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A celeb duet, an off-screen romance and Joey’s identical hand twin: Five standout moments from the Friends reunion


by Sarah Finnan
27th May 2021

As a self-proclaimed 'Friends' nut, the magnitude of this is not lost on me… it’s what I imagine sports fans must feel before a big match. This is my Superbowl.

The Friends reunion hit TV screens over in the US last night. Quickly making its way across the water to us, it was made available to Now TV subscribers as of 8 am this morning (it will also be shown on Sky at 8 pm this evening).

Most of you probably haven’t seen it yet – no doubt you want to wait until later so you can savour it in all its glory. I, however, had less self-restraint. 

Here are five of the standout moments to look forward to (it goes without saying, there are many, many more). Major spoilers ahead!

Outtakes, so many outtakes

Some of them, not for the faint of heart.

As expected, the reunion treated viewers to many behind-the-scenes sneak peeks, deleted scenes, and outtakes that never made the cut. However, there’s one particular moment that comes to mind and it involves Chandler, Joey, and an armchair. No, not Rosita, but the armchair the duo fought over in The One Where No One’s Ready. 

In the episode, the roommates bicker over who deserves to sit in the chair – Joey arguing that Chandler left so he has claim over it, Chandler arguing that he was sitting there last, so it’s his. The tiff escalates and the “rotten boys” as Phoebe calls them end up flinging hummus on her dress in the scuffle. Fast forward to later in the episode and, seeing that the armchair is free once again, Joey and Chandler rush to claim it. According to co-creator Marta Kauffman, they shot the scene three times, and “it went perfectly”  – “Lord knows why we had to shoot it a fourth time,” she added. 

Explaining what happened next, Matt LeBlanc (who plays Joey) continued, “I went to jump over the coffee table, somehow tripped, my legs went up in the air, and my shoulder came out of its socket.” If you think the story is bad, wait till you see the footage. 

That also explains why LeBlanc’s character wears a sling in subsequent episodes.  

Ross and Rachel had feelings for each other IRL too 

Everyone was so busy swooning over Jennifer Aniston’s relationship with Brad Pitt that few thought to wonder whether she and David Schwimmer ever had a thing for each other… and it turns out that they did. At least in the early seasons of filming anyway. Asked by James Corden whether there were ever any real romances onset (much the way Janices asks a similar question in The One With The Flashback), Jen and David exchanged a brief look before Mr Schwimmer answered that, yes, he had a “major crush” on his co-star back in the day (with Jen agreeing that it was mutual). Neither of them ever acted upon it though, mostly because one (or both) of them was always in a relationship. 

Did the others know? Sure they did. The pair confirmed that they definitely weren’t subtle about their feelings for one another and would often spoon and fall asleep on the couch together in between scenes. 

Phoebe and Lady Gaga sang Smelly Cat 

Smelly Cat – a song just as iconic as the series’ theme tune, if not even more so. It’s the one that put Phoebe on the musical map and got her signed to a fancy record label… and it’s also the one that got her a collab with Lady Gaga. Agreeing to sing the song for the reunion special, show bosses were keen to enlist the help of another performer. Going through a few different names with Lisa Kudrow (aka Phoebe), both she and director Ben Winston settled on Gaga. “We went through a few names, and we both agreed that Gaga, if we could get her, would be the ultimate one because she associates with and feels close to Phoebe in so many ways, as Gaga says on the show. That was a really beautiful moment,” Winston said. And Lady Gaga jumped at the chance to do it. 

Sitting down at Central Perk to play the song once again, Kudrow warned people not to get too excited as she hadn’t played it in quite some time. As if that itself wasn’t exciting enough, about midway through Gaga appeared. Donning a very Phoebe-inspired getup, she walked in guitar in hand, asking “you need some help? I love Smelly Cat, it’s one of my favourite songs. You mind if I take Smelly Cat for a spin?”

As big a fan of Phoebe as we are, Lady Gaga thanked Kudrow for being “the different one”, “the one that was really herself”. 

Celeb guests

We already knew that it wouldn’t just be the original Friends cast for the reunion, but there were celeb guests aplenty. From fellow co-stars to longtime fans of the show, everyone from Maggie Wheeler (Janice) to Cara Delevigne (kitted out in Rachel’s famous “Copa Cabana” bridesmaids outfit) joined the fun. Justin Bieber walking the catwalk in Ross’s famous Spudnik costume is definitely a standout moment, somehow he makes it look a whole lot cooler than Ross did. 

Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington also featured, revealing that he definitely thinks he’s a Geller as he’s anal, neurotic, and loves to wear overly tight trousers… definite Gellar clan trademarks. Ross and his leather trousers, hello?!

Ross’s quiz is back 

Schwimmer resumed the role of quizmaster for the infamous quiz and though the stakes weren’t quite as high as they originally were, it still made for quite the watch. Back with new questions especially for the reunion, LeBlanc was tasked with identifying his identical hand twin, while Tom Selleck, the actor who played Richard, got to ask the one question no one really knows the answer to – what is Chandler Bing’s job? 

In news none of us wanted to hear though, the cast confirmed that the episode marks the first and last time they’ll ever do a public reunion. That’s not to say they won’t meet up for dinner themselves, we just won’t be privy to the conversations if/when they do. Sigh.

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