Friends The Reunion: We Shouldn't Ask Them to Get Together Again
'Friends: The Reunion' released on 27 May 2021 and many admit it was a poignant nostalgia trip.
Everyone has their own personal favorite Friends character, mine was Chandler. But the Chandler who cracked me up with his one-liners (could I be more impressed by his wit and self-effacing charm?) wasn’t quite who I watched in the much-awaited Friends: The Reunion last Thursday. Mathew Perry looked not just 17 years older but also a bit off-key (almost unwell), with none of his trademark comebacks and genuine goofiness.
And there you have it— Friends was the show it was for a decade because it was written so well, the six characters, their story lines and graphs, their moments of triumph and despair, executed flawlessly by the perfect ensemble cast. The writers and the actors were the king, queen, top dogs of the show.
We’d made our peace and our farewell to all six when they walked offstage in May 2004, to deal with their new stuff— babies in prams replacing strip poker games, everyone neatly paired off except the irrepressible Joey.
So when the six of them walked back onstage after 17 years what really did we expect from them? Certainly not a continuation of their life stories with Monica and Chandler’s teenage twins or Emma rebelling against Ross and Rachel! Nope, nostalgia was the only possible offering by the 'Friends' and that had to be quite enough, minus the cleverly plotted writing and the one-liners and the drama.
The one where they reunited was strictly a watch-fest for the dedicated Friends fans, the ones who wear the merchandise tees and can recite along with the actors, any dialogue from any season in the endless re-runs of the show worldwide.
We were happy just to see the six together in one frame and watch them bond. We needed them to show us they were friends even after 17 years because that way their story is safe and secure in our collective memory, and all is right in the world.
In today’s dystopian times especially, nostalgia and Friends is akin to a warm comforting virtual hug. The visible camaraderie and the revisiting of episodes with the trivia quiz and the table re-reads ticked off all the boxes for us.
Except they didn’t… not quite.
The forced interview format with a clearly unsuitable James Corden asking the most routine questions to an iconic cast and crew, the fashion show (what was that really?), and the totally unnecessary interviews from fans across the world including a tearful boy from India, were just MEH! As were Mindy Kaling and David Beckham giving cliched sound bytes.
The drop-in celebs of the special— Lady Gaga jamming with Phoebe and singing Smelly Cat, Tom Selleck and Reese Witherspoon, Janice (Maggie Wheeler) and her nasal laugh, the Geller parents— rekindled our loyalty and our fond memories. But only to a point.
The almost two hour long special’s real highlight was the personal interactions of the six friends, with the girls all still trim and botoxed finely while the boys kind of ran to girth and sag.
Outspoken Joey, just as we remember him, was the funniest, eclipsing the mostly silent Chandler; Rachel, Monica and Phoebe looked like they could easily share an apartment again and Ross spilled the beans about a real crush on Rachel, and vice versa. The outtakes and bloopers of various episodes over the years were the bonus and the best parts of the reunion episode.
So let’s just watch the re-runs and feel the joy of a simpler time when we were all young and let these six ageing superstars have their quiet dinners (or not!) on their own. Monica, or rather Courteney Cox, is perfectly right—no one should ask them to get together in another 15 years to talk about the show!
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