How I Met Your Mother vs. Friends

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Difference between How I Met Your Mother and Friends

How I Met Your Mother is one of the most acclaimed sitcoms in recent years and in the opinion of many of today’s generation of TV viewers, the show can definitely measure up to the TV classics of yesterday. However, it is only inevitable that comparisons would be made between How I Met Your Mother and older sitcoms such as Friends, with which it has certain similarities. Of course both shows focus on the everyday concerns of young American adults, but can a comparison between the two actually be made? That’s precisely what this article aims to answer!

How I Met Your Mother


How I Met Your Mother was first aired on September 19, 2005 on CBS. The show was the brainchild of Craig Thomas and Carter Bays and was based on the experiences that the pair had in New York. In fact, some of the "Marshall" and "Lily" characters are partly based on Thomas and his wife, while "Ted" is inspired by Bays. Friends for its part was the creation of David Crane and Marta Kauffman and was similarly inspired by the experiences of a group of friends in Manhattan. The series first aired on September 22, 1994 on NBC, and came off the air on May 6, 2004.


As far as most people are concerned, How I Met Your Mother’s cast of actors is generally outperformed by Neil Patrick Harris, who plays the lead role. In fact, it may be argued that Harris even outperforms every one of the Friends cast. What Friends had going for it however, is a strong ensemble cast that is generally better than the sum of its parts. The Friends cast appears to have been cognizant of this fact–at least during the early years of the series–and they routinely appeared on magazine coves together and even negotiated salary increases as a group.

Public Reception

Most critics generally consider the writing of How I Met Your Mother to be superior to that of Friends, although there are certainly plenty of fans of the latter series who would disagree. Of course you would have to consider how much nostalgia plays in all this, although there are also sizable numbers of Friends fans who agree that the show doesn't really hold up all that well. One other factor to consider is that How I Met Your Mother is somehow able to take advantage of the path that Friends forged.  Furthermore, it remains to be seen as to whether or not How I Met Your Mother will achieve the same cultural significance that Friends has arguably enjoyed.


How I Met Your Mother

  • First aired on CBS in September 19, 2005
  • Inspired by the New York experiences of the show’s writers Craig Thomas and Carter Bays
  • Undisputed star of the show is Neil Patrick Harris generally outperforms anyone on the show…and even on Friends for that matter.
  • Considered by many to have better writing than Friends


  • First aired on NBC in September 22, 1994
  • Friends Finale aired on NBC in May 6, 2004
  • Arguably one of the classic sitcoms
  • Relied on an ensemble cast instead of a few key characters
  • Achieved almost cultural status
  • Some feel that the writing and performance doesn’t hold up that well
  • The shows are generally feel good themes which have their own value

Comparison of Friends and HIMYM

Which TV sitcom is better?
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Friends

Discuss It: comments 20

  • Guest
  • ashley greene wrote on August 2010

How I Met Your Mother is simply the best.

friends best show ever

Friends is better. It's more complex, and the jokes are not explicit.

I don't agree anymore. I used to think that Friends is better. Have you seen new episodes of HIMYM. Barney's character is awesome.

"This is going to be legen- wait for it..."

I actually first watched HIMYM and then started watching friends and i can assure you that i really loved HIMYM but friends is much smarter better more **** happens per episode and HIMYM is simply a blatant rip-off of friends every single funny episode in HIMYM is a rip-off of an episode of friends all the characters in HIMYM is a rip-off of a friends heres a list of some of the situations/episodes that were ripped off:

The naked man

The one where robin and barney are all alone (they even used the same song as friends)

the whole Ted saying "please dont" when lily and marshall are about to...

Trust me the list goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on plu the writting is much wittier on friends no idea what these noobs are talking about!!! and how many times can you laugh at legen wait for it dary and at suit up

i think HIMYM is good for now but friends will always be a classic

Most of the people who like freinds like it because they haver been watching it for a long time but since himymj is new and most of the people have just started watching they find it less better than freinds but himym is much better than freinds in comedy and story.

i started watch himym a year ago , i watched 2 seasons and got kind of bored.

then i started to watch Friends, about 4 months ago and i finished the whole 10 seasons in 3 and a half months.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S is just better. best show in the world. GO jennifer aniston!

sorry about my english in not fron the USA.

firends rule! I can watch friends over and over and simply not get bored! but how I met your mother... the jpkes are not even funny

probably cause you dont understand the jokes...

  • Guest
  • anonymous wrote on November 2011

If you compare, it's quite obvious that How I Met Your Mother blatantly ripped off Friends in many ways. From basic characters (Ross and Ted, Joey and Barney), to plot lines (Group of friends (some met in college) all hang out in one restaurant in NYC, Ross-Rachel-Joey and Ted-Robin-Barney, two friends marry by another that officiates), to even minute details (Janice in Friends marries a deaf man which also happens to one of the group's ex's in HIMYM, both Phoebe and Ted have relatives with beach houses in Montague) HIMYM rips off Friends in nearly every way--it's almost as if the writer's watch various episodes to come up with jokes and details if they have any holes in their script. Don't get me wrong, I love both shows. I just cannot say, like most do nowadays, that HIMYM is better, because they simply edit the Friends episodes to make them more current, and play them up to a higher level (like Barney's misogynistic attitude is more intense than Joey's) so that people will relate to it more now. Obviously this isn't anything new, writers take inspiration from other shows all the time, but it's to such a degree that I just can't say it's a better show.

There is nothing wrong with the inspiration. Avatar is similar to Dances with the wolves and Pocahontas, but they are completely different movies. I watched all episodes of Friends as well as How I met your mother. Agree, there are similarities , but How I met your mother is lot better than Friends. Remember, HIMYM has Barney, he is awesome. Can you think of any character like Barney in Friends?

Joey??? Way better, loves his girls but has heart as well

So which is it: the same or completely different and way better?

Make up your mind people. You can't say that the characters are the same, and in the next sentence say they are way different. It's one or the other and in my opinion they are different.

Ted is not Ross. Marshall is not Chandler. Barney is awesome, and he's not Joey. Robyn is not Rachel. Lily is neither Monica nor Phoebe. They are different people with different problems and different stories. Superficial similarities do not mean that they were ripped off.

  • Guest
  • Carmen wrote on December 2011

I am a die-hard HIMYM fan but then I haven't watched FRIENDS.. Want to watch all 10 seasons now so that I can make an informed comparison between the two, and yeah.. basically to have fun!!

I don't think you can really measure which one is better. Of course over time certain skills within the industry are refined and in that sense How I Met Your Mother is more developed than Friends. But to say that this makes it better is dooming every generation of shows to eventually fall into mediocrity. Most of the differences between the shows are the nuances of the actors and writers, which is of course subjective as to quality. While I personally agree that Barney is the best character from either show, I know people that can't stand him and have turned away from How I Met Your Mother.

Being a fan of both shows, I really can't choose one over the other. They both have value in equal but different ways. I do believe that How I Met Your Mother is more culturally significant during this time period, although the same was true for Friends in the 90s.

  • Guest
  • VinceLHarts wrote on March 2012

I was a fan of Friends before HIMYM existed and I've seen all seasons of friends. I still watch the repeats. I loved the first 6 seasons or so of Friends but I felt it kinda lost its stride and it became a rip off of itself. I was honestly annoyed and bored with the Ross/Rachel thing and I like Chandler better single, because Monica always annoyed me. The jokes became too contrived and the likable characters became parodies of themselves.

The thing that i love about HIMYM, is that it doesn't take itself too seriously and even now the show will introduce something new and we still believe it and love it (Jessica Morrison aside, her biggest redeeming quality was House in my opinion).

It's completely preposterous to compare the dimwitted, but lovable Joey to the manipulative womanizer Barney. They have the skill to pick up a chick but that's really where the similarities end. It's a stretch to say Barney is a rip off.

There are plot similarities between the two shows but if you say HIMYM is a rip off of Friends then you have to say that Friends is a rip of Seinfeld because there are similar plot points there too.

HIMYM is LEGEN...wait for it........................DARYYYYY...

To all of you thinking Barney is better than Joey, I frankly do not believe that. Joey's catchphrases and character in depth are so good.

  • Guest
  • Prabhav wrote on July 2014

Joey's Catch phrase of How you doin is the only one that;s truly exploited. however in case of barney the writers exploited it to great extent. Barney is the guy who is emotionally derainjed joey is too muxhy on occasions. Also joey -Rachel arc was horribly written

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