Friends fans, bear with me on this one. Don’t feel offended or turn away just yet. I myself am a big Friends fan. I still watch it every day when I get home from work, but there are a few things that How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM) that I think Friends missed out on. Some of these might be because I studied media and drama and still find myself pulling things apart and analyzing them but I hope some comments you will agree with.
Saving stories for later – HIMYM teases to a story, but covers it off a series or two later. A prime example, where we see a goat in Ted’s bathroom that is from his birthday. We first see the goat in the first season chewing on Robin’s washcloth, then Ted’s voiceover remembers that it was his 30th birthday and not his 28th birthday that the goat was there. Firstly, this implies that Ted and Robin will be living together when he is 30 (they do, but not as a couple) and that we find out the full story about how the goat got there in a couple of seasons time.
Flashbacks – now Friends has a lot of these, and they were great, but sometimes they didn’t quite flow, if you look at how good friends Monica and Rachel are in the high school flashbacks, this really doesn’t come across in present day. From the first episode where they bump in to each other again, to the episode with Brad Pitt where they highlight how popular Rachel was, we’ve never seen popular Rachel in high school. In HIMYM however, when we see a flashback, particularly those that are reoccurring you can see that a lot of detail has gone in to it. A couple of times we have seen flashbacks to the early days of the group at the bar, when this happens the group are sitting in exactly the same place, with exactly the same hair style and clothes. Also Lily is another great example. Her haircolour has changed through the series, and when a flashback happens to something during a particular year that we haven’t previously seen her hair always matches up to the relevant series from that year. Not only that, but the entire show in itself is a flashback (or has flash forwards if you consider the date).
Teaser – HIMYM doesn’t just wait for the season finale for these. Let’s face it, Friends has some pretty cool endings that leave us on the edge of our seats for the new season to begin, but HIMYM gives little clues to where the story is going. From the yellow umberella, and ‘your mother was sat in that classroom’ to the flatmate’s foot in the doorway is the mother’s foot. Even the details of mentioning names of women that Ted dates (listen to what the voice over says as this gives a lot away). The whole idea around who the mother is has lead to lots of theories online.
Phrases – I’m sure Friends has them, but other than the ‘phalange’ I can’t think of any immediately. HIMYM however…”Legend…wait for it…dary”, Suit Up…baciscally anything that comes out of Barney’s mouth
The Slap Bet – this is just pure comedy genius. It even resulted in a song written by Jason Segel. For those that don’t know about the Slap bet, Marshall and Barney have a bet on, Barney wins and gets to slap Marshall as a result. However, it turns out that Barney did not actually win and therefore the slap was not allowed. As a result Marshall was allowed 10 hard slaps, one after the other or five that could come at any point. Marshall went for the five, we currently have two left where we are with the season (he managed to gain an extra one even though four have been used). You never know when these are going to come, except for the episode Slapsgiving (this is where we hear the song – see video at the bottom of this post). Marshall creates a countdown, which Barney at first isn’t bothered about as he knows when it is coming, but as the time comes closer the countdown makes the thought of another slap far worse then if it was unexpected.
What do you think? Do you still think Friends is better? These are just a starter for ten and I wanted to get them down before I forgot them (because frankly it’s keeping me awake at night if I don’t post this!). But I’ll add more as they come to me. Please do tell me your thoughts too and I may even add them to the list!