Short Dramas

《进阶的主母》Wise Woman – A drama about revenge with an interesting setting

Main Actors郁葱,朱近桐
Length24 episodes (10 min each)
GenreHistorical, Family

The WeTV cover of two strong women in historical clothing caught my attention, which led me to pick up this short drama.

《进阶的主母》Wise Woman is an interesting short drama with a rather strange setup. I have mixed feelings about it, and honestly, I can’t decide if I would recommend this or not.


Xue Wan Er’s family almost beat her to death after discovering her hidden marriage to a general. Xue Wan Er’s older sister, Xue Ling Yi, intervenes, rescuing her and hiding her in an isolated residence.

At the time of the rescue, Xue Wan Er had no knowledge she was already pregnant and was soon deceived by Xue Ling Yi into believing that the father of the unborn baby was Xue Ling Yi’s husband, Rong Xiu.

Soon after the birth of the child, whom Xue Ling Yi claimed was a child of her husband’s mistress, Xue Wan Er uncovered the truth. Determined to reclaim her child and take revenge on her sister, she marries the deceased general of the Rong family.

The Watching Experience

Short drama doesn’t often involve many characters as there’s simply not enough time to introduce them and build their characters. However, that’s not the case for《进阶的主母》Wise Woman.

The Rong family being a prestigious family, is quite large, and the important members were quickly introduced at the beginning of the show. However, I found this initial introduction lacking in detail and clarity on each member’s identity and their relationships within the family. This led me to be confused about their roles and connections. It took me several episodes to figure out who they are in the family hierarchy and how they are connected.

A series of events involving a marriage, family inheritance and adoption led to Xue Wan Er eventually becoming the mother-in-law of Xue Ling Yi. What?? This is the strange setup I mentioned earlier. Honestly, I don’t know how I felt about it. It’s different, I’ll give it that.

Despite the strange set-up and poor introduction of the Rong family members, the quality and production are good for a short drama. The set and costumes are beautiful and are much better quality than other low-budget historical productions.

The actress portraying Xue Wan Er was a little dull, in my opinion. I felt her facial expression was the same regardless of the emotion she was trying to convey. On the other hand, the actress portraying Xue Ling Yi delivered a convincing portrayal of a woman desperate to keep her standing in the Rong family.

While the narration is sometimes convoluted and lacks logic, it consistently stays within the focus of the main character’s revenge with very little diversion. Being a short drama, there’s not much room for filler scenes, which is one of the biggest advantages of this type of drama.

The lover doesn’t appear till the last quarter of the show, resulting in minimal romance and fluffy scenes which is perfect as I generally prefer plot over romance.

Difficulty for a Chinese learner

This is an approachable Chinese drama for an intermediate-level Chinese learner. The language used is generally simple, with strong historical language in some speech. The plot is easy to follow after the initial few episodes; therefore, full comprehension isn’t required.

The family structure could be confusing for anyone, regardless of their Chinese language level. However, I feel the plot isn’t too difficult to follow, even with this confusion.

Final Thoughts

My thoughts on《进阶的主母》Wise Woman is mixed. I enjoyed the show, but I’m not sure if it’s one that I would recommend to others.

I believe short historical dramas are a really good way for Chinese learners to familiarise themselves with common historical customs and tropes. One complex custom is the family structure of a wealthy and high-ranking family. I was hoping 《进阶的主母》Wise Woman would provide that introduction, but sadly, it lacks detail in that area.

Nonetheless《进阶的主母》Wise Woman is a watchable show. For those who are looking for a short drama about revenge with little romance, then this could be a good choice.

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