We are currently living in an age that was largely unheard of before. An age of television where popular shows from the past are more likely than ever to be revived with original cast members or rebooted with an all new take on its classic story. As comedies like Will & Grace (which is going into its third and final revival season this fall) and The Conners (which will enjoy Season 2 of the Roseanne revival spinoff this season) have proven, people love a good hit of nostalgia that will bring them back to characters they know and love from years gone by. But, it might be time to stop holding out hope for anything Friends related to come back around.
It would probably be fair to say that no show has led fans to call for a revival, reboot or even a reunion special as much as Friends. The NBC sitcom was there for us for 10 seasons, and the rabid fan base has been able to keep reliving the show's heyday in syndicated repeats or on Netflix since it went off the air in 2004. Now that we all know that a Friends revival could last, though, it's all some fans can think about. However, the series co-creators are here to burst all of your bubbles. Here's what Marta Kauffman had to say recently:
We will not be doing a reunion show. We will not be doing a reboot. There are two reasons for that. One of the reasons we won’t do a reunion is because this is a show about a time in your life when your friends are your family. And when you have a family, that changes. But the other reason is it’s not going to beat what we did.
Oh, well. Marta Kauffman's words make the idea of getting the ol' Central Perk gang back together seem like a complete no-go (no matter how much Jennifer Aniston fantasizes about it), don't they? Kauffman, who spoke at the recent Tribeca TV Festival (via Variety), is pretty clear on two reasons why she and fellow Friends co-creator David Crane have no interest in giving us any new episodes. And, really, as much as many fans might want to see more of the classic show, it's hard to fault their logic.
Friends, which is approaching the 25 year anniversary of its debut on September 22, focused on six friends in their late twenties who were all trying to make it in Manhattan. Phoebe, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Joey and Monica relied on each other to help them through setbacks and bad relationships, or to celebrate good times. As Kauffman said, they were each other's family. But, by the time the show wrapped up, all of them (with the exception of Joey) were in relationships, and either already had kids or had decided to try to have them. So, the dynamic between the characters just wouldn't be the same now.
Marta Kauffman also notes that she doesn't believe that anything new they might create for Friends would be able to top the classic run that came before. And, this sentiment was echoed by David Crane, who added:
We did the show we wanted to do. We got it right, and we put a bow on it. If you visited those characters now, it just would not be the same DNA and chances are, it wouldn’t be as good.
The idea of new Friends episodes not having "the same DNA" as the original is, unfortunately, probably true. We'd have to account for not just the way we left the characters the first time around, but also for the fact that the actors are all in very different times of their lives now, and might not even be able to step back into their roles so easily. Plus, as David Crane said, they were able to tell the complete story of these six friends the way they wanted to the first time around, and I take this to mean that they really don't think there is any more to tell.
I suppose there's no point in getting all semantical about it and pointing out that neither Marta Kauffman nor David Crane specifically said that a revival was off the table, huh? Ah, I tried...
While our hopes for more Friends have definitively been dashed, as mentioned earlier you can still catch the show on Netflix through the end of the year, and on a variety of channels in syndication. If you need some Friend-ly faces on your TV, though, Jennifer Aniston is starring in the Apple TV+ drama, The Morning Show, this fall, while Lisa Kudrow has done a pilot for Amazon (Good People) that might show up on the streamer sometime soon, and everyone's favorite monkey Marcel (who's actually named Katie, by the way) could be co-starring in Y on FX next year.
Be sure to check out our fall TV premiere guide to see what else you can watch on the small screen in the coming months.