The problem with comparing The Office and Friends

Comparisons between hit comedy shows, The Office and Friends are rife, but should we be comparing the two or just appreciating them separately?

Arguably two of the longest-running and popular comedy series in contemporary history are The Office and Friends.

Both are completely different in their premise, however, due to their culture-shifting narratives and impact, comparisons between the two are rife, more so in light of Friends recently celebrating its Netflix special, Friends: The Reunion.

Therefore, is it fair to compare the two, especially when considering the times that both series were made?

Firstly, Friends aired from 1994 until 2004. The show had a 10-year run. According to IMDb, the series “follows the personal and professional lives of six 20 to 30-something-year-old friends living in Manhattan.”

Therefore, the focus of the series was the relationship dynamics between the friend groups. Hence, one of the most cherished aspects of the show is the friendships between the female characters and the male characters.

Moreover, the intimate relationships and iconic television couples like Rachel and Ross and Monica and Chandler.

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The Office, on the other hand, had an eight-year run between 2005 and 2013.

IMDb describes the show as “a mockumentary on a group of typical office workers, where the workday consists of ego clashes, inappropriate behaviour, and tedium.”

Therefore, it was based on situations, with the characters in the story used as devices to further the comedic element of said situations.

However, the show is lauded for its humour and writing, more so as its series finale season is regarded as arguably better than that of Friends.

It is for the primary reason nuanced above that comparing the two in ranking should be nullified. Each had a different focus, hence the strength of one sitcom is the other’s weakness.

Moreover, comedy has changed and continues to change. The humour of The Office is more comical now than that of Friends, due to changing socio-political times.

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