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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

"Friends" creator Marta Kauffmann said a reunion season is only a rumor. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

"Friends" reunion would be welcome, but won't happen


Unfortunately, our friends on "Friends" won't be getting together anytime soon for some java at Central Perk.

Rumors escalated earlier this week about struggling NBC considering making a holiday special, reuniting the cast of "Friends." Then, there was an announcement from a Latin American news outlet that the peacock network was ordering up a complete season to update us on the lives of Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe.

But, according to reporter Marc Malkin at E!, the reunion season was only a rumor. While covering a red carpet event for a Lifetime movie "Call Me Crazy," crews asked "Friends" creator Marta Kauffman for verification.

"I'm going to clear this up – it's not happening," Kauffman said. "''Friends' was about that time in your life when your friends are your family and once you have a family, there's no need anymore."

As much as we'd like to see Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer all reprise their characters, we'll have to live with the times when a pair of them get together on other projects.

There's something to wanting to have reunions, or big screen adaptations of the TV shows we've watched over the years. Part of it can be simply longing to catch up with characters we've invited into our homes over the years. Or, perhaps, the time that we watched – either in the original run, or reruns – remind us of a good time in our past.

I have great memories of watching reruns of shows like "Dick Van Dyke" on my black and white TV set on Ch. 24 late nights when I couldn't sleep. And I gained a great deal of respect for storytelling while watching "CBS Sunday Morning." My mom and grandmother and I liked to watch "Wheel of Fortune," doing our best to solve the puzzles.

My wife tells me she can't watch "Scooby-Doo" because when she'd get home from school, her younger sister made them watch three episodes each day. My sister-in-law knew the air schedule of the syndicated cartoon on multiple cable channels.

TV reunions are not uncommon, and often can be ratings successes for the network. "The Brady Bunch" had a number of these reunions, with cast members returning, or recast in some cases, for "The Brady Girls Get Married" and "The Brady Brides." And how could we forget "A Very Brady Christmas."

The recent passing of Frank Bank, who played Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford on "Leave It To Beaver" reminded me of the reboot the classic series from the late 50s and early 60s had on cable in the 80s. In 1983, the original cast, except for Hugh Beaumont who died in 1982, returned to TV for a movie "Still the Beaver." Bank and Jerry Mathers (the Beaver) worked at both of their TV character father's old firm in the cable series that followed from 1984 until 1989.

While not bringing in the audiences the original show did on CBS and ABC, the reboot was watched by many longing for the family comedy the older version delivered. There was some fun seeing these people we knew as children become adults. But, the reboot didn't have the same magic as its predecessor.

I think Kauffman was getting to the same place with "Friends." She ruled out a big screen version as well, that if we were to check in with our favorite characters, they would be dealing with much different situations as older adults.

We all move on, and so do the characters we share our lives with on the small screen.

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