Yang Zi and Xu Kai’s Modern Family and Romance Drama “Best Choice Ever” Summary & Review

The TV series ‘Best Choice Ever (承欢记)’ is adapted from the novel “Stories of Mai Cheng Huan” (承欢记) by Yi Shu (亦舒). It is directed by Tian Yu and Wang Chengxin. Yang Zi stars as Mai Chang Huan and Xu Kai stars as Yao Zhi Ming in the play.

  • My Rating: 8.5/10
  • Episode: 37
  • Genre: Family, Romance, Business
  • Starring: Yang Zi, Xu Kai
  • Release Date: 2024
  • Original Platform: Tencent Video

Plot Summary:

Mai Changhuan (Yang Zi), a 29-year-old woman from a middle-class family, is a hardworking staff member at the esteemed business hotel Botticelli.

Apart from being an excellent worker, Mai Chang Huan is a filial daughter and has been in a dedicated relationship for 3 years. Since she’s already in her late twenties, her mother Lin Wanyu, asks her to discuss marriage with her boyfriend, Xin Jialing (Niu Jun Feng). But, problems arise when the two families get into conflict due to issues like differences in financial status and Mai Chang Huan’s mother’s excessive interference in her lifelong decisions. In the end, Xin Jialing and Mai Changhuan break up.

She takes a bold step by distancing herself from her mother’s dominating and controlling cares. She starts to become more focused and enterprising in her work.

Also, Mai Changhuan’s grandmother, who’s always been by her side through thick and thin knows her best. She entrusts her with the responsibility of managing the family’s most valuable business hotel during this time.

Best Choice Ever, C-Drama Review, Yang Zi, Xu Kai
86-year-old veteran actress Wu Yan Shu shares a snap with her costars Yang Zi and Xu Kai

On the other hand, Yao Zhiming (Xu Kai) is a cold, indifferent, and professional hotel manager. He’s also the grandson of Mai Changhuan’s grandmother. Initially, he sees Mai Changhuan as nothing but a mere pawn in his game and approaches her with an ulterior motive (…in the beginning, he’s like a gray character).

However, after some conditions, Yao Zhiming and Mai Changhuan begin to work together as partners. Together, they elevate their business to the next level. Yao Zhiming, who rarely felt warmth, love, and care since childhood, gets it all after becoming close to Mai Chang Huan and her family.

This way, Mai Chang Huan and Yao Zhi Ming both slowly start to fall in love with each other, gradually blossoming their friendship into a beautiful romance.

Review

Best Choice Ever, C-Drama Review, Yang Zi, Xu Kai
Yang Zi Mai Chang Huan and Xu Kai as Yao Zhiming

Best Choice Ever is a story about personal growth, healing, love, strong family bonds, transformation, and new beginnings. Just like how the show was promoted, it mainly focuses on family. And romance is a slow burn here.

And, it was okay. It kept viewers engaged by guessing what would come next or how Mai Chang Huan and Yao Zhi Ming’s relationship might progress further.

Mai Chang Huan shows some level of depth and growth in her character. She is introduced as a filial daughter, who’s been always obedient and never dared to go against her parents’ wishes in her 30 years of life, but she has a clear idea about what she wants in her life.

In the course of her journey when she severs ties with her ex-boyfriend and mother, she struggles between filial piety and loyalty to oneself, but it is also the same path of independence that makes her appreciate the important things ahead of her.

She goes through various ups and downs, especially emotional turmoil, but with the help of family and friends, she always rises above all these difficulties. And in the passing of time, she always prioritizes her family over everything.

Her very strong demeanor, decisiveness, and honesty are very impressive. However, in the end, it’s the love, family, and desire for a peaceful life that gives her a sense of purpose.

Best Choice Ever, C-Drama Review, Yang Zi, Xu Kai

Yao Zhi Ming is one of the unique male characters we’ve seen in recent years. Unlike other typical heroes, he has a strong sense of self-preservation and is egocentric, often leaving a feeling of intimidation in those who work with him.

But, Just like Mai Chang Huan, he goes through a depth of character development. As someone who’s been ignored, abandoned, and unloved by his own parents since childhood, he initially struggles to understand things like family’s love, warmth, and importance

(….after his performance in Arsenal Military Academy, I never got to see Xu Kai in similar roles again, where is he mischievous with different kinds of expressions. Luckily, this new character of Xu Kai kinda reminded me of his character Gu Yanzhen ).

The show portrays him as a self-driven businessman who initially prioritizes financial gain over human effort and emotional well-being. He isn’t a bad person at heart, but the hardships or bitterness he’s been through have somehow shaped him into seem like one. However, viewers see his personality and behavior undergo significant changes as he interacts with Grandmother and Mai Chang Huan.

In the end, by combining his true abilities with his kind and gentle heart, he becomes the best version of himself, just like how his grandmother always wished him to be.

Mother-Daughters Relationship

Most of the time, the female protagonist’s mother comes across as overbearing, and annoying. She’d just do what she thinks is right without considering the feelings of others, particularly her husband and children (….this arrogant and domineering attitude often backfires, placing the rest of the family in difficult situations ).

While not all South Asian parents are like this extreme portrayal, there can still be some relatable elements to this character’s behavior.

Best Choice Ever, C-Drama Review, Yang Zi, Xu Kai

Despite the mother-daughter relationship conflict, they manage to reconcile. Mai Chang Huan’s mother, Lin Wanyu comes to understand the true value of family, love, and respect.

Lin Wan Yu realizes that wanting the best for her child doesn’t mean forcing a path they don’t desire, especially for life-altering decisions. She suffered financially throughout her life, and it’s quite understandable that she always wanted a better & economically stable life for her children, even if it meant going against their wishes ( …but, every time instead of helping, she was putting them into great trouble ).

Luckily, in the end, after seeing how much her children, including her husband, have put joint effort into making a family better, she was able to comprehend that guidance and suggestions are valuable, but ultimately, forcing her will is still wrong.

Lin Wan Yu (Mai Chang Huan’s mother)

Though this mother’s behavior might be tough to handle, “Best Choice Ever” beautifully shows the unwavering love behind her actions. The show portrays a mother’s silent sacrifices after marriage, burying her own dreams and aspirations for her children’s success and well-being throughout her life. (…as a viewer, I might have disliked this character in the beginning, but later she made me cry a lot) Her relentless effort, love, and determination are undeniable, making it a powerful story about the depths of a mother’s love.

Mai Chang Huan’s father plays the pivotal role in keeping the family balanced

Have you ever come across a husband like Mai Lai Tian or Mai Chang Huan’s father? This character is one of my favorite characters in the series. He is always calm, and a patient listener which keeps the Mai family always balanced and peaceful.

If this character also had a hot temper like his wife, the Mai family wouldn’t have a chance of becoming such an adorable family. It would be full of chaos, fighting, and disturbances. Thankfully, he remains level-headed even when his wife becomes unreasonable.

So, as a viewer, I really admire that level of patience in him.

Best Choice Ever emphasizes the value of family, unity, and loyalty. The potential and strength of a healthy family, relationships, business, and bonding that can determine a person’s success, happiness, and ability to find love. It also highlights how communication plays a vital role in maintaining healthy relationships.

Reconciliation, forgiveness, willingness to change, the value of family. Our personal fight for that one great love & independence is one of the important lessons taught by this drama.

Like Every series, Best Choice Ever is not without flaws.

Actually, watching a bunch of C-Dramas every year, viewers are quite tired of similar troupes. And, Best Choice Ever is no exception. Like a mother trying to set up her daughter with a rich guy without consideration & always being unreasonable (I super dislike this troupe in every C-Dramas), evil workmates who are jealous of the main leads, a monotonous male protagonist, a second male lead; a man without a backbone, rich and poor family conflicts, etc.

Also, In Episode 18, a female lead sprained her legs while trying to visit Granny in the hospital. But, right after visiting Granny, when she’s asked to bring her parents to see their new house given by Granny, how are her legs fine? I mean c’mon. That makes no sense. Unless she’s just pretending!

Additionally, in Episode 12, when the female lead asks the hotel staff if there’s a first-aid kit after Yao Zhi Ming faints, their answer truly surprises me. Why? Because they said, no. Seriously? A branded luxury hotel wouldn’t have a first-aid kit? That seems like a major oversight by the screenwriter.

Despite these shortcomings, that put the drama in a bad light, Best Choice Best Choice Ever manages to keep viewers engaged. Really, if this was some other series, I might have dropped it long ago. Surprisingly, it has a lot of interesting characters and subplots that are exciting to watch.

Overall, Best Choice Ever is a beautiful heartwarming Urban C-Drama in 2024! The medium-level plot, coherent flow of scenes, not dragging, and there are no complex subplots, it’s well-balanced and paced.

Both main leads take time to reciprocate their romantic feelings in this slow-burn romance. The sparks between the two leads don’t fly until well past episode 20. Considering, Mai Chang Huan just broke up her 3 years of relationship, it’s indeed not logical to jump right into a relationship. or it was more realistic that the writer focused on her career advancement instead of dating right away (….So, It might not appeal to some viewers who enjoy instant sparks or intense chemistry right away.)

Talking about Yang Zi and Xu Kai’s chemistry they are suitable pairs. Even if the two do not date or fall in love with each other right away, you could still feel the spark between the two through their interactions or conversations.

Best Choice Ever is a very fascinating drama. Very worthy of our time. it has 37 episodes with each full episode running for 45 minutes.

On Weibo, viewers gave it a rating of 8.8 on a scale of 10. The drama has already exceeded the 30,000 heat Index on Tencent Video, which is not an easy feat.

After its premiere, the drama is getting positive reviews from audiences for its heart-touching and beautiful story depiction.

You can watch the drama on We TV, Viki, and YouTube (Croton MEGA HIT).

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