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HIMYM & Other Shows: Coffeehouses Aren’t Better Than Bars


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#1

Top Dog 12

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Posted Jun 5, 2009 @ 8:15 PM

So I though it would be cool to have a thread that compared HIMYM to other shows, wonderful Mods if this isn't allowed my apologies.

For me the first show that comes to mind is Friends. For me Friends is one of my favorite shows of all time and was great from Season 1 to Season 10. You might not agree but that is how I feel. The first comparison I see is the basic theme of friendship and how friends can be family and great it can be. It is one of the main reasons I turn into both shows.
The women on HIMYM don't really seem to compare to the women on Friends but I feel the guys do.

Ted is like Ross to me, a good decent guy who can be pretentious and seems to be looking for "The one". I know it wasn't explicitly stated on Friends that Ross was doing that but that is the sense I got from him.

Marshall is like Chandler to me, a fun loving guy who is the first to get married (or stick with marriage) and who loves his wife dearly even though she is a little different from him. (Not a bad thing).

Finally you have Barney and Joey both players who sleep with many women, although Barney is a bit smarter, but as they get older want to find someone to settle down with.

Anyways that's my take on one comparison I see.

Edited by Top Dog 12, Jun 5, 2009 @ 8:16 PM.


#2

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Posted Jun 5, 2009 @ 9:27 PM

I thought that the "Friends" comparisons were much more prevalent in the first two seasons and have since become less so. Part of that is inevitable, since they're both ensemble shows that take place in New York City, but other things stood out to me.

Ross and Chandler met due to the fact that they were college roommates, as did Ted and Marshall. Also, TopDog has already pointed out the similarities in their personalities.

The one that stood out to me the most, though, was the fact that Barney marries Lily and Marshall, just like Joey married Monica and Chandler. Plus, each couple had an almost-quickie-wedding beforehand; Monica and Chandler in Vegas, and Marshall and Lily in Atlantic City.

That said, I do feel like the shows have two distinct types of humor. "Friends"'s humor wasn't (for the most part) dependent on the characters. That is, you could watch many episodes entirely unaware of Phoebe's personality or history, and still find it funny. It's more traditional sitcom-y. But I feel that with HIMYM, the jokes are funny because you know and love the characters, and it's because it's happening to them that it's amusing.

#3

Steve J Rogers

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Posted Jun 7, 2009 @ 2:17 PM

I'll counter your comparisons a bit by saying that Chandler's marriage happens later in the show's run, after a new writing team took over, and Ross was the first to get married (unless you count Phoebe's only once referenced Vegas wedding and green card marriage, both presumably before the show started).

Chandler of the first couple of seasons is nothing like Marshall at all, perhaps more Barney-esque without the moves of Barney or Joey, and is such a commitment-phobe that he will go back to a terrible relationship because it seems comfortable (Janice, and the one episode microcosm of this with Rachel's boss).

Ross is looking for The One, but the thing is, The One is one particular One, whom the writers proceeded every now and then to ram down the audience's throats even after prolonged periods where it seemed that Ross was clearly over Rachel, as opposed though to Ted whom clearly once getting a girl out of his system, is over her. Okay he did have a couple of re-vertigo issues with Robin, his college girl and the Krav Manga chick, but for the most part he isn't someone who generally pines after "The One That Got Away" the way Ross sometimes got portrayed with Rachel.

Interesting note though about the thread title, in a flashback episode to about a year before the show began, the coffehouse, Central Perk, was actually a bar (I don't think it had a name though), with a pool table right where the regular couch was.

#4

Top Dog 12

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Posted Jun 7, 2009 @ 2:44 PM

Yeah that was a good episode, and you're right Marshall and Chandler are similar after Chandler gets married.

#5

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Posted Jun 8, 2009 @ 12:12 AM

I honestly don't think Marshall and Chandler have much in common, even after Chandler got married, other than the fact that they were both the college roommate of one of the main characters. Marshall is not insecure around women (he never had to be cuz he found Lily when he was 18) and isn't as sarcastic and jokester-ish as Chandler and comes from a stable family, unlike Chandler, so he doesn't have issues in that regard like Chandler always did.

I do hope that as HIMYM progresses, they will avoid what happened to "Friends"... I find that watching an earlier season episode of Friends and watching a later season episode of Friends is like night and day. All the characters became complete caricatures of themselves. The episodes were still funny, but the characters were unrecognizable from what they started out as, and that's not due to them maturing or evolving... it was due to bad writing, IMO.

Edited by SwtSassyMolassy, Jun 8, 2009 @ 12:13 AM.


#6

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Posted Jan 25, 2010 @ 8:46 PM

(Also posted in the "HIMYM in the Media" forum)

Carter and Craig are going to exec. produce a new sitcom with Kourtney Kang and Joe Kelly!

The spec script revolves around a couple who are dating -- and mulling the next stage of their relationship.

Bays and Thomas said the Kang/Kelly script contained plenty of "Mother" DNA but was different enough to rep their next evolution. Show is based in Pittsburgh, where Kang went to college.

"It feels like a logical extention of 'How I Met Your Mother,' with a couple at the center of it, instead of being about the single life," Thomas said. "We grew up writing 'Mother,' and now we can figure out the next chapter of the story."


Sources below:

Variety article

Blurb from The Hollywood Reporter

#7

Top Dog 12

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Posted Feb 20, 2010 @ 3:15 AM

Another way this show is like Friends is in the ratings. For Friends the show ratings were in in high teens in terms of millions watching for the first five seasons. For the next five seasons they were in the low 20s in terms of millions watching. Lots of people have said that the latter half is when the show quality was not as good but the ratings were higher. Same with HIMYM it seems.

#8

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Posted Feb 28, 2010 @ 3:23 PM

One factor that makes the two shows different is the fact that it's not following the same cohorts- Friends followed people born in the late '60's, went to high in the 80's, and graduated college in the early 90's. HIMYM follows people born in the late 70's, who went to high school in the 90's, and graduated college in the early 00's. That's a big difference, because the people in Friends didn't grow up in the digitial era the way the cast of HIMYM did. The latter grew up with computers being present in their childhood, and used internet, c.d. players, and cell phones by high school. I think the show does a good job of reflecting how people who came of age during the 90's act, what with the texting and ease with Facebook.

#9

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Posted Mar 3, 2010 @ 2:52 AM

Well, one very obvious Friends/HIMYM connection is...Greg Malins worked on both! He has been both an executive producer and writer on both HIMYM and Friends.

#10

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Posted Mar 3, 2010 @ 11:04 PM

Actually, the show I think HIMYM most resembles is Coupling. The experiments in time and narrative that HIMYM sometimes does in episodes were pre-empted by Coupling which frequently used narrative tricks on audiences. Also Barney has more than a superficial resemblance to Patrick from Coupling, the show lothario. Patrick is probably the sleazier than the two (He does own a cupboard of love). Also unlike Barney, Patrick is delightfully uncomplicated when it comes to settling down to domestic bliss. Coupling is much ruder than HIMYM though. Probably why I prefer it more!

Edited by claudie71, Mar 3, 2010 @ 11:05 PM.


#11

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Posted Mar 4, 2010 @ 7:27 AM

Interestingly, from the actions we've seen, Barney is a muuuch bigger sleaze than Patrick. Patrick forgot about sleeping with women, had several at the same time, cared more about his car than women and films (and overtapes!) the women he has sex with.
However, most of that is true for Barney is well. Plus, he sold a woman, he stole a womens car while camping, he slept with hundreds of women (from what I see, just in S5...).

He actually uses elaborate plans to get them into his bed, basically only lying to them.
Patrick just talks about his "BMW M3. Midnight blue. Nought to 60 in five seconds, on to 100 in another six. Sequential semiautomatic gear box, traction control, and black leather seats." (Patricks words) or "car" (Sallys words) (or his donkey penis)...

The difference why one feels Patrick is sleazier is (imho deliberately) the way they are acting and portraying the character. Barney must be loved by the audience, which is why he is being portrayed as sympathetic to the audience and the core group. They very seldom confront him with what are basically reaally asshole-things he does. Patrick gets a lot more crap from Susan or Sally (which are two of the three "normal characters on Coupling).

The reason for this imho lies in the different way british sitcoms work. Britcoms (is that actually used? If not, I want to copyright it for being an awesome word!) can work with having a relatable normal couple at the front and everyone else being crazy. Seriosuly, in the group of 6 you have 1 insane woman (Jane), one perverted loser, one sleazeball, one Samantha from SatC and the normal couple.

#12

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Posted Mar 4, 2010 @ 4:46 PM

Cool! Another Coupling fan!

I said Patrick was the sleazier of the two because he actually keeps a video of every woman he's slept with (not sure if Barney does the same) and even slept with a pregnant woman (Has Barney crossed this threshold?)

But you are totally right in the fact that Barney lies to basically every woman he meets just to sleep with her means that he is probably sleazier than Patrick. Patrick doesn't have to go to such effort, presumably because he's a tripod. There's a desperation in Barney's attempts to hit on woman that just doesn't exist with Patrick.

And your point about how people (i.e. me) tend to think Patrick is sleazier because he gets berated alot more than Barney is really intriguing too!

Interestingly though I like Patrick alot more than I like Barney (at least the Barney of this season). Partially because I think Sally and Patrick's relationship was handled 1000x than Barney and Robin's.

I do disagree however that Sally is Samantha from SaTC. Sally's desperation to get married and other neuroses seems worlds away from Samantha.

#13

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Posted Mar 4, 2010 @ 6:21 PM

Patrick is far less harmful than Barney because he doesn't deliberately deceive the women he sleeps with.

But I prefer Barney.

Jeff was my fav guy on Coupling.

#14

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Posted Mar 6, 2010 @ 10:49 AM

As a character, I find Patrick far more believable than Barney. Actually, from the get-go, I found Barney little more than a caricature.

*ducks

#15

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Posted Mar 8, 2010 @ 12:34 AM

I've always wondered why television shied away from having characters hang out at bars, especially characters in their 20's. It might have something to do with showing responsible behavior, but most nights out end up in hangovers and more than a few bad decisions. I think it's more responsible to show the results of bad behavior than avoiding that behavior entirely and pretending it doesn't exist.

I always thought the Friends were lame because they hung out at a coffeehouse. And there were always the token episodes where one of the characters had too much to drink and did something stupid. That's not a once yearly occurence, dude. It's weekly or more.

#16

Top Dog 12

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Posted Mar 8, 2010 @ 1:39 AM

I always thought the Friends were lame because they hung out at a coffeehouse. And there were always the token episodes where one of the characters had too much to drink and did something stupid. That's not a once yearly occurence, dude. It's weekly or more.


I think the point may have been was that hey some people in their 20s are different and don't get drunk every weekend. I'm in my 20s and have only been drunk three times ever and do hang out in coffeehouses (as well as in bars).

#17

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Posted Mar 8, 2010 @ 4:35 PM

Top Dog 12, I'm not denying that there are quite a few 20-somethings that don't spend the majority of their time out at the bar, and I wasn't just harping on Friends. There were quite a few shows in the 90's where characters didn't engage in the debauchery that the majority of 20-somethings do, so it made it seem like the norm was to hang out at your apartment with your friends as opposed to going out, and I don't honestly think that's true.

#18

Top Dog 12

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Posted Mar 8, 2010 @ 9:55 PM

Well we may have to agree to disagree, I think it may be about 50/50 but YMMV.

So I feel for a lot of 20 somethings it is the norm.

Edited by Top Dog 12, Mar 8, 2010 @ 11:35 PM.


#19

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Posted Mar 9, 2010 @ 11:07 AM

I've been rewatching Golden Girls and noticed that in a season 4 episode, they used the same joke about the teacher (here it's Dorothy) thinking a Chinese name is a joke there. However, they didn't repeat it three times in the episode, just once. I'm not comparing, I just noticed because it was rather recent that HIMYM used the same one.

Has anyone seen that one done in another sitcom before?

#20

Steve J Rogers

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Posted May 15, 2010 @ 8:42 PM

Okay, here is a big similarity between Friends and HIMYM. Now granted it is something that trends in just about every sitcom every made, but Robots vs. Wrestlers kind of drove the point home more so than most of the times it gets used.

You take one character that is a bit of an intellectual (Ross and Ted) and you constantly mock that point or what their ultimate passion is (archeology/paleontology and architecture) to the point where you have to dumb down the other characters in order to get the joke across.

I have no idea what Bays/Thomas views are on architecture, but the creators of Friends on one of the commentaries actually came out and said they thought paleontology was the worse field someone could go into, so that is why they constantly mocked Ross and what he did.

And of course this is a constant trope in sitcoms, as I've mentioned, where the "down to earth" main characters realize that their lives are much better than the high society that they briefly come into contact with, which if using the Friends example, probably says more about the producers of the show's feelings about high culture than anything else.

I've always wondered why television shied away from having characters hang out at bars, especially characters in their 20's. It might have something to do with showing responsible behavior, but most nights out end up in hangovers and more than a few bad decisions. I think it's more responsible to show the results of bad behavior than avoiding that behavior entirely and pretending it doesn't exist.

I always thought the Friends were lame because they hung out at a coffeehouse. And there were always the token episodes where one of the characters had too much to drink and did something stupid. That's not a once yearly occurence, dude. It's weekly or more.


The show Friends essentially replaced in the Thursday lineup was set predominantly in a bar though!

To be fair though, they did show the gang frequently drinking beers (with actual product placement logos) in their respective apartments, so it wasn't like they shied away from showing alcohol being consumed.

Also, if I recall correctly, the early to mid 1990s I believe was the high point of the coffee house "trend" as the destination to go to hang out at, so I'm going to guess the producers were trying to catch in on that "craze."

What I'd love to see is if Central Perk closed, forcing the gang, well I guess now there wouldn't be much of a "gang" but you'll see where I'm going, to hang at a Starbucks since it pretty much has taken over that whole coffee house industry.

#21

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Posted May 27, 2010 @ 6:45 PM

I was never a fan of Friends. But anyway...

Speaking of Dopplegangers, there's a show premiering on NBC tonight called 100 Questions.

Charlotte Payne (Sophie Winkleman, "Peep Show") is looking for love and has rejected multiple marriage proposals -- but she has yet to meet Mr. Right. When she joins a popular online dating site, she gets a little help from her dating counselor Andrew (Michael Benjamin Washington, "Mamma Mia") - who requires her to take a 100-question compatibility test. The questions aren't easy for Charlotte to answer, and each one requires her to recount a poignant and humorous time in her life with friends Leslie (Smith Cho, "Fired Up!"), Jill (Collette Wolfe, "17 Again"), Mike (Christopher Moynihan, "For Your Consideration") and Wayne (David Walton, NBC's "Quarterlife"). The test becomes a journey of self-discovery for Charlotte who begins to realize what she truly wants in a relationship.


A show about someone finding their true love through flashbacks- sounds vaguely familiar.

Edited by CantThinkUpName, May 27, 2010 @ 6:46 PM.


#22

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Posted May 27, 2010 @ 10:31 PM

Yeah, it was a very BAD combo of HIMYM and Friends with the worlds WORST and most intrusive laugh track.

#23

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Posted May 27, 2010 @ 10:37 PM

Speaking of Dopplegangers, there's a show premiering on NBC tonight called 100 Questions.


Checked it out, it was halfway decent, but the laugh track needs to go, that was just bad.

And it did have an appearance by Brad.

It is a good show for the Summer.

Edited by SeattleGuy89, May 27, 2010 @ 11:01 PM.


#24

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Posted Sep 9, 2010 @ 9:18 PM

I always felt that HIMYM is basically an updated version of friends.

Ted is an almost disturbing facsimile of Ross, being the academic who becomes a professor, becomes romantically involved with a student, and has a life-long crush on Rachel/Robyn (it's interesting to see how they let that fade, and settle into an actual friendship with no hopes/aspirations on either side in the later seasons).

Robyn/Rachel is the outsider who comes into the city and gradually works towards a dream position, while having confusing romantic dalliances with workmates.

Marshall/Chandler is the often insecure corporate workhorse, and Ted's college friend, who plays the settled, married counterpart to Joey's romantic escapades.

Barney/Joey is the Casanova, with endless dedication to his acting craft, constantly jumping into a variety of roles, the greatest of which is the source of his income. He also falls victim to a brief romantic dalliance with Rachel.

Lilly/Phoebe is the artist who works on staying true to her vision, while simultaneously being able to fit in with the great people around her. With Monica's demise in the show's remake, she also inherits some of her settled/bedrock of the group qualities to tie it together in times of strife.

Monica: you will be missed, but you you were the least developed of the Friends characters. With OCD gaining increasing recognition as a grave and serious condition, all you would have had left would be your image as the serious one, and your marriage to Marshall, which Ms. Hannigan had sufficient talent to incorporate into her Phoebe.

Thass how I saw it through the first few seasons, though some of the characters started to deviate more than others as it went on, and Cobie Smulders is so unbearably perfect that one couldn't blame the show for reinventing a monumental piece of television, with a more modern look at corporate life thrown into the mix.

#25

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Posted Sep 12, 2010 @ 9:44 PM

and has a life-long crush on Rachel/Robyn


Am I missing something? Ted had never met Robin before the first episode of the series, pursues her for a year, dates her for a year, then settles into friendship with her.

#26

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Posted Sep 8, 2011 @ 1:08 PM

I haven't watched the show start to finish, I only watch it on syndication, so I don't know the timing of anything. I saw an episode last night where Robin and Barney let everyone know they've been sleeping together, meanwhile Ted becomes a professor. It made me crazy. Why did they just take that right out of Friends? I hated it on Friends and I hate it on this show. Ted was neurotic in his first class, didn't know how to act or speak, just like Ross. Having gone through grad school and worked in academia, there is no way that a guy like Ted, in his late 20s and no academic track record (except for having completed the degree requirements for his profession), would be teaching at a big NYC university. I know TV is not real, but it drives me crazy when they put characters into completely impossible positions.

#27

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Posted Sep 11, 2011 @ 7:23 AM

HIMYM reminds me a lot of the UK series Coupling (I haven't seen the US version) - with the way that it plays around with narrative and the style of humour. The main difference that I see between the two shows is that Coupling was prone to a certain amount of gender stereotyping and HIMYM isn't the same way.