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Where and how can I watch the Friends reunion special?

Learn more about this long-anticipated special, and whether or not you should watch it.
By
June 2, 2021
Warner Bros

Friends changed the sitcom world forever when it debuted in 1994. When the show ended its 10-season run in 2004, it was already one of the most popular TV series of all time, influencing many comedic shows that followed. Now, after 17 years, Ross, Rachel, and the rest finally reunited on HBO Max. Yes, we are talking about the Friends reunion special.

Read more: The best HBO Max TV shows

So, how can we watch this long-awaited reunion show? Also, is it an actual episode with the actors playing their characters once again? Read on to find out! You can also sign up for HBO Max at the link below:

What is Friends, anyway?

Friends
Warner Bros

In case you’ve lived under a rock for the past 30 years, Friends was a sitcom that debuted on NBC in 1994. The premise was simple. It centered on six young adults that hung out in the same New York City apartment building, or their favorite coffee shop, Central Perk. During the 10 seasons of the show, we saw how this group of friends grow up, change, and form romantic relationships.

The show starred Jennifer Aniston as the former rich girl Rachel Green, and David Schwimmer as her off-again, on-again paleontologist boyfriend Ross Geller. Courteney Cox played Ross’s sister, professional chef Monica Geller, while Mathew Perry played Chandler Bing, a “transponster.” The two eventually fell in love, got married, and adopted twins. Lisa Kudrow played Phoebe Buffay, a charmingly weird amateur musician. Finally, Matt LeBlanc took on the role of Joey Tribbiani a somewhat ditzy character who was a struggling actor.

The series was an instant ratings hit for NBC and remained so for all of its 10 seasons. It reached its all-time ratings high in season two, when it aired an episode right after Super Bowl XXX, bringing in a massive 52.9 million viewers. The final episode of the series came in a close second at 52.5 million viewers.

The show has been a huge hit in reruns as well, via syndication, cable TV networks, and streaming services. After being available for several years on Netflix, Friends helped to launch the HBO Max streaming service in May 2020.

What is the Friends reunion on HBO Max?

hbo max screenshot friends reunion

In February 2020, Warner Media announced that HBO Max would become the new streaming home for Friends. Better yet, the service would also drop a long-awaited reunion special with the cast. It would be the first time all six cast members from the series would be filmed together since the end of the original series. The majority of the special was filmed at Stage 24 at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank, California, where the original series was filmed. In addition to the main cast, the show’s creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane were also a part of the special.

A report from Deadline claims that each cast member will be paid between $3 million to $4 million for their participation in the reunion. Nice work Friends!

Is this special going to be an actual episode of Friends?

Sadly, no. Unlike other recent one-off reunions of popular TV shows like Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock, the cast members are not technically reprising their Friends roles. The actors and show creators were interviewed, and they also did some brief script readings of past episodes, but this is not a full on episode or movie version.

When is the Friends reunion going to be on HBO Max?

You can watch the special right now on HBO Max at the link below:

Who also appears in the special?

Besides the main cast, the reunion special features appearances from many other celebrities. They include several Friends guest stars like Elliott Gould, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon, Larry Hankin, Thomas Lennon, and, yes, James Michael Tyler (who played Gunther, the long-suffering owner of Central Perk).

Late-night talk show host James Corden also appears on the special in several segments, asking question to the six main cast members in front of an audience.

Other celebrity fans of Friends also appear on the show, including David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Kit Harington, Mindy Kaling, and Malala Yousafzai.

Is this special worth watching?

If you are a die-hard Friends fan, you will find a lot to like in this reunion special. You get to see the six main cast members wander around the original sets and props, like the two apartments and Central Perk, They talk about how the show shaped their lives, and we also see how it also shaped the lives of both celebrities and ordinary fans. We do get to see a few script readings from bits of episodes, and hey, you get to see Lady Gaga sing “Smelly Cat”. There are also a few bits and pieces of behind-the-scenes trivia that are talked about, including how each cast member joined the show.

If you are not a huge Friends fan, you might be a bit disappointed in the somewhat disjointed way the reunion special was edited together. The special keeps switching formats, from a host-led Q&A to the cast member just talking to each other to taped interviews with the show’s creators. It can get a bit confusing at times to watch. Finally, the reunion is about 1 hour and 45 minutes long, and if you are not a fan, that might be way too long to watch.


That’s all you need to know about the Friends reunion special on HBO Max. 

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