Friends: The Reunion is now streaming on HBO Max and features the original six stars from the series, Jennifer Aniston (Rachel Green), Courteney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), David Schwimmer (Ross Geller), Matt LeBlanc (Joey Tribbiani), and Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing). The special featured many star-studded guests, including Lady Gaga (who thrilled fans by singing "Smelly Cat"), BTS (who appeared in a short clip with RM sharing that the show helped him learn English), and Justin Bieber (who appeared in the fashion show segment rocking Ross' "Spudnik" Halloween costume). However, all of those musical artists have been cut from the special in China.
According to Decider, each musical act is a controversial figure in China. Apparently, Lady Gaga is a "persona non grata" due to a past meeting with the Dalai Lama. As for Bieber, the singer was banned from the country back in 2017 for "bad behavior," and BTS has faced boycotts from China for leaving out Chinese troops when discussing the Korean War.
Apparently, the three musicals guests weren't the only people cut from the special. The show had some LGBTQ representation, which included some queer fans talking about their love for the show. China cut a clip of a woman calling her girlfriend the Monica to her Chandler as well as a man named Ricardo, who shared, "I was a gay man who wanted to have hair like Jennifer Aniston, so you can imagine how lonely I sometimes felt."
In addition to Lady Gaga, BTS, and Bieber, Friends: The Reunion had many special guests. The star-studded line-up of guest stars included David Beckham, James Corden, Cindy Crawford, Cara Delevingne, Elliott Gould, Kit Harington, Larry Hankin, Mindy Kaling, Thomas Lennon, Christina Pickles, Tom Selleck, James Michael Tyler, Maggie Wheeler, Reese Witherspoon, and Malala Yousafzai.
Sadly, not every fan-favorite guest star from the sitcom's ten-year run could make the reunion, much to the dismay of fans. Many people were especially disappointed by the absence of Paul Rudd, who played Phoebe's husband, Mike Hannigan.
"Well, we couldn't have everybody on, because it's only an hour and 45 minutes. And you've got to pay attention—the main nub of the show has got to be about the six cast members," director Ben Winston previously shared with The Wrap. "So you can't have too many cameos because of course, there were hundreds of amazing people who were in Friends over the years. Sadly, we couldn't get everybody in."
Friends: The Reunion, as well as the original sitcom, is available to watch on HBO Max.