China’s Newest Hit Show, iPartment, Sounds Great!

Hey, this Chinese sitcom iPartment sounds great! From ONTD:

A popular sitcom is accused of copying classic U.S. series such as Friends, The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother.

The show, iPartment, adheres the old sitcom trope of following a group of 20-something friends as they experience life in a big city. But sharp-eyed fans have noticed that the series seems to be uncomfortably close to some specific American hits. The stars of the series live together in two neighbouring apartments in a tower block – exactly the situation in Friends, but with New York transferred to Shanghai. One of the characters is a university lecturer, and another a radio host – not a world away from palaeontologist Ross and actor Joey.

The bizarre parallels led to an online backlash from Chinese watchers of iPartment, who took to micro-blogs to express their anger and post screenshots and video clips highlighting the similarities.

Oh no! Not the microblogs! AHHHHHH!

‘Many lines and scenes have been completely ripped off from American shows,’ a web user named Grace told the Global Times.

‘I thought it was shameful to do this. It is an insult to the American TV producers and an insult to the screenwriters and producers of original Chinese TV shows.’

Another incredulous fan wrote, ‘Is [iPartment] only intended for those born after 1990, who have not watched Friends?’, according to the Daily Telegraph.

These are totally valid criticisms about the show’s plagiarism, but it is funny to incredulously ask if a show called iPartment is only for people born after 1990. Uh, yeah. It’s called iPartment!

While the show has been on the air since 2009, it has recently started to reach a much wider audience after being picked up by leading cable networks. Last weekend, producers were forced to admit taking ideas from others, as they publicly apologised for using a comedian’s jokes without attribution, and offered to compensate him for the plagiarism.

However, a spokesman for the programme denied stealing from Western shows – and instead blamed the similarities on a lack of imagination in resorting to sitcom clichés. ‘We didn’t copy the American sitcom,’ he said. ‘Comedies have stereotypes, like the handsome man, the gorgeous woman, the cheap man and so on. They have that in many comedies.

‘Our creation is not plagiarism, but more a homage to the American sitcom.’

The handsome man, the gorgeous woman, the cheap man, you know, stereotypes. Very good homage. This show does sound great, though. iPartment! Hahaha. iPartment!!!!!!