Friends: The Reunion had tons of cameos, bringing in fan favorites from the classic sitcom like Tom Selleck, Elliot Gould and Christina Pickles, who played Ross and Monica’s parents, and the one and only Janice, aka Maggie Wheeler.
But there were a ton of guest stars seemingly left off the special event. Where was Paul Rudd, who played Phoebe’s boyfriend Mike? Or Cole and/or Dylan Sprouse, aka Ross’ son Ben? Or what about Aisha Tyler, who played Charlie??
In the place of all those familiar faces, we got appearances as random as James Corden, Lady GaGa, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafza — who wasn’t even alive when Friends started. What’s the deal?
The reunion special’s director, Ben Winston, defended to TheWrap:
“Well, we couldn’t have everybody on, because it’s only an hour and 45 minutes. And you’ve got to pay attention — the main nub of the show has got to be about the six cast members. So you can’t have too many cameos because of course, there were hundreds of amazing people who were in ‘Friends’ over the years. Sadly, we couldn’t get everybody in.”
Yeah, sure, not everyone — but you’d think they’d bring in the folks who played recurring roles, especially those who only went on to more fame after their time on Friends. Well, they probably did invite your favorite big guest star. But due to the unfortunate timing of the filming — right in the middle of the pandemic — there was nothing they could do in a lot of cases. Winston explained:
“You know, we did invite some people who weren’t able to make it. It’s a complicated time to be making television now because, you know, some people couldn’t fly internationally, some people were on other TV or film shoots, some people are in bubbles on stuff.”
Jennifer Aniston was actually one of the people on another shoot — she’s currently filming the next season of the Emmy-winning The Morning Show for Apple TV+.
But unfortunately COVID is to blame for most of the absences. The international travel restrictions probably kept us from getting to see Ross and Rachel interact with Emily (Helen Baxendale) one more time. And of course Season One guest star George Clooney lives in Italy now. Winston continued:
“I think during a pandemic, it’s really hard to get everybody where you want to be. And the other thing, of course, is we have no flexibility. It was one night that those six were available. The timing of it was incredibly difficult. So, you know, if you weren’t available on the seventh of April at 8 p.m., then, sadly, they weren’t able to be part of it. Yeah, we couldn’t get everybody in. It’s just one of those things. I hope people will think about all the great things that are in there rather than the things that aren’t.”
Ha! You know they won’t! LOLz!
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