Jennifer Aniston And David Schwimmer Admitted They Had A Crush On Each Other, And Other Moments From The “Friends” Reunion Special
The reviews for the Friends reunion special are in, and well, it certainly happened. The whole gang was there: Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer. And as we saw in the trailer, they sat on a couch in front of the Friends fountain, and host James Corden was there to “toss softballs at the cast and cackle hysterically at mundane gossip” which contributed “to the perception of ‘Friends’ as shallow and superficial,” per Indiewire.
Esquire called James “a giant toddler in a velvet suit” and NPR said he was in “soul-sucking phone-it-in mode” and “comes off as a man reading off cards for money.” But hey, at least Lady Gaga was there with a gospel choir, (4 of whom were Black!) to sing Smelly Cat with Lisa, and special guest Justin Bieber didn’t have a speaking part. So it wasn’t all bad! Overall, the Friends reunion earned double FF on its report card. Which stands for Friends Forever — even though Lisa and Courteney both made it absolutely crystal clear that this would never, ever, ever happen again.
As to how it happened in the first place, NPR reports that each of the cast members reportedly earned “an eye-popping $2.5 million to $3 million” to show up. This was only the second time they’ve all been in the same room together since 2003. Here’s CNN‘s take.
Originally intended to help launch HBO Max, “Friends: The Reunion” finally hits the streaming service, in big, slightly bloated, unapologetically nostalgic form. A valentine to fans, the nearly two-hour special is inevitably hard-pressed to justify the hype, working best when it lets the cast casually reminisce, while getting carried away with cameos, some of which, well, couldn’t be more random.
“The Reunion” labors in places to conjure a sense of fun, putting the actors through game-show-style trivia tests and enlisting celebrities whose involvement alternately feels arbitrary and unnecessary.
Today provided a rundown of the “10 biggest moments” of the reunion. Their #1 moment was the revelation that Jennifer and David (Ross and Rachel if you’re nasty) had crushes on each other in real life but never acted on it because one of them was always in a relationship.
Host James Corden asked the cast if there were any offscreen romances, prompting Aniston to turn to Schwimmer. “David?” she asked. “The first season, I had a major crush on Jen,” Schwimmer replied. “It was reciprocated,” said Aniston.
“At some point, we were both crushing hard on each other,” Schwimmer explained. “But it was like two ships passing, because one of us was always in a relationship and we never crossed that boundary. We respected that.”
“Bullshit,” LeBlanc joked.
“Honestly, I remember saying at one time to David, ‘It’s going to be such a bummer if the first time you and I actually kiss is going to be on national television,” said Aniston. “Sure enough, first time we kissed was in that coffee shop,” she added. “So we just channeled all of our adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel.”
Touch yourself as needed. #2 on Today’s list (don’t worry, I can’t count to 10) was Lady Gaga and her Gospel choir breaking a Friends record for most non-white people in a single shot. Here’s her and Lisa singing the smash hit Smelly Cat. Did any of the friends even have a cat? I don’t remember and I’m not looking it up!
I’m sorry but Lady Gaga can make Smelly Cat absolutely slap pic.twitter.com/V9DgdcJbso
— Liv Marks (@OliviaLilyMarks) May 27, 2021
Many of those special guests we heard about appeared in a “star-studded sartorial extravaganza [that] showcased some of the show’s most memorable costumes.” Cara Delevingne wore Rachel’s bridesmaid dress, Justin Bieber wore Ross’ “spudnik” costume, Cindy Crawford wore Ross’ leather pants, and Matt LeBlanc “re-created Joey’s look, wearing ‘all of Chandler’s clothes’.” I swear to god I watched Friends when it was on, but I don’t remember any of this shit.
And if you’re wondering where Matthew Perry was this whole time, Esquire reports that he was “frequently framed out of group shots,” “hidden behind other cast members’ heads,” and “in at least one significant group scene, he’s not there at all.”
According to unnamed sources quoted in The Sun, the explanation for some noticeably slurred speech is that Perry had a dental procedure on the day of the reunion, which opens up more questions, like: if whole CBS sitcoms can be scuttled to make way for the first season of Friends, can’t a root canal or a reunion special get pushed a couple weeks?
From the sound of things, Matthew wasn’t able to muster the chipper veneer required of them by their dark overlords.
In one of the few present-day Matthew Perry moments, he says “I felt like I was going to die if the studio audience didn’t laugh. And that’s not healthy for sure, but if I said a line and they didn’t laugh, I would sweat and just go into convulsions.” Kudrow says she didn’t know he was going through that, and he says, “Yes. Every night.” A perfect opening to talk about something real and honest and serious, so of course we go right into a segment about how much the audience screamed when Monica woke up in bed with Chandler.
Touch yourself as needed.