Is This Chinese Sitcom Stealing Its Jokes from Friends?

There's a fine line between homage and theft, and angry viewers of 'Ipartment' say you can't even see it from here.

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A group of attractive young people living in adjacent apartments, who spent a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops and talking about their lives: the Chinese TV sitcom Ipartment is basically Friends in a different language. But viewers are complaining that Ipartment is crossing the line between homage and outright theft, with entire scenes and whole swaths of dialogue copied verbatim from the hit ’90s sitcom and other American TV shows.

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China’s version follows the lives of seven friends and neighbors in Shanghai (Friends, for a refresher, focused on the inhabitants of two neighboring New York City walkups). Some of the characters have similar jobs to those in the American version, such as a computer programmer and university lecturer.

Ipartment, which debuted in 2009 from the Shanghai Film Group, has run long enough now that viewers have taken to message boards and Sina Weibo—China’s massive Twitter-like social media service—to allege that entire scenes have been lifted word for word right out of American sitcoms like Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.

The mainland tabloid Global Times says that Ipartment’s producers admit to using jokes from “various sources,” according to The Telegraph, but deny that they full-on copy from other shows, although they have apologized to one joke writer and offered compensation for using the jokes without permission.

The show’s representative says “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.”

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45 comments
zummikiya
zummikiya

i think whatever country make it, or follow it ,may copy it,it just a way for us to have a happy time.

creamcheese
creamcheese

I don't care whatever the news or the people say about ipartment, being a Chinese, I felt sorry and guilty for the people who was pissed off by the copy works. Seriously, I am personally a fan of that show, it's real good and thoughtful, besides, they didn't copy the original words, they changed it to make it better. Well, when you're talking about the others, think the real life examples  : don't we all copy people? Can you say if they wears makeup then you don't want to do it? Can you stop talking because every other people is using the same words you used? Actually, who even dare to stand up and say the other countries never copied people, did you really watch the first season and realized they are copying form 'Hoe I met your mother.' ? Most answer is no, I believe, and that is their feature, to change on the base, to use their own creativity to do the same thing over. Obviously, some people is mad at them because they are copying, then I'm telling you are mad with no reason, first you are not the director and second it's really none of your business. I feel bad if you discovered their negative side when you are really following that show, but does it really change the true thought in your mind? Not totally. We can still watch it for a half of the day even though the press talked about them already. If a popular movie star got a surgery, can you say it's her fault for doing the surgery so no one likes her anymore? Everybody want to be more prettier, like the director wanted more money from the ipartment, that's their way of life. I hope you understand what I'm trying to tell you. 

Lydia (琳-ちゃん, 유리, 雷)
Lydia (琳-ちゃん, 유리, 雷)

This is old news, in fact, misinformed as well. In descriptions of the show, it says that it is a take on the show Friends. It was obviously planned and they didn't "steal" or "rip off" anything. It's similar to the show because it was supposed to be.

www6060060
www6060060

Graham!!!C4 !!!Help my head!!! 

Please adults!!!Save our Chinese TV play!!Please!!!

www6060060
www6060060

Graham!!!C4 !!!Help my head!!! 

Please adults!!!Save our Chinese TV play!!Please!!!

hasuki
hasuki

well,其实我不会英语,we hate 爱情公寓- -~but we all love TBBT,and Friends。爱情公寓 =shit

hasuki
hasuki

反正我也不会英语- -但是爱情公寓真的是屎

Randy Robinson
Randy Robinson

Oh noes, China may be stealing our crappy TV shows. How will we ever compeeeete....

A small price to pay for getting off scott-free when the US blew up their embassy.

Sanarubya
Sanarubya

It‘s a shame! Disgusting! Horrible! Every time my friend watch it I feel sick.

kaywl
kaywl

well, to be honest I really enjoy watching the show. But as a fan of Friends and TBBT, I must admit that it clearly steals ideas from them. For example in episode 24, just released tonight, it stole ideas from Friends (Chandler proposes to Monica, Rachel getting pregnant) Worst thing is, they seem to say that this plagiarism is "paying respect to foreign culture" I mean, please, stop bullshitting!

YeYan
YeYan

to some ridiculous fans of ipartment...I don't care if you like it or not,the point is it's a totally ripp off version,so please CBS sue the producer and give them a lesson

CrisFutsal
CrisFutsal

They are so crazy to steal ideas and copy scenes because u do nothing! Sue them please! I don't want to watch this kind of rubbish on the screen in China either. No one could stop them except the creators of Friends, TBBT and other masterpiece the rubbish copies from! Sue them please!

GC1214
GC1214

wow,  it is eventually found by the Americans. Firstly, Chinese people don't proud of the "ipartment" series. Oppositely, I hate this sitcom from the bottom of my heart. It's kind of China's shame. But out of lots of factors, most Chinese people don't have access to American shows. So they simply think that ipartment is an original Chinese "product".  AND WHAT I WANT TO SAY THE MOST IS THAT THIS SITCOM STEALS MORE IDEAS FROM HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER WHICH IS MY FAVORITE SITCOM. AND AS MANY GUYS WISH, I ALSO WISH CBS CAN SUE THIS SITCOM TO STOP IT AND TAKE MOST MONEY IT HAS MADE.

Shirley liu
Shirley liu

so wat???Every drama got same things from others so dose American and Uk ...The point is people found fun.

I am a big fan of  TBBT,and Friends,  but i still love the Chinese one~~~they trans some jokes into Chines and that really get my punch line.

Shame on the people who says something like sue them...don' t pretend  you are justice  that only  make you look a  idiot 

bienvu
bienvu

抄的我也觉得好看~so?

Cai Hao
Cai Hao

agree that many of its jokes may be considered as 'steal' from American sitcom, so they can keep their right to sue the 'ipartment'. but a sitcom involves so many elements that joke is one part, maybe the most important part, but not the whole of a sitcom.

I watched TBBT, but don't like it. the culture background and the ways we do some joke on friends are different, many people prefer sitcoms played by Chinese with our own jokes. ipartment is a sitcom involves stealing, but not a simple copy of other sitcoms.

Bonnie Wang
Bonnie Wang

first,I'm Chinese.and  I'm a big fan of Friends and TBBT.second, I don't like this sitcom either.most young teens may enjoy it because they haven't  watched  those classical foreign  sitcoms .when I see the jokes that steal from F or T etc,I feel angry and  disgusting.third,there are lots of people looking into this "copying issue"with puttingcomparison diagrams on their blogs.In deed,the scenes are similar including the lines .Last but not least,if you think this sitcom has violated your rights,you can absolutely sue them.

 

豚豚睿
豚豚睿

we're not proud of this. but you know NCs do live every where. these group are especially large in China. they do not see the bad influence but kind of think it a way to spread American culture. how funny! just sue them.

legen_waitforit_dary
legen_waitforit_dary

Give me a hypothetical high five if you came from the website link in baidu tieba.

I know you didn't. So just get your hand off the keyboard or mouse and give me a hypothetical five.

a123176824
a123176824

As a Chinese , I hate  'Ipartment'...It's sucks!!!!

Liu Zekun
Liu Zekun

please don't  think Chinese are pround of this kind of stuff... I am Chinese myself and I hate this show and I wish NBC and CBS will sue them and take all their money so no one will ever do anything like this again...I' m a huge fan of Friends and How I Met Your Mother, and there are some Chinese shows I really like too, but this one is just really bad influence...I really hope they get sued...

汪子翔
汪子翔

Actually  this Chinese sitcom steals more ideas from How I Met Your Mother, true story. 

meao
meao

definitely right .啪啪啪

creamcheese
creamcheese

@hasuki  Please watch your mouth when it's none of your business on some things.

ZHQ189
ZHQ189

你家妈的。你很好么。人家收视率高啊,请你不要把你的个人感觉扩大10倍,土B你妈死了没。替我像他老人家说:你他妈的快死吧,有这种小孩。

ChanJJong
ChanJJong

@GC1214 I say the same for how I met your mother. That show copied from Friends WAYYYYY too much. In the end, Friends is the best. You should try it ^^

ONEONEONE111
ONEONEONE111

No,

 it is eventually found by the Chinese first.

ONEONEONE111
ONEONEONE111

不,是我们先发现的。不是美国人。

mxd470265287
mxd470265287

Sincerely sorry for your unbelievable logic.Image,if someone stole some bread,you felt badly starving and they gave it to you,what would other people think of their thievery?Feel proud of them 'cause they just helped a  pitiful,hungry guy?What's the hell with you?

mxd470265287
mxd470265287

Sincerely sorry for your logic.Image,if someone stole some bread,you felt badly starving and they gave it to you,what would other people think of their thievery?Just because they helped you,everyone would say:"Don't criticize the thieves,don't pretend you are justice,we should be greatful 'cause they helped a poor little starving guy and for God's sake,that's the point!"Wouldn't they?

Sanarubya
Sanarubya

Feel sorry for your poor logic and IQ

GungGung
GungGung

Shame on someone who justifies stealing (and recycling) of ideas just because she enjoys it. Shame on someone who is proud about that "cheater" label her country now is well-known for. Maybe people in her country do this on a daily basis.

That someone is you Liu.

Kat Gu
Kat Gu

So... Just because you enjoy something that was stolen, the act of thievery is justified. What kind of logic is this? The point is not whether you like this show or not; regardless of how "funny" it is, plagiarism is still thievery and is something to be ashamed of.

ChanJJong
ChanJJong

@Bonnie Wang "high five"! Friends ^^

GC1214
GC1214

I totally agree with you!

Pro_Psycho
Pro_Psycho

NO , As A Chinese , I should tell you that  We Also Have numerous creative " Made-in-China" .  

 

1ji10
1ji10

你个比吠你爹我几呻啊呆狗比

1ji10
1ji10

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