If you know me well (or even a little bit), odds are you know that Friends is my absolute favourite show. I’ve seen every episode of all 10 seasons at least 20 times. I watch the series annually. At least once. Sometimes Noah and I put on the PIVOT! episode, just for a laugh. I could pick out a Friends reference anywhere.
Venessa gave me season one of Big Bang Theory a couple months ago, and I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. But then, she gave me the Twilight books two years ago and I only got to reading them a month ago. I saw How I Met Your Mother on Netflix last week and somehow thought that was the show she gave me. I’d never seen a single episode of HIMYM or Big Bang Theory, so I was apparently oblivious to the fact that they are two separate shows. I tweeted about liking the first couple episodes, but then Venessa tweeted back at me that I was watching the wrong show. Whoops! I love it, though. I’m already on season five. I credit this to a week of sickness and a week of cleaning (I watch/listen to TV when I clean/organize a room, like the disastrous monstrosity the girls’ room was).
When I first started watching HIMYM, I couldn’t put a name to the voice of the narrator. It bugged me, because I KNOW THAT VOICE, but I couldn’t figure it out. I hit up IMDb and then nearly threw myself of a bridge for not realizing it is the voice of Bob Saget. DUH! And while I was looking that up, I totally fell down an IMDb wormhole and learned that Alyson Hannigan is Joss Whedon’s son’s godmother. Because of course Willow is a godmother. And also, Joss’s given name is Joseph. I didn’t see that coming.
It wasn’t long before I was seeing parallels between Friends and HIMYM. Both shows take place in New York, both shows have a meeting spot (Friends’ Central Perk, HIMYM’s … that bar they go to)(and, funnily enough, Central Perk used to be a bar), nobody knew what Chandler did for a living (statistical analysis and data reconfiguration)(not a transponster) and nobody knows what Barney does for a living (unless they find out some time after S5E5), Marshall and Lily are the rock-solid married couple just like Chandler and Monica, Ted/Marshall and Ross/Chandler were college roommates. Those are the only parallels I can think of at the moment (Oh! And Ted just became a professor. Just like Ross.), but the kicker was the episode where Ted dates a super-annoying, talks-way-too-much girl and then after he breaks up with her, he runs into her and her new boyfriend. And the boyfriend is deaf, which is why he can handle to be around her. Exactly like when Ross and Rachel are in the hospital to have Emma and they run into Chandler’s ex Janice and she is married to a deaf guy who thinks he’s the luckiest man in the world.
Oh, and that episode where they point out each others’ faults? The Friends episode was better. Mostly because the sound of Lily chewing was enough to turn me off the entire episode. And the picture representing HIMYM on Netflix is of them in a bed. The stereotypical Friends cast shot is if them in a bed.
Edited to add: in S5E9, Lily’s grandmother is played by Christina Pickles who also plays Monica and Ross’s mom on Friends. Oh! And they keep hanging out on the roof. And in S5E18 they do a trivia thing, just like one of the bestest Friends episodes. S5E19 has a Capuchin monkey (like Marcel).
When I was talking to Erica about the parallels between these two shows yesterday afternoon, I tweeted about it and then figured I’d do some googling to see if anyone else saw these similarities as odd. Apparently I’m a little behind in the world, seeing as I didn’t start watching HIMYM till seven and a half years after it aired, because apparently this similarities-between-Friends-and-HIMYM thing is a thing. The first link I found and clicked on was this one:
I spent a little too much time reading posts/articles on the topic. Apparently I’m not the first person to notice this.
As much as I’m loving HIMYM, though, it will never be as close to my heart as Friends is. Nothing can beat Friends. But, I have been known to like a tribute band or two, and HIMYM is a pretty great (incredibly crude) tribute show, whether they meant to be one or not. Although, how could they not have meant to. There are just way too many similarities.
Tribute show or not, I’m a fan of HIMYM for the exact same reason I’ve always been a fan of Friends. The chemistry between Chandler, Joey, Ross, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel, and between Marshall, Ted, Barney, Lily, and Robin is something I’ve always kind of envied. A group of people who do life together, friends, sticking by each other no matter what. Through relationships and breakups and family strife and death and new life and stupidity and mistakes. I’ve had the pleasure of being on the outskirts of such groups at different times in my life and I’ve always envied the inner circle. Friends since kindergarten, roommates in college, a group of friends whose compatibility stands the test of time.
A family built of completely different DNA. Yes, the shows are quite crude, and my parents never let me watch Friends growing up (so I snuck down to the basement and watched it)(and I wonder where my kids get their defiance from), but I find it easy to ignore that stuff (most of it went over my head at the time)(I was only 11 in 1994 when Friends first aired) and focus on the good and the hilarious.
And the I’ll be there for you, ’cause … wait for it … ’cause you’re there for me, too.