While Chinese Gen Zers may prefer tuning into American sitcoms like the Big Bang Theory to learn English, Chinese classic sitcoms are still enjoyed today. With some lines often quoted in daily life. Together, these sitcoms form an indispensable part of the collective memory of the 90s and early 2000s.
1 我爱我家 I Love My Family (1993)
As the first Mandarin-language sitcom, I Love my Family is a real classic. The show tells the story of an ordinary family in Beijing in the '90s and is an interesting reflection of that era of historical changes. Even though it may be a bit difficult to understand, this sitcom is perfect for you if you want to understand China better as a country.
2 东北一家人 A Family in Dongbei (2001)
Dongbei (东北) generally refers to the Northeastern part of China, where people have a notoriously funny accent. The sitcom tells the story of a family of State-Owned-Enterprise workers in Dongbei. While the show is definitely hilarious, it is a genuine depiction of life in the 2000s in China. You might also pick up some Dongbei dialects that you can show off to your Chinese-speaking friends.
3 武林外传 My Own Swordsman 2006
Sometimes referred to as the last great Chinese sitcom, this show broke a long list of records. Different from other sitcoms, My Own Swordsman has a wuxia setting, a genre traditionally set in ancient China with the main theme about martial arts. The main characters, who were nobodies when the show first came out, later all became big names in the industry thanks to this popular sitcom. If you will only watch one Chinese sitcom in your life, this is the one.
4 家有儿女 Home with Kids (2005)
Home with Kids is sometimes known as the Chinese equivalent of Growing Pains. It tells the story of the three kids in a stepfamily in Beijing. Unlike most Chinese sitcoms, the show uses child actors as protagonists. The four-season sitcom is also widely considered the spiritual successor of I Love My Family.
5 炊事班的故事 Story of the Kitchen Squad (2002)
This three-season sitcom tells the daily trifles of a cooking squad in the Chinese military. Each member of the squad his a distinct background and a different regional accent. If your goal is to understand normal Chinese people from different parts of the country, you should definitely watch this show.