After months of anticipation, the Friends reunion of our dreams finally became a reality when the special dropped on Thursday. All six original cast members- Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Matthew Perry (Chandler), and David Schwimmer (Ross)- gathered for the special on HBO Max, to honour the iconic sitcom’s 25th anniversary. During the nearly two-hour-long special, the cast headed back to the Friends Warner Bros. studio lot, testing their trivia knowledge of the show, revisiting key sets, re-reading their lines, and joining Late Night show host James Corden for a joint sit-down interview in front of a live audience. Here are the best, most emotional, and hilarious moments from the long-awaited Friends reunion:
The opening scene
The opening scene of the reunion special was easily one of the best and the most emotional moments for longtime fans of the show as it captured all the six stars under the same roof after 17 years. The actors got emotional as they reunited at the iconic Stage 24 at Warner Bros. studios, which had been rebuilt with recreated sets of Joey and Chandler’s bachelor pad, Monica and Rachel’s apartment, and Central Perk, where the iconic orange couch was always reserved for ‘Friends’. The scene definitely brought back many cherished memories.
Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer admit they were ‘crushing’ on each other
Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer revealed that Rachel Green and Ross Geller’s romance almost happened in real life. David said that he had a major crush on Jennifer during the first season of Friends. “I mean, the first season, I had a major crush on Jen. At some point, we were crushing hard on each other," Schwimmer admitted. “But it was like two ships passing because one of us was always in a relationship and we never crossed that boundary. We respected that." Jennifer added, “So we just channeled all of our adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel."
Ross and Monica’s parents’ appearance
Christina Pickles, 86, and Elliott Gould, 82, who portrayed Ross and Monica’s parents in the series, were in the audience for the special. “We loved it because they loved us,” Pickles shared. “One day we came to work and they said, “‘The parents are here! The parents are here!’ It was so moving and we really did feel like their parents. In fact, we used to worry about them quite a lot."
Well, who can forget the nasally voice of Chandler’s on-off-again girlfriend, Janice, on the iconic sitcom? During a candid interview with the cast, host James Corden asked them who has the loudest and most distinctive laugh, at which everyone points at Lisa Kudrow. And, suddenly: “Oh. My God! I can’t believe you didn’t say me!" yelled Maggie Wheeler from the side of the stage, surprising the cast and joining them for a chat on the famous orange sofa.
The almost Joey played fake Joey on ‘Friends’
Creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane and director Kevin Bright revealed that the runner-up for the role of Joey ended up on an episode of Friends later. LeBlanc was relatively unknown before Friends. “Matt LeBlanc, If I remember correctly had like $11 in his pocket when he auditioned,” Kaufman said. “We saw a lot of guys who you believed were actors, guys who liked women but they weren’t funny. Then Matt came in and suddenly on him, the lines felt funny,” Crane recalled. The auditions came down to LeBlanc and Louis Mandylor, who later guest-starred on Friends in season 6. “So Matt went right down to the wire, auditioned at the network at NBC with another actor and he killed it and got the part of Joey,” Bright said. “The funny thing about it is the other actor ended up in the show in ‘The One with the Unagi’ playing Fake Joey ironically."
Lisa Kudrow performs ‘Smelly Cat’ with Lady Gaga
Lisa Kudrow belted out the lyrics of her character Phoebe Buffay’s infamous song ‘Smelly Cat’ while playing the guitar and sitting on the orange couch at Central Perk. She was soon joined by Lady Gaga, who appeared in a colourful outfit seemingly inspired by Phoebe’s quirky style. The 35-year-old appeared excited to be performing a duet with Lisa Kudrow as she gave her own spin to ‘Smelly Cat’. To which, Lisa joked, “That was so great… I still think it’s better when it’s just me."
Matt LeBlanc walks the ramp wearing all of Chandler Bing’s clothes
During the special, host James Corden surprisingly announced a celebrity special fashion show, which featured Justin Bieber, Cindy Crawford, and Cara Delevingne walking the ramp wearing iconic costumes from Friends. And the showstopper was none other than Matt LeBlanc, who walked the ramp reenacting a scene from the second episode of season 3 wherein his character Joey Tribbiani wore all of Chandler Bing’s clothes.
Jennifer Aniston comforts an emotional Matthew Perry
An emotional Matthew Perry was comforted by Jennifer Aniston towards the end of the special when the former was talking about the bond that they all share. “After the show was over, it was like if one of us bumped into each other at a party or any kind of social gathering, that was it! That was the end of the night! We sat with the person all night long."