China sitcom accused of copying US hit `Friends`

Sydney: A popular Chinese television show has been accused of ripping off popular US sitcom `Friends` and a number of other American hits.

The Global Times daily said viewers in China have taken to online forums claiming the Mandarin-language sitcom "iPartment" show has lifted plot points and jokes from "Friends", "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory".

"iPartment" began in 2009 and centres on a group of people living in an apartment building. The show is now in its third season, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"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," said a viewer, identified as Grace.

The show`s producers have acknowledged using jokes from "various sources".

A spokesman for "iPartment", however, said: "We didn`t copy the American sitcom."

"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," he said.


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