It finally happened. The one where they all came back together.
While everyone will have their own opinion, it gave me a sense of nostalgia, a heart-warming trip down memory lane, and solidified my gratitude for a show that meant so much to me growing up. And fittingly, the reunion fell on my birthday this year — a present worth waiting for.
As a kid, for me, the world sometimes felt a little dark. It was hectic, scary, and emotionally charged and TV and film have always been my reprieve.
While sometimes I felt alone, on Monday nights at 7.30 pm, things always seemed a little bit brighter. I would settle down in front of the TV and watch Friends. Clearly I’m not alone, because the reunion showed us fans from all over the world who shared their stories about how much the show meant to them including the likes of Mindy Kaling, David Beckham and Kit Harrington.
From the moment it began with its iconic font, I was smacked in the face with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Then walked in the cast. David Schwimmer (with a backpack?!), Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Perry. Seeing them see each other, felt like I was also in the room — like seeing old friends for the first time in years — memories of shared experiences from a lifetime ago.
So what did we learn from the reunion special? If you’re a super fan, chances are you were already across most tidbits from watching interviews with the cast over the years, but there were a few surprising moments.
Matthew Perry explaining his extreme anxiety when a joke wouldn’t land made him feel human, but alongside that, it felt concerning given the troubles with addiction he faced during the course of the show. We learnt that Schwimmer almost quit TV entirely before being coaxed into the role of a lifetime — thank goodness he had a rubbery arm or we’d never have known Ross in leather pants.
I loved hearing about Monica and Chandler’s storyline, and how they were supposed to be a casual hook-up. Creators Marta Kauffman, David Crane and Kevin Bright literally listened to their live audience and kept the storyline going. It was amazing.
While those were all interesting facts, the one about Schwimmer and Aniston crushing on each other IRL was the one that left me (and all of Twitter) truly gobsmacked. I had never thought about it before, but of course, how did none of the cast ever hook up? But the fact that one of the most famous TV couples in the world had a mutual crush for each other off-screen made their chemistry palpable. I mean, that first kiss… come on!
It was a blessing in disguise that they did not take their relationship further, but it shocked me because while the world has been desperate for an Aniston and Brad Pitt reunion, we could have been gunning for this instead. It was a revelation like this that the reunion needed.
The special bounced between table reads of iconic episodes, to James Corden interviewing the cast in front of the fountain from the intro, and featured a runway parade of iconic costumes. I think it was an oversight to not include Elle Macpherson here, given the supermodel played Janine on the show, but Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevigne, and Justin Bieber added an extra layer of unexpected fun. Justin got really into it, which really proves the cross-generational success of this show. After all, he was born the year the show first aired.
While the hour and forty-minute special was jam-packed full of fun times, it was clear that this would never happen again. Cox highlighted the point at the very end, and when pressed by Corden on whether they’d consider another episode or a movie, Kudrow was adamant that would never happen. Why unravel their already perfect endings?
So what was missing? I would’ve loved to see cast members including Paul Rudd as Mike, Jane Sibbett and Jessica Hecht as Carol and Susan; and even Aisha Taylor who played Charlie (who by the way, I think would have made an amazing host instead of The Late Late Show’s Corden).
But at the end of the day, it was truly about six people coming together, who shared a decade of their lives and talent with the entire world and about fans of the show being able to relive a time in their life. It ticked all the boxes for me and I for one, could not be any more grateful.
Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer return to the iconic comedy’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank for a real-life unscripted celebration of the beloved show.
The one-off special features appearances from some of the world’s biggest stars including David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon and Malala Yousafzai.