A Fan’s Account: 10 Best Things About the FRIENDS Reunion
Watching FRIENDS isn’t just like watching a show, it’s like actually having these characters in one’s life.
(Alert: This piece contains spoilers)
I don’t think I have to mention that I am crying while writing this. Yes, I cried the moment I pressed play on FRIENDS Reunion. And do I think it’s okay that ZEE5 charged for Rs 500 for this, hell yes.
Here are 10 best things about the show:
1. Bringing in the Makers of the Show
We know that the actors are the ones who get all the credit for any film or show that does well. And though a true fan of FRIENDS will know the people – David Crane, Marta Kauffman, Kevin Bright – who made the show what it is, it was great that the Reunion got them to tell the stories from the time when FRIENDS hadn’t even become a huge hit.
Marta and David spoke about the casting process. Ross was written with David Schwimmer’s voice in mind. However, when they decided to make the show Schwimmer had left TV because of his bad experience on another sitcom. Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) came from a show titled Mad About You, where she played Ursula (a character that gets a mention in FRIENDS too as Phoebe’s twin). The makers said that Rachel’s character was the hardest and the last one to be cast.
“Rachel can be a very unlikable character. When we saw Jennifer, she was already working on another show and we decided to share her with that other series while it was on air. She just added this generosity to Rachel,” says David Crane. For a fan, these were stories that we had only read on forums over the years (sometimes with no truth attached to them), but hearing it from the actors and the makers made it a moment.
2. The FRIENDS Set As It Was
God knows we have always wanted to know what the set REALLY looked like. The makers and the actors have often referred to it in interviews and even spoken about how Monica’s room was a different set all together. But seeing the whole set, the dressing rooms, the entrance, the floor…it gave me goosebumps. From the first shot onwards when David Schwinner walks in, it was like…OH, MY, GOD…
3. Heckles, Dr Richard, Janice…All Came Back!
I don’t know why but when I heard Mr Heckles' voice and when he appeared, I almost jumped. Maybe because he was the first appearance. But just seeing him in that same dark brown robe as he appeared on the show every time (and btw looking the same) brought back a flood of memories. The came Dr Richard. I wanted to see more of him and a little camaraderie between Monica, Chandler and Richard, but I was happy with what I got. And hello…seeing Matt recognise his hand twin two decades later.
The reunion couldn’t have been complete without Janice aka Maggie Wheeler talking about how she came up with the laugh. “I just looked at Mathew and he was so funny. I thought to myself, ‘You’re not going to do much here.’ And there it was.” (Frayed laughter) You know you can hear it.
4. FRIENDS Fans From All Over the World
The show has been watched over 100 million times on all platforms and why not? Years later, it still resonates with anyone who starts watching it – the boomers, the millennials, Gen Z. There are things about the show that I found intriguing when I started watching it for the first time. But the core of it – connects. It's no surprise that the show has fans in South Korea, Ghana, India and so many other countries.
But the fans’ stories didn’t just stop at that. A fan from India spoke about how FRIENDS came in as a warm hug when he was facing a hard fight on his family front. Another woman spoke about how, through her anxiety and depression, she found a comforting partner in FRIENDS. “It really was like they were my friends,” she said. And that’s true for anyone who has watched the show over and again. I have walked into an empty house and just played the show and found myself laughing at line I know at the back of my hand. But that’s the magic of FRIENDS.
5. Ross Hated Marcel The Monkey
There’s a whole episode in Ross’ life when he gets Marcel to be his ride or die. The monkey’s antics on the show made us laugh and almost amazed us at how good the chemistry was between the Ross and him. But uh uh…not so much. David Schwimmer spoke about how he hated the monkey on the show in real life and Matt Le Blanc rigorously agrees with it.
“I love animals, don’t get me wrong. But there were times when we wanted to do something hilarious but the monkey didn’t do what he was supposed to do or he missed a beat and we had to go and do the whole thing over and over again. His trainer gave him live grubs to eat when he was supposed to sit on my shoulders. So there are times when I have had this monkey’s grubby hands all over me. It was time for Marcel to go,” says Schwimmer as he expressed his displeasure towards Marcel.
6. The Readings Were the Best Part
Seeing these six brilliant actors read out lines was nothing short of phenomenal. Lisa Kudrow going “My eyes, my eyes” in the trailer got us all hooked ever since the trailer came out. But it every reading on the Reunion was just as if they are about to go shoot it NOW. During the reading of the scene where Ross and Rachel kiss for the first time, the actors also revealed how they had a crush on each other in the beginning of the show, but the two never pursued it and instead put all the adoration and love they felt in their characters.
7. Watching the Bloopers and Reels From the Filming Days
Lisa Kudrow admitted that she is the loudest when watching bloopers from the show. In one slip of the episode where Joey is hosting a soap opera party, he shows up in a robe and is asked to take off the robe. Matt Le Blanc is seen with a picture of David Schwimmer on his underpants. This is the kind of stuff that makes a fan feel like they didn’t just fall in love with these characters but also the energy that these actors brought into the show as people.
8. Smelly Cat by Phoebe Buffay (Ft Lady Gaga)
Again, you can’t have a FRIENDS Reunion without 'Smelly Cat'. Like old days, Phoebe sat down on the the couch with her off-tune guitar and filled magic in the air with her original song. And there comes Lady Gaga, with her guitar and presents a new version where the choir joins in too. Hallelujah, I want the tape of this version of 'Smelly Cat'. But wait…the best part is when Lady Gaga thanks Lisa Kudrow for being different and being who she was on the show and Kudrow thanks Lady Gaga for carrying it on in the real world. Yes, Phoebe was different and yes she gave strength to so many others who perhaps didn’t relate to being common.
9. The Iconic Costumes
We know there have been some iconic moments in the show which were made even more hilarious with the costumes the characters wore. There was a segment where celebrities including Justin Beiber walked the ramp wearing some of these ACTUAL iconic costumes from the show. Rachel’s candy floss like bridesmaid dress, Ross’ leather pants, his spudnik halloween costume, his holiday armadillo and Matt Le Blanc came wearing all of Chandler’s clothes.
10. The End, But For Good
There was a part where the actors were asked if they would want a revival of the show in the form of a movie or a show. Lisa Kudrow replied with an affirmative no. “Every character in the show had a beautiful ending and for there to be a story Marta and David will have to unravel that beautiful ending and I don’t want that,” she says.
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