If you're a fan of American sitcoms, you might know of a little police comedy called Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The sitcom first aired in September 2013 and is now halfway through its fifth season. Its combination of lovable ensemble, razor-sharp wit, and deadpan humour is one of the reasons it is an award-winning production.
And then there's a local comedy called "Trendsetters" which premiered on Mar 1 2018.
Produced by local YouTube outfit Tree Potato for Mediacorp's online service Toggle (marketed as a Toggle Originals), Trendsetters "follows the comedic challenges faced by Shin (the male lead) and the team at Vermillion Digital, a top - ranking social media agency in Singapore".
Toggle subscribers can view the entire series on Toggle right now.
Anyhow, let's get down to talking about the show(s):
Trendsetters is led by the "talented but childish" executive Shin (Joakim Gomez) who spars with by-the-book/boss suck-up Penny (Sonia Chew), his colleague and competitor.
They report to Alex (Tan Kheng Hua) their no-nonsense boss whose deadpan facial expressions seem to be a running gag. Rounding up the cast is Max (Elliot Tan), the male lead's best friend who is clumsy, excitable, and has an affinity for cooking good food.
On the other hand, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is led by the talented but immature police officer Jacob Peralta (Andy Samberg) who spars with the by-the-book/boss suck-up Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero), his colleague and competitor.
They report to Captain Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) their no-nonsense boss whose deadpan facial expressions seem to be a running gag . Rounding up the case is Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), the male lead's best friend who is clumsy, excitable, and has an affinity for cooking good food.
Yea, totally different.
The pilot episodes of both productions seem to be structured rather similarly.
Both open with a dramatic monologue, before we are introduced to the male and female leads who are in competition to best each other. Jake is competing against Amy to score the most arrests in the station while Shin tries to beat Penny in landing the most client work.
We then see both bosses walk in on the unsuspecting male leads in rather embarrassing circumstances.
Both male leads proceed to go against their bosses' wishes, fail in whatever task they set out to do, and get relegated to doing menial work as punishment - Shin does client research, while Jacob has to spend time in the records room.
Responses to pilot episode
Quite a number of viewers took to YouTube to mention how similar both productions are.
Also, did you see the opening sequence of both shows?
But of course, let's give credit where credit is due. That scene of Lim Yu Beng (yes the bald actor) in a shampoo commercial was sublime.
Trendsetters is written by Tree Potatoes' Elliot Tan and Aaron Khoo. We have reached out to Tree Potatoes and Toggle for their comments.
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Andy Samberg's name. It has been corrected.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine screenshots from Netflix. Trendsetters screenshots from Toggle and YouTube.