The Big Bang Theory vs. How I Met Your Mother: Which Sitcom Is Better?

The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are among the most popular sitcoms of the 21st century, representatives of a dying breed of hit network sitcoms that find new life in second-run syndication. In an era of direct-to-streaming shows, they are already throwbacks to another time. But their slightly dated nature is also testament to their monumental success. After all, what streaming comedy has gone nine — or, in the case of Big Bang Theory — 12 seasons? These older shows are simply built different, truly leaning into the episodic nature of sitcoms to build a massive library of content.

Why How I Met Your Mother Is Better Than The Big Bang Theory

How I Met Your Mother is good for the same reason The Princess Bride is good. That sounds like an odd thing to say, but both stories share a remarkable amount of DNA. The Princess Bride is about a man telling a story to his grandson; How I Met Your Mother is about the main character, Ted, telling his kids the story of how he met his wife. This framing structure allows both to play around with how the events within are depicted. When watching How I Met Your Mother, fans aren’t seeing events play out as they actually occurred; they’re being filtered through Ted’s story, which can jump around in time or else is told by an unreliable narrator.

Why The Big Bang Theory Is Better Than How I Met Your Mother

In contrast, The Big Bang Theory is a much more grounded. It’s initially the story of two Caltech physicists who move across the hall from a classic “girl next door.” Shenanigans ensue. The show also heavily trades on the escalating popularity of “nerd culture,” with its characters acting as conduits to explore comic books, video games and science fiction. While it often only uses the surface trappings of such properties, its initial seasons are a refreshing change from toxic depictions of non-vulnerable masculinity.

BBT Vs. HIMYM: Which Modern Sitcom Really Is Better?

Which show is “better” will always be a matter of individual preference, but How I Met Your Mother’s willingness to take big swings and miss is more deserving of praise than The Big Bang Theory’s bland popularity. It doesn’t help that the latter show often took potshots at the very “nerd culture” it was claiming to champion. While no group is sacrosanct and immune to a well-crafted joke, The Big Bang Theory often felt like it was laughing at nerds instead of laughing with them. In contrast, How I Met Your Mother always feels like it’s inviting the audience into Ted’s life. His heartwarming narration elevates what would otherwise be a fairly typical show into a beautiful journey through a single life of love and heartbreak.


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