Big Bang Theory vs. Friends: Which Sitcom Is Better For You?

Reruns of both  and  often pop up on many different cable networks, and it's not hard to see why. Both were incredibly popular and successful sitcoms that helped launch several careers, birthed dozens of memes and catchphrases and spawned several imitators that have failed to repeat their successes. The two shows do have fairly similar premises, but each one approaches their characters and humor in different ways.

If you've never seen either one of these shows, then choosing which one to commit to first can be tricky. Here is a rundown of what both  and  were about and which one might be more appealing.


A staple of NBC's must-see TV lineup in the late 90s,  was a sitcom that centered around a group of six friends living in New York City. The series traces the lives of Rachel (), Monica (Courtney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Joey (Matt LeBlanc), Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Ross (David Schwimmer) as they struggle with finding jobs, forming relationships and becoming independent. Throughout the show, the six friends support each other through various ups and downs. They each find success in either their love lives or careers, all leading up to an emotional finale where each of the friends embraces big changes in their lives but still manages to stay close to one another.

ran for ten seasons before concluding in 2004, with one of the of all time.

The Big Bang Theory

Three years after  ended,  came to the small screen in 2007 and quickly became one of CBS' biggest hits. This series follows scientists Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons), their next-door neighbor (Kaley Cuoco), their friends Howard (Simon Helberg) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar), fellow scientists Amy (Mayim Bialik) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and comic book store owner Stuart (Kevin Sussman) as they also struggle with work and relationships while growing into different people along the way. The main hook was that many of the characters were brilliant scientists with nerdy and socially awkward tendencies.

The show ran two seasons longer than  before . The show even led to its own spin-off series called  that's still going today. By comparison, ' spin-off  only lasted two seasons.

Which One Is For You?

There are several similarities between  and  when it comes to character dynamics. Both center around a small group of friends that usually spend time in each other's apartments during most episodes. Both groups have a central on-and-off couple, Ross/Rachel and Leonard/Penny, that is usually the main focus of the show while another couple, Monica/Chandler and Sheldon/Amy, don't take center stage but still play a big role in the narrative. That leaves the rest of the characters to provide most of the comic relief, though they are also sometimes the center of the main plotlines.

The biggest difference comes in both shows' approaches to humor.  found comedy in the trials of everyday life, using each of the six friends' distinctive personalities to heighten the comedy. While  shares some similar plotlines, the show used the characters' personalities as the butt of several jokes throughout the series, with a particular emphasis on science and nerd culture.

This makes  the more relatable sitcom to choose from, but 's more stand-out characters and humor shouldn't be overlooked. Ultimately, your choice comes down to the more traditional sitcom over the more modern alternative.