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Saturday, December 25, 2021

TV ReView: FRIENDS: The Reunion

07/29/2021 06:13:41 AM

(Photo credits: WarnerMedia, BBC)

Some Americans spent Thursday nights on NBC watching shows that would make us laugh our asses off. For international fans like us Filipinos, this could mean weeknights on our respective local channels.

One show, however, winds up with skyrocketing popularity. For ten years, FRIENDS has become one of the must-see shows on NBC in the United States and other broadcast networks worldwide. Here in the country, Wednesday nights on ABC-5 have become an automatic custom for its cult of fans.

And when the hit comedy series reached its finale in 2004, a lot went sentimental—probably, except for me, since I only started to know this show by some time in the 2010s (thanks, Warner TV). 

It was an end of an era, in the same magnitude as to how 75 thousand people saw The Undertaker lose his two-decade-long streak of dominance at WrestleMania or the sudden deaths of legendary icons like Michael Jackson, Prince, and Kobe Bryant, to name a few.

As FRIENDS bade goodbye, other comedy programs rose to prominence like How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and a whole lot more. Add to that is the proliferation of streaming platforms like Netflix, where everyone could re-watch such hit shows over and over again, which brings us to the date 27 May 2021.

Seventeen years since the last filming, the six actors and actresses we knew from one of the most revered sitcoms of the 90s reunited together as one cohesive unit on the big screen. The cast of six—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—reunited up together like it's either 1994 or 2004 all over again.

This time around, though, they appeared to be themselves—beyond their iconic characters of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross. 

It was a long-time coming reunion, much to the clamor of millions of fans around the world. Sure, some would say it wasn't something they expected. However, let's face it: do we think they would do a spin-off movie or episode wherein they would go a trip back to memory line from a time machine?

I highly doubt that. A revival may go to either zero or something terrible, considering how the sitcom's humor and several plotlines back in the day may deem unacceptable at present.

Well, FRIENDS: The Reunion was supposed to take place in May 2020 as a massive kickoff party on launching WarnerMedia's global streaming platform, HBO MAX. Unfortunately, the pandemic has stalled the production of entertainment programs, including this 'unscripted' special. This news prompted fans to wait longer (another year, in fact) until such filming becomes available to do so again.

That could've been a fitting culmination for celebrating the show's 25th anniversary, with all the lookbacks at the legendary FRIENDS sound stage, reminiscing some of their hits and misses, and even doing table reads.

Aside from that, show creators David Crane, Martha Kauffman, and Kevin bright also tackled the story behind its casting. Other notable characters appeared on this show like Mr. Heckles (Larry Hankin), Richard (Tom Selleck), Janice (Maggie Wheeler), Gunther (James Michael Tyler), and the Geller parents (Christina Pickles and Elliott Gould), and Jill (Reese Witherspoon). More than that, the reunion show gave some the space to discuss how FRIENDS have impacted their lives.

All in all, FRIENDS: The Reunion is one of the best 140+ minutes of entertainment for this year. Indeed, it was one for all the marbles and everyone's hunger for nostalgia. 

Even with the somewhat abysmal hosting of James Corden and missing other vital characters like Mike Hannigan (Paul Rudd), Carol (Jane Sibbett), Hank (David Azaria), Frank Jr. (Giovanni Ribisi), and Ben (Cole Sprouse), this reunion special was indeed one for the books. Sure, we don't need to wait for another 17 years to see them soon. And some would think that this was not a satisfying reunion show. But we have to move on from here and don't think of another reunion unless you're willing to pay them a million dollars each. Yeah, all you need is just to watch the damn show again.

To simply put—and as my friend The Aging Millenial coins it—could we BE any more nostalgic?

I won't be surprised, though, if the said TV special would ignite a trend of reunion events that involves some of our favorite TV and movie series in the distant past. 

Stream FRIENDS: The Reunion/The One Where They Got Back Together on HBO Go.

Author: slickmaster | © 2021 The SlickMaster's Files

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