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27/05/2021 14:51 BST | Updated 28/05/2021 10:33 BST

Friends Reunion: 12 Big Talking Points From The TV Special That Left Us Squealing: 'Oh! My! God!'

It really was worth the 17-year wait to see the gang back on screen together.

It’s The One We’ve All Been Waiting For – yes, the Friends reunion is finally here, and “Oh! My! God!” was it worth the wait. 

The special retrospective was filled with laughs, tears and nostalgia as Lisa KudrowJennifer AnistonCourteney CoxMatthew PerryMatt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer looked back at the iconic sitcom that earned itself a place in the hearts of millions across the globe and propelled the actors to stratospheric fame.

Almost 17 years to the day since the sitcom originally wrapped in the US, the reunion debuted on both sides of the Atlantic, giving fans a long-awaited fix of their favourite comedy. 

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Friends Reunion Special - Photography by Terence Patrick

From musical collaborations to on-set revelations and romances that almost were, here are the 12 biggest talking points from the special...

1. The One Where Jennifer And David Nearly Got Together 

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The Ross and Rachel love saga was one of Friends’ defining and most popular storylines, but David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston revealed how it nearly translated into real life. 

The pair said they were “crushing hard” on each other after first meeting. 

“The first season I had a major crush on Jen,” David revealed. “And I think we both, at some point, were crushing hard on each other 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.”

Jennifer agreed and confirmed their first kiss came on screen when Ross and Rachel embraced in Central Perk during season two’s The One Where Ross Finds Out.

“I remember saying at one point to David, ‘It’s going to be such a bummer if the first time you and I actually kiss is gonna be on national television!’ ” she said, according to the New York Post. “Sure enough, the first time we kissed was in that coffee shop,”

She added: “So we just channelled all of our adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel.”

2. Many of the cast were not all that familiar with the show

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Lisa Kudrow and Matthew Perry admitted they had not seen full seasons of the show.

Lisa said she recently started watching some of season four with husband Michel, revealing: “He enjoys them more than I do because I’m mortified with myself.”

David Schwimmer also said he’d not watched the show in 17 years and only started re-watching it recently when his daughter started watching over the past year.

3. Could Matt LeBlanc BE any more injured?

Terence Patrick/HBO Max

The One Where No One’s Ready is beloved by fans, mainly for the iconic moment Joey enters the room wearing the entire contents of Chandler’s wardrobe, declaring: “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?”

However, Matt Le Blanc actually sustained an injury when Chandler and Joey were arguing over the chair.

Matt jumped on to the chair “perfectly” during the first three takes, but on the fourth attempt he slipped and his shoulder came out of its socket.

Footage of the incident was shown during the special and showed Matt’s arm noticeably lower than it should have been.

Filming was stopped for the day so he could receive medical attention. 

4. That was not Matt’s only Friends-related injury, however 

NBC via Getty Images

Matt revealed he’d been out drinking with a friend the night before his audition and fell over, smacking his face on a toilet.

He ended up with a huge scab on his nose, but it actually helped him win over show bosses, as they were even more endeared when he explained what had happened. 

5. Friends bosses took a major gamble on hiring Jennifer Aniston

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Jennifer had already signed up to a show called Muddling Through prior to landing the role of Rachel – who was the last of the main characters to be cast. 

Muddling Through had shot six episodes but bosses cast her as Rachel anyway and said they would share her with the other show to see who wins in the battle of staying on the air.

It was a major gamble for Friends, as they shot the first three episodes of series one while Muddling Through was still on TV, and if the other show had been picked up for a full series, they would have had to reshoot those three episodes with a different actor playing Rachel. 

When Jennifer begged the producer of Muddling Through to release her from her contract, he told her Friends “would not make her a star”.

6. David Schwimmer actually had a strong dislike of Marcel, Ross’s pet monkey

NBC via Getty Images

During a Q&A segment, the stars were asked if there was a part of the show they did not like.

“The monkey,” David replied.

He said not only would the animal mess up their well-orchestrated takes, but his handler would feed him live bugs during filming, which he would then eat and proceed to wipe his dirty hands on David.

The actor said: “I would have monkey grubby hands all over. It was time for Marcel to fuck off!”

7. Smelly Cat gets the Lady Gaga treatment 

Lady Gaga has duetted with some of the greats, including Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and Bradley Cooper – but she can now add Lisa Kudrow to that list. 

She was joined by Gaga for a special performance of Phoebe Buffay’s iconic song Smelly Cat on the Central Perk set, where they were later joined by gospel singers.

Lisa, having slipped into character, muttered: “Still think it’s better when it’s just me.”

Gaga agreed and thanked her for being “the different one” on the show.

8. The other celebrity cameos were also kinda sweet

HBO

Producers squeezed in more celebrity guests with a fashion show of Friends outfits, with Justin Bieber, Cindy Crawford and Cara Delevingne all strutting their stuff on the catwalk.

David Beckham also popped up with some of his favourite memories from the show. 

9. As too were the appearances from much-loved supporting cast members

HBO Max

There was an emotional moment when Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles – who played the Gellers’ parents – turned up in the studio audience, while Maggie Wheeler – aka Janice – arrived in true “Oh! My! God!” style.

Tom Selleck, who starred as Monica’s boyfriend Richard, also surprised the cast, as did Larry Hankin, who played noisy neighbour Mr Heckles. 

Meanwhile, James Michael Tyler, who played Central Perk boss Gunther, Zoomed in.

10. It was never the original plan to have Monica and Chandler settle down together

NBC via Getty Images

Producers decided to make Monica and Chandler an official couple after the “insane” reaction of the studio audience when it was first revealed they’d spent the night together in London, rather than leave it a one-off.

Friends co-creator Marta Kaufman said: “It was such a powerful moment that we knew we had to explore it more.”

11. While different endings were also discussed for Ross and Rachel

NBC via Getty Images

Co-creator David Crane said there was “some discussion” about whether Ross and Rachel should get together at the end of the show, when she “got off the plane” and abandoned the chance of a new life in Paris to be with him.

Revealing the writers’ room conversations, David said: “We discussed perhaps ambivalent endings where it seems like down the road…but we went ’No, this is Friends, people have been waiting 10 years to see this couple get together, we have to got give them what they want.

“We just have to find a way so that the journey is unexpected.”

12. And sorry everyone, but this reunion won’t lead to a movie or more episodes

Terence Patrick/HBO Max

Lisa seemingly shot down those hopes, saying: “It’s all up to Marta [Kauffman] and David [Crane, the co-creators] and I once heard them say, and I completely agree, that they ended the show very nicely….

“They would have to unravel all of those good things in order for there to be stories.”

Courteney also insisted the cast won’t be reuniting again publicly to talk old times.

“Honestly, this will really make me cry, but this will be the last time that we’re ever asked about the show as a group that we will do this,” she said. “Like, we’re not going to do this [again] in 15 more years.”

She, however, did have reassuring words for her castmates.

“I’ll tell you one thing: We are not waiting so long to have dinner,” she added.

“No we will not,” Jennifer agreed. “We will not wait that long to get together.”

Friends: The Reunion will air in the UK on Thursday 27 May at 8pm on Sky One, and is also available to stream on NOW.

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