Off the break: 'Friends' reunion will premiere later this year


“We were on a break!” It’s official, you can finally hear that classic Ross Geller line again in 2020.

WarnerMedia officially confirmed the long-awaited "Friends" reunion special on Feb. 21. The unscripted special, along with all 236 episodes of the series, is set to debut in May 2020 exclusively on its new streaming service, HBO Max.

Each member of the iconic TV friend group: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, will return to the show’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, California, for the occasion.

Each of the six stars will earn $2.5 million for the reunion special.

“Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together,” said Kevin Reilly, HBO Max chief content officer and TBS, TNT and truTV president.

So, what can you expect from the reunion? Hopefully, a whole lot of Central Perk coffee drinking, Joey Tribbiani antics and a "Smelly Cat" performance by Phoebe Buffay. Are Ross Geller and Rachel Green still together? Is Gunther still at Central Perk? Did Chandler Bing finally master commitment and become an awesome dad? Are Chick Jr. and Duck Jr. still hanging around?

The series finale of "Friends" ended the characters’ journey together, but also managed to begin new ones. “We all end up with a sense of a new beginning and the audience has a sense that it’s a new chapter in the lives of all these characters,” Schwimmer said, who plays Ross in the series, according to SFGate.

There have been so many questions and fan theories throughout the years since the “Friends” series finale that it is hard to imagine every fan will be satisfied.

In order to be successful in 2020, the reunion special must find a way to mirror the current progressive climate. The show received backlash for its lack of diversity and slut-shaming, among other controversies regarding social issues and stereotypes.

“Friends” just celebrated its 25th anniversary of its debut in 1994 and has been adored by fans generation after generation for the genuine friendship the group shared. The reunion special has the potential to bring back the unique feeling viewers get from watching the way the group genuinely cares for and supports each other.

On the other hand, reboots of popular shows often don’t live up to the hype and leave fans disappointed in something they'd been anticipating. The Netflix reboot of the beloved show “Full House” released in 2016: “Fuller House" was one reboot that left fans wanting more. The spinoff show was surrounded by the excitement of generations of fans, and although it had success, it is not nearly as loved as the original.

There have been successful cases of reboots, such as the newer “Star Wars” movies and series, “The Mandalorian.” The original “Star Wars” franchise has been a worldwide pop-culture phenomenon for decades, and the new content produced has been extremely successful in continuing that legacy for many generations.

It is almost impossible to not get your hopes up about a reboot of your favorite show or a spinoff of your favorite franchise, because you expect to feel the same way you had towards the original. It is important to understand that the reunion may not be the same as the original Emmy Award winning series, although fans’ standards are high.

The upcoming “Friends” reunion special is unscripted and untitled, which will hopefully allow the actors to bring the characters they became for years back to life in the most genuine way. Seeing the friends back together in Central Perk will be enough to bring fans back to the moments they loved so much growing up, and it is bound to be successful.


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