If you are a die hard Friends fan like I am, and you can’t really see through the glitz and glamour of what the producers of this special have given you…if wool is constantly covering your eyes and you don’t nitpick shit to death just so that your vision of “crystal clear” is happening while you are watching something you were eagerly anticipating, well then, feel lucky, because FRIENDS: THE REUNION is right up your alley. And if you aren’t fans of the show, well, you already know this isn’t for you.
Let this review come with a warning. Not only are my wife and I die hard Friends fans, but we could kick any of your asses in a trivia contest of the show. We have watched the entire series maybe 6 to 7 times over and can quote lines that don’t come up for another couple of scenes. We have the Lego sets of Central Perk and the recently new released one of the Apartments. We have Funko pops of them, we have trivia games on the show that are so tedious and boring because it doesn’t challenge us. So needless to say, if you tried to one up us on your knowledge of the show, you better bring your A plus game.
But I digress, I’m back to one of my rare longer reviews today (the last one I did was maybe the best & worst films of 2020 5 months ago), but hopefully not too long, to tell you that I didn’t think the Friends Reunion was all that special. And it wasn’t because of our six famous friends, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, & Matthew Perry. They were great, and whenever they were all on screen, just telling stories & reminiscing, it was wonderful. That alone is why I’m giving the whole thing a passing grade, because those parts (and the interviews with the shows creators, behind the scenes footage, and the tales of how they got cast for the roles in the first place) are wonderful. It’s the bullshit filler, it’s fucking annoying James Corden as the host, it’s the blink and you’ll miss them cameos from recurring guests like Maggie Wheeler, Tom Selleck & Elliot Gould (they are literally there for less than a minute), it’s the random celebrity cameos WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FUCKING SHOW WHEN IT AIRED & it’s the complete absence of PAUL RUDD EVEN BEING MENTION LET ALONE NOT SHOWING UP…that made this thing an only one time watch for me.
This could’ve been 5 to 6 hours of just the cast (& special guests and recurring cast members that were on/had to do with the show) on the set of Central Perk, or in their apartment sets, or even the fountain location, or a mix match of them all, just talking and reminiscing, and it would’ve been better than what we got here. Sure, there are highlights like the cast actually playing the game again from the episode “The One With The Embryos” (my personal favorite episode), but it is short lived and doesn’t go on for very long. Instead, there were was too much filler. There was too many old clips of the show that I’ve seen a dozen times before. Now don’t get me wrong, showing takes that didn’t make it (for example, Matt LeBlanc’s arm coming out of his socket in the episode “The One Where No One’s Ready) and seeing them react to old bloopers was great, I’m talking about the parts where they are re-doing scenes from classic episodes in a new round table. Instead of just letting the cast do their thing and watching them try to become these characters again on their own (but much older), they inter splice their new performances w/old clips from the show. Hey dumbass producers, any Friends uber fan would know how they performed it back then, we just want to see them solely perform it again now. We don’t need those old clips spliced in as member berries, it ruins their performance that they are trying to complete now. (By the way, Lisa Kudrow was the best of them all, able to slip into character with the high pitch noises so easily even though she’s 57 years old now).
But what was most annoying was the bullshit filler. I’m talking about either:
A. Celebrities like David Beckham or Mindy Kaling, who were never on the show and had nothing to do with its production, telling us what the show meant to them
B. Random fucking people around the world who were never on the show and had nothing to do with its production, telling us what the show meant to them
C. Dumb fucking cameos from Cara Delevigne, Cindy Crawford, or Justin Fucking Beiber (WHO AGAIN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SHOW! The only extended interview cameo they got right was Reese Witherspoon)
When put together, all those stupid interviews and footage probably consisted of 20 to 30 minutes of the 1 hr 40 minute special…where instead we should’ve just got another 20 to 30 minutes of the core cast just shooting the shit. Listen, I DO NOT GIVE TOO SHITS OF WHAT DAVID BECKHAM, MINDY KALING, OR SOME RANDOM WOMAN FROM CHINA THINK ABOUT THE SHOW OR HOW IT IMPACTED THEIR LIVES. I care about the fucking core cast and how they all got along so well without any drama for 10 straight years. You don’t hear about that shit happening anymore…well that’s not true, I heard The Office pulled off that feat too, and the Seinfeld cast did it, and the It’s Always Sunny gang are still going strong…but still. We still have all 6 core cast alive, and you have them in a room together again? And for the last time? STICK WITH ONLY THEM!
And why fucking James Corden as host? Hasn’t he been controversial as shit lately with his choice of roles and outside fame behavior? Why him? You know what would’ve been the icing on the cake? Fucking Paul Rudd being the host. I guarantee you if the producers would’ve paid him the same amount of $ that they paid the core cast to come back here one last time, he would’ve fucking done it. And you don’t have Janice, Richard, Gunther, Mr. Heckles, or Monica’s parents just to show up for two seconds to say hi. You bring them in for about 10 minutes each to discuss what they love so much about being on the show and share stories as well. I do not care about someone that is currently fucking Posh Spice to say why he rewatches the series every now and then. I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. It should’ve been Paul Rudd as host and the just core cast, recurring special guests and creators in a multi set sit down, just reminiscing. God damn it that would’ve been something spectacular.
And I know some of you were wanting a true reunion special. What I mean is a scripted hour or two hour long episode, with a story line that updates their characters and where they are at (although the reunion briefly touches upon what the cast think their characters would be up to now, which was brief but nice). But we don’t need an episode like that, because the Friends ending was perfect. And to those Gen Z’ers that said that Rachel gave up her dream job for a man, go fucking fuck yourself. She gave up her dream job for HER FAMILY to be together. Not just her, Emma and Ross, but Monica, Chandler, Phoebe & Joey as well (let’s pretend that Joey didn’t move to California and have a shitty two season abysmal spin off series). Rachel, as a character, truly transcended those 10 seasons where she could’ve gotten any big job she wanted back in New York. Fuck your whiny ass woke shit. I’m tired of it.
But if there were an episode, pray tell me, how would it work? They all moved out of their respective apartments, save for Ross and Joey (if you don’t count the spin off series), so you couldn’t really have them in Monica’s Purple apartment again. I don’t know, I’m just glad they left well enough alone. I had an idea if they did do a true reunion special, and I’ll go ahead and share it since I’m just blabbing at this point. If they did a true reunion show, it should’ve went “Bo Peep, Toy Story 4 style”, and maybe had given the character of Joey a proper ending. Although the episode couldn’t have happened now, but instead maybe 7 years ago, on the 10th anniversary of the show ending. It could’ve have Joey still in show business but just getting these odds and ends supporting roles that didn’t really give him anything to do. But suddenly, he’s offered the role of a lifetime that could use his acting talents to his advantage for once, there is only one problem. The movie script is about an older male going through a mid life crisis, and Joey still feels like he has enough youth left in him that he doesn’t want to leave younger roles behind & be type cast as an older actor. So the Friends get together in New York to push Joey to just accept the role and move on from the past. He accepts the movie, and he gets nominated for a bunch of awards & finally gets taken seriously as an actor, even though he hasn’t lost any of his charm. And without ruining any of the other characters, you could have had minor side stories with the other core cast. You could have Monica & Chandler try to visit whoever is living in her purple apartment now, and when they get a look inside, it is messy as fuck and Monica, Chandler, and their 10 year old kids clean it up but they remodel it to basically look like it did before. You could have Mike and Phoebe with a couple of kids of their own, and maybe he or she has some kind of a job offer where they would move out of New York. Maybe the same for Ross & Rachel, but instead where maybe Carol, Susan & Ben are going to move across the country and whether or not they should keep their whole family together. It all has to do with letting go of the past to move onto something new. Something simple, and nothing that completely alters the ending of the original series, but to just give Joey a proper ending, and some other side characters too like Carol, Susan & Ben.
But I digress, that was a pipe dream of mine and it will never happen. I’m here reviewing the reunion special we got and will just conclude my rant by saying that while I was disappointed in it (quite a bit at certain points), I still enjoyed watching it for the most part…but I just wish it was better planned out. I mean, the whole thing was fucking delayed a year by the God damn fucking pandemic…you are telling me they couldn’t have looked at what they had planned and made a couple of changes? This seemed a little last minute put together. Oh well. The special didn’t ruin the original show, it just made me want to watch it all over again for the 7th or 8th time and isn’t that what truly matters?
6.5 out of 10