Friends Reunion Recap

Friends Reunion: 8 Fun Facts Revealed During NBC's James Burrows Tribute

Even with “the funny one” stuck overseas, the chemistry between the stars of Friends was as potent as a cup of Central Perk coffee during NBC’s Must-See TV: An All-Star Tribute to James Burrows.

Ushered in by Matthew Perry via video, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer re-assembled Sunday — on a slightly different couch than we’re used to seeing them — to honor the legendary Burrows, who recently directed his 1,000th episode of television.

“We would do anything for Jim Burrows,” Aniston began. “He gave us the opportunity of a lifetime, and probably the best 10 years of our acting careers that we will forever remember. We experienced friendship, heartbreaks, babies, everything together. And we had a wonderful experience with the world loving us, as well. They really connected with us.”

Speaking to the cast’s early chemistry, Aniston continued, “From the beginning, we just wanted to hang out with each other. … We really just fell in love and adored each other instantly.”

In addition to soliciting the stars’ praises for the man of the hour, host Andy Cohen also prodded them for behind-the-scenes secrets. Here are a few things we learned:

* According to Kudrow, Burrows gave his poker table to the cast as a bonding exercise; this inspired the infamous poker episode “The One With All the Poker,” which Burrows also directed.

* During the first season, the cast would get together to watch each episode together — keep in mind, this was decades before live-tweeting became a thing — and would give each other notes, or as they now consider them, “suggestions.”

* The Friends skirted Cohen’s promo-worthy question about whether they had to promise — in writing — not to sleep with one another. “I was not asked to sign anything,” Kudrow said with a laugh.

* “The three girls, we had lunch together every day for 10 years,” Cox said, calling their meal of choice “a Jennifer Salad.” Aniston tried to shrug off any notion that she makes salad better than others, but Cox insisted, “She has a way with it.”

* LeBlanc’s favorite Joey moment is from “The One With George Stephanopoulos,” specifically the beat where Joey pretends a puck is coming at his face, much to the annoyance of Ross, who just had a puck hit him in the face. LeBlanc gives all the credit to Burrows for coming up with the bit on the spot.

* One of Cox’s favorite episodes is “The One With the Blackout,” because she loved the image of Ross running around the balcony with a cat on his back. Schwimmer recalls Burrow encouraging him to “just keep doing it.”

* Aniston has a special love for the flashbacks to “Fat Monica, Rachel pre-nosejob and Ross with his afro.”

* Burrows often related characters from his shows to one another; he told Kudrow that Phoebe was his new Reverend Jim (Christopher Lloyd’s character on Taxi), and as LeBlanc recalls, Burrows told him, “You’re Danza.”

Your thoughts on the Friends reunion (of sorts)? Favorite moments from the rest of the night? Drop ’em all in a comment below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Patrick says:

    There was a book called Top of the Rock about NBC in its heyday that included most of the stories from Friends, Cheers, Frasier, and Will and Grace. This special was a real let down. It was a very cynical ratings grab. I’m guessing its to gauge interest in reunion specials, real ones, from some of these great shows, especially Frasier, Cheers, and Friends. These were the beloved stallwarts of NBC’s heyday, and many of the principal actors are probably willing to do the reunions.

  2. Jamey says:

    Wasn’t Lisa Kudrow the original Roz on Frasier? I read that somewhere a long time ago that she was Roz in the pilot but then got fired. So funny that Jimmy Burrows brought her back for Pheobe!!

    • Lauren says:

      Yeah I’m pretty sure she was Roz in the original pilot. I’m thinking she lucked out given Kelsey Grammar’s reputation for being so difficult to work with.

  3. Marla says:

    The entire show was fun to watch.

  4. Maria says:

    My thoughts? That this tribute was for ALL the big shows he directed. Not just Friends. Yet no mention in this article of TBBT. Taxi, Frasier, Will and Grace, and especially Cheers which he not only directed but also co-created along with Glen and Les Charles.

    • Keith says:

      They should have spent more time with Cheers

    • Emmy says:

      I know!
      I know it was marketing to advertise the Friends, but they were okay, they seemed more awkward than anything.

      I would of loved to hear more from Fraiser and Cheers. Plently more from Will & Grace, they seem so natural together. And just have them plot the rest of Karen’s life with Donald Trump.

    • MelindaB says:

      I read that Tony Shaloub and Steven Weber were supposed to be there representing the other Cheers (or was it Frasier?) spin-off, Wings, but never saw them. And Andy Dick from Newsradio was there on stage at the end, but nothing about that show, either. I guess that they only focused on shows that Burrows directed pilots for, but they were included in the montage of his shows, and it would have been nice to hear from them as well.

  5. Belle says:

    It was okay, seemed like it was just thrown together at the last minute. I think if Andy Cohen had done this tribute at Bravo on Watch What Happens Live for an extended 90 minute special it would have been SO awesome!!

  6. Lauren says:

    I was disappointed at how heavily edited this special was. None of the interviews flowed well, they were so chopped up. Laughter would cut in at odd places to try to hide where they cut out what someone said. This could have been more than what it was. Should have been three hours. Is Dateline really that popular that it needed to come on at 8 before this show started at 9?

  7. GuessWhat says:

    this special was mostly boring.
    only the clips made me smile.
    the interviews felt awkward and unrevealing.
    ho hum

  8. Keith says:

    He only directed 15 episodes of Friends yet they got the most airtime.

    • Patrick says:

      True. But he was basically a consultant for the show. He was instrumental in all the big NBC comedies at the time save Seinfeld. He might not have gotten credit for actually directing all the shows, but he watched dailies, was on set for a lot of the shoots/rehearsals, and tweaked scripts. He was everywhere doing everything for a lot of the shows. Once some of the shows became “idiot proof” he stepped back officially, while being just as involved as he’d ever been.

  9. Allison says:

    The girls all having lunch together every day and eating the same thing every day has been widely reported for years, that wasn’t new information. Neither was the fact that they all got together to watch the show together early on, that’s been talked about a lot too. It was part of their bonding process because they knew that if this show was going to really work they had to actually be friends and get to know one another away from the set.

    I thought the most interesting thing from the special was when various actors from different casts talked about suggestions and ideas Jim Burrows added to their characters.

  10. Beth says:

    This show was horrible. It is obvious that Mr. Burrows didn’t direct it.

  11. Tony says:

    Enough of this stupid reunion. This is a show honoring one of TV’s greatest and most talented geniuses, and it has been hijacked by the media to be about this silly stupid show of actors who were grossly overpaid for their questionable talents. As for any kind of “reunions”, no one seems to care that the casts of TAXI and CHEERS will be there.

  12. c-mo says:

    Did anyone hear the mutterings of someone, maybe David Schwimmer, when Andy asked the question about if they had to sign a contract agreeing that they were asked to not sleep with each other? He said something like “Well, that got broken.” I knew it! You can’t have that many people working that closely together and not have some hook-ups!

  13. I luv d Friends reunion, esp. d part where Jen said that they adored each other right fr d start. I luv Jen since Friends. I luv her warm & down-to-earth persona. She seems well grounded.

  14. Alaia says:

    I wish I could find this on demand or that it was rerunning. I neglected to set my DVR, but would love to see this.

  15. Melissa says:

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…Friends!!!!!
    I made sure I got every episode in my divorce! One thing I know if can laugh, everything is and will be ok.