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Chinese Sitcom Accused of Stealing From 'Friends' THR, Global Times

Some viewers of a Chinese comedy called "Ipartment" have started pointing out similarities between the show and "Friends," with accusations surfacing that the program has ripped off the comedy and other hit U.S. shows, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In its third season, "Ipartment" focuses on a group of 20-year-olds who live in Shanghai. One character is a university lecturer, similar to Ross in "Friends," while another character is a radio show host, similar to Joey on the U.S. show, the story notes. Some jokes are also similar not only to "Friends" but also to "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory," according to the piece.

According to the Chinese publication Global Times, the show's producers sent an apology to an unnamed writer for using his jokes without permission. The producers allegedly acknowledged that they used jokes from "various sources," and offered to pay 10,000 yuan, or $1,569, in compensation for every 1,000 Chinese characters of material, the story notes.

But a representative for the show allegedly told another Chinese publication that it 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," the rep said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.