The reunion episode of Friends was widely publicized. It was slated for May 27th 2021. I forgot on that day! How horrible! I decided not to read any reviews or comments or anything before I watched the episode myself. I did not want my viewing experience to be biased by third-party opinions.
I just finished watching it. Now I can read what the world had to say about a reunion after 17 years!
I am not a crazy fan of Friends. But I love the show and have watched all seasons, twice I think. I cannot tear myself away from the TV if some random episode appears while channel surfing. Last summer, my teenage daughter and I binge-watched several seasons. I realized then Friends is timeless and ageless. Imagine the pleasure of 2 people separated agewise by approximately 30 years rolling on the floor in shared laughter! It was wonderful.
Friends has always been great conversation material that way. If you find someone who loves Friends, then you are guaranteed to get along pretty well with them. I have an added advantage that many may not be able to boast about. I forget most of the episodes. This means that when someone brings up the one with <something or the other>, I can listen to it and laugh as if I heard it for the first time. When I watch an episode that I’ve watched earlier, I can still laugh like I did the first time. Such a brilliant advantage!
I did not know what to expect from the Reunion. I just wanted to see all six of those iconic folks together again. About one and a half hours well spent, if I don’t count the time taken for the photoshoot with the TV after that. 🙂
In my mind, those good-looking friends hadn’t aged. I have not been tracking any of them on social media. So I was a little taken aback to see that in fact, they had all aged while I was not looking. I’ve watched Joey in Man with a Plan. So I was a little prepared in his case. But to me, the rest were all frozen in time.
I managed to get over the ‘aging’ factor and enjoyed the rest of the show. Except for Chandler. I have to admit that he is my favorite. It is hard to pick a favorite. I love them all. They are all amazing actors. But Chandler and his witticisms have a special place in my heart. He shocked me the most. But he more than made up by being witty and clever even in that short duration. Ah, Chandlerisms!
So why did I cry? A lot? I don’t really know. They cried. So I cried. That could be one reason. It was just so emotional to see them all again. That’s another. A feeling of nostalgia and wistfulness, maybe? To see them recall their favorite episodes, to see Joey and Chandler on their respective recliners, to watch the easy banter … All of it made me tear up.
Friendship is a blessing. What these 6 people had on the show and during the filming for over ten years is the stuff of dreams. I think very few people can claim to have that kind of a strong friendship in their lives. Maybe it is that underlying sentiment that really moves me. I have lots of really close friends. But the kind of “I’ll be there for you” displayed on the show is available to a lucky few, I guess.
Did I mention that the iconic song also tears me up? Gosh. I am beginning to wonder if I have some serious issues with my hormones.
They showed us some footage of folks across the world who talked about how the show had helped them or changed their lives. I am not surprised. I think the 6 of them do realize the power they have had over generations of people and how they have moved their audiences in all kinds of ways. It must be such a humbling experience for the entire cast and crew to have had such an incredible impact regardless of language or geography. That’s what came through in the reunion episode — the realization about the impact they have created and continue to create for generations of people.
The makers talked about how difficult it was to find the perfect cast. Ross and Phoebe fell in place quickly. But the rest took over two months. How must that phase have been — when they knew someone was not right? And when they knew someone was exactly right? 17 years later, the world still acknowledges that the casting was perfect and we would not have even the slightest change in anything or anyone.
I knew the show was immensely popular. But to be reminded again about famous actors like Reese Witherspoon, Brad Pitt, Tom Selleck, and countless others who happily played a cameo goes to show just how loved the series was.
The reunion had some ha ha moments with the cast reading out some of their funniest dialogs. After all these years, those scenes are still ROTFL moments! They also had a ramp walk with some of the iconic costumes from the show on display by none other than folks like Cindy Crawford (Ross’s tight leather pants) and Justin Bieber (Potato). And who came along and sang the inimitable melody Smelly Cat? Lady Gaga no less!
Apart from all the tear-jerking moments and the 6-member huddles by the Friends, I really liked one of the questions. Someone asked Lisa Kudrow if she had ever considered continuing the show or maybe starring in a Friends movie. Her answer was awesome. She said the makers had ended the show beautifully and all 6 of them had arrived at a happy place. Any continuation would require unraveling that. She was not ok with that. Nor am I. Some things are best left where they are and the ending of Friends is like that. It left us heavy-hearted but happy for all of them.
I had the same sentiment at the end of the Reunion. Something like this may never happen in my lifetime again. But it was short and beautiful. And I am lucky to have watched this episode.