Monday Match-Ups: HIMYM vs. Friends

HIMYM vs. FriendsThe Setup

Tonight is a big night for us television fans here at Pop Modern, as it marks the premiere of How I Met Your Mother‘s ninth and final season. This has been one of favorite sitcoms for years now, and we thought it only fitting to ring in the new season with a little friendly competition. And, speaking of “friendly,” who better to match up against Mosby & Co. than the titular Friends? After all, the two groups are strikingly similar in their chemistry and their roles (a fact which has been pointed out time and time again). So, we knew we wanted to pit HIMYM against the show that paved the way, but we weren’t quite sure what would be the best competition to test the mettle of two groups of friends. And then it hit us, and we decided to ask…Who would win in a game of charades, the characters from How I Met Your Mother or from Friends?

The Contenders

How I Met Your Mother

The Verdicts

Allen: I never really got into Friends, but it was always a nearby beacon of pop culture during my childhood. On the other hand, I only discovered How I Met Your Mother back in 2011 when my two collaborators here wouldn’t stop recommending it to me. In a game of charades, the HIMYM team takes the prize. Even though they’re both groups of affluent white people living in New York apartments, I feel like Shmoseby and the gang know each other more intimately. From my brief experience with charades, the best players seem to be the ones who know each other so well, and have consumed so much of the same media, that they can predict each other’s thoughts without words. For example, Ted could point to his feet and marvel at some imaginary piece of footwear, and Marshall would be able to guess “red cowboy boots”. I’m sure there are plenty of similar gags in Friends, but I can’t exactly imagine Ross understanding that Chandler gesturing like a madman to his head would mean “turkey”. Still, it’d be a close game, and I like to imagine that they’d all get a drink at MacLaren’s afterward and laugh about the whole thing with the live studio audience.

James: Let’s get down to the facts. The crew of friends within Friends is good, but they are no How I Met Your Mother. While the friends within Friends are close, they are not as close as the friends within How I Met Your Mother. Let’s examine the telepathy within How I Met Your Mother: The characters Ted and Marshall are telepathic, and Marshall and Lily are also telepathic. While Robin and Lily are known to have misunderstandings, the fact is, the populace of How I Met Your Mother has the distinct advantage. Also, the actors themselves are unequally matched. While Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segal sing the soundtrack to Les Misérables,the cast of Friends isn’t seen together in real life much anymore. Therefore, it seems likely that Friends will not win the competition, and How I Met Your Mother would win charades.

Magellan: While I respect my fellow writers here a great deal, I think both of them are being swayed by two egregious biases: one, that they’ve seen more of How I Met Your Mother, and thus feel more connected to its characters; and two, that How I Met Your Mother is at present a more active force in popular culture, clouding the public memory of Friends. And that’s understandable, considering the similarities between both shows. However, I think that the Friends crew is much more tight-knit. After all, unlike the HIMYM cast, many of the Friends characters have known each other for quite a while. Monica and Ross are siblings for Pete’s sake, and given their childhood lameness probably played their fair share of charades. Also, both of them have known Rachel since high school, and Ross and Chandler have been best friends since college. Sure, the same can be said of Ted and Marshall, but none of the HIMYM cast have been friends since childhood. The HIMYM bunch also has more rogue elements (Barney and The Mother) who we either don’t know much about or who would be hard to understand in a game of charades given their specific view of life. The only Friends friend that can be framed that way is Phoebe, since everyone else has either been a roommate, sibling, or true love of at least one other person in the group. All I’m saying is that Friends didn’t get it’s name for being about a bunch of strangers who never got to know each other at all.

The Results

How I Met Your Mother wins 2-1

Well, there you have it, a close-knit, real group of friends splintering over who is the closest-knit, fictional group of friends. If you’d like to partake in this sort of tension-centric celebration of the HIMYM premiere, feel free to vote in our poll or voice your opinion in the comments below. And after that, maybe circulate this article to your own friends over an affluent, urban game of charades in lieu of going to work or dealing with any sort of financial hardship. Sure sounds fun to us.


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