When someone mentions '90s sitcoms, you automatically think of Seinfeld and Friends. Both shows garnered an impressive following during their years on air, while syndication ensured they remained in the public consciousness. It is easy to compare the success of these New York City-based shows, but Friends was more all-encompassing.
Not only did Friends muster up the comedic factor that Seinfeld did, but it also included emotional plot lines, more relatable scenarios, and many other things that Seinfeld never touched on. Here are 10 things that Friends did better than Seinfeld.
10 Female Perspective
Seinfeld's main focus was, of course, Jerry Seinfeld himself. Most of these best episode revolved around him and his male friends. Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe gave Friends the edge it needed in female perspective and female comedy. Not only do you follow the men of the show, but you get to follow the stories of each female character and see their arcs as the seasons go by.
Each girl is strong, witty, and had the kind of life that any young woman living in New York City at the time could only wish upon the stars for. Elaine is a great character, but she is no match for the combined brilliance of Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe.
Essentially, Seinfeld was strictly comedy. While the sitcom did touch upon some sensitive topics, the characters themselves seldom took the situation too seriously. People watching both shows as they aired in real time couldn't wait to see what would happen between Ross and Rachel, but not so much about what George was up to.
While Seinfeld was great for a reliable laugh, it just did not seek to include the type of drama capable of emotionally gripping audiences like Friends.
8 Emotional Attachment To Characters
Each character in Friends had their own story, personality, and quirks. People were and still are acquainted with which Friends character they are most like. When they went through heartbreak, so did the audience.
When a character messed up (looking at you Ross), viewers were irritated with them. It is hard not to be emotionally attached to the characters when the cast really dove deep into bringing those people to life.
Yes, Seinfeld had a ton of relationships, including Elaine and Jerry during the sitcom's earlier years and George's self-imposed death march towards marriage in Season 7. However, they just couldn't hold a candle to Ross and Rachel, Chandler and Monica, or Phoebe and Mike. Everyone wanted to know the true fate of Ross and Rachel.
People argued over whether or not they were really on a break. It was hard not to cry when Chandler and Monica had an emotional proposal in that famous apartment. With every couple on Friends, audiences could find things they could relate to their own dating lives.
6 Relatable Comedy
Seinfeld was without a doubt super comical. It had great one-liners, and not one episode ever disappointed in the comedy sector. However, Friends made situations comical in a nuanced way thanks to the six main characters' rapport.
They all said what all audience members were thinking, and the improvisation by Matthew Perry as Chandler was enough to carry most episodes. Each character never failed to make you laugh, and it was typically about situations that everyone has once been a part of. Seinfeld is also quite relatable, but the sitcom focuses more on observational humor.
5 The Last Season
The last season of Seinfeld was a touch disappointing and slightly messy, especially the series finale. Friends wrapped up their plot lines and character arcs perfectly with the last season. Nothing felt rushed, unfinished, or left unsaid. Ross and Rachel finally got together and found their way back to each other. Chandler and Monica welcomed two new babies into the world, and the rest of the characters were ultimately happy.
Each story that audiences had followed for so long had a happy ending, which may not be the most realistic outcome, but it was the best nonetheless.
4 Character Friendships
There was no duo on Friends that wasn't hilarious in its own way. Rachel and Monica were the type of girlfriends people aspired to be. The banter between Ross and Phoebe was like no other relationship audiences had ever seen.
People could relate their own friendships to the ones of the six friends, and they were all so close to each other, that you kind of wished you could just insert yourself right into the group.
3 Quotable Moments
Between Ross and Rachel "being on a break," and Phoebe's Smelly Cat, there are so many moments on Friends that people still quote today.
Every song Phoebe sang got drilled into the heads of viewers, and it was hard not to memorize the lines to that all too painful break-up scene between Ross and Rachel. Each episode has enough hilarious moments to quote, the people will recognize immediately. That's not to say Seinfeld is not quotable, but Friends is on another level.
2 Catering To The Younger Audience
Even today in 2019 people are watching Friends. Between late night re-runs on Nick at Nite and Netflix, Friends has reached a whole new generation. One can still catch episodes of Seinfeld on TV, but it just doesn't relate to new audiences the way Friends does.
Seinfeld had the kind of comedy that felt so right for the time period, but Friends created a story that people today are still so invested in following to the end.
1 The Family Aspect
Friends feels like home to so many fans, and that is a testimony to how well the show incorporates the theme of the family into its storylines. Ross and Monica are such an iconic brother-sister duo. They were quirky, they fought a lot, but at the end of each episode, they loved each other no matter what was going on in their personal lives.
Getting to see the flashbacks of them in their parent's home, along with young Chandler and Rachel, felt very reminiscent of your own personal home videos. It was nice to know that many of these characters had a connection that went way back, and somehow they still loved each other just the same as adults.