Entertainment

Is This the ‘Friends’ Reunion You Hoped For?

Could Chandler be any more absent? How you doin', Joey?

They said they’d always be there for us. And now the cast of “Friends” is getting back together, reuniting for the first time since 2004, when the beloved sitcom ended after a decade on TV.

Actors Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, David Schwimmer and Courteney Cox are all part of Sunday’s NBC special tribute to veteran sitcom director Jim Burrows. Andy Cohen moderates an interview with the “Friends” gang. (It was taped last month.)

“I want to speak on behalf of America and say, we all love seeing you together,” Cohen tells the stars. “It’s very cool. Everyone’s wanted a ‘Friends’ reunion for so long.”

But it’s not exactly the reunion we were hoping for.

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For starters, not all of the friends are there. Matthew Perry couldn’t make it because he’s prepping for his playwriting debut in London. Jennifer Aniston’s Rachel haircut is long gone – replaced by a pony tail. Matt LeBlanc is bigger and grayer.

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LeBlanc, 48, stopped by “Late Night With Seth Meyers” last year, and said that about every five to eight years, teens will begin to recognize him. No, they don’t give him the classic Joey Trebbiani line: “How you doin’?” Instead, they say, “You’re so … old. What happened to you, dude?”

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The magic of the friends at Central Perk listening to Phoebe sing “Smelly Cat” or the gang sitting around the kitchen table of their Manhattan apartment dishing about Joey or Chandler’s latest date, just isn’t quite the same as seeing them being their real selves.

For 236 episodes over 10 season, we reveled in the friendship, failures and foibles of the six twentysomethings. “Friends” found an audience then and it is reaching a new audience every day as reruns air on TBS and Nickelodeon. In the UK, Comedy Central UK has a deal to air reruns through 2019.

Aniston, 47, says in Sunday’s mini-reunion show that “Friends” was the “opportunity of a lifetime and probably the best 10 years of our acting careers that we will forever remember. We experienced friendship, family, heartbreak, babies — everything — together.”

She adds, “We had a wonderful experience with the world loving us. They connected with us.”

But fans still hope for a real reunion — of the characters, not just the actors.

Perry, 46, in an interview with BBC Radio 2, said there is still a possibility of that, but it’s risky.

“It’s kind of tough, because we ended on such a high note. We don’t want to ruin it. So we’d want to be really careful. Sometimes when you do a reunion, it’s terrible and sort of ruins the memory of the good show that you’ve done before. So we’d have to be careful.”

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