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Our ‘Friends’ Are Returning to NBC…Sort Of

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You’d think that after the huge wave of nostalgia that came about when Netflix released all ten season of Friends, NBC would have wrangled the iconic gang and begged them to film another half-hour adventure. “Look at how much everyone loves you again!” the execs would have said. “Don’t you all miss each other? You guest star on each other’s shows all the time!”

And if the stars, like Jennifer Anniston, remind the execs that they’re simply just too big for television now, I imagine the NBC execs would get down on their hands and knees and offer their first born children to make the reunion happen. “Please, for the love of God! We have nothing on this godforsaken network!” they’d beg.

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“Look! Look at all our failures and take pity!” 

It’s been twelve years since the hit NBC sitcom Friends went off the air and now, Entertainment Weekly reports that the long-awaited cast reunion might actually happen.

Sort of.

At the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Pasadena, NBC announced plans for the two-hour special that will reunite the cast for a tribute to legendary comedy director James Burrows, who directed fifteen episodes of the hit show. But it’s a tribute, not a real episode by any means–no checking in on Monica and Chandler and their adopted twins, no checking in on Phoebe and her husband Mike, no seeing if Ross and Rachel managed to be in a relationship without taking a break, and no updates on our favorite ladykiller Joey and his “How you doin’?” catchphrase.

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And no announcements on how his career bounced back after hanging out in in L.A.

It seems strange for NBC to announce the Burrows tribute by highlighting the Friends cast. Burrows only directed fifteen of the series’ episodes and is probably better known for his work on Cheers, Taxi, Will & Grace, and more recently, the current CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. Will the remaining cast members of those sitcoms be joining the two hour special as well? Will CBS lend Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell to NBC so they can also reminisce about all the work Burrows has done over the years?

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I mean, their sitcom just got cancelled so it shouldn’t be a conflict of interest.

The details released about this tribute so far make it even more confusing as to why the Friends cast is being touted so much as the hook. NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt admits that having all six members of the gang in the same room may not even happen. “I’m hoping all six will be in the same room at the same time; I’m not sure we can logistically pull it off,” he told reporters at the press conference.

Wait, what? First, there’s not going to be a get together at Central Perk. Now they’re telling us the cast might not actually be reunited at all? What’s the point of watching at all? The off chance that NBC is deliberately lowering our expectations so we can raise them supremely impressed and excited when Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, and Joey walk on the set together?

If this is their master plan, those NBC executives might actually be clever after all.

The special, entitled “The One with the Reunion,” will air Sunday, Feb. 21, on NBC.

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

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  • Couldn’t they do something cheesy, like just have them all in character run into each other at Central Perk, which is now a Starbucks of course. And then it would just be: “Remember that time….” and flashbacks. Not much work involved.