I have watched from the side with a snide smirk of amusement at the ridiculous series of events that have unfolded around the alleged, much-reported Friends reunion.
Two weeks ago the internet was rife with reports that the planet’s favourite six human beings ever to collectively appear on TV together were reforming for a reunion.
Can you say click bait?
On bothering to read the article beyond the misleading heading, the actual situation was that James Burrows, renowned sitcom director (a personal idol of mine who most people won’t have ever paid attention to before despite directing every episode of Will & Grace and a multitude of others including Frasier, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 3rd Rock From The Sun, The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls and of course Friends) is celebrating a milestone in his TV career. So, a load of actors are gathering to honour him – and rightly so.
The press however brushed over the actual point of said gathering and concentrated mostly on the fact that the Friends cast were going to be in attendance, all at the same time, in the same room, as if the planets had aligned to bring about the second coming. This swiftly turned into a blown-out-of-all-possible-proportion story that someone, somewhere had written a brand new episode of Friends in which the fab six would reprise their roles, giving the world a glimpse of what the Tribbianis, Gellers, Bings, Greens, Geller-Bings, Geller-Greens, Buffays, Buffay-Hannigans were now up to.
Everyone got themselves into a tizz over this and practically keeled over with the thought of this – images of 45 year olds reunited for a big dinner party and Monica and Chandler’s house in the suburbs, with their prospective spouses and children, all now about 14.
But nowhere, ever, was it announced that this would happen.
Yes they’d be sat around a dinner table, but it would be at an awards ceremony for Mr Burrows, and there’d only be five of them. At best we’d get a pre-recorded tribute inter-cut with similar testimonies from the likes of Lea Thompson from Caroline In The City.
Because websites like Entertainment Weekly and The Independent fancied getting a story to go instantly viral, everyone was even more disappointed as the whole thing began to unravel bitterly before our eyes like a tatty threadbare cardigan.
David Schwimmer said it best when calling the media frenzy “completely inaccurate…in no way is it a Friends reunion when one member (Matthew Perry) is out of the country.”
I write this with cynicism, despite the fact that I would be just as excited as anyone if there was indeed going to be a reunion episode where we find out whether Ross and Rachel actually got married or if they ended up on another break. But I refused to get worked up this time around because I actually read the facts rather than all the one-line news bulletins that were, as Schwimmer says, just not correct.
James Burrows deserved more than that – the media made his celebration all about one TV show and one set of actors. That man has been in the driving seat for countless classic series and continues to be, touching most scripts and turning them to gold. I think anyone who claims to be a Friends fan and yet has never heard of Burrows should immediately watch The One With The Butt, in which Joey plays Al Pacino’s body double. James Burrows plays the director of the shower scene – did you know that? Did you?
Meanwhile, it would seem the Friends won’t actually be there for you – this time, anyway.