Ode to Joy

Ode to Joy (2016)

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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 328 users
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Five women live on the 22 floor of the same apartment. Different in personalities they each have their own struggles in their career, family and love life. As they get to know each other and journey through the struggles of living in Shanghai, they each undergo a transformation.

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23 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 25, 2016
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.5
  • Acting/Cast 9.5
  • Music 9.5
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
''Ode to Joy'' was certainly my most anticipated drama of the year and for good reasons, I'll briefly explain why.
First and foremost because I have total trust in the production team and actors (Jiang Xin, Liu Tao, Yang Zi, Jin Dong, Zu Feng and so on ...) and well when I read what it would be about I was filled with too much happiness, I mean there's Jiang Xin and she'll read more be a main character I was really overjoyed because of that and this time she could finally shine and show what great outstanding actress she is which I never doubted <3 furthermore I've always wanted to watch a drama about strong friendship between women from different background and age, to see how their relationship will evolve throughout the drama, in the end I can tell you that it exceeded my expectations, it was more than just friendship, it was sisterhood and a friendship filled with so much love, respect, funny and cute moments. And I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of Chinese Modern Dramas but now I can definitely say, this one is the best I've seen and among my fave dramas right now.

Of course what made this drama such a wonderful and unique journey is the friendship between all of them : Sheng Mei, An Di, Xiao Xiao, Ying Ying and Guan Guan, how they all get to know, accept, respect and love each other, it was simply beautiful and magical to see, everything feels so genuine, it's like they've known each other since a very long time and were able to confide in one another, joke and do lot of amusing activities together like true friends would do and yeah it did take a little bit of time for at least two of them to open up more and accept the others girls however in the end they were themselves when together, all 5 of them.
Friendship is definitely not what this drama is all about and I love this drama for many other reasons :
-The writing, I was so impressed and since the first second when I saw how the dialogues were so well thought- out, rich and intelligent, I love all those quotes Sheng Mei, An Di and some characters like Lao Tan ( Tan Zong Ming) said, very realistic, deep and sometimes pretty bitter.
-Different genres mixed so well in only one drama such as : friendship, drama, comedy (mostly scenes with Ying Ying and Xiao Xiao), romance, slice of life and also family. This is true that some situations were a bit too unreasonable but overall it was such a refreshing and realistic drama and as a big Slice of Life fan I couldn't resist and and love with all my heart all the characters and their stories, sometimes it felt also too real that I couldn't help but cry (from both sadness and happiness).
-Also love how the writer doesn't only focus on one or two characters but takes time to develop all of them and show their own stories, struggles and family problems. Just this is such a pity I still don't know much about Guan Guan and because of that I couldn't relate to her nor her story but it doesn't mean she's not likeable and that I didn't like her.

I really have too much love for this drama that will be hard to explain with words but anyway I'll try to convey my thoughts and affection for Ode to Joy without being too subjective. You know since the very first ep I already felt attached to Fan Sheng Mei, An Di and Ying Ying, I really love the way they were introduced to us, one is very mature and have such strong opinion about love and life situations, the second one is straightforward and can be very badass as well and the latter so cute and naive but also very foolish at times but I couldn't help but fall for her kindness, gentleness toward other girls. They do really have their own qualities and flaws and that's what make them humane and alive.
Of course I know If I start talking about all of them it will take me hours so I'll try to make it as short as possible and go straight to the point.

~If you don't want to know more about the character's personalities you can skip this part~
[Fan Sheng Mei : who's my absolute favorite of the show and the reason is because she's so mature, so elegant and classy, strong, independent who only relies on herself to live and survive in a big city like Shanghai, she's particularly pessimistic when it comes to love and relationship between human being but we can only go along with her as she's always stating the awiful truth.
An Di : Smart, quiet, elegant, mostly wears black and white clothes and for like 25 eps it always bugged me a little bit but that's her style :p, discreet about her life and once again for good reasons because it's hard for her opening up to others and trusting them.
Xiao Xiao, the real light of this drama, so eccentric, also sometimes very awkward with others and the words she uses to speak to people and which leads her to be misunderstood in my opinion, this can be both an asset and disadvantage. Anyway she's considerate, adorable and cool, and for that I like her a lot.
Ying Ying : cute, loving, caring, she also has an eccentric side but now in same way as Xiao Xiao, it's more in her behaviour and her cheerful personality.
Guan Guan : She's also a very understanding and compassionate person and always there for Fan Sheng Mei and Ying Ying, she's hardworking too and a bit too shy, has hard time expressing her feelings to others but once she's with her friends she can fully be herself.]

5 unique, interesting and colourful women :p

I'm really impressed to see that those 5 women who are so different can share so much and support each other during hard times, such endearing, caring and loving characters, for me it was impossible not to love and admire them though I have my personal favorites and I know all of you who watched this drama have your own favorite characters as well for personal reasons and that's what makes Ode to Joy so unforgettable. And yes my fave is definitely Sheng Mei and I love her .

I now need to say a few words about the OST which definitely became one of my all time favorites, I absolutely love all of the songs : I'll post my favorites below. But I won't say more cause I hope people who're gonna watch the drama will discover all of them by themselves and enjoy them the same way I did, and being surprised the way I was too otherwise it would not be fun for you.

My faves :
The ending song : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEmSGIaT4Rg&amp;amp;list=PLlxGEDlRe5WNN-_2n7giCKga4V5YHa8-1 Love
Hui Gu Niang/Cinderella : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fGAWMfO7HQ , definitely my favorite and I love the lyrics, so beautiful and true.
Wo Yao Ni/I Want you : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL_QJkbrCKE&amp;list=PL9ct9xr9-KGQtUXpZDeec-oi5WXSz9oNc&amp;index=7 so punchy and addictive
Pei Ni Zuo Yu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9R4gKWn9W4&amp;amp;amp;amp;list=RDsY6u6NbtTlE;index=2

It was overall a very great drama as I said above and I just can't wait for the next seasons to see my girls again *0*. Very very recommended as it will definitely bring you lot of smiles, laughter and food for thoughts as well. And I have to say it was really addictive, I still can't believe I completed this show :(.
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14 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Jun 5, 2016
  • Overall 8.5
  • Story 7.5
  • Acting/Cast 8.5
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 6.0
This drama is about five women who start living in the 22nd floor of building called Ode to Joy. It is about their lives and challenges in work and loves, but it is mainly about their growth as individuals and in finding a save haven in each other's company.

For the most part, the drama is easy to watch and the episodes go by fast. Good pacing with no time is wasted read more since there is a lot to tell in the given time. There are some stories that outshine others, but the story still gave a fair amount of screen time to all the characters. The music that accompanies it is excellent. The main theme song, sung by our main heroines, is perfect in portraying what this drama is all about, women of this era. The other theme song that caught my attention was Cinderella by Jiang Xin (Fan Sheng Mei) had really great lyrics that describes the hardships and hopes of women our generation.

If I were to look at the stories individually, I wouldn't call them original in anyway. Not only that, you can say they aren't that realistic either. What makes this drama outstanding and memorable in my eyes isn't the over story, isn't the result where our girls get to, but the characters, the journey they take individually and together. It makes their world feels real and complete. Every new character we meet feels that he or she is playing their main character in their own world. While watching each episode, I found myself having so much to say about each and every character. Everything they did made sense in their mindset. Everything they say had a reason behind it. And the more we discover about the characters, the more the picture feels complete and everything starts making better sense.

Honestly I could write an essay on each character in the story. None of the characters are perfect, each characters had good and bad point. But you know what the genius is in the end? At the end of the drama, we still have the same people, with the same positive and negative side, yet they felt more at peace and more satisfied with themselves than when we first them. There was definitely changes and development throughout the drama, but it is very subtle and didn't require any of them to change their personality.

While characters individually were all written well, and the relationship between the girls was great and felt the most real and genuine, when it came to the love relationships, the chemistry wasn't all there, and many times it felt awkward seeing the characters together. Somehow when they went in dates it felt everyone was being pretentious. At times that suited the characters, but other times it felt out of place. It didn't bother me much though, since the main theme of the story was the relationship between the girls, and that felt the most genuine with the most sizzling chemistry XD

The one thing that annoyed me most is the narration. First of all I just don't like the narrator's voice. And second, it's a wasted effort. Truth is the cast is all very capable, and were great at expressing their thoughts and turmoil through their facial expression. NONE of them needed someone to tell us what they were thinking. It really annoyed me in the beginning, then I just tried to ignore it.

Before finishing the drama, when I heard there would be a 2nd season I got worried the story would drag. However this isn't the case anymore. While the drama ended in a good place and I feel completely satisfied, there is a lot of potential for a second season and a lot more stories to tell. For that reason I can't wait for it. I already miss those girls!
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Make a Recommendation More recs (2)Recommendations

Shows the lives of four couples who live in the same apartment complex. Very interesting and relatable.
Recommended by Jay
the same kind of environment ~

"Five women live on the 22 floor of the same apartment. Different in personalities they each have their own struggles in their career, family and love life. As they get to know each other and journey through the struggles of living in Shanghai, they each undergo a transformation."
Recommended by Carol-chanDias

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Comments (168)

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  • Reply
    Annalisse 28 days ago

    This was on my PTW list 4 a while, and having just finished Age of Youth I was excited to watch OTJ thinking it would be a more mature version. BUT it just wasn't as good. I just didn't like ANY of the female characters. They were so annoying in the beginning and there wasn't enough character growth (for me at least) throughout the drama for me to really connect with any of them. I would get interested in 1 plotline and then it seemed like whatever growth just stopped. Oh, and if you're watching for Wang Kai, don't bother. His screen time was minimal. IDK, this was a big disappointment for me. PM me if season 2 shows any promise as far as putting the few ships I cared about together, otherwise I'm done.

  • Reply
    Tzuyu Jan 22, 2017 - edited

    I find Guan so uninteresting and Qiu Ying so annoying I always want to skip their scenes.Xiao xiao has so many defects and can be annoying but at least she is very interesting and its entertained to watch.

  • Reply
    _Rosie Jan 13, 2017

    ugh I really despise the way Xiao Xiao clings on to that Dr its so embarassing

  • Reply
    _Rosie Dec 31, 2016 - edited

    5 episodes in and I like 3 out of the 5 girls - the other 2 get on my nerves I hope I can carry on with the drama despite them.
    Qu Xiao Xiao is bratty, greedy, entitled, lazy and wants everything without putting in the graft. Qiu Ying Ying is childish, stupid, needy, whiny, self obsessed and boy crazy.

    lol spoke to soon 15 eps in and now I think Guan is a doormat and Fan Mei a materialistic hypocrite. I am enjoying the drama though.

  • Reply
    Mary28 Dec 27, 2016 - edited

    Sooooo good can't wait for season 2 love these girls. The cast, friendship, drama, romance is just really great.

  • Reply
    iamsarah Dec 14, 2016

    I love this drama so much, the realism, my girls, the cast and the sisterhood and love in this was awesome. I can't wait for season 2. I give it a 9.5/10

  • Reply
    Youlie Nov 25, 2016 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      lily_b Dec 13, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      darcy Dec 26, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      lily_b Dec 26, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Youlie Nov 23, 2016 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
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    myra Nov 4, 2016 - edited

    where can I find the novel and english edition? can't find the the first novel only the second and its the Chinese edition.

  • Reply
    Khaiz Oct 27, 2016

    Just finished the drama and it was really good & refreshing!!
    At first I was afraid of the 42 eps but it was interesting during all the run!! Sure, some issues were being dragged way too long and some eps were a bit slow but overall, it was really good & I totally recommend it!! I can't wait for the S2 in May \o/

    PS : The second Bao Yi Fan came in the drama, I totally forgot about Dr. Zhao!! So much sex appeal & charisma!! *w* I'm sooooooo rooting for him!! The guy better be happy in the end XDD

  • Reply
    yoorin21 Sep 15, 2016

    Wow this drama was so amazing! Honestly I don't like long dramas so when I saw 42 episodes I was really hesitant. However, the friendships between the girls were portrayed so realistically and beautifully that I loved every episode! The only time I got annoyed was when they kept on focusing on Fan Sheng Mei and her family. It got annoying and I wanted to know more about the stories of the other girls. Overall, this was an awesome drama =D

  • Reply
    Sharn Aug 6, 2016 - edited

    Guys season 2 will be on May! Omg so excited

    • Reply
      Feyi Nov 29, 2016

      chinesse?? can you link it below

    • Reply
      Feyi Nov 29, 2016

      chinesse?? can you link it below

    • Reply
      Feyi Nov 29, 2016

      chinesse?? can you link it below

    • Reply
      Feyi Nov 29, 2016

      chinesse?? can you link it below

    • Reply
      Sharn Nov 29, 2016

      I don't think it's appropriate to post link here, so I PM you instead.

  • Reply
    radhz_dramalover Jun 13, 2016

    his drama was very refreshing to me. i love how its totally character driven. the potrayal of characters is damn realistic, that i can speak about them for days. this is something which is so new to me to feel for asian drama. or may i did not see many dramas. but i love how every character started so interestingly raw and changed themselves slowly to their better forms. character development is very much believable with great performance by actors and narration. and the friendship they shared is simply cherry on cake. they literally have each other backs. its so good to see such a rare sisterhood/womance. i truly feel to go find my own "ode to joy"

    but of course like any drama, its not perfect. it has its lows and highs. there are few episodes which are hard to pass or to not skip. although their lives individually is so mundane, it becomes meaningful to see their paths meddled up in a good way. i would definitley want to see more of them

  • Reply
    sunflower63 Jun 7, 2016 - edited

    I have mixed feelings about this drama. On the one hand I appreciated the original idea of the friendship between the women living on the same floor in Shanghai (which certainly took quite a lot of inspiration from Sex and the City...without the sex) and how the story dealt with real life issues making their friendship ties become stronger and stronger.
    On the other hand I didn't like how some problems really dragged on for too long: I would have given much more space to the relationships between these women and their possible partners. For example the friendly relationship between Andy and her boss could have been exploited better and also I didn't think it was fair that there was not so much focus on Guan Guan's personal relationships as for the other women.
    So overall this was a good drama but it could have been better with a more carefully written plot.

    • Reply
      DebraThompson Aug 13, 2016 - edited

      You thoughts are spot on except I accepted the explanation regarding her boss. He said he was interested at one time, but decided not to pursue her. Maybe he noticed that she had lots of issues, so he decided on friendship rather than romance. Don't know if he would have gotten the romance anyway. I wholeheartedly agree regarding any romance for Guan Guan. I was kinda shipping her with the "hot doc." Don't know why they dropped the ball on that one. They even gave Ying Ying romance at the very end...then we see Guan Guan sitting in he room all alone. Yeah, so stereotypical having the quiet girl with the round glasses sitting home alone with her parents! :/

    • Reply
      Sharn Sep 1, 2016

      The reason why they didnt give Guan Guan more story is because the drama doesnt end here; the ending is just the end of season 1. I heard Guan Guan will change in season 2 to snatch Dr. Zhao ;) did I spoil too much lol

    • Reply
      yarnie Dec 15, 2016 - edited

      dang :/ i really dislike the way her char was all the same since first ep to the last ep but this is too much i dont know how will i able to endure second season T__T
      Im already tired of girls stealing/liking their friend's guys in Kdramas now this.. it hurts me lol

  • Reply
    Kiseki Jun 6, 2016

    Trying to watch this drama and so far only made it to 5 episodes in 2 days. This show simply isn't holding my attention. The narrator really creeps me out. Whenever he talks in that cool, unaffected voice of his, it makes me think 'stalker' and totally breaks the tone of the show. Also, Jiang Xin gained weight. Her stylist needs to adjust to that instead of picking outfits that intentionally make her look fat. I'm not saying she's fat, but a little extra weight on top of poor choice in clothes just seems to emphasis it.


  • Country:

  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Apr 18, 2016 to May 9, 2016
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Network:

    Dragon TV
  • Duration:

    45 min.


  • Score:

    8.4 (scored by 328 users)
  • Ranked:

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