Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Friends" – an inspiration for "Two & a half men"

Just finished watching the American TV series "Two and a half men". It took me a while… What can I say? Many people adore it and think highly of it, as being one of the best. But, still "Friends" is my favorite, in terms of quality, jokes, actors and why not, atmosphere.

During my watching the show I noticed some elements that were previously used in "Friends". No offence to "Two and a half men" fans, but obviously "Friends" was there before so… I am not here to judge, but to reveal some facts. Feel free to join the discussion and share your opinion on the subject.

Plot and Characters
1) In "Friends" we have 3 young men and 3 young women of about the same age gathered around two brothers – Monica and Ross, in "Two and a half men" we have a group of characters gathered around two brothers – Charlie and Alan.

2) Monica and Ross do not miss the opportunity to irritate each other; Charlie and Alan do the same.

3) Alan is a kind of Ross, they are both divorced and their wives left them because they had some self-identity issues; in fact Ross’ wife turned to be really gay while Judith just went through a period of rediscovering herself. Both have a son from their previous marriage, but Jake plays a more important role than Ben does. Both fancy themselves as being "doctors", Ross in his position of having a Ph.D. and Alan is his position as a chiropractor, which is almost a doctor in his assumption.

4) Ross & Monica Geller’s mother is quite indifferent to anything around her and very superficial, displaying a natural gift for criticizing everyone, and prefers Ross to Monica. Alan and Charlie’s mother reminds me of her; she is quite self-centered and indifferent to her children as well, never really cares, does not spare her children from any possible critical remark and visibly prefers Alan to Charlie.

5) Sometimes, Alan is a version of Chandler, in many ways; his efforts to get the attention of women are almost never successful.

6) Charlie is another version of Joey, but smarter and more sophisticated. They would both eventually end up as bachelors.

7) However, there are times when Alan resembles Monica, they are both extremely organized, economic, they categorize everything (Alan - the flyers he gets in his mailbox, Monica – the photos, CDs, etc.) and they both really enjoy living in an idealistic world of tidiness and symmetry.

8) Jake is a kind of Joey when it comes to food. Junk food is their passion, the biggest necessity but also pleasure. They are both narrow-minded, displaying no attraction for books or knowledge.

Similar Situations
1) The sequence of Charlie and Mia’s wedding in Vegas is quite similar to Monica & Chandler’s plan of secretly marrying in Vegas, which doesn’t happen after all for either of the couples. Instead, it is Ross and Rachael, as well as Alan and Candy who spontaneously decide to get married surprising everyone.

2) Monica and Chandler looking for a sperm donor, and Mia asking Charlie to donate his sperm.

3) In season 5 Jake talks to his girlfriend over the phone for hours and none of them has the guts to hang up. It is quite similar to the episode where Ross is constantly over the phone with his Chinese girlfriend Julie in season 2. The same phrase is used in both scenarios: "you hang up, no you hang up, ok, 1, 2, 3, you didn’t hang up either!"

4) In season 5, episode 16, Alan takes the role of his mother wedding planner as seriously as Monica does when organizing Phoebe’s wedding (season 10). The way Alan rushes the groom to finish his speech, makes me instantly think of Monica, how she wouldn’t even let Mike pee because the seconds were counted in her schedule.

5) In season 6 episode 1 Charlie finds out that condoms are not 100% safe, reminding me seriously of Ross finding out exactly the same thing when he got Rachel pregnant. Similar reactions and phrases are used:
Charlie: "They should put it in big letters right on the reservoir tip!"; Ross: "They should put it on the box!"

6) When Alan turns 40 his girlfriend takes him to a secret party at the restaurant but the guests are not there, he says: "My family is a thoughtless selfless bunch of butlives", and they all show up that very moment, reminds me of Monica at her bachelor party saying to Rachael and Phoebe: "The only people I want to see is here", followed by the appearance of the hidden guests.

7) When Charlie tells his girlfriend Chelsea "I love you" in season 6 she replies: "Thank you" just like Emily replied to Ross in the 4th season after he confessed his feelings towards her. Lousy imitation!


Florin said...

Nu sunt de acord cu tine, ca sunt inspirati din friends, poate au luat ceva de acolo dar fazele de care vorbesti le-am intalnit in mai toate comediile americane de duzina :)), seriale sau pentru marele ecran , filme comerciale fara prea multa originalitate , recunosc ca si mie mi-a placut friends dar nu e chiar asa extraordinar si sunt fan Two and a half men, desi unltimul sezon nu mi se pare grozav.
De foarte mult timp nu am vazut un film de comedie care sa imi placa sau nu sa fie foarte previzibil si apoi nu ma amuz cand cineva fae pe clovnul sa ma faca sa rad. Un serial care este cat de cat pe gustul meu Big Bang Theory.
In rest ma uit la alte genuri de filme care nu sunt de comedie.
Faza de la punctul 7 am vazut in cel putin 4 seriale si inca vreo cateva filme artistice :)).

Narco said...

Mie unuia Chuck Lorre mi se pare genial ca scriitor (si nu numai din cauza T&H Men, ci si din pricina The Big Bang Theory). Acum daca apar unele asemanari asta nu ineamna ca sunt copiate neaparat, desi Friends fiind primul iti dau dreptate si fiecare poate specula lucrul acesta cum doreste.

Totusi Two & Half Men si-a pastrat pana la sezonul 7 (unde am ajuns) nivelul ridicat si chiar creste cu fiecare episod. Friends pe de alta parte, m-a tinut in priza pana la sezonul 7, de unde a inceput sa stagneze si apoi sa scada un pic in viziunea mea.

Totusi ambele seriale merita, dar nimic nu se compara cu Married With Children.

Stela Gheorghe said...

Married with children - boring
Two and a half men - boring
Friends - The best!!! :)))
come on guys, admit it!

Florin said...

Actually The Mentalist is the best :). Although it's not comedy.

Stela Gheorghe said...

I was talking about "Friends" and "Two and a half men", not other movies that have no connection. Stick to the topic, Florin ;)

Cezar said...

i don't know about 2 and a half men, but married with children and especially Friends - are the definition of a good american sitcom :D

Anonymous said...

I found this website while searching for any data about common scriptwriters for the two shows. I think this describes everything.... I really enjoy Two and a Half Men, but I tought those "similarities" were done willingly beacuse the two series had the same creators or something like that. it makes me feel so disappointed that they only seem to have stolen the ideas :-( Merry Xmas, though

Stela Gheorghe said...

Hey, Anonymous. Thx for your comment. Stolen or not, I don't think it's very nice using the same phrases or situations that have already been previously used, especially in comedy series. The content must be fresh and original, and the public expects that. I don't think 2 and a half men had the same success as Friends, namely for that major reason.

J Singh said...

another episode is where Chelsea's friend comes to stay at Charlie's house and each character fantasises about her friend like in the episode where everyone fancies Ross and Monica's cousin.

there is also the episode where Alan's high school friend visits and both brothers fight over her this really reminded me of the episode where Julia Roberts guest starred to get back at Chandler as in the episode her aim is to get revenge on Charlie and Alan.

I am glad this is online as I have also noticed this, There is also the big bang theory which also copies Friends.

1. When Penny moves in it is more or less the same as when the rest of the friends help Ross move in with the sofa.

2. Penny is basically the double of Rachel if you notice carefully she even smiles and in scenes acts similar.

3. there are also direct lines copied when Monica and Chandler find out that there surrogate is having twins there is a line copied but slightly adjusted by penny.

4. the parties where they are fancy dress or similar but I think they are slightly different here as TBBT make it a lot more geeky.

5. Leonard and penny are essentially = Ross and Rachel and continue to flirt between being together and dating other people.

there are probably a lot more which have not been mentioned and on this point How I met your mother is also a complete rip off of Friends but I feel at least these two shows in some ways are better at hiding it !

J Singh said...

one more .. Another I remember is in any driving scene with Penny and Leonard they copy Ross and Rachel showing her to be a dangerous driver and both men being scared as the passenger.

Stela Gheorghe said...

Hey, J Singh, very nice of you to have completed my idea :) yes, indeed, I never though of Penny and Leonard being a copy of Ross and Rachael, but you opened my eyes. Friends being one of the most successful TV series ever, full of funny jokes, it's probably hard for some producers not to get inspired by it, which I am not very fond of... Friends remains my number 1, no matter what.

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