TV Review: CBS’ ‘Friends With Better Lives’

CBS premieres Friends With Better Lives on Monday March 31, 9 p.m. ET, following the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

Friends With Better Lives is a promising title for a sitcom, cleverly designed to tap into the suspicions — from marrieds tethered by kids to singles looking for love — that whatever phase you’re in, you might be missing out on the real fun. What emerges, however, is a pretty banal CBS sitcom, one where everyone seems to wind up in the same house because, well, why on Earth would anybody chat over the phone?”
—Brian Lowry, Variety

“Of course, nearly two decades have passed since Rachel Green fled her wedding to Barry Farber, and those 20 years have changed the multi-camera sitcom drastically. Friends With Better Lives grounds itself in the emotional truth of characters living lives they didn’t expect or plan—and like the Friends pilot, wedding anxiety abounds. Unlike the Friends pilot, however, one ofFriends With Better Lives’ big sight gags hinges on a character wearing a breast pump around the house.”
—Erik Adams, A.V. Club

“Creator Dana Klein worked on the original Friends as a producer and writer, and this Friends (etc.) is ultimately a version of that earlier show, like many that followed. Indeed, it seems no coincidence that Friends With Better Lives is coming to the air at the very moment that the network's long-running How I Met Your Mother breathes its last. One Dalai Lama is reincarnated in the next.”
—Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

“But Friends With Better Lives (* out of four; Monday, 9 ET/PT) is just one witless, thudding, sex-obsessed crack after another, from an opening joke about sitting on a carrot to another friend's discussion of her various dates' penile problems. It's as if the writers looked at the show that, come April 14, will be its lead-in, the equally repellent 2 Broke Girls, and thought, ‘Now there's the show we should emulate.’”
—Robert Bianco, USA Today

“It’s actually not a bad strategy that Friends With Better Lives is employing: Make your first episode so gratingly awful that as the series progresses, you have nowhere to go but up. This wretched new sitcom, which begins on Monday night on CBS with the finale of How I Met Your Mother as its lead-in, should really be called Friends With Genitals, better to reflect what its characters spend most of their time talking about.”
—Neil Genzlinger, New York Times