The long-awaited moment has arrived – the cast of Friends are back together for a TV special.
But, sadly, Friends: The Show has been labeled “bloated” and peripheral by some critics in early reviews.
James Corden interviewed the show’s stars Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, and Matthew Perry for the special, whichThe New York Times called “peripheral” as well as “sweet” but “shaggy”.
The HBO Max show, which streams from Thursday, sees the cast return to the famous set where they filmed the series. There was also a reported $2.5m appearance fee for the anticipated special.
“There’s plenty you won’t hear about,” wrote James Ponieqozik of The Times, commenting on the lack of any probing or tough questions from the host.
He also noted that the nostalgic aspects and sense of relatability about the show is what drew fans in from the beginning, but that that was lost at times during the special.
“The special is better when it gets out of the cast’s way and shows us what drew us to them, and them to each other,” he said.
Deadline’s Dominic Patten said that the reunion will be the icing in the cake for “hardcore”fans, but has “way more filler than killer, to put it kindly.”
“What we have now is this Ben Winston-directed effort splicing together blooper-reel reactions, behind-the-scenes trivia and hugs (lots and lots of hugs),” Patten continued.
CNN called the over one hour and forty-minute special “slightly bloated, and unapologetically nostalgic to fans.”
“Working best when it lets the cast casually reminisce, while getting carried away with cameos, some of which, well, couldn’t be more random,” wrote CNN’s Brian Lowry.
“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,” Lowry continued.
Travers also believed that the show brought other celebrities that he felt didn’t add any significance.
“The reunion spends an inordinate amount of time emphasizing the series’ cultural and global significance, while bringing in random celebs to vouch for the show’s bona fides as if their fandom somehow speaks to the show’s value: “Popular people endorsing a popular thing makes them both… more… popular?” (Seriously: Why is David Beckham here?),” he said.
The Independent however, really enjoyed it. Our own Adam White said it was totally unnecessary, but a “total joy”.
“The gathering ultimately proves more wistful than ghoulish. All six actors –Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer – are struck with sincere emotion, and express a deep love and respect for one another that is genuinely sweet to watch.”
Read our full review here.
Despite some of the criticism, one thing is for sure about the show—it’ll take you down memory lane.
Friends: The Reunion is available for streaming on May 27 on HBO Max.
Watch the full trailer below.