There’s always one member of the cast of Friends that feeds the supposedly bullshit rumor that the beloved NBC show will get a reunion special. Usually it’s Lisa Kudrow, who now makes her living narrating yogurt ads and appearing on the casino circuit performing close-up magic. Kudrow, whose Phoebe probably had some personality disorder lurking underneath her hippy persona, makes a sly comment about how “the producers have said something in the past and blah, blah, blah, Central Perk, blah, blah Aniston’s perfect skin, blah, blah, that British woman Ross almost married, random crap” and the internet explodes in histrionics.
“I hope Joey has found HAPPYNESS” says RossNRach2042 on the Friends Forever message boards.
“Let’s hope they all meet at the Perk!”
Aniston’s people contact Us Weekly and assure them that Jennifer is too busy (maybe) conceiving a child and appearing in ads for expensive bottled water to get paid $2 million for five days of her time, and everybody gets all sad again. Blah, blah, Central Perk, blah.
I feel about as strongly about my high school reunion as I do the potential Friends reboot, which is to say I do not care at all because I watched Friends about twice when it was on the air and was in 6th grade when it ended. That said, when the thought of attending a high school reunions floats into my head like a Kudrow-fed lie, I do feel a bit curious. What would a high school reunion look like? My points of reference all come from romantic comedies and 60 Minutes specials that involve crazy hijinks at the 20 year high school reunion. Oh, is that hot cheerleader Lisa chain smoking and holding the crack baby outside? Damn, I sure am regretting flying back home to Michigan for this…but wait, who is that attractive woman loitering near the punch? Could it be? Leslie, the world’s biggest GEEK?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you were hot in high school, you will show up to the reunion trucking around 50 extra pounds and a skin tag on your face. You will drive a pickup truck and make minimum wage sweeping the streets of your hometown. If you were one of the “uglies” back in the day, you will somehow blossom into a Maxim Hot 100 contender and arrive at the reunion single and looking for love. The reunion exists not to reunite wayward school friends, but rather to facilitate interactions between people who hated each other back in the day to see just how far the other has fallen. For example, it was no secret back in high school that I absolutely loathed a certain member of the football team who was inexplicably well-liked, and that he hated me more than he hated obeying laws and avoiding underaged drinking. I have no doubt that, at the inevitable reunion, we will be forced to interact in some capacity. Perhaps we will both be assembling a turkey sandwich at the buffet at the same time. As we speak, the laser eyes I will have installed (for this is 2020) will burrow into his fragile soul, and he will repent all of the crap he did in high school, admit that I was always the superior person, and join the clergy. Or something to that effect.
But Steven, you ask, aren’t you above all the petty drama of yesteryear? Isn’t it stupid to ruminate on the dumb things that happened in high school? Yes. This is all true. But the farther removed I am from high school, the more I think about how, at some point in my life, I will need to vindicate my 15 year old self. I have been on a path to prove that my aspirations back in 2006 were somewhat valid, and that everything I did during those four years was orchestrated well enough to set up my real person life. The small part of me that feels slighted by the “populars” and the smug teachers wants to be vengeful and ostentatious at a reunion. That sliver of my soul wants me to parade about, sticking it to everybody who even cast me a wayward glance back in the day, whoring out all of my accomplishments to put the haters to shame. But, at the same time, I know that that is both 1) obnoxious, and 2) ineffectual. It won’t make me feel any better to “prove that I am the best.” I just have to live my life in a way that will make me proud when the time comes to attend a high school reunion.
If Lisa Kudrow is ever right, and the Friends reunion does happen, I will probably watch in spite of myself. I will also, against my better judgment, attend my high school reunion (and if I am lucky, the two events will coincide so that I have an excuse to leave my high school event early. Gotta go catch Friends!). It will be a pleasure to see just how everybody has turned out.