James Corden with his marshmallow-esque line of inquiry wasn’t really trying as he quizzed the six of them on the “iconic” sofa, in front of the “iconic” fountain - though we might have hoped for better than: “Who’s got the loudest laugh?”
Ah but Corden couldn’t ruin this, and neither could his mate David Beckham, wheeled on to nominate his favourite among the 236 episodes for when he’s lonely in his hotel room. For there was Rachel with the hair, still as, er, iconic, as it was for those ten years of sitcom perfection. And there was Joey. How was he doin’? Pretty well, judging by his dad bod.
And Chandler? Maybe less well as he struggled with his teeth - some emergency dental work pre-filming, apparently - and slunk anxiously into the sofa in a way he never did as the sextet’s funniest.
But Matthew Perry, whose Studio 60 on Sunset Strip has been the best thing any of them has done post-Friends before being dogged by his addictions, was responsible for the most poignant moment when he confessed that when performing in front of the live audience: “I felt I was going to die if they didn’t laugh”.
That was just about it for revelation. The rest was a schmaltzy blubfest. Jennifer Aniston barely stopped crying for the full 105 minutes. They padded around the recreated set, remembering favourite scenes. Perry and Matt LeBlanc tried out their La-Z-Boys again and Lisa Kurdow sang “Smelly Cat”. The programme was unscripted, which reminded us what great writing brought to the show, although that needs great timing and, re-reading some of their lines round a table, they all had it.
And, even though they’d not been together since the last-ever episode in 2004 - and you wondered why the hell not? - the Friends promised to keep in touch and have dinner “real soon”.