When you think of the best comedy shows out there, you instantly think of Seinfeld. It was the funniest show ever released and still easily claims that rank. But Seinfeld can’t be called the complete package as it focused all its energies into comedy.
Meanwhile, How I Met Your Mother was seen as the successor of Friends and was incredibly successful, despite its completely awful series finale. How I Met Your Mother, though, appeals a lot more to certain audiences today than Seinfeld. This is because it has certain aspects that Seinfeld doesn’t have expertise in, and How I Met Your Mother capitalized on this. Here are 10 of such things How I Met Your Mother did better than Seinfeld.
10 Pilot Episode
Seinfeld’s pilot episode is all over the place. If you watch the first episode and compare it with an episode from the second season, it’ll feel like a world of difference.
How I Met Your Mother played it straighter with its first episode by establishing how the gang worked and what the premise of the show would be. Even though the finale was godawful, you could watch the Pilot and then jump to the finale and it would still feel like the same show. How I Met Your Mother’s first episode was also much funnier than Seinfeld’s as it gave us all the hits, such as Barney’s “Legendary” quotes, the first time round.
Seinfeld was the best show from the ‘90s when it came to continuity since previous episodes' events had a bearing on future episodes, but it still doesn’t come close to How I Met Your Mother’s knack for continuity.
The show was such a sucker for continuity that it would lay brick jokes way ahead in the future. We knew about the “Goat Incident” from the pilot episode all the way till the fourth season finale! Then there were also episodes which harkened back to previous ones that had taken place many years prior. Jokes were also retroactively added without messing with continuity, instead making them better, such as Marshall and Lily’s bet over Ted and Stella’s wedding.
8 Emotional Storylines
This one is a no-brainer since Seinfeld never – not even once – had an emotional episode. Even the episode where George’s fiancé died, by licking envelopes he’d chosen out, had been played for laughs. When the gang went to jail in the finale, it was supposed to be funny, not heartbreaking.
How I Met Your Mother, meanwhile, made us cry many, many times. Heck, the finale even had the Mother be dead the whole time Ted was telling the story. Marshall losing his father to a heart attack comprised most of his storyline for Season 6, and never was it made to seem funny. By the end of its run, the show had done emotional drama so much, you’d be justified into thinking it wasn’t a straight-up sitcom anymore.
When you think of How I Met Your Mother, you instantly think of Barney and his endless plethora of catchphrases. Seinfeld did have a few catchphrases or quirks from its characters that were their trademark comedy, but you’ll have to really think about them, and the only one that really comes to mind instantly is “No Soup For You!”
On the other hand, How I Met Your Mother incites you to say “Legen-wait for it-Dary!” to just about anything. And it doesn’t stop there, you also want to yell “High Five!” after something cool, or introduce your friend by saying “Haaaave you met…?” You even say “Lawyered!” after winning an argument despite not being a lawyer.
6 Friendships Among the Gang
Seinfeld was actually the worst in sitcoms when it came to showing solid friendships among the main characters as the point of the show was that these people chose Jerry as their friend since they had no other option. There were certain episodes where George, Elaine, and Kramer outright ditched their friends when they had better options.
On How I Met Your Mother, the point Ted was trying to make was that he was able to go through his decade of loneliness because he had the never-ending support of his friends. Every friend in the gang could call each other best friends and they were always there for each other.
5 First Season
Seinfeld found its sweet spot in the middle of the second season, before which it had something of an identity crisis. The show’s music was different, the personalities of the friends – Kramer in particular – were different, and the episodes were uneven; not sure whether to be completely funny or throw in some storylines.
How I Met Your Mother’s first season can be called the best season the show ever had. It knocked it out of the park with this season as fans instantly loved the modern take on Friends and how effectively the framing device was employed. How I Met Your Mother’s first season had just the right balance between comedy and serious storylines, and just about every episode has incredible replay value.
4 Hangout Location
Can most of you even name the restaurant Jerry and friends hung out at? Although a lot of the episodes were set there, the restaurant never felt “homey” to anyone. Meanwhile, McLaren’s Pub has the proper fusion between Cheers and Central Perk from Friends.
Much of the gang’s exploits took place right here and the set was lovely in itself. Its presentation gave off a vibe of comfortability, as well as having that iconic look you want for a long-running sitcom. The gang’s booth was such that it made you want a pub of your own where you had your sweet spot with friends. Seinfeld’s hangout spot only ever felt like an additional location for the characters to visit.
3 Main Apartment
Seinfeld had Jerry’s apartment as the main location where the action took place, but the apartment never gave off that hanging out feeling you want from your friend’s place. The characters jumped in and out of Jerry’s home without ever making it feel like a warm place to visit.
Ted’s apartment, on the other hand, was always the ‘A’ location on How I Met Your Mother. It helped that it didn’t have the dreary look Jerry’s apartment had, instead having a very lively looking setting as well as being spacious enough so that the gang had many antics there. Moving out of Ted’s apartment always had a significant meaning attached to it, as opposed to Jerry’s which was mainly a place for Kramer to loiter around.
Seinfeld made use of a few flashback scenes to show Jerry and George in their youth to convey to fans how long they’ve been friends; some other flashbacks were thrown in also. However, How I Met Your Mother made flashbacks its main course as the show lived on these sequences.
If you haven’t noticed yet, go and watch even a single episode of the show and you’ll see How I Met Your Mother’s main method of comedy is by employing flashbacks. While Seinfeld was unparalleled in straight-up jokes, How I Met Your Mother revolutionized flashback sequences as a form of comedy.
1 Female Storylines
Seinfeld is generally known as a show for guys since it doesn’t have any female-centric storylines. Elaine was the only woman on the show, and even her stories weren’t female-related in any way. Elaine herself had no feminine qualities or any female friends.
How I Met Your Mother is more suited for the modern woman as it has the independent woman in Robin, and the mom-role in Lily. It can be relatable to any woman as both family and independent woman stories are available; it also has female friendships as part of Lily and Robin’s characterization.