The news that the cast of “Friends” was finally going to record an episode of reunion 17 years after the end of the final season caused a stir.
Once the dust is settled, there is a question: do we really want a resumption of the series, even if summarized in a brief meeting of the sextet?
History, so far, teaches that it is not (OK, it is always possible to surprise).
And the more striking a series is over a given period of time, the less likely it is to come up with the same vigor.
The last episode of “Friends” aired in the United States on May 6, 2004.
According to the Hollywood Reporter website, on the last day 2, the reunion would be recorded this past week – there was, until the publication of this column, confirmation that the filming had already been completed, but photos of the set were circulated.
Comments from the actors, whose current ages vary between 51 and 57 years old, imply that they will comment on the series, outside of their fictional alter egos, and perhaps do some scenes that advance the characters’ time to today.
But what is the point of seeing Ross (David Schwimmer), Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Chandler (Matthew Perry), Monica (Courtney Cox), Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) aged in a pandemic world, full of nationalisms, on the verge of recession if what delighted the public back there was precisely the youthfulness and lack of concern for the sextet world – and the means of support -?
If they maintain that joviality and nonchalance, is it possible not to look like a bunch of infantilized adults with their eyes glazed over their own navels?
Would it make any sense for a 100% white and straight group in a fictional landscape that was multiplied by streaming platforms and in which, fortunately, ethnic representation and sexual orientation is relevant and not overlooked?
It is very difficult to answer “yes” to these questions, and the risk of tarnishing the affective memories of an entire generation by transporting something so turning from the millennium to the dismal current scenario is immense.
This differs from reviewing the reruns of “Friends”, a light and fair entertainment, with its perfect comic timing and its dialogues that influenced even the prosody of the time.
“Gilmore Girls” came back without the same freshness. “Três É Demais”, a success from the 1980s, turned into a disaster in its version with the mature child protagonists, from 2016. “Barrados no Baile”, a 90s hit, did not take off 20 years later. Only “The Quintet”, updated in its 2020 version to contemplate the drama of immigrants in the United States, showed purpose.
But what would “Friends” fit? Rachel becoming a social activist? Joey finds himself transsexual? Ross, while a paleontologist, find a cure for Covid? Or Monica and Chandler being unemployed and living on the street with their kids? And Phoebe? Did you join QAnon, the group that creates conspiracy theories, invades Congress and kills policemen?
There are things that do not travel well in time.
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