Friends: The Reunion

"Friends: The Reunion", also known as "The One Where They Get Back Together", is a 2021 reunion special of the American television sitcom Friends. The special is hosted by James Corden and executive produced by the show's co-creators, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, Kevin S. Bright, the show's main cast, and Ben Winston (who also directed the special). The special sees the main cast revisit the sets of the original show (such as the Friends apartments, the Central Perk coffee shop, and the Friends water fountain), meet with guests who appeared on the show as well as celebrity guests, do table reads and re-enactments of Friends episodes, and share behind-the-scenes footage.[2]

Friends: The Reunion
Friends The Reunion poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Based on
Directed byBen Winston
Presented byJames Corden
Starring
Production
Producers
Running time104 minutes
Release
Original networkHBO Max
Original releaseMay 27, 2021 (2021-05-27)[1]
Chronology
Related showsFriends (1994–2004)

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

In November 2019, Warner Bros. Television was developing a Friends reunion special for their new streaming service, HBO Max. The special would feature the whole cast and co-stars.[3] In February 2020, an unscripted Friends was commissioned with all original cast and co-creators returning.[4][5][6]

The special was executive produced by the show's co-creators, Kevin S. Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, and the show's main cast, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. Ben Winston directed and executive produced through Fulwell 73. Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television was also involved in the production of the special.[4]

FilmingEdit

The special was filmed in Los Angeles, California, at Stage 24, also known as "The Friends Stage" at Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, where Friends had been filmed since its second season.[5][7] The filming of the reunion began in April 2021. Filming of the special was delayed twice, first in March 2020,[8] and second in August 2020, both due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[7][9]

The trivia game and talk show segments of the special, hosted by James Corden, were filmed in front of a live audience of "mostly union extras, [who were] COVID screened and hired for the gig" .[7] Representatives for Perry clarified he had an emergency dental surgery prior to filming when viewers were concerned about his appearance.

In an episode of Rob Lowe's podcast released on January 2021, Kudrow said she had only seen the rebuilt Central Perk set and filmed "a little something" which eventually became Lady Gaga's appearance recorded on November 2020, when the singer-actress was filming the action thriller Bullet Train. Director and producer Ben Winston stated the cast trivia game segment was being planned out in March 2021 while producing The Late Late Show and the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

CastEdit

Main castEdit

Original show producersEdit

HostEdit

Guest starsEdit

The three actors who portrayed the barbershop quartet in The One With All the Jealousy appeared in the trivia game segment. Show guest stars Danny DeVito, Ben Stiller, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and Sean Penn were mentioned and shown via archive footage. Actor Paul Rudd briefly appeared in the series finale curtain call. Appearances by director James Burrows and comedian Bob Newhart were cut from the special used as bonus clips in the HBO Max release.

ReleaseEdit

The reunion special was originally set to be released with the launch of HBO Max on May 27, 2020, along with the 236 episodes of the original series that were available at launch.[5] In May 2021, a teaser trailer was released announcing that the reunion special was scheduled to be released on May 27, 2021, on HBO Max.[1] The HBO Max release includes five bonus clips that were cut from the special as extras.

The special was also released internationally simultaneously with the U.S. release on Crave in Canada, Sky One and Now in the United Kingdom and Italy,[11] Foxtel Now and Binge in Australia,[12] TVNZ 2 and TVNZ OnDemand in New Zealand,[13] ZEE5 in India,[14] OSN in the United Arab Emirates,[15] HBO Go and HBO Asia in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan and Hong Kong,[16][17] and HBO Nordic in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.

In China, the special was streamed on iQIYI, Youku and Tencent Video, although the scenes featuring Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and BTS have been removed.[18] LGBTQ references and references to urine in the special were also removed.[19] In Japan, the special was exclusively released on U-NEXT on May 31, 2021.[20]

In Vietnam, the special was streamed on FPT Play[21] and VieOn[22] with Vietnamese subtitles being hardsubbed. In South Africa, the special was aired on MNET(DStv) on May 30, 2021, and was released for streaming on Showmax on May 31, 2021.[23]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the special has an approval rating of 67% based on 52 reviews, with an average score of 6.4/10. The website's critics consensus is, "It may work best for die-hards, but when it cuts out the noise and focuses on the connections Friends: The Reunion is as warm and comforting as a night in the café."[24] On Metacritic, the special has a weighted average score of 65 out of 100 indicating "generally favorable reviews" based on 27 critics.[25]

AccoladesEdit

Award Date of ceremony Category Receipt Result Ref(s)
Primetime Emmy Awards September 19, 2021 Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) Friends: The Reunion Pending [26]
Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special Ben Winston Pending
Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Special Patrick Boozer, Lynn Costa, Russell Fine, Noah Mitz and Madigan Stehly Pending
Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special Greg Grande, Daren Janes and John Shaffner Pending

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Swift, Andy (May 13, 2021). "Friends Reunion Special Gets May Premiere Date on HBO Max — First Look". TVLine. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
  2. ^ Gonzales, Erica; Mackelden, Amy (May 19, 2021). "The 'Friends' Reunion Trailer Is Here, and It's So Emotional". Harper's Bazaar. Archived from the original on March 3, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  3. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (November 12, 2019). "'Friends' Reunion Special in the Works at HBO Max (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on November 15, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "The One Where They Got Back Together | WarnerMedia Pressroom". WarnerMedia. February 21, 2020. Archived from the original on February 22, 2020. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (February 21, 2020). "'Friends' Reunion Special Officially A Go At HBO Max With Cast Returning". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 25, 2020. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  6. ^ "Friends to reunite for one-off special on HBO Max". BBC News. February 22, 2020. Archived from the original on February 21, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "The Friends reunion has been filmed in Los Angeles: Here's what we know". BBC News. April 12, 2021. Archived from the original on April 12, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 18, 2020). "'Friends' Reunion Special Delayed at HBO Max". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 20, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  9. ^ White, Peter (April 2, 2021). "'Friends': HBO Max Reunion Special To Shoot Next Week". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 2, 2021. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  10. ^ Rubin, Elana (May 28, 2021). "'Friends': Lady Gaga Referenced 'A Star Is Born' Movie While Singing Phoebe Buffay's 'Smelly Cat' Song". cheatsheet.com. Showbiz. Archived from the original on June 12, 2021. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  11. ^ Swain, Marianka (May 24, 2021). "Everything we learnt from the Friends Reunion trailer". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on May 24, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  12. ^ Marshall, Alice; Lambrechts, Stephen (May 25, 2021). "Where to watch Friends: The Reunion in Australia - stream the new special this week". TechRadar. Archived from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  13. ^ Friday; May 2021, 21; TVNZ, 5:13 pm Press Release. "'How You Doin' New Zealand - Friends: The Reunion Is Coming To TVNZ | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved May 25, 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "'Friends: The Reunion' to Stream on Digital Platform ZEE5 in India". News18 India. May 23, 2021. Archived from the original on May 25, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  15. ^ "How to watch Friends: The Reunion in the UAE". Time Out Dubai. May 25, 2021. Archived from the original on May 30, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  16. ^ hermesauto (May 27, 2021). "HBO Go crashes as Friends reunion special goes live". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on June 3, 2021. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  17. ^ Dass, Camillia (May 27, 2021). "Don't Have HBO Go? Here's How to Watch the Friends Reunion Special in Singapore". Tatler Singapore. Archived from the original on May 27, 2021. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  18. ^ "Why Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and BTS Are Cut From 'Friends' Reunion in China". Vice News. Archived from the original on May 27, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  19. ^ "Friends reunion: BTS, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber censored in China". BBC News. May 28, 2021. Archived from the original on May 28, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  20. ^ "日本での配信が5月31日(月)に緊急決定!大人気シリーズ17年ぶりの同窓会『フレンズ:ザ・リユニオン』がU-NEXTにて日本初、見放題で独占配信". PRTIMES (in Japanese). May 27, 2021. Archived from the original on May 30, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  21. ^ "Friends: The Reunion". FPT Play. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  22. ^ "Friends: The Reunion". Vieon. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  23. ^ "Watch FRIENDS: THE REUNION on DStv". www.dstv.co.za. Archived from the original on June 2, 2021. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  24. ^ "Friends: The Reunion". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  25. ^ "Friends: The Reunion: Season 1". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved May 29, 2021.
  26. ^ "Friends: The Reunion". Emmys.com. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on July 16, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2021.

External linksEdit