Beautiful moments, a nice dose of nostalgia, some not really new revelations, and not much more.

A nice reunion of alumni. A sweet evening of reunion with friends, touching. But not much more. The special program Friends: the reunion (The Reunion in VO), broadcast this evening unencrypted on TF1 and awaited for months and months by the fans, after being postponed for a whole year by COVID, gave birth to ‘a mouse. A nice nostalgic little mouse, far from the must for serious wine that one could hope for.

For 1h38, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer strolled through the sets of the cult series, reconstituted for the occasion. They sat in sofas, in armchairs, around a table. They did their best to replay their friends’ time (in exchange for a check for $ 2.5 million per person, that deserves to be clarified) On autopilot, they hugged, full of times, have cried, often, and tried to rekindle a flame that burns especially among the fans now. Besides, most of the Friends have not seen all the episodes of the series. Some do not remember much, like David Schwimmer who does not even remember throwing a ball at Matt LeBlanc for hours, for the episode “The One With The Ball” (in 1999). None can remember the name of the old neighbor downstairs, Mr. Heckles. Matthew Perry, strangely extinct, clearly seemed out of the group, almost absent.

In this artificially overplayed atmosphere, James Corden has become master of ceremonies, unfortunately remaining on the surface of things, questioning the Friends on subjects often mentioned by the actors in the Media over the past two decades. It was sorely lacking in novelty, exploration or analysis. And upon arrival, not much is left of Friends: The Reunion and this exceptional gathering, which should have been so much more than that. That being said, here is all we will keep:

In 1996, when the episode “The One With The Jam” aired on American television, Joey appeared on the screen with a cast on his right arm. In the first few seconds, we discover that he had a bad fall after jumping on his bed. In reality, the writers must have found a way out of an injury that really made the actor suffer. A few days earlier, on the set of “The One Where No One’s Ready”, Joey was fighting with Chandler to keep his place in Monica’s big chair. But during an umpteenth take, the actor missed it and downright split his shoulder! “I went over the coffee table and tripped. My legs came up and my shoulder dislocated,” said Matt LeBlanc in Friends The Reunion. “We had to stop filming and take Matt to the hospital,” continues David Crane, the co-creator of the series. An anecdote that had already been disclosed by the actor, but the special show unveiled the footage of the filming of the time, where we see the interpreter of Joey really hurt.

This is not a revelation: the actor hated filming with the little monkey in season 1 and he pushed, in season 2, to get rid of it. First of all because it was very complicated to film a scene correctly with him. Then because the interpreter of Ross had to support his not very clean paws on the face: “When the monkey rested on my shoulder while waiting to shoot a scene, his trainer came to open a box to give the monkey live maggots to eat “, he recalls in Friends: The Reunion. “The monkey would take maggots, cut them in half, eat them and then put their paws on me.” And Schwimmer concluded with a big “Fuck off!”

It was the Friends who struggled the most to collect the fame and the money. We knew he had succumbed to alcohol and drugs during his years on the show, but Matthew Perry delivered a heartbreaking confession to his comrades on the show. He says that as a comedian of the band, he put on himself a terrible pressure, during the filming in public: “Personally, I had the impression that I was going to die if the public did not laugh. is unhealthy, I know. But if the audience did not laugh, I started to sweat, I had convulsions … I felt that every night “, admits the actor, obviously still marked by this period.

Kevin S. Bright, David Crane and Martha Kauffman are the co-creators of Friends. But we understand through this special show, that the series was largely inspired by the lives of the last two: “With Martha Kauffman, when we were 20, we lived in New York. We had a group of close friends. to earn money, to fall in love. And we thought that would make a good show. ” The duo specifies that they were inspired by people from their families and their friends to think of the characters. Moreover, “we chose Chandler as a first name after one of my friends,” specifies Marta Kauffman.

Officially, none of the Friends have ever dated another. But it almost did in 1994. As David Schwimmer bluntly confesses, “In the first season, I had a crush on Jen. A very, very big crush.” And his playmate adds: “It was mutual”.

He didn’t say more than ten words during his short video intervention. But we have seen that James Michael Tyler, at 59, has a rather strange resemblance to the Oscar-winning superstar … In general, the former supporting roles of the series were only entitled in this reunion apparitions dispatched. Whether it’s parents Geller (Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles), lost in the public eye. Let it be Maggie Wheeler who barely had time to (re) say that she created Janice’s iconic laugh in a nervous and spontaneous way, to face the charisma of Matthew Perry. Or whether it was Tom Selleck, returned to play Richard to … say nothing at all.

Lisa Kudrow picked up her guitar to sing “Smelly Cat”, improvising an unlikely duet with Lady Gaga. Seeming almost embarrassed, the actress then received praise from the successful singer, who thanked her for embodying a form of difference in the series, through which people on the fringes were able to recognize each other: “Thank you. to have been that person for all of us in Friends. That person a little different, even if not necessarily the right word. The one who could be deeply herself! “

In the episode “The One With Unagi”, Joey hires an actor who looks vaguely like him, to play his “twin,” so that he can participate in a lucrative clinical trial. The guy in question is called Carl and is played by Louis Mandylor. However, the creators of the series tell in Friends: The Reunion, that Mandylor was the last competitor in the running, for the casting, in 1994, against Matt LeBlanc. He could have been Joey, but ultimately lost and was treated to that guest star appearance as a consolation prize!

Martha Kauffman says the role of Ross was written with him in mind. The two writers had crossed the actor and “his head of beaten dog” during a previous audition. They absolutely wanted to see him join Friends. But disgusted by a previous failed television experience, Schwimmer had chosen to return to Chicago to do theater. Martha Kauffman finally convinced him.

Through very touching images, we discover how the very last sequence of Friends was experienced, in 2004. The gang of six spun down this corridor to go have a coffee. “Where?” Chandler blurted out. And then the director shouted “Cut”. And it was over. We saw the actors burst into tears, almost literally collapse. And then a few minutes later, the decor was already being demolished! “Because a pilot of a new series was filming himself there the next day,” recalls Kevin S. Bright. So the group hung out on this shattered plateau, an impromptu party was organized in the ruins of the set and each member of the crew wrote a note on a piece of the wall of the set. “I shit here,” had signed Matt LeBlanc, laughing when he found his message, 17 years later.

Everything would have to be broken to relaunch the series. This is in essence what the comedians responded to James Corden in Friends: The Reunion. Without any hesitation, leaving no room for a possible rumor, Lisa Kudrow was cash: “No. Sorry but no, that will not happen. Already it is a decision that belongs to Marta and David (Kauffman and Crane, the co-creators). And they ended the series in the most beautiful way. They voluntarily gave everyone a happy ending. Each character ends with the prospect of a good life. So they would have to undo these beauties. things to create new stories. We wouldn’t want to undo those happy ends! “

The question that kills and to which each of the actors has already answered again and again. For Jennifer Aniston, Ross and Rachel are married, obviously. With several children. For Courteney Cox, “Monica is certainly still obsessed with competition. Her kids are probably already graduates but she continues to handle the elementary school cake sale. And Chandler continues to make her laugh every day.” For her part, Lisa Kudrow imagines Phoebe living in Connecticut with Mike and their children. “She speaks out to defend her children who are a little on the margins and all the other children who are also different. She created a program of ‘art, she teaches music … “What about Joey? The only one who actually got a sequel, in the spin-off, obviously stayed in California: “Joey opened a sandwich shop in Venice Beach!” laughs Matt LeBlanc. New York is really a thing of the past.

David Schwimmer posted a photo of himself in the arms of Jennifer Aniston, behind the scenes of the filming of the event.

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