Point/Counterpoint: The Office versus Friends

Both comedic series are legngary in their own right but which one reigns supreme?

In the world of comedic television, there are few shows as highly praised as The Office and Friends. While both are undoubtedly legendary series, which one is better than the other?

Read the arguments of our writers and decide for yourself!

The Office‘s unique comedic style makes it the clear winner

There is a debate as old as the ‘egg came first or the hen’ one — The Office versus the Friends debate. Whosoever has watched either one of the sitcoms sub-consciously picks up a rivalry with the fans of the other. Personally I don’t even see a reason for the argument — The Office is the clear winner! 

The best argument in favour of The Office is that it aired from 2005 to 2013 making it more relevant and relatable because of its contemporary setting. The plot of the show doesn’t give the viewers an unrealistic idea of life where six best friends in their late 20s live in New York City apartments opposite to each other without almost ever going to work.

Digging into the romantic angle of the two series, Jim and Pam from The Office are couple goals for all adults who find themselves in a situation of being unable to decide between what their brain thinks is right and what their heart desires. Some could argue Monica and Chandler are equally adorable and I have no objection to that. Yet, the chemistry between them goes from zero to 100 real quick which feels too unrealistic.

How can we talk about these legendary sitcoms and not address the laugh track? The Office does not have a laugh track in the background which definitely gives the viewer a room to laugh at what they find funny. This space is absent in Friends which forces us to laugh along the track and consciously look for the joke in the scene. Adding to this, the humour in The Office is much more intelligent and witty which is used as a tool by the creators of the show to make the audience uncomfortable and extract comedy from that absurdity.

I can see why some people may dislike The Office because of the quirkiness of Micheal Scott. However it is actually the unique selling point of the show — as the show advances, the viewer understands the place where the character comes from. It is parallel to how Phoebe seems weird in season one of Friends but becomes one of the most lovable characters by the end of the show.

Speaking as someone who has watched both the shows, my bias for The Office comes from a place of logic. No doubt Friends had a very successful run but it lacked originality and relevance. These factors are taken care of in The Office which is undoubtedly one of the most unique comedy sitcoms of the twentieth century.

-Kashish Aggarwal

The joyful message of Friends is timeless

Does watching Joey wince at Chandler take you to a place where no stress could ever ruin your mood? Does Monica remind you of your neat freak roommate? Still watching Friends, all over again, for the fifth time? Well, stop by Central Perk, grab a cup of coffee, and join the club.

When talking about the best sitcom, I usually have the same reply: “Friends is in another league.” I mean how can you get enough of Phoebe’s bizarre sense of humour and her record breaking song — Smelly Cat? It is so hilarious that you might start laughing the moment you think about it.

Beyond Friends‘ excellent humour, the chemistry between the cast elevates the show to another level. I often hear my lads talk about Jim and Pam and the steady progress in their intimate relation that is soothing to watch. Well, had they known Ross and Rachel, they would have had the chance to experience the bickering yet infallible relation the two of them share. Their cute quarrels often turn into heartfelt romantic moments, which make their chemistry exhilarating.

The plot, the characters, Central Perk — all of this has no substitute to it. The show portrays the true meaning of friendship and how, even after going through the peaks and valleys of life, we can be there for each other. The simple way of living life, depicted by the cast who manage to keep smiles on their faces without fretting about money, is what we all need. Why worry about that job at Perkins or the gig that left you in despair? Take it easy and watch Joey snicker when Monica is devastated — simple amusement at its best.

Of course, I get that The Office is a great show. Michael and Dunder Mifflin are inseparable, but believe me, you won’t stop watching Friends after that smirk of Chandler carries you away to the world of these clumsy characters.

Don’t believe me? Try watching an episode today; in these uncertain times, it might bring the joy back into your life.

Ishan Arora

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