The announcement of the Friends reunion has taken the internet and the audience worldwide by a storm of excitement and anticipation. The trailer release has added to the buzz around the reunion and this is ‘the one week where no one can keep calm’. Fans can’t wait to see the actors go back to the sets, recreate some of the most iconic lines, answer fun questions and play the legendary quiz. The Friends reunion is beyond the reunion of a show that ended in 2004, it is the reunion of all the fond memories, happiness and warmth attached to the show. The reunion is an extension of the show, but more importantly of the friendships. The reunion has been long awaited from much before it was even announced in 2020 because the fans always craved more.
We have to admire the show for its ability to leave fans wanting more even after running for 10 seasons over 10 years and been available on various platforms ever since. The show managed to make a space in people’s mind and hearts, enough for everyone to celebrate and eagerly wait for 27th May when the reunion airs on HBO Max.
What makes the show special? The answer is simple yet complex. The show tugs at the strings of the heart. It is about deep and genuine friendships between six characters, their uniqueness, their love, their ups and downs but, above all, their ability to stick together through all of it. We are tempted to like the show because it portrays what we desire but not in a far-fetched fairy-tale manner: it is filled with realism. The show includes realistic plot lines and genuine conflicts and issues. What makes the answer complex is that even though we feel it is a simple story, for the writers to have managed to keep the writing fresh, to ensure that the characters evolve but remain true to themselves and relevant, and to fill the show with comedy for over 200 episodes was not easy.
The show is universally relatable. The number of people who are going to do a cameo in the reunion can tell us how huge the audience of the sitcom is. The show is famous on a global level because even though we may not relate to them culturally, we connect to the universal themes of friendship and love. The show has managed to gain equal amount of success and love outside of America as well.
We cannot talk about Friends without mentioning its legendary title song. The title song encapsulates the entire show with the exact themes and feelings of it. We relate to it when we are having a tough time when it says “when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or even your year”; how much we have longed to hear someone tell us, “I’ll be there for you”. It is the most comforting and sweet song about friendship and it wouldn’t be a stretch if I said that it is an anthem for friendship.
The show has inspired many other sitcoms, sub-plots and characterisation. One such strong example could be Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Jake Peralta’s childlike behaviour was probably inspired by Joey or Amy’s obsession with organisation, reminds me of Monica or Gina’s sarcasm, and sometimes hints at Chandler’s sarcastic humour.
Friends is not perfect. It has its own flaws: it was a product of its time, so there are issues like a lack of black representation, and the homophobia and transphobia that have been pointed out by recent viewers. However, the show has managed to age decently well: it still has intelligent jokes and is a source of good laughs; it is called the stress-buster and mood-lifter by many fans. Also, we cannot deny that talking about homosexuality or transgender persons in those times was a feat in itself, and the show also dealt with pregnancy of the three female characters innovatively and respectfully for which it deserves appreciation. Thus, it’s understandable why the show continues to have such a huge and diverse fan following.
Friends is a reflection of what we want and the problems that we will have in our lives. Everyone will continue to look up to the bonds the characters had and the comfort and camaraderie the actors continue to have. Clichéd as it may sound, rather than finding those Friends, be that friend and let people know that you will be there for them!
Disclaimer: This article has not been written by Film Companion’s editorial team.