How Will Friends End?
As previously reported, Friends
will wrap its 10-year laughfest on May 6 with what NBC is calling a "two-hour extravaganza." The first hour will be a retrospective, followed by a one-hour series finale. So what happens in the last episode? Well, that's top secret. But this week, the producers and cast did offer some
hints at a farewell press conference with TV critics on the Friends
set. Here's what we learned...
Ross and Rachel will go off into the sunset.
Well, they didn't say that, but we can read between the lines. Asked how he'd like to see Ross end up, David Schwimmer said: "We all end up with a sense of a new beginning. I can't divulge where we're going, but it's exactly what I had hoped." Hmmm... Back in September, Schwimmer told TV Guide that Ross and Rachel are "destined to be together. To quote Phoebe Buffay, they're each other's lobster, whether they know it or not." So don't be surprised if baby Emma's parents end the series as much more than mere Friends.
How will the other characters end up? Will we glimpse Joey's afterlife on Joey?
"I hope I'm not wearing a sweater-vest," joked Matthew Perry (Chandler), who played dumb on details of the finale's plot. The rest of the cast also kept mum. "The end of Friends is not a setup for the pilot of Joey," pointed out Kevin Bright, who executive produces both Friends and Matt LeBlanc's spin-off. "They'll be two separate shows."
Our Friends will say goodbye in a "comfortable" way, not go out all freaky like Roseanne.
"One of the important things for us," said cocreator Marta Kauffman, "was that [the finale] still felt like an episode of Friends — that it wasn't some gimmick superimposed on some episode, but it still felt like our show. We want them to be happy, and [we want] to feel good about saying goodbye to them." Agreed her writing partner, David Crane: "Yeah, we didn't want to do something high concept or take [it] out of the world of the show. It's just, hopefully, a really good episode of Friends."
While penning the finale, the Friends honchos took their cues from TV's comedic masters.
"To be honest, we watched a bunch [of other sitcoms' final episodes]," Kauffman admitted, citing The Bob Newhart Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Larry Sanders Show as her faves. "The ones that we really liked are the ones that seemed to stay true to what the series was." Added Crane: "We knew it had to be [an episode] where you felt something and, hopefully, you laughed a lot."
How will they keep spoilers of the conclusion from leaking out?
"There are elements that the [studio] audience will not be seeing," Kauffman explained. "We'll be shooting [some footage] before the audience comes in. We just have essential personnel on set for those. You just keep your fingers crossed."