Doubts raised over Chinese sitcom

Friends may have finished in 2004, but a popular Chinese show has now been accused of ripping off it and a number of US television hits.

Global Times, an English-language newspaper in China, reports that viewers have taken to online forums claiming the show has lifted plot points and jokes from the likes of Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.

The Mandarin-language sitcom iPartment began in 2009 and centres on a group of people living in an apartment building. The show is now in its third season.

"Many lines and scenes have been completely ripped off from American shows. 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," the Global Times quotes one accusor, identified only as Grace, as saying.

The newspaper claims the show's producers have since acknowledged using jokes from "various sources" and apologised to a famous screenplay writer.

However, a spokesman for iPartment has defended the show against the claims, Britain's The Telegraph reports.

"We didn't copy the American sitcom," the spokesman 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 story Doubts raised over Chinese sitcom first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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