Finally, it is here “The One With The Nostalgia”.
Nostalgia is the happy feeling you experience when something from the past holding some happy personal association comes up. FRIENDS and Central Perk and all the iconic elements from the show are something really close to every fan’s heart. Anything associated with FRIENDS can make a fan go nostalgic. And seeing the cast come together is the most blissful experience you can ask for this year. On top of that, the cast tells you stories from those good old days, it’s nothing but real happiness that you receive.
The interesting part about the delayed FRIENDS reunion special is that it flirts with the emotionally satisfying definition of nostalgia. The six main characters, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, and Matthew Perry return to talk about the show. The show that made them all enormous stars. Although that might be for a small span of time, their fates since then have diverged significantly.
A clip from the reunion.
When it comes to reunion special, we can’t approach it without a note of cynicism. As per The Hollywood Reporter, for all the hugging and all the crying, each of the six actors got an eye-popping $2.5 million to $3 million. Because without the money they would not have gathered anyway. As they say themselves in the reunion special that they haven’t all been together since the show ended, except for the one time which was not specified. These are people who got paid a collective $15 million to spend this precious time together.
One by one, we see them wander onto a re-creation of their set. It seems to genuinely make them emotional because places tend to provoke feelings and also they don’t see each other that much. Perry and LeBlanc sit in their Chandler-and-Joey recliners, LeBlanc remembers Cox writing lines on the table, and Kudrow and Schwimmer talk about a wooden post in Monica and Rachel’s apartment. They visit the dressing rooms where they all ate meals together for the first few years. However, they didn’t discuss why they stopped doing it.
Because all this was 17 years ago, there is sadness around the edges of these segments. Well, it began 27 years ago and ended 17 years ago. There’s no reason to believe that they would deny this as the best period of their lives. This show gave them the most commercial success they ever achieved. And without a doubt, it was an intense experience. What’s disappointing about the reunion is that it doesn’t fit with the dynamic of being both sweet and funny. Not everyone needed an actual retrospective extravaganza looking back at the show.
For more than a decade, FRIENDS is dominating the television industry in its own way. The reunion couldn’t possibly encapsulate everything but it could have touched some more elements like the times they failed or the things that went wrong. So it always feels like the reunion could have been better. They could have a lot more to make it better. So here we have listed some of the missed opportunities that could have been added to the reunion special:
1. Missing Characters From The Show
While fans were thrilled to finally see the six friends getting back together, there was a bit of confusion about the list of the guest stars. There is a big list of guest stars who are missing for the FRIENDS reunion. Of course, some of the guest stars won’t come to the show because of the history between the guest stars and the main characters of the show such as we can’t expect Brad Pitt because of his too much history with Jennifer Aniston. Also, Aisha Tyler would not come back because of her issues with show co-creator Marta Kauffman.
It seems like some of the important guest stars are missing such as Paul Rudd and Cole Sprouse. Rudd joined the series in its ninth season as Mike Hannigan. He was the love interest for Lisa Kudrow’s character, Phoebe Buffay. And, Cole Sprouse played the part of Ross and Carol’s son, Ben. Being an important part of the show, they should be there to spill some beans. But sadly as mentioned by the creators they couldn’t make it to the sets on that particular day.
2. More Of An Interview Rather Than Reunion
The best way to watch the reunion is as a psychodrama about the actors. The show’s finale aired in 2004. It’s been decades since they were on the show together and nothing in their lives looks the same. Matt LeBlanc’s failed “Joey” spinoff and he does increasingly resemble his “Episodes” character. Aniston never quite became the movie star as we have hoped, while her personal life dominated the tabloids. Courteney Cox appeared in a show you’ve probably never heard of, “Dirt”. Lisa Kudrow’s worked on “The Comeback” but hasn’t been appropriately lauded. David Schwimmer still looks like Robert Kardashian. As for Matthew Perry, he appeared off-kilter and anxious in the reunion.
Frankly, a conversation between the six of them without James Corden, where they could talk about the show, the enormous impact the show had on them, and the glimpses about their lives now would have been perfect.
3. So Little Time With Beloved Recurring Characters
There were tons of recurring characters and guest stars, who populated the FRIENDS universe over the course of ten seasons. We understand that to have them all back for the reunion would’ve been impossible. But, getting so little time with the people who popped in was a total buzz-killer. Maggie Wheeler stops by just to reveal that Janice’s laugh was born to break in scenes with Matthew Perry. James Michael Tyler Zooms in to just say that playing Gunther was “the most memorable ten years of life.”
And when it comes to Monica and Ross’s parents, Christina Pickles and Elliott Gould, they were out in the crowd during the more formal sit-down. While sitting in the audience, they tell a sweet story about how they really like the parents of the cast, and that’s about it. Nothing else! We just hope that they would have got a hug from the cast backstage.
4. Rectify The Mistake Of Mistreating Charles Bing
FRIENDS cast a cis female actor, Kathleen Turner in the role of a transgender person named Charles Bing. Turner played the role of Chandler’s father in the show. Chandler getting freaked about his father’s personality was truly disappointing and it did not end there. At the time of her cameo in the show, she wasn’t quite welcomed by the cast. She publically once said, “I remember I was wearing this difficult sequined gown and my high heels were absolutely killing me. I found it odd that none of the actors thought to offer me a seat.”
The characters of this much-loved series were such a clique. Their fear of same-sex relationships and homophobia was quite evident throughout the series. Little did we know that it existed in real life too. This is something that the show should have definitely acknowledge in the reunion special and maybe, even apologize for. And not just that, the cast lacked diversity and made really mean jokes which could have been addressed now in a better or apologetic way but they didn’t.