Friends ended nearly 16 years ago in May 2004. Since then, it’s experienced a resurgence in popularity because of Netflix as original viewers tapped into the nostalgia and the show reached a new generation of viewers who were too young to know Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, and the Central Perk when they were the headliners of NBC’s Must See Thursday nights.
Friends left Netflix at the end of 2019 because their licence expired and the rights are now with HBO Max. That streaming service will launch in May and for months now, they’ve been working on a deal to kick off their product with a Friends reunion. All cast members were into it but of course they want to get paid. A few weeks ago, negotiations fell through over money but, as I wrote at the time, Jennifer Aniston seemed to be using the power of her Instagram to make a case that they are worth it – and now Deadline is reporting that they’ve reached “an agreement in principle” for all of them to return for a one hour special for $3-$4 million each; in total around $20 million to get all six cast members back which is on par with what Netflix pays big name comedians like Chris Rock etc for one hour comedy shows.
So it’s happening, a one hour Friends unscripted reunion. UNSCRIPTED. I qualify it this way because I just asked Duana who cares about a Friends reunion and she laughed and said, “Are you kidding me?” To which I replied, “OK so are you going to watch it?”
“Not because…I want to. But because of the cultural obligation.”
And then I told her it’s unscripted. Duana: “WHAT? Uh, ok, yeah I’m bored.”
That just about sums it up. Cultural obligation, since we all have cultural FOMO these days, which has replaced physical FOMO, in that nobody seems to care anymore to get yourself dressed and show up for the party or the dinner or the whatever, but look what happened – we stay home to spend time with the television and we are STILL missing out because there’s so much to watch on television, Christ.
So how down are you to spend an hour listening to Jennifer, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry reminiscing about their time on Friends?
You’re going to tell me I’m an asshole and that you can’t f-cking wait, aren’t you?
OK, fine, let’s play this out. Are they going into the archive and showing us never-before-seen footage from back then? Like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift styles? Documenting sh-t on our phones 24/7 became a thing we started doing after Friends ended. Back then, it wasn’t as easy – and it wasn’t a muscle that had been fully developed yet. I’d be curious to see how much of that they had and saved and are willing to share.
What about cameos.
Oh, OK, now we’re talking. Think about all the celebrities who’ve made guest appearances on Friends. Jennifer and Reese Witherspoon are tight – maybe she’ll show up for a cameo during the reunion. The most high profile guest star? There are two of them: Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. Julia was dating Matthew Perry at the time. I’m curious if she’d do it but also, would they push up the cash? Julia Roberts is not cheap.
But you’re here for the Brad Pitt possibility. Is it possible? He’s not cheap either but maybe he’d cut them a discount. Although by then he’ll have his Oscar in hand and it won’t be necessary for the no campaign campaign anymore. That said, it’s not like he and Jen haven’t been enjoying all this “are they or aren’t they” speculation about whether or not they’re getting back together. That’s the reunion everybody that everyone seems to be the most thirsty for.