The last time we had our very own Malaysian English sitcom was the days of Kopitiam in 1997. It lasted for quite some seasons and certainly a memorable one in our mind with its interesting script and awesome cast. Now in 2012 after a long wait, we finally have another Malaysian English sitcom Small Mission Enterprise (S.M.E).
SME tells the story of 3 Malaysian friends embarking on their entrepreneurship journey. Mohan (Ash Nair) runs a family stationary business with his dad Kumar (Indi Nadarajah) while Zam (Baki Zainal) runs a tailoring shop owned by his aunty Cik Aminah (Adibah Noor). Jose (Alvin Wong) works toward opening his own pastry cafe with the support of his supportive girlfriend Michelle (Chelsia Ng)who works as an insurance agent.
I must admit that I was looking forward to this 13 episode as soon as it was announced on 9th August. Had a sneak preview somewhere in September. It was funny. It was worth a laugh. After all we're looking at a bunch of talented people working on it from the director, writers and cast including Douglas Lim, Kuah Jenhan, Phoon Chi Ho, Baki Zainal, Ash Nair, Alvin Wong, Ruzana Ibrahim, Adibah Noor, Indi Nadarajah and Chelsia Ng.
But it also irritated me to the maximum. On a sneak preview screening, we watched episode 2. And at the very start, it had me wondering, "What the heck was precious seconds spent focusing on the watch Oris?" Fine that Oris was one of the sitcom sponsors but certainly there was no need to focus on the watch and its brand for so many seconds?
Perhaps that was the only scene? Nah...the episode goes on and on about the selling point of a Canon printer. And mind you this goes on for many precious minutes. No doubt, it was a mix of jokes in between the "fact talk" but really it was like watching a Canon printer commercial telling me that it can print wireless, goes into an power safe mode to save electricity, blah blah blah.
Funny enough but we don't need minutes spent telling me what the printer features are.
I seriously dreaded the episodes to come based on Episode 2. I held back writing and waited a bit more and by now its I have to say the hard selling did not stop. Luckily though, it actually reduced to a certain extent. Honestly, it is painful to watch with the hard sell going on every episode. Let the following snippits of videos speak for themselves (most unfortunately there isn't much of its videos to show you unless you caught the Episodes on NTV 7 like I did).
SME Sitcom Promo
Season 1 Episode 2
An utter disappointment that the long awaited local English sitcom falls prey to commercialism. Who do we blame? The producers?
I'll be fair. Much as they have a full "control" on production since there is always the editing part of things etc, I like to say that the sponsors will have to learn and appreciate that sponsoring a production does not equate them being privy to using the sitcom or production to be an extension of their commercial. Subtle product placements are acceptable. But to mention the brand name and to zoom into their logos and products repeatedly is such sorcery! And just as bad if not worse is to repeatedly talk about your printer features! Or telling us how awesome a certain vehicle is!
Still, I will have to say, its a good job done by the writers Douglas Lim, Kuah Jenhan and Phoon Chi Ho to marry the commercialism bit into their story. You wil laugh it off to equate printing using wifi with hantus (ghosts) in a printer. Incorporating DHL's coverage into Adibah Noor lil talk with a DHL delivery man that she has the hots for. Or even Chelsia teaching Alvin on the online features that SSM has for entrepreneurs. The cast were brilliant and funny enough. Its a local production after so many years of waiting. So let not the first few episode mar the probability that the rest of the season for Small Mission Enterprise may just be as good as other imported sitcoms that we have been so accustomed to watching.
Good lessons shared "say No to Ah Long"
Funny boys Baki and Alvin...thank goodness there is no infomercial on painkillers for headaches:P
Have a laugh...buy a Mitsubishi Triton:P
Its good to support our local productions... So catch Small Mission Enterprise (S.M.E) every Thursday 9pm on NTV 7. Follow the updates too on their Facebook page (if they do update it on time:P)www.facebook.com/SmallMissionEnterprise
More pics in the album Small Mission Enterprise - long awaited Malaysian English sitcom