After the little hype-up session for Small Mission Enterprise (S.M.E) a few weeks ago, I was invited to the media preview of the upcoming Malaysian English sitcom at GSC Pavillion to watch one of its episodes before the sitcom even started to be broadcasted on TV. In short, I was disappointed more than anything else. I shall begin this entry with what I disliked about it so that we can end on a slightly more positive note (hopefully…).
The episode shown to the media that day was the 2nd episode. Not really sure why the second one instead of the first one but my guesses is that the first one is probably an introduction pilot that does not show the products & services of the sitcom’s sponsors as much. This is actually the most annoying thing of the entire episode. Many, and I really do mean many, parts of the 20-30 minutes of it made me feel like I’m watching a series of commercials from Oris, DHL, Canon, AXA and SSM. Immediately the first minute of the episode, the scene was practically focusing on nothing but the Oris watch that the characters wear. Then the next scene, it shows the characters wearing DHL Manchester United t-shirts instead of the actual football club jersey. After that, it’s a scene completely dedicated to market and hard-sell a Canon printer. It’s so obvious that I almost palmed my face to death. And then some scenes after this one, comes a scene where they highlight the services of DHL. And I’m sure that there’ll be actual commercial breaks when this is being aired on TV, right? Oh me oh my.
In terms of its humour, I have to say that it’s not as amusing as I was hoping it to be. Forcefully, I only laughed once (just ha, not ha-ha) at one of the lines which I can’t even remember what it was anymore. The jokes are predictable, the stupidity of the characters is over-exaggerated and there are also some parts that just don’t make any sense. Sigh, I don’t know, maybe the style of this kind of sitcom is a bit dated perhaps? I think by just hearing random words from the director, Douglas Lim, would probably be more hilarious than watching this episode.
Now let’s get to what I think is commendable about Small Mission Enterprise. According to what we were told, every episode has a different plot and topic, which allows the sitcom to explore various challenges and solutions in running a small-medium business. Episode 2 has the purpose of teaching the viewers about business/company registration with SSM (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia a.k.a Companies Commission of Malaysia). Ironically, I’ve been trying to renew my business registration on the SSM website in the past few weeks but to no avail. And in the past two working days, I’ve tried to call the department in charged with the online registration and nobody ever answers. In reality, this is one of the actual minor challenges that a business in Malaysia may encounter. Anyway, back to the sitcom. I’m sure the people who don’t know how to find out about these things through Google may learn a thing or two from this episode. I think even I might learn some things about running a business from watching the later episodes. Ultimately, I think encouraging and educating Malaysians about business, through a sitcom, is a brilliant idea.
More heart was put to please the sponsors than to entertain potential viewers, I felt. We don’t even need to compare S.M.E to another sitcom as it’s just straight-out poor. I truly hope that this second episode is the worst of the entire sitcom otherwise the ratings may likely drop significantly by episode four. Sincerely, I don’t want that to happen because I really wanna support this edutainment concept (minus the sponsors). If this English sitcom fails, I doubt any other local would dare to make another one.
Small Mission Enterprise will be aired on NTV7 starting from the 4th of October 2012.