In 1994, a pilot episode of a sitcom stole the limelight from its very first moment of being aired on the TV screen and successfully reign the universe of comedy for the next 10 years. The show was about six friends in New York City and not more than their lives but was content in itself. I started watching Friends in 1995. Most of the episodes till 1997 flew up over my head because of the intimidating English language. The dedicated audience and fan in my house were my mid 20 something aunt and my uncle. Thanks to them, they were kind enough to include me in their gang and translated the dialogues and kept me up with the story.
Days were more bearable because of Friends but lengthy as no online streaming was there. Living in Asia means we do not get to watch unbridged screenplay and not to mention the opportunity to watch it whenever we want. Still a big thanks to Star World for bringing this show to our home with limitations but lots of fun. May 6, 2004, was a memorable day as the journey with friends was standing at the purple door with the yellow frame for saying the last ‘bye’. At that time I didn’t need my homies much to explain to me what was happening because my English was improved a bit. However, I needed them beside me to watch the door closed for one last time with teary eyes.
Since then, I have watched Friends more than a hundred times (Bazinga! Internet happened!). It’s flattering to know that my tiny share is there to its billon watch-time. I have watched a handful of other sitcoms maybe better than Friends in some aspects, alike friends (you know which one I am talking about) and funnier than friends. But why I share a part of my heart with this show and 17 years later when they reunited, I feel like my pals come back to my home?
The journey with friends was long but personally, I didn’t wait for their reunion. I was content knowing that they are happy. I was content watching fan-made trailers on Youtube and rumours of their coming back in a movie. My share of happiness comes from seeing people gushing over friends and spreading the fandom. Hearing about an official announcement of a reunion is nerve-wracking for me and I guess for many people. There is a chance to spoil the essence, the feelings of being content with the season finale ending the prehistory of so many reunion episodes of other tv shows. Thanks to the show creators for bringing this wonderful tale of friendship and love into our lives but a big thanks to them for not ruining it and respect the audience’s waiting and feelings through the reunion. They had every chance of it but they did make the right decision to present it in the right way.
the one hour forty minutes of Friends reunion is definitely one of the best investments of my time because it made me overwhelmed. All these years we celebrated the cast, the plot, the jokes, the chemistry through binge-watching, fanfics, memes, songs and whatnot. I believe there is a huge pressure on the creators to serve us right. They made the best decision to make this a reunion of casts, crews and fans. A table read instead of a new episode of peeking what happened 17 years later just top-notch. It had a risk of not making new fans but they emphasised on the old fans of friends and we much appreciated that (No offence to the non-watchers of Friends).
The emotion and story of the casts and persons behind the cameras give us a new jolt of realising how the people who made it happen also adored it as we did. How they channel energy to their characters, to the screenplay. After knowing about David and Jenny’s Crushing over each other, you know why it would not be the same to wonder about their on-screen chemistry. You can clearly see how much Phoebe and Joey are there in both Lisa and Matty’s body language and conversation style. Matthew’s struggle with alcohol still has a toll but you get to see how he embraced the dark periods of his life and erase them through the reunion. Courtney still has the same aura of confidence and strength which she channelled to Monica years ago and let us see how an independent woman should be.
Personally, I am giving some extra credits for not giving more than 30 seconds to one minute to the guest celebrities. When the list of guest celebs was published I was very annoyed to see some names. Even it feels like James Corden understand it was not his show to present his hosting skills but to keep it the space for the six showstoppers. I am grateful that the creator didn’t let them overshadowed the purpose of the reunion. They were like the right amount of milk and sugar for our evening tea.
From presenting the bloopers, revealing secrets, bringing back the old casts and guest appearances, table read to the fashion show, the origin of Janice’s laugh, spilling tea and many more – the components of a reunion was overwhelming. It again made us laugh and cry. If you are not much of an emotional piece of meat, you know there are invisible tears involved, tightness in the chest and releasing it out through laughter, smile and happy tears. For me, there is hidden toxicity ( Calling Brad Pitt for a special club to call out a special character) in some character and other fading out the humour with times still there but I cannot hide how this TV show made evenings of my childhood, teenage and adulthood brighter. It teaches me to explore love in friendship, brought me up from darkness when no one was there to switch on the light. Each of the six characters has their individual impact on my life and I believe in many others because they were written and represented with flashes of brilliance. The nonsense of this show made sense because we needed it in the darkest hour as much as this reunion in this time of Pandemic. It brings a smile again and I care about it. This reunion presented how beyond a TV show can go through the actors’ acting, on-screen chemistry, off-screen friendship, behind the camera’s hard works and emotion while bringing solidarity before a screen worldwide.
I do not blame you if you start binging Friends after watching the reunion or as a first watcher of the reunion want to explore what all fuss is about. There are so many downsides to friends. It is not a perfect show, a perfect representation of New York or even a relationship. But you know that every imperfection is perfect right?