By Steven McIntosh-Entertainment reporter
https://www.bbc.com-image copyright HBO Max
Seventeen years after Friends drew to a close, we’re finally about to see The One We’ve Been Waiting For.
HBO Max have released the first trailer for the highly anticipated reunion, which will see all six principal cast members return. But rather than filming a new episode of Friends, the actors have come together for an unscripted special to reminisce about their time on the show.
It hasn’t yet been revealed where the reunion will be broadcast in the UK, but expect an announcement in the coming days. Sky, which also owns streaming service Now, is reportedly the front-runner.
The show was due to air this time last year but was delayed because of you-know-what. David Schwimmer, however, said the gap had made the reunion more meaningful for the six stars. “It turned out to be something really special for the fans. I think it’s going to lift a lot of people’s spirits,” he said on Thursday. “It lifted mine,” added Matt LeBlanc.
A teaser trailer was released last week, but it featured no dialogue or clips and was just made up of a lingering shot of the six actors with their backs turned to the camera, as an instrumental I’ll Be There For You played in the background.
Fortunately, we’ve now got the first proper trailer, and we’re relieved to say it looks extremely promising.
- The celebrity guests are fully committed
We’ll be honest. When we saw the ridiculously long list of A-list stars due to make cameo appearances in the reunion, we were nervous.
Not that we’ve got anything against David Beckham, Lady Gaga, BTS, Mindy Kaling, Justin Bieber, Malala Yousafzai and Cindy Crawford – we just worried that the involvement of so many stars meant the special would be chasing viral social media moments at the expense of quality time with the cast.
The good news is, producers appear to have weaved the celebrity guests in smoothly and cleverly.
One highlight of the trailer is seeing Cara Delevigne wear Rachel’s bright pink bridesmaids dress from The One with Barry and Mindy’s Wedding. When she turns around, Delevigne even has the back of the dress caught in her underwear, just like Rachel did in the show. We applaud this attention to detail.
The model seems to be taking part in some kind of Friends fashion show, which also features someone dressed as the holiday armadillo (from one of Friends’ greatest ever episodes). We can’t quite tell who is in that costume yet – fingers crossed for Bieber.
- Human beings age
We’re as shocked about it as you are, but nearly two decades on from the show, several of our former Friends now have wrinkles and grey hair.
For example, when Chandler and Joey relaxed in their beloved barcaloungers all those years ago, they looked like two New York roommates in their twenties, gearing up for a horizontal viewing of Baywatch. Now, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc look like they actively need the rest (don’t we all).
Side note: this particular scene features a cameo appearance from truly one of the greatest ever Friends characters – Joey’s cuddly penguin Hugsy (pictured, left).
- We may need a Lightning Round
While we’re looking forward to hearing the six Friends stars share memories with James Corden over a nice cup of coffee, there are also plenty of activities and games in the hour-long special to liven things up.
There’s a table read, where the six actors go over some favourite scenes, including The One Where Everyone Finds Out (during which we hear Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe once again shouting “My eyes! My eyes!”).
We also see Kudrow reunited with her acoustic guitar for some presumably awful live music. She will probably be performing Smelly Cat, although we’re personally hoping for a rendition of the highly under-rated Buffay classic It Only Takes Two Heart Attacks.
Then there’s the aforementioned celebrity Friends fashion show and the set visit – including reconstructions of the two main apartments, the fountain from the opening credits, and the coffee house, Central Perk.
But surely the biggest highlight is the recreation of Ross’s trivia test from series four, where the boys and girls battle it out over who knows each other better.
How long was the letter Rachel wrote Ross? “Eighteen pages,” cries LeBlanc. “Front and back!” adds Jennifer Aniston.
We’re not sure who wins the point there, but hopefully there will be a Lightning Round to settle it.
- Chandler CAN cry
Chandler was a character who struggled to show his emotions – to the point that the writers based an entire episode around it.
The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry sees the group surprised at how rarely Chandler gets visibly upset, with Monica coming up with a variety of scenarios to see if she can make him shed a few tears.
But in real life, actor Matthew Perry clearly has no issue with displaying his emotions.
We don’t know what sets him off, but in the trailer we get a glimpse of Perry saying “yeah, I’m gonna cry now”, as Aniston puts her hand on his shoulder.
We’re confident he won’t be the only one – “Where’s the tissue box?” asks Aniston at one point, reflecting the mood of every viewer.
- The supporting characters are back
While we might have been anxious about the random celebrities, we were delighted to find out that the reunion will feature some of the supporting actors from the show.
James Michael Tyler (Gunther), Reese Witherspoon (Rachel’s sister Jill) and Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles (Ross and Monica’s parents Jack and Judy) are among the stars returning to our screens.
Two of the recurring characters make an appearance in the trailer. We get a glimpse of Tom Selleck (Monica’s ex-boyfriend Richard) as well as a big “Oh. My. God!” from Maggie Wheeler (Janice).
Some fans have expressed their disappointment however, that Paul Rudd (Phoebe’s husband Mike) isn’t taking part, as he effectively became a seventh member of the main cast in the last two seasons.
- Ross and Rachel WERE on a break
Even Jennifer Aniston thinks so.
In fact, as Corden poses this question to all six of the cast members, they seem pretty much in agreement that Ross and Rachel were on a break, and therefore Ross technically did nothing wrong by sleeping with the girl from the copy place.
But one person disagrees.
Using bad language that would never be allowed on the show, LeBlanc replies: “Bull…” much to David Schwimmer’s visible shock and delight.
- Courteney Cox struggled with learning lines
As Ross’s sister, Rachel’s best friend and Chandler’s eventual wife, Monica was right at the centre of the show. “You’re the glue that holds this group together,” Ross once told her in The One With the Pediatrician.
But in real life, Courteney Cox apparently struggled to remember what Monica was actually supposed to say in her scenes.
In one of the trailer’s funniest moments, we see the six principal cast members revisiting the set of Monica and Rachel’s apartment.
Matt LeBlanc then moves the fruit bowl in the kitchen to one side, and asks: “Does Courteney still have her lines written on the table?”
We cannot wait for more nuggets like this when the full-length show is released. For now, the trailer can be watched on YouTube.