"You’ll find The Outsider drama was lack swoon-worthy scenes."

The Outsider Drama Review

  • Title: The Outsider
  • Also Known As: 繁华似锦, Slip into Vanity, Stray Into Vanity, Wu Ru Fu Hua
  • Director: Cui Liang
  • Cast: Zhang Yu Qi, Gao Wei Guang
  • Genres: Romance, Business, Drama
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 38
  • Released Date: June 25, 2023 – July 16, 2023
  • Original Network: Dragon TV, Youku
  • Where to Watch: Youku

Dear readers. This is the review of Gao Wei Guang’s latest drama, The Outsider. This drama was quite entertaining. The pace was quite fast and I did not realize that I have spend my day binge-watching this drama. What made me so hooked up with this drama? Let’s find out. Happy reading!

The Outsider Synopsis

Su Mo, a 27 years old girl tried to build her career in Shanghai. She lived in her Aunt’s house and sleep in the same room with her cousin. Su Mo worked as a salesperson in a high-end boutique. A series of events took her to Ansheng, a giant company in the real estate industry, and met with its cold, charismatic, and decisive CEO.

Wang Ju’an has just arrived from France to rebuild Ansheng, his father’s legacy. He took over his younger brother’s position as CEO. Although the chairwoman backed him up, his way to rebuild Ansheng was not an easy ride. There were many challenges from outside and inside, including from his brother. And Su Mo accidentally caught up in the middle of the power struggle.

Su Mo’s persistence and resilience as well as determination caught Wang Ju An’s attention. As her boss, he notices Su Mo’s potential as a brilliant and creative talent. Wang Ju’an did not realize that Su Mo was already entering his heart way before he caught her with his eyes.

The Outsider Review

It took me forever to understand why the title of this drama was The Outsider. I only got the answer after I watch almost the entire episode. I would not conceal it now, since it would spoil the fun. 😉

It had been a while since I watch a mature drama like this. Where the theme was about the adult world and the actors were seasoned actors. The Outsider was a good drama with a sweet plot twist at the end.

When I read the synopsis in Youku, The Outsider was a story about four different women. They were Su Mo, Cong Rong, Mo Wei Qing, and Zhong Sheng. Yet, I feel the main story was about Su Mo and Wang Ju’an. The other girls took part in their life, but still, Su Mo and Wang Ju‘an personal life, career, and relationship was the main dish.

The Outsider Drama Review - Wang Si Wei, Wang Ji An, and Wang Ju’an
The Outsider Drama Review – Wang Si Wei, Wang Ji An, and Wang Ju’an

The story revolves around Ansheng. Wang Ju’an was the CEO while Su Mo was a new employee recruited through the personal preferences of Wang Ju’an. Well, this was another urban romance of the cinderella-CEO troupe. A little bit cliché, yet it was still a popular theme for Chinese dramas.

So, are there any differences between The Outsider and other cinderella-CEO troupe dramas? Well, I guess it’s almost the same. The Outsider had everything that the troupe needed: an overbearing CEO character, a problematic but brilliant rookie, a crazy villain, a calculating stepmother (but in this drama was like a calculating chairwoman ), a jealous love rival, and also a bad familial relationship.

You’ll be surprised by a small plot twist that happened in the end, but don’t worry. The ending was still a happy ending. You can read the complete ending here at The Outsider ending explained post.

I love how Chinese drama incorporated their traditional culture in many of their drama. My all-time favorite is still Meet Yourself drama, you could check our post about this drama and see how perfectly they use Chinese culture as the story background. The Outsiders also promote Chinese culture in their story through Wang Ju‘an and Song Tian Lin’s characters.

Wang Ju’an was told as a modern person who wanted to uphold Chinese culture and tried hard to make his Ansheng Plaza a place that also support Chinese culture. While Song Tian Lin was the chairwoman’s only son who dedicated himself to promoting Hanfu (Chinese traditional clothing, just like the one used in a historical drama). This was quite novel because I never saw a drama where one of the characters was a hanfu designer.

And of course, Cdrama would never be a Cdrama without food presentation. And this time, the highlight was egg pancakes and black wontons. These two dishes were ordinary, but how come they looked appetizing? Or is it the way Gao Wei Guang ate that make it look delicious?

In The Outsider, I see so many different dynamics between youngsters in Shanghai. The Wang brothers had no parents so they relied on each other as well as tried hard to balance the fragile relationship between them. Su Mo lived far away from her parents so she rely on herself, yet sometimes she was clueless about the world.

Cong Rong was busy juggling between working and parenthood. Zhong Sheng was burdened with her determination to change her fate. I had to say the person with the most steady life was Zhao Xiang Qing. He might look like a mommy boy, but he had a very stable emotion and had the broadest mind. The most dramatic life was Mo Wei Qing’s. She had a relationship with the biggest villain in this drama, Shang Chun.

Mo Wei Qing was Shang Chun’s secret lover because he was already engaged to Ai Lin, the daughter of the Lam Group owner. Everybody knew that Shang Chun loves Mo Wei Qing, but he was bound in an arranged marriage with Ai Lin.

The Outsider was all about love, friendship, and work. There were so many emotions brewed inside it. And all of those emotions lead to the characters’ personal growth. The problem with the business put them all together because they were connected to Ansheng in some way.

Most of the relationship problem in this drama was based on a misunderstanding between the characters. In the early episode, Su Mo and Wang Ju’an had a fallout because of a misunderstanding over money.

Later they had another fallout over a love rival, which could be solved early on if they had good communication about it. The problem between the Wangs is also based on a misunderstanding between brothers, and it is all because of their parents. Wang Ji An and Zhong Sheng’s problem is also based on the misunderstanding between them.

Just like in any cinderella-CEO troupe, many problems arise because of the social gap between the characters. Su Mo and Zhong Sheng came from the working class. They were proud of their hard work and resilience. Meanwhile, Wang Ju‘an and Wang Ji An came from the elite class. And that huge social gap become a source of insecurity, especially for Su Mo and. Zhong Sheng.

One thing that I don’t quite get was The Outsider was supposed to be a mature drama. Su Mo was 27 years old while Wang Ju’an was 30-something. Yet, I barely could count the romantic scene between them.

All I could remember was the kissing scene before Su Mo and Wang Ju’an start their relationship, other than that, I don’t think there was another kissing scene. Even Zhao Lu Si’s drama, Hidden Love, had more kissing scenes compared to this one. 😅😅

The director of this drama was Cui Liang, a Chinese director who specialize in the urban romance genre. Previously he directed The Procurator starring Sun Yi in 2021 and Be Together (starring Vin Zhang). The Outsider was the first drama where he teamed up with Zhang Yu Qi and Gao Wei Guang.

Gao Wei Guang or also known by his other name, Vengo Gao, was famous for his role as Dong Hua Dijun in Eternal Love: Ten Miles of Peach Blossom drama and Eternal Love: The Pillow Book. As I thought hard not to mention this role, they used one of his footage as Dong Hua Dijun in one of the scenes in this drama. So how can I not mention it? 😅 He was the first person whom I thought could pull off a white hair-cold face combo seductively.

In my humble opinion, I like Gao Wei Guang’s role as Wang Ju’an because he could play with his expression very well. Yet, I’m still rolling my eyes whenever he acts like a shy schoolboy.😅

Zhang Yu Qi was also known as Kitty Zhang (I guess she was called that because her eyes were shaped like cat eyes). I thought this drama was my first time watching her acting. But it turned out that The first time I saw her was way back in 2008 when she act as Miss Yuen, the teacher in Stephen Chow’s movie CJ7. Zhang Yu Qi is also known as her role in the Candle in the Tomb series.

I remembered Zuo Xiao Qing as Xie Wan Ru in my favorite drama, The Rebel Princess. And now in The Outsider, her character was my favorite. Cong Rong hid her status as a divorcee with children for a complicated reason. Yet, I saw her as a strong woman who completed her roles as a mother and employee. I love her acting and her costume in this drama was flawless.

Another favorite character was Zhao Xiang Qing, played by Jia Jing Hui. He used to act in a guest role in The Crack of Dawn drama with Ma Si Chun. He also appeared as Guo Bao Kun, a support role in the 2019, Joy of Life. I like how positive his character was and how flawless Jia Jing Hui acting as Zhao Xiang Qing.

I love to see the chemistry between the characters in this drama. Especially the friendship between Wang Ju’an and Zhao Xiang Qing. In my opinion, their chemistry was better than Wang Ju’an and Su Mo’s. However, I enjoyed this mature drama after I dwell in teenage love dramas such as Hidden Love and When I Fly Towards You drama.

The Story

The main story was about the life of Wang Ju’an and Su Mo, including the people around them. I feel the story was too wide and complicated. And the people involved were too many. Therefore, there was some time jump inside the story. Fortunately, it did not take years, only months. So it did not affect the story too much. You would only feel slightly annoyed by it.

The Outsider Drama Review - poster

Su Mo could not get a job that fits her capability because of her past mistakes. When she was in college, Su Mo took the blame for her boyfriend when he cheat on an exam. He promised to marry her but ended up marrying somebody else.

Su Mo was left with humiliation and it ruined her life. She only could work as a saleswoman in a high-end boutique. And she got fired from the store because of Mo Wei Qing’s report. The report was the beginning of her entanglement with the Wangs and Ansheng.

The Wang was a prominent family. Wang Jian Ming was the owner of Ansheng. He got three sons, a wife, and a mistress. Wang Jian Ming and his wife died in a car accident, while the Mistress had already died when Wang Si Wei was still a child. Wang Ju’an, the eldest son, was the CEO of Ansheng. He shares the same mother with Wang Ji An, the youngest. Wang Si Wei, the middle child was the mistress’s son.

Before he died, Wang Jiang Ming divide his Ansheng share among the sons. Wang Ju’an the eldest only got 10%. Wang Si Wei, the middle child got 30%. Meanwhile, the youngest, Wang Ji An holds the biggest share, 60%. Yet, when it comes to business talent, Wang Ju’an was the best. Wang Si Wei was too hot-tempered and impatient when he decided on something. Meanwhile, Wang Ji An did not even want to learn about business.

The relationship between Wang Ju’an and Wang Si Wei was bad. Of course, there were some times when they could sit facing each other without any fights. But when the time came they would slash each other with their words. And when it comes, the youngest one would be the mediator.

But poor Wang Ji An would get scolded by his brothers, especially Wang Si Wei. The dynamics between the three brothers come from the competitive nature of Wang Ju’an and Wang Si Wei. And after their parents passed away, things get more complicated between them.

I feel sorry for Wang Ji An. He was the one who lacked parental care while Wang Ju’an tried to fill the position. But Wang Ju’an lacked experience and was clueless about raising a child, let alone a rebellious teenager. He only know how to push Wang Ji An in the only way he knew, while Wang Si Wei did not seem to care about Wang Ji An and always let him have his way. And this Wang Ji An was a stubborn and childish teenager that I wanted to smack his head hard.

Well, although they were not friendly with each other, Wang Si Wei and Wang Ji An knew very well that Wang Ju’an hold the highest power in their home. He was the eldest brother they looked upon when they met mishaps. And they were not the only ones. Wang Ju’an was also a brother figure for Song Tian Lin as well as Chen Yi Ting. But the latter regarded Wang Ju’an more than a brother.

The Wangs were bad when it comes to love. Wang Ju’an becomes stupid and clueless when it comes to Su Mo. Wang Si Wei did not realize that his lover was manipulating him. And Wang Ji An was too narrow-minded about everything concerning Zhong Sheng.

Su Mo always had some insecurity because she regarded Wang Ju’an as someone who came from a different world than her. Their financial and social gaps were too wide for her. Wang Juan did not care about it all because he saw everything from a different angle and nobody would find fault with him.

But Su Mo was different from him. She was a sensitive person who grew up in a working-class family. Her parents were proud people who always emphasized that they should not take what was not belong to them to avoid ruining their reputation. She was a hard-working person because nothing comes easily to her.

Before they got together, Su Mo and Wang Ju’an had a fallout regarding the 300,000 yuan that Wang Si Wei gave her. The card was missing, but somebody still use the money. Wang Ju’an got angry at her and thought of her as some money grubber and liar. Later Zhong Sheng found out that the money was used by her parents.

Every relationship has its trial. Su Mo and Wang Ju’an’s trial was when Chen Yi Ting appeared and incited so many misunderstandings between them. I feel sorry for Su Mo because Wang Ju’an was too proud and full of himself. He always sat at the top of the world and people flocked around him.

So he did not understand or even try to understand Su Mo’s feelings. He need Zhang Xiang Qing and Song Tian Lin to make him realize that if he still wanted to be with Su Mo, he had to make some effort. Song Tian Lin was a sweet second male lead. Yet, it was unfortunate that he had no chance to get inside Su Mo’s heart.

My favorite couple in this drama was Zhou Xiang Qing and Cong Rong. Although it was a slow-burn romance because it started from friendship, both of them were mature and considerate people. Zhou Xiang Qing secretly supported Cong Rong and she often lend her hand to him. Their interaction was so sweet and Ke Le’s presence slowly changed Zhou Xiang Qing from a mama boy to a father material. Love them very much!😍

Wang Ji An’s way of loving Zhong Sheng was a bit too obsessive to me. When she wanted to spread her wings, he was the first one against her. Wang Ji An did not trust her judgment and accused her to be a heartless person. People might have different opinions about his perseverance when he chased Zhong Sheng. But in my opinion, he was annoying.

The Outsider Drama Review - Wang Si Wei, Wang Ji An, and Wang Ju’an
The Outsider Drama Review – Wang Si Wei, Wang Ji An, and Wang Ju’an

Wang Ji An was too childish for someone like Zhong Sheng. And I thought a person like Zhong Sheng who was thirsty for knowledge and experience would value someone who would support her unconditionally.

And Zhong Sheng’s parents were opportunistic people who always weighed their gains. When Wang Ji An came to them and talked about marriage, they agreed immediately because they thought of him as a good catch. Wang Ji An was a rich person, and Zhong Sheng did not have to worry about work anymore. In their eyes, Zhong Sheng had hit a jackpot. Did they ever think about her dream? 🤬

The most complicated love story was Mo Wei Qing’s. She falls in love with Shang Chun, the villain. She still had a conscience to break up with him before he got married. Later Mo Wei Qing found out she got pregnant and Shang Chun promised to marry her.

But will Ai Lin agree to it? Hell no! This wicked woman used all means to make them break up and after a series of events, Mo Wei Qing ended up miscarrying because Shang Chun hit her. She run away and hide on the day Sang Chun marry Ai Lin.

Did I tell you that too many people and too many problems in this drama? For instance, two villains in The Outsider were a bit too much. In the middle of the drama, you will find that Zhang Ya Nan was also a scheming woman. But when Zhang Ya Nan was in the frame, Shang Chun completely disappeared. I almost forget that there was a character name Shang Chung in the middle of the drama. He appeared again later after Ansheng met with mishaps.

The story was getting tense in the latter episode. Even I feel the pressure. There was a small plot twist that I never imagined in the ending. But still, it was a happy ending for everyone.

The Characters

Su Mo

Su Mo (played by Zhang Yu Qi) was proud and determined to prove herself. She was a hot-tempered and stubborn person who often jump to conclusions. As someone with a great sense of business, smart, and decisive, Su Mo was sometimes a little bit too naïve. She unknowingly let herself be used by others. Wang Si Wei, Shang Chuan, and even Wang Ju’an used her. And Su Mo would still be proud of her self-righteousness.

The Outsider Drama Review - Zhang Yu Qi as Su Mo
The Outsider Drama Review – Zhang Yu Qi as Su Mo

As someone who came from a small city outside Shanghai, Su Mo still believed in love and marriage. Therefore, no matter what people said about her relationship with Wang Ju’an she was unbudged.

Later she learns how to see problems from different angles. She reigh her temper and become someone you could rely on. She was a quick learner and an excellent assistant.

Su Mo always said that she did not have any privilege to dream. But secretly, she wanted to be a designer. She was good at drawing and often make a series of cartoons about the dog (Wang Ju’an) and the rabbit (Su Mo).

Wang Ju’an

As the oldest child of the Wang family, Wang Ju’an (played by Gao Wei) took the responsibility as a father and an older brother for Wang Si Wei and Wang Ji An. He did not very successful in these roles. After all, he is still estranged from Wang Si Wei, and Wang Ji An still feels lonely because he was too busy.

The Outsider Drama Review - Gao Wei Guang as Wang Ju’an
The Outsider Drama Review – Gao Wei Guang as Wang Ju’an

Wang Ju’an did not grow up in a harmonious family. Things got worse when Wang Si Wei came. His parents often quarreled and if they did not yell at each other, they would throw a cold war. For many years he felt that nobody talked to him in his family except the nanny.

As someone who came from a business family, Wang Ju’an had his business instinct cultivated naturally. He was sharp, calculative, and decisive. He did not even embarrassed to be a shameless person, as long it was aligned with his objectives. Ruthless, but very seductive in suits. 😆

Wang Ju’an always be a rational person, but when it comes to Su Mo, he got stupid and slow to perceive. Aside from business, Wang Ju’an had a knack for cooking. He was good at describing flavors and his cooking looked appetizing. Yet, he was allergic to chicken and would get rash all over his body if he ate it.

Shang Chun

The most evil-hearted man was him. He holds grudges, is manipulative, conniving, and most importantly, a serial cheater. Shang Chun’s (played by Jasong Wang) lover was Mo Wei Qing and everybody around him knew her presence. But in the public, Sang Chun was the fiancee of Ai Lin, the heir of the Lam group. They did not love each other. It was a marriage of convenience because Jiake and Lam Group needed each other.

The Outsider Drama Review - Jasong Wang as Shang Chun
The Outsider Drama Review – Jasong Wang as Shang Chun

Shang Chun used to be Wang Ju’an’s best friend. They had a fallout after formaldehyde cases were found on one of Jiake’s projects. Wang Ju’an already reminded Shang Chun about one of Jiake’s business partners. But Shang Chun chooses to ignore the warning.

When the news of the formaldehyde leaked and caused an uproar resulting in plummeted share, Shang Chun accused Wang Ju’an to be the one behind the news. Wang Ju’an refused the accusation but Shan Chun did not believe him. Ever since Shang Chun hold grudges against him. Wang Ju’an and Ansheng.

Wang Si Wei

The second son of the Wang family, Wang Si Wei (played by Guo Xiao Ran), was born to a mistress of Wang Jian Ming. He was brought into Wang’s residence after his mother got terminally ill. Mrs. Wang was furious and hated him.

The Outsider Drama Review - Guo Xiao Ran as Wang Si Wei
The Outsider Drama Review – Guo Xiao Ran as Wang Si Wei

After he moved to Wang’s residence, Waang Si Wei did not lack anything except love. Every season, he would dress nicely and bring lilies to visit his mother’s grave, yet Wang Si Wei never visited his father’s grave.

Wang Si Wei was stubborn and grumpy. He never like Wang Ju’an and their relationship was always on the verge of exploding. They would throw hateful remarks when they met, but deep down inside, they care about each other.

Wang Ji An

The youngest one with the biggest share. Wang Ji An (played by Zhang Mo Huai) held 60% of Ansheng’s share. He seemed insignificant because Wang Ji An was only a spoiled college student, but when something happened to him, it would shake Ansheng’s foundation because of the power he held through his shares.

The Outsider Drama Review - Zhang Mo Huai as Wang Ji An
The Outsider Drama Review – Zhang Mo Huai as Wang Ji An

Wang Ji An loves his brother. They were his only family, so he always tried to be the mediator between Wang Ju’an and Wang Si Wei. Did it work? Not. But the cold Wang family was warmed up whenever he was around.

Wang Ji An fell in love with Zhong Sheng since they were deskmates in high school. He never ceased his feeling and was already fixated on her. Wang Ji An would do anything for Zhong Sheng. And yet his plans were always unsuccessful because wang Ji An always failed to see the big picture.

Cong Rong

Cong Rong (played by Zuo Xiao Qing) lied about her marriage and motherhood status. She keep it from everybody else except Su Mo because she used to be Ke Le’s nanny. Life always brought surprises at the most unexpected time. The first person from Ansheng who found out about her situation was Zhao Xiang Qing, her rival.

The Outsider Drama Review - Zuo Xiao Qing as Cong Rong
The Outsider Drama Review – Zuo Xiao Qing as Cong Rong

Cong Rong was older than Su Mo. She was a seasoned woman who know how to make money and support her only child. Cong Rong decided to divorce her husband after she realized that he was a good-for-nothing man and she had to take all the burden as the breadwinner, a mother, and a wife.

Zhao Xiang Qing

I thought he was a petty man, but it turns out he was one of the good guys in this drama. Zhao Xiang Qing (played by Jia Jing Hui) was a mama boy. He always reported everything to his mother. He was always proud of his meticulousness, yet when he did groceries for Cong Rong, most of the thing he bought was disappointing. But he was good at treating women, probably because he had a good relationship with his mother.

The Outsider Drama Review - Jia Jing Hui as Zhao Xiang QIng
The Outsider Drama Review – Jia Jing Hui as Zhao Xiang QIng

Zhao Xiang Qing was a perceived person. He fits perfectly for his position as HR director in Ansheng. Zhao Xiang Qing could see the bigger picture and took the right decision according to his analysis. As a friend, he was priceless.

Zhao Xiang Qing hides his feelings for Cong Rong because he admired her resilience in life. Yet, to keep on staying near Cong Rong, Zhao Xiang Qing secretly fooled his mother so he did not have to move back with her.

Zhong Sheng

I should say that Zhong Sheng (played by Zhao Yao Ke) was the most clear-headed character in this drama. She had discerning eyes that could see through things when others did not despite her young age. Pretty surprising tho.

The Outsider Drama Review - Zhao Yao Ke as Zhong Sheng
The Outsider Drama Review – Zhao Yao Ke as Zhong Sheng

Zhong Sheng’s dream was to be a doctor. She worked hard for her dream and career. She was focused on her study and only after a very long time, she admitted that she liked Wang Ji An. Even though she looked cold and heartless, Zhong Sheng was a sensitive and loyal person.

Mo Wei Qing

Mo Wei Qing (played by Kira Shi) started her relationship with Shang Chun after she graduated. He treat her kindly and spoiled her. Shan Chun bought her a book café so her daily life would not be boring. Mo Wei Qin believed in love, yet she was clear-headed enough to refrain from the status of mistress. She wanted to break up with Shang Chun before he got married to Ai Lin.

The Outsider Drama Review - Kira Shi as Mo Wei Qing
The Outsider Drama Review – Kira Shi as Mo Wei Qing

Mo Wei Qing wanted to be like her friend, living a fulfilling life and chasing their dream. She enjoyed being pampered by Shang Chuan, but she also wanted to achieve something with her own hands.

The Conclusion

The Outsider was packed with a complicated and mature story. This was not the kind of story that you wanted to see after a long hard work. Because the story itself was mostly about the workplace and business. You don’t want to be reminded about your job at home, do you?

So, if you are a romance junkie, you’ll find this drama was lack swoon-worthy scenes. The romance was good but it was not the kind that full of emotional roller coaster. Instead, Su Mo and Wang Ju’an looked like an old couple who have spent many years together. The Outsider was not a romantic drama that you wish to have for a good crying or laughing. Yet, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Happy watching!

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!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

"You’ll find The Outsider drama was lack swoon-worthy scenes."The Outsider Drama Review
error: Content is protected !!