Friends vs How I Met Your Mother
Television sitcoms – either you love them or you hate them. And there have definitely been some failed series’ in the history of American television. Do you remember Cavemen? That was a mess – a sitcom based on a GEICO commercial character.
But, it has to be said that there have been several television comedies which have been quite successful. We followed the antics of Kramer on Seinfeld for 9 years. M*A*S*H, while a different take on a sitcom, lasted 11 seasons. And most recently, Friends and How I Met Your Mother carried on for 10 and 9 years, respectively.
But which is better? Your response to the Friends vs How I Met Your Mother debate could be based on something as simple as the year you were born. The shows were similar in structure, and both had loveable, even relatable, characters. So let’s look at both programs, and solve the Friends vs How I Met Your Mother debate once and for all.
Friends vs How I Met Your Mother: The Characters
It could be argued that the characters in the How I Met Your Mother story are just Xerox copies of the Friends crew.
The Friends Gang:
- Rachael, the sensible career girl.
- Monica, the kind-hearted maternal one.
- Phoebe, the quirky girl who’s unintentionally the class clown.
- Joey, the self-proclaimed ladies’ man.
- Ross, the intelligent character who lacks some common sense.
- Chandler, the goofy, lovable funny guy.
The How I Met Your Mother Crew:
- Robin, the sensible career girl.
- Lily, the kind-hearted maternal one.
- Barney, the self-proclaimed ladies’ man.
- Ted, the intelligent character who lacks some common sense.
- Marshall, the goofy, lovable funny guy.
See? All HIMYM is missing is Phoebe from the group of friends, although Lily does err on the side of silly. In both sitcoms, the characters are fully developed. We get to learn their backstories – how Robin’s dad always wanted a boy, or how Joey’s imaginary friend as a child was Maurice, a space cowboy.
The character development in both sitcoms is truly brilliant. The Friends become our friends. We secretly lie awake in bed wondering if Barney and Robin will ever get together. Over ten years, the characters in both Friends and HIMYM become real to the viewer.
So with two sets of matching characters, which sitcom was actually better? They were both successful for about a decade, and the actors were some of the highest paid in television history. Let’s look at the storylines of the two sitcoms.
Friends vs How I Met Your Mother: The Stories
If it weren’t for the deep character development of both Friends and How I Met Your Mother, we certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed the stories as much as we did. But the writers of both shows were very creative, and were able to intertwine the storylines of each of the characters quite effectively.
Barney is a player. He wants nothing more than to and conquer the female sex. But, as we watch Barney “suit up” and aim for the “Perfect Week,” we can’t help but feel that he should be at home on the couch with Robin.
Did you cry when Rachel gave birth to Emma? After 8 full seasons of Friends, many viewers did. We’d learned and become so invested in the relationship between Ross and Rachel that we couldn’t help but feel emotion.
The producers of each show chose to handle the filming of each a bit differently. Friends was filmed before a live audience, and we giggled as David Schwimmer hid a smile, or as Lisa Kudrow stifled a laugh at her own silly antics. The live audience gave us a sense of a feel for the characters as people.
How I Met Your Mother, however, was prerecorded, and a laugh track was added later. This allowed HIMYM to be a bit more complex. Flashbacks and other sequences were thrown into the mix. We learned more about each of the storylines this way.
How I Met Your Mother was, itself, a flashback. The tale was told from the perspective of Ted, telling a love story. And for nine long years, we wondered who the lucky woman was.
The storylines to both shows were typical of sitcoms, but good nonetheless. It was rare that the shows felt forced, and both were equally complex.
Friends vs How I Met Your Mother: The Big Picture
It’s probably true that Friends was the funnier of the two sitcoms, if you’re into silly slapstick type comedy. The jokes were sometimes forced, and in comedy, timing is everything. The humor in How I Met Your Mother was a bit more situational than the humor in Friends.
We’ve already talked about the main characters of the two sitcoms, but part of the Friends vs How I Met Your Mother debate is the inclusion of other curious characters. Friends character Janice is particularly memorable, and we were amused as she stalked Chandler.
How I Met Your Mother depended largely on the main characters. Lily, Marshall, Robin, Ted and barney provided more than enough entertainment value to keep the show running. In fact, other than Barney’s conquests, the most memorable supporting character was The Mother. Incidentally, The Mother didn’t appear until the final season of the series.
In 2009, Alyson Hannigan, the actress who portrayed HIMYM’s Lily, was pregnant. To make a long story short, the actress took some time off from the show following the birth of her child. Did anyone notice? Not really. Lily, though she was one of the main characters of the show, the show survived without her. Lisa Kudrow also became pregnant in season 4 of Friends. But the show’s producers decided that she was indispensable, and they worked the pregnancy into the storyline.
There are strong arguments for both sides of the Friends vs How I Met Your Mother debate. So which is the winner?
How I Met Your Mother.
We feel that Neil Patrick Harris’s proclivity for erupting into Broadway-style song and dance at random intervals during episodes of HIMYM makes the show a clear winner.