Why a Friends reboot is never going to happen

The cast of the TV show Friends.
The cast of the TV show Friends.

How many months can we go without the announcement that a TV show we've already seen is being re-created? Reboots and reunions, sequels and prequels: From Star Wars to Gilmore Girls, it seems there's no stopping the power of a franchise. So any day now, shouldn't we be hearing rumors that the only '90s powerhouse to live on without a re-do is going to cave?

"It will never happen."

That's what the creators of Friends are saying, and not for the first time. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Marta Kauffman and David Crane shot down the possibility that we'll ever see more than reruns of their hit NBC sitcom. Friends ended in 2004, 10 seasons after Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey first warmed America's hearts and cleared the way for a whole genre of friends-hanging-out shows.

David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Courteney Cox Arquette and Jennifer Aniston in a scene from Friends.
David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Matt Le Blanc, Courteney Cox Arquette and Jennifer Aniston in a scene from Friends.

Friends fans divide into two camps: those who would like an updated (ahem, less-white) version or sequel and those who believe the magic of Friends can never be re-created.

Kauffman and Crane are firmly in camp B.

"It will never happen, but no one tends to believe me," Kauffman said. "It shouldn't happen. That show is about a time in your life when your friends are your family. Once you start having a family, that time of your life is over."

Most of the Friends cast will be gathering for "A Tribute to James Burrows," (who directed some of the series's episodes) Feb. 21 on NBC. It would be the perfect time to make a Friends announcement, but we repeat: It's not going to happen.

"We finished the show exactly the way we wanted to finish it," Crane said. "To revisit those characters just seems like a bad idea - you don't want to see them hanging out in the coffeehouse now. And the good news is, you can see them whenever you want to. The show lives on with amazing vitality."

Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow in a scene from Friends.
Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow in a scene from Friends.

Anyone with cable knows it's impossible to escape Friends reruns, but the co-creators were referring to the show's online success. All 10 seasons came to Netflix in early 2015. Gone are the days when you'd tote your heavy boxed set of DVDs over to a friend's house. Now even people who were toddlers when the show ended can watch it anytime. That includes Kauffman's daughter, who is 17.

"All of her friends are discovering the show," Kauffman said. "Someone said to her, 'Did you see that new show called Friends?"

"It's fascinating watching the resurgence in my daughter's generation," she continued. "I look at it and go, 'God, that was a big wireless phone.' That doesn't seem to bother these kids - they think it's a period piece."

But all that Netflix attention won't make the creators change their minds. Asked whether she ever got tired of people asking her about Friends, Kauffman responded: "It's kind of like someone saying, 'You raised a great child.' Why would that not be a wonderful thing to hear over and over again?"

"We're just not letting the kid go to any reunions," Crane said.

- Washington Post

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