SEINFELD vs FRIENDS: It is impossible to discuss sitcoms without delving into the two biggest sitcoms that ruled the 1990s. Both shows achieved massive followings yet often drew very different types of audiences. It certainly is not impossible to have enjoyed both but generally people prefer one over the other.
Often referred to as the “show about nothing”, Seinfeld Episdoes ran from 1989 to 1998 and was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. Set in New York, the show centred on a fictionalized version of Seinfeld’s life. Seinfeld played himself and the show dealt with story lines involving his close friends and acquaintances, including best friend George Costanza (Jason Alexander), ex-girlfriend Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) and neighbour Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards).
Friends, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, ran from 1994 to 2004. Also set in New York, it centred around six friends and their intertwined lives: Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston), Monica Geller (Courteney Cox), Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow), Joey Tribbiani (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry) and Ross Geller (David Schwimmer).
SEINFELD VS FRIENDS
Do you prefer Seinfeld or Friends?
Which show made you laugh more?
Which TV Show has stood the test of time ?
Seinfeld vs Friends: While whichever one you prefer depends on your own personal taste, here are some points made about both television shows:
- Seinfeld lacks sentimentality, there’s a sense of emotional detachment from the scenarios it presents. Characters are not very likeable if not awful yet you can still “like” them. Friends features conventional sentimentality and emotionalism that people can relate to and often seek out.
- Seinfeld offers a cynical and often absurd yet realistic view of people and the world. In Friends, even in its offbeat moments, friendship is the most important thing no matter what happens throughout the course of an episode.
- Seinfeld’s biggest mistake was its last episode “The Finale”. It’s often criticised and even by the most die hard fans. It replaced what made the show actually work, the simplicity of situations as opposed to a bunch of unnecessary cameos and over complicated plot points.
- Seinfeld still feels contemporary. The intricacies and annoyances of life that it explores will never date. While Friends was driven by an ongoing plot, that although can very nostalgic, seems dated and less significant today.
- Seinfeld was the more innovative highbrow sitcom, with the courage and desire to break new ground while Friends relied on a simpler formula. It was a show with no real premise apart from six friends hanging out in New York City.
- The comedy of Friends was less specific and niche, which made it more accessible to a broader range of people. Without Friends there may have not been How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, or The League.
- Seinfeld developed a formula which is virtually impossible to replicate with another cast whilst Friends developed a formula which is easily imitable and translatable to other sitcom contexts.
SEINFELD VS FRIENDS
Scene from Friends Season 10 Episode 8
Seinfeld- The Best of the Soup Nazi
Choosing between these two shows is a very easy task for me. I remember my nightly sitcom ritual in the 90s during my primary school years. My sitcom TV routine was The Simpsons, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. Tuesday night was epic because it included all the previously mentioned sitcoms followed up by Melrose Place at 8:30pm. I also remember the Seinfeld vs Friends rivalries at high school.
I immediately connected with Seinfeld. We certainly had not seen anything like it on television before, which is why so many of us embraced it so quickly. Though it was unique to television, its style was something that I had already embraced. For me, it was a perfect combination of the humour of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David . Obvious influences include Mel Brooks and my all time favourite Woody Allen. The comic situations were fresh and unique, the writing was intelligent and sharp, and the comic timing of the entire cast was impeccable. The eccentric randomness is what really won me over. The New York Jewish brand of neurotic and high anxiety comedy was certainly to my taste. An extremely innovative and sophisticated comedy.
In my opinion, no US sitcom has come close to rivalling it. For me, it is THE finest American comedy TV show ever created. The Soup Nazi, The Close Talker and The Ugly Baby are arguably my top three favourite episodes. They are exactly the types of things that my friends and I would notice and laugh about. Seinfeld quotes still circulate frequently amongst my friendship groups.
On the other hand, I never understood the appeal of Friends. I managed to watch a number of episodes when the show first aired, and I re-watched a few episodes last week. It’s even worse than what I remembered it to be. I never laughed, I did not even guffaw or chuckle at the so called humour. For the life of me I still can’t work out why people laughed while watching it. Base element simple comedy can have a certain simple charm to it, but Friends didn’t even have that.
The Cox character was probably the best of a bad bunch. All the men on the show were unmemorable. I never understood the hype behind Jennifer Aniston in any regard. I’d much rather hang with her epic father John Aniston (Victor Kiriakis from Days of our Lives). The worst of them was Phoebe. She’s supposed to be cute and funny? Good Lord, my back arched every time her character came on screen. Kudrow has done better work in film, but this part was a poor man’s Diane Keaton comedic character.
Far worse sitcoms have come since Friends. Two Broke Girls has to be one of the most dumb and insulting sitcoms in existence. However, for me, Friends is an obscenely overrated TV show. Seinfeld gets the crown from me. The best US sitcom of all time and it will be forever evergreen.