"Friends: The Reunion" Getting Mixed Reactions
Not everybody is excited about "Friends: The Reunion."
Some people have been waiting a long time for Friends: The Reunion. However, not everyone is excited about the return of the friends whose sitcom aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. During the time the comedy was on the air, it was one of NBC's most popular shows. After 17 years, the cast of the long-running series reunites for an unscripted television special that is released only on HBO Max on Thursday, May 27, 2021.
About the Reunion
Friends: The Reunion is also known as The One Where They Get Back Together. The main cast revisits the sets of the original show, including the familiar apartments, the Central Perk coffee shop, and the water fountain.
Filming of the reunion had been delayed twice because of the pandemic. The first delay was in March 2020, with the original release date scheduled for March 23, 2020. The second delay was in August 2020. The filming of the reunion was finally completed in April 2021 with its release date on May 27, 2021. The episode was filmed in front of a live studio audience consisting mostly of union extras who had been screened for their assignment.
The episode was filmed on the original soundstage, Stage 24 on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Los Angeles, California. Stage 24 was also known as the "The Friends Stage" where Friends had been filmed since the second of its ten seasons.
The Theme Song
The original recording of The Rembrandts' I'll Be There For You is still being used, but it is slower and more melancholy. If the theme song is slower and more wistful, then the series will also be at a much slower pace. Those who watched the sitcom years ago might notice the difference in the tempo of the song.
The actors of the original cast are the same for the reunion: Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Courteney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing), and Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani).
Many special guests will appear for an unscripted celebration of the episode with the cast.
The Bad News
There have been many complaints about the reunion even before it airs. According to Newsweek, the long-awaited reunion has been met with backlash over a lack of diversity in the celebrity guest selections. It is clearly seen in the alphabetical list above that there are no African American guest celebrity friends.
Many fans of the show have posted on social media that they are very disappointed that the guest appearances do not include any people of color. One Twitter user wrote: "The premise of the Friends reunion episode will be: the friends still don't know any Black people."
Another critic of the show sums the situation up by saying, "The Friends show has faced decades of criticism for being unrealistically white in the middle of New York. Then they plan a reunion with 0 Black guest stars." Some Black people said they will not watch Friends: The Reunion because of the lack of diversity.
Some fans of the show are not pleased that James Corden, the Late Late Show star is hosting the reunion special. Many people posted on social media about their frustration with the hosting choice. They say he will ruin what they have been waiting to enjoy.
The Good News
The good news is that those who have waited for a reunion are finally getting it even without diversity and with James Corden as the host. They want to experience what they loved in the past. They want to laugh and once again enjoy what they witnessed 17 years ago when they watched the goings and comings of the three couples. They look forward to seeing what they will bring to the reunion.