'Friends' and 'How I Met Your Mother': A Side-By-Side Analysis


Friends, the seemingly simple show about six friends residing in bustling New York City, was well ahead of its time. Its comedy transcends age, language, and time slots. After 10 seasons, the show ended in 2004, leaving the world with a comedic void.

That void was filled in 2005 with CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, (HIMYM) the hit show that follows the hectic and comedic lives and relationships of five New York City residents. The uncanny similarities between Friends and HIMYM cannot be overlooked. In advance of Monday night's premiere of HYMIM's ninth and final season, here's a list of the parallels between the two shows' characters.


1. Ted Mosby and Ross Geller

Ted Mosby, the father who narrates HIMYM, is an architect who eventually becomes a professor. Throughout the seasons, his long search for his other half is coupled with stories about his eccentric friends. Ted is known for his taste in finer things and unique style (red boots!).

Socially awkward Ross Geller is a paleontologist who also eventually becomes a professor. His love life is a tragic mess at the start of the show; his first wife, Carol, divorces him after realizing that she's a lesbian, and his second wife, Emily, divorces him after he says Rachel’s name at the altar.

If there's one thing that both characters have taught us in their search for romantic bliss, it's that you probably shouldn't date your students.


2. Marshall Eriksen and Chandler Bing

Marshall Eriksen and Chandler Bing are both known for their snappy combacks, and both are interested in, and eventually get married to, female friends (Lily Aldrin and Monica Geller, respectively). Even after they're wed, both men continue to hang out with their friends and complain about their jobs (Marshall is a corporate lawyer who wanted to do environmental law, while Chandler is an IT procurement manager).

3. Robin Scherbatsky and Rachel Green

These gorgeous women represent are the flirts on each show. Robin Scherbatsky, a former Canadian pop star, moves to New York City and becomes a television news host. She meets Ted Mosby in HIMYM's first episode, and they start to date. Rachel Green, a wealthy runaway who lives in New York City and waits tables at the cafe Central Perk, captured Ross’s heart from Friends' first episode. Her career, like Robin's, ends up being based around beauty, as she goes on to work for Fortunata Fashions, Bloomingdale's, and Ralph Lauren.

Robin and Rachel are probably the most rational characters on each show, but they're also as dramatic as can be when it comes to emotional matters: Robin has had her fair share of repeatedly hooking up with Ted after their breakup, while Rachel enters severe denial after Ross comes back from China with a girlfriend strapped to his arm.


4. Barney Stinson and Joey Tribbiani

Wooing the ladies with their suave attitudes and manly charms, Barney Stinson and Joey Tribbiani are the go-to comic relief characters. The two womanizers are known for their catchy phrases — Barney has “Suit up!” and Joey has “How you doin’?” Their immaturity adds flavor to the comedy, and their chemistry with Robin and Rachel keeps the audience on edge. Both have peculiar sources of income. Barney's high-powered job is never really explained, while Joey goes so far as to hire an actor to pose as his twin so he can participate in a medical study.

5. Lily Aldrin and Phoebe Buffany

Quirky Phoebe Buffany and loud Lily Aldrin both have dark pasts. Redhead Lily had jet-black hair (and pin-straight bangs!) during her college days, as the fashionable character was a goth at the time. Phoebe's father abandoned her, her twin sister, and their mother, leaving them to fend for themselves; she also has a long-lost brother who asks her to be the surrogate mother of his triplets.

The two characters seem like they could get into some hilarious situations together, were they to meet.