|Funny faces: Five characters in the sitcom 5S Online, which is aired on Viet Nam Television's Channel 6 from Monday to Friday. — Photo vtv.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — 5S Online, a popular new sitcom aimed at teenagers, demonstrates that the sitcom genre is catching on in Viet Nam.
The 365-episode show takes place in the office of a cartoon company. The title is short for five words in Vietnamese: sang tao (creative); sanh dieu (stylistic); say me (passion); soc (shock) and sinh loi (profitable).
The actors, including famous "hot boys" and "hot girls", are a major draw for teenagers. Three of them were in Nhat Ky Vang Anh (Vang Anh's Diary), one of the first Vietnamese sitcoms for teenage audiences. Their return, together with the appearances of new actors, contributed to 5S Online's popularity. Episodes, screened every day from Monday to Friday at 8.45pm on Viet Nam Television's channel 6, have consistently high ratings.
The show was voted most popular by the online community at Viet Nam Television's Award ceremony.
Director Nguyen Huu Trong is keen on producing shows for teenage audiences. His previous sitcoms include Nhung Phong Vien Vui Nhon (Hilarious Reporters) and Cua So Thuy Tinh (Glass Window).
During the filmmaking time, the director spends time chatting with his actors to understand the interests of young people. He also allows the actors to improvise as needed, often replacing situations written in the script with things that occur at the studio.
"I want the characters to be natural. I let them act based on their experiences and speak slang – whatever creates better and funnier situations," said Trong, who confessed that he sometimes becomes so immersed in his work, he forgets that he is directing.
"I look like a child with a wide-open mouth, following the story. Sometimes I shout for joy after good scenes," he said.
The show also proves that Vietnamese writers are able to create successful sitcoms. The first Vietnamese sitcom, Lang Hoa Tinh Yeu (Love Flower Basket), was co-produced by HCM Television Film Studio and its South Korean counterpart in the early 2000s. This started a trend of making Vietnamese sitcoms based on foreign screenplays.
However, these sitcoms, such as Nguoi Me Nhi (Little Mother), Nhung Nguoi Doc Than Vui Ve (Cheerful Singles), Co Gai Xau Xi (Ugly Betty) and Camera Cong So (Office Camera), failed to gain popularity with Vietnamese audiences.
"Making sitcoms is much more difficult than television dramas. Sitcoms are very short but must be funny every minute," said director Nguyen Minh Chung, who made Ugly Betty and Little Mother based on the American and Spanish originals.
In recent years, sitcoms have replaced other programmes because they run for 12 months. Television studios have invested in sitcoms with scripts by Vietnamese writers, attracting viewers who want to take a break from their busy lives and be entertained with light-hearted stories. — VNS