Friends: The Reunion premieres on May 27 on HBO and HBO GO

Could we BE any more excited?

Friends: The Reunion special will debut same time as the U.S. on Thursday, May 27 at 3.01pm exclusively on HBO GO, with a same-day broadcast on HBO at 9pm. Friends stars Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer return to the iconic comedy’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank for a real-life unscripted celebration of the beloved show.

For the first time in 17 years, the cast of Friends reunites for a special celebration of the smash-hit comedy series. Taped on the original soundstage, Friends: The Reunion finds the cast joined by moderator James Corden and a star-studded roster of special guests as they relive the show’s fan-favourite and unforgettable moments. This once-in-a-lifetime special event honours the iconic series, which continues to permeate the zeitgeist today, with a hilarious and heartfelt night full of laughter and tears.

Friends: The Reunion, an HBO Max Original, will feature a variety of special guests including David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon and Malala Yousafzai.

Ben Winston directed the special and executive produced along with “Friends” executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane. The special hails from Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon, Fulwell 73 Productions and Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions. Aniston, Cox, Kudrow, LeBlanc, Perry, and Schwimmer executive produced the special. Emma Conway, James Longman and Stacey Thomas-Muir co-executive produced.

“Friends” remains one of television’s most beloved series. One of the highest-rated shows on television in its original network run, the series still remains a perennial go-to in syndication and on streaming services, where it continues to be a smash hit worldwide. A favorite among critics and fans alike throughout its 10-season run, “Friends” not only won the Emmy® for Outstanding Comedy series, but also garnered Emmy® Awards for series stars Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow. From Warner Bros. Television, Friends follows the lives and loves of a close-knit group of friends living in New York City: siblings Ross (David Schwimmer) and Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), along with friends Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc) and Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston). “Friends” was created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, who executive produced the series with Kevin Bright through Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

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Two generations of viewpoints on “Friends,” now on Netflix

For many Gen Xers, the TV show Friends defined an era, our era.

The show started airing in September 1994, during my last year in high school.

Netflix all ten seasons just this month, January 2018, coincidentally my teenage daughter’s last year in high school.

To me back then, the show served as a special preview of “the world out there,” i.e., adult life. For my daughter, with whom I watched some episodes, it serves as a point of conparison between the issues she faces today and those I faced during my formative years.

The story kicked off when spoiled “daddy’s girl” Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) runs out of her wedding and (while still in her wedding dress) goes looking for her high school best friend (Monica Geller).

Monica, despite having lost contact with Rachel after high school, good-heatedly welcomed her into her home and into the gang composed of Monica’s brother Ross (David Schwimmer) who was traumatized by his divorce from his wife who turned out to be a lesbian, the boys who live across the hall Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) who was Ross’ roommate in college and struggling actor Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), and Monica’s cooky ex-roommate Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow).

Throughout the show’s ten-season run, the six friends navigated their way through life in New York City: found and lost jobs, started and ended relationships, and found and reinvented themselves.

While today, my daughter and her peers found the show’s jokes about “Fat Monica,” homosexual relationships and transgender identity problematic, back then, I was amazed these themes were being shown at all.

I was inspired by Monica’s transformation from an obese teen to a slim and confident chef (and I’m still perplexed as to how she was able to maintain her size despite being constantly surounded by food).

I found the decision of Ross’ ex-wife to raise their child with her lesbian partner, and later Rachel’s to be a working unwed mother brave.

I understood Chandler’s resentment of his father Charles’ transition to Helena Handbasket; after all, the announcement of her separation from Chandler’s mom was done after Thanksgiving dinner when Chandler was nine, hardly the epitome of sensitivity to the child’s sensibilities.

Despite the differences in the lenses that we view this iconic show, some themes are constant: the importance of friendship, acceptance of oneself and others, and growing up.

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