They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and no one's better at making imitations than China. But a new sitcom has got some critics experiencing de ja vu , mainly because they seem to be ripping off American favorites.
'Ipartment' which is currently in its third season was launched in 2009 and is shown on four satellite channels in
China. It focuses on the lives of a group of pals who live in two apartments on the same city block in Shanghai. Characters include a tech geek, a radio show host and a lecturer
at a university (starting to sound familiar?).
Certain episode similarities have drawn plenty of criticism from TV fanatics who say “Ipartment” has even stolen entire scenes from “Friends” and other sitcoms popular in America, like “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
A spokesperson for the show initially insisted this was not a case pf plagarizing. “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 plagarism but more a homage
to the American sitcom.”
Obviously viewers were not buying it, prompting even more backlash on the blogosphere. “Is (‘Ipartment’) only intended for those born after 1990, who have not
watched ‘Friends’?” one user wrote on Chinese social network Weibo.
“Many lines and scenes have been completely ripped off from American shows,” a viewer identified as Grace told the state-run Global Times newspaper. “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.”