This year signalled the end of an era, How I Meet your Mother was a groundbreaking show that provided a multitude of gut busting comedic goodness. A mouth full of memorable scenes and a mind blowing array of unique ways to tell their stories that has never been seen on TV before. This is a show that had flashbacks, flash forwards, double gangers, time travelling and charts! With so much craziness, it makes it so difficult to imagine that the characters of Barney, Ted, Robin, Marshall and Lilly were able to string the simple premise of finding who was the mother of Ted’s children, into a roller coaster of legen…wait for it…dary escapades lasting over 9 years. Yet throughout the shows glorious run it consistently remained fresh, original and compulsively addictive.
However I never claimed to be an Einstein, but only when the show finally ended did I eventually realise that HIMYM paid very close resemblance to another awesome show about a group of friends spending most of their time in each other’s apartments or an establishment that serves beverages. Not only are the basic structures of Friends and HIMYM the same, but they also feature pretty much the same archetypes; the lovable losers, the hot chick, the mother hen, the comic relief, the playboy and the Phoebe who simply so weird and wacky, you’re not sure even if she is human let alone a archetype (Plus there is only five members of HIMYM, so someone had to be the odd one out!). But don’t get me wrong, there are no copy cats here. Sure both shows are similar in terms of the ingredients, but each show has a different balance, flavour and icing on top to set it apart. But which is the better show? On top of that, has already we have established that both show have the same archetypes; if we had to create a super show and only had room for 6 members between both sets of characters, who would be in it?
Naturally when both shows ran into their 9th and 10th seasons, as you expected each shows had the time to build up pretty good chemistry and it always showed on screen. So this made it a tough one to decide, but it had to be Friends hands down. Sure the cast of HIMYM had great report and visibly really enjoyed working with each other and bouncing of each other comically. But you always felt that the fact that all the Friends cast earned as much as each other and received equal amounts of screen time and story lines, that this made it possible to constantly see each others as equals so as the season unravel it felt that you were seeing a group of people who were more family than just ‘Friends’, which is why as an ensemble piece it will be almost an impossibility for HIMYM to reach the heights of Friends.
Although both are such titans of punch lines, pioneers of comedy and weavers of witty dialogue, I just feel that when it comes to laugh out loud moments, HIMYM unique structure and lack of fear opened the show to a far wider arsenal of explosive comedic fire power. The show is often a lucky dip; at times it can be really silly, what other show can you name that can carry simple gags such as “The slap bet” and keep it going over multiple seasons, whilst also having its character occasional break out into spontaneous song and dance routines, yet still every time keeping it funny and new. Then at times have quite intelligent jokes, like the hot girl to crazy ratio that Barney ingenious devised. The hotter a girl is the more crazy you will allow from her (it pure genius! The guy surely deserves a Noble Prize for his ground breaking findings). Then you also have the intervention gag,
which the gang use to hilarious effects when they feel that a member of the group is over doing something or making a big mistake, like when Marshal keeps using charts to explain everything and when Ted needs to be stopped from marrying Stella.
Clearly it has to be friends, despite having momentary lacklustre lows in season 3 and 4, the show quickly picked up by the time Monica said yes to Chandler’s proposal. What kept Friends going for so long in my opinion, was the fact that the character were always in a state of movement, never once stopping to rust and stagnate. Their characters were always changing, maturing and growing in depth. Whilst some current show likes the Big Bang Theory like to keep their character in perpetual stereotypical archetypes. The character of Friends always seemed that like it or not, they were always going to grow older and change from the clueless twenty something’s into fully formed adults even if it sacrificed their more silly comedy. Because whilst the actors themselves matured and change, so did the characters they were portraying and the brand of comedy followed suit along with them. It was really great to see a show that focused as much on character development as much as they did on the gags and laughs. Not to say that HIMYM didn’t accomplish a similar feat, but Friends just simply did it better.
Lovable losers: Ted vs. Ross
They are just sapless losers plain and simple; they are hopeless romantics yet have no luck with women and undoubtedly have quite possibly the most boring jobs in the history of the world. Despite the hot likes of Stella, Carol, Emily, a threesome, Rachael and Robin, you actually realise between the both of these guys, they actually had a pretty descent CV of conquests but could for whatever reason not make them last. But they are one of life’s perennial and provable underdogs, so its inevitability not to strike up an affinity for them.
But who becomes are first inductee of How I Meet your Friends? This was a tough one, on one hand Ross always seemed a overly obsessive over Rachel, to the extent you could see all the other characters in the background inconspicuously hiding all sharp objects, anytime Ross was in a room with her (Remember “I take the Rachael” when he was supposed to be marrying Emily!). While Ted always remained sweet and gentlemanly towards Robin, almost to the extent that he was willing to watch his best friend marry her just so she could be happy. But I can’t help feeling that Ted is just plain boring! The only time he’s ever really funny is when we can laugh at the pathetic nature of his life, otherwise the guy just plain bores people to death. So just to save everyone’s sanity, although you do run the risk of being stabbed, our lovable loser has to be Ross.
Best Ross episode: “We we’re on a break!” when Ross first yelled that out in ‘The One Where Ross and Rachel Take a Break’ still kills me to this day, but I’m not going lie, in between Ross’s hysterics, there is a slight glimmer of logic in his argument. It shouldn’t count as cheating if you’re on a break surely?
The hot chick: Rachael vs. Robin
Wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, you always need a hot chick; at work you need a hot chick, at the gym you need a hot chick and certainly when you’re coming home, you need a hot chick. So our super group needs a hot chick, that one girl that gives our loveable loser hot flashes and sleepless nights. But to determine who should be the hot chick between Rachael and Robin, if it were based solely on looks – wow that would be a tough one! Because you certainly wouldn’t complain if either one was mewing as they crawled up to you in bed. Robin has that tough girl with a hint of murderous rage type of sex appeal in her. You’re always left on edge because you never know if she is going to kiss you or kill you, I’m not a gambling man but I would take those odds if it’s with Robin. While Rachael has that sweet girl next door thing going on and years of desperately clinging onto her father’s credits cards as if they were life rafts, has left her with a pretty good sense of style. Damn it’s so hard to choose, forget looks; I see them as pretty much even on that front. I guess then I would just have to look at who was a better presence on the show which would mean the hot chick place has to go to Robin. In HIMYM she was simply just a badass chick; she could out drink any of the guys, beat any of them in an arm wrestle and she even got Barney to settle down, a feat hundreds of women in New York could never do. And most importantly, come on its Robin freaking Sparkles! Anyone want to go to the mall?
Best Robin Episode: Hello?! The Robin Sparkles episode obviously!
Mother hen: Monica vs. Lilly
The mother hen is always so busy making sure everyone’s lives is in order; often leaving her forgetting to look at her own life and reflect introspectively upon it, often leaving it ironically in disarray. Both Lilly and Monica in their respective shows were always so good at this, remember how Monica took in Rachel in the first ever episode after she ran out on her wedding and lost all her money. Then remember how supportive Lilly was for Ted throughout the whole ‘I’m in love with Robin thing’. Out of all the match ups, this was probably the most difficult, because each plays the role in the group so well. So I will have to do what I did before and grade them on their overall contribution to the group and in that case its plainly has to be Monica, she basically a fire cracker fused with a nuclear bomb jam-packed into a tin can, she’s a small package just waiting to explode with energy. She lively and flirty, but of course the most important thing is that she can cook! While Lilly on the other hand is almost as annoying as Ted and her and Marshal are basically Siamese twins when they are together. However If she talked about band camp again, then probably I would give her another look in.
Monica best episode is literally anytime we get a flash back to her ‘fat days’
Comic relief: Chandler vs. Marshal
The source of all wise cracks, shtick and one liner’s; for me every friendship group needs that one character to lighten the mood, from laughter bring tears in your eyes and stitches to your sides. When temperatures rise, they are always there to bring it down with their cool antidotes and the fresh breeze that is their charisma. For me Marshal was at his best during the chart and slap beat episodes, but come on since day one Chandler has always been a walking, talking live at the Apollo.
Chandler: Chandler Bing.
Phoebe: Bing, what an unusual name.
Chandler: Well you should meet my uncle, Bada.
Come on do I need to say more? Clearly the guy is the Mohammed Ali of punch lines.
In terms of the Best Chandler episode, it was cross between “The One With the Blackout,” where he lives every mans fantasy by being looked in a vault with a supermodel, but once again he acts like bumbling moron, which makes it all the more hilarious. Then we also have one of his more sentimental episodes – because you always had a feeling that under his mock sarcastic covering, he was just a big softy at heart best exemplified in “The One with the Proposal (Part 2)”
Playboy: Barney vs. Joey
They just both love sex and women! Sure both characters had brief encounters and flirtations with marriage and something pertaining to love; yet you we’re never really convinced it was the women’s fault for not making it official. The fact is, both these bachelors simply aren’t cut out for commitment and they probably never will. But of course every group needs that stud for all the other guys in relationships weighed down with balls and chains, to sit in awe at and live vicariously through the playboys various hook ups, booty calls and one night stands. Just to confirm that the grass is truly greener on the other side and just to keep them going. The only way to choose between both of these guys is to pit them against each other at doing what they do best! Grab your coat, you have just pulled. Joey is the laid back, Italian Stallion who ooziest that Marlon Brando in The Wild One’s type of sexuality. While Barney always equipped in an immaculate suit and his infamous Holy Grail, ‘The Play Book’, with it he regularly concocts the most audacious, ludicrous and elaborate lies and disguises to get low self-esteem girls with daddy issues into bed, with usually successful results. Of course there has been some occupational hazards, the guy has to carry a mouth guard and umbrella on a night outs, on account of the amount of times he is slapped across the face and has drinks poured all over him… Who am I kidding, half way through that paragraph, you probably could tell whose already won this one; sure Joey never has to lie to women and forget an Armani suit, all he needs is a “Hey how you doing” and he has them already pulling down their panties. But Barney takes manipulating women into bed to a word class standard, that occasional blossom into realm of poetry and art. I don’t know what you heard about him, but the guy is just a P.I.M.P.
Best Barney episode has to be ‘The Bracket’, where has to discover the identity of the women who being the ultimate cock block.
Just Phoebe –
“Smelly Cat, Smelly cat what are they feeding you? …Smelly Cat, smelly cat it’s not your fault” – allow me to introduce to you the greatest music genius to grace our little earth since Mozart and Michael Jackson. Adele move other, because Phoebe Buffay truly has the voice of an angel and the lyrical skill to make Eminem retire. I always felt if Phoebe had her own spin of TV show, it would have been a hell lot better than that car crash that was ‘Joey’. Like literally peering into her mind is like staring at a Roshak test, trapped in a Rubix cube, placed somewhere in a maze (It’s not you, I don’t even get that myself, but that’s why it describes Phoebe so well!). You just have to have a Phoebe in the group; she’s sweet, kooky and her weird quickness promises her to be out of all the other girls, to be the most bodacious in bed.
Phoebe’s best episode is “The One Where Chandler Can’t Cry” when she mistakenly receives lots of attention from men who confuse her for evil twin sister Ursula who moonlights as a porn star. Just the whole concept is pure comedic genius.
Let me introduce you to this new ground breaking show, it’s called How I Meet Your Friends and features a rag tag bunch of Ross, Robin, Barney, Monica, Chandler and Phoebe. They are all in the early 20’s living in a nocturnal concrete paradise known as New York City. Each of their lives are a mess, they can’t hold down serious relationships and making rent is always a problem, but not to worry because every time they go to McLaren’s Perk, they have a cold glass of coffee waiting for them and five other people who love them very dearly and always await with opens arms to catch them if they fall.