Earlier this summer, a reunion episode of the popular 1990s television show friends aired on HBO Max. Set to celebrate the sitcom’s 25th anniversary, the special featured all six of the main members of the original cast: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer. It was also filmed on the show’s original soundstage in Burbank, California.
When I first heard about the reunion, I was concerned that this episode would ruin the series by trying to capitalize on the series’ popularity. I knew deep down that it would be impossible to return to the same friendship and chemistry that the cast had brought to screen after such a long breakup. Despite my skepticism, I was still excited to see that friends Transferred to the screen together again and experience the surprises that they would bring.
It continues with the content of the episode entitled “The One Where They Get Back Together”; instead of focusing on the main characters’ magic Friends, it was riddled with random celebrities like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and even Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. While their appearances were likely to attract a younger audience, I felt that their appearances, catwalks, and insights into the show did nothing but extend the duration of the special. The producers made drastic attempts to stay relevant rather than offering loyal fans some content that was relevant to the original show and didn’t bring anything exciting to the table.
Speaking of “table”, an uncomfortable part of the reunification episode focused on table readings in which the original cast of friends Read scripts for iconic scenes like “The One Where Everybody Finds Out” and “The One With The Embryos”. However, instead of triggering the expected nostalgia, the readings were nothing short of a spooky feast. The intricacies of acting that I once fell in love with have been replaced by inorganic attempts to reunite their passions, such as when Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer read the scene before their characters’ first kiss.
Since my disappointed reaction could have been influenced by my devotion to the original series, I decided to watch it with a friend. She was indifferent to the series; although she didn’t like any aspect of the original Friends, she didn’t find the show as fun as it was conjured up.
As we watched the reunion, I regularly checked this friend’s expression to see if she laughed when asked – she wasn’t. When I was disappointed with her reactions again and again, I realized that she hadn’t watched friends“, She could not understand the content of the reunification in any way. Instead, it was just fed what I call “white sitcom humor”; a strong reminder that the series was previously criticized for showing mostly white characters and storylines.
Despite all of my complaints, I still see friends as a defining element of my youth. When I first finished the series, I immediately tuned in to the first episode to watch it again. friends involved an attitude and action that was completely out of my reach to understand. Still, the show gave me a feeling I longed for: that my friends are my family. For this reason it found so naturally resonance with viewers around the world; friends is just a fun and no-nonsense show that I don’t think should be viewed as intellectually multilayered.
It’s easy to see in today’s world friends has lost its relevance. But that shouldn’t diminish the fond memories of many viewers. As someone who was introduced friends I can only imagine how excited his live audience was before a recording, or how it felt to be eager to hear an episode every week. They must have felt like they were part of the characters’ journeys and shaped the trajectory of the stories that played out on screen. Watching each and every episode must remind them of the stage in life they were in when they first saw them.
I’m glad that friends‘ Reunion sequence did not try to continue his characters’ stories but instead gave me a glimpse into the real friendships that existed behind the scenes. The show’s cast and crew did justice to their viewers by leaving the ending of the series as it is and allowing us all to imagine what ultimately happened to their characters. No matter what bittersweet feelings I have about his reunion, I’m glad that friends has offered me a constant to get me through the next phase of life.