How I Met Your Mother is the new Friends

How I Met Your Mother, the CBS sitcom now in its fifth season, revolves around the idea that the main character, Ted Mosby, is telling his children the story of how he met his wife. So far, that story has taken more than four years to tell (Ted needs an editor). There have been a lot of hints and foreshadowing to string the audience (and Ted's children) along, making it seem like we're always just a few episodes away from actually meeting The Mother.

Of course, the audience should have known it was all a ruse way back during the pilot -- when Ted met and fell in love with Robin, and after they got together we were told that Robin wasn't the kids' mother. Since then, there have been many headfakes toward the title of the show: There was the promise, in Season 3, that Ted's future wife was at the same St. Patrick's Day party he was attending, and there's been the occasional mention of a yellow umbrella's importance to the story. Last week, we learned that Ted's future wife was in an economics class that Ted mistook for the architecture class he was supposed to be teaching. But obviously we didn't get to catch a glimpse of her, and they still haven't met yet. And now we don't care anymore.

Once you get past the fact that How I Met Your Mother is only tangentially about how anyone meets, it's much easier to sit back and enjoy it for what it is: this decade's defining sitcom. How you feel about the show will determine how you feel about this assertion, but it's true. It's the Friends of the aughts. The 90s had Ross and Rachel and Chandler and Monica; now we have Robin and Barney and Ted and _______. HIMYM is about a group of friends living in New York, they hang out at a central location, and their lives are supposed to be representative of a certain socioeconomic class of white people. More importantly, the show works to insert itself into pop-culture the same way Friends did, via the storylines and jokes that -- despite the astronomic unemployment rate and the rise of telecommuting -- are still described as "water cooler" fare. Take the Slap Bet, for example. Marshall won a bet with Barney, and now he is allowed to slap Barney five times as hard as he can, whenever he wants. He has three slaps left. Like Fireball or the trivia game for the good apartment on Friends, Slap Bet works because it is something just out of the realm of things that would actually happen. You might want to slap a friend, but you probably wouldn't send him in an invitation to Slapsgiving, which is essentially a promise to slap him at Thanksgiving dinner. But Marshall did.

Also, HIMYM has Neil Patrick Harris as Barney. This character could be described as a douchebag -- he's arrogant, obsessed with his appearance, and says "bro" a lot -- but the savvy writing combined with NPH's performance makes him far more complex. His flaws are written as tongue-in-cheek, and Harris' performance humanizes him rather than making him a caricature. Barney can be abrasive, but you never question why he's friends with the other characters. Oh, and pretty much everything he says is hilarious.

We know the show's central premise means that it will mostly likely end the day Ted meets his wife, and we're fine with that. Once you ignore the idea that this is the longest "how did you guys meet?" story ever told, it's much easier to sit back and enjoy it as a sitcom. Besides, we're pretty sure the Mother is Ashley Williams, who played Victoria in Season One, anyway.

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If anything, How I met your mother is an adaptation of Friends. There are many similarities (too many actually) in the characters and storyline. A few friends living in New York, hanging out in the same place everyday. Marshal and Lilly are based on Chandler and Monica, Ted is based on Ross. Barney is Based on Joey and old Barney is even an adaptation of Phoebe! In friends Chandler and Monica are married by Joey where in HIMYM Lilly and Marshal are married by Barney.

However, one main difference is the characterization is much weaker in How I met your mother. Friends finished almost 8 years ago and people still watch it and play 'the which friend are you game' I doubt HIMYM has or will have the same impact.
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It really depends on which decade you grew up. HIMYM and Friends are VERY simaler, my and just about everyone I know grew up with Friends but also love HIMYM, I don't like comparing which is better or not, i'm just thankfull that we have another great sitcom to watch now that Friends is in the past. It would be hilarious to see a crossover between the two.
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I love the serie. Its a little the same types as in freind. Barney is a lot like Joey, Lilly and Marchal is a lot like Chandler and Monica, Ted is like Ross and Robin is a little bit like Rachel.. but i think that himym is better.
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OMG people are saying HIMYM is more relevant NOW!!! of course it is friends was created in 1994,friends never fails to make me laugh,although HIMYM is great it can never be compared to friends the characters in friends are more interesting they have multiple story lines in every episode and not all of their episodes make me laugh unlike HIMYM.SO THERE IT IS FRIENDS CANT EVEN BE COMPARED TO HIMYM IT WOULD BE SUCH AN UNDERSTATEMENT TO HOW GOOD FRIENDS IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FRIENDS CAN NEVER BE BEATEN :)
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Friends is nothing compared to How I met Your Mother. First of all, it has a defined goal, which is finding out who the mother is and how Ted meets her. Second, NPH. Third, it's just a way more likeable, relatable set of characters and Fourth, it's hilarious.
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I realy like friends it was pretty genius for its time, but HIMYM is somehow better for this decade. NPH rockes and barney is just AWESOME. If I want to make it brief: Racheal was better than Robin. Ross and Ted are equaly good. Barney is WAY better than joe( I liked joe alot.) Monica was better than Lily(Lily is good though). Don't even get me started with that Phoebe person. She was an awful actress but I liked her charactor and lines.(Not as much as Barney though.) And Marshall is a bit better than Chandler. Over all both have great stories and good performers. AGAIN BARNEY IS SOMETHIN ELSE. LOL
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I agree with vladfibrich. I think the mother is the "faceless" brunette he bumped into (who had no other role in that episode but to bump into Ted) at the St. Patrick's Day party where he found the yellow umbrella. I love HIMYM...Love FRIENDS more.
And yeah, I think they adulterated Barney's character by making him fall for Robin.
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HIMYM is much more serialised and continuity-concious than Friends ever was IMO. I still love both though.
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there are only two slaps left:

the end of the initial slap bet episode
slapsgiving
and barney's terrible terrible play

that's 3/5 gone.
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HIMYM is definitely the closest thing that we will ever get to another Friends. Its not quite Friends, but it is the sitcom of this decade. And I have no idea how some of these people that love HIMYM can hate Friends.

And I really hope that Ted's wife isn't Victoria, or Stella for that matter. I hated both of those characters.
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I think that both HIMYM and Friends have the same "watchable" quality-both shows i could watch again and agin despite the episode that is playing. Lets hope HIMYM has a good as a run as Friends did.
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i love friends but when i watch it again nowadays i think its kinda stupid, lol. and the acting isnt that good too, i mean, lisa kudrow is a terrible actress O_O
HIMYM is way better :/
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It is a great show but I dont think that it can be as good as Friends
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Sure, keep on thinking it's gonna be Ashley Williams...
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I love this show! And yes like you said, to really enjoy this show, like I do, you need to forget the premise of the show, other wise I'm pretty sure the show would just come off as an annoying story.
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The latest season was not as good as the first two. I can hardly remember any good joke, they have to stop this romantic stuff, it's getting more and more boring; and what the hell is going on with Barney? Stop killing the character!
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i agree, nothing will every replace friends but himym comes damn close
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This seems like a really long story to tell your children, 5 years so far to tell it (real life time), in another point of view, it reminds me of Prison Break, the first 2 Breaks it was great, if not just the first, but when you keep prolonging it and making more "breaks" it just gets boring, and too copycat
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The only way this is the Friends of the 2000's is that it is recycling storylines from Friends, most recently and blatantly Ted becoming a university prof. Ross did that, and did it way better. This show used to have some appeal, but now all I can hear is the laugh track, which really just serves to make the show less funny. I still appreciate NPH, but everyone else is riding his coat tails.
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himym is good, but not that good. without neil patrick harris the show would die a slow painful death
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well im pretty sure there are 2 slaps left right??? anyways, i agree to the idea that himym is the new friends, there are a lot of details that are similar to friends, like Ted telling "fun facts" about the Empire State Building would be Ross teaching about paleontology and the fact that they are both professors; ross dated rachel, rachel dated joey... ted dated robin, robin is dating barney; both lily and monica wore an eye patch; i dont really agree with junk2667, i personally think that how i met your mother is a newer comedy and it has more access to all the cuts and editing (which gives a hilarious mood to the series) but i don't think that Friends was a bad show, after all it did go for 10 years of complete success
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I love HIMYM, and I agree that you have to ignore the premise a bit to have the best viewing experience possible. It is probably the aughts closest version of Friends. . . but it is no Friends!! As others have said, every single episode of Friends can be watched out of order, over and over, and it will still be lots of laughs. HIMYM is losing steam, and I think they should seriously think of more funny ideas or get Ted going on meeting that mother soon. I don't want to watch it slowly peter out, because the first couple seasons were so awesome!
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The thing that I don't like about the title of this article is that it implies that HIMYM is not a good as friends. Personally I think it is a hundred times better. Friends sucked. The title should be, "How I Met Your Mother Kicks Friends Butt".
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It's a good show, so maybe it will be the Friends of this decade. I personly don't think it has reacht the spot yet
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I don't think it's Ashley Williams (although she is nice), it's that girl that he bumped into at that St. Patrick's Day party which was a brunette, trust me!
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You're wrong about Victoria! He cheated on her, she would never go back to him. Plus, the writers have said they haven't even CAST the mother yet, so obviously it can't be her! Although, I would like to see her pop up again. I enjoyed her.

I agree on all other parts though. It's like Friends in that it's a feel-good sitcom about friends. That's where it ends, though. I'm saying that as a huge fan of both shows.
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I love HIMYM! I love how the cast interact with each other and c'mon Neil Patrick Harris is a scene stealing god! I challenge any Friends lover who thinks they do not like HIMYM to watch the whole 1st and 2nd season, you'll fall in love!
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I love it - my favorite TV show of the year !!!
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Ashley Williams Is Not The Mother The Writers Have Said He Has Not Met Her Yet, terrific show
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
Reply
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
Reply
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this is the BEST show on tv right now !!!!!! me and my friends get together and watch it EVERY monday, we have not missed one show yet!!!!! ... for not liking the show this writer knows alot about it and must watch it alot... i guess it cant be that bad .. this is nothing like "friends" sure its a group of ppl that hang out but that's about where it stops. again this is the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!! i dont know what i will do on mondays after he finds his wife maybe "how i got to know your mother"... i hope this show has many more years to go
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There's no way you can compare HIMYM to Friends. They are both funny, but different kind of funny. Friends is a classic. Friends was more about plain comedy, even the romance had some comedy. I'm sorry in this case, I totally prefer Ross instead of Ted, when it comes to dorky. Ted is the definition of a loser when it comes to women. Ross was only on some occasion
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Great article, but your comparison of HIMYM with FRIENDS really bugs me. There hasn't been a single sitcom that could match the high standards, that FRIENDS set over a whole decade. And I'm affraid there'll never be one.
With FRIENDS, you can (still!) pick any episode out of there 10 seasons and you will have a blast. Furthermore I could watch the same episode over and over again.
Ultimately, that's just not applicable to HIMYM. Don't get me wrong, I really like the Show. But for me, there's not yet a single episode, that's got it all! Meaning - great acting of the whole cast AND superb writing. Whilst (IMO) FRIENDS' only flow were Lisa Kudrow's acting skills from time to time.

I could go on about how these sitcoms are worlds apart... Maybe (except for "Two And A Half Men") HIMYM is as close as it gets to a landmark like FRIENDS - So, I'll give you that...
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Though I love HIMYM, I wouldn't call it the new Friends. I could watch every Friends episode over and over again and still find it funny. Though HIMYM is great, I can't say that about this show.
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I loved Victoria, but I don't think she's the mother. But I was thinking the other night, when Ted was on his blind date, how much I loved the girl he was with. She was funny and charming, and I really hope if the Mother is someone they introduce that she is interesting. If she is annoying or her and Ted has zero chemistry it's gonna suck. Also, it should be 'Marshall and Lily, and Barney and Robin'. Marshall and Lily are just as awesome as Barney and Robin, just in a different way. On the versus Friends front, I think I prefer HIMYM just because a)I love the actors and characters more, and b) I've been watching from the very beginning, because of my deep Buffycast loyalty and wanting to check out Aly's new pilot. I was too young to care about Friends when it premiered.
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I like HIMYM more but thats probably because I truly hated Ross. I mean, ok, there are some incredible jokes with him, still I hated him as much as I love Legend ... Wait for it ... dary Barney! I hope the show will run forever and I also hope that it will end before it gets downhill (like Scrubs)
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*spoiler alert* (imo)



If you go back and watch it from the beginning (I have 5 times), you realize they have been dropping hints since the first season of who it is: the Slutty Pumpkin.



Although I am for Barney and Robin both finding someone, the way they have found eachother (depsite having so much in common) smacks of 'Friends' too much (the 'Friends' friends hooking up), and is kind of lame. It also portends of their relationship becoming permanent, because of the way Ted has referred to them since the beginning as Uncle Barney and Aunt Robin, the same way he has referred to Uncle Marshall and Aunt Lilly. A major give-away, and kind of a bummer that we know at this point.
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I have recently started watching Friends from the start. And it is better than HIMYM. I say that even though I LOVE HIMYM. Friends is funny every episode. The jokes are amazing. HIMYM is different. It is more about love. But if I would have to name a show the New Friends. It would definitly be HIMYM. And I will always watch it!
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if victoria was the mother, the story of how she and ted met would have been told in the 1st season! if you tell a story of how you meet someone, you don't tell like oh we met, then we spent few years apart, and then we met again and that's the story of how i met your mother.
we have not met the mother, at all yet! i'm very sure about this. the writers dont' neccesarily know them selves yet who the mother is. argh this guessing drives me crazy :'D. so i just don't care even tho i love the little hints.

anyway, this show really is the new friends! but better (coming from a hardcore friends fan that's kind of a huge compliment). the humor is just so similar. there are similarities between characters too. Ted and Ross are very much alike. both kind of dorky, tho teds job is cooler. sometimes Lily can be little bit like Monica, sometimes like phoebe. Barney is like Joey, but much much worse! and now, Barney and RObin are like Monica and Chandler. a couble you first didn't really seem to happen, but a couple that hopefully will grow to be the best couple in the show!
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I like Friends...however...I like HIMYM more its funny hilarious dat slap bet esp......and i can resist....but u can compare both the shows...dey'll gud...these both shows is the toppest show...HIMYM is the suspence dat we hav to guess who will b the mother n u keep guessin n u eager to watch day by day and its really funny esp Barney N lily....but friends is about 6 friends...hanging out n fun dey do....at present i Like HIMYM of course FRIENDS too........Y do we hav to compare both of the show whil is equally FUN to watch.....
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I think we all have seen the similarities...we all know bout it...but i dont think there is a need to mention it....great article but i think we all know bout it...n i think Friends was more bout the jokes n HIMYM is bout the jokes but with a twist...dont we all love to see the hopelessly romantic side of Ted...Dont tell me the only reason we watch HIMYM is for the jokes...we do love to see wats goin on with Ted and Robarney....No offence to Friends....It was the best n is the best....Friends started it all for me...I started watching American TV(I Am An INDIAN) with Friends and then saw The OC,Heroes,PB,OTH,Greys...but i think these are two different types of comedies...Friends was straight-up comedy while HIMYM is comedy with a twist...and we love both....no need to make comparisons there....we watch both...wat say???
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Even though I liked Friends, I don't really care as much about the show or the characters like I do for HIMYM. I love HIMYM.
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back when i first saw the first season, i was actually telling my friends to watch the show and i described it as the modern version of 'friends'. it's like an 'homage' to friends at first that is slowly coming out as something entirely different and great too. i immediately saw the similarities like them having a favorite place to hang out (mclarens's and central perk) and barney & chandler (although they are different, those two are the 'jokers' in their group and both have higher-earning jobs that you don't really know what exactly what they do).
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Friends is still way better. At least all 6 characters were awesome. I only watch HIMYM for Barney.
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