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The ‘Friends’ Reunion: Things on our wishlist for Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross

Doesn’t get bigger than this: The ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ reunion will air in May

Doesn’t get bigger than this: The ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ reunion will air in May  

Come May, several generations of fans will be tuning in check out one of the most anticipated television specials in history — so what should we expect from it?

The Friends reunion is happening, and we can’t keep still. Fans all over the world, across generations, woke up to the news, and social media is full of posts speculating what the special episode to be aired on HBO Max will be all about.

The reunion will be unscripted, and is set to feature the series’ creators, David Crane and Martha Kauffman, as well as all the actors Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. So it seems unlikely that the actors will be ‘in character’ as Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross, and we could just see them going on a trip down memory lane with the show-runners, discussing where the characters ended up, hint at unresolved plot points, and so on.

Still, just the very idea of seeing the six together after nearly 16 years (the series finale The Last One, Part 2 aired on May 6, 2004) is enough to send goosebumps for fans who still binge-watch the show, and with Friends set to move from Netflix to HBO Max (WarnerMedia’s streaming service) soon — the reunion is the mother of all promotions for the new streaming site — this is perfect timing.

Even better, the special episode will be taped at the original soundstage on the Warner Bros. lot, so there’s reason to expect we can see them huddle over a coffee at Central Perk or Monica’s apartment!

Everyone’s wishlist is sure to have some sort of connection with their favourite episode, but here are some of the things we definitely want to see. Could we BE any more excited?

1) Lisa Kudrow sings ‘Smelly Cat’ for us

‘Smelly Cat’... one more time

‘Smelly Cat’... one more time  

Let’s face it, this should, must and probably will happen. Though the theme song I’ll Be There for You by The Rembrandts is the more popular track, Phoebe Buffay’s iconic original composition is one that brings the fondest memories. Lisa Kudrow even joined Taylor Swift on stage for a rendition of Smelly Cat a few years ago... and if she can do it for her, well, we certainly then deserve it more. Give the woman a guitar already!

2) Aniston and Schwimmer settle the ‘We were on a break!’ debate once and for all

‘We Were On A Break!’

‘We Were On A Break!’  

Well, they probably won’t, but wouldn’t it be epic if they even talked about it? Though Ross and Rachel did find their happily-ever-after towards the finale (atleast we think they are still together with daughter Emma Geller-Greene and a couple of other siblings to boot), their earlier break-up in the third season birthed one of the most famous lines — and arguments — to ever originate from the show, all thanks to Chloe from the Xerox store. Real-life couples have used it endlessly over decades in fights, and fans still debate over who was right: some closure finally would be nice... no?

3) Finding out who Joey ends up with

Joey doesn’t share... his life with ANYONE?

Joey doesn’t share... his life with ANYONE?  

This is a big one. Though fans were upset when Joey was the only friend to remain single when the show ended, it did mean opening up a world of possibilities for Matt LeBlanc’s character in the subsequent (and only) spin-off to Friends so far, Joey. The show traced the journey of favourite Tribbiani after his move to Hollywood where he looks for more acting opportunities, and after an awkward two season-run, was cancelled. However, towards the end of the second season, Joey is shown to be in a committed relationship with his next-door neighbour Alex Garrett (played by Andrea Anders), but did the couple last?

4) The One Where They All Quiz Each Other, On Each Other

‘The One With The Embryos’

‘The One With The Embryos’   | Photo Credit: NBC

Considered one of the best episodes in the show’s history, The One with the Embryos (the twelfth in the fourth season) smashed ratings' records at the time. The episode follows two storylines. One in which Phoebe agrees to be the surrogate mother for her brother Frank Jr. and his wife Alice Knight. The other, is a hilarious trivia quiz hosted by Ross between the teams of Chandler and Joey against Monica and Rachel on how well they know each other: for bets that keep increasing in nature, finally resulting in the girls losing their coveted apartment to the boys.

Courteney Cox and Matt LeBlanc revealed later that this was their favorite episode of the series, and since the show ended, Friends quizzes have become a instant hit on television shows, interviews and parties too where fans replicate the format. Several celebrities, who are Friends superfans (such as singer Charlie Puth being quizzed by Courteney Cox on trivia from the show recently) set the Internet cheering constantly taking part in them. So it’s only fair that the original six are quizzed about the show, or even better — considering they are all buds off-screen too — about themselves.

Does Rachel finally know what Chandler’s job is?

5) What are the ‘Other’ F.R.I.E.N.D.S upto now?

Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice, played by Maggie Wheeler and James Michael Tyler as Gunther, appeared in every single season of the show

Chandler’s ex-girlfriend Janice, played by Maggie Wheeler and James Michael Tyler as Gunther, appeared in every single season of the show  

There have been several supporting characters to grace the show (we aren’t including Paul Rudd’s Mike Hannigan because he’s much more than just a supporting actor), but undoubtedly, the most important were Gunther (James Michael Tyler) and Janice (Maggie Wheeler). Gunther’s immortal crush on Rachel made for some of the most memorable moments in all the ten seasons, while Janice’s ‘Oh. My. God!’ is irreplacable. We’d like to believe that they have moved on from their respective obsessions to bigger and better things, and while at it, how about some closure for some of the other celebrity guest star characters like Bruce Willis, Reese Witherspoon or Hugh Laurie? Updates on The Chick, The Duck and Marcel the monkey would be appreciated too.

We saved the best for last: Imagine if now-single Brad Pitt (he guest-starred as Will Colbert from The One with the Rumor) were to gatecrash the reunion with a surprise cameo and sit next to Aniston... yep, the Internet’s having a meltdown.

6) Have the kids of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S become friends too?

Would Emma Geller-Green get along with Erica and Jack Bing?

Would Emma Geller-Green get along with Erica and Jack Bing?  

So we have Ben (Ross and Carol), Emma (Ross and Rachel), Jack and Erica Bing (Erica / Monica and Chandler) and the triplets (Phoebe / Frank and Alice). But hey, there could be more too.

Would it be safe to assume that all the children (now-teenagers and young adults) would have all met at some point... and hit it off like their parents? David Crane and Martha Kauffman almost-fan fictioning a new spin-off with all the F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ kids navigating life in present-day New York with all their millennial woes and dating apps: there’s the Modern Love TV series that should have actually happened.

7) More stories from behind-the-scenes

Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned trip down nostalgia lane and some on-set stories from when the gang were in their 20s? It’s well known by now that the six actors almost took conscious efforts to become friends in real-life (something that has lasted until today) in order to bring about more chemistry on screen. But even then, all of them were aghast at the idea of Joey and Rachel pairing up in the final season, to the extent where Matt LeBlanc recalled in an interview, “It was wrong and felt wildly inappropriate. It’s like I want to be with my sister. I was like, ‘That’s Rachel. She’s supposed to be with Ross!’”

 

Given their recent throwback stories and photos on social media, lots of vintage pictures, videos and funny/ sentimental anecdotes seem to be in the offing. Keep those tissues ready.

8) The hope of future reunions to come

The entire catalogue of Friends and the unscripted special will be available to stream on HBO Max when the service launches in May, and the reunion special, in reality, is just a glorified promotion for the series switching its home from Netflix to the WarnerMedia site. Yet, it will still be an iconic television moment: such has been the influence of the sitcom on defining the zeitgeist of binge-watching as we know it today, and the ethos of several similar shows (How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, New Girl.. to mention a few) that followed in its wake.

 

HBO Max has pulled off a major coup in getting all the six stars together after a decade-and-half, but might we hope for more glimpses of their off-screen friendship in the near future? Only time will tell, but then, they did tell us they’ll be there for us after all.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:20:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/the-friends-reunion-things-on-our-wishlist-for-rachel-monica-phoebe-joey-chandler-and-ross/article30889412.ece

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