Central Perk V/s Maclaren’s


I guess this the most debatable argument ever, to who takes the crown for the numero uno position in sitcoms. There was a time when I truly sensed potential in HIMYM to beat FRIENDS as my most favorite. The cord it struck with the audience and the unpredictable story line really made me think that FRIENDS has finally got a worthy opponent.

If we just forget the disastrous ending and the tiresome last 3 seasons I bet most of us would definitely be in a dilemma to pick one out of these two. Yet my choice would be FRIENDS. The peak of HIMYM humor couldn’t reach even the mediocre episodes of FRIENDS.(Blasphemy!!!!!!! FRIENDS doesn’t have a single mediocre episode. Except season 9 though) HIMYM definitely scores in terms of story line compared to  FRIENDS which maintained an ordinary though awesome day to day script. But HIMYM had the element of mystery, with which it held the audience.

We all knew Ted Mosby wasn’t gonna disclose the identity of The Mother until the very end. But what kept us glued, is the journey he had to go through; the women he dates & the way he expresses his  his love to them, along with awesome Barney Stinson and his legendary incidents, romance between lily & Marshall & on and off Schmosby – Swarkles swap. The show did this till season 6 with finesse, then it kinda felt like a drag. Quite contrary FRIENDS never went down hill, there was constant humor episode after episode without a single let down.

Consistency is what makes FRIENDS superior to HIMYM. Even now, I can watch every episode of it, and laugh my ass off, just like I did for the first time. The re runs are never boring, although we know every single dialogue, its worth watching again. The same can’t be said in the case for HIMYM, because it was great in bits and pieces and we had to tolerate a few filler episodes just to keep track & know what happens next.

Agree or not HIMYM does copy friends in a lot more ways than the fans of former might think. The whole plot of 2 friends being college buddies and then sharing an apartment followed by the setup of everyday hanging in a public place(bar instead of coffee shop), a playboy in the group, a couple in the group , an on and off couple in the group and several other eccentricities.

The race began since the pilot of each show. I loved Friends first episode, where we were introduced to all the characters in the best way they could. But somehow, I liked HIMYM pilot more, it was very refreshing and so compelling that most of us  finished first 3 seasons in a span of 4 days (Perks of being an engineer). I really had hole in my heart when friends was over(I finished watching in 2009). I really couldn’t find a replacement for it. Luckily the next year I was introduced to the Mosby gang and it did work as an alternative for a while.

For me HIMYM was clearing all the check-posts in the race that friends had posted. I say this because I considered it majorly for its plot. The humor was actually kinda bonus. The race was very interesting between the two till season 6 of HIMYM; then suddenly, in the chase, as it happens in most of ’em, a participant blew its tire or rather took a bad flip (season 7) which turned out to be a disaster. The indent was so catastrophic that even after repeated helpless efforts (season 8 & 9) and adjustment it couldn’t catch up to its contemporary.

HIMYM has definitely more romance in it , but nothing compares to Monica’s proposal to Chandler. We all knew it was coming, but it took me by surprise how well it was scripted. It had the perfect amount of feels and laughter. Monica & Chandler beats every other couple out of the roof, including Marshal-Lily who are extremely awesome together . HIMYM doesn’t lag behind here as well, the best proposal or asking out scene would be of Ted Mosby’s 2 minute date with Stella. It was splendidly directed with remarkably choreographed details. This is what the audiences expected throughout, unfortunately it couldn’t match this peak consistently ever again in the future seasons.

And how can we not talk about a special character that single handedly  made the show popular, none other than the legen-wait for it-dary !! Barney Stinson, His lines, acting, script were far more humorous and awesome compared collectively to the other leads. Too bad that they built up a character so cool and evolved him amazingly and then threw it down the cliff in the very last episode. Barney was awesome from the beginning and still continued to be until the end. We all accepted his transformation from a womanizer who maintains a playbook to an adorable lover who proposes Robin on her favorite spot in the city. All this, just in vain. Losing all it’s significance, when you see the the elderly grey-haired Mosby holding the Blue French Horn outside Robin’s window.

Chandler has the similar aura in friends as Barney in HIMYM. Though other characters aren’t that behind him. His sarcasm and social awkwardness, made each episode a rib tickling ride. Not just him, every character was so perfect and had their own hilarious quirks. Joey’s USP was his dumbness, Phoebe’s weirdness, Rachel’s sophistication, Ross’s geekiness, Monica’s obsession. And we fell in love with each one of them. Even the supporting actors had a critical impact, may be it be Gunther, The Ugly naked guy or Janice “OH MY GAWD !!!! ”

Also Friends had better celebrity guest stars than HIMYM. Shouldn’t matter much, but it does add another feather to Friends’ hat. My favorite Friends’ guest star would be Julia Roberts as Chandler’s schoolmate  and Christina Applegate as Rachel’s sister. Though HIMYM comparatively had less guest stars, my top choices would be Jennifer Lopez and Bryan Cranston ( You know why ) as Ted’s evil boss.

Alike HIMYM, Friends had a rough patch too. I for one was never a Rachel-Joey couple fan. It literally felt like incest to me. Season 9 was a serious let down as things started to heat up between Ross and joey because of Rachel. Also we see less of Chandler, because he leaves for Tulsa. But this lasted for a few episodes only, and they bounced back good with season 10, giving us the ending which we both deserved and needed as a closure as well.

It’s not just HIMYM, even The big bang theory has a few shades of Friends. Or maybe, they are all original; but friends has set such an impact that its fans try to find every other detail of it in other shows as a cope up mechanism.

My vote, with out breaking a sweat goes to the Central Perk gang. So share your views in the comments section and answer the poll .


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