'Friends The Reunion' review: So many emotions, so little time
It was difficult not to tear up while watching this special episode.
I just finished watching Friends: The Reunion and probably one of the hardest things I’ll ever attempt to do as a writer, right now, is to pen down words while I continue to sob for another few moments of gut-wrenching weeping (or let’s be honest, howling).
They came, they laughed, they loved, and made me fall in love with them all over again. And this is coming from a person who has watched the show on loop, from S01 to S10, then back to S01, for years. Could it BE possible to love them any more than I already do? I think so. The new episode started and ended in tears, with close up shots of Monica's famous purple-walled apartment, and also how the actual show ended 17 years ago, evoking a multitude of emotions. And we're left staring at the iconic yellow frame that surrounds the eyehole in Monica’s apartment.
There was nostalgia, there was laughter, there was yelling out the dialogues along with the cast, there was singing Smelly Cat on the top of our lungs (this time, with Lady Gaga by our side!). But most of all, there was reconnection – as though we were being reunited with our long-lost family. Friends, who turned into family. Exactly like how the creators of the show mentioned. If they had to pitch the show in one line, “it’s about that time in your life when your friends are your family.” And thanks to this show, we get to have this time in our life, for the rest of our lives. At the click of a finger.
Why Friends: The Reunion is special
While there is a gamut of reasons why this show will remain special, the main one is because it showcases the concept of friends as family. That special bond, of loving deeply without the obligation to do so, in the name of blood relations or genetic ties, is a universal emotion that will tug at your heartstrings no matter what age group or background you come from.
The chemistry shared by the Friends cast, even while they’re just being themselves, like in this episode, is a kind that is rare, and that is why the show has an enduring appeal.
It brought us unabashed laughter
The Reunion episode evoked unabashed laughter, as the cast re-read some of the iconic lines from all our favourite episodes, including Lisa Kudrow aka Phoebe Buffay recreating the scene from “The One Where Everyone Finds Out”, screaming 'MY EYES, MY EYESSS'. You just HAVE to scream along with her. To Ross and Rachel recreating the eye-locking (or unlocking) romance of their first ever kiss, in the coffee house. We got to feast on our most cherished moments from the show and devour the best bits, which may be able to sustain our palate for humour for a little while, perhaps, maybe till another of these reunion episodes is out (a girl can dream!!!).
Interestingly, we even got some inside information about the off-screen romances (or budding romances) during the shooting of the show. Turns out, the secret to Ross and Rachel’s fierce chemistry on stage was their offscreen attraction for each other. Yes, David Schwimmer revealed that the duo was “crushing hard” on each other, even off the camera, but nothing ever happened, as they were both involved with other people during the course of filming for the show. Or, so they’d like us to believe, as Matt LeBlanc called ‘Boo-Hockey’ on the whole thing. Well, perhaps, the onscreen couple not acting up on their feelings is what gave us the romance of a lifetime in Ross and Rachel, and also, the reason why, she got off the plane in the last episode.
It has worldwide appeal
Besides giving us a much-needed dose of fist thumping belly laughs, in otherwise, grim times, The Reunion was also a reminder of the ginormous impact the show has had in people’s lives, all around the world, of which, the laughter is only a miniscule part. Fans and celebrities alike, from across the globe, shared stories of how the show has helped them battle suicidal thoughts, depression and loneliness across multiple touch points in their lives. And that is why it has become much more than just a TV show. It is a glimpse of hope.
Much like the stories mentioned in The Reunion, there was a time in my life, while I was away from home, at university and I was stuck, unable to fly back home due to a visa situation. I remember walking up to the library every few days, just to download some episodes of Friends on Netflix and head back home, so I could re-watch them in moments when the piercing silence that surrounded my apartment, got unbearable.
I’d fall asleep with Phoebe’s ‘floopiness’, or Monica yelling at Rachel for not doing the dishes yet again, or Joey and Chandler bursting into their one-of-a-kind dance, or ever Janice screaming ‘Oh My God,’ through my laptop screen. And in that moment, I wouldn’t feel alone. For those 20 minutes, the emotional hurdles I was facing in my life would fade into the background and the words of the theme song, ‘I’ll be there for you’, would fill my life with love and laughter, which otherwise, felt missing. And such is the power of show.
Were they really on a break?
So, no matter how badly I, like the million other fans, want just another episode of the sitcom, it’s perhaps best left as it is because as Lisa Kudrow quotes the creators in The Reunion episode, “They ended the show very nicely, everyone’s lives are very nice and they would have to unravel all those things, in order for there to be a story. And I don’t want anyone’s happy ending to be unraveled."
Frankly, neither do we! We want to live with this show, which has become synonymous to sunshine and grow old with it, keeping it exactly the way it is – untouched, unmatchable and the very best. But we do want more of these reunions, though, and some answers, too. Were Ross and Rachel really on a break? Guess we’ll find out in another 15 years!