HBO Max’s Friends: The Reunion Brings the Laughs, the Tears, and the Surprises

Alice Oscura, Featured Writer

Well, the long-awaited Friends: The Reunion special is finally here, and can this…be anymore more exciting? Answer is, I think not! The iconic television show ran for 10 Seasons from 1994 to 2004. Now 17 years have passed (makes me feel so old right now) and it’s time to reunite everyone’s favourite group of friends!

So, bring out the box of tissues and tuck in while I reveal my top 10 memorable moments from the Friends: The Reunion in ten giant-sized cups from Central Perk.

#10 Rachel Green’s character was the most difficult and last role to be cast

The Rachel lives!

The show’s executive producers and co-creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane explained how they managed to put together the iconic Friends cast. The easiest roles to cast were actually Ross (David Schwimmer) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow). They almost didn’t get Matthew Perry (Chandler) and Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) as they were both working on other projects at the time, especially Aniston who had already filmed six episodes for another show that might have been picked up by the CBS Network.

Aniston simultaneously filmed the first three episodes for Friends and ended up falling head over heels in love with the show’s dynamic and her fellow cast members. So she begged to be released from her commitment. She got her wish but was warned that the role would never make her a star. Well, she sure showed them!

#9 Lady Gaga and Lisa Kudrow duet Smelly Cat

Name a more icon duet. I’ll wait

Kudrow entertains the audience with one of the most famous songs from the show (other than the title theme) “Smelly Cat” while strumming what appears to be the same guitar she used in her role as Phoebe Buffay. However, she is a bit awkwardly and surprisingly disturbed by none other than superstar singer Lady Gaga whose dress code was definitely inspired by Phoebe and was also carrying a guitar of her own. She apologises for interrupting and sings along with Kudrow but Lady Gaga-style. In other words, only Lady Gaga can make a silly song like Smelly Cat hit emotional cords. Well, that and the surprise accompaniment of a backup choir.

Now for the burning question that I am sure that a lot of you guys have on your mind right now. What on earth does Lady Gaga have to do with Friends? Well, the Reunion wasn’t just about the cast themselves reuniting and reminiscing. It was also about how certain characters and events affected people, including fellow celebrities. Lady Gaga told Kudrow that Phoebe’s character inspired her the most because she showed her that it was definitely okay to be different.

Do you remember all the words to Smelly Cat?

#8 Game of Thrones’s Kit Harington discusses “Pivot…Pivot…Pivot…Pivot…Pivot!”

Before watching Friends I really knew nothing

For the Game of Thrones fans out there actor Kit Harington aka Jon Snow discusses one of the funniest scenes for him in a Friends episode. This was back in Season 5, Episode 16 “The One with the Cop”. For many of us, this was one of the most hilarious scenes.

Ross just bought a new sofa, and he doesn’t want the added expense of paying the store to have the piece of furniture delivered to his apartment. The scene depicts Ross, Rachel, and Chandler struggling to get this extremely large and heavy sofa up a narrow flight of stairs in an apartment building. Ross is at the top trying in vain to direct Rachel and Chandler below and he ends up shouting out “pivot” numerous times in frustration trying to get the stubborn piece of furniture to move.

A video clip of the blooper for that scene is shown and it’s going to make you absolutely hysterical with laughter when you see it. Actor David Schwimmer said that he laughed the hardest ever in his entire life while trying to film that scene. The trio couldn’t stop laughing and it got worse after Chandler retorts, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”

#7 Friends became friends of the world

Back to the Perk. (Photo by: Alice S. Hall/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Interviews were conducted with people all over the world about how certain aspects of the show impacted their lives. Young women explained how Monica’s empowering scene of her changing the age-old narrative and proposing to Chandler herself inspired them to not just fall into everyone’s expectations of women, or get married to the first person that you fall in love with because not everything in life is textbook. Others spoke about watching the show at the most emotional, loneliest, and darkest moments in their lives and it became an outlet for them, as well as giving them that sense of belonging to a group of friends without fear of judgment.

Even celebrities have touted the show as the one that they would just pop on when they were missing their family when they had to travel for work as it would just help them to deal with their feelings.

The statistics of the show during its run and afterwards, including people who stream to re-watch and the purchases of the DVDs, is phenomenal and it also became the first show to be translated into 18 different languages.

#6 Courteney Cox had trouble remembering her lines

I’m not crying! You’re crying!

Matt LeBlanc reveals that Courteney Cox would always have a difficult time remembering her lines and would often write them on the table in Monica’s apartment or hide her script in the kitchen sink. LeBlanc recalls that one time he asked her about it, and she told him to mind his business. Feeling mischievous LeBlanc admitted that one time he erased the lines from the table. Cox looked as though she never realised that LeBlanc was the one that erased the lines and told him that it was so mean.

This scene happens almost immediately after Cox reunites with the cast members and she is still crying from the number of emotions that she was experiencing. LeBlanc does something so cute and sweet while he is retelling her the story…look out for it. It is definitely a big AWE moment during the Reunion.

#5 A trivia game reveals that still no one knows what Chandler did for a living

And for five gajillion points…

The cast do a recreation of the famous quiz that made Monica and Rachel lose their apartment to Chandler and Joey in Season 4, Episode 12 “The One with the Embryos”. After a few questions the inevitable came and the girls were asked what Chandler Bing does for a living. Aniston tried to reply with the same answer that made them lose the apartment to the guys the last time, “transponster,” to which Cox reiterates is not even a word.

The question was asked by actor Tom Selleck aka Dr Richard Burke (Monica’s ex-boyfriend) who made a special guest appearance. The answer is nobody knows, not even the writers of the show, and we may never know as it just seems to be a running gag.

#4 Matthew Perry touches on the downside of fame

Keep good man

It was noticeable that actor Matthew Perry doesn’t have a lot to say during the Reunion show and when he did speak his words were noticeably a little slurred. However, to quell the worries of fans a close source revealed that the actor had an emergency tooth procedure that same day and he was in a considerable amount of pain.

Perry’s personal struggles with alcohol and drug addiction were no secret. It is also documented how extremely difficult it was for his fellow cast members to see his deterioration from the sidelines. However, the actor has confirmed that he is still thankfully sober.

While his history with addiction is not brought up during the Reunion, Perry does touch on the immense pressure that he felt when filming before a live audience and that he felt as he was going to die if he didn’t get a laugh. The symptoms that he described sounded very much like having a panic attack. Sometimes, the pressure to be funny all the time can prove to be too much for many comedians and sadly in Perry’s case he suffered a lot despite his rise to fame on the show. Celebrities are people after all, folks.

#3 “Oh…My…God!” it’s Janice!

So who here liked the laugh? Show of hands. Anyone? Anyone?

Needless to say, the Friends Reunion show was jam-packed with special celebrity appearances from all walks of life. However, one of the more memorable appearances is actress Maggie Wheeler who played the role of Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice. Who doesn’t remember her iconic nasal laugh?

Now 59 years-old the actress popped in to reminisce on Janice’s contribution to the series. Her entrance was staged perfectly, and Wheeler revealed how easy it was to play a swift-talking New Yorker because it was so close to who she was in real life. Sporting an attractive touch of gray, the actress said that Matthew Perry was so naturally funny that she could barely keep a straight face and so was born the iconic, ridiculous laugh.

The moment that she takes the time to embrace Perry is so emotionally touching. And she thanked him for inspiring the laugh that made the character so memorable.

Are you guys still with me? Are you crying yet?

#2 Surprise fashion show with supermodels and Justin Bieber

I don’t want to be “that guy” but Biebs looks like he put on a few pounds. #justsaying Photography by Terence Patrick

This truly turns into a star-studded event when host James Corden surprised the cast with a fashion show comprising just a few of the most iconic costume pieces from the series.

British model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne models Rachel’s super pink bridesmaid dress worn for her ex-fiancé Barry and Mindy’s wedding, and the Holiday Armadillo. Iconic super model Cindy Crawford struts her stuff in Ross’s too-tight black leather pants while Canadian singer Justin Bieber models Ross’ Halloween potato costume known affectionately as “Spud-nik”.

#1 Ross and Rachel almost became David and Jennifer?

I still want to know if they were on a break

A gigantic bombshell was dropped during the Reunion folks! Ross and Rachel almost spilled into real life! Schwimmer and Aniston revealed that they were crushing hard on each other during the earlier seasons of Friends but that the timing was never quite right and plus if it didn’t work out it could endanger the entire dynamic of the show. This candid detail was supported by the confession of sofa cuddles during filming breaks and the unbelievable chemistry that is evident in their first onscreen kiss.

Their fellow cast members including actress Maggie Wheeler confirmed that it was widely known on set that the duo did have serious crushes on each other. Whew, talk about a juicy fact for us Ross and Rachel fans. I suppose that it made so much sense now because their comfort level with each other was incredibly noticeable. Boggles the mind to think , “What if she didn’t get married to Brad Pitt”, huh?

Closing Remarks

Say goodbye with a little help from our Friends

Host James Corden pushes to find out whether or not we will be able to see a Friends movie in the works for the future, but both cast and creators shot it down permanently. I wholly agree with their mutual response which was that it would unravel the neat happy endings that they gave each of the characters. I never disputed the show’s finale, and it would be doing it a great injustice to try to recreate something just for the sake of drama.

The Reunion was good enough for me and I would like to think that they kept their verbal promises of trying to make more time for each other to meet up more often physically, and not just communicate over phone calls.

They are the friends that everybody want to see and wish to have.

Alice’s Score: 8.5 out of 10

So what was your favourite moment from the Reunion. You can check out more sitcom nostalgia below:

Punky Brewster Revival Series Scratches That Nostalgia Itch
Top 7 ‘Saved by the Bell’ Characters + Catching Up with the Cast Now
39AFB96D-4DEF-4DED-8DFE-3400E758CE9B

Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More