This vs. That: Friends or Seinfeld?


Welcome to the latest round of TV.com's "This vs. That," where we pit two things against one another and you vote on which one should win... in whatever context you choose. And happy belated Fourth of July! TV.com HQ is closed today—we're all still observing our nation's 237th birthday by eating hotdogs and getting sunburnt and trying not to blow our faces off with fireworks—but in the spirit of the holiday, let's also celebrate two classic ensemble comedies by naming one of them supreme, shall we? Here we go:

Feel free to show your work in the comments!


PREVIOUSLY: This vs. That: Falling Skies or Defiance?


Ed. note: If there's a specific battle you'd like to see, send it via PM to TVcom_editorial, via Twitter to @tvdotcom, or via email to mailbag@tv.com. (And thanks to those of you who've already submitted ideas!)

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Ok there are people who might have been planning to see friends but who could have been put off by your comments. First, both the shows are great in a way. If you watched seinfeld first, you would definitely stick up to it. I watched friends first and I like it better than seinfeld.
But I keep changing sides now and then. Let us compare the shows now,
Chandler vs George = Chandler
Rachel vs Elaine = Rachel
Ross vs Jerry = Jerry
Kramer vs Phoebe = Kramer
Central Perk vs Monks = Central Perk
You can only watch Seinfeld like 2 or 3 times each episode but I know people who have watched each friends episode like 10-12 times. But Friends will suck if Chandler Bing was out of the picture. But Seinfeld will exist even if George was not there cause there are Kramer and Jerry but all the other characters in friends without chandler in the show will be pretty boring. Joey can only go on so far. But as a group Friends is more satisfying than Seinfeld. if we inspect each character individually, Seinfeld is greater. But I am pretty tired of watching a show about nothing even though the concept was cool at first. Seinfeld never made me cry. I have cried a river watching friends. No episode could have a better ending than The One With Ross' Wedding. I had gooseflesh that lasted for 5 minutes after he suddenly says Rachel's name at the altar. I cried like a baby watching The One With The Prom Video. I laughed till it ached when I saw The One Where Everybody Knows. Having a show about nothing is really nothing to brag about. I was pretty bummed at seinfeld's series finale. They get all your hopes up of seeing Paris and they end up in jail... I mean what is that? Even though the characters are not so deep in friends I loved them for them. I love Seinfeld too but only if it was not about nothing, I mean, think for a moment that Jerry and Elaine hit it off... They would be bigger than the Ross and Rachel. So, Friends is my favorite of the two.
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Oh one more thing, a testament to how great Seinfeld is, the jokes in Seinfeld still apply, TODAY.

Just because the set is drab and the wardrobe is horrible on Seinfeld doesn't detract from the material.

In fact only negatives I can attribute to seinfeld is the laugh track (but a staple in the 80s/90s... And a few of the early episodes before they found their footing - generally it kicks off properly at the end of season 2 with 'The Chinese restaurant' ....

The first four seasons of Friends when it was basically 'Days of our lives of Rachel and Rosss' suck majorly.

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Friends started the Friendzone, and there's always How you Doin'?
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Your comment is so ridiculous, there are literally almost no words...

You lose all your validity when you claim There could be Seinfeld WITHOUT GEORGE - George Costanza is arguably the greatest sitcom character ever written (as many reputable reviewers will tell you (also only character from Seinfeld that made it into the top 50 tv characters OF ALL TIME) ...

And the whole jerry and Elaine should've given it a go.... That was the best thing about seinfeld - because NBC kept pushing Larry David and Herey Seinfeld to make Elaine and Jerry an item and Larry David (and Seinfeld himself refused) - thank God ... One sappy juvenile 'love story' is enough.


Stick to Friends, as you're clearly reading Seinfeld as though it was a boring version of friends - the two shows are nothing alike.

I suggest you watch Seinfeld again from start to finish.

And no character from both Friends and Seinfeld could ever beat George Costanza! (Even though Chandler and Ross are the only redeeming qualities of friends).
Cheers
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Seinfeld is the best show ever made !
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Seinfeld is obviously the best .
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I think that friends, being as outlandish as it was, attracted people to it. Friends was not relatable in the events that occurred, but in each characters personalities. Sienfeld is very relatable in both events and characters. it shows events that are more likely to occur. This is why people are attracted to it The shows are different. some people are are attracted to the "different" friends. and some are attracted to the more relatable Sienfeld. Both shows were/are great in my opinion. I love both! how can you even compare!
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Another reason to vote in favor of Seinfeld: it was one of the first shows I could think of that had the main actor playing a fictional version of himself. And it also critiqued it's own development when "Jerry" was pitched to NBC.
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Friends is irrelevant today.
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I would really love to know how all the TV.com staff members would vote...regardless what they choose. I promise I won't hold it against any of you.

Friends is a sitcom where Seinfeld is a SCIENCE.

And I'm not being biased even though I've seen Jerry live and one of my fave episodes aired the day, month and year I was born (The contest).

But in all honesty, I can't believe this is even a question, Seinfeld all the way!!! This all coming from a massive Friends fan since I was a kid.

And the people saying how more relatable Friends is! What? I never knew you've also given birth to your brothers children

Everything they talk about in Seinfeld is so relatable, in what we think, how we act etc.,These plots in some episodes are so relatable (theirs so much more, these are from the top of my head:

'The Pick' -> Difference between a pick and a scratch
'The Seven' -> Wash cycle, and outfit rotations lol
'The busboy' -> best vs worst public toilets
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One of the best examples as to why Friends is not relatable was the relationship between Ross and Rachel. A sketchy breakup, they clearly have feelings for one another the entire time, and even have a baby together. And really! It takes Ross trying to stop a plane on the last episode to get them back together.
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Staff
Seinfeld
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uh, Seinfeld, duh.
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Don't make me choose! ha! They are both very different shows, I watch Seinfeld every day, but watch Friends when I want noise in the background, but it is still hilarious. I guess Seinfeld for the win.
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Just put my 50 votes in for Seinfeld. Sorry, Friends' fans (of which I am one) but Seinfeld is superior in just so many ways. Both great shows though.
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I liked watching both back in the 90s. However, now that time has passed it's easy to see which show is superior- Seinfeld. By a long shot. One of the best shows of all time. The show contained a groundbreaking, unique format that makes it so brilliant. The show strived not to copy much of what was already on television but blaze new trails, constantly pushing new boundaries, whether it involved waiting in real time in a Chinese restaurant or starting at the end of an episode and ending at the beginning. It was a quality product that served an artistic vision instead of a derivitive form of whatever was popular on television at the time.

While I liked Friends (and still do, especially Matthew Perry), I realize now that it's humor tended to be a bit silly and the storylines were derivitive. Even the storylines tended to be a bit stupid- eating cake on the floor, etc. The quality was never that great and in actuality it was kind of mediocre. Much of the intention apparently was to sell us not on quality humor but on an attractive young cast engaging in soap opera lite storylines. Much of the excitement often came from the season ending cliffhangers that often turned the show upside down. That's basically why Friends has not held up anywhere near as well as Seinfeld.
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1,00000,00000 thumbs up ... The soap opera-ness of friends makes it unbeatable.

"CANTSTANDYAAAAAAAA".

Plus all the (regular) secondary charatcters (and girlfriends / boyfriends) were a really great ensemble.
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Iphone typo - that should read UNBEARABLE
(Not unbeatable)
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those who claim that one can relate Seinfeld more than Friends are living on another planet or have a very awkward entourage I guess.. all the characters in Seinfeld, with no exceptions, are repulsive.. any time I came across I was trying to decide which one I hated most.. and even the finale of Seinfeld is an actual confession of how awful the characters were.. Friends, on the other hand, gave us a lovely group of people with their own, "relatable" peculiarities, fails and wins, with much more belivable and realistic storylines.. I would have wanted any character in friends in my life, whereas even one member of Seinfeld would be too much: selfishness, caricature level absurd, mean.. I can watch -and do watch- any episode of Friends, any given day and laugh.. those who find it outdated, I am so sorry for them..
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they were good to each other
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all friends did was copy seinfeld.
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are you sure you watched both shows? because there is nothing, and I mean nothing similar between Friends and Seinfeld, apart from evolving around a group of people.. and I am actually thankful for the lack of such similarity..
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I'm not knocking Friends here, but there are some deep rooted similarities between the two shows.

The structure of the dialogue is almost identical at times. One of Seinfeld's trademarks was to take an obscure subject/word (e.g. with "the Drake") and have some back and forward dialogue around it which was exaggerated for comic effect. Friends repeatedly uses the same structure in its dialogue, which is something very few other shows have exploited in the same way.

The broader tone is also more or less identical, with the jokes often resting on quibbles with the conduct of outside characters. Admittedly that's something many other shows have also used in the same way since, so Friends isn't alone in that - e.g. Sex and the City uses a similar structure. In all cases a lot of the jokes revolve around dating or meeting some new character who has a minor defect that's played for laughs.

Then there are a series of actual plot devices that are more or less lifted straight from the show. The "ugly naked guy" joke in Friends is an adaptation of the "naked woman" across the street in the Contest. Joey going to Las Vegas to be an actor is essentially identical to the plotline where Kramer goes to LA to be an actor (both involve Jerry/Kramer and Joey/Chandler falling out, both end up in disappointment, both are a vehicle to take the show to a new set for a two part special). Other examples are the recurring bad neighbour plots with Mr Heckles/Newman. There are countless other examples beyond these.

Of course there are key differences. Even a show that's directly inspired by another will have differences. The main difference is that Friends tried to add an emotional drama aspect to the comedy, which Seinfeld largely refused to do (and is all the better for it). But the similarities have to be acknowledged - Friends owed a huge debt to Seinfeld in many ways, even if it developed into its own show in the end.
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back it up with evidence
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I have watched all 180 episodes of Seinfeld and all 236 episodes of Friends and I own them all on DVD.

Here is evidence.

From Friends 513 - The One With Joey's Bag. Phoebe's grandma dies, and Rachel consoles her, saying that perhaps her grandma is with them in spirit today. Phoebe sarcastically says "Yeah, her first day on a new spiritual plane and she's gonna come to the coffeehouse!"
From Seinfeld 202 - The Pony Remark. The characters are talking about Jerry's relative that recently died.
ELAINE: Maybe she's there in spirit. How about that? GEORGE: If you're a spirit, and you can travel to other dimensions and galaxies, and find out the mysteries of the universe, you think she's going to want to hang around Drexler's funeral home on Ocean Parkway?

I rest my case.
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this is your case? OK then:)
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"A critical favorite, commercial blockbuster and cultural phenomenon, the show led the Nielsen ratings in its sixth and ninth seasons and finished among the top two (along with the NBC's ER) every year from 1994 to 1998. In 2002, TV Guide named Seinfeld the greatest television program of all time.[1] In 1997, the episodes "The Boyfriend" and "The Parking Garage" were respectively ranked #4 and #33 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[2] And in 2009, "The Contest" was ranked #1 on the same magazine's list of "TV's Top 100 Episodes of All Time".[3] E! named it the "number 1 reason the '90s ruled."[4] In 2013, the Writers Guild of America named Seinfeld the #2 Best Written TV Series of All Time (second to The Sopranos).[5] That same year, Entertainment Weekly names it the 3rd best TV series of all time.[6]"

This is a paragraph from Wikipedia. Seinfeld is considered one of the greatest if not the greatest show of all times by critics. Friends isn't even in the top 50. Also on IMDB Seinfeld's rating is a whole point higher than Friends.
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yet in italy i never even heard of a show called seinfeld, on the internet or in TV, but Friends is always on TV.
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"Friends received positive reviews throughout its run, becoming one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. The series won many awards and was nominated for 63 Primetime Emmy Awards. The series, an instant hit from its debut, was also very successful in the ratings, consistently ranking in the top ten in the final primetime ratings. Many critics now regard it as one of the finest shows in television history, including TV Guide, which ranked it No. 21 on their list of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time.[5][6][7] In 1997, the episode 'The One with the Prom Video' was ranked No. 100 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All-Time.[8] The series made a large cultural impact, which continues today." "The table below indicates the ratings of Friends in the U.S., where it consistently ranked within the top ten of the final television ratings." (Yeah, I didn't copy the table.) "So far, it has been the last sitcom to reach the No. 1 spot on television...."
-Wikipedia

Look, I can copy-and-paste too. :)

Also, you say that Friends isn't even in the top 50, yet, I have my issue of Entertainment Weekly's 100 All-Time Greatest (Everything) sitting right in front of me and, oh, look Friends is 21. Oh, and on IMDB Seinfeld's rating is 8.9 while Friends's(?) is 8.8. Some of us would call that one-tenth of a point.

Let's try and be civil here people. They're both fine shows.
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Friends is really the best!
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What I'm trying to say is that Seinfeld is considered by many to be one of the greatest if not the greatest show of all times. And Well Friends doesn't hit the top 20.
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I wasn't trying to disagree with you on Seinfeld's success, if that's how it seemed.

I agree with you on that, Seinfeld's probably the greatest show of all time, or one of, or something. I don't really watch it. so I can't say anything about it.

I, also, wasn't trying to prove that Friends is better, I really wasn't, never have been.

I was just trying to refute your claim that Friends never falls in the top 50, which would be incorrect. (Sometimes it falls in the top 20, depending on who made the list.)

The paragraph from Wikipedia and the IMDB score was just me being facetious. ;)

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I do not see anyone here not being civil...., so why are you telling everyone to be civil? This has been a very nice discussion about two shows and why people like one over another.
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Forget it. ;)
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You quote EW putting Friends at 21 as if that trumps the TV Guide ranking, when Seinfeld sits at 3 on the same list you're trumpeting. That's classic.
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Was I trying to say that it's better than Seinfeld? No, I don't believe I was.

saimsalman36 wrote that, "Friends isn't even in the top 50." I was just pointing out that, yes, Friends usually falls in the top 50, regardless of where Seinfeld is.

Again, they're both fine shows.
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Seinfeld is more related and doesnt seem dated. Even the re-plays are great. Not to mention the amount of talent that appeared on the show that later on became huge stars.
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How does this thing have so many votes? There must be some hardcore show shippers here who vote daily or something :D
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FRIENDS
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Seinfeld was brilliant! While, Friends was mediocre at best. The Seinfeld-Universe created by Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld, with all of its layers, textures, characters and detail totally eclipse anything the creators of Friends could produce.
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Friends was not even that funny, it was amusing. Seinfeld was hilarious and brilliant.
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then you don't have a good sense of humor
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Wow I got so many upvotes when I really don't care about this, of course I prefer Seinfeld. This is old, over a year haven't checked my notifications. My favorite show forever and ever and I'm a very proud fan is SCRUBS, I have the best sense of humor. No argue. ;)
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Friends. I can still watch repeats of that and be thoroughly entertained.
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Lol the fact that you could vote as many times as you want makes this poll laughable. You guys use the same system with your Best of the year awards. Get your shit together, tv.com
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the fact that you would come back and vote again and again as many times as you want is laughable.
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What the hell gave you the impression that I voted more then once?
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Yet that's the only explanation for why Seinfeld is winning even though it was trailing by over 1000 votes at one point.
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And now, that's the only explanation for why Friends is winning? Even though it was trailing Seinfeld....., Goes both ways I guess
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Seinfeld had its moments, but Friends was magic. Perhaps Friends fans have resorted to the same underhanded tactics that the Seinfeld crowd employed, but they deserve the win.
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Friends... hands down! I love that show! I have only seen a few episodes of Seinfeld and it was okay... but Friends was absolutely hysterical!
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I voted friends but I've almost never seen any Seinfeld episodes as I dislike the Jerry and Elaine but Kramer and George are awesome. I think I would like Seinfeld if I just could ignore the two first characters.
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This poll is stupid. I'm able to cast my vote multiple times just by refreshing my browser again and again. I voted for friends by the way :P. Seinfeld is just comedy and nothing else... a great one though. But I like friends because of the character development. Seinfeld ended just the way it started. No progress for any of the characters.
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That was exactly the point of the show! The characters were like portraits and each episode we saw a new perspective of them in terms of how they would handle a situation - hence, why Seinfeld is a SITcom lol.
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I never could stand watching friends when it was on and now it is painfully dated it is embarrassing. I don't think someone who didn't watch it during the 90s could really enjoy it the same way they may have enjoyed it when it was fresh. Seinfeld gets the win here easily in terms of re-playability (I've seen most episodes 5-10 times), comedy, talent and intellectual depth. The philosophically penetrating depth of the comedy dealt with in Seinfeld provides it a timeless quality.
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I cannot disagree with you more.. I watched Friends series in 2000s and felt connected with it asap.. Seinfeld on the other hand, is nauseating to say the least.. still I watch some of the episodes and feel the connectivity.. and intellectual depth in Seinfeld? not even funny..
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although seinfeld was more original,... friends is really relatable,... every episode at least 3 times I go " damn it, that's exactly me and my friends " ,... friends I love you,...
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This reminds me a lot of the Lost vs Any-other-scifi-show comparison. Many people say that Lost wasn't really good, same here, many criticize Friends too much.
The reason? I think many people consider "cool" going against the stream (which is Friends in this case). The ultimate question is...which show can you watch again and again. Of course there are better and more clever shows than Friends. But the real question is which is more addictive, which one can you watch over and over again
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Exactly. I can watch Seinfeld anytime for an enjoyable half hour.
Not so with Friends which got tiresome to me.
That is why Seinfeld wins in my opinion.
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exactly,... any time I am feeling down,... I rewatch a couple of episodes of friends,... and eventhough I know them by heart,... I still laugh
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Friends. Easily. "Damn it Carl! It's how YOU doin!" You can really tell the similarities on HIMYM's Robin and Patrice: "Damn it Patrice!"
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10 hours back, both shows had - 4672 votes.
Now Friends - 6424 and Seinfeld - 6295

I don't think anybody is robo-voting here. You just have to remember the last tv.com's year end poll to realize that.
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I have some Friends episode on my tab and put it on shuffle when I'm down and picks me up every time no matter what episode... could it be more funny? Chandler bing-a-ling! And Phoebe singing smelly cat, smelly cat what are they feeding you?
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It is both absurd that they're bothering to even have a poll and that Friends is winning. Don't even have a comedy contest - Seinfeld is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.
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Yep! Friends had some great moments, but Seinfeld is king.
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Honestly, both are really good. There's no real way of saying which one's better. I watched both and I really enjoyed both. But when I reflect that life in the show to the real world, I ALWAYS wish to have friends like Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler.... BING, and Joey.
Especially in the ending, I was really sad to see them leave and separate from each other; or as the message is delivered- "life goes on." This I'd say is the one reason I'd give Friends the upper hand to. Then again, both were amazing!
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Hands down Seinfeld, by far!
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Friends. Seinfeld was alright but I never got into it, I was too young for both anyway probably lol but Friends lasted more into the years where I understood some of the subject matter when it was talked about.
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i cant. i cant choose. i refuse to choose.
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Seinfeld was good! Still watch it when it's on TV and mostly still enjoy it... but Friends is something completely different. Friends is the kind of show I don't mind watching whenever or whatever episode. I would watch Friends all day if I could.
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How about...BOTH shows were lame!
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then why are you here?
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How about... YOU have no taste.
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How about...I'm not a sheep and don't like something just because the media tells me I should like it.
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How about... Liking something that is great and a classic tv comedy, does not make you a sheep? Both shows were excellent in the first place and thats why people still watch them years after they ended...You my friend must be the ultimate hipster.
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Seinfeld FTW!
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This isn't about which show is the funniest or which one had the best actors. It would be a hard choice then. It's 90% about how we feel about the soap-opera-ness of Friends and 10% about how annoying we find the laugh track on Friends.
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Laugh track = live studio audience. :)
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Not really. They recorded the sound of the audience, but edited it heavily. The laughs we hear are the laughs the producers wanted us to hear, not the laughs that the scene you just saw got from the audience.
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By the way, the best actors were George and his parents. Jason Alexander, Jerry Stiller and (...off to imdb...) Estelle Harris. Imdb spells her character's name wrong. There's no "n" in Costanza.
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Lol, OK, there *is* an n in Costanza. I should have said that there's only one, or that there's no n before the s. They spelled it Constanza.
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"no hugging, no learning" - Seinfield wins!
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God, tough call. I'd probably say Seinfeld was superior but Friends had more likable characters.

I think Seinfeld was probably the superior show; but as the show itself pointed out many times, the characters were ultimately well-meaning jerks. They didn't TRY to be jerks, but that's what New York life did to them.

Friends... funny and the characters were a bit more likable.

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I think you finally hit the nail on why I don't like Seinfeld and I never could quite put my finger on it.
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Friends
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friends!!!!
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Friends is one of the few sitcoms with a laugh track I have liked. But honestly, now that I think about the show years later, I realize it wasn't much more than a regular multi-cam comedy. It was by no means bad, it had heart and loveable characters. However, I have to say that in my book Seinfeld wins by a small margin, The show had wit more than Friends.
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ok something seriously has to change when it comes to these polls. when I first opened the page Seinfeld was ahead by 200 votes then 5 min later when I refreshed Friends was ahead by 100. There has to be a change so that people can only vote once, or that you have to be logged in to vote.

Also find it funny reading the comments below that ppl believe that only Seinfeld fans are multi voting. I think theres people on both sides (I also dont know why Friends fans arnt admitting that there could be multi votes for that show too)... Ill just assume that the people on both sides are canceling each other out
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i voted friends and posted this site on tumblr (to the milions of friends fans)
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Until you posted this, no one had noticed any evidence of the Friends robo-votes. It does usually end that way though. The Seinfeld votes were impossible to miss because the first huge chunk of them managed to bridge an astounding gap. I don't assume they cancel each other out, I assume they cancel everything out. Each one votes until his show is winning. Thus, only the last robo-vote counts. All other votes are meaningless.
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"the first huge chunk of them managed to bridge an astounding gap"

And how do you think Friends got an "astounding" lead? My first guess would be that they started multi-voting first, and then some Seinfeld fan thought "no way I'm going to let them win". It's like, you get served, and then you serve them, and then it's on.
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they both grew several hours at a rate of about 5:1 in favor of friends. I assume since Friends is more accessible, has a younger audience and a much larger worldwide audience that the first few hours was the representative vote, as it usually is before someone with scripting skills and a grudge notices the poll. No reason to believe otherwise.
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I reckon if you have the tools installed for other purposes its about a 3 line script and would take about 30 seconds to write. It's a lot less investment than someone refreshing the page and voting 2000 times. Theses are the only two possibilities. They certainly aren't all legitimate votes.
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People actually do all this for a poll? On a website where end result is just displayed and there are no practical benefits of winning?
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And when the poll first started, Friends was ahead by like 1000 votes. At the end of the day all of these polls mean nothing. Just represent how many superfans waste their time trying to get their favourite show an empty win.
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its sad isnt it
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My vote goes to Seinfeld. It might be that when I was a kid my mom refused to watch Friends due to the fact that she hated it and i never got a nostalgic attachment to it. But even so watching Friends sometime later I understand why its so popular and I do enjoy the show. However I never cared about the whole Ross Rachel thing and that unfortunatly took up alot of the show. I have also found that Friends was more hit or miss while Seinfeld was pretty much constantly funny (ok the first couple seasons werent the best but they did have some good episodes). I have also found that Friends seems more dated to me than Seinfeld but i cant eactly point out why. Maybe its their hair? idk
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Only one was voted best television show of all time.

Seinfeld. Easily.
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The caped lawyer has spoken!
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wow both are at 4672... amazing how I open it up with the exact same amount of votes on both
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Not coming from the States has left me without ever been introduced to Seinfeld, Friends is big everywhere, it is simply a classic.
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impossible choice
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seimfeld was crap it was a bunch of useless characters doing useless crap that was both pointless and not al that funny the only saving grace was Richards to badhe had a mental break down I even love his character in airheads
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they're both average. Cheers was much better. But if my life depended on it I'd have to say Friends only because it actually had a few people who could actually act and went on to do well in movies.
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