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iPartment (Chinese: 爱情公寓; pinyin: Aìqíng Gōngyù), is a surreal sitcom from Mainland China. It was produced by Shanghai Film Group Corporation and Shanghai Film Studio, aired by Jiangxi TV in August 2009, with 20, 45-minute episodes.
The second season moved into a different style approach and with episodes aired online, due to its online fan base and polls for upcoming episodes. The second season featured four of the same characters from the first season, with three news characters. The third season followed with the same cast.
The i in the English title is a reference to aì (爱), the Chinese term for "love".
The show details the lives of seven people in their mid-to-late 20's who are neighbors in an apartment building. Each person has a profession of their own and often gets into unexpected escapades.
Although much of the show is filmed on location, iPartment also contains a laugh track. The series uses a cinematic-style of approach with fast-paced editing and transitions, much like the British comedy series Spaced. There are also frequent references to more recent events and culture in China.
iPartment tends to combine genres such as drama, mystery, thriller, slapstick and surrealism. The second season leans more to a cinematic feel, with uses of CGI, camera effects and action scenes.
- Kingscar Jin (Jin Shi Jia) portrays Lu Zhanbo,
- A graduate from MIT who recently returned to China. He works as a network engineer. Zhanbo is very intelligent, but also socially inept and clumsy dealing with girls, often described by others as a stereotypical nerd. He likes watching scientific shows, and is a huge fan of Transformers. He first met Wanyu on the bus trip from the airport to the apartment, and fell in love with her. He eventually confessed his love to her at the end of season 1, which she accepted. He later went on a holiday around the world with Wanyu, and was absent for the whole season 2. He proposed to Wanyu in season 3, but she declined to pursue her future in Milan, and they break up despite still being in love with each other.
- Evonne Zhao (Zhao Ji) portrays Lin Wanyu,
- The daughter of a billionaire banker. She ran away from home when her father forced her to marry against her will, and met Zhanbo on the bus. She found various work and eventually got a job as a writer for a fashion magazine. She is smart and charming, but often thinks and acts naively and unrealistically in everyday life due to being raised in a wealthy family. She is into fashion design and likes Tarot/star sign predictions. She becomes Zhanbo's best friend. In the finale of season 1, she accepts Zhanbo and they go on a holiday around the world together as a couple. Around everyday life though, they appear more like friends than a couple. She eventually decides to go study fashion design in Milan, and sadly parts with Zhanbo in season 3.
- Michael Chen (Chen He) portrays Zeng Xiaoxian,
- A host for the late-night radio talk show: “Your Moon, My Heart.” He is kind, sensitive but wimpy, often being forced into situations that are out of his control. His signature catch phrase on the show is: "Good man is me, I am Zeng Xiaoxian." (Chinese: "好男人就是我，我就是曾小贤！") Despite jokingly claiming to be a famous celebrity, his talk show is very unpopular and he is often ridiculed by his boss, Lisa. He has a long-time crush for Yifei, but he never confessed his love to her due to his cowardice. In the end of season 2, he won ¥5,000,000 from Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but lost the money due to one of his fans winning it all away. At the end of season 3, the new co-host of his radio show, Nuolan, falls in love with him, but Xiaoxian has a hard choice whether to accept her or continue trying on Yifei, but deep in his heart, he knows that he truly loves Yifei and not Nuolan.
- Loura Lou (Lou Yi Xiao) portrays Hu Yifei,
- Zhanbo’s older stepsister. She is a PhD graduate who works as a lecturer at her university. She is tough, aggressive and very competitive, with many of her friends jokingly saying she has the strength worth two men. She often bullies her friends around (Xiaoxian most of the time) with her forceful personality, and expresses her sarcasm at their incompetence. She is constantly annoyed by Xiaoxian’s wimpy and bumbling personality. In various places, you can see that she likes him, but always denies this to the public. In the finale of each season, she gets a moment of love with Xiaoxian, but it always ends without much meaning with neither of the two confessing their feelings for each other.
- Sean Sun (Sun Yi Zhou) portrays Lü Ziqiao,
- A young man who moved into the apartment next-door at the beginning of the series. He is a freelancer, though often thinks of smart ideas to make money or trick his friends into doing his bidding (though also occasionally fail and lead him to trouble). He is cunning, irresponsible but very charismatic, and likes to use his charms to flirt with various girls. Not only is he flirty, but he often gives his friends advice on girls. He uses the fake name “Lü Xiaobu” (named after Lü Bu) when dating other girls. He has a constant love-hate relationship with Meijia, but nearing the end of season 3, while searching for the perfect woman, he realised the person he loved the most is still Meijia.
- Kimi Li (Li Jin Ming) portrays Chen Meijia,
- Ziqiao’s ex-girlfriend, who moved into the apartment with him to take advantage of a discounted rent deal. She initially worked as Guangu’s assistant, later as Yifei’s teaching assistant (though loses the job due to a clumsy mistake), and later in a pet shop. She is childish, cheerful and ditzy, and gets easily attracted to cute things. She has a love-hate relationship with Ziqiao, and often gets angry at his laziness or flirting with other girls, and she also had a crush on Guangu for a short time when he first moved in. In season 2, she left the apartment and moved to another city, but returns in season 3 after failing her work there. In the end of season 3, she realizes that she still loves Ziqiao, and is hinted to be pregnant with his baby.
- Eric Wang (Wang Chuan Jun) portrays Guangu Shenqi (Sekitani Kamiya),
- A Japanese young man who moved into the apartment. He was a manga artist from Yokohama, but left for China to pursue his career. He is charming and very serious, but when angered, he becomes extremely stubborn and (comically) violent, often taking out a katana and scaring his friends by claiming he will commit seppuku. He is still learning Chinese, and often misuses Chinese phrases. In the beginning of season 2, he falls in love with Youyou and eventually the two of them become a couple. Although he loves Youyou very much, he is often too overprotective, which annoys her. In the season 3 finale, he mistakenly thinking Youyou is pregnant and proposes to her, which she accepts.
- Deng Jia Jia portrays Tang Youyou,
- Ziqiao’s little aunt (the youngest sister of his mother). She works as an actress, though her movie character always dies without any character development, much to her frustration. Even outside of the movie set, she likes to act overly dramatic; in one instance she spent a few hours fabricating and acting out a (fictional) story to explain to a stranger about how she and Guangu met. She is also very bad at keeping secrets, but she always claims that she won't let them out. She meets Guangu at the start of season 2, and they eventually become a couple. In the season 3 finale, she accepts Guangu’s proposal, but reveals that she is not pregnant.
- Jean Lee (Li Jia Hang) portrays Zhang Wei,
- A friend of Ziqiao that he met at the bar. He is a trainee lawyer. In season 1 he was a minor character that Ziqiao found to set up a date with Yifei, but he became a main character in season 2. He moved into the apartment after Ziqiao’s party caused him to miss his own wedding, indirectly causing his fiancée to run away with another man. He is kind-hearted and always keen to help others, but very unlucky and also quite stingy, often claiming he is saving money to buy his own house. He is allergic to seafood, and got hospitalized several times when he mistakenly eats lobster and crayfish. Throughout the series he has dated several girls, but his friends always end up unwittingly ruining it for him. In season 3 he leaves the apartment and found work as a lawyer in another city, though he has never won a single case for his client.
- Vanessa Zhao (Zhao Wen Qi) portrays Qing Yumo,
A high-school friend of Yifei who first appeared in season 2. She works as an office lady. She is a stereotypical white-collar worker: serious, level-headed but sensitive and easily depressed. She initially moved to the apartment to hide from her boyfriend, Richard. However, she finds texts on Richard's phone of a different girl named Tina and breaks up with him. Later, she finds out that Richard was already married to Tina. In season 3 she moved to another city, but still occasionally calls everyone to see how things are going.
Episode 1: Wedding Battle
Zhan Bo, a young man graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology returns to mainland China, so he was chosen to be a Network Engineer. When he gets on the bus at the airport, a young woman named Wan Yu boards and hides next to him. Two men in black suits board to look for her but get kicked off the bus for not paying. Zhan Bo and Wan Yu haven't been in China for a long time, so they do not realize that the bus they are on is going from the city to the country until they are quite far away. Meanwhile, in the city, Zhan Bo's sister, Yi Fei is organizing a marriage with her roommate, Zeng Xiao Xian. They disagree which one is to be the MC. Ziqiao encounters a very ill pastor in the bathroom, who passes out after Zi Qiao gives him some medicine of dubious quality he is hawking. He is mistaken to be the pastor when he is caught trying on the pastor's robe. The bride has requested that the marriage be performed in English, and all though Zi Qiao's English is terrible, it seems to be good enough to get the job done.
After the marriage was completed, the founder of the apartment building was to make one of their wishes come true within the man's power. The wish is, they wanted to call this apartment complex "àiqíng gōngyù" (literally "love apartment", and where the series gets its name). So, due to this wish, the owner declares the rent will be half and water and electricity will be included for couples who live there. While officiating the marriage ceremony, Mei Jia and Zi Qiao stage a marriage proposal in order to be able to rent the apartment for such a low price.
After the "unforgettable" marriage, the magnificent adventure of the 7 young adults started!
Episode 2: The Super "Big" Scandal
Mei Jia and Zi Qiao have a problem: after pretending to be a couple to rent an apartment for half-price, they find out the apartment used to have four occupants, and since they only knew the rent per person, the rent is twice as much as they thought. But right at that time, a young Japanese man in his late-20s knocked on the door. He was looking for an apartment with a similar name, and since Chinese is not his first language, Zi Qiao tries to convince him that one of the Hanzi in the name is a homograph, and the apartment name can be pronounced "àiqíng gōngyù". Zi Qiao and Mei Jia try 3 ways to make the man stay, at last, he does. He is introduced as a comic writer, Guan-Gu Shen-Qi. When he moves into his room, Mei Jia finds out that he is the author of her favorite comic: Clumsy at Love. The real name if translated directly is Love of Three Legged Cat, but three legged cat is an idiom that means clumsy and not regular.
Mei Jia develops a huge crush on Guan-Gu, and while helping him unpack, Yi Fei and Xiao Xian overhear them, and believing that Zi Qiao and Mei Jia are engaged, conclude Mei Jia is having an affair. This is made all the more awkward when Zi Qiao returns to the apartment with a green hat.
Episode 3: Lets Let Depression Continue
Episode 4: The Romantic Revenge
Episode 5: Water of "Fall in Love"
Episode 6: Easy to get Famous
Episode 7: Heterosexual Attractiveness
Episode 8: Mysterious Present
Episode 9: The Traffic Jam
Episode 10: Guan-Gu, the God of the Gamblers
Episode 11: Its a Small World
Episode 12: The Matter of Life and Death
Episode 13: The Memory Shred (Thriller)
Episode 14: The Boring Weekend (L.O.L)
Episode 15: The Halloween Fright
Episode 16: Mr. Gossip
Episode 17: Mrs. BigMouth
Episode 18: You are Evil
Episode 19: The Valentines Prelude
Episode 20: Who Touched my Valentine (Season Finale)
Episode 21: I can Predict the Beginning, but I can't Predict the Ending
Zi Qiao and the others meet his old friend, Zhang Wei, at a nightclub. He is getting married the next day but Zi Qiao convinces him to have a bachelor party. Unfortunately, they wake up too late the next morning and Zhang Wei misses the wedding. When he finally arrives, it turns out his bride has left him to return to her childhood love. Zhang Wei takes up Zi Qiao's offer to move into the iPartment.
Episode 22: Dear, you are a Mystery
Episode 23: Don't Admire Brother, Brother is Just a Legend
Episode 24: The Vanessa Code
Episode 25: The Shen-QI Family
Episode 26: The Diamond, Hit my Waist
Episode 27: In the Name of Love
Episode 28: The Drunk Angel
Episode 29: Who Wants to Have Dinner with us
Episode 30: When the Spring Festival Resurrects
Episode 31: The Fascination Conversion
Episode 32: The Best Actress
Episode 33: It is not Fathers Day
Episode 34: Internet Broke, so we Travel Through Time
Episode 35: The Secret Secret
Episode 36: The Story of the Single Woman
Episode 37: The Conch Lady
Episode 38: The Big Boss
Episode 39: Who Wants to be a Millionaire (Part 1)
Episode 40: Who Wants to be a Millionaire (Part 2) (Season Finale)
Episode 41: The Answer
Episode 42: Guan-Gu and Zi-Qiao, FUSION!
Episode 43: Night Senitent
Episode 44: This is a Miracle (Part 1)
Episode 45: This is a Miracle (Part 2)
Episode 46: Nice to Meet You
Episode 47: The Battle of the Preposals
Episode 48: 2:30 A.M.
Episode 49: The Best Ending
Episode 50: Life is a Circle
Episode 51: H.E.R.O(Creation)
Episode 52: Watching the Meteor Shower Together (Part 1)(Thriller)
Episode 53: Watching the Meteor Shower Together (Part 2)(Thriller)
Episode 54: The Armegeddon in the Forbidden Summit
Episode 55: Social Network
Episode 56: No Ifs (Part 1)(Creation)
Episode 57: No Ifs (Part 2)(Creation)
Episode 58: No Ifs (Part 3)(Creation)
Episode 59: Heartbeat Girl
Episode 60: The True Lie
Episode 61: Flying Across the Mists of Mt. Creation (Part 1)
Episode 62: Flying Across the Mists of Mt. Creation (Part 2)(Thriller)
Episode 63: Matrix Revolution (Creation)
Episode 64: Final Fantasy (Season Finale)
The show became popular after its premiere but has received mixed reviews since. Most of the criticism is directed towards the written material since the second season, using jokes from Chinese-translated American sitcoms such as Friends, How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.
iPartment 2 and iPartment 3 is out on 2011 June and 2012 July. The director and the actors have said that they are going to start filming iPartment 4 in the start of October, and it is going to be released on 2013 November, the New Year, or around Chinese New Year. Many false dates have come out like July 22, and August 8.
iPartment Season 4
Coming out on the July of 2013, the director already thought of a plot for iPartment 4. Zhan-Bo starts dating other females because of the never ending trip of Milan for Wan-Yu, but Kingscar will go from main-actor to cameo because of another film that casted him. You-You and Guangu's relation continues but still very doubtful. Due to Mei-Jia's in-film pregnancy, the "father" of the baby is still not revealed. Yifei and Xiaoxian's relationship has an opening point and they somehow get together.