Days after news of the much-anticipated special episode “Friends: The Reunion” hit social media on May 27, things don’t seem to be going well for producers of hit ’90s sitcom Talk of Town since last week, boasts joined an impressive cast of 30 guests, including Justin Beiber, Malala Yousafzai and the K-pop band BTS. However, fans were disappointed that none of the stars were black.
The special episode is to be broadcast on the HB0 Max streaming service. In addition to the show’s original star cast, as well as several actors who have starred on the show over the years like Tom Selleck (Richard) and Maggie Wheeler (Janice), it includes Lady Gaga, footballer David Beckham, actors like Kit Harrington and Mindy Kaling.
“Friends”, which ended its ten-year run on NBC television in 2004, was one of the most popular TV shows of the 1990s and found new life on streaming platforms, where it is one of the most watched shows in the world. The news of the date of the reunion on Twitter quickly became the top trend article worldwide. But, much like the original show, the reunion didn’t include any black celebrities. Not even Aisha Tyler, who appeared as Charlie in a couple of episodes on seasons 9 and 10 and is the only black artist to have played a significant role on the hugely successful show.
“Friends: The Reunion” with all six original casts was originally supposed to be shot more than a year ago, but was repeatedly delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Same sound stage in Los Angeles as the original comedy about six young 20-year-olds, played by Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, and Matthew Perry who live in New York.
While many on social media lamented the lack of black actors in the special episode, others weren’t surprised. “I see the Friends reunion has the same number of blacks as the original show. Consistency I think ?? ”wrote Twitter user Leslie Myer.
Ah yes. FRIENDS. After convincing us there haven’t been any blacks or browns in NYC for 9 seasons, they’re hosting a reunion with 25 celebs and somehow avoiding finding a single black guy. https://t.co/kSYyN3MtQ3— Del ¦ Rocksteady Dev 🎮 (@TheCartelDel) May 14, 2021
The premise of the Friends Reunion episode will be: The friends still don’t know black people. – Scott Weinberg (@scottEmovienerd) May 13, 2021
I thought the friends reunion was a special episode where we’re now going to take a look at the characters’ lives, but I don’t know what else that is and I’m not curious about it. There’s no black person involved either, so that’s a brand to them – Will (@critiquehf) May 14, 2021
Hell, even the friends reunion decided to stay extremely white. They didn’t even bring back their only black performer – Desiree Middlebrook (@desiwiththewine) May 14, 2021
Friends has been criticized for decades for being unrealistically white in the middle of New York. Then they plan a reunion with 0 black guest stars.
– blackness everdeen 🐺 (@traceyecorder) May 13, 2021
Here’s what I commented on Facebook: “Oh, no black guys again? My times haven’t changed. How can my favorite show still be so wrong? ”#FriendsReunion @ hbomax— Chimére L. Smith (@ chiluvs1) May 13, 2021
Friends and several other popular shows of the time such as Will and Grace, Alley McBeal, Sex and the City and others failed to portray people of skin color and ethnicity as part of New York’s culture. Fans were therefore disappointed after the creators of Friends failed to take the opportunity to reverse a historical injustice by including blacks in the show’s Reuinin episode to celebrate the show’s legacy.
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