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Do We Really Need a “Friends” Reunion Show?

friends reunion show

“No, we don’t,” says co-creator Marta Kauffman and there won’t be one, either. Reports are unclear as to how the story actually started circulating, but earlier this month, the Web was ablaze with rumors of not only a Friends Reunion Show, but an entire new season of the series. There was even talk of a feature film about the denizens of Central Perk. However, Kauffman and others associated with the long-running NBC show have confirmed that there have never been any plans to catch up with the celebrated sextet after the series ended in 2004.

Friends was about a specific period in the characters’ lives, the period where “your friends are your family,” according to Kauffman, who adds, “once you have a family, there’s no need anymore”. This seems a contrary point when considering how the Geller siblings were each paired off with the other’s best friend. Surely, in a post-Friends timeline, those four characters would remain strongly connected, even if they were no longer living right next door to one another. Only man-child Joey was left permanently unattached at the series end, but we still got a glimpse of his life after Friends when he had his own short-lived series about trying to become a working actor in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, reunion shows almost never live up to fan expectations, yet die-hard fans clamour for them just the same. It’s certainly understandable for a show that might have been “canceled too soon” and a testament to a show’s great writing and performances, but isn’t it always better to “leave ‘em wanting more” than to jump the proverbial shark? Really, after ten seasons of a show – that is still popular in syndication – how much more story could there possibly be to tell, even after a lengthy hiatus?

These days “reunions” are more likely to occur via “stunt casting” of former co-stars in guest or recurring roles on an erstwhile colleague’s current series, which is the best fans hoping for a Friends Reunion Show are likely going to get. Courtney Cox has guested on Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy, and Matt LeBlanc is also scheduled to do so. Jennifer Aniston will appear on Cox’s Cougar Town and Cox herself reunited with her Friends husband Mattew Perry in Perry’s own Go On.

When it comes to reunions, however, Seinfeld may have pulled it off better than any of its contemporaries. By incorporating the plot of actually writing a reunion show, and getting the former cast together, over an entire season of co-creator Larry David’s current show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, the producers built up the right amount of tension and anticipation for the “big finale” result. They were also very true to the original show and characters, without trying to wedge in any sort of fantasy outcome or resolution. The Seinfeld producers were also smart about leaving the orginal show, which ended with the foursome being sent to prison for a year, vaguely open to having a reunion if it seemed like it would be well received.

The best choice is probably to just let a show end and leave fans to their own interpretations or fantasies about what happened to the characters after the series ended. At least nobody is disappointed that way.

Find Kim Leonard on Google+.

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