'Friends: The Reunion': nostalgia, laughs and shock revelations in 'The One Where They Get Back Together'
From the least popular cast mate, to who stole what from set, the stars open up in the much-awaited special
Friends: The Reunion is finally here.
For the first time in 17 years, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer all reunite to look back on the popular show, which ran for a decade from 1994 to 2004.
Throughout the episode, the cast take questions from the audience, reread extracts of the script, laugh at bloopers and reflect on outtakes from the filming the show.
In the UAE, the show is available now on OSN Streaming.
Here are some key takeaways from the emotional unscripted reunion episode:
1. It’s the second time they have been all together since 2004
The much-anticipated reunion special starts with footage from the final episode, and viewers are told that, since the 2004 finale, all six cast members have been in the same room together just once … “until today”, 17 years on.
2. It's nostalgic on set
“Wow … it’s beautiful, look at that,” Schwimmer says as he walks back on to the set, which is still perfectly intact.
Kudrow is the second cast member to arrive. She embraces Schwimmer, saying, “This is all I care about”.
An emotional Aniston, who instantly requests a tissue box, is the third cast member on set, followed by LeBlanc, Cox and finally Perry.
As Perry walks in, Aniston puts on her best Chandler Bing impression and asks, “Could you be any later?”.
LeBlanc remarks that the set feels smaller to him.
3. The interview takes place in front of the same fountain as the credits
James Corden reunites the cast for a “celebration” of the show in front of the famous fountain they filmed the opening credits in, back in the 1990s.
The main show begins as the emotional cast make their way on to the set, Perry saying, “We’ve got this”, as they walk out. They refer to themselves as family, and Kudrow reveals they are all in touch and there for each other when they need to chat.
When Corden tells the cast the original creators and producers of the show – Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane – are there, the cast immediately get up to go and greet them.
4. 'Friends' helped teach BTS's RM English
"My mum bought me DVDs of the whole series when I was at elementary school," BTS star RM says, as the band make a special appearance during the show.
"Friends really had a big hand in teaching me English and the show really taught me things about life and true friendship."
5. Malala Yousafzai 'is a Joey, with a hint of Phoebe'
Activist Malala Yousafzai sits down to talk about the show with her best friend Vee, who says her Nobel Prize-winning friend is a "Joey, with a hint of Phoebe". Vee says that Malala makes jokes that "don't make sense", but the 23-year-old activist insists "they are funny".
Vee claims she's proud she got her friend hooked on the show. Malala's favourite moment from the series is the "routine", which Monica and Ross perform on season six in The One With the Routine.
6. Monica and Chandler were not meant to stay together
Co-creator Crane says that the live audience’s reaction to Monica and Chandler getting together in London made them rethink their story arc, as they were simply meant to have a “brief thing”.
Kauffman said: “But the way the audience reacted, we realised there is more to this and we needed to pay attention.
“That was the end of the season, so we had time to really ruminate and think about it, but it was such a powerful moment, we knew we had to explore it more.”
The producers still didn’t expect it to go as far as it did, with the pair ending up married with children by the end.
7. The cast recreate the quiz
Cox tells Corden that her favourite episodes are the Thanksgiving shows, and the season four instalment when Monica and Rachel lose their apartment to Joey and Chandler in Ross’s quiz. This is then recreated by the cast in 2021 with each of them answering some Friends trivia.
During the quiz, the first special guest to make an appearance on set is Larry Hankin, who played Mr Heckles, Monica and Rachel’s constantly annoyed neighbour. Awkwardly, the cast are unable to name his character.
As the quiz goes on, another nostalgic moment comes care of the barbershop quartet that Ross hired to serenade Rachel when she started a new job.
Tom Selleck, who played Monica's love interest Richard Burke, also makes an appearance after the cast are tasked with identifying his voice from an answer machine message during the quiz. As he walks out, Selleck is greeted by a roar of applause from both the audience and cast.
8. Jennifer Aniston was almost not in ‘Friends’, and Courteney Cox almost played Rachel
Schwimmer was the first actor cast, the creators reveal, followed by Kudrow.
When it came to casting Joey, LeBlanc was chosen out of a final two actors, however his competition ultimately ended up in the show. In season six episode The One with Unagi, Joey hires a lookalike, Carl, to pretend to be his twin so he could take place in a medical trial. Carl is played by Louis Mandylor, who almost got the role of Joey.
Cox almost played Rachel, we also find out, but the actress said “she herself was more of a Monica”.
Producers saw “actor after actor” to play Chandler, but dismissed them as not being funny enough. Perry, who was then tied to another project, a sci-fi show that never took off, made the lines “sparkle” when he read them, say the creators.
Finally, there is Rachel – the “hardest” and “last” part that was cast, according to the creators. They said they were worried she could have been unlikeable in the hands of another actor, but Aniston gave her a warmth.
Aniston, like Perry, was also tied into another show, which she had shot six episodes for, but she was still cast. She begged to be released by CBS, so she could be cast in Friends, which led a producer to tell her she made the wrong decision and that “Friends would not make her a star”.
9. David Beckham is a Monica
“I’d have to say, I am most like Monica,” ex-footballer David Beckham says during the special. “Because I am a clean freak. I travel a lot, I’m always in hotels with downtime, and when I am missing the kids, missing the family, I put on Friends, because it makes me smile.”
The sportsman’s favourite episode is season three’s The One Where No One's Ready, when none of the gang get ready in time for Ross’s function, leaving him very stressed out.
“It’s one of those episodes that when I’m away and I’m feeling a little bit low, I put it on and it makes me smile to almost the point of crying,” says Beckham.
It’s the episode that Joey utters the famous line, “Look at me, I’m Chandler, could I be wearing any more clothes?”.
During the special, the cast revealed that in the episode LeBlanc’s shoulder came out of its socket, showing footage of the actual accident taking place. LeBlanc’s accident was then written into the show, as Joey injuring himself while jumping on the bed.
We also find out that the cast had a pre-show huddle ritual that they did before every episode, but a superstitious LeBlanc reminds them they didn't do it before filming this particular episode in which he injures himself.
10. Lisa Kudrow sings ‘Smelly Cat’ with Lady Gaga
One of the most nostalgic moments comes when Kudrow is joined by Lady Gaga to sing Smelly Cat in Central Perk, and seems to be genuinely star-struck.
“Thank you so much for being the person for all of us on Friends, I don’t know if this is the right way to say it, but the different one, or the one who was really herself,” Lady Gaga says to Kudrow, of her character Phoebe Buffay.
11. Marcel the monkey was the least popular cast member
In season one, Ross adopts Marcel the monkey; however the stars say he was the least popular cast-mate on the show.
“The monkey, obviously it was trained, but it had to do its mark and do its thing at the perfect time,” Schwimmer recalls. “But what inevitably began to happen is that we’d all have choreographed bits timed out and they would get messed up because the monkey didn’t do its job right, so we’d have to reset and go again.”
Aniston interjects, adding jokingly: “David is so angry still.”
Schwimmer continues: “This kept happening where we’re about to do something really funny, but the monkey missed his mark, so we would have to start again.”
He also reveals that between takes, when the monkey was sat on his shoulder, its trainer would feed it live grubs and then touch his face, a memory that makes Schwimmer look uncomfortable to this day.
12. The cast members don’t remember every episode
With 10 seasons and 236 episodes under their belt, it’s perhaps no surprise the cast members don’t remember every second of the show – unlike the most dedicated of fans.
Aniston brings up the episode where the cast don’t stop throwing a ball to each other, but Schwimmer has no recollection of it, despite being a key character in the ongoing joke.
“There are whole seasons of Friends I haven’t seen,” says Kudrow. To which LeBlanc replies, “Really? I’ve seen them all.” Cox adds: “I imagine I have seen them all.”
Kudrow recalls rewatching season four with her husband, Michel Stern, and Perry asks, “Did you enjoy them when you watched them?”
Kudrow replies: “He enjoys them more than I do because I am mortified by myself.”
Schwimmer says that his daughter Cleo, 10, has just started watching the show.
13. Courteney Cox hid script prompts on set
Cox is outed for needing line prompts for her character Monica’s dialogue.
As they roam around on set, LeBlanc looks for Cox's lines written on the table in her apartment, and Kudrow says there was always a script in the sink and she had no idea it was a prompt.
14. The cast stole souvenirs from the set
Monica’s famous cookie jar is now in the possession of Kudrow. Aniston says she took a coffee mug. And LeBlanc admits he has “the original ball from the foosball table”. He says he couldn’t take the whole table because it was smashed.
Updated: May 27, 2021 07:47 PM