One of America’s most beloved sitcoms How I Met Your Mother, is receiving a remake in China. HIMYM‘s wildly successful run in the US has long since concluded but Twentieth Century Fox Television have sold the rights for a Chinese remake of the Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel and Cobie Smulders classic as part of a major international distribution push.
Gina Brogi, President of Global Distribution at Twentieth Century Fox Television, told Deadline that “there is a much greater interest from the international community to have locally-produced content, and that’s winning the day when it comes to ratings”. She also mentions that “China has become more active lately with local productions; their production community has really upped their game in terms of producing their own content with their own stars”.
(To summarize, other countries also make TV shows, and people from those countries tend to watch them. Also, China has been making TV shows, and they have Chinese stars in them. Shocking.)
Brogi attributes her confidence in the remake’s success to the original’s ability to resonate with young adults, a trait that would certainly help ratings in China. As of now, there are 30 episodes planned, each one ranging from 30 minutes to a whole hour (the American version stuck to a half hour format for each episode).
Original Chinese Variety Show “I Am the Actor” Gets Picked Up in the US
The original was a smash hit, running for a whopping 9 seasons (2005-2014), but some are already expressing concerns on Chinese social media regarding the remake. Many commenters on Weibo drew parallels between a Chinese version of HIMYM and iPartment (爱情公寓), a Chinese sitcom (pictured above), which features a similar story structure. While at first the show had good ratings, there was eventually more criticism as the program appeared to be reusing jokes from American sitcoms.
“Isn’t the Chinese version of HIMYM just iPartment?” one commenter joked.
“Can you not ruin the American program?” asked another.
“I wonder how they plan to translate suit up,” reads one pertinent question.
Other commenters seem to already be fans of HIMYM, but didn’t want to see their show desecrated. A lot of reboots (we’re looking at you, Netflix) tend to fall short of recapturing the personality of the original, leaving fans regretting their existence altogether. Some people commented that the original cast was irreplaceable, particularly Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson.
So, can How I Met Your Mother be suitably adapted for Chinese audiences? If not, how does that bode for other American sitcoms eyeing a China reboot? Or vice versa, when China’s “own content with their own stars” inevitably starts making an impact overseas? Only time will tell. Good luck, Chinese HIMYM.
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