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The Friends Reunion special


Gabe
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I actually enjoyed this Reunion special.

It almost felt like getting to see some old friends again (no pun intended) as I kinda went into adulthood when the show started and they always seemed to have such great chemistry on screen.

Most of my actual friends back in the mid 90s were more into Beverly Hills 90210 but Friends had a lot bigger impact on me. Even if it was in the slapstick territory the general gist of the show hit a lot closer to home than the soapy fluff like Beverly Hills/Melrose Place/Dawsons Creek. 

While I've never considered Friends to be a quality show that fits into any "Personal Top 10" list of mine I can't deny that it was a cultural phenomenon that I enjoyed watching from time to time and while I can't identify myself with a single character of the main cast I've certainly seen myself in a lot of the situations they end up in which I think is the main reason I found it fun to watch. 

The Reunion episode would probably have been a lot better without the talkshow format, the opening bit was really well done I think. All the parts where they move around the set, walking down the memory lane was beautiful to watch and when the Jennifer, Courtney, David and Lisa realized that LeBlanc and Perry were sitting in their chairs in their old flat almost brought me to tears, it was such a great moment. 

It was also great to learn that Jennifer and David used to have a crush on eachother in the early seasons, but never got to do anything about it. This is most likely why there was this believable tension between their characters as the feelings were actually there. 

 

Overall, I really enjoyed those 105 minutes and I could easily have watched a lot more of the main cast just sitting around talking about the good old days but it's probably for the better that the episode left me wanting more rather than overstaying its welcome. 

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15 hours ago, CarloOos said:

Anyone who has nostalgia for Friends but hasn’t watched Episodes really owes it to themselves, I always found Matt LeBlanc charismatic but the level of self-deprication he commits to is phenomenal. The first series is a bit ‘BBC goes to Hollywood’ but after that they get a budget boost and the rest is shot on location. Ran for four series and if anything they kept getting better, and it ends on a high. Think it’s all on Netflix, or at least it used to be. 
 

Bonus if you’re a Friedkin fan; see if you can spot which one of the main characters is from To Live and Die in LA.

 

I did a rewatch of Episodes during one of the lockdowns.  It is great all round and LeBlanc is fantastic.

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42 minutes ago, Ork1927 said:

 

I did a rewatch of Episodes during one of the lockdowns.  It is great all round and LeBlanc is fantastic.

 

I guess there's a reason why Joey was the only one who got his own spin-off show. He was always the most comedy of all the characters.

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I don’t think that’s true, they are all superb comic actors, it’s one of the reasons the show was so good.

 

Also I find Joey’s ‘comedy’ practically unbearable in the later series, as it is nearly all predicated on the writers deciding he suffered a catastrophic brain removal at some unseen point.

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I agree, Episodes is fantastic.  Matt Le Blanc is superb in it. 

 

Sad to see Gunther wasn't an actor before Friends. There's a joke where he tells Joey that he used to be Bryce in All My Children and I assumed that was a neat little reference, like how Phoebe's sister Ursula is a waitress because Mad About You was on before Friends.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, SeanR said:


wait, that doesn’t read like a criticism to you?  Was it the flippant “money” thing at the end?
 

no, I do not think it’s a good thing. It’s kind of why I highlighted it? As a possible cause for the plastic surgery.

 

its why you hear about actors going for jobs where the film makerslooking for an X-type actor and they’re ACTUALLY the X in question, but they get turned down anyway.

 

or kenny Rogers coming third in a kenny Rogers lookalike competition.

 

it’s about ideals not actuals.

Yep.i rewrote that line immediately but you quoted me quickly.  That's not what I meant, I'm totally agreeing with your point. 

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25 minutes ago, James Lyon said:

 

I guess there's a reason why Joey was the only one who got his own spin-off show. He was always the most comedy of all the characters.

Nah, it wasn't really that at all, it was more that what stories did the others really have to tell? I think I might be imagining it, but I think at the time that was part of the official reason.

 

To expand on that, there's nothing interesting about Chandler & Monica's home life away from the group, ditto Ross & Rachel or Phoebe and Mike; Joey was the only character who could be lifted and shifted to a new environment whilst keeping the character pure - you didn't need to change what people liked about him in Friends, just plonk him in a new location and his 'hook' - being an aspiring actor - still fit and gave plenty of opportunity to do things. That's not true of the others, something would have to be tinkered with to create an angle - because if you really think about it, would any of the other characters in isolation be that interesting? I think they were all defined by being the group, whereas Joey was much less reliant on them to provide suitable plotlines (Phoebe too in the earlier seasons, but then she had Mike). 

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Related, I actually liked Joey because it showed a different side to the character. It was always made clear that family was important to him, but now we got to see that and there was a more gentle warmth to the series, something that Friends lacked as it progressed (when you start looking for it, you realise how nasty they all are to each other a lot of the time). I still own the DVD boxset of both seasons and was sad it was prematurely cancelled - but I guess for a lot of people, they didn't adjust to not having everybody else around.

 

I remember before it aired the producers (or maybe it was just the press?) talked about the other characters visiting (which always sounded a horrible idea so I'm glad they didn't do that in the end) and perhaps that might've helped, but I ultimately I think the audience for Friends didn't want a single character-driven show, they wanted the ensemble back. At least they had the opportunity to give it a proper ending, of sorts.

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12 minutes ago, Gabe said:

Nah, it wasn't really that at all, it was more that what stories did the others really have to tell? I think I might be imagining it, but I think at the time that was part of the official reason.

 

To expand on that, there's nothing interesting about Chandler & Monica's home life away from the group, ditto Ross & Rachel or Phoebe and Mike; Joey was the only character who could be lifted and shifted to a new environment whilst keeping the character pure - you didn't need to change what people liked about him in Friends, just plonk him in a new location and his 'hook' - being an aspiring actor - still fit and gave plenty of opportunity to do things. That's not true of the others, something would have to be tinkered with to create an angle - because if you really think about it, would any of the other characters in isolation be that interesting? I think they were all defined by being the group, whereas Joey was much less reliant on them to provide suitable plotlines (Phoebe too in the earlier seasons, but then she had Mike).

Well, yes, but Joey being the one getting a spin-off would have been decided long before the final episodes were written and so they were written with that in mind in terms of defining where they end up.

 

I think it will have been more to do with LeBlanc actually bring up for it in 2004/5. It's not like any of them needed the money, and most of them had other things they wanted to pursue (or in the case of Perry, were probably too much of a risk to hang a whole series on).

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1 minute ago, RFT said:

 

Well, yes, but Joey being the one getting a spin-off would have been decided long before the final episodes were written and so they were written with that in mind in terms of defining where they end up.

 

I think it will have been more to do with LeBlanc actually bring up for it in 2004/5. It's not like any of them needed the money, and most of them had other things they wanted to pursue (or in the case of Perry, were probably too much of a risk to hang a whole series on).

Yeah, I think LeBlanc's keenness would've played a big part, but in terms of defining where people ended-up, the show was always going to have a happy ending (or at least, not a disruptive one) so Monica & Chandler weren't going to break up and Ross & Rachel were going to get together (it has been said by the producers many times I think that that was always the intention). Phoebe & Mike were also sorted, so we're back to Joey being the only one that makes sense to go it alone from a character perspective, regardless of whether the others would've wanted to continue with their roles.

 

I think the only difference we would've seen to the overall ending if the spin-off hadn't been in the works would still have only been for Joey, who would probably announce landing some big role in Hollywood or something, which would've been his character's happy ending - the others would've been the same as what we saw, because logically that's the only thing that made sense.

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I enjoyed the Joey spin off.  I guess it had big shoes to fill and the weight of the show fell entirely on one person, so it has that "Star Wars Prequel" air that it's bound to be received poorly. They can't make something that keeps everyone happy.  But it's pretty good and has some decent laughs.  

 

Episodes though.  Binged on Netflix UK when it was on and loved it.  

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4 hours ago, dumpster said:

Also, the show itself is a really simple "we all loved everything". It's not a real Retrospective or behind the scenes. It's just everyone sat around laughing, saying how everything was wonderful. 

 

That was one thing I really liked about the Fresh Prince reunion. There was a segment with Smith meeting the original Aunt Viv for the first time since she was fired and acknowleding the huge fuckup of the whole thing and them having a heart to heart with her telling him how bad he made her feel with his actions turning everyone against her. 

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47 minutes ago, Gabe said:

Nah, it wasn't really that at all, it was more that what stories did the others really have to tell? I think I might be imagining it, but I think at the time that was part of the official reason.

 

Fair enough. It's true his story was the most open of them all at the end. I guess what I meant was that he was the one who had the most charisma to star in his own show, in my opinion.

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There’s a particularly good episode of Episodes where LeBlanc needs to get one of the other cast members from Friends to make a cameo in his new sitcom, and the various reasons given that none of them are speaking to him any more are amazing.

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Thought the Reunion was alright. Really liked the parts with just the cast on the sets and reminiscing, loved seeing the old behind the scenes footage and outtakes, and Matt Le Blanc in general. And the stuff from the production team about casting it etc 

 

Somewhat ruined by pointless celebrity interviews and James Corden. 

 

I love Friends, it was such a cultural phenomenon but it is somewhat of a trigger for me, like a mixture of nostalgia and longing for my youth. I'll never get bored of it though, particularly the earlier seasons from the 90s. 

 

Still this was a bit too much of a fluff piece and would have liked them to acknowledge or discuss other stuff, like Joey's spinoff, the lack of diversity in the show and their views on certain elements that might not go down as well in today's world. 

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No offence to Friends, but it had run out of stories for the characters by the end of season 4.

 

MMA boyfriends? The English girlfriends/wedding? Monica and Chandler? Yeah, we're done.

 

With the exception of them just turning Ross into an insane comedy parody, because Schwimmer was great at it.

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1 hour ago, dumpster said:

Sad to see Gunther wasn't an actor before Friends. There's a joke where he tells Joey that he used to be Bryce in All My Children and I assumed that was a neat little reference, like how Phoebe's sister Ursula is a waitress because Mad About You was on before Friends.

 

Like the Scrubs episode that reveals that the Janitor was in The Fugitive?

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2 minutes ago, Azrael said:

Still this was a bit too much of a fluff piece and would have liked them to acknowledge or discuss other stuff, like Joey's spinoff, the lack of diversity in the show and their views on certain elements that might not go down as well in today's world. 

That's all it was ever going to be - they would've entirely controlled how this was going to be packaged-up as they held all the power. They don't need the money, after all, so they were never going to let the line stray from how great everything was and how much they loved working with each other.

 

I didn't watch it, but my other half had it on so I caught snippets of it and there was a bit near the end when Perry was talking about when they would bump into each other at parties, how they would then talk to that person exclusively for the rest of the night. I suppose it was meant to illustrate the bond they all had, but to me if felt kinda sad that they all largely went their separate ways and only really see each other infrequently and never as a group. They were together for 10 years from their mid-20s - it was a huge part of their adult lives and I guess in my head I like the idealised notion that they were - and still are - a close-knit group. I know the reality is different, of course, but I guess that's part of the special hold this gang had on me at a certain part of my own young adult years.

 

2 minutes ago, Festoon said:

No offence to Friends, but it had run out of stories for the characters by the end of season 4.

 

MMA boyfriends? The English girlfriends/wedding? Monica and Chandler? Yeah, we're done.

 

I think Monica and Chandler getting together was probably the worst thing in the whole show.

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I always thought the tipping point for Friends was the Las Vegas two-parter, at the end of season 6 iirc. Those episodes are silly but still really funny, whereas the season after that was completely awful. The others aren’t quite as bad but they never get any better than mediocre.

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Yeah, I don't think Monica & Chandler was the tipping point, just a constant drag when any episode centred on them - I just think they worked better apart.

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8 minutes ago, ravnaz said:

Ever so slightly off topic - Where can I find Episodes?  Doesn't appear to be on (UK) Netflix.

It’s on Hulu, so it’ll probably be on Disney+ before long. 

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2 hours ago, Festoon said:

No offence to Friends, but it had run out of stories for the characters by the end of season 4.


Yeah, totally. Season 3 was peak Friends, and the end of Season 4 is where it started to fall apart (Emily is just super lame). Season 4 had its moments though, like the encyclopaedia salesman:

 

 

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Just checked , and for all the random surprises and spontaneous fun they were having, all 6 of the cast had an Exec Producer credit. It doesn't give me any pleasure to think that they were all acting in that opening, but maybe...

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42 minutes ago, dumpster said:

Just checked , and for all the random surprises and spontaneous fun they were having, all 6 of the cast had an Exec Producer credit. It doesn't give me any pleasure to think that they were all acting in that opening, but maybe...

 

That's just a thing they get .It doesn't mean anything expect more money and cred.

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