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Friends reunion: (Almost) Spoiler-free review of The One Where They Get Back Together | Ents & Arts News

By newadmin / Published on Thursday, 27 May 2021 03:11 AM / No Comments / 28 views


Oh. My. God. For the first time in 17 years, all six stars of Friends are back together on screen, which means a lot of unapologetic nostalgia, tears, and still no one knowing what Chandler Bing actually did for a living.

To say Friends: The Reunion had been much hyped would be an understatement. After 10 years of following the lives of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe, there has long been speculation and hope from fans of a revival, maybe even a film, to see where they are later on in life.

According to stats revealed during the show, Friends has been watched 100 billion times. Not just a cultural phenomenon back in its day, it is still loved by generations today.

Friends: The Reunion sees the cast back together on screen for the first time in 17 years. Pic: Sky/ Warner Media/ HBO
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Friends aired for 10 years and made stars out of Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow

While the stars and writers have always said no to The One Where They Hit Middle Age, they did, finally, in February 2020 announce a reunion of some sort would be happening. And then the pandemic hit, which meant delays, only serving to ramp up the hype.

Now, it’s finally here, airing on Thursday. It’s no revival, but a lookback down memory lane, with the stars – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer – reminiscing about the good old days, interspersed with some talk-show questioning from James Corden (apologies for Friends’ most annoying catchphrase here, but could he BE on any more TV shows?).

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Friends: We were always there for each other

There’s also a few surprises. No spoilers, but there’s a boys versus girls quiz in the style of The One With the Embryos episode, probably better known as The One With The Quiz Where The Girls Lose The Apartment episode, plus a game involving Joey’s hand twin. There’s also favourite episodes, table reads – My eyes! My eyes! – and input from creators Kevin S Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane on some of the decisions they made for storylines, and how they chose their six stars.

At the start, you see the cast arriving on the set; Schwimmer first, talking nervously to himself then waiting for someone else to join him like the first person in the Big Brother house. One by one, they all arrive, memories flooding back, the spark recaptured.

James Corden speaks to the Friends in the special reunion show. Pic: Warner Media/ HBO/ Sky UK
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British star James Corden (left) hosts the show

At one point, the actors also talk about the ridiculous level of fame Friends brought them, which they started to realise at the start of the second series. Only the six of them could understand what they were all going through, says Schwimmer. And it’s the stories from the six Friends that make for the best moments of what is almost a two-hour programme.

Friends fans will love seeing the stars back in Central Perk, in those famous apartments, sitting on a couch in front of the fountain. They will love the table reads, the actors slipping effortlessly back into character, and the stories of things that went wrong on set. Then there’s the conversations about how the cast all felt when they met each other for the first time, and how they felt the moment they wrapped for the finale (okay, one spoiler: lots of tears).

And they’ll enjoy the appearances from the series’ other stars who all helped make Friends what it is, including Tom Selleck (Dr Richard Burke), Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles (Jack and Judy Geller), Maggie Wheeler (Janice), Larry Hankin (Mr Heckles) and James Michael Tyler, better known as Gunther.

Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox in Friends: The Reunion. Pic: Warner Media/ HBO/ Sky UK
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The six stars share their memories from their time on set

But the other celebrity guests? They’re fun, but not all of them work. Watch out for Lady Gaga’s segment, by far the best of the cameos, but some of the other star appearances feel like filler. Friends fans only really want to hear from the Friends, after all. And a section on fans talking from around the world about what the show has meant to them over the years while in places is quite touching, also feels a little too earnest.

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Despite the padding, Friends fans will no doubt love it. Seventeen years after the end of one of the most talked about TV shows on the planet it’s hard at this point to say anything new, although there is one reveal which will no doubt set social media alight.

But this isn’t really about revelations. It’s about the real friendship between the six stars. Friends in a one-sentence pitch, we hear, is a show “about that time in your life when your friends are your family”. It was a series reflecting the times of our lives – who doesn’t want to reminisce about that?

Friends: The Reunion will be available in the UK and Ireland on Sky and streaming service NOW on demand from 8.02am on Thursday, and will be broadcast on Sky One later that evening at 8pm

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