Who hasn’t seen, or at least heard of Friends?
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few decades (or frozen as a Capsicle for 75 years), it would be impossible to miss the pop culture juggernaut that invaded that TV screens in 1994.
Love it or hate it, there is no escaping Friends and so was it really that shocking when fans of the TV series were waiting for the reunion and endlessly discussed as HBO Max teased episode with clips from the pre-recorded show, which was hosted by James Corden.
The TV special aired 27 May 2021 and featured the six stars – Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer – as themselves as they relive the years when they were respectively Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross.
And, *SPOILERS ALERT *, these are some of the highlights of the almost two-hour special.
- David Schwimmer admitted that the chemistry between himself and Aniston were real. There was a point, he said, especially in the first seasons, when they were crushing on each other, and they effectively channelled these to their characters, Ross and Rachel. But, he said, they were not able to act on their feelings because they were with other people at different points in their life, and they respected those relationships. To which, Le Blanc retorted: “Bullshit.”
- Cara Delavigne, Cindy Crawford, and Justin Bieber all appeared as guest stars wearing iconic clothes worn in the show. Delavigne wore the pink bridesmaid dress that Rachel wore, complete with the skirt hiked up to show her butt; she later came back as the Holiday Armadillo (YES!); Crawford wore the infamous leather pants Ross disastrously wore to date, while Bieber came as Spudnik.
- Marta Kauffman and David Crane said the show was based on people in their own lives, and depicted that time in your life when “your friends are your family”.
- David (for Ross) was first to be cast, while Jennifer was last (as Rachel). Rachel was the hardest because the character was built to be spoilt and unlikeable, but they needed somebody who can blunt the edges;
- People from around the world attested to how their lives changed because of Friends. Some were suffering from depression because of a dying family member; others were going through a similar trauma. Most of them said Friends helped them pull through their problems because, like one fan said, “it’s like they are really my friends”.
- Christine Pickles and Elliot Gould, who played Ross and Monica’s parents, appeared. It was an emotional high for the show when Christine admitted that they really did treat the six as their real children, worrying for them;
- Lady Gaga came as Phoebe in a meta-reference to the show, along with her own guitar and jammed with Lisa Kudrow for Smelly Cat! Lady Gaga! And boy did she put the ode to the stinky feline in yet a new level.
- How are the characters now, so many years later? Ross and Rachel are still married, while Ross is still “playing with bones” (this drew a guffaw from Joey/Matt), Phoebe is married to Mike still and she heads this organization for kids who are viewed as different (like her character was); and Monica and Chandler are still together, with Monica still competitive af, while Chandler makes her laugh every day. Joey, meantime, has his own sandwich shop.
- No, sadly, Paul Rudd, and Ben Sprouse did not make an appearance.