Still There For Us: Friends Reunion
by Gizem AKDOĞAN
Friends is an American TV series that aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004. These ten years of journey of 6 friends, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, Ross, spread over the world and became legendary. It would be fair to state that it is the most famous sitcom series globally and inspired many others in the following years. Even though the show ended 17 years ago, its fame did not fade away even a little, and many fans still watch it worldwide. It was released that across all the platforms, the show was watched 100 billion times officially. Whether six friends would ever come together one day was a long-asked question and finally got its answer this year. Friends: The Reunion (also known as "The One Where They Get Back Together") was released on 27.05.2021 on HBO and made a tremendous impact worldwide, revealing so many things about those ten years.
The main focus of the Reunion was on the main characters of the show and their actors. The six leading actors Jennifer Anniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer got the most screen time as one can expect since the Reunion was essentially about these six people. It was revealed in the show that the six actors had been in the same room all together just for once after Friends ended. Therefore, this was a big moment for everybody. The Reunion took place in the Warner Bros Lot, which hosted Friends for ten years. The main set remains the same since they are parts of the Warner Bros studio tour. Thus, the Reunion also took place there and took the audience back in the memory line. Chandler and Joey's apartment, Monica and Rachel's apartment, and Central Perk were the main locations in the Reunion. Also, they used the fountain in the intro of the show as the interview location.
There were no scripted scenes as lots of people expected. Instead, it was more like six friends coming back together and remembering the good times, which made the Reunion very touching for the audience. With the cast, the audience also went back to those good old days and relived them. The show included some games between the cast, table reading scenes from the series, backstage footage, bloopers, a fashion show, Smelly Cat singing session by Lisa Kudrow and Lady Gaga, secrets there were never-before-revealed, and an interview hosted by James Cordan. The way these parts were arranged took the audience back in time, and it almost felt like they were having a chat with their friends or watching an actual episode of Friends.
The most shocking fact revealed was the crush between Jennifer Anniston and David Schwimmer in Season 1 of Friends. Since they were the main couple in the show for a while, the audience already shipped them for years. Years later, in the Reunion, they actually said they had a major crush on each other, and the audience and the headlines went insane about this. Another fact that the show was focused on was how Matt LeBlanc dislocated his shoulder while shooting a scene for the episode "The One Where No One's Ready." The footage, its effect on the show, and the storyline were explicitly told by the producers and the cast during the reunion episode.
The six main actors had the highlight on the show; however, there were many guest stars as well. Some of these stars were Friends actors from the series and some cameos for the Reunion. Larry Hankin (Mr. Heckles), Tom Selleck (Dr. Richard Burke), Maggie Wheeler (Janice Litman-Goralnik), Elliot Gould (Jack Geller), Christina Pickles (Judy Geller), Reese Witherspoon (Jill Greene), James Michael Tyler (Gunther), and Thomas Lennon (Joey's hand twin) were among the guest stars who took part in Friends throughout its ten years. It was very considerate of the production team to bring these stars back since they all have been a significant part of Friends. They created many great scenes, and they are still in the hearts of Friends fans after all these years. The way they were included in the Reunion was also remarkable, such as surprise appearances or joining the trivia game, and made the show even more exciting.
Apart from the actual cast, some other cameos were a surprise for the audience. David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevigne, Kit Harington, Lady Gaga, Mindy Kaling, Malala Yousafzai, and Nicollette Sheridan were among the guest stars that appeared in the show. Even though they were successfully included in the flow of the show, this part received many criticisms. Many people and even headlines claimed that this production move was unnecessary and did not suit the show. The main cast was already sufficient to handle such a reunion, and many claims stated that this broke the show's atmosphere since many fans were expecting this Reunion for years with the characters they love.
Friends Reunion received fantastic attention and were a great success. It was claimed the show was as big as superhero series on HBO Max. It was a long-waited journey by many fans worldwide, and the fact that it finally happened was a grenade in the show world. Friends Reunion was very entertaining, emotional, and exciting for the fans, and it was like going back home after so many years. Sadly, this kind of reunion will never happen again with these actors, and it can be stated this was a meaningful last touch to a legend, Friends. However, even though there will never be a new addition to the series, the Friends show and the six friends Chandler, Joey, Phoebe, Monica, Rachel, and Ross will always "be there for the fans" no matter how many years pass.