By Olivia Valkner, staff writer
The highly-anticipated Friends reunion special, an HBO Max original, hit the platform on May 27. “The One When They Get Back Together” offers fans an in-depth look at the iconic ‘90s sitcom, behind-the-scenes footage and insider knowledge.
As someone who grew up watching reruns on late night television and who has watched the show several times in entirety, I was ecstatic at the news of the reunion. Thankfully, it did not disappoint.
To set the ambiance, the cast — Courtney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow — gathered on the Warner Brothers lot in a reconstructed set. Iconic pieces of the show were intertwined into the reunion, such as the apartment’s purple walls, the Central Perk and a twin set of recliners from Chandler and Joey’s apartment. It was surreal to watch the cast members reunite in the Central Perk cafe and reflect on their time playing the beloved friends: Monica, Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel and Phoebe.
While the group stated that they have not all been in the same room since the series finale 17 years ago, it did not take long for the gang to settle into their old routine. They all took turns laughing and joking with each other.
The special was truly star-studded, including interviews and snippets from supporting cast members and a handful of the show’s guest stars. Reese Witherspoon reflected on the show’s success as well as her appearances as Rachel’s sister. Tom Selleck, who played Monica’s older love interest in the show, and even Justin Bieber are just a few celebrities who participated in the reunion.
The show packed a ton of content into its run time, which resulted in a somewhat choppy format. Even though the reunion jumped from interview to blooper reel, it did not affect the integrity of the special or how rejuvenating it was to see the cast together in 2021.
While the reunion was clearly meaningful for the friends, it was also important for the creators and producers of the show. Marta Kauffman, David Crane and Kevin Bright provided insight into the casting of the show, the series’ rise to fame, and filming in front of a live audience, as well as how they approached the writing and production.
The reunion was even more meaningful since I just binged the show, as a number of the episodes and iconic moments were fresh in my mind. Surprisingly, the cast seemed to experience a similar nostalgia as they were reminded of their time on set.
From the moment they walked onto the sound stage, it was clear that the reunion was going to be full of joy and love. For older fans of the show, I imagine that the reunion special is even more nostalgic to watch.
“The One When They Get Back Together” has some special moments for superfans of the show, even the title of Chandler’s job. But you will have to watch the special yourself to get your dose of ‘90s nostalgia.