- Title: The Ordinary Road
- Also Known As: 平凡之路, Intern Lawyer, Ping Fan Zhi Lu, Shi Xi Lu Shi, The Ordinary Life, The Ordinary Road
- Director: Liu Jin
- Casts: Guo Qi Lin, Jin Chen, Yan Zi Dong
- Screenwriter: Chen Tong
- Genres: Drama, Comedy, Legal
- Country: China
- Type: Drama
- Episodes: 36
- Released Date: 3 May 2023
- Original Network: CCTV, Tencent Video
- Where To Watch: WeTV, CCTV 8, Tencent
Hello Dear readers… How are you today? It’s been raining a lot in my hometown and the humidity was sooo high that I could squeeze a bucket full of sweat off me. So, I decided to watch this The Ordinary Road drama, and wrote the review. It’s one of the Chinese dramas premier in May 2023.
When the weather was unbearable, I would switch on the air conditioner and choose a drama where I could see some snow. I was hoping this psychological trick could dispel the heat of my body. So I’ve been watching Road Home’s first episode several times. Did it work? NAH!😅 But the sight of Jing Bo Ran made my day a little bit better.😁 Well, enough with the chit-chat. This is another review post for you. I hoped you enjoyed it. Happy reading!
The Ordinary Road Synopsis
Pan Yan was a young man with a strong sense of justice. After her mother has to deal with his father’s debt, he realized that a marginal society like theirs needed someone who could help them with law. So he went to university and learned law. After he graduate, Pan Yan went to find a job in many places. Eventually, he landed his first job at Rongke Law Firm as an intern lawyer.
As a newcomer, Pan Yan must adapt to the complicity of the law society. He finds camaraderie in his colleagues, Zuo Na, Shu Yi Nan, and many more. They share the same burden as an intern lawyer at the firm. Pan Yan and his friend were exposed to many kinds of litigation cases. And at the same time, they have to deal with their personal life.
Pan Yan was a street-smart person with a friendly attitude. With his creative ideas and work attitude, he managed to win an important client on his second day at work. But still, when Shu Yi Nan came, Pan Yan’s job as an intern lawyer was in a dire situation. Shu Yi Na was a successful Oxford graduate who went to Rongke Law Firm as an act of revenge against his former boss who scolded him. He was an obstinate young man who was never exposed to failure. His life has been smooth and orderly because his successful parents would protect him at all costs.
Zuo Na was an intern lawyer as well. She entered Rongke Law Firm earlier than Pan Yan and Shu Yi Nan. She was a smart and dedicated person, a little bit cold and indifferent on the outside but warm and attentive on the inside. She hated any kind of betrayal because her father was a serial adulterer who often cheat on her mother. Zuo Na must face a cold truth when she found out that her father’s pregnant mistress was her own best friend.
Zhu Xin Xin was a nice and kind young woman. She also worked at Rongke Law Firm as an intern. She was not as sharp as the others, but Zhu Xin Xin’s love life was something to be jealous of. Her boyfriend came from a well-off family, he was attentive and protective of her. He loves Zhu Xin Xin and always show his love by giving her flower bouquets and wedding proposal at the office.
Pan Yan and his friend’s work life was full of hustle and bustle. They had to dedicate their time, energy, mind, and emotion when they face the clients. Could they balance their personal, social, and professional lives? And what would they do when they have to encounter a problem in their life?
The Ordinary Road Review
The Ordinary Road or The Road to Ordinary was an ordinary drama about ordinary people living an ordinary life. Pan Yan and his friend were 20-somethings young people who start their own career as an intern lawyer. They tried to get many work experiences under the guidance of their teacher/mentor, so they could get their lawyer license. It was not easy to start a new career. Most of them did not have any privileges and must rely on themselves. But Pan Yan and his friends showed us their struggle.
This drama touches me, I remember myself years ago. I was just a fresh graduate who wanted to make money not only for myself but also for my family. But it was so hard to find jobs, and I was lucky to find one with a good working environment and supportive friends. A rare thing in the working world.
The Ordinary Road portrayed Pan Yan, a warm-hearted person in a challenging environment. You are not going to find fancy sports cars, expensive clothes, Pinterest-style apartments, or handsome CEOs in this drama.
The office in this drama was just like common offices, with small cubicles full of stacked papers and other office stationaries. No expensive coffee machine or grand lobby. All I saw were typical and standard things you could find in a small office. And after I watched several Overbearing-CEO dramas, The Ordinary Road felt so down-to-earth. I felt instantly familiar with Pan Yan and his friends’ daily life.
However, when I checked the director and screenwriter’s filmography, I realized that I never watch their movie or drama before. Liu Jin and Chen Tong had been working together on drama projects several times and most of their work was modern dramas. And I think I should check on them.
I would not say that TheOrdinary Road’s story was without flaws, but this drama had its charm that you would not miss. The cast and the production team have worked together to make this drama enjoyable. The chemistry between Guo Qi Lin, Jin Chen, and Yan Zi Dong was excellent. They showed us the awkwardness when two strangers worked together for the first time.
Then everything started to warm up and in the end, you can sense the camaraderie between them. Their acting was impeccable and I enjoyed every scene in this drama. They also added humor here and there. Sometimes it was a comedy but another time it was a satire. This aspect added some flavour into the show.
I watched The Ordinary Road on my WeTV app. Usually, I have never complained about the app, but this time I was baffled by how bad the subtitle was. Initially, I was not a Chinese speaker, I could not speak nor read Chinese. So, I relied heavily on the English and Indonesian subtitles. WeTV never failed me before, but I have to protest on this one.
The Ordinary Road did not only use verbal communication to convey the story. The drama also used chat displays in it. For example, Pan Yan and his friend used WeChat to communicate with each other. And the chats were displayed on screen. However, none of those chats were translated into other languages. I tried all the translations (Thai, Viet, or Malay), but everthing was the same.
Moreover, the English translation seemed to be an automatic translation. They often mixed “he” and “she”. The Chinese language did not separate gender when addressing someone. Therefore, sometimes automatic translation machines would confuse between “he” and “she”. Only manual translation could fix that. Plus, the automatic translation also translated names… It was so disappointing. WeTV can you hear me???🤬
I admired the sets in The Ordinary Road. Everything was made as authentic as possible. Pan Yan’s house was soo small that they had a bunk bed, a dining table, drawers, a sofa, and many other things in one room. Pan Yan and his mother came from a lower socio-economic status so they could not afford to live in a bigger apartment.
And the sets in Rongke were genuine. Rongke was not a high-class law firm. If you compared Rongke with Cheng & Hui Law Firm in She And Her Perfect Husband drama, they were like heaven and earth. Yet, everything felt more real and familiar in TheOrdinary Road.
The lighting and filming angle was good too. Yet, I’m not satisfied with the driving/car scene. The background was blurred and poorly made. I was not satisfied with many car scenes in Cdramas nowadays. I am sure there must be a way to make it a little bit better or at least retouch the background with the same color tone as the real footage.
The Ordinary Road talked about the hardship of the intern lawyers. On an everyday basis, they have to deal with cases, office interactions, social relationships, family conflicts, and love. Pan Yan and his friends were young and unmarried, but they had to face the difficulty in a family and marriage since they often handled divorce cases and family disputes.
Pan Yan and Shu Yi Nan’s differences were like heaven and earth. Pan Yan came from a small town, only lived with his mother, and his family was poor. Meanwhile, Shu Yi Nan lived with complete parents who were successful and wealthy. He was the second generation-rich man. Everything in his life was always of the highest quality, including his education.
Both of them could be considered smart. The differences were Pan Yan was a street-smart person. He was gifted with a glib tongue and excellent observation skills. Pan Yan always knew what to do when he had to face others. While Shu Yi Nan was a person who always went strictly by the book. He was inflexible and Shu Yi Nan’s social skill was poor. Between Pan Yan and Shu Yi Nan, there was Zuo Na. She was their senior in Rongke and slightly older than them.
Zuo Na was closer to Pan Yan because of his friendly manner and Pan Yan was her cousin’s boyfriend. Although Pan Yan was a meddlesome person, he knew boundaries when it came to friendship. He knew when he could ask or talk about Zuo Na’s family matters or when to stop and keep his mouth shut. So Zuo Na was more comfortable being around him. On the contrary, Shu Yi Nan harbored some romantic feelings for Zuo Na.
But Shu Yi Nan had never been taught to consider others’ feelings. He often meddled in Zuo Na’s matters or gave advise at the wrong time. Shu Yi Nan’s EQ was low and he did not understand what made Zuo Na angry at him. So he often felt dejected because he thought Zuo Na was kinder to Pan Yan.
Pan Yan’s presence in the office was giving a fresh breath of air to everyone, including the senior lawyers. He was genuine but not naïve. His idealism touched the heart of his colleague and Pan Yan’s positive attitude influenced others, especially Zuo Na and Shu Yi Nan.
As intern lawyers, Pan Yan, Zuo Na, Shu Yi Nan, and the other interns had their own personal problems. Pan Yan was bullied by netizens after a mother accused him of hurting her son. Back then, Pan Yan caught the man secretly taking pictures under a woman’s skirt on a train.
Pan Yan chased him, but then after Pan Yan left, the pervert man collapsed. Pan Yan had to prove that he was innocent, but the people on the internet were very cruel. And for the first time in his life, Pan Yan knew what fear felt like.
Zuo Na’s family matter was such a mess. Her father was an adulterer and her mother only brushed it off every time Zuo Da Jian had a scandal. She thought that a wife was a port and a husband was a ship. No matter what happened later, she believed that Zuo Da Jian would return to her. So she kept on waiting in her house without worry.
Meanwhile, Zuo Da Jian did not have any feelings left for his wife. So he enjoyed his adventure to the fullest. But his last mistress turned out to be Zuo Na’s best friend and she was pregnant. The minute Zuo Na learned about the hard fact, her world was crumbling down. When her father asked for a divorce, Zuo Na’s mother tried to commit suicide, fortunately, she failed.
Her father moved in with Cai Xiao Lei and her mother seemed to have a crush on a young man she met in a swimming pool. The situation gave Zuo Na an emotional conflict. Her mother seemed to stop believing in anybody she knew, including her but trusted a stranger. And Zuo Na began to hate her father and friend. The cold and serious Zuo Na had become more indifferent.
Another intern lawyer with a big problem was Zhu Xin Xin. She was a sweet and beautiful lady. Zhu Xin Xin had a boyfriend named Bai Le (Baylor). They looked like a sweet and loving couple. But behind the wall, Bai Le was a toxic boyfriend. His action was full of red flags. He was possessive, jealous, rude, violent, and a manipulator. But he appeared sweet and caring in front of others. Zhu Xin Xin was emotionally and physically abused by him.
Yet, Bai Le always had a way to make her return to him, no matter how violent he was. It was Pan Yan who find out Bai Le’s real nature when he waited alongside Zhu Xin Xin after a community service. Pan Yan saw Bai Le scold Zhu Xin Xin and she cried. After that, Bai Le deleted all of Zhu Xin Xin’s male colleague’s numbers and messages on WeChat.
Things got worse when finally Zhu Xin Xin decided to leave him. Bai Le sent her a message, telling her that he would commit suicide if she did not return to him. Zuo Na tried to stop her and put some sense in her, but it did not work.
One thing that was emphasized in this drama was the importance of family in Chinese culture. Children should be filial to their parents and parents must be responsible for their children’s life. When a child is born, the parent should provide them with food, a house, clothes, and education.
This was mandatory. But then when the parents get older, weaker, and need more attention, their children might be too busy to take care of them. Or in some cases, the children were neglected because the parents were too busy with themselves or were fighting with each other.
Zuo Na and Shu Yi Nan had a problem with their parents. Zuo Na’s parents were too busy with their lives. While Shu Yi Nan felt suffocated because his parents had arranged everything for him, including paving his career.
He wanted to be independent, but his mother could not let him go under the pretext of “everything I did was for your own good”. So the good boy Shu Yi Nan entered his rebellious phase and moved out of his parent’s house and relied on his abilities. But Shu Yi Nan was not ready to face the harsh world outside the protective bubble of his wealthy parents.
Rongke Law Firm mainly took family cases, such as divorce cases. Some cases became complicated because the wife refused to divorce. Another case was a fight for child custody between husband and wife. The husband knew their son was better off living with his ex-wife, but he could not let go of the child custody for the sake of his mother.
From The Ordinary Road, I learned that although a lawyer’s duty was to give advice, they could not give it easily. They had to make the client take the decision themselves, or else it might backfire on them. And if a lawyer should not do that, I think we, ordinary people, must be more careful with our actions and words toward others. Because many downfalls could be caused by small actions.
The ending of The Ordinary Road was a happy ending. I wrote it in a separate The Ordinary Road ending explained post, so some of my readers who did not like spoilers could read this review with peace of mind.
Pan Yan (played by Guo Jin) was born into a poor family. His father worked in a construction site. After his parents were divorced, his mother worked as a taxi driver. They came from a small town where there were no lawsuits and lawyers were rare. When the people had to face law problems, they would just brush it off after being detained. And if it involved bullying or injustice, they would blame the victim by saying they were not strong enough so others would step on them.
But the young Pan Yan saw it as a wrong thing. He decided to study law and become a lawyer so one day he could sit and reason with those people and showed them that the world was fair, just, orderly, and beautiful.
There was a scene when Pan Yan just had his contract signed. Shu Yi Nan just entered the law firm and his prestigious background made Du Fei Yu wanted him as his assistant. But a senior lawyer could only have 2 assistants and Du Fei Yu already had Pa Yan. So Du Fei Yu tried to ditch him, but luckily, Pan Yan already had his contract signed and stamped.
To keep his job, Pan Yan protested to Rongke’s Director who could not find fault in his speech, and finally yielded and let Pan Yan keep the job. But Pan Yan’s bravery and glib tongue won the attention of Yi Fan, a new senior lawyer who later took him as her mentee.
Even though his family matter was a mess, Pan Yan grew up as a warm-hearted person. He was quite meddlesome, yet he knew how to read a situation and act according to it. The other intern lawyers liked him and his mentor admired him because Pan Yan knew how to protect his right and did not let others step on him. And his glib tongue and persuasion skill was a precious talent. 😆
I admired Pan Yan’s positive attitude. He knew his goal and never let anything become a hindrance. When he fell, Pan Yan was always able to pull himself up and once again brace himself to face the world. I guess these positive traits run in his blood because Pan Yan’s parents, especially his mother were just like him.
Zuo Na (played by Jin Chen) was a hardworking person. She was a decisive and determined person. From the outside, she was a cold and serious person, but on the inside, she was attentive and fragile. Zuo Na came from a well-off family. Although they may not be as rich as Shu Yi Nan’s family, obviously better than Pan Yan’s. Zuo Na did not have many friends.
The closest one was Cai Xiao Lei who worked as a legal staff in her father’s company. Therefore, when Zuo Na finds out that her best friend was her father’s mistress and was pregnant, Zuo Na could not contain her disappointment. She cried sorrowfully in her car. I was soo sad to see a strong person like her cry like that.
Zuo Na lived in her parent’s house. Her mother was a housewife who hid stubbornness behind a noble and elegant appearance. Her father was the contrary. He was a hardworking person who was able to change his life from poor to rich. Zuo Da Jian exuded a flamboyant personality, but his money attracted many young beautiful females, including Cai Xiao Lei.
Yet, Zuo Da Jian and Cai Xiao Lei admitted that they loved each other. Zuo Na felt sorry for her mother, but then when her mother was attracted to a young man and refused to believe her, Zuo Na’s feeling became complicated. She felt isolated because she could not get close to her mother and she refused to be close with her father.
Even though Zuo Na did not realize it, Pan Yan’s presence in the office helped her a lot. She became more open and relaxed. In the first episode, Zuo Na was a girl dressed in black with an indifferent yet strict attitude. But later on, she smiled a lot and even joked with her colleague. However, Zuo Na already closed her heart to a romantic partner. She did not seem to believe in love and refused to be in a relationship. Her parents’ broken marriage left a deep scar in her heart.
Shu Yi Nan
Shu Yi Nan (played by Yang Zi Dong) was a straight-A student, he went to the best schools and was always be the first in his class. And now he just graduated from Oxford. Shu Yi Nan never had any failure in his life and obviously, he could not stand to have one. His parents protected him and arranged his life and paved his path so Shu Yi Nan could be a successful lawyer.
Shu Yi Nan could enter Hua Jing Law Firm because his mother used her connection. However, Hua Jing was dissatisfied with Mrs. Shu because she failed to influence her boss to transfer the company’s legal contract from Rongke Law Firm to Hua Jing Law Firm. To show dissatisfaction, Hua Jing intended to annul Shu Yi Nan’s contract.
When the reality was revealed, Shu Yi Nan was angry because he thought Hua Jing accepted him because of his ability. Then out of revenge, Shu Yi Nan joined Rongke to be a legal assistant of Du Fei Yu, Liao Song Ting’s former colleague, and competitor. Although his first motive was revenge, Shu Yi Nan found a better version of himself in Rongke.
Mr. and Mrs. Shu was against Shu Yi Nan’s decision to work in Rongke. According to them, Rongke was a small law firm and they could not accommodate Shu Yi Nan’s talent. Shu Yi Nan refused to yield and stayed at Rongke. He eventually moved from his parents’ house, left his car, and only took some clothes and necessities. He also refused to use his parents’ money and relied on red-packets money from his family members. Shu Yi Nan succeeded. He found an apartment and a roommate, who turned out to be Pan Yan.
Shu Yi Nan had a hard time to adapt with Rongke’s working culture and Pan Yan’s antics. But slowly, the obstinate Shu Yi Nan learned to be flexible and considerate to others. He even found a love interest in Rongke, Zuo Na.
Zhu Xin Xin
Zhu Xin Xin (played by Karen Kang) moved to the city from a small town. Her pretty face and meek attitude attracted Bai Le, a young and rich man. They met in an online game, and before long, Zhu Xin Xin and Bai Le had become an item. Zhu Xin Xin worked so she could help her family’s financial situation.
Zhu Xin Xin rarely joined her colleague for a meal or drink after work. If she could come, she would be the first to leave the table. She did it because Bai Le always picked her up and Zhu Xin Xin did not want him to wait for a long time. Bai Le often gets angry or jealous every time Zhu Xin Xin mentioned her male colleagues.
I never thought that I would have a good time watching The Ordinary Road drama. The story was interesting and the acting was amazing. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the drama but dissatisfied with WeTV’s subtitles. I could have had more understanding of the drama if the subtitle was complete and was done manually.
However, if someday WeTV decided to fix the subtitle, I definitely would rewatch this drama. For those who were interested in a modern-day drama about common people, I recommended this drama. You might not find an overbearing CEO and a beautiful female lead with a Chanel bag walking across the grand lobby of a modern building. But, you will find warmth in watching common people deal with their typical problems while trying to accomplish normal daily things in this ordinary drama.
And I bet you’ll enjoy it. Happy watching!