Reviewing Friends reunion: 'Sweet Mother of All that is Good and Pure'
Could this have been any more pleasing? Friends: The Reunion has won the billions of heart with the tradition of fun and friendship. Nearly, after two decades, fans are taken on a feelgood walk down memory lane when the cast of FRIENDS has reunited for a celebration of the hit sitcom. Friends: The Reunion reminds us that dreams do come true. The announcement of the much-anticipated reunion had itself nearly broke the internet. And the two hours telecast on 27th May has genuinely provided great delight to its fans across the globe. It was designed especially for the fans but it was a loving, fun, emotional gift for the cast and creators (Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and Kevin Bright were all on hand) too.
Spoiler Alert: As HBO Max had already clarified that the reunion special is not a new Friends episode. It has been an interactive and emotional roller-coaster ride. It begins with David Schwimmer walking to the same sets and remembering as well as awaiting the rest cast members. “Wow,” David Schwimmer murmurs, wandering the set. “It’s—I mean, this is beautiful. It’s beautiful.” After that Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and Matthew Perry walk to the same set. Fans across the globe felt an instant rush of nostalgia as our beloved Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross — all back in the same room together for just the second time since the series ended in 2004.
Throughout the show, we watch the six cast members share stories while hanging out on the set, give us some entertaining and back camera experiences about the show during a more formal sit-down with the host, James Corden, welcome surprise guests, and read and re-create iconic scenes from the series. They give lively table-read performances of scenes from classic episodes: the one with the jellyfish, the one where everyone finds out. In another segment, the actors gathered in the space formerly known as Monica’s living room, participate in an updated version of Ross’s famous trivia quiz modelled after the apartment-swap bet in 'The One With the Embryos'.
Director Ben Winston has done a neat job of programming the special as a series of games and chatter, included the admirers’ perspectives from around the world demonstrating to Friends as a fact of globalization. A man in India expresses that Friends helped him grieve after his father died. Liz, from Mexico, communicates about the isolation of being queer, and how Friends helped her feel a little less lonely. The finale to the celebration is support from Malala Yousafzai, the education-equality activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and her best friend, Vee. “You’re Joey with a hint of Phoebe,” Vee says to her friend. Malala smiles at this. And she adds, “Friends brought friends together.”
The show wraps up with a ramp show thrown in the mix. And the appearance of special guests that includes K-Pop group BTS, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and soccer star David Beckham, where Justin Bieber dressed as a potato and Matt joins the ramp as Joey wears all of Chandler’s clothes. Cara Delevingne walked on wearing the famous bridesmaid dress Rachel Green wore to Mindy and Barry's wedding. The viewers find that the virtual appearances of BTS and David Beckham were a bit disappointing. But the cameos of a few actors from the ten-season long sitcom showed up to celebrate the reunion and recall about the time gone by were heart-warming.
The virtual and physical appearance of the few actors like Larry Hankin returns as Mr Heckles; Matt LeBlanc’s twin hands guy Thomas Lennon shows up; even the moustache himself Tom Selleck arrives, and it feels precise to let Richard enlighten us all that no one really knows what Chandler’s job was. The arrival of Janice Hosenstein with her iconic “Oh My God!” expression and the presence of the parents Mr Jack Geller and Mrs Judy Geller completes the reunion. The part where Lady Gaga gets to jam “Smelly Cat” with Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay was pleasurable to watch.
Overall, the reunion was worth watching and rating it with 4.8 points out of 5. In the 90’s the TV pilot had impacted viewers deeply and helped many to cope with diverse problems. So, the present world is getting along with such a tough period and the reunion has brought glimpses of hope and happiness. More specifically, the whole reunion was not a new script, not heavy depressing catchup with characters that could never match up to their innocence on-screen previously.
Apart from the warmth and entertaining ideas, the characters have also shared a few moments of truth like Perry’s career and life didn’t shift gears smoothly after Friends ended. For a moment it was disappointing to hear that Lisa rejected the idea of a reboot or a Friends film, but would take great solace in observing the enduring chemistry and friendship between the former co-stars who are now just friends. But the idea behind it fairly justifies her statement. She says, “I don’t want anyone’s happy ending unraveled,” Ultimately, she conveys, it’s up to creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane, but, as she has heard them say before, they wrapped up the show “very nicely,” with everyone getting some sort of happily ever after. And to make new stories about these six people, those happily ever after would have to be undone to some level. I believe that the fans would be agreeing with Lisa.
Sometimes things should be left as it is that makes it legendary. Then the responses to a question that where the characters would be today, bring out some interesting and satisfying outlook. Jennifer says as Rachel “I think we ended up getting married, and we had some kids. And Courteney Cox imagines that today Monica would be running the PTA at her kids’ school and Matt LeBlanc says Joey would own a sandwich shop in Venice Beach? Lisa added, “Phoebe’s married to Mike and she was like the advocate for her kids who were a little different and all the other kids who were just a little different, you know?” As Kauffman describes, this show was meant to be about a specific time in anyone’s life when their friends are their family and that, like so many good things, has a natural end to it.
The show has come up at the mark and the reunion is exactly like a reunion of any other friends after completing a long journey. As a viewer, the nostalgia special, also known as The One Where They Get Back Together, makes us wish for a reunion of our friends like that.
Last but not the least, a FRIENDS’ fan theory that I read on the internet and makes too much sense. The one where Phoebe hallucinated the entire show; as per the theory, Phoebe never exited the streets and remained homeless. She was using dissimilar substances and would stare through the window of Central Perk, visualization a different life. All she ever wished was friends, so she fantasized them up. All ten seasons are just jutting from her cloudy mind while Chandler, Ross, Monica, Rachel, and Joey are inside, wondering why a crazy lady remains to stare at them.