28 May 2021 - Friends: The Reunion
What the Friends reunion reveals – and shies away from
Caryn James (BBC Culture, 27/05/2021)
The stars from Friends are all in their 50s now, but in many ways these six actors will always be twenty-somethings, paradoxically relics from a time when the phrase twenty-something was new, yet endlessly ready for rediscovery by new generations. Friends: The Reunion brings them together again to look back at the show that became a pop-culture phenomenon, dominating television from 1994 to 2004, with an afterlife that continues even now.
The Friends reunion: the best, the worst and the Bieber
Stuart Heritage (The Guardian, 28/05/2021)
Now that it is out in the world, it’s clear that the much-heralded Friends reunion is actually several shows in one. It’s a clip show, it’s an interview show, it’s a celebrity talking heads show. And, as you’d expect from a format this muddled, some of it worked better than others. For every moment that managed to be genuinely touching, there was another where it felt like everyone was simply letting the clock run out. Perhaps the best way to approach this is to break the reunion down into its constituent parts, from most to least successful. Beware: here be spoilers.
The Friends Reunion Reminds Us That the Whole Point of Friends Was the Friends
Kelsey Miller (GQ, 27/05/2021)
There’s a magical moment, three minutes into Friends: The Reunion. It’s blink-and-you-miss-it—a wordless glance. But in it lies the answer to the age-old question: What the hell is it about this show? How has a straightforward NBC comedy that premiered nearly thirty years ago blown up into a worldwide cultural phenomenon that remains not only relevant but adored? It happens when Matt LeBlanc arrives to meet his co-stars on their old set. He wraps Lisa Kudrow in a big bear hug (“Look at you!” “Look at you!”) while Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer look on in the background. A tearful Aniston, standing in the background, turns away from the camera to look at Schwimmer—*Can you believe this?—*who returns her gaze with an almost pained smile and a tilted shake of the head: I know.
Friends: The show that changed our idea of family
Clare Thorpe (BBC, 20/09/2019)
Barely three minutes into the pilot episode of Friends (The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate), the audience gets introduced to Rachel Green – played by Jennifer Aniston – as she bursts through the doors of the now universally recognised Central Perk in her wedding dress, having hotfooted it straight from the altar, leaving behind her orthodontist fiancé Barry.
She’s run away from her potential domestic set-up – married at 24 to a man she didn’t love – to search for an alternative life in the big city. Later in the episode, she sits at her high-school friend Monica Geller’s kitchen table as the others encourage her to cut up the credit cards paid for by her father. It’s a symbolic severing of ties to her family as she starts a new life in the city with Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey and Ross. “Welcome to the real world,” says Monica. “It sucks. You’re going to love it.”