"Although titled Simple Days, this drama is anything but simple."

Simple Days Drama Review

  • Drama Title: Simple Days
  • Also Known As: 小日子, Xiao Ri Zi
  • Director: An Jian
  • Cast: Chen Xiao, Tong Yao, Sa Ri Na, Zhao Jun, Yue Hong, Ying Er, Qiao Zhen Yu, Wang Yuan Ke
  • Genres: Life, Family
  • Episodes: 26
  • Date of Release: March 14, 2024
  • Original Network: Dragon TV, Tencent Video, ZJTV
  • Where to Watch: WeTV, Tencent Video

Dear readers, after weeks of youthful drama filled with the beauty of first love, I am now ready for something more mature, less complicated, with fewer tears and more romance. However, I was led by the WeTV poster to watch this Simple Days drama for days and ended up with complicated feelings. It is one of the new Chinese dramas premier in March 2024. So, here is my verdict on Simple Days drama review. Enjoy the post!

Simple Days Synopsis

Simple Days is a Chinese family drama released in March 2024, Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao have been married for seven years and have a sweet and obedient daughter. They were a passionate couple with the same life goal. They had a good relationship with each other. However, their relationship was complicated by the involvement of their parents.

Gu Mo Li, Zhu Jin Cao, Zhu Yi Ke, and Zhu Jin Cao’s mother lived in a cramped 57 sq. ft. apartment. Due to the main bedroom being occupied by Zhang Shan Ya and Zhu Yi Ke, the couple had to sleep on a bunk bed in a room with a glass window. This made any possibility of intimacy impossible.

As a result, they had to book a hotel room, which cost them a lot of money. Things got complicated when Zhang Shan Ya discovered a hotel bill on Gu Mo Li’s bag. She stormed into Gu Mo Li’s office and publicly humiliated her in front of colleagues and clients.

Now, Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao are faced with two options to solve their problem. The first option was to send Zhang Shan Ya back to her hometown or get a bigger house. The first option is impossible, so they have to try the second.

Simple Days Drama Review - Zhu Jin Cao and Gu Mo Li
Simple Days Drama Review – Zhu Jin Cao and Gu Mo Li

Unfortunately, the apartment they were living in belonged to Zhu Da Li, Zhu Jin Cao’s father, and he was not willing to sell it. Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao did not have enough money to make a downpayment on a new house.

The problems they faced seemed to be spiraling out of control when their parents clashed over the matter. The young couple came up with a plan to prevent their parents from meddling in their marriage: a strategic divorce. This is a fake divorce, only a way to force their parents to back down.

However, is the divorce a good decision for them? Ever since they got divorced, Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao have been facing more and more problems in their lives. Now, with the appearance of a third party, their marriage is at stake.

Simple Days Drama Review

I think I may have gone overboard with the family genre. It’s only March, but I’ve already watched several family dramas. Unfortunately, this one was a disappointment. My initial excitement quickly faded, leaving me feeling stuck. I had invested too much time in this drama, so I gritted my teeth and watched it to the end.

However, I still give it a high rating because Tong Yao and Chen Xiao’s acting is excellent. Additionally, we get to see the young and charismatic Zhou Da Wei in this drama, even though the mustache is a bit of a turn-off for me.

Back to the drama! Simple Days offers a simple story about a couple who must take drastic measures to regain control of their lives. This was a hard thing to do because the ones who control their life are their own parents.

As an Asian, our culture places a strong emphasis on family ties. Therefore, when someone decides to get married, it is not just to the chosen partner, but to the entire family. it’s a common thing for parents to be involved in their children’s marriage.

Of course, there were many couples leading a completely different kind of life, where they could live independently and do something freely without any involvement from the other party. Nevertheless, the majority of us still live close to our parents.

We also used to ask our parents to help us with our children, like Zhang Shan Ya, who went all the way to Shanghai to take care of Zhu Yi Ke while her parents worked all day. For many of us, our parents stay at home to take care of their grandchildren.

Simple Days Drama Review - poster

In wealthier families, we may have nannies, but our parents still live with us to supervise them. This allows the parents to go to work without worrying that the nannies will mistreat the children.

Most of us did not ask our parents to do this; they did it of their own accord because it was a kind of common thing to do. Grandparents like to spend their day with their grandchildren, too. However, this situation only applies to grandparents who have already retired. If they still have jobs to do, the parents should find another way out.

Many of you, dear readers, come from Western countries. Therefore, I think it is necessary to explain a little bit about this so that you do not furrow your eyebrows because you did not understand why Zhang Shan Ya wanted to live with her son and take care of his family.

However, this arrangement clearly is not working well for Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao’s family. Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao were young, vigorous, and passionate. Their hormones are boiling and they are at the peak of their desires.

However, Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao did not have a private space to fulfill their physical needs. They slept on a bunk bed inside a small apartment, and their bedroom had glass windows. There is no privacy. The main bedroom was occupied by Zhang Shan Ya and Zhu Yi Ke.

From my perspective as a bystander, their issue was not just a matter of a small house. Rather, it was a trigger that revealed a larger problem: parents’ involvement.

The small apartment belonged to Zhu Da Li, Zhu Jin Cao’s father, who insisted on buying it because when Zhu Jin Cao got married, the Zhu family could only afford a small house. Gu Mo Li’s parents offered to help with the funding, but the Zhus rejected the offer because they did not want to be looked down upon by their in-laws.

Reputation matters greatly for the Zhus. Zhu Jin Cao’s parents initially disagreed with his decision to marry Gu Mo Li. They believed that Gu Mo Li was a spoiled daughter with princess syndrome. She was unable to do household chores or cook and was accustomed to living a luxurious lifestyle, which was different from the Zhu family’s frugal way of life.

Zhu Da Li and Zhang Shan Ya expressed their dissatisfaction by excluding Gu Mo Li’s name from the house deeds, despite her contribution to the mortgage payments.

Zhu Jin Cao and Gu Mo Li realized they had two options to fix the situation: make Zhang Shan Ya return to her hometown so they could occupy the small apartment alone with their daughter, or move into a bigger house.

The first option failed because they did not have time to take care of their daughter while juggling their jobs. Zhang Shan Ya knew it very well and tried to make them realize that it was not easy to take care of Zhu Yi Ke without her.

I had a suspicion that Zhang Shan Ya was reluctant to leave them because if she went back to her hometown, she would only live with Zhu Da Li, whom she feared. Therefore, she did all she could to stay in Shanghai.

Zhu Jin Cao and Gu Mo Li needed more money to get a bigger house, but unfortunately, they lacked the money. They needed to sell the small apartment first to pay the down payment. But Zhu Da Li refused. Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao tried many things to get the money, but they failed in the end.

Gu Mo Li’s parents offered their help during this time, but Wu Yu Lan and Gu De Mao also had ulterior motives: they wanted to avenge their daughter’s grievances concerning the house deed. Wu Yu Lan and Gu De Mao insisted that Zhu Jin Cao’s name should not be on the house deed. They said that the property belonged to their daughter alone.

Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao’s problem had become an in-law battleground.

The couple realized that their parents were the source of their problems. To free themselves from these shackles, Gu Mo Li had the idea to get a strategic divorce. They went to the civil bureau and obtained a divorce certificate, but they still regard each other as spouses.

However, everything went awry after the divorce. As a single person, third parties were attracted to enter their lives. Zhu Jin Cao had Gao Xia Qing by their side, while Gu Mo Li had Zhou Yu and Jiang Hai Tao.

Simple Days Drama Review - poster 2

In my opinion, the story after the divorce is too complicated. It seems like too many things are happening at the same time, making it feel overwhelming. The simple story of Simple Days had become not so simple anymore. This is the point where I lost interest in this drama.

The Zhu family was dissatisfied with Gu Mo Li, but I was more dissatisfied with how weak Zhu Jin Cao was. Zhu Jin Cao was not a reliable husband as he did not protect his wife and was too self-absorbed. It was disappointing to see that he put a tracking app on Gu Mo Li’s phone due to his lack of trust in her. Gu Mo Li was devoted to him, but Zhu Jin Cao’s jealousy clouded his eyes. I am not sure what Gu Mo Li saw in Zhu Jin Cao that made her want to marry him.

Additionally, the Zhu family’s problems are quite complicated. Zhu Da Li’s arrogance and abusive behavior towards his family and wife is enough to create angst. There is no need to add a cunning third party like Gao Xia Qing.

Gu Mo Li also faced her own set of problems, including an envious colleague who spread rumors to ruin her reputation, an ex-boyfriend who appeared and wanted to become a hero, and her involvement in a money laundering case.

Zhu Jin Cao was not the only one with problems. Gu Mo Li is not a perfect person as well. She knew that Gao Xia Xing was targeting her husband, but she also had some doubts in her heart and allowed Gao Xia Xing to do many things because she wanted to test Zhu Jin Cao’s reactions.

When Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao decided to divorce, they did not consider the consequences and acted purely out of emotion. Divorce and marriage both require careful consideration as they are important events in someone’s life. Additionally, they have a daughter, but it seems that Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao did not give Zhu Yi Ke much thought and were only thinking about themselves. This is quite disappointing.

Everything in life has two sides: the good and the bad. This applies to Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao as well. Despite their lack of trust in each other, their feelings run deep. They both want to protect each other, but it seems that Zhu Jin Cao has done more to show his devotion to Gu Mo Li. This proves that Gu Mo Li is more important to him than anything else in his heart.

In Simple Days, like any other drama, there is more than one couple. The second couple is Shen Liu Liu and Wang Ling Xiao. do I need to say that I also dislike this couple? Shen Liu Liu was initially portrayed as a strong and independent person, while Wang Ling Xiao had no faith in commitment and marriage.

However, Shen Liu Liu fell in love with him and tried to pursue him. In my opinion, this changed her character into a fragile person. And I was so dissatisfied with her character development.

What can be said about Wang Ling Xiao? He appeared to be a coward who hid behind his celibate status. After he had a one-night stand with Shen Liu Liu, he wanted to run away early in the morning. I was heartbroken when I saw Shen Liu Liu’s expectant gaze. That poor girl deserves someone who can treat her well.

The drama ends happily with Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao finding a good resolution to their complicated situations. However, the issue was resolved naturally rather than through finding a solution.

Despite my numerous dissatisfactions with this drama, I still give it a high rating due to the inspiring dialogues and the excellent acting of Chen Xiao and Tong Yao. I have been a fan of Chen Xiao’s acting since his portrayal of Yun Xiang or Luo Wen Jia in the 2023 hit drama The Ingenious One. This drama showcased the actor’s skills and, combined with a compelling story, deserves praise and a spot on your must-watch list.

After Ruyi’s Royal Love in The Palace drama, I didn’t have much of an impression of Tong Yao. She played a guest role in The Heart of Genius, but I did not pay much attention to her. However, in Simple Days, she did a good job as Gu Mo Li. Tong Yao’s acting provided a clear description of Gu Mo Li’s character, helping me better understand the story.

All in all, although there were some dissatisfactions towards this drama, I still encourage you to watch it if you are fond of the angst genre. Believe me, this drama did not lack any.

The Characters

Zhu Jin Cao (played by Chen Xiao)

As a father, Zhu Jin Cao is devoted to his daughter, Zhu Yi Ke. Despite being busy with work, he never forgets about her well-being. Zhu Yi Ke also loves him very much.

Simple Days Drama Review - Zhu Jin Cao (played by Chen Xiao)
Simple Days Drama Review – Zhu Jin Cao (played by Chen Xiao)

As a husband, Zhu Jin Cao is well known for his deep feelings for Gu Mo Li. He is a passionate, kind, gentle, and loving husband. As a son, Zhu Jin Cao is also filial. Zhu Jin Cao always tried to please his parents and be a good son.

However, when everything was combined, all of his positive traits seemed to collide. Due to his filial piety, Zhu Jin Cao was unable to protect his wife from his parents’ mistreatment. Additionally, in his concern for his daughter’s well-being, he sacrificed his marriage. Sometimes, one should choose one’s priority instead of maintaining a pseudo-harmony in a family.

Zhu Jin Cao is also an emotional person. He was easily carried away by his wild imagination, especially when it came to Gu Mo Li. He loved her very much and was afraid of losing her. The divorce made him feel insecure, so he started to build up distrust towards Gu Mo Li.

Zhu Jin Cao works at a livestreaming company. His position is not high enough to receive a good salary. Additionally, he does not seem to be an ambitious person who strives for promotion. He is quite content with his life, so he does not think that he needs to work harder.

Gu Mo Li (played by Tong Yao)

Unlike her husband, Zhu Jin Cao, Gu Mo Li was decisive, straight to the point, and rational. She grew up in a harmonious family where her parents took turns being the dominant person.

Simple Days Drama Review - Gu Mo Li (played by Tong Yao)
Simple Days Drama Review – Gu Mo Li (played by Tong Yao)

Gu Mo Li comes from a wealthy family and has high standards of living. She was used to putting up with the antics of Zhu Jin Cao and his family in the name of love. This is her biggest compromise.

Gu Mo Li used to dream of being an artist and often channeled her emotions through painting. Now, she works as an art agent in a gallery and takes a personal approach when signing artists. She also abides by the same principle when dealing with clients. She wants them to understand and learn about the artwork themselves, instead of relying solely on her suggestions.

Zhang Shan Ya (played by Sa Ri na)

Zhang Shan Ya is Zhu Jin Cao’s mother. She is an ordinary housewife, a little bit emotional, and easily gets carried away. Throughout her life, Zhang Shan Ya has been oppressed by Zhu Da Li, causing her to lose the ability to say no to him and allow him to do as he pleases. This oppression has become the source of her emotional instability and insecurity.

Simple Days Drama Review - Zhang Shan Ya (played by Sa Ri na)
Simple Days Drama Review – Zhang Shan Ya (played by Sa Ri na)

Zhang Shan Ya, as a mother, always wanted the best for Zhu Jin Cao and his family. She could see that his son and Gu Mo Li truly loved each other. However, she felt disconnected from Gu Mo Li because they seemed to live on different frequencies. They often argued because she had prejudices towards Gu Mo Li.

Zhu Da Li (played by Zhao Jun)

Zhu Da Li is Zhu Jin Cao’s father. He is an old-fashioned man who seems to have never moved on from the past. Zhu Da Li is an arrogant and unreasonable man who despises being looked down upon, but at the same time, he looks down on other people. He often thinks of himself as a righteous man and always puts the Zhu family teachings above all else.

Simple Days Drama Review – Zhu Da Li (played by Zhao Jun)

However, Zhu Da Li is not an entirely good person. At home, he would often physically abuse Zhang Shan Ya, while pretending to be a good person to others. He would prevent his wife from enjoying herself or owning anything expensive, dismissing it as useless.

Wu Yu Lan (played by Yue Hong)

Gu Mo Li inherited Wu Yu Lan’s decisive and straightforward attitude. Wu Yu Lan used to live a life of luxury as a spoiled wife from a wealthy family. Wu Yu Lan never liked the Zhu family, especially after learning that Gu Mo Li had a difficult time there.

Simple Days Drama Review - Wu Yu Lan (played by Yue Hong)
Simple Days Drama Review – Wu Yu Lan (played by Yue Hong)

However, she was not heartless. Upon discovering that Zhang Shan Ya was living under Zhu Da Li’s oppression, she changed her attitude towards Zhang Shan Ya. She remained haughty but showed more warmth.

Shen Liu Liu (played by Ying Er)

Shen Liu Liu is Gu Mo Li’s best friend. She is an independent woman who has always led a lonely life in Shanghai. She has always wanted to be in a relationship and start a family of her own.

Simple Days Drama Review - Shen Liu Liu (played by Ying Er)
Simple Days Drama Review – Shen Liu Liu (played by Ying Er)

Shen Liu Liu’s parents passed away, and the pain of their loss has prevented her from enjoying Chinese New Year for years. Shen Liu Liu often puts on a strong front, much like Gu Mo Li. She is decisive and straightforward, preferring not to waste time and taking the initiative to obtain what she wants. This principle also applies to love. When she fell in love with Wang Ling Xiao, Shen Liu Liu did not waste time in pursuing him.

However, Shen Liu is also a person who knows when to push and when to step back. After realizing that no matter what she did, Wang Ling Xiao could not give her what she wanted, Shen Liu slowly withdrew. leaving him clueless and confused.

Wang Ling Xiao (played by Qiao Zhen Yu)

Wang Ling Xiao is the cousin of Zhu Jin Cao and the love interest of Shen Liu Liu. He is a cold person who does not believe in love or marriage. He also does not want to be tied down by worldly things like a house and savings.

Simple Days Drama Review - Wang Ling Xiao (played by Qiao Zhen Yu)
Simple Days Drama Review – Wang Ling Xiao (played by Qiao Zhen Yu)

Wang Ling Xiao lives for the present and does not want to be burdened by the past or the future. His life was good, but after Shen Liu Liu appeared, it caused a stir in his heart. But again, as a celibatarian, he pushed the feelings away from his heart.

Gao Xia Qing (played by Wang Yuan Ke)

Gao Xia Qing lived in the same neighbourhood as Zhu Jin Cao and Gu Mo Li. Her son attends the same school as Zhu Yi Ke. After Zhu Jin Cao helped her during an accident in front of the school, she developed a crush on him.

Simple Days Drama Review - Gao Xia Qing (played by Wang Yuan Ke)
Simple Days Drama Review – Gao Xia Qing (played by Wang Yuan Ke)

Gao Xia Qing is divorced and works as a live streamer to support herself and her son. Although she presents herself as sweet and motherly to Zhu Jin Cao, she hides her conniving personality.

The Conclusion

Although titled Simple Days, this drama is anything but simple. While I enjoyed the beginning, the story became overwhelming as Gu Mo Li and Zhu Jin Cao faced numerous problems. The sheer number of problems was overwhelming and at the same time made me want to shout, “Stop it… enough. Don’t add more problems!”. The ending was happy, but I was not satisfied with the plot. If you want to know how this drama ended and what happened to the characters, you can read it on this post Simple Days ending explained.

I would recommend this drama to those who enjoy watching family genres and complicated family dynamics. Simple Days will bring warmth to your heart, and the dialogue will inspire you in life.

Thank you for visiting, and I’ll see you in another drama review post. Goodbye!

Iya Moyya
Iya Moyya
"A Chinese drama and movie lover for the past 5 years. I contemplate everything, everyday" - Do you like my writing? You can support me by clicking this donation link: Buy Me A Coffee ☕️, thank you!


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"Although titled Simple Days, this drama is anything but simple."Simple Days Drama Review
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