A surprise today, and it was done quite cleverly: an update on the Friends reunion. It had previously been reported that they’d been working on it, after a delay of nearly a year, but there was no information about when, like how long HBO Max would hold it before release.
And then today, the first trailer dropped with a confirmed release that’s actually very soon – as in this month, as in two weeks from today: May 27, the one-year anniversary of the launch of HBO Max, which was originally supposed to include the Friends reunion. And it’s a Thursday.
I say this because, for you kids out there who only know Friends from Netflix, Friends used to air on Thursday nights as part of NBC’s “Must See TV” lineup that also included Seinfeld and ER. Seriously, back in the day, you couldn’t move your TV off that channel because of those three shows.
So, to go back to the reunion, here’s the trailer which isn’t much, but it is certainly in the spirit of the show, only instead of walking towards camera, we see them walking away…or towards something. They’re clearly on the lot. As the instrumental theme song, slowed way down, plays them forward:
In addition to the trailer, HBO Max has also revealed that there will be guest appearances. This is when I turn a post about Friends into a post about BTS, lol. Yes, BTS will be part of the Friends reunion, along with David Beckham, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Kit Harington, Reese Witherspoon, Malala Yousafzai, and more.
Any fan of BTS will know why BTS is involved. But for those of you who aren’t familiar, the band’s leader, RM, learned English by watching Friends DVDs. So it’s super f-cking cute that he and his bandmates, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook will be part of this special. It’s also super f-cking smart because BTS is dropping a new song the week before. Their second English-language release, “Butter”, is coming out May 21 and they’ll be heavily promoting the track in the west. So their appearance on the Friends reunion is a really creative way check all those boxes. Also the reunion is being produced by Ben Winston who works on James Corden’s show and did the Grammys and BTS has had a good working relationship with him.
To get back to Friends though…
I’m curious to see how long the special is. Being on a streaming service, they’re not bound by conventional television time constraints so, in theory, it can be as long or as short as they want. Diehard fans of the show are tuning in for Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer. Nobody who’s been waiting on this reunion is there for the special celebrity guests. Let’s say that the reunion runs… like an hour. A Friends fan wants that whole hour to be the actual Friends, don’t they? Any cutaways to the guests means time away from the OG6. Which means that hour becomes, I dunno, 45 minutes, maybe, when you add up all the guest appearances.
That matters less though if the special is two hours. With two hours, it may be satisfying on all fronts – to get enough face time with the Friends and also to hear from all these celebrities jerking themselves over Friends. Given that this special is unscripted, and they had the cameras rolling with the cast revisiting the set and catching up and remembering moments from their ten seasons together, they should have enough footage to fill the time. I haven’t read anything in the trades yet, like THR and Variety, about exactly how long the show is going to be. Something to keep an eye on as we get closer to premiere date.