Ross and Rachel had just come to know about both of their feelings for each other. Ross is with Julie now and they were about to get a cat together. Rachel, in the coffeehouse, gets the cups and is the last one to switch off the lights and go home. Ross walks in – Ross and Rachel have a heated argument where they declare their love for each other but also know that they will be holding back their feelings. “I have been doing it since the 9th grade, I’ve gotten pretty good at it,” says Ross. Rachel starts to cry as Ross walks out the coffeehouse. Rachel rushes behind him to close all the locks from inside. She walks in slowly to the yellow couch and sits down and cries. As she gets up, she sees Ross staring at her from outside the glass door. Rachel walks to the door, opens it and they kiss.
This table reading of the script was done by Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer at the Friends Reunion – The One Where They Get Back Together. Courtney Cox read the narration while, by the scene of Ross and Rachel’s kiss, Jennifer and David, who were sitting across each other, spread open their arms and held each other’s hands.
They cried, we cried.
Friends Reunion, announced in 2020, had made the world hold their breaths and wait to see their favourite cast get back on the iconic sets – the violet walls, the hallway, the foosball table, the fridge magnets, the giant window from where they watched the ugly naked guy, the Central Perk, the couch and so much more. And they did and how.
The cast – Jennifer “Rachel Green” Aniston, David “Ross Geller” Schwimmer, Courtney “Monica Geller” Cox, Lisa “Phoebe Buffay” Kudrow, Matt “Joey Tribbiani” Le Blanc and Matthew “Chandler Bing” Perry – sat holding each other in Monica’s infamous apartment and played the iconic quiz from the show which made Monica and Rachel lose their apartment to the guys – Chandler and Joey. From the barbershop quartet that sang the song which Ross had once sent across to Rachel’s first day of job at Bloomingdales’ to Monica’s lover Richard making an appearance to Joey’s twin hands – the quiz was a roller coaster ride. Not to mention, Monica and Rachel’s downstairs’ grumpy neighbour Mr. Heckles making an appearance and playing his part too.
From the inside jokes to Joey jumping on the coffee table and dislocating his shoulder to Jennifer and David having feelings for each other which never got reciprocated and they somehow channeled it to Rachel and Ross’ character to America’s biggest stars making appearances on the episode – from Lady Gaga playing Smelly Cat with Phoebe, to the BTS band boys unanimously agreeing that Friends is the best show, to Justin Bieber walking the ramp in Ross Geller’s Halloween costume potato, to Cindy Crawford dressing up in Ross’ iconic leather pants and Matt Le Blanc being Joey and wearing all of Chandler’s clothes, because, “I’m Chandler.. could I BE wearing any more clothes?”
The episode, like the show, was larger than life. With the supporting actors and the makers of the show sitting in the live audiences to the bloopers on the giant screen with the cast laughing out loud at each other, to interviews of icons across professions where they had nothing in common but one – that they love Friends.
But there’s one thing that went beyond the nostalgia-breathing set, the cast, the stories, the table reading, the guest celebrities – and that was the audiences across the globe telling their stories of struggle and how Friends helped them cope. A gay man wanted to have his hair styled like Rachel Green’s, a young man struggling to make his dad survive a chronic disease, a single mother struggling to make decisions for her relationships, a lesbian couple who claims to be the Chandler-Monica, two college students from Ghana who learnt to speak to women, a man from Slovakia who showed the ankle rub to people who don’t believe in the power of life – they agreed of how Friends gave them the experience of comfort food, how the show became their sole source of laughter, fun, and hope.And maybe, thats why the show ran for 10 years, still goes in the list of top 10 on Netflix every week, still gets the audience teary eyed everytime Rachel gets off the plane and the shot of the 6 keys on the kitchen island while they go out to grab a last cup of coffee together, and 17 years after that, got the cast slip right back into where they left off.
Friends, equally loved and criticised sometimes for its choice of dialogues and actions and storytelling, still needed the reunion. Not for the cast, or for the makers, but for those who find hope in those six friends who became family, who made them feel that beyond difficulties, there’s a home in a show. Somewhere the sitcom broke its glass barrier and became one with its audience.
The world needed this sitcom. The world needed this reunion.
Resting my case.