Friends vs. New Girl- how much has changed?

Written by: Lacey Worsham

When comparing these two sitcoms-one that lasted for ten seasons and came to define a certain generational group, and one that started seven years later with an undecided impact- it is interesting to note their major similarities and differences. For some, Friends came to define the 90s and it is not hard to see the ways in which New Girl creators attempted to recapture and reintroduce the magic of Friends in a modern way.







Both of these sitcoms are centered around the apartments in which the characters live and the one outside place where they all seem to continuously gather (Central Perk and Nick’s Bar). They also focus on romances that take place within the friend group and the way this affects the group dynamic as a whole. Much of this changing dynamic is what adds the expected and beloved humor to both shows. The biggest message of both shows, however, is the valuable idea that your friends truly can become your family. As Relevant Magazine states, by showcasing difficult or awkward relationships with their real family members, the characters in both sitcoms are demonstrating to viewers that it doesn’t matter where you come from as long you find a group you can wholeheartedly fit into.

Although these overwhelming similarities can lead us to believe that New Girl truly is just a rendition of Friends, we must pay attention to the differences as well. It is obvious that New Girl attempted to relate to a larger group of people by including two characters of color, Cece and Winston. Did this truly succeed though? The character of Cece seems to be solely supported through her relationship with Schmidt (the white male). Winston also is continually set on the back-burner while the episodes often focus on the romances between other characters. Both of these characters are mainly supporting roles and in general, New Girl will have to add more characters and story lines to keep the show interesting and relatable. Friends was able to successfully accomplish this, which led to its high popularity and long runtime. We will have to wait and see if New Girl will suffer from its similarity to Friends, or if it will come out on top.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Friends vs. New Girl- how much has changed?

  1. mediaphiles says:

    This is so interesting. I am not a religious “New Girl” viewer (yet), but I know the “Friends” episodes inside and out. What an interesting junction of the two – I hope 20 years from now the same discussions are being held with similar sitcoms! – Corey

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I love both of these shows, but I had never noticed all the similarities! I’ve heard people make comparisons between Friends and How I Met Your Mother, but not with New Girl. I’ll definitely pay more attention when watching New Girl now to see similarities with Friends! – Sarah King

  3. mediaphiles says:

    Hmm I’m thinking a lot about your Cece and Winston comments. I think one thing New Girl suffered from was losing Coach and replacing him with Winston. It meant they had to create a whole new character that still filled that role. That meant that Winston was in flux for much of his time on the show. At first he’s an athlete, then he’s a radio host, then he’s a cat guy. I don’t think it was until season 4 or 5 that they really figured out his character. By that time, Schmidt, Jess, and Nick were so established that plots were more fun with the consistent characters. Winston’s been working his way into more and more of the show, and I think they really struck gold pairing him with Cece in episodes. As for Cece, I think the episode “Pepperwood” really sums up why she wasn’t as integral or important to the series. “This is more of a loft thing.” Like Friends, the characters that matters were the characters who lived in those apartments (also Phoebe). When (spoilers) Cece moves into the apartment, she becomes more important. Even if her existence is largely dependent on her relationship with Schmidt and Jess. – Max

  4. mediaphiles says:

    I have never noticed the similarities between these two shows either! New Girl seems to be a less successful version of Friends since it tries too hard to be generationally relatable. Friends was more effortless in this attempt and it always had interesting story lines. Very interesting blog!

    Stephanie Rubin

  5. Samantha Moore says:

    This was so interesting to think about! Friends is one of my favorite shows and I have always loved New Girl but never really thought much about their similarities! I wonder if New Girl is not quite as successful as Friends because they cycle through characters fairly quickly… In Friends I feel that there is more of a presence of supporting characters and that they are developed throughout the 10 seasons, whereas New Girl can’t seem to hold on to more than 3 or 4 supporting characters.

    Sam Moore

  6. mediaphiles says:

    Honestly, I don’t think New Girl will suffer from being similar to Friends. So many sitcoms share so many similarities it’s crazy. What is interesting is how many people will watch New Girl just because it reminds them of Friends or some other show. I think sitcoms work that way naturally and I don’t really think it dampens their success.

    Karoline Summerville

  7. marymdalton says:

    Interesting post!

  8. mediaphiles says:

    I really like this post. I never considered the similarities between Friends and New Girl! I am a die-hard Friends fan and am now starting to watch New Girl. I am curious to see what the similarities and differences are between the two!
    -Allie Kleinman

  9. mediaphiles says:

    I completely agree…I have always wondered why it is that Friends was SUCH a hit and why no other show (even similar ones like New Girl or HIMYM) have come anywhere close to having the same profound impact on a generation. I wonder if it has anything to do with the supporting characters. It is a small aspect of a show, but Friends is one of the shows that truly has great character development for each and every character they write on the show. New Girl seems to frequently cycle through supporting characters, which personally does not make me very invested in the plot. You totally hit the nail on the head with this comparison!

    -Sam Moore

  10. Ayla says:

    I noticed how much New Girl resembled Friends when I first began watching the show. It seems like more adapted version of Friends that presents itself to an audience around our age. I predict that New Girl will become a hit in our later years when our children reach an age where they are curious about how we grew up and when our generations fashion and what not circles back into being “hip.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s