Friends vs Seinfeld

Friends vs Seinfeld

Friends vs Seinfeld how close to daily life does this represent.

It’s difficult to compare the two, because they’re so different from one another.  I would argue that Seinfeld‘s humor is more sophisticated:  the episodes are so tightly crafted in a way that most episodes of Friends are not.  On the other hand, Friends had a warmth to it (which of course was not at all the aim of Seinfeld) that made it lastingly endearing and easy to rewatch.

Comedy snobs generally see Seinfeld as the superior show.  But creating characters that are as lovable as the Friends were is a skill, too.  Plenty of sitcoms since have tried to copy the Friends dynamic (a young, good-looking group of friends) – most have failed miserably.

Seinfeld definitely pushed the envelope in terms of what you could do with humor – how dark you could go, and creating humor from selfishness and impersonal observation rather than warm relationship interactions.

But it’s easy to forget that Friends was considered somewhat edgy when it premiered, too, not concerning humor itself, but in its portrayal of sexuality:  Monica having sex on the first date, Carol and Susan’s relationship (yes, a lot of the humor surrounding them would be unacceptable today since it sort of depends on “gay” as the punchline, but the very fact that they were a committed, loving couple was revolutionary), Joey doing a sex study and focusing solely on pleasuring his girlfriend until the study was over, etc.

Critical assessments of the two shows generally rank Seinfeld higher (for example, the Writers Guild of America ranked the best written shows of all time:  Seinfeld came in at number 2; Friends came in at a distant number 24).  But surveys of “favorite” shows often rank Friends higher (the Hollywood Reporter recently surveyed over 2800 television insiders – directors, producers, writers, actors, etc. – about their favorite shows of all time:  Friends came in at number 1; Seinfeld came in at number 5).