HBO Max’s “Friends” Reunion Was a Trip Down Memory Lane. This Is Why I Loved It

 

HBO Max’s Friends: The Reunion has finally arrived, celebrating the show’s 25th anniversary, not live but in vivid memory. It’s called “The One Where They Get Back Together,” but it shouldn’t be misconstrued as the first salvo that re-launches our favorite group of actors into a new season of comedic antics. Yes, Friends defined the 1990s, and its Netflix-rerun spree gave it new life; but fans won’t be seeing new episodes. 

Before we get into it, Friends: The Reunion is now available to stream HERE on HBOMax. We hope you tune in and leave your thoughts at the end of this article!

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On the on-stage couch at the reunion show, Lisa Kudrow explained, “Everyone’s lives are very nice, and they [creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman] would have to unravel all those good things in order for there to be stories. Yeah, I don’t want anyone’s happy ending unraveled.”  

What we got was not a reunion episode of the old characters, reviving the story of Rachel Green, Monica Geller, Phoebe Buffay, Chandler Bing, Joey Tribbiani, and Ross Geller. This was a reunion of the actors: Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer. They appear as themselves in a series of bitter-sweet moments, but they don’t go too deep. 

 
 
 
 
 
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In this new age of tell-all books and expose documentaries, I think I expected something surprising or revealing, particularly for the $2.5-$3 million reunion payday for the actors. Let’s face it, we’ve loved and obsessively followed the movements of the Friends cast. And maybe, we already know (or have imagined) most of the stories on the reunion episode. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Of course, not everything we’ve read about the cast was true. They have been at the center of such consistent gossip! Even so, we’ve caught a few tidbits here and there. It’s been the stuff of curiosity, idle conversation, and even a few books along the way.

Friends ’til the End: The Official Celebration of All Ten Years by David Wild 

Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era By Saul Austerlitz 

Friends Mad Libs: An Interesting Book For Relaxation And Stress Relief With Fun Games About Friends By Olle Isakassan 

Friends Forever [25th Anniversary Ed]: The One About the Episodes By Gary Susman, Jeannine Dillon , et al 

Friends Guide to Adulting By Samantha Mannis 

 
 
 
 
 
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So, what was I looking for? What did I expect? What did this whole world full of fans expect from the Friends Reunion?  

More than 52 million people viewed the Friends finale in 2004, and I’m sure many millions of fans have watched the Friends Reunion so far. More than anything, the show felt like a high-school reunion, where everyone sort of knows about some of the juicy tidbits of everyone else’s life, but most of it is left unsaid or tamed down for the setting and the others who just wouldn’t understand.  

 

 

It was a trip down memory lane for the actors, but It’s also a trip for all of us. It reminded me of where I was all those years ago. Testimonials from around the world offered their own personal experiences with watching Friends. And, as for the celebrities, the reunion featured Pakistan’s Nobel winner Malala Yousafzai, along with Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, David Beckham, Kit Harington, Cara Delevingne, Cindy Crawford, Tom Selleck, etc.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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For all the glitz and glamour that the reunion tried to support on stage, what really matters more than anything is the group of six. “This is all I care about,” Kudrow says as they gather on the old set. And it’s so true. They are more raw and real in those opening moments. They’re also somehow more vulnerable than we’d like to imagine. 

So, it seems appropriate that the reunion was released now just as we also start to return to post-pandemic life, with friends, family, and some hint of what we thought was normal. 

 
 
 
 
 
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If you’ve not yet had the opportunity to experience Friends Reunion, go watch it! Then, let us know what you think about it below in the comments!


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