Friends: The Reunion
It has been 17 years since fans saw those six keys laid out on the counter in the empty New York apartment, and said said goodbye to the six Friends. Now, they are reunited as they recall memories of the show, play trivia games, read through scripts and sit down with the ubiquitous lacklustre humour of James Corden (viewers shouldn’t be fooled –this event was fantastic, but the choice of presenter was a pitfall).
The beginning of the special has each actor enter the rebuilt set of Friends, one by one. It’s apparent that going back to the place they worked for ten seasons is intensely emotional – some are able to hold in the tears but Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston are immediately reaching for the tissues. They walk through the scene, recalling moments that were hidden from the audience, such as Cox hiding her lines behind the fruit bowl, and their ritualistic huddle that ended up dislocating Matt Le Blanc’s shoulder. It’s clear that these six actors truly cared for one another, as well as enjoying each other’s company.
Of course, it isn’t just the six central characters who feature – there are guest appearances from Tom Selleck (who played Monica’s boyfriend Richard), Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles (who played Ross and Monica’s parents), and many more. A particularly sweet moment occurs when Lisa Kudrow is joined by Lady Gaga to perform Phoebe’s iconic song Smelly Cat. Germanotta thanks Kudrow for representing those who are “different”, to which Kudrow replies, “And thank you for carrying it along”. Interviews are given by the three creators of the show as they recall the casting process, having to fight other producers for Aniston and Matthew Perry, how each of them breathed life into their character and, when they put them together, television history was made.
This isn’t hard-hitting television, but it is exactly what the Friends reunion needed to be: equal parts light-hearted and emotional, revealing anecdotes never heard before that give fresh perspective, and celebrating the phenomenon that has been watched over 100 billion times with influence across the world. If they had chosen any other presenter it would have deserved five stars – perhaps an older comedian who could relate to the Friends hysteria of the 90s, instead of a stiff Corden offering no charm or buffer – nonetheless this was a near perfect revisitation and closure of a show that one cannot deny has made audiences smile, laugh or cry.
Friends: The Reunion is released on Sky on 27th May 2021.
Watch the trailer for Friends: The Reunion here: