When Jennifer Aniston enters the iconic set of Friends after 17 years and asks “Where’s the tissue box?”, I bet every Friends fan around the world felt it.
Friends: The Reunion has been the most awaited reunion of all time since the show’s final episode, which aired on May 6, 2004. Fans have requested the makers to come up with either a special episode featuring the six friends, a movie dedicated to the characters, or even just a meet and greet.
So naturally, it was an emotional rollercoaster to finally see the six friends come together one last time for the reunion. The reunion episode begins with David Schwimmer (Ross Geller) entering the famous set of Monica’s apartment which featured in most of the 236 episodes. After Schwimmer, we see Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Matt Le Blanc (Joey Tribbiani), Courtney Cox (Monica Geller) and finally, Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing). Could he BE any more late?
Now, the Reunion involved the cast of Friends returning as themselves and not as their beloved characters. However, the members shared several stories and their experience of working on the show, the bond they shared with each other. In addition, some of the most popular supporting characters also made their appearances.
What followed is a journey through memories and nostalgia for Friends fans. Friends: The Reunion had the cast sharing their memories and visiting the most featured sets such as Monica and Joey’s apartments and Central Perk. Some iconic moments were recreated and guest stars shared their views on the show.
Let us take a look at a recap of events as seen in Friends: The Reunion.
If you haven’t watched the Reunion yet, please note that the article contains major spoilers from the episode.
1. The One Where They Share Their Memories
Much of the episode featured behind-the-scenes flashbacks and the cast sharing their memories from when they shot the show. The six friends were seen to be in conversation with James Corden to take a trip down memory lane.
Le Blanc enters Monica’s apartment and asks “Does Courtney still have her lines written on the table?” and the others are seen breaking into laughter. We see a behind-the-scenes clip of how Le Blanc injures himself while filming “The One Where No One’s Ready” and how later, his broken arm was written into the show.
On being asked what the cast disliked about the show, David Schwimmer shares some memories which date back to Season 1 and 2. Schwimmer’s character Ross had a storyline where he got a pet monkey, Marcel, on the show, and apparently, Schwimmer did not have much of a pleasant experience with him.
The cast also shared their experience working with each other. Lisa Kudrow talks about the first scene the gang ever shot in Central Perk and how all of them realized how perfectly cast they were.
The bond the cast shared from the show is clear, as they are seen laughing at each other’s jokes, revisiting old sets, and sharing their experience of watching themselves on screen. Apparently, Kudrow detested seeing herself while Schwimmer just started watching the show with his daughter recently.
The writers also shared how the lives of the six changed after Season 1, and how they shot to fame. The six were seen everywhere from magazine covers to television interviews. Friends was a phenomenon of a kind, back in the ’90s.
2. The “Perfectly Cast” Cast
One of the highlights of the reunion is when the makers of the show, Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane, share the story behind how they came up with such a perfect cast.
Kauffman shared that Ross’ character was written with Schwimmer’s voice in mind, who went on to be the first one to be cast for the show.
Schwimmer’s casting was followed by Lisa Kudrow. Kudrow nailed the audition and completely synced into the character of Phoebe. No surprises there! Kudrow is arguably one of the best actors among the six and she elevated the quirky Phoebe Buffay to another level.
After Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc was cast as Joey, owing to his naturally funny vibe which we witness even in this episode. Courtney Cox was then cast as Monica, followed by Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing.
According to Crane, Chandler was really difficult to cast, though it seemed easy at first. Jennifer Aniston was cast as Rachel Green at the end and she was the hardest one to cast because of the growth that her character goes through.
As we know, Rachel is one character who is not likeable at all at first but in the course of the show, she evolves and changes as a person by becoming more independent and more likeable. Both Aniston and Perry were already working in other shows but quit to play Rachel and Chandler respectively in Friends and we thank God they did!
Also, my personal deepest condolences to the unnamed producer who apparently told Aniston that Friends will not make her a star when she quit the show she was working on. Could he BE any more wrong?
Bright, Kauffman, and Crane also shared how they came up with the jokes and plotlines and how the audience’s reaction made a lot of difference to the script. It was delightful to hear the story of the making of the show from the creators themselves.
Apparently, when Perry’s jokes would not make the live audience laugh, it would worry and stress him out. As Friends fans, we can assure you, Matthew, that Chandler Bing’s jokes work more than anything!
3. Iconic Moments Recreated
The tear-jerking moments of the show for me were definitely the ones where the cast re-enacts the iconic scenes from the show. Lisa Kudrow re-enacted her iconic moment from “The One Where Everybody Finds Out”, where she screams “My eyes! My eyes!” when she discovers that Chandler and Monica are dating.
The standout moment is definitely when Ross squeals in and joins Phoebe and Rachel as they shout and jump in order to divert Ross’s attention. Schwimmer lets out another squeal as they read their lines and we love it!
Another hilarious moment is the one where Chandler has to pee on Monica after she was stung by a jellyfish. We laughed out loud as Le Blanc, Perry and Cox re-read their lines from the script where the three tell the gang about the embarrassing incident.
Gosh, Matt still has the same energy when he says “If I had to, I’d pee on any one of you!”
Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer also reread their lines from the scene of their first kiss in the show in Central Perk as Ross and Rachel. It’s been 17 years, but the chemistry between Jennifer and David is still fresh as ever.
And how long have we waited for Ross Geller to say “The test is ready!” once again since Season 4, “The One With the Embryos”. One of the most popular episodes of the sitcom featured Rachel and Monica losing a quiz to Joey and Chandler about how well they know each other.
As a result, Joey and Chandler win their apartment from them and the girls have to shift to the boys’ apartment. In the reunion, David Schwimmer is back as the quiz host, and this time, the questions revolve around how well the actors know their show.
Fans definitely experienced a boost of nostalgia and burst of laughter as the cast struggled to answer Schwimmer’s questions, which also recreated some of the iconic moments of the show, such as Joey finding his hand twin, an appearance by the quirky neighbor Mr. Heckles, and the barbershop quartet singing Ross’ song for Rachel.
4. “Were Ross and Rachel on a Break?” Answered
James Corden, the anchor of the show, asks the six one vital question which still remains controversial after 17 years of the end of Friends: Were Ross and Rachel on a break?
Fans have debated this question over and over again. Friends fans still hold contrary opinions to whether or not the couple were on a break when Ross slept with Chloe just after an apparent breakup with Rachel.
However, the cast answers rather quickly. And it is a yes! Each of the six, including Aniston herself, said that Ross and Rachel were definitely on a break.
But that’s not the end to it. A secret was revealed on the reunion episode: David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston were crushing on each other offscreen while they were on the show! Rumours have come and gone through the years, but this was the first time Aniston and Schwimmer confirmed that they had real feelings for each other.
According to Jennifer and David, they channelized their emotions into Ross and Rachel. If you’re a Ross and Rachel fan, this would not fail to bring tears to your eyes. (I cried a river!)
Though they did not act on it as they did not consider it serious enough (and both were dating other people), this is a dream come true for all Ross and Rachel fans. Ross and Rachel have been one of the most iconic couples in television history, and let’s face it, we all went awww when Rachel got off the plane for Ross, even if were sceptical about them getting back together.
The cherry on the cake was when Aniston and Schwimmer read and enact the scene where Ross and Rachel first share a kiss in Season 2, and we are all hearts on the dazzling chemistry.
5. The Actual Truth about Mondler Revealed!
There is a whole episode titled “The One with the Truth About London”. London is where Monica and Chandler, another of the most loved couples of television first get together. In the episode, we hear the truth that Monica was actually looking to hook up with Joey but didn’t find him, so she went for Chandler instead.
Now that’s that! But in the Reunion episode, we hear the truth about how Chandler and Monica became a couple, from the makers themselves.
Kauffman, one of the creators, says that when Mondler (ship name for Monica and Chandler given by the fans) hooked up in London during Ross’ wedding, it was supposed to be a one-time thing. However, seeing the overwhelming reaction from the audience, the writers decided to make it an actual thing.
Even during the earlier episodes of Season 5, where Mondler keeps their relationship a secret from the rest of the friends, the makers intended it to be another fun track which would not lead to anything serious.
But Mondler worked beautifully and the audience fell in love with the easy-going, relatable chemistry of Courtney and Matthew, and so, the writers decided to make it permanent. And we SO approve of the decision.
6. A Smelly Cat Reprise
One of the biggest highlights of the reunion was Lisa Kudrow picking up the guitar once again to sing the iconic Phoebe Buffay song, “Smelly Cat”! If you’ve been a Friends fan for long enough, you are bound to know the lyrics by heart.
Lady Gaga also joins Kudrow in singing “Smelly Cat”. We get a new and revised reprise version of the iconic Phoebe song and we cannot stop humming. It is almost like Lisa Kudrow just slipped back into character when she picked up the guitar.
In classic Phoebe style, Kudrow goes, “I still like it when it is just me” after singing the song with Lady Gaga and other chorus singers.
You are bound to feel nostalgic with all the memories that will come rushing back to you, especially if you’re a fan who watched the show during its original run from 1994 to 2004.
7. The Iconic Costumes
The episode also featured a sort of fashion show where celebrities turned up in some of the most iconic costumes of the show. The show featured Rachel’s pink bridesmaid costume from Barry and Mindy’s wedding, Ross’ costume as the Holiday Armadillo, and also his leather pants which were too tight for him.
The star of the fashion show was Justin Bieber, who walked the ramp dressed in the Spudnik costume from the Halloween party in Season 8, and Matt Le Blanc dressed in all of Chandler’s clothes from Season 2.
I wish Courtney would also have gotten her ramp moment with a turkey over her head. But okay, let us let that go.
8. Supporting Stars and Guest Star Appearances
The episode was studded with appearances from different celebrities sharing their emotions about the show and also members from the supporting cast.
Maggie Wheeler, who played Janice in Friends, made an appearance with her iconic “OH. MY. GOD!”. We even met Larry Hankin who played Mr. Heckles. Hankin made an appearance while the cast was playing the quiz.
Another supporting actor who made an appearance during the quiz is Tom Selleck, who starred in the show as Monica’s on-and-off boyfriend Dr. Richard Burke. James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther in the show, was unable to be physically present in the reunion but joined the cast via a zoom call.
In the audience, we spotted Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles, who played Jack and Judy Geller in the show. Ross and Monica’s parents appeared in several episodes throughout the ten seasons and it was heart-warming to see them back.
We dearly missed Paul Rudd, who played Phoebe’s husband Mike Hannigan in the last two seasons of the show. Phoebe and Mike had a fun chemistry and their characters complimented each other well. It would be fun if Paul Rudd (who is now better known as Ant-Man) would have made an appearance on the episode.
Famous names such as Reese Witherspoon (who also played Rachel’s sister Jill in the show), David Beckham, BTS, Malala Yousafzai, and Kit Harrington also shared how they are connected to the show emotionally and which were their favorite moments.
9. The One Where We Have to Say Goodbye Again
But keeping that aside, the Friends reunion was a trip down memory lane and a rollercoaster of emotions. These six people have had an incredible impact on millions of fans worldwide and have almost become a part of our life.
This Reunion was long due, and we cannot thank Warner Bros. and HBO Max enough for actually making this happen. However, it was really difficult to say goodbye again. As the six friends sat in the iconic purple apartment watching bloopers and behind-the-scenes shots together, it would be a lie to say it didn’t stir the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.
The episode also featured fans of the show from all over the world sharing their experience of watching the show. Fans from Mexico, Ghana, India, Japan, and other countries shared their love for the show proving the international popularity of Friends even today.
The cast broke into tears as the episode ended and we saw flashbacks from the day they shot the last episode and we’re all emotional and in tears. When Matthew Perry broke into tears saying “I am gonna cry now,” you can’t help but think of the episode “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry“.
After all, he is always the one to not cry. Last things last, this episode was special. It was a tribute to one of the most iconic shows of television and a real treat for Friends fans.
10. About F.R.I.E.N.D.S
F.R.I.E.N.D.S is an American television sitcom created by David Crane, and Marta Kauffman which aired on NBC. The ensemble cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry. The show ran from 1994 to 2004 for ten seasons. A reunion by HBO is currently in the works.
The highly anticipated reunion episode of TV Show Friends will air on HBO max on 27 May. The reunion will cast the main six characters, Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry.
It follows six friends in New York navigating life and relationships through their 20s and 30s.