Seventeen years after its finale, the world’s most-watched TV show, Friends, returned to our screens last month. The six most beloved friends in history took part in a reunion that featured several celebrity guests.
While the reunion was not quite the reboot episode hoped for, fans did get the chance to feast their eyes on unseen bloopers and to hear the six stars do table reads of beloved episodes. They also got to hear some touching stories from fans of the show from all around the world.
The long-awaited reunion included all six Friends stars, who shared funny anecdotes from the show, revealed some juicy gossip and cried a lot. The reunion took place in the original set of their New York apartments and the Central Perk coffee house, as well as beside the famous fountain from the show’s opening credits. The evening was hosted by British funnyman James Corden, who also shared stories of his personal connections to the show.
Besides the six main friends, other characters who made an appearance, were Monica Geller’s ex-boyfriend Richard (played by Peter Sellick), Central Perk’s head barista Gunther (played by James Michael Tyler), and Chandler’s loud girlfriend Janice (played by Maggie Wheeler).
The three producers Bright, Kauffman and Crane also shared stories and anecdotes about how the casting, revealing such tidbits like Matt LeBlanc having only nine dollars to his name when he auditioned for Joey. It was touching to see the chemistry and friendship that still remains between the cast, although it seemed that the cast had not seen each other for a long time.
A star-studded celebrity special guest lineup, including pop icon Lady Gaga and football legend David Beckham, also added to the show’s fun level. However, the reunion did come under scrutiny for a lack of racial diversity after the list of special celebrity guests revealed that there were no black people included. Political activist Malala Yousafzai and Korean super-band BTS were amongst the extremely short list of people of colour featured in the reboot, and many black fans of the show have expressed some feelings of déjà vu, given that the show had been criticised for a lack of racial diversity in the past as well. The only black characters in the entire ten seasons of Friends were Ross’ palaeontologist girlfriend, Charlie (played by Aisha Tyler), and Joey’s love interest, Kristen (played by Gabrielle Union), with the latter only featuring in one episode.
Despite the criticism, millions of people tuned in for the screening of Friends: The Reunion – The One Where They Get Back Together which was shown on the American streaming service HBO Max on the 27th of May.