The special reunion episode of Friends aired on HBO Max and Zee5 on Thursday, after 17-long years of waiting and hoping for such an episode.
The one-and-a-half-hour special episode was a bittersweet, emotional rollercoaster filled with nostalgic reliving of some of the iconic moments of the show, special guest appearances and a chock full of shocking revelations.
Neither the producers nor the cast members addressed the problematic sides of the show, including the lack of racial diversity, body shaming jokes and the transphobic and homophobic nature of the characters. While this was disappointing, the episode was truly for the diehard fans. Whether you love or hate the show, the interaction between Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, Matt Le Blanc and David Schwimmer was heartwarming.
The show was a seamless mix of chats and games. During the chatter, the cast members and the producers dropped a few significant tidbits from the show that even the most hardcore fan would not have known. And no, nobody still knows what Chandler did for a living.
Here are some of the most shocking revelations made during the Friends: The Reunion special episode:
1. The One Where They Get Back Together
Friends ran for 10 years from 1994 to 2004. The six cast members have since then only gotten together once. The Reunion episode opened with the text, “Since the finale, the 6 cast members have been in a room all together only once. Until today…”
Addressing the gap in their meet, Kudrow said that they stayed in touch, even if it was not everyday, and that there was a strong bond that they have forged with each other. “Let’s not wait this long before having a dinner,” said Cox.
2. The one with Marcel and his grubby hands
Who doesn’t remember Ross’ cheeky monkey, Marcel and his cute antics? While everyone else seemed to love the monkey, Schwimmer seems to think otherwise. During the interview with late night show host James Corden, he revealed that even though he is an animal lover, he hated the primate.
Schwimmer shared that working directly with a monkey was not easy as they often ruined takes by missing their marks. He was also not a fan of the monkey’s diet, which involved live grubs, and certainly hated it when he had the grubby hands all over him.
“It was time for Marcel to **** off,” he said.
3. The one with ‘Mondler’
Chandler and Monice are undoubtedly the power couple of the show. They seemed to complement each other perfectly that it comes as a shock to find out that the pairing was originally not intended to last long.
Co-creator David Crane revealed that Chandler and Monica were meant to just have a one night stand to create an awkward air. However, the producers had to make changes to the couple’s future after hearing the delighted screams from the audience when Monica popped up from beneath the sheets of Chandler’s bed.
4. The one that could have been
While Rachel and Ross shared a will-they-won’t-they relationship onscreen, it was revealed that the actors who played them, Aniston and Schwimmer, shared a similar dynamic offscreen.
Schwimmer revealed that he had a huge crush on Aniston, who added that it was reciprocated. However, they could never explore the connection as during that period of time one or both of them were in other relationships.
The two, instead, decided to channel their adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel.
5. The one with the injury
The producers of Friends shared that even though shooting for season three’s The One Where No One’s Ready should have been the easiest, it took the most time.
The episode has a scene where LeBlanc jumps on the sofa to prevent Chandler from taking the spot. However, while doing so, he dislocated his shoulder. The producers then decided to include LeBlanc’s injury in the script as he was wearing a sling. However, the particular episode had to be reshot much later, after LeBlanc had removed his cast.
While watching the excruciating moment, LeBlanc said that the cast would often huddle outside the door before shooting an episode but they were not able to do so during that particular episode. The cast then made it a habit to always huddle in order to avoid any other accidents.
6. The one with Janice’s laughter
Actor Maggie Wheeler made a short appearance in the reunion episode and shared her experience playing Janice, Chandler’s clingy ex-girlfriend.
Wheeler also revealed the backstory behind her popular yet annoying laugh and said that it was born in the moment. She shared that Perry was so funny and that she knew she was going to crack up as soon as he opened his mouth. “This character needs a laugh because I’m not going to be able to get through a single scene with this guy,” she said.
7. The one where they were cast
It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the roles of the six friends. Of course, the producers let us in on some of the casting details.
Ross was written with Schwimmer in mind. However, the producers had to work hard to get him to agree as he had become disillusioned with acting.
Cox was originally slated to be cast as Rachel. However, she convinced the producers that she should play Monica as she was more of a Monica herself in real life.
Kudrow was the easiest to cast, said the producers. She was already playing a waitress named Ursula on the sitcom Mad About You, who was similar to Phoebe. The creators of Friends retained Ursula and kept her as the evil twin of Phoebe in the story.
LeBlanc had only $11 in his pockets when auditioned for Joey. According to the producers, one of the actors who had auditioned for Joey later played the role of Fake Joey in the episode, The One With Unagi.
8. The one where Lisa Kudrow hasn’t watched Friends
While the rest of the six cast members have watched Friends, Kudrow shared that she had not. She stated that her husband Michel Stern enjoyed watching Friends more than she did, as she was mortified with herself.
Schwimmer revealed that it took him 17 years to watch the series again and that he watched it along with his daughter.
9. The one with the feels
Perhaps the biggest revelation was the most difficult to swallow – this is the last time the cast would ever regroup. There will be no reboots or another reunion. “We’re not going to do this again in 15 more years,” said Cox.
Kudrow said that the story cannot be continued as the creators did a good job in wrapping up the show. She said that the story would have to be unravelled and she would not like to unravel any of the characters’ happy endings.
So where would the characters be now?
According to Cox, even though Monica and Chandler’s children have probably graduated, that would not be stopping her from indulging in bake sales at the elementary school or PTA meets. Kudrow said that Phoebe and her husband Mike would be in Connecticut with their kids and that Phoebe would have been creating art and music programs and being there for all the other kids who are a little different.
According to Aniston, Rachel and Ross would have gotten married and had children. As for Joey, he would have opened up a sandwich shop in Venice Beach, said LeBlanc.