cast was quizzed about the series as a whole, with questions about lines, past guest stars and more presented in clever ways to celebrate iconic moments.

A question about Monica’s (Cox) answering machine brought actor Tom Selleck, who played Richard in the series, out onto the floor. When the cast members argued over the answer to a question, viewers saw that they themselves were the biggest “Friends” fans of all.

Ross and Rachel

One unexpected moment from the reunion was the reveal that co-stars Aniston and Schwimmer had “huge crushes” on each other during their first season of taping. Shocked that no one had figured it out, Schwimmer and Aniston assured everyone that they never “crossed that boundary” to which co-star LeBlanc muttered, “Bullsh*t.”

There is no denying that the two always had phenomenal chemistry, but now there is absolutely no excuse to not root for their characters of Ross and Rachel — the behind-the-scenes footage from season one showing them flirting with each other only confirmed this chemistry. 

Reunion vs. Reboot

During the course of the evening, the conversation around a reboot came up — it makes sense that “Friends” could follow in the footsteps of  “Gilmore Girls” and “Will and Grace” and jump in right where they left off. Many fans have also been urging the creators for a reboot since the show ended. However, none of the “Friends” cast members are interested in revisiting the series. When asked, Kudrow answered with a strong “no.” “They ended the show very nicely,” she said. “Everyone’s lives were very nice, and they would have to unravel all those good things in order for there to be [more] stories.” 

The theme song lyric, “So no one told you life was gonna be this way,” has a different meaning during a global pandemic. All of us had to figure out life as we went through it, the characters from “Friends” beside us, as the show witnessed a 30% viewership jump in 2020.

While the reunion special was not the reboot that die-hard fans were hoping for, it was the reunion that they needed, full of priceless nostalgia while leaving the lives of the characters untouched. 

Watch the reunion or binge the series on HBO Max.

 

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@MakenaReynolds