Series follows Ning Yi, who marries into the Su family with Su Tan Er as his wife. Su Tan Er is gifted in cloth-making while Ning Yi has great business acumen. Combining their talents, they strive to improve their business & take over the Su clothes businesses.
Together, they face various challenges in Jiangning city including
- The Su’s second family (Su Tan Er’s uncle & cousin) who are vying for the family seal.
- Fierce competition from the Wu’s family, another business family involved in clothes business. Wu Qi Hao, the only son of the family, is in love with Su Tan Er and finds ways to sabotage Ning Yi’s relationship & Su family. The Wu family ends up nearly bankrupt, getting financial assistance from Su family.
- Meeting new friends at the Academy for Male Virtuousness (the idea is so ridiculously funny!), including the Emperor’s brother-in-law & the prime minister.
Travelling to Lin’An city to probe business opportunities, further adventures await the couple
- Rebellion at the city resulted in bandits taking over the city, led by the Fang Tian Lei @ Holy Master. The “bandits” are well-organised with 2 rival camps – Commander Liu Xi Gua managing Wu De Camp and Commander Bao Wen Han managing Xuan Wei Camp.
- Holy Master Fang Tian Lei conspires taking over the city to control the explosives, linking to the political fight in the palace.
- Ning Yi gets entangled with Commander Liu Xi Gua & Fan Chen, pretending to help them and becomes their Counsellor to survive. As they encountered more adventures together, Ning Yi finds both naturally naïve & nice people.
- Commander Bao on the other hand, is ruthless in his actions against the citizens.
- Commander Dong Dao Fu from the capital city came, co-operated with Ning Yi to take over Lin’An city and recover the explosives.
The storyline turns slightly weird post Lin’An city, as the complication with the rebellion throws Ning Yi from a businessman to a political advisor to a secret spy! The plot a tad unrealistic, but definitely provides a lot of fodder for dramatization.
In the last few episodes, the direction of the series totally change towards political conspiracy, with Ning Yi caught in the middle of the battle between Wu and Jing Dynasty.
A number of the actors & actresses are the same cast from Joy of Life. While eagerly waiting for the 2nd season of Joy of Life, I guess this is a good fill-in series. The 2 leads are portrayed by Guo Qi Lin (who is the Fan Si Zhe, 2nd son of Fan family from Joy of Life) and Song Yi (who is Fan Ruo Ruo, daughter of Fan family from Joy of Life). It is a little weird to see the “siblings” turn into “lovers”.
Guo Qi Lin is not your typical male lead, as he is quite comedic & average looking. He does look a little goofy in this series. As he is supposed to have time-travelled, he applies his modern knowledge on business acumen to improve business for the Su family.
Song Yi on the other hand, is a little disappointing as her Su Tan Er’s character is quite timid. Supposedly an enterprising & talented person with clothing, the series does not highlight these throughout, portraying her more reactive personality towards the various situations.
The father-son combination of Su Zhong Gan & Su Wen Xing are the petty despicable family members. Their journeys are with funny moments, mostly at the expense of their characters & reactions.
The series gets interesting as Ning Yi explores the various concepts of modern business to apply in the ancient settings whereby Ning Yi:
- introduces customised customer services such as greetings, parking space for horse carriage(!) & re-arranging displays, customer feedback
- applies psychology to entice customers who are attracted by the by discounts by using probability. It is hilarious how the series emphasizes that word of mouth advertising works better & people are just generally loving a good value-for-money deal
- initiates the concept of franchise & even delivery services!
The 4 friends that Ning Yi made at the Academy for Male Virtuousness (who are also husbands marrying into their respective wives’ family) have their moments of glory in the series too. I like these friends who are underdogs achieving something via their own businesses.
When they travel to Lin’An city, it was interesting how the concept of tourism gets introduced by none other than Guard Geng (who is so cute as the romance novel-loving macho guy!). Appreciation of scenery during the various seasons & introduction to local delicacies – isn’t this what the modern tourists look for?
Liu Xi Gua & Fan Chen are 2 characters which are quite cute. Behind the boasting on strength, the 2 are so suitable for each other! Both equally naïve & trusting, but puts brotherhood & loyalty as priority, which endears them to Ning Yi.
The other 2 actresses portraying Lou Shu Wan (business woman & then Commander Bao’s wife) and Lu Hong Ti (martial art master to Ning Yi & then Secret Bureau to the prime minister) are worthy of mention. I like their perseverance & independence which is way better than Su Tan Er.
Story is engaging & funny. It is an under-dog series whereby the male lead is an unlikely hero. Plot-wise, there are quite big holes here and there, hence ignoring the logic will be best. But I have to say the pace is fast, and you can’t miss an episode or two without missing out on the plot.
Acting-wise, some are better than others. But I do blame this partly on the character development. Ning Yi’s character got the best meaty lines & storyline, but somehow the wife Su Tan Er’s character is totally under-developed. The imbalance in the character development shifts the focus to Ning Yi’s adventures rather than the couple’s adventures.
Concept introduced is novel, although I felt that the script-writing could be slightly better for better comedic timing. The series applies dry humour, which works differently for different people. Overall a satisfactory series with dry humour. Give it a try if you are into dry humour. Beware that this is hanging series as there will be a 2nd season.