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Ongoing 39/40
The Ideal City
18 people found this review helpful
Aug 31, 2021
39 of 40 episodes seen
Ongoing 1
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.0

Ideal living

I love this drama.
This is my first review.
One of the most riveting modern Chinese dramas that I have watched in a long time. No need for any of the bells and whistles like fantasy fairy lands, CGI, nice fancy costumes/makeup, kung fu choreography, original songs. Even without all that, this drama still stands out. Why? Story is riveting, uplifting, storytelling is logical, and the actors deliver in portraying characters brilliantly.

What drew to me to drama to begin with was SunLi. I have not watched any of her previous dramas before so was curious why she’s so famous. And after watching her here in this show, I now know why. The first few episodes were difficult to follow, but I stuck with my rule of thumb on watching at least 5 episodes, and if I didn’t feel invested by then, I was out. But not with this one. After the 3rd episode, it was game on!

The title of the drama is The Ideal City, and it delves into the theme of what is the ideal way to succeed, and what do you do when you get there. Does the end justify the means?
It follows the story of a young woman (SuXiao) living in the big city of Shang Hai, and how she makes it in a male dominated industry despite the many adversities she has to face.

It’s natural for people to want to succeed, to climb the ranks of the corporate ladder, make more money, and to be respected. But what will you do to get it? How low will you go to get what you want? Ideally, we should strive and work hard to get what we want in life, but so many times, some people cut corners to attain that outcome.
Many times, it’s those at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy who suffer the consequences of the decisions of those above.

SuXiao is a principled woman who is talented in her field of work.
From the get go, she is served with wave after wave of injustices. Betrayed professionally and personally by those she loves and trusts. What I love most about her is that even though she is struck hard by these people, she does not stoop down to the level of her rivals. She does not use their methods to beat them.
Also, she doesn’t stay down. She picks herself up, soldiers on, and takes up any opportunities she’s given, proves her worth, and thrives.
To me, SuXiao’s journey and response embodies power through resilience and hard work.
She did it fair and square. She was a victim of unfairness, but she rose as a victor.
Life knocks her down, but she got up. Step by step she rises and proves her worth with sheer hard work. She shuts the mouths of critics by her actions.
Full of dignity and integrity in life and work.

She is the ideal.

But not everyone can enjoy the same idealistic journey.
Some others made it to the top by utilising inglorious methods like: back-stabbing, holding others back deliberately to not let them outshine you, taking credit for other people’s work, bribing, framing, scheming, and just knocking others out of the way to get to the top.
It’s ugly, dirty, desperate, and simply despicable. It’s unideal.

Also, when you get to the apex. What do you do? What is the endgame for all the headache associated with corporate boardroom struggles, mind games, schemes?
Be a vortex to seek to hoover in more money for yourself? Or should you look at how you can pull others up to be on the mountain with you.
It’s the reasonability of those higher up to be transparent, expose truth and administer justice.

I may be a bit philosophical in my drama review, but what I enjoy most about this drama is that it holds a mirror out to the audience and asks “what will you do to get what you want in life?” What this show reminds me of is that ultimately you are in control of your own destiny. Whatever your background, whether you have billionaire father, education, or a poverty stricken family to support.
Everyone has baggage to carry. Life is hard for everyone.
You can wallow and whinge, throw pity parties for yourself and continue in your state of victimhood.
OR you can after you fall down, re-evaluate how you can do it differently, and dust yourself off and try again. It is ideal to choose the latter, even though it may be a rough and hard journey, and, to not leave a trail of resentment and disgruntled people to get there.

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