The Office and Friends both concluded decade and near-decade-long runs on TV quite some time ago, but that doesn't stop just about everyone from constantly referencing them today. The two shows made television history, and are known as being incredibly smart, funny, and relatable. They broke the typical sitcom mold with unforgettable characters and storylines, and have definitely earned their places as iconic series.
Friends began airing on TV in 1994 and concluded with ten seasons in 2004. The Office premiered on NBC a year later, in 2005, and wrapped up with nine seasons in 2013.
These two series are quite spaced out when it comes to their air times, and their concepts are very different. But the two shows do have something in common, regarding how famous and celebrated they both are, and continue to be. They are two timeless shows that fans will not soon forget, and in many ways, they will both live forever. Let's review five things that The Office did better than Friends, and five things Friends did better.
10 CONTINUITY - THE OFFICE
In sitcoms, continuity is often disregarded for the sake of comedy. Writers are usually so focused on how many jokes they're going to pack into one episode, that they neglect to keep things such as characters' backstories, consistent
Many aspects of The Office set it apart from other sitcoms. One significant example of this is the fact that they almost always managed to keep up with continuity. They would pull out little, seemingly minute details from a few seasons back, and that was refreshing to see. Friends, on the other hand, had many struggles in the continuity department. By the end of the series, the writers seemed to forget that Ross had a son, Phoebe had a brother, two nieces, and a nephew, and Rachel had two sisters.
9 FRIENDSHIPS - FRIENDS
It wasn't as if the friendships featured on The Office weren't strong and undeniably memorable, but in Friends' case, the friendships between characters were the focal point of the show. The writers of the series definitely seemed to value comedy above all else, but without the iconic bond that the Friends gang had, the show would not have been as beloved as it was.
The Office had iconic friendships like Michael and Dwight's dynamic, but it's worth noting that quite a few of the friendships featured on the series were a tad...dysfunctional, for the sake of "good comedy".
8 ROMANCE - THE OFFICE
There is no denying how awesome Monica and Chandler were. Today, they are still regarded as one of the best couples in TV history, so Friends definitely gets a lot of credit for that. But the series falls short in the general romance department, due to its typical sitcom way of injecting comedy into circumstances where comedy really doesn't belong.
Jim and Pam were, of course, the power couple of The Office. Sure, they had their issues. By the end of the series, their swoon-worthy romance had gone kind of stale. But with that aside, it was clear that The Office took Jim and Pam - and romance in general - seriously. This just made their relationship feel a lot more genuine.
7 CONSISTENCY WITH CHARACTERS - FRIENDS
Friends may have fallen short in the continuity department, but what they lacked there, they made up for in keeping their characters' personalities consistent. Phoebe was always flaky and lovably quirky. Monica was always high-maintenance and a clean freak. Chandler was always awkward and dorky. Joey was always the Italian stud with a heart of gold. Ross was always an arrogant - if sometimes unfortunate - jerk. Rachel was always somewhat spoiled and naive. You could always rely on the characters you knew, and although they developed throughout the series, the core of their personalities remained consistent.
The Office was very good at continuity, but it dropped the ball a bit when it came to keeping characters consistent. The later seasons presented quite a few wacky, off-the-wall situations in which the characters revolved around the plot, rather than the plot revolving around the characters.
6 WITTY HUMOR - THE OFFICE
Friends had countless hilarious episodes in its ten-season run, and for a sitcom, it was impressive that they managed to keep their comedy so fresh. However, the series was still a '90s sitcom, so it would be pretty hard for them to avoid that typical sitcom vibe.
The Office, on the other hand, was a very unique show in the way that it managed to break free of those well-known sitcom tropes. The series' mockumentary format helps with that, and The Office as a whole just feels a lot more real than most shows.
5 FINAL SEASON - FRIENDS
Not many Friends fans would really call the series' final season "good". It seems to be a fandom-wide consensus that the last season felt rushed and as a whole, out of character. So it's not that Friends' final season should be considered good in any way, but The Office's final season managed to be worse.
The quality of The Office that so many fans adored it for, fizzled out into nothing by the time the ninth season rolled around. The last season, save the final episode, was packed with lame jokes, countless out-of-character moments for just about everyone, and some contrived storylines that severely fractured Jim and Pam's marriage.
4 SERIES FINALE - THE OFFICE
As bad as Friends' final season, the series finale made everyone a hundred times worse. The two-parter episode is known as one of Friends' weakest and gives an iconic series a very unsatisfying end. Not to mention, the finale worked to further the narrative of Ross and Rachel's ever famous, but very unhealthy relationship.
The Office had a very weak final season, but by the end of the series, it managed to redeem itself with a beautiful finale. This episode largely revolves around Angela and Dwight's wedding ceremony and features the much-anticipated return of Michael Scott. The finale, as a whole, was good enough that is managed to make up for a lackluster final season.
3 THE LOVABLE DORK - FRIENDS
It's commonly thought by many fans of both series', that Jim is to The Office, what Chandler is to Friends. Their characters were very similar, and they both represented the token "lovable dork" that every sitcom - and every show in general - usually includes.
Jim was most beloved in the earlier seasons of The Office when his sarcastic, easy-going demeanor won fans over, and his constant looking into the camera was a point of identification for the audience. It wasn't until later on in the series that Jim's charm began to wear off, and he arguably became jaded. Chandler, however, was the sarcastic, sweet guy right up to the end, making him well-loved to this day.
2 UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCES - THE OFFICE
Again, Friends was a '90s sitcom. It was unique in its own right and undeniably genre-defining, but its humor primarily revolved around the main gang getting deal with some pretty mundane situations.
This is where The Office, once again, breaks tropes of the sitcom genre. The series presents its characters in several completely wacky scenarios. It goes a bit overboard with this in later seasons, but in earlier episodes - such as the time Michael and Dwight drove a car into a lake - this made the show very unique.
1 THE POWER COUPLE - FRIENDS
Both Friends and The Office had their power couples, like any good show. For Friends, it was Monica and Chandler, and for The Office, it was Jim and Pam. Both relationships won audiences over, and are still cited today for being completely iconic.
Every couple fights, but The Office took this a little too far with Jim and Pam in the final season. The usually picture-perfect duo was at odds in almost every episode, and this served to make their relationship way less appealing. Chandler and Monica, on the other hand, had their arguments. But in their cases, fights only lasted for about an episode. Friends really wanted to get the point across to the audience that these two were soulmates and loved each other unconditionally, and they were very successful in conveying that.