Why I Prefer HIMYM Over Friends

I love HIMYM a lot more than Friends. It is more relevant to young adults today, funnier, more creative, and deeper.

Remember when I mentioned that I had finally watched every single episode of Friends in order for the first time ever over the summer? Well, I’ve heard numerous, numerous times that How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) is the Friends of our age (those who are now in their mid to late 20’s). This Buzzfeed article definitely solidifies it.

Justin introduced me to HIMYM when we were dating. I wasn’t too impressed during the first season, but by the end of the second season, I couldn’t wait to watch more. It is definitely our go-to series and we have gone through every single episode numerous times. I absolutely love HIMYM, and so, when I started to watch Friends all the way through, I was expecting it to be just as great, especially since HIMYM was “based” off Friends. But, I was a little disappointed.  I love HIMYM a lot more than I do Friends.

I love HIMYM a lot more than Friends. It is more relevant to young adults today, funnier, more creative, and deeper.

Ted vs Ross

Ted and Ross are supposed to be the same person–the geeky, nice guy that is the protagonist. Ross is an archaeologist who becomes a professor and loves to spew facts. Ted is an architect who becomes a professors and loves random trivia. However, I would so much rather date Ted than Ross. First, I think Ted is cuter. Second, Ross is very pessimistic and whiny. I feel he is very annoying and I honestly don’t know why Rachel would go out with him. I mean, he is so in love with her that he is willing to be walked all over and he always gets taken advantage of. Whereas, Ted just has bad luck dating. But, he is such a sweet, cute, caring man. Also, although Ted is friends with super jerky, self-centered playboy Barney, Ted is a good friend. He wants what’s best for Barney and will a lot of times go along with Barney’s “legendary” ideas. Ted is also such a great and caring friend to all the rest of the group and will do anything for them!

Time Period

Friends is set during 1994-2004. HIMYM is set from 2005-2014. As a child, I remember my mother watching Friends. The characters in Friends are in their early to mid-twenties when the show starts. My mom was around the same age…she was 26 when it first aired. I was only 14 when it finished. So, many of the situations and references was relevant only to the 90’s. So, I didn’t catch quite a few, and a lot of times, I kept thinking, “that could’ve been avoided if they had cell phones”, etc. (Typical millennial, I know!) It wasn’t until 2011-2012 that I got introduced to HIMYM. Yes, it was near the tail-end of the season and I had to start at the beginning, and yes, the characters start the series in their late-twenties. But, it felt a lot more relevant to me. I caught many more references and I felt more attached to the actors and actresses since they were closer in age to me (I mean, my siblings-in-law are their age, whereas my mom is the same age as the Friends cast).

Character Growth

Although there are the same stereotypical characters in both shows (Ross vs Ted, Robin vs Rachel, Chandler vs Marshall, Barney vs Joey, and Monica vs Lily), I feel that the characters in HIMYM had more growth. In Friends, the characters stick to their stereotype. Monica stays a neat-freak and competitor. Chandler stays the joke-cracker. Joey stays the hot stuff actor. Pheobe stays the weirdo. Ross stays the pathetic nice guy. Really, only Rachel gets character depth and growth as she learns to take care of herself, rises up the career ladder, and becomes a mom. However, I feel that all the characters in HIMYM grow. They all learn lessons, make mistakes, try to improve. The characters in 2014 are quite different from how they are in 2005. It felt more real, like a continual story rather than snippets of a sitcom.

Acting Skills

Honestly, I felt that the actors in HIMYM began as better actors. In the beginning episodes of Friends, it feels very stiff and forced, especially Chandler’s lines. However, HIMYM flowed better. Also, the actors in HIMYM are more widely talented. I mean, yes, sometimes the Friends episodes would end or begin with the group doing little a Capella ditties, but, almost all of the actors in HIMYM could sing, act, and dance. Triple threat! That allowed them to be a little more creative in the episodes and add in silly songs and dances.

Neil Patrick Harris

HIMYM has NPH. Really, do I need say more?

Comedy

It may be because of the references of the jokes, but I laughed a lot more with HIMYM than I did FriendsTheir situations were also sometimes exaggerated, which allowed for more laughs. We also got to see into their heads and memories a lot more, which helped with the comedy. Friends seems to be more rom-com. The protagonist is Rachel, a female. I know a whole heck of a lot more girls who like Friends than guys do. So, it’s going to focus more on girl issues and romance. But, HIMYM has Ted, a man, as a protagonist. Yes, his goal is to find and fall in love with and marry the girl of his dreams, and he is a romantic, but there are more laughs than romance in HIMYM. I preferred that (although, like I said, it took until the 2nd season for me to like it, mainly because of playboy Barney).

Depth of Plot

There are a lot of similar plot points in the two shows: a relative dies, being left at the alter, marriage and divorce, losing a job, the struggle to get pregnant. However, Friends  seems to smooth all those over. Whereas, HIMYM really goes into each of those big plot points and really explore them. It really gets every character’s views and reactions to it. There are some really dark points in the show because the tragedies just seem heavier. Also, there is a lot more philosophical wisdom with each of those plot points.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Friends. I really enjoyed watching it and thought it was great. Also, I like the character Joey a whole lot better than the character of Barney (especially since Barney reverts to his play-boy after he divorces Robin). But, overall, I would rather watch HIMYM than Friends any day of the week.

Which do you prefer: HIMYM or Friends? Why?

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Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • I’ve never seen Friends in its entirety, but I loved loved loved HIMYM.

    • It is such a great show! So funny!

  • For some reason I just can’t get into Friends and I feel like a unicorn. I also prefer HIMYM!

    • It was hard for me, too, but I was determined to watch it!

  • Nicole Leith

    I’m going to have to still say that Friends is my favorite. Maybe because I grew up watching it and it’s a part of my youth I’m very attached to. And Jennifer Aniston is my favorite! I also didn’t like how much the ending of HIMYM because it didn’t go along with the growth of the characters.

    • I hated the very ending of HIMYM and I agree that it did go against their character growth. I’ve heard there was an alternate ending and I still want to see it!

  • Ohhhh I so love both…at first I didn’t think I could choose. But after reading this post, I must say I totally agree with everything you’ve said. I haven’t actually finished HIMYM yet. My boyfriend and I are watching it together, and we are in the middle of season 8, so almost done! He had already watched it, and I had already seen Friends. We finished Friends awhile back, and I’m actually enjoying and getting way more into the plot lines of HIMYM! The way it’s structured with all the cliffhangers and unanswered questions makes you just want more and more. I’m excited to see how it ends, and I hope it meets my expectations, especially with how much build up they give to seeing who the mother actually is. But at the same time, I think I’m gonna be sad when it’s over.

    • I think it’s structured very well and I love how solid it is and how well-thought out it is.

  • Abby

    I absolutely cannot choose, but I think you nailed it when you said HIMYM was for “our” generation. I never watched a single episode of Friends while it was on the air; I was seven when it premiered. But based on how much I love it now, and how much I still crack up at episodes made more than 20 years ago, I definitely think it was the HIMYM of our parents’ generation.

    • I was about the same age, so I just remember images, never really any episodes, so I felt it was very important to actually watch the series.

  • I would agree with you, except I DESPISED the ending of HIMYM. Like, we are watching HIMYM again right now and I REFUSE to watch the last season, because I hated it so badly. I liked the ended of Friends better. Overall though, I agree with you. They are both great shows, but if it weren’t for the ending, I’d pick HIMYM as well.

    • I agree with the endings. I definitely liked Friends’s ending better.

  • You nailed these points, and I totally agree. The premise of HIMYM just seems a little more plausible too, though you’re right, maybe it is just a generational thing. Either way, HIMYM rocks!

    • Plausible…without the exaggerations 😉

  • I absolutely adore HIMYM! Wasn’t fond of how it ended, but everything else was perfect. It’s a show I could go back to and watch again and again and never grow tired of it. And yes. Neil Patrick Harris totally makes the show.

    • It’s definitely a go-to background noise show!

  • I love HIMYM (except the ending was terrible), but nothing will ever top Friends for me!

    • Friends definitely will hold a special place in my heart…but a bigger place is for HIMYM. =)

  • Are we deciding not to count the final season of HIMYM? That would make a big difference how I view the series. I thought Chandler also grew a lot as a character, especially once he started dating Monica. And nothing in HIMYM compares to the Friends’ episode “The One with the Proposal.”- Favorite TV moment right there.

    • I don’t count the ending of HIMYM, although I do love the “epilogue” except for Barney’s character. I hate how he reverts back to his playboy self.

  • I like them both, but haven’t actually watched either all the way through! HIMYM is more relatable though, since I was just a kid in the 90’s! 😛

    • You totally should! They are both fully on Netflix!!!

      • Oh goodness, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!? This might be how I’m spending my next weekend… 😛

  • I love them both, though I agree that HIMYM is a better show, Friends just has some of those moments and jokes that stick with you.

    I think why I love HIMYM is that, in spite of similar themes and antics, it’s a more positive show than Friends. Friends often didn’t have that same “silver lining” feel that HIMYM had, and maintained even when the characters were dealing with really hard things.

    xxox
    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

    • That’s true–many people quote Friends a lot, or even use GIFS a ton. And, I totally agree with the fact that HIMYM is more positive even though it’s deeper. Friends just seemed sad because everything bad that could happen to a older 20-something did!