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Speaking at the Austin Film Festival as part of a retrospective panel devoted to Friends, the hit series she co-created, Marta Kauffman said that, because of its very nature, the series doesn’t lend itself to a reunion show.
“The show is about that time in your life when your friends are your family — that’s what the show was about,” said Kauffman, explaining that once Monica and Chandler started their own family in the series’ finale, it “was no longer about that time.”
The only reason for a reunion show, she continued, is to make other people happy. But she argued a Friends reunion wouldn’t make anybody happy. “They’d all be older, and it wouldn’t be the same, and people will only end up feeling disappointed, and then I’ll be embarrassed, and it would be terrible,” she said.
Preferring to stick to what made the show “magic,” she talked about the cast’s chemistry and the flexibility the show had within its storyline. “You set out to do things, and then actors come in and they breathe life into it, and it’s not quite what you imagined it was going to be,” she said.
Monica and Joey, for example, were supposed to be together at one point. Additionally, Monica and Chandler were never supposed to be together in the long run. But, Kauffman said, the studio audience’s overwhelmingly positive reaction to the scene when Monica and Chandler first got intimate gave her pause. “We were stunned. So that’s when we sort of went, ‘Huh, guess this is going in a different direction,’ ” she explained.
Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of the show was its title sequence, which featured the catchy song “I’ll Be There for You.” According to Kauffman, the sequence is what sold NBC executives on the show.
She said, “The studio really didn’t care for the pilot at first. They thought it was sad. So we added the main title sequence with the song, and they were like, ‘Oh, it’s so much happier now.’ We didn’t have to change a single word.”
When asked if she has favorite characters or favorite episodes, Kauffman replied that she doesn’t. Instead, she said, “I have favorite moments, things that, to this day, make me laugh.”
Kauffman was the recipient of the festival’s 2016 outstanding television writer award. The Austin Film Festival runs until Oct. 20.
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