A banal, excruciating mess – you review Friends: the Reunion

The show you’ve waited 17 years for aired at last – and could you BE any more emotional? But what did you rate and what did you hate? And why did Matt LeBlanc come out on top?

‘I was crying within minutes’

Friends was a huge part of my life. Growing up, and realising I was gay but having nobody to talk to, I felt very alone and very isolated. Watching Friends got me through some really dark moments.

I sat down to watch [the reunion], fully expecting to hate it, but was crying within minutes. All the feelings I had growing up came back. I loved seeing the cast get together and hearing how they felt on set and how they reacted when they arrived. The bond they all share is so clear and strong. I always felt as if I was a part of Friends, as silly as that may sound, but watching it definitely influenced my personality. I’m sarcastic like Chandler, a clean freak like Monica and a little bit different like Phoebe.

Seeing them all together again just reminds you that lifelong ‘Friends’ are achievable. I just wish I could let the cast and the writers know how much it means to me. Scott, 30, Essex

‘A mess of self-indulgence and sycophants’

A mess of self-indulgence and sycophants ruining the memory of a TV landmark. Lisa Kudrow was the only one who looked and acted natural. The insignificance given to Gunther was offensive. Same with Janice. James Corden managed to talk and say nothing. They should have let sleeping dogs lie. Richie Dryden, Leeds

‘Matt LeBlanc was the big winner’

A surprisingly moving, poignant experience. I watched with my wife and it reminded me that we actually found out about our mutual love of Friends very soon after our first meeting at a party, 21 years ago! Our marriage, just like the show itself, has made me very happy all this time. And by now, of course, we’ve watched or re-watched every episode together, and now this special.

Obviously the main takeaway was the ageing process, wasn’t it? For me, Matt LeBlanc was the big winner, and the most enjoyable part of the reunion. The only cast member not to dye his hair, unafraid to let his body gain a little extra weight, bearer of the best and funniest anecdotes, clearly happy and at ease with himself and with the passage of time. For six humans who earn $20m a year for something done 17 years ago, LeBlanc alone looks to have found that sweet spot of self-deprecation, generosity of spirit, and gratitude for a career that peaked a long time ago. Tim Palmer, 45, North Carolina, US

‘A banal and superficial tinsel town repeat’

With the exception of the ever enjoyable Matt LeBlanc (the only one of the cast who appears to have aged normally, well done him), the programme was an inevitable letdown. A banal and superficial tinsel town repeat of a fantastic series that should stay pristine in our memories and not be reduced to has-beens trying to remain in the spotlight. It was so excruciating I switched off after about 10 minutes and don’t think I’ll go back to watch any more. Alison, 51, Gloucestershire

Clearly happy and at ease with himself ... Matt LeBlanc.
Clearly happy and at ease with himself ... Matt LeBlanc. Photograph: Terence Patrick/AP

‘I got hooked immediately’

I wasn’t intending to watch Friends: the Reunion, but flipped channels and, just like every Friends episode ever seen, got hooked immediately by the familiarity of seeing six people I grew up with.

Genuinely surprising emotions appeared while watching, especially when the actors struggled to comprehend the scale of the TV show in history. And their own poor memories of episodes made me laugh.

So pleased this whole reunion was not a new script, not a clunky depressing catchup with characters that could never live up to their innocence on screen previously. But a glimpse into six people’s lives, and the production media machine that made them, and how they coped, didn’t, survived. Darren Sharp, 40, Birmingham

‘Could they not find an American host?’

The worst part of the show was James Corden. First of all, he is not that funny. Second of all, why is a British person interviewing American actors about an American TV show. Could they not find an American host? Doreen, 65, US

‘TV gold’

We loved it. The Corden and catwalk bits were entirely missable, and the script readings were hit and miss. But the on-set pieces, cast reminiscing and the memory segments were TV gold and more than worth the watch. We would have watched more of the memories, history and chat on the sets all day. For those who say it’s dated and out of touch with modern sensibilities, we believe Ross has a hand signal especially for them. David Parkinson, Leighton Buzzard

‘Not impressed’

It was boring and not what fans wanted to see or hear. A real episode about the lives of the characters now would have been interesting. This reunion was nothing more than a David Letterman ‘my next guest needs no introduction’ show. Not impressed. Edward Zalig, 50, Wisconsin, US

‘The fans deserved more than a half-hearted production’

The part wherein the six cast members together talked openly was good fun. However, relevance should have been primary. Elliott Gould (who played Ross and Monica’s dad) should have been given more time to speak, and Maggie Wheeler (who played Janice).

The big no-no was the fashion show by unrelated people – if it were former guests stars doing it, that would have been better. And they should have done a 30 minute or one hour delve into the lives of the characters now, a what-if scenario. The fans deserved something more than a half-hearted production. KG, 51, the Philippines

‘Where were Carol and Susan?’

Could it have been any more emotional?! I loved seeing the cast back together and felt an instant rush of nostalgia as they walked around the set one last time. The show was filled with enough exclusives to make it worth the watch, especially hearing the creators talk about how they cast each role, and seeing backstage footage of the writers coming up with jokes on the fly.

I’d like to have seen a little less of the random celebrities (David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber), and more cameos from people who were actually on the show such as Carol and Susan, Mike and Ben. Overall it was great to see the gang back together and I can now rest easy knowing that Ross and Rachel really did have feelings for each other. Sarah, 25, Amsterdam

Contributors

Guardian readers and Rachel Obordo

The GuardianTramp

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