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Here’s everything we know about the 'Friends' reunion

'The One Where Everyone Cries' is here

Written by
Andy Kryza
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Hot on the tail of this week's cryptic teaser, HBO Max has launched a full trailer for its upcoming Friends reunion, this time offering a closer look at what to expect when "The One Where They Get Back Together" airs. Spoiler alert: It involves a lot of crying. 

Fan excitement has now reached a fever pitch, answering the inevitable question of "can they BE any more excited" with a resounding "absolutely." That little glimpse was enough to cause scores of fans to speculate wildly about what will happen once the stars publicly reunite for the first time since the show went off the air in 2004. 

Here’s what we know for sure.

First thing's first: When is the Friends reunion on?

The reunion special is available to stream right now on HBO Max. It debuted at 12:01am PST on Thursday, May 27. There is no need to BE any more excited... it's here. 

The Friends Reunion will not be an actual episode of Friends

Friends remains extremely popular more than 15 years after it went off the air, so much so that HBO shelled out $425 million for streaming rights to the show — beating out Peacock, which is owned by the show’s original network NBC. That gamble paid off during the pandemic, when shows like Friends, Cheers and The Office received renewed interest as bingeable comfort food for viewers in lockdown.

The show debuted in 1994 and follows the lives of six goofball twentysomethings as they navigate sex, work and shenanigans while hanging out in massive Manhattan apartments. It launched the careers of Courtney Cox, Jennifer Anniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt LeBlanc. One of the highest-rated series of all time, it was (and is) a genuine cultural phenomenon invading everything from pop radio to hair salons. 

The show's astonishing longevity has fed demand for the reunion, but audiences wanting to check in on the lives of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe after the events of the finale should temper their expectations. This is a reunion, not a revival. Unlike fellow NBC resurrections Will & Grace and Mad About You, this is being described as a “real-life unscripted celebration” rather than a continuation of the storyline. 

If this was a Friends episode, it would be called “The One Where They Talk About Friends.”

What will happen on the reunion?

In essence, it will likely share more in common with the recent Fresh Prince reunion, which brought its principal cast back to the set to discuss the show’s legacy.

Footage in the trailer shows the principle casts revisiting old sets, including the fully furnished apartments, which appear to be enshrined on the studio lot. There's also a table read of an old episode, an all-cast trivia game and various Zoom calls from former guest stars in addition to dozens of hugs and footage of every cast member crying. 

The circle of Friends does appear to open up beyond the six stars. The trailer gives a glimpse of a Friends-themed fashion show and a live-audience interview segment at the iconic fountain in which the cast is grilled by James Corden, who appears to be contractually obliged to appear in any and all pop culture moments from here to eternity. 

A ridiculous number of guest stars will appear

The main cast members are enough of a draw that HBO reportedly dropped $2.5 million each to have them on, but the reunion special is also absolutely stocked with guest stars too.  

Some are veterans of the show, among them Larry Hankin, Maggie Wheeler, Tom Selleck and Elliott Gould. Meanwhile, ‘90s fixtures like Cindy Crawford are set to appear, while a parade of famous names like Lady Gaga, Kit Harrington and Reese Witherspoon will be on hand to presumably talk about how the show impacted them.

Justin Bieber — who was born the same year the show debuted — and South Korean superstars BTS will also be there, presumably to draw a generation that has no idea what "The Rachel" is.

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai is also on the roster for reasons that remain unknown but will hopefully involve a discussion of the literary impact of "Smelly Cat."

When will the Friends reunion air?

The Friends reunion was originally set to air in 2020, but was postponed by the pandemic. After multiple starts and stops, it is now set to air on HBO Max on May 27. 

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