TV Review: ‘Friends: The Reunion’ – Could It BE Anymore Nostalgic?

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Source: HBO Max

After seventeen years, the Friends cast has graced our screens once more.

The highly-anticipated episode Friends: The Reunion paid homage to the beloved sitcom that touched millions of people’s lives over 10 brilliant seasons. Since the show ended in 2004, fans have been desperate for a new instalment. But did ‘The One Where They Get Back Together’ make our days, weeks, months, or even our year?

The One With All The Reminiscing  

The reunion provided a much-needed nostalgic tonic to the pandemic, as the main cast returned to the iconic set of Monica’s apartment to reminisce about the show that changed their lives and careers indefinitely.

Despite their on-screen chemistry, this was only the second time all six actors had been in a room together since the show ended. This set the tone for the two-hour emotional trip down memory lane through their glory days of Rachel Cuts and Rolling Stones covers. From exchanging on and off-set memories, the cast shed light on the inside experience that only those six actors ever truly understood: the overnight international fame that comes with being at the centre of a pop-culture milestone that continues to captivate new generations of fans. 

Reliving Iconic Moments 

The stars recreated the much-loved girls versus boy’s style quiz from The One with the Embryos, except the stakes weren’t as high as a spacious New York apartment. They answered questions that every true Friends-stan would know the answer to—apart from Chandler’s (Matthew Perry) job title, as no one ever knows what that is. 

Fan favourites from the show made cameo appearances, such as Tom Selleck (Dr Richard Burke) and Larry Hankin (Mr Heckles). They were amongst numerous appearances from the series’ additional stars who made up the fabric of the show, including Maggie Wheeler (Janice), James Michael Tyler (Gunther), and Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles (Jack and Judy Geller). 

One notable absence was Paul Rudd, who played Phoebe’s piano-playing husband Mike Hannigan. Scheduling conflicts and Coronavirus meant the Ant-Man actor missed out on his cameo in the show, and fans truly felt his absence in the episode. 

The iconic cast reunite for one more episode – Source: Terence Patrick/HBO

That Bombshell Revelation

There were no overwhelming revelations in the special, apart from the bombshell that Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) were as into each other off-screen as there were on screen. Otherwise, there was only a few unseen bloopers and on-set footage of mishaps and sweet moments between the young actors. In its essence, Friends: The Reunion was a celebration of the decade of friendship, relatable moments and personalities that made up the ultimate comfort TV show. 

Additionally, it had everything that a good party needs. A catwalk to appreciate the most iconic outfits included Justin Bieber in Ross’ Halloween costume, Spudnik, while various celebrity guests (like David Beckham and Malala Yousafzai) shared their favourite episodes. There was even live music as Lisa Kudrow dusted off Phoebe’s old guitar for a rendition of ‘Smelly Cat’ in an impromptu jam with Lady Gaga; which was the collaboration the world never knew it so desperately needed. Matt Le Blanc even put on Chandler’s (Matthew Perry) whole wardrobe again before unleashing his dad-dancing. 

By returning for an interview-style episode, the cast has preserved the series in its imperfectly perfect state to offer a Gogglebox-esque party, where the audience and the actors re-watch (and reread) old episodes of a show that shaped billions of people’s lives. It was a Friends Fest like no other that all its fans and the original cast and crew could appreciate. 

Fans didn’t need new information; they just needed their six friends reunited in Monica’s apartment for one last time to know that they still are there for them after a year like no other.  

Words by Jess Bacon

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