It may finally be time to accept the fact that there will never be a real Friends reunion.
The return of beloved properties like The X-Files, Fuller House and now Will & Grace have led some fans to believe that any ’90s television show could be rebooted at any minute. But as Matt LeBlanc told The Daily Beast in a new interview on Monday, “I don’t see that happening.”
Not only does LeBlanc, who is currently promoting the final season of Showtime’s Episodes — more on that in our full piece next week — think a Friends reboot is incredibly unlikely, he also thinks it’s a terrible idea.
“What story are we telling?” he asks. “Those characters have all gone their separate ways, they’ve all grown up.” Everybody who watched the show has a different version in their heads about what Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey are up to 13 years after the series finale, he says. “I think it’s best to let that be what they’re doing for everyone.”
“That show was about a finite period in people’s lives, after school and before you get married,” LeBlanc continues. “That time where your friends are your support system. And once that time’s over, that time’s over.”
Put that way, the idea of a Friends reunion in which they are no longer really friends, all of a sudden sounds deeply sad.
“I went through that period in my own life,” he says. “And when I revisit people from that time, it’s not the same. It’s just not. You can never go back, you can only move forward.”
It was about a year and a half ago that five or the six cast members got together for an NBC special that was designed to be a tribute to director James Burrows, but was relentlessly promoted as a full-on Friends “reunion.” Even if Matthew Perry hadn’t bailed to stay in London for his poorly-received playwriting debut, this panel discussion would not have been the revival fans were hoping for.
“That wasn’t a reunion,” LeBlanc says now, adding, “I think it’s a shame that that was called a Friends reunion. I don’t know whether that was a network publicity stunt or what. Because the cast of Cheers was there, the cast of Taxi was there, the cast of Will & Grace was there. It was a night to celebrate Jim Burrows, that’s what that was. And I thought that was a giant disrespect to him to call it a Friends reunion. It was all about Jim Burrows. Everybody turned up because everybody loved Jim Burrows.”
And if any more pseudo-reunions do happen, they will almost certainly happen behind closed doors. As Lisa Kudrow revealed earlier this year, "We have convened. Privately. For dinner."
“It’s usually at someone’s house. And it’s not that often,” LeBlanc says, explaining that there have been “a few” such get-togethers in recent years.
“It’s great. It’s like no time has passed,” he adds. “Generally we do it with no significant others. It’s just the six of us. It’s the same dynamic as it always was. It’s really fun.”
Just don’t expect to see it on TV.