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10 Sitcoms That Were Blatantly Inspired By Friends

After nearly 20 years of being off the air, the hit '90s sitcom Friends is still a wildly popular show that continues to find success on streaming services. Whether viewers love this iconic sitcom or find it overrated, there's no denying that Friends has influenced many sitcoms.

Friends kickstarted the trend of focusing on an inseparable group of friends in their 20s as they navigate careers, relationships, and friendships. Though some shows have put their own twist on this familiar structure, it's blatantly obvious that Friends has influenced many popular series.

10 Cougar Town (2009-2015)

Fans often compare Cougar Town to Friends, and that's largely because Courtney Cox stars in a lead role in both shows. Unlike Monica in Friends, Cox's Jules in Cougar Town is in her 40s and has to figure out how to navigate the dating world after a messy divorce.

However, Cox's presence isn't the only similarity between these two sitcoms. Though the plots are fundamentally different, Cougar Town also features a close-knit and supportive friend group. Many fans enjoyed Cougar Town because it felt like an updated version of Friends. In a fun cameo, Matthew Perry also appears as Sam in the Season 5 episode, "Like a Diamond."

9 That '70s Show (1998-2006)

That '70s Show isn't often compared to Friends, as the teen show was set during the 1970s and focused on a group of high schoolers as they went through adolescence. Nevertheless, That '70s Show bears striking resemblance to the hit sitcom.

Both series focus on six close friends and their relationships, struggles, and growth. It's also notable that the six teens commonly met at the Forman's house, specifically in the basement, which is similar to the gang hanging out at Monica's apartment in Friends.

8 Good Trouble (2019-)

Good Trouble is one of the few shows like Friends that doesn't feature a six-person friend group. Instead, the show focuses on two friends as they start the next chapter of their lives after moving to Los Angeles. However, the drama comedy can easily be considered a modern version of the iconic sitcom.

Good Trouble eventually follows Carrie, Marianne, and their friends, who are all trying to succeed professionally, socially, and romantically. Though some viewers would argue the show is a bit more serious and mature, the core themes are obviously inspired by previously successful shows like Friends.

7 Cold Feet (1997-)

Cold Feet is a 1997 British drama that ended in 2003 but was revived in 2016 for another four seasons. Though Cold Feet is much more dramatic than Friends, the latter clearly inspired the British series. The '90s drama followed a five-person cast, though it changed to reflect the iconic six-person ensemble, through their relatable daily life.

Cold Feet had themes of love, work, and friendship, just like Friends. The former's characters were a little older and more established than the American show, but both casts had a very similar dynamic. It's also hard to overlook the fact that Helen Baxendale was on Friends just before she joined the cast of Cold Feet.

6 Happy Endings (2011-2013)

At the beginning of Happy Endings, Alex leaves Dave at the altar, much like Rachel did to Barry, and Dave's group of friends support and take care of him while he navigates being single again. The ensemble comedy followed three men and three women as they dealt with friendships, careers, and breakups. Similar to Friends' Monica, Jane is competitive, a perfectionist, and a control freak.

Happy Endings featured many similar plotlines to Friends, from Jane and Brad looking for a new couple to hang out with, like Monica and Chandler did, to the characters' numerous failed dates. Despite the charm and excitement of Happy Endings, ratings dropped after the show's third season. Unlike Friends, Happy Endings was short-lived.

5 Coupling (2000-2004)

The American version of Coupling aired in 2003 as a replacement for Friends, but it didn't live up to the hype and was largely considered a failure. The UK version of the show was much more successful and was described as an enjoyable mash-up of Friends and Seinfeld.

Though Coupling had a more mature sense of humor, its themes and structure are strikingly similar to Friends. Neither show slips into melodramatic or soap-opera territory, as they both place heavy focus on humor and relatability, but both shows featured a dynamic group of six friends while they navigated their personal and professional relationships in their 20s and 30s.

4 The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019)

Though The Big Bang Theory arguably got worse after a few great seasons, it is still considered one of the best sitcoms of all time. The sitcom centered around a quirky group of friends and their jobs, workplaces, and romantic relationships.

Like Friends, The Big Bang Theory featured a group of close-knit friends who spent most of their free time together and had romantic relationships with each other. Both Joey and Penny are struggling actors who are considered the most attractive and 'dumbest' of the group, while Joey and Chandler's close friendship is similar to Raj and Howard's "bromance." Lastly, Joey was as concerned with his recliner chair's placement as Sheldon was with his iconic 'spot'.

3 New Girl (2011-2018)

New Girl's premise is very similar to the plot of Friends, as Jess moves in with a group of strangers after a difficult breakup. After Jess moved into the loft, New Girl focused on the characters' relationships, careers, and an on-again-off-again pairing between Jess and Nick.

New Girl quickly became a hit because of its hilarious cast of eccentric characters who have to coexist in a living space, much like the gang did in Friends. The final episode of New Girl, which showed the gang playing True American with their kids, was very similar to Friends' conclusion when the cast left Monica's apartment to start new lives.

2 Rules Of Engagement (2007-2013)

Rules of Engagement follows the lives of a young couple and their three close friends. Though the friendship dynamic in Rules of Engagement is different from Friends, it was unmistakably influenced by the '90s sitcom.

This series is one of the most obvious Friends-style sitcom, as it features a close group of friends whose lives revolve around each other. Both shows also featured a womanizer, Joey or Russell, who stayed single throughout the show. Friends placed heavy focus on the characters' relationships and romantic troubles, so fans quickly noticed the similarities between the two shows.

1 How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)

Despite its controversial final season, How I Met Your Mother was such a successful sitcom that many fans think it surpasses Friends. The two shows share plenty of similarities, from characters' personalities to recurring locations.

In How I Met Your Mother, another close group of friends - three men and three women - have a specific hangout place. In Friends, this setting is a cozy coffee shop, but in How I Met Your Mother, it's a local bar. Additionally, Ted and Ross are both "geeky" professors who love their job and have an on-again-off-again relationship with a member of the friend group.

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