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A Complete Guide to Everyone Appearing in the Friends Reunion

The long-awaited HBO Max special features a long list of familiar faces — including a few head-scratchers.
  • (Photos: Warner Bros. Television)
    (Photos: Warner Bros. Television)

    HBO Max's long-awaited Friends reunion special is finally upon us. The event features some great opportunities for the old gang to catch up, but it also includes appearances by some of the show's great recurring guests, as well as some glitzy fans of the show. The Chandler/Monica/Rachel/Ross/Phoebe/Joey of it all is clearly the main attraction, but we can't help but be fascinated by the show's lineup of guests, many of which are welcome and expected, while others... well, not so much. Here's an overview of everybody who appears:

    The Friends

    At this point it should go without saying that all six of the Friends cast members — Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer — are back to reminisce about the show, talk about what it meant to them, re-hash old debates like "were Ross and Rachel really on a break?" and do a table read of "The One Where Everybody Finds Out," i.e. the episode where Monica and Chandler's relationship gets revealed to all.

    The Friends of Friends

    One of the big draws of the reunion is that it brings together some of the show's great side characters and guest stars from the show's ten seasons:

    • Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles as Jack and Judy Geller, the parents of Monica and Ross. All told, the pair appeared in 24 episodes across all ten seasons of the show and are among the most reliably funny of the recurring friends (or in this case family) of Friends.
    • James Michael Tyler played Gunther, the manager at iconic social hub Central Perk, where he pined over Rachel, scowled at Ross, and served the largest mugs of coffee you ever did see for 150 episodes.
    • Maggie Wheeler played the foghorn-voiced Janice in 19 episodes, most of them spent as a recurring bad-idea girlfriend to Chandler. When we last saw Janice, in the third-to-last episode "The One Where Estelle Dies," Chandler and Monica are looking to buy a house in the suburbs and nearly move in right next door to that familiar "Oh my God!" voice.
    • Tom Selleck played Dr. Richard Burke, Monica's serious boyfriend through much of Season 2. Selleck, a huge TV star since his Magnum P.I. days, was a surprisingly perfect fit for the Friends universe, and before Chandler came along as a romantic option, Richard seemed like the perfect boyfriend for Monica.
    • Larry Hankin played the cantankerous Mr. Heckles, the friends' ornery and peculiar upstairs neighbor. The character died in the Season 2 episode titled, appropriately, "The One Where Heckles Dies."
    • Thomas Lennon appeared in the two-part episode "The One in Vegas," which closed out the show's fifth season (that was the one where Ross and Rachel got drunk and married each other in the closing moments). Lennon played Randall, Joey's "identical hand twin," a crucial role in the history of the show, so thank God Lennon agreed to participate in the reunion (it also probably helps that Lennon played Felix to Matthew Perry's Oscar in the 2015 reboot of The Odd Couple).
    • Reese Witherspoon, Academy Award-winning actress and co-star to Jennifer Aniston on The Morning Show, famously played Rachel's sister Jill for two episodes in Season 6 (she started to date Ross and it was, predictably, weird).

    The Fans of Friends

    The six main cast members of Friends were a necessity for the reunion. The gaggle of returning guest stars are a welcome added value to the endeavor. This next group of reunion attendees just seem to be … people who really love Friends? And are in some way associated with Warner Bros. and/or HBO Max? Honestly, we're not quite sure. Still, given that Friends is one of the last vestiges of monoculture we have, it's not surprising that they were able to pull fans with star wattage like BTSLady Gaga, Justin Bieber, David Beckham, Kit Harington, Cara Delevingne, Cindy CrawfordMindy Kaling, and Malala Yousafzai.

    The Host of Friends

    The long list of special guests joining the cast of Friends for their reunion has been overshadowed by the reunion's choice of host: The Late Late Show host James Corden. The social media reaction to news that Corden would be interviewing the Friends was largely negative and indicates that the Corden backlash — which got loud after his appearances Cats and The Prom — is still very much alive. It was quickly sussed out that Corden is involved with the production company behind the reunion, which at least helps answer the mystery of why someone who has no connection to the show, or even the network that aired the show, is hosting the reunion.

    Friends: The Reunion is now streaming on HBO Max.

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    Joe Reid is the senior writer at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.

    TOPICS: Friends, Cara Delevingne, Courteney Cox, David Beckham, David Schwimmer, Elliott Gould, James Corden, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Bieber, Kit Harington, Lady Gaga, Lisa Kudrow, Maggie Wheeler, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Selleck