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Wait, we almost had real-life Ross and Rachel?!
[Warning: The following contains spoilers from the Friends reunion on HBO Max. Read at your own risk!]
Watching the much-hyped Friends reunion now streaming on HBO Max is satisfying in many ways. It's like curling up on the couch in your comfiest clothes and meeting up with a group of your favorite pals. Sure, you've all changed since the last time you saw each other, but it's just great seeing their familiar faces.
Though we've seen David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry since the end of Friends, this is the first time in fifteen years that they reunited all-together on the same stage where they did the show, Warner Brothers Stage 24 in Burbank, California. Here are some of our favorite things about the long-awaited Friends reunion, in no particular order.
Watching the cast enter Stage 24 one by one and seeing their honest reactions to the place where they became castmates, friends, and stars. All of the actors got a little misty when they saw the recreated set and of course, when they saw each other. As they hugged each other, it was hard not to feel the love in the room, er, soundstage. That really sets the stroll-down-memory-lane vibe.
David Schwimmer emceed a Friends trivia game and it was so sweet to watch the cast as they wracked their brains when the answers didn't occur to them right away. It was also cute when the cast - Jen Aniston - lookin' at you - couldn't recall some exact details from beloved episodes. We know diehard fans were yelling at their TV screens during this portion of the show.
If you haven't re-watched the series lately, the reunion reminded us about some of the incredible guest stars the show attracted including Tom Selleck, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Rudd. Selleck actually returned to the set, while Witherspoon sent in a video about how much she cherished her time on the show. The show was one of the most coveted guest-star gigs during its run as the show was a blockbuster smash with fans of all ages. And of course, it has accrued many celebrity fans over the years. Mindy Kaling and Kit Harington also sent in messages about what the show meant to them, while Cara Delevigne, Cindy Crawford, and Justin Bieber all made appearances in the special.
While the focus of the reunion was primarily on the cast, executive producers/co-creators Marta Kauffman and David Crane and executive producer Kevin Bright also gave some insights into the show's casting process, which was much more difficult than you'd think. It was not easy for them to find exactly the right combination of talents that were crucial in order for the show to work, but obviously, they found magic with the cast they found. The other not-so-surprising reveal was that David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston were crushing on each other IRL as their characters Ross and Rachel were flirting and getting closer. No mention of whether they actually hooked up but fans will draw their own conclusions.
The cast read through some of the series' best scenes, including part of "The One Where Everyone Finds Out" when Phoebe's repeated line of "My eyes!" got huge laughs in the original episode -- and it still does so years later. They also recreated Ross and Rachel's first kiss and it was impossible not to get emotional while watching the iconic couple get together.
Last, but definitely not least, when it was time for Lisa Kudrow to croon a reprise of Phoebe's signature tune "Smelly Cat," very special guest Lady Gaga entered Central Perk to duet with Kudrow. Of course, Gaga being Gaga, she doesn't just sing, she does perfect harmony with Kudrow and gives it her trademark vocal spin.
The Friends reunion special is now streaming on HBO Max.