In the days when social media hoaxes were innocent, a famous image would make the rounds every year or so. It was a minimalist poster heralding the return of Friends to NBC's lineup, with a premiere date updated for whatever year it was circulating in. In 2018, though, the NBC Entertainment Chairman announced that the Friends reboot will never happen, per The Hollywood Reporter. It's never, ever getting back together. Like, ever. No matter what your college roommate's best friend from high school shares on Facebook and insists is real this time.
"We can't just reboot everything," Bob Greenblatt said at a panel on Wednesday, according to THR. Greenblatt apparently listed Friends and Seinfeld among shows that won't return, full-stop.
In the last few years, numerous TV series have been revived, rebooted, or restarted for a new generation of viewers, even when the previous generation has barely had time to mourn its finale. Many shows that audiences felt were gone too soon haven't gotten the green light, but former network tentpoles like Will & Grace and Roseanne have returned to primetime. Bravo's Queer Eye was rebooted for the Netflix era, and Arrested Development moved to Netflix for a fourth season more than seven years after the series wrapped on FOX. Since rumors have swirled around reboots of The Office and The West Wing, the Head of Entertainment at NBC eventually had to address it.
So, can fans expect a Friends reunion anytime soon? A revival? Spinoff? Reboot? Just an hour of sipping cappuccinos at Central Perk? No. Final answer.
As Ariel from The Little Mermaid once sang, "I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty / I've got revivals and reboots galore". Well, she would have said that, if "Part Of Your World" had been about the modern era of television and not the dream of sharing the human experience. Television in its many forms have experienced a deluge of new-old content in recent years, to the point where many frustrated viewers worry that new ideas, and the next great era of creators, could be squeezed out. Fortunately, Greenblatt realizes that. And honestly? That's a good thing.
First of all, it's practical. "It" being "letting Friends lie." So much of Friends relied on the core cast just being 20- and 30-somethings. By the end, most were happily married, together, and/or had kids. The whole show was about a bunch of ridiculous people, their relationships to one another, and the peaks and valleys of early adulthood. What would fans gain by returning to the show now? Their kids wouldn't be old enough to start over with the same premise, so that's off the table. There's no way they all live in adjacent apartments, and Joey's antics couldn't possibly age well. In other words, there's no there there. Plus, from a corporate standpoint: The cast famously negotiated for million-dollar paychecks per episode for Season 10. Where's that money going to come from? No shade; just honesty. Seven seasons of 30 Rock taught viewers that the business of making NBC happen is expensive, and they haven't "had Seinfeld money" for some time.
Beyond the boring logistics of rebooting Friends lies an important question: What about testing new shows, and deciding what other content has potential? How will people find the next great thing if all that exists are adaptations on adaptations? Does everything need a sequel, a reboot, a round two or three or one million?
So, as fun as the concept of more Friends is, the reality doesn't make a ton of sense. But still, there are 10 full seasons, infinity quotes, and a lifetime of will-they-won't-they moments to reflect on. It was romantic, it was funny, it was iconic. That should be enough for fans. It's not that common, it doesn't happen to every show, and it is a big deal. It will always be there for you.