Everyone is gearing up to watch the lead characters of one of the most popular and watched sitcoms - Friends – are coming together one last time. The unscripted special episode is titled Friends: The Reunion. From the promo, we hope that the actors will finally give us some closure if Ross and Rachel were on a break. They will read some lines from one of the episodes of the show and will engage with the fans.
The most awaited special will stream on ZEE5 from May 27. The episode will feature a long line-up of celebrities apart from the main stars Matt Le Blanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston. Some of the guests include popular celebrities such as David Beckham, BTS, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Reese Witherspoon, Malala Yousafzai, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Mindy Kaling and Kit Harington among others.
In a statement, Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer of ZEE5, spoke about the release of Friends: The Reunion in India, and said, “We received an overwhelming response from the audience after recently announcing that FRIENDS: THE REUNION special will stream exclusively on ZEE5 in India. We are proud to share that we will bring this event to India along with the world on May 27 at 12.32 pm! We expect high demand from users and would urge them to avail FRIENDS: THE REUNION Special unlimited viewing offer at least 12 hours in advance before the launch for a seamless experience. We are all geared up to make this a resounding success in India along with the rest of the world.”
Friends: The Reunion is directed by Ben Winston. Besides Winston, the special episode is executive produced by Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, David Crane, and “best friends” - Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer.
Here we go!
The first one to reach the sets was David (Ross), followed by Lisa (Pheobe), Jennifer (Rachel), Matt (Joey), Courteney (Monica) and Mathew (Chandler). Jen even teased Mathew, who got in last, and said, “Could you BE anymore late?” Each one of them inspected the sets, while Jen and Courteney got all teared up (well, so did we!).
Interviewed by James Corden, the friends slipped right back in their zone and occupied their place on the orange couch in front of the iconic fountain where the “I Be There For You” – show’s theme song – was shot. And as Jen said, “We regressed!”
The episode is clearly a two-part thing. While in one the cast enjoys being back in the studio on the set of the show, and the other where they and the creators of the show are talking about their journey in the sitcom.
The Casting Stories
During the interview, while the makers and the actors were discussing their casting stories, James asked David, “What attracted you to the show?” To which he said, “Martha and David made it known to me that has written the role of Ross with my voice in mind.”
After David, Lisa and the others were cast and Jennifer was the last to get on board. Interestingly, both Mathew and Jennifer were already working on other shows. While Mathew was shifted from one show to Friends, Jennifer had to request the producer of her show to let her go. Replying to her request, the producer said, "I've watched the show, but that show would not make you a star, this show would."
Friends were really friends!
In the episode, the actors also talk about when they started to realise how big the show was becoming. Matt said, and they all agreed that it was at the beginning of the second season. With people coming up to them and saying “hi”, and their rooftops being displayed on a news channel, the actors had no one else to turn to as what they were experiencing was unlike any other. Jennifer said, “No one prepares you for it.”
Adding to that emotion, David said, “The fact is like no one was going through what we were going through, except the other five… Because our families could not relate, our closest friends could not relate, they were there for us. But the only other people who knew what it was like, were the other five.” Jennifer further said, “So there’s no shoulders outside of this group to sort of go… I think it kind of… imprinted in our neural pathways that we are actually family!”
What did the guests say?
Reese Witherspoon, who made a guest appearance on the show as Rachel Green’s sister - remembers her favourite scene when she entered the apartment to meet up with Jennifer Aniston – Rachel – and Joey hits on her with one of his iconic dialogues, “How you doin’?” She says, “I was so excited, and to watch a famous character say his famous line! Come on!”
Mindy Kaling, “I love the episode where they’ve just returned home from London and Monica and Chandler are trying to keep it a secret that they’ve been hooking up.” Talking about how amazing the show is, she says, “So the really good thing about Friends is the farce. So, when there is a secret like when Monica and Chandler are dating, it’s so fun, because we – the audience – know, but none of the rest of the cast knows.”David Beckham, “I would have to say, I am most like Monica because I am a clean freak! You know, I travel a lot and I am always in the hotel and I’ve got a lot of down time. When I am missing the kids, missing the family I watch Friends because it makes me smile…” He even spoke about his favourite episode, The One Where No One's Ready. He says, “It’s one of those episodes that when I am away and when I am feeling a little bit low, I just put it on and it makes me smile to almost a point of crying!”
Mindy Kaling, “I love the episode where they’ve just returned home from London and Monica and Chandler are trying to keep it a secret that they’ve been hooking up.” Talking about how amazing the show is, she says, “So the really good thing about Friends is the farce. So, when there is a secret like when Monica and Chandler are dating, it’s so fun, because we – the audience – know, but none of the rest of the cast knows.”
Kit Harington, a self-admitting member of the Geller family, also appeared on the show and is introduced as Kit Harington-Geller. He said, “I can’t quite be specific about which one but I know I am part of the Geller family. I am incredibly anal, I am neurotic as hell and I wear overly-tight trousers.” Well, that says it for us, he’s a Geller alright! Talking about the sitcom, the award winning actor said, “I think one of the reasons that Friends is so funny is the fact that these six actors are masters of physical comedy. There is a scene with David Schwimmer, where Ross is decided not to pay for the delivery services of the sofa. And they started taking the couch up the stairs and quite quickly everyone gets into trouble. This is not something that’s going to go up the stairs. And David Schwimmer starts telling them to ‘Pivot’.”
Talking about the talents of the show’s actors to make simple things comical, Kit further added, “The thing about that scene is that it’s so simple. If you were to see it on the page, initially, its three actors carrying a couch up the stairwell. There’s maybe a page of dialogue and nothing really in the dialogues suggests anything massively comic, but what they do in that timing carrying that couch up the stairs is one of the funniest things that I’ve seen on TV. ”To
‘Friends’ touched many hearts!
In the special episode, fans from around the world spoke about their experiences with Friends and the kind of impact it made on their lives. While some picked up themes and ques from the characters and episodes - like ‘The One With the Proposal’ – some found true friends and solace in the company of the characters. Whether it was Ghana or India, the sitcom made their fans smile even in the toughest moments of their lives. One of the fans, Liz (Mexico), “…Friends was what I came home to. Friends was… they were my friends! Since I didn’t really have any.”
Another fan from Ghana, Nancy, said, “They have no idea the kind of impact they’ve actually made in this world. So, when they sleep they should relax knowing that they have saved more lives. Even if they know them, I am one!”
Towards the end of the episode, we, as fans, get closure as the cast tells what they think the characters must be doing today. Jenifer thinks that Rachel and Ross maybe have gotten married with kids while Ross still is ‘playing with the bones’. According to Courteney, Monica and Chandler are also together and happy, though Monica is still very competitive and Chandler still makes her laugh every day. Lisa shares her idea about Phoebe’s life right now, saying that she and Mike have kids and are probably in Connecticut. She continues to say that her character must still be advocating her couture and be into music and art. And about Joey, Matt thinks that he probably opened a sandwich shop in Venice Beach. If that were the case, we would be the first in line to order one of his favourites a ‘meatball sandwich'!
Although this episode was a much-needed reunion for the show’s die-hard fans, it’s overwhelming to know that this may be the last time all the cast members are in the same room, talking about our favourite sitcom.
All that we can say is that Friends will always have a place in our hearts, but ‘now I got closure!’