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.
Cast & Credits
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 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;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&list=PL9ct9xr9-KGQtUXpZDeec-oi5WXSz9oNc&index=7 so punchy and addictive
Pei Ni Zuo Yu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9R4gKWn9W4&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 :(.
For the most part, the drama is easy to watch and the episodes go by fast. Good pacing with no time is wasted 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!