How well do you remember “Friends”? How well do the actual cast members of the modern classic sitcom remember their own show? If the trailer HBO Max dropped Wednesday for its forthcoming reunion special for the series is any indication, it looks like barely a day has passed in their memories since they were shooting on the Warner Bros. lot.
Additionally, HBO Max announced some special activations for “Friends: The Reunion,” streaming on May 27.
Returning to Stage 24 where they originally shot the 1990s sitcom about six friends living in New York City, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer walk through the rebuilt apartment set and even sit down for a game of trivia, in the vein of game depicted in the fourth season episode “The One with the Embryos.”
Schwimmer reads the questions just as his character Ross did in that episode (though, presumably Schwimmer did not also write them, as Ross did) and of course one of them references Ross and Rachel’s (Aniston) infamous and still-debated break or break-up. Asking how many pages the letter Rachel wrote to Ross in the Season 4 premiere, “The One With The Jellyfish,” LeBlanc gleefully calls out, “18 pages!” Of course Schwimmer needs more, and Aniston correctly chimes in, “18 pages, front and back!”
“Friends: The Reunion” will also feature a sit-down interview with James Corden, as depicted in the trailer, which you can watch below. In this interview, Corden goes down the line of cast members to determine once and for all if Ross and Rachel really were on a break. They also reflect on everything from the first table read to how intrusive fame became, read some classic lines from the old scripts and get special visits from guest stars including Tom Selleck and Maggie Wheeler.
In celebration of this streaming event, HBO Max is hosting “Friends Reunite for Friends” screening events in New York and Los Angeles on May 26, in which select guests and super-fans can attend exclusive screenings of the special, ahead of the stream, with their real-life friends. These experiences will include pre-show entertainment, tailored for each location (The Greens at Pier 17 in New York; Hollywood Forever Cemetery in L.A.). Chances to attend will come from a #SuperFriendsFan UGC sweepstakes via HBOMax, HBOMaxPop and “Friends” social channels. Those who can’t attend in-person can watch via a live-streamed digital and social red carpet component on May 26 from 7:30pm to 8:30pm PT. This event will feature exclusive programming, guest-star appearances and live segments from both “Friends Reunite for Friends” screening events.
Additionally, fans can watch the the reunion once it is streaming with their own friends virtually with a watch-along partnership featuring custom virtual couches with video and chat capabilities on Scener.com. Fans can share watch party experiences using the #CentralPerkWatchParties hashtag. And finally, HBO Max will launch a “For Fans of Friends” spotlight page on May 27, which will offer “Friends”-themed content, including “Best of Rachel,” “The Ones With Celebrity Guest” and the most-watched episodes.
Ben Winston directed the special and executive produced it alongside “Friends” executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman and David Crane, and all original cast members Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry and Schwimmer. Emma Conway, James Longman and Stacey Thomas-Muir co-executive produced. It comes from Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon, Fulwell 73 Productions and Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions.
HBO Max offered a sneak peek at the reunion during the virtual WarnerMedia upfront presentation. Schwimmer and LeBlanc appeared to talk up the special. Schwimmer noted that the delay in taping made it even more meaningful for the six stars. “It turned out to be something really special for the fans. I think it’s going to lift a lot of people’s spirits,” Schwimmer said. LeBlanc added, “It lifted mine.”