- Title: Romance on the Farm
- Also Known As: 田耕纪, Wo Shi Xiao Di Zhu , Chong Sheng Xiao Di Zhu, Tian Geng Ji
- Director: Hong Ling
- Cast: Joseph Zeng, Tian Xi Wei
- Screenwriter: Jin Yuan Yuan
- Genres: Romance, Historical, Comedy, Fantasy, Life
- Number of Episodes: 26
- Date of Release: October 14, 2023
- Original Network: iQiyi
- Where to Watch: iQiyi, WeTV
- Adapted from the novel “Zhong Sheng Xiao Di Zhu” by Ruo Yan
Hello readers, I hope you are well. After many days of hot weather, it’s finally raining in my area. The temperature is dropping, but the humidity is killing me. So, here I am typing Romance On The Farm drama review post, while watching the pouring water. It is on of new Chinese dramas premiere in October 2023. Enjoy the post!
Romance On The Farm Drama Synopsis
Lian Man’er was a college student who faced challenges in life. Her parents divorced, and both were too busy to take care of her. When she needed money for tuition, neither of them could help her. So Lian Man’er had to find a way. She became a subject tester for a game company.
The game company was working on the development of a new farming game. Whenever Lian Man’er entered the game, she was transported inside and given a mission to complete. Sadly, Lian Man’er had a very toxic family in the story.
Inside the game, Lian Man’er takes on the role of a farmer’s daughter. She lived in a small compound with her parents, younger brother, grandparents, and uncle’s families. Regrettably, Lian Man’er’s large family in the story was a horrible family, her parents were weak and easily bullied, her brother was just a child, her grandmother acted like a thug, and her grandfather only cared about profit.
Lian Man’er’s first uncle’s family was manipulative, while her second uncle’s family always took advantage of people. Living in this challenging environment was difficult for Lian Man’er.
Thankfully, she met a mysterious man named Shen Nuo. He didn’t appear to be a farmer despite claiming to be one. Shen Nuo helped her run away from a bad marriage, split up the family, work in the field, and start her own business. Shen Nuo’s presence was a huge help to Lian Man’er and her family, despite being clumsy and poor at domestic work.
Lian and Shen spent a lot of time together, and it was only natural for them to fall in love with each other. As those feelings grew stronger, they faced new challenges, like Shen Nuo’s real identity and the game mission she had to complete to return to her world. But now that she has been through so much, should Lian Man’er return to her world where she is not surrounded by people who love her?
Romance On The Farm Drama Review
Do you enjoy playing games such as Harvest Moon, Township, or other farming games? Although I have tried to play them before, I am not a big fan of them. I am more interested in games like The Sims. Farming or business games can be tiring. I cannot even imagine being one of the characters in that game. But Lian Man’er knows exactly how it feels to be in one of the games.
Romance on the Farm was different from what I had expected. I used to think that the game would lead to a romantic relationship between Lian Man’er and the mysterious Shen Nuo who had the possibility of being a noble or other important status.
But guess what, I was wrong! This drama was not a fluffy romantic drama. It was more of a business drama, with only a small part devoted to romance. The rest focused on business and dysfunctional families.
It was a common thing in Chinese drama to have a story about dysfunctional families. Well, not only Chinese drama, western dramas and movies also have this theme. For instance, the 2019 film Knives Out features Daniel Craig as a detective. However, Chinese stories and TV shows are on another level. This show, in particular, is a great example.
The Lian family treats its members like servants and bullies those who are weaker. And it doesn’t stop there. So be prepared when you see scenes where Lian Man’er and Lian Ye’er are sold for money or when Lian Hua’er and Lian Xiu’er plot against Madam Zhang to make her lose her baby. And all of this happens between family members. It’s truly heart-wrenching, isn’t it?
Although I am used to this kind of trope, this time the selfishness and hypocrisy of the Lians were too exaggerated. I lost count of how many times I cursed them. Thankfully, this drama only had 26 episodes. I don’t think I could have endured it if it was 40 episodes long.
The main story revolves around Lian Man’er and her family. Shen Nuo had a part in the drama, but his secret mission story seemed ordinary and not as interesting as Lian Man’er and her problem. Despite his usual good acting, the star of this drama in my opinion was Tian Xi Wei.
The game aspect was only a background story, even though the drama was about Man Er who was transported into a game. Overall, there wasn’t much story about it and I couldn’t grasp the game’s concept.
How it would end and why there weren’t many missions in the game? It is still a mystery to me. Unlike Double Love, this drama doesn’t show real life and game life simultaneously. Once Man Er joins the drama, the story shifts to Lian Man’er.
Romance on the Farm is one of the few dramas where the protagonist is surrounded by so many antagonists. If Man Er didn’t possess such a strong character, Lian Man’er could have perished in the game. She would have been trapped within the game for an extremely long time.
It was exhausting to witness the numerous conniving plots against her, and that might be the reason why Shen Nuo, the mysterious key character, was sent to help her. He was present to ensure that Lian Man’er carried out the task. Without his presence, Lian Man’er would have been killed by the Song family.
I enjoy the dynamics in this drama, especially within Lian Man’er’s family. Her parents used to have a weak personality, and they needed strong stimulation to fix it. Otherwise, they would have remained oppressed for their lifetime. Lian Man’er changed everything by making them stronger without sacrificing their kindness.
They had a lot of love in their hearts that conquered the negativity surrounding them. As a result, the other members of the Lian family began to change into better versions of themselves. The lesson learned from this story was that everyone deserves a second chance and there is always room for improvement for everyone.
The romance in this drama was rather lacking. I appreciated the kissing scenes in this drama. It’s essential to have at least one. Yet, my dear Wang You Heng as the second male character did not have too many scenes. He was a dear character, a person with a sweet and gentle appearance, and whenever he saw Lian Man’er, you could see that his eyes were filled with affection. I think he deserves more scenes.
My favorite scene was when Lian Man’er’s family was building a wall in front of their house. Back then, her maternal uncles came to help. Shen Nuo came too. Initially, he was lazy because he obviously did not like doing menial work like building a wall. But then Wang You Heng arrived and assisted the uncles happily.
Shen Nuo, who was about to leave, was suddenly driven to show that he was better than Wang You Heng. Ultimately, the two of them did all the strenuous work while the uncles just sat and drank. Love can conquer anything, even laziness.
The Romance on the Farm story was not complicated, and it flowed smoothly. However, I would not consider this drama to be the type of drama that warms your heart. Since the family was terrible and the romance was not enough for me.
When I started watching this drama, I was quite skeptical about Tian Xi Wei’s characters. I was used to seeing her in cheerful, cute roles. However, Lian Man’er was different. While still bubbly and cute, Tian Xi Wei portrayed her with more polish and a hint of cynicism. I like seeing Tian Xi Wei as a strong and mature character like Lian Man’er, more like she did in New Life Begins drama or Wrong Carriage, Right Groom.
Joseph Zeng has also been quite popular this year. He appeared in many dramas, both as the lead and in guest roles. However, I wasn’t very impressed by his performance and character in Romance on the Farm drama. I still believe that his best acting this year was when he played Fang Duo Bing in Mysterious Lotus Casebook drama.
Joseph Zeng and Tian Xi Wei had great chemistry, and I really enjoyed seeing their interactions, which were very natural. Joseph Zeng was always a favorite of mine because all of his small gestures and micro expressions were clear and well displayed. I enjoyed seeing his expressive eyes, and surprisingly, he looks good with stubble on his face.
This drama had many familiar faces, such as Wang Jian Guo, who played Grandpa Lian Fang. He has also acted in A League of Nobleman, She and Her Perfect Husband, and Winter Begonia.
Ai Li Ya, who portrayed Granma Lian, acted in my favorite drama Meet Yourself, The Road to Ordinary, and The Heart. And Xin Ze, who played the sweet Wang You Heng, could also be seen in Love You Seven Times and Who Rules the World.
“May your heart follow its desire and may you have a bright future”, said Lian Man’er to Wang You Heng.
The story begins with Man Er, a girl who was being hired as a test subject for the newly developed farming game, Romance on the Farm. Man Er comes from a divorced family, and her parents refuse to take care of her, leaving her to survive on her own.
The only reason she took the testing job was to earn money for her school tuition. Man Er is transported into the game to experience it as one of the characters. Man Er, must complete a mission so she can return to her real world.
The game started when she became Lian Man’er, the daughter of the third household of the Lian family. The Lian family were farmers and lived in poverty. Lian Man’er’s first mission to earn gold taels seemed impossible to complete.
As farmers, they had to work for several lifetimes to earn 1,000 taels of gold. Earning money by working in the fields was not easy. Especially if the revenue must be shared among family members. To make matters worse, Lian Man’er’s family did the most work but earned the least revenue.
So she came up with an idea for a business. However, starting her own business was not easy since Lian Man’er didn’t have any money to begin with. Luckily, she was modern and had more experience than others. Additionally, she was a business-minded person.
The conflict within the Lians started because of the different thoughts and interests of the many family members. Faced with a difficult life, the people were tired and yearned for a better life. Yet they resorted to the wrong methods. They bullied and oppressed the weaker members, thus causing them to suffer. Sadly, it was the third household of the family, the Lian Man’er family, who fell under the weak category and suffered a lot.
As soon as she was transported into the game, Lian Man’er had to deal with a terrible arranged marriage. She was sold to the Song family, who needed a young woman for a widow-burning ritual. It was a cruel ritual in which a family would burn a woman to join their deceased son in the afterlife.
Lian Man’er was on the run from the marriage but instead met the mysterious Shen Nuo, a key character in the game. Although Lian Man’er wished to leave him behind, she could not. He appeared in front of her again and again. Eventually, the system revealed that rescuing Shen Nuo was her duty, and Lian Man’er had to help him.
Little did she know that Shen Nuo had already thought of using her for his own gain the moment he saw her. He was on a secret mission and needed a new identity and a place to stay, so by helping Lian Man’er, he could ask to live with them in return. Lian Man’er needed help, so she agreed to his suggestion. She believed it would be difficult to join her family due to the stubbornness of her grandparents.
However, she didn’t know that Shen Nuo was skilled in persuasion. Once he was able to live with the Lian family, Shen Nuo and Lian Man’er began their adventures.
The first problem they had to face was how to separate the third household from the Lian family. This happened after Madam Zhang was schemed by Lian Hua’er and Lian Xiu’er. The plot caused Madam Zhang to lose her baby. The suffering of being oppressed and the fact that Lian Man’er could only start her business after the separation had become a great motivation for her to convince Lian Shou Xin and Madam Zhang.
The Lian family, particularly Grandma Lian and the first and second households, were very greedy, and whenever a family member earned extra money, they had to share it among themselves, or worse, Grandma would take it all. So Lian Man’er was not able to do business easily.
The separation was quite a hassle, as Lian Shou Xin was too soft-hearted and valued filial piety above all else. Only after Granpa Lian suggested Lian Shou Xin to divorce Madam Zhang, did he finally make a firm decision. Losing the third household was a loss for the Lian family. Lian Shou Xin and his family were the hardest-working members of the family.
Next, the story tells us how Lian Man’er attempted to create her business empire with the aid of Shen Nuo, Wang You Heng, and her whole family. She began by selling garlic nuts, a simple yet popular dish in the town, which made her earn quite a lot of money.
Although there were problems when Madam He and Grandma Lian tried to get their hands on the recipe, Lian Man’er and Shen Nuo managed to trick them. Later, after selling the garlic nut recipe, she created wine using modern technology and it was a great success.
Aside from helping Lian Man’er with her business, Shen Nuo was also doing his secret mission. His subordinate, known as Thirteen, was hiding in a performance troupe to get information and a chance to sneak into Song’s residence. They required evidence to bring down Marquis Ningyuan, whose fiefdom included the prefecture.
When Shen Nuo realized that the smuggling case turned into a possibility of rebellion. He knew that the case was getting dangerous and might implicate Lian Man’er and her family, so he secretly left. Little did he know that Lian Man’er would be in a lot of trouble after his departure, and when Shen Nuo found out, he regretted his decision to leave her alone.
Both Lian Man’er and Shen Nuo realized their feelings for each other. However, they were busy with their respective works. Lian Man’er needs to complete her mission while Shen Nuo has to solve a case and he is also struggling with his real identity. He was certain that Lian Man’er would be angry with him if he revealed it. No one likes being deceived, and Shen Nuo knows this well.
The Romance on the Farm drama had a happy ending, as anticipated. One thing I really liked about this drama was that everyone had a chance to become better. Most members of the Lian family were given a second chance to be a good person, even if the road was hard.
Lian Man’er / Man Er
Man Er (played by Tian Xi Wei) is a college student who needs money for her tuition. She joined a gaming company as a subject test in a newly developed farming game. In the game, she becomes Lian Man’er, the daughter of a farmer’s family.
Life inside the game is tough because her large family consists of terrible people. Fortunately, Lian Man’er is quick-witted, perceptive, and has a knack for business. She is a lenient person, but if she has to, Lian Man’er could turn into a cunning person who would retaliate or seek revenge if she was bullied.
In the game, Lian Man’er has two tasks to accomplish. The first one is to earn 1,000 gold tael and save the key character, which is Shen Nuo. However, her family was soooooo poor that they would never earn 1,000 taels by farming. Therefore, she had to devise a new plan. Her modern mind was buzzing and she got an idea to start a business.
For Lian Man’er, her main concern was to earn as much money as possible in the shortest time. In the beginning, she came up with the idea of selling garlic nuts. In the beginning, she had the idea of making garlic nuts, which was a simple thing for the modern world, but at that time, garlic nuts were quite a sensation.
However, not everyone was pleased to see another person’s business succeed. Sadly, these people happened to be members of her own family. Making it even more challenging for her to succeed.
Lian Man’er was too busy with her work that she failed to notice Shen Nuo and Wang You Heng were secretly in love with her. However, the people around her realized that Lian Man’er’s eyes often drifted to Shen Nuo.
Shen Nuo / Shen Yi
Shen Nuo (played by Joseph Zeng) appeared mysteriously when Lian Man’er fled through a bamboo forest. The game system informed Lian Man’er that Shen Nuo was an important character she needed to save. The two immediately connected at their first meeting.
Shen Nuo was in need of a place to stay, while Lian Man’er was in need of someone to help her escape a horrible arranged marriage. After Shen Nuo showed up and saved her, Lian Man’er’s family took him in under the guise of being Madam Zhang’s nephew.
Although Shen Nuo said that he was from a farmer’s village, he did not appear to be a farmer at all. He never did any menial work, let alone working in the fields. However, he always finds a way to complete his tasks. He has many ideas and a keen problem-solving ability.
Despite his cheerful demeanor, Shen Nuo is a serious man with a serious identity. His real name is Shen Yi. He is a Wude Deputy Commissioner and the younger brother of Empress Shen. He came to investigate the situation in Qingzhou prefecture where Shisanli Village is located. The prefecture failed to pay taxes every year.
The official also reported that there was a drought and asked for relief money. However, Shen Yi discovered that villagers were being forced to pay high taxes each year, and the money was being corrupted by Marquis Ningyuan. He also finds out that the merchants and local officials were involved in salt smuggling. The only way to investigate was to join the Jingyan Guild.
Shen Nuo revealed his real identity after Lian Man’er was angry with him over the stolen wine. However, after Shen Yi revealed his real identity, his relationship with Lian Man’er became a bit distant.
Wang You Heng
Wang You Heng’s father owns a private bank. Every day, Mr. Wang painstakingly taught the kind and gentle Wang You Heng to be a ruthless debt collector. And of course, after so many attempts, Mr. Wang still failed.
In line with his nature, Wang You Heng (played by Xing Ze) wanted to be a doctor. He was passionate about healing people, and even though he was self-taught, it did not dampen his spirit. This was evident when he took 6 hours to perform acupuncture on Shen Nuo’s wounds.
But Wang You Heng also faced challenges. His father strongly opposed his dream of becoming a doctor. To appease Mr. Wang, Wang You Heng decided to work as an accountant in a medical clinic. However, in reality, he was there to gain as much experience as possible. And honestly, he was more capable than the doctor in the clinic.
Wang You Heng’s affection for Lian Man’er was crystal clear. He loves her wholeheartedly and is willing to do anything to make her happy, including stepping down to give Shen Nuo a chance to be with Lian Man’er.
Wang You Heng could see that Lian Man’er only had eyes for Shen Nuo and sincerely treated him as a friend. He wanted to remain friends because he saw that Shen Nuo was a kind person who loved Lian Man’er in return.
The Lian Family
This section would be a bit long and painful, so bear with me, dear readers!
Grandpa Lian Fang (played by Wang Jian Guo) and Grandma Lian (played by Ai Li Ya) had three sons and one daughter. Their sons are Lian Shou Ren, Lian Shou Yi, and Lian Shou Xin, while their daughter is Lian Xiu’er (played by Yvonne Wang). Although Grandpa Lian never spoke much, his position in the family was unshakable.
Grandpa may look nice and kind, but he is a profit-oriented person. He was pinning his hopes on Lian Shou Ren’s success, believing that it would bring glory to the family and boost his brothers’ reputations. His partiality towards Lian Shou Ren was clearly visible. In his mind, Lian Shou Ren was more valuable than his other sons.
Meanwhile, Grandma Lian is only thinking about two things. Money and her daughter. Grandma Lian was a greedy person who would do anything to obtain more money. She often uses emotional manipulation on her sons to get what she wants. It’s hard not to notice that she is the stingiest person in the family.
The first uncle, Lian Shou Ren, married Madam Gu and had only one daughter, Lian Hua’er. Lian Shou Ren was a scholar and a small official. However, since Grandpa and Grandma Lian pinned all their hopes on Lian Shou Ren, the majority of their income from farming went to supporting Lian Shou Ren and his family.
Lian Shou Ren is a shrewd and profit-minded individual. While Madam Gu and Lian Hua’er are conceited and deceitful. These three were responsible for Lian Man’er’s terrible arranged marriage. They sold her for 500 taels of silver but never mentioned the money to other members of the Lian family.
The second uncle, Lian Shou Yi, married Madam He and they had a son who attends school and a daughter. Although Lian Shou Yi was a good accountant, he was lazy and preferred gambling over working hard. Madam Gu enjoys eating but dislikes doing housework.
Because their son isn’t at home, the only person in the second household who does all the chores is Lian Ye’er, their daughter. Lian Ye’er is a kind woman, but she is timid, so she’s easily bullied by her family. Lian Ye’er was close to Lian Man’er’s mother, as Madam Zhang often took care of Lian Ye’er. Lian Man’er also likes her more than Lian Hua’er.
Later, Lian Ye’er was sold to the third household because Madam He stole Lian Man’er’s money and couldn’t afford to return the money. This made Lian Ye’er very sad. But with Lian Man’er’s protection, she could become a better person. But no matter how good her life was now, she could not erase the pain of being sold by her own parents.
The third uncle, Lian Shou Xin, is Lian Man’er’s father. He was once a promising scholar until he suffered from physical disabilities after an accident. Madam Zhang is the mother of Lian Man’er and gave birth to a second son named Seventh.
In early episodes, she was also pregnant with another son, but due to Lian Hua’er’s scheme, Madam Zhang had a miscarriage, and the baby was gone. Lian Shou Xin and Madam Zhang were the most oppressed people in the family. They were too weak to fend for themselves, let alone their children. Lian Shou Xin was a filial son, but because of this trait, he never could say no or expressed his opinion in front of his parents.
Madam Zhang also a soft hearted, timid, and docile. But Lian Man’er helped them find their own strength and courage. Lian Man’er saw that the entire Lian family treated the third household as their servants. While they did most of the work, they received the least revenue. By becoming independent through the separation, they would not have to rely on others and would not be treated unfairly.
While this Romance On The Farm drama was not quite my cup of tea, I enjoyed every episode. Tian Xi Wei and Joseph Zeng portrayed Lian Man’er and Shen Nuo quite well. The story progressed at a good pace and flowed smoothly.
The characters were thoughtfully developed and the plot was well executed. Additionally, the catchy soundtrack is definitely worth checking out. The story may not be 100% romance, but if you enjoy business or family genres, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this one.
So, are you ready to watch this show? Please share your opinion with me, don’t forget to write in our comment box and visit our other drama review posts. I’ll see you in another drama review. Bye!