We love Friends. It’s one of our all-time favourite shows, and while some of the jokes in it are a bit (or a lot) inappropriate for this day and age, there are a few reasons that producers at NBC should leave well enough alone with the series.
Few shows–and the list is even shorter for highly-acclaimed series–get to go out on their own terms and their peak of popularity. Friends joins the ranks of other series like Seinfeld and Breaking Bad, both of which ended when they were popular, the stars were ready to depart, and the writers had the opportunity to write a proper wrap to the characters’ story arcs.
Jennifer Aniston recently mentioned in an interview with People that she doesn’t know anything about the potential for a reunion but that they [the cast] are trying to make it happen.
We love this idea. Create a one-hour special, hopefully something live and unscripted to really get things flowing, and have each of the cast contribute to reminiscing. Maybe a commentary on the first and last episode of the series, too? There are so many opportunities for gold here. But…
While Jennifer brings up the possibility for a reunion, we can’t help but wonder if television execs think it might be worth reviving the franchise with an episode or two as a special television event of some sort. To this day there are Friends calendars and action figures and everything else under the sun. This franchise is still, 25 years later, massive.
Netflix even paid $100 million just to extend its contract and hold onto the series into 2021. It is reported to have paid upwards of $80 million for each of the last four years it has had exclusive streaming rights to the series.
Making another episode of Friends would only raise more questions that it would answer. What happened to the castmates of Joey? Do we really need to live in a world where there’s a potential that Ross and Rachel didn’t make it together after all? In the last 15 years, what major life events have happened to the kids, and how do you put all of that into one or two episodes? How would you even put that into an entire season that doesn’t just feel like you’re explaining everything rather than actually trying to craft a funny show.
Friends only continued when the, err, friends, banded together to demand that everyone was paid equally. Early on, it was seen that Rachel and Ross, played by Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer, respectively, were paid $40,000 per episode, while the other cast members made as little as $22,500 per episode.
After season two, each member of the group was paid the same, starting at about $100,000 per episode, eventually reaching $1 million per friend per episode for the final two seasons. They also negotiated for a portion of the Friends syndication profit, which by some estimations, earns each actor up to $10 million per year.
This is all well and good, but we must digress; don’t bring the show back!
Each character had the story arc wrapped up properly and satisfyingly. Monica and Chandler became a family with their twins, Ross and Rachel finally got back together (ideally, for good, which is how it will stay if the show doesn’t get remade!), Phoebe had her beautiful wedding with Mike and is settling down, and Joey is lone wolfing it as he always has, and will continue to do. (We’re pretending the spinoff Joey doesn’t exist. Like pineapples on pizza, or Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.)
Finally, how do you cast characters like the kids now? Producers will have to find a suitable Emma Geller Green, as well as Jack and Erica Bing, and if Cole or Dylan Sprouse don’t want to reprise their role as Ben, what do you do then? This is a recipe for beef sauteed with peas and onions.
Just, please don’t. Please.