It’s not even a question that Friends and How I Met Your Mother are two of the most iconic TV sitcoms ever. Both shows are so popular because they tackle things that all of us can relate to: friendship, love, family, career, and all of life’s struggles. This is why fans are so passionate about declaring that one is better than the other in spite of the fact that they never even aired at the same time. Well, it’s time to settle this decade-long debate. As someone who’s watched (and loved) both sitcoms, I can say that Friends is better than HIMYM, and here are the reasons why.
Let’s face it. It’s easy to compare these two shows because HIMYM came out a year after Friends ended. Both shows revolved around a group of friends in their twenties, figuring their lives out in New York. HIMYM fans may argue that the premises of the shows are different since HIMYM is all about finding out how Ted, well, met his kids’ mother!
But this never-ending game of “is she the mother?” technically wasn’t the main plot. Instead, each episode also followed the everyday lives of its characters. From crazy girlfriends, having a “spot” (Central Perk vs. MacLaren’s Pub), to college flashbacks, and on/off relationships between two main characters, there were a lot of things HIMYM borrowed from Friends.
It’s More Relate-able
Friends definitely captured the everyday struggles of twentysomethings in the big city. It may have its fair share of craziness (e.g. Ross’ sandwich meltdown, the “I take thee, Rachel” debacle, and wanting to sleep with his cousin incident), but hey, they were still believable to some degree. HIMYM, on the other hand, always had something over-the-top happening especially when it came to Barney’s LEGEN-wait for it-DARY misadventures.
I can quote you so many iconic Friends lines, it is borderline annoying. The friendly banter and inside jokes are just some of the things I love about this show. The writers definitely did a fantastic job in making sure that this sitcom’s script had the perfect balance of wit and timing that just felt like a real conversation among friends.
Critics always praised the show for being the first sitcom to have a true ensemble cast. Even when some of the core actors became A-list movie stars in the middle of its run, all of them still got the same amount of screen time and storylines all throughout. On the other hand, HIMYM had Ted as the lead and it certainly felt that way.
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One of the reasons why the cast of Friends had such incredible chemistry on the show is that they are also friends in real life! I mean, you can’t help but get close to people if you’ve spent a decade with them. Off-cam, they experienced love, divorces, pregnancies, and so much more, much like on the show actually.
Awesome Character Development
Over the course of 10 years, the characters on the show had some pretty incredible storylines. The awesome character development helped us grow with the characters and it made us feel like we were also part of the group. One example is Chandler’s journey from the silly, commitment-scared guy to the responsible, family-oriented love-of-Monica’s-life. We also experienced Rachel’s growth from the spoiled privileged daddy’s girl to the big-shot fashion executive and mom.
Live Studio Audience
Having a live studio audience gave Friends the chance to be funnier compared to HIMYM. There were episodes wherein you can just see the actors having trouble containing their laughs, and it gave the show that authentic, sitcom feel. It didn’t take itself too seriously, and it worked.
Iconic Guest Stars
Friends had a lengthy list of very famous and would-be famous guest stars. They had cameos from the likes of Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Applegate, Ellen Pompeo (yes, the Grey’s Anatomy fan in me got a surprise after re-watching an episode she was in!), Winona Ryder, Anna Faris, Paul Rudd, Julia Roberts, Danny DeVito, and Bruce Willis.
The Theme Song!
So no one told you life was gonna be this waay. Sing with me! The show’s theme song is just as iconic and memorable as the show itself. Apart from its catchy tune, the lyrics also perfectly describes what the show was all about – friendship!
A Satisfying Ending
The Last One was perfect and spotless, unlike HIMYM’s controversial ending. We find out that Rachel got off the plane for Ross, Monica and Chandler get twins, Phoebe married Mike, and Joey… well he got a spin-off show of his own. It was sad to see them saying goodbye to each other, but for one last time, they all headed to Central Perk.
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After years of clamor from fans for a reunion, the gang is finally getting together with the show’s co-creators for a reunion special by HBO Max. All I can say is, “OH MY GOD!” in the best Janice impression I can do.