Friends and How I Met Your Mother are Basically The Same Show!

by 
 | December 9, 2022

A group of friends who live in Manhattan and struggle through relationships and day-to-day life. This sums up two of the greatest sitcoms to ever air on TV. Friends and How I Met Your Mother are two wonderfully fun shows with a lot of heart and plenty of hilarity. While both shows are unique, they do also have a lot in common. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014) was released after Friends (1994-2004) and is very much inspired by it. But the parallels don't stop there. There are some eerily similar moments and some really funny resemblances. Coincidence or not, here are some of the ways these shows are alike.

Apart from the basic idea of a group of friends hanging out in New York, the characters themselves are pretty similar. Marshall and Chandler are the show's goofy, comical types. Ross and Ted are high-minded nerds. Lily and Monica are the mother hens of the group. Joey and Barney are the womanizers. This isn’t the first time a show has had these types of characters and dynamics, but this just scratches the surface.

Side-by-side photos of the main casts of Friends and How I Met Your Mother.
“Looks like a fun gang.” (Warner Bros., 20th TV)

One of the coolest similarities, which is an early running joke in both shows, is how nobody knows what Chandler or Barney do for a living. Of course, the shows eventually reveal what they each do, but it was a fun time to see their friends lost in confusion.

“He's a Transponster!!”

Ross and Ted go through a similar gag: both become college professors and end up dating students, which could result in them losing their job, and both of those relationships do not end well.

Each show also has a multitude of wedding disasters: people being left at the altar, saying the wrong name at the ceremony, Chandler and Robin almost running out on their weddings, to name a few. If someone is getting married in these shows, it’s probably not going to go smoothly. The womanizers, Joey and Barney, also officiate their friends’ weddings too!

Barney officiates the wedding of Lily and Marshall.
“Excuse me, you gentlemen dropped something... your jaws! Because Barney Stinson is about to aid and abet in a marriage.” (20th TV)

A sillier parallel is that Chandler and Ted both have female middle names. Chandler Muriel Bing and Ted Evelyn Mosby. Their parents didn’t give them a chance, did they?

The only main British characters in each show also don't fare so well: Ross’s second wife, Emily, and Barney’s serious girlfriend, Nora, are left heartbroken due to the hang-ups of the will they/won’t they relationships. Poor girls.

Emily from Friends and Nora from How I Met Your Mother.
These Brits got bashed. (Warner Bros., 20th TV)

Both shows also have a friend kissing another friend’s mom: Ross kisses Chandler's mom, and Barney kisses Ted’s. Plus, both shows have a love triangle when Joey and Barney develop feelings for Rachel and Robin, respectively. 

Each show's characters have a daily local hangout spot, too: the coffee shop in Friends, Central Perk, and the bar in HIMYM, MacClaren's Pub.

One of the most beloved similarities are the flashbacks to the college days of the characters. It was hilarious to see the Friends cast sporting terrible 80s and 90s inspired haircuts and outfits while diving into their embarrassing memories. How I Met Your Mother joined in on the fun here, too. Seeing where the group has come from was a great way to flesh them out, and it always leads to some great moments in the shows.

Chandler and Ross in a flashback to their college years.
"God, we were lame!" (Warner Bros.)

Now here’s the craziest coincidence. Actors are always looking to play new roles, and it isn’t rare for actors to have been in both shows. Thomas Lennon, who plays Joey's identical hand twin, and Sherri Shepard, Marshall’s ever-faithful travel companion, have appeared in both. Still, the craziest story has got to go to Anne Dudek. She played a character named Precious in Friends, and she was in a relationship with Mike, Phoebe’s main romantic interest and soon-to-be husband. Phoebe and Mike had gotten back together, and Mike had to break things off with Precious. Not expecting anything, Precious was then dumped and, to make matters worse, on her birthday, no less. She then slapped Mike and stormed out.

In How I Met Your Mother, Anne Dudek was cast as Natalie, who Ted had previously dated. Ted won her over again, giving the relationship another chance, only for Ted to realize he wasn’t interested in her for the long haul. He then chose to break up with her, not knowing that it was her birthday. She then pounded on Ted, using her knowledge of Krav Maga. Too similar to be a coincidence, right? Same actress, both characters dumped on their birthday? Man, talk about being type-cast!

Anne Dudek's character in both How I Met Your Mother and Friends.
Happy birthday, I guess. (Warner Bros., 20th TV)

All in all, both shows continue to be amazing to re-watch, and it can be super fun to try to find these similarities. Think about it next time you’re binging. Both shows also had some controversy over their endings, too (How I Met Your Mother in particular), but they will definitely go down as two of the best TV shows ever. They are, in fact, legen… wait for it… Dary!!

Are there any other similarities you know of? Make sure you let us know in the comments below and on our socials.

Stinson out!

Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother posing in a suit and tie.
The ultimate wingman! (20th TV)

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