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TV CRITIC'S CORNER

‘Friends’ reunion special has quite a guest list

The cast of "Friends" in an undated photo (clockwise from left): Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt Le Blanc, and Lisa Kudrow.
The cast of "Friends" in an undated photo (clockwise from left): Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt Le Blanc, and Lisa Kudrow.Jon Ragel/NBC

Are you eagerly awaiting this? Or have you been told you’re eagerly awaiting this for so long that it’s hard to tell if you really are? I always marvel at how the power of ads and promotional hype can create a sense of desire out of nothing, or at least amp it up significantly.

Apparently, we’re desperate to see the cast of “Friends” reunite for an unscripted special. The event, bringing together Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer, was originally planned to promote the launch of HBO Max last year and its acquisition of “Friends,” but the pandemic delayed production twice. Now “Friends: The Reunion,” which will bring the actors back to the stage set where they filmed the sitcom, is going to arrive on May 27.

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To sweeten the pot, HBO Max has brought in cast alums and random, famous superfans to celebrate. David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga, Elliott Gould (Ross and Monica’s father), Kit Harington, Larry Hankin (Mr. Heckles), Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck (Dr. Richard Burke), James Michael Tyler (Gunther), Maggie Wheeler (Janice), and Reese Witherspoon (Rachel’s sister).

Not enough? Malala Yousafzai is also on the guest lineup, in case you require your shows about silly comedies to feature at least one Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pakistani activist.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.