The Reunion’ Proves That There Should Never Be A Scripted Revival

Near the top of Friends: The Reunion, James Corden requested the solid whether or not they’d ever conform to a reunion the place the six stars of Friends would reprise their roles. Lisa Kudrow emphatically says “No!”, and her reasoning was sound.

“That’s up to [writers] Marta [Kaufmann] and David [Crane],” she mentioned, pointing two two of the present’s three creators. “And I once heard them say — and I completely agree — that they ended the show, very nicely, and everyone lives were very nice. And they’d have to unravel all those good things in order for there to be stories. And, yeah, I don’t want anyone’s happy ending to be unraveled. And, at my age to be saying ‘floopy’… just stop. You have to grow up.”

Kudrow is on the cash with the primary a part of her reply. Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) had their twins and moved to the ‘burbs. Joey (Matt LeBlanc) moved to L.A. to star in a failed sequel. Phoebe (Kudrow) was with Mike (Paul Rudd). And Ross and Rachel (David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston)? Well, you already know what occurred with them. To undo these comfortable endings with a view to arrange a film or new episode simply appears like a recipe for disappointment.

But the tag on her reply, about being too damned outdated to say a Phoebe-signature phrase like “floopy”, speaks to a different massive purpose why a scripted Friends reunion would by no means, ever work. There’s simply been an excessive amount of life lived, by the present’s actors, the characters, and viewers, to make the spectacle something however a tragic shadow of the present that also is a big streaming and syndicated hit 17 years after it completed its run.

If there was any individual Friends was going to attach with when it debuted in September, 1994, it was me. I used to be 23 on the time, simply out of school and looking out to determine what the hell to do with my life. Hell, I used to be nonetheless dwelling with my mother and father, about six months or so earlier than I lastly determined to maneuver to an affordable condominium in a faraway suburban city that made me depressed. Watching all of those fairly individuals, who had been round my age, making an attempt to determine themselves out, made me snicker and relate, particularly with the lovelorn lifetime of Chandler and the unrequited love Ross had for Rachel.

Friends The Reunion - cast reacting to LeBlanc's dislocated shoulder
Photo: HBO Max

There was nothing revolutionary concerning the present; Seinfeld had already perfected the “hang out” comedy, and Living Single already gave us 6 enticing singles dwelling in New York the yr earlier than. But the chemistry among the many six leads, Perry’s good comedic timing, and the sexual pressure between Schwimmer and Aniston (which we discovered in the course of the reunion was IRL sexual pressure!) was so palpable that we had simply as emotional response because the solid had after they lastly attached early in Season 2.

Cut to 2021. In a number of days, I’ll be turning 50. I’ve a child in kindergarten, and lots of of my pals have youngsters which might be both in highschool or are already full-grown adults. I’m seeking to purchase a home within the craziest actual property market I’ve ever seen. My household and I’ve been by means of household losses, severe well being points, anxieties, extreme depressions, 9/11, the Trump presidency, and a worldwide pandemic. We’ve seen an excessive amount of. I’ve seen an excessive amount of. So have you ever. And so have the six stars of Friends.

Watching the solid roam the set, play trivia just like the one everybody however Pheebs performed in “The One With The Embryos,” and seeing them do desk reads of pivotal scenes, all of the whereas seeing their youthful selves do the unique scenes, you possibly can inform that the chemistry was there however the power was completely different. And it wasn’t simply because everybody regarded… completely different than they did 26 (and even 17) years in the past.

It’s a solid that has seen an excessive amount of, who’s skilled an excessive amount of, who skilled an insane quantity of fame up to now quarter century that has modified them in a technique or one other. Marriages, divorces, youngsters, tabloids and paparazzi monitoring each transfer, careers which have gone in numerous instructions, well being points; all of that has taken the youthful joie de vivre that was the rocket gas that shot the present into the stratosphere.

LeBlanc, as an example, was all to wanting to joke that a few of them (particularly him) aren’t as small as they was. Do we wish to see a paunchy Joey attempt to hit on youthful ladies? How would Ross’ anger, already changing into a little bit ridiculous within the present’s later seasons, play now that he’s in his 50s? And how bitter would Rachel be about it, particularly after their youngsters have gone off to school? Does Monica’s neurotic nature change into much more poisonous? Can Phoebe proceed to sing at Central Perk now that she’s nearing 60?

And then there’s Chandler. Perry’s fast wit and distinctive supply made Chandler one of many present’s most adorable characters. Would we wish to see Perry, considerably slowed by severe stomach surgical procedure that he’s nonetheless recovering from two years later, struggling to recapture what made Chandler the Friend everybody rooted for? His slurred speech and thousand-yard stare in the course of the reunion (attributed by his individuals to emergency dental work the day earlier than the particular taped) was definitely troublesome to look at. But it additionally confirmed me that, even when Perry had been to get better to the purpose the place he got here near his pre-surgery type, the spark that was significantly evident in the course of the present’s first 5 seasons, is totally gone.

We don’t should be seeing the six Friends joking about prostate exams or being solicited by the AARP. And we don’t must see the Friends with storylines that put them by means of varied emotional wringers as a result of, nicely, as a result of that’s simply how life goes. What they went by means of of their 20s and early 30s is greater than sufficient for audiences to hook up with — or within the case of Gen Xers, reconnect to — so why wreck that simply to see these six play these elements another time?

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about meals, leisure, parenting and tech, however he doesn’t child himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared within the New York Times, Slate, Salon,,, Fast Company and elsewhere.

Stream Friends: The Reunion On HBO Max

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