Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

It’s Not Easy Being King” 《大王不容易》- (aka “King Is Not Easy”) – is an amusing Chinese series about a king who switches bodies with a palace maid and the hijinks that ensue. It’s a short and sweet, twenty episode series that makes for the perfect weekend binge session. These are the first series lead roles for both Zhang Yi Jie and Bai Lu, who make a good comedic pair both in the main story, as well as in a series of short skits at the end of each episode where they play a modern day version of their characters.

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The story starts with Da Xi (actress Bai Lu, “Zhao Ge”), a popular chef, who has made it her goal to marry a handsome man. When she sees palace guard Shao Yong (Zhao Yi Qin, “Memory Lost“), she falls head over heels, closes her restaurant and finds a way to become a palace maid in the hopes that she can find him and make him fall in love with her. Thwarted at every turn, she decides one night to climb the wall that separates her from where her crush resides on the palace grounds.

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In the meantime, the young king, Ji Man (Zhang Yi Jie, “Demon Girl“), has tried to test the love of his consort only to realise that, should trouble come, she has no trouble bailing on the king. Frustrated that he can’t seem to find a woman who likes him for something other than his title, he takes a late night walk and discovers Da Xi, whom he thinks is an intruder, and attempts to knock her off the wall. She ends up crash landing on him and, one sudden lunar eclipse later, the two have swapped bodies.

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At first their frustration leads them to threaten to do embarrassing things with the other’s body if the other person doesn’t behave in theirs, but they soon realise that they’ll need to work together until they can figure out how to switch back. Da Xi uses her role as the king to try to make Shao Yong marry her, but Ji Man, as the maid, instead helps the guard get his real true love.

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Da Xi also tries to help mend the king’s relationship with his mother, the Queen Dowager (Xu Bai Hui, “The Distant Distance”), which angers Ji Man who is still mad at his mom for pairing up with his uncle after his father died.

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I enjoyed watching the two leads go from sparring with one another to becoming a couple and I thought they had good chemistry together. Their short skits at the end of each episode are especially hilarious and I would love to see them do a series just based on those characters. (Maybe a sequel to this series?)

My only complaint was that the series sometimes would take half of an episode just to do a flashback of past events that didn’t really need that much explanation and which took up time that could have been used for more misadventures with the couple.

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Dong Hui (“Love Yunge from the Desert”) as the wannabe seductress consort, Ni Shang, made for an amusing second female lead as she tries and fails to get the king’s favor or scare off Da Xi. I also enjoyed watching Liu En Shang (“Princess Agents”) as the king’s faithful servant, Shen Jia, who often finds himself in awkward situations or misunderstandings as he tries to help the king.

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As I got to the end of the series, I began to see a lot of similarities between it and “Eternal Love” where the story you start out watching suddenly turns into an entirely different one later on. But while I’m fine with leaving “Eternal Love” where it ended, this pairing I’d definitely like to see again and I’m hoping that the finale they gave it means there will be another season.

You can find this series on Dramafever’s website and the final four episodes with English captions will be posted at the end of September.

  1. 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

    The last part of the drama (the whole dream within dream thing and comics made everything confusing… It felt like Yu Zheng just put together every trope he could think of in one drama.

    • 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

      This drama on the last 4 or 3. Episodes are all over the place.
      The story has no sense. It started good and funny but it just went down as the series went on. Sorry my opinion only.

  2. 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

    I have problems liking the female lead. She’s great as the King because she’s not emotive. Her stiffness fit his profile perfectly. However, once the ruse was up and she switched back into her own body, she was still the same. I partly blame the King because he was just so animated; it’s a hard act to follow. I hope her expressions improve in the next few episodes leading to the end.

    On the other hand, the King was great. Though he’s greatly exaggerated female attributes and characteristics, I must say it adds to the comedic effects. It’s too bad he isn’t back to being a woman. The role suits him.

    • 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

      Yeah, his facial expressions, especially in the skits, had me laughing so much. It almost worked better when she was playing straight man (literally) to his goofy antics. And given that most of the Asian dramas typically have the girl being all crazy and silly while the guy is just uptight and annoyed, it would make for an interesting switch up.

  3. 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

    To be honest, I do love all the use of young xiao xian rou now. But after watching the king bathe for the first time, I realized how stick skinny the guy is. He’s both skinny and looking not even over 18. And he’s still king. But it’s great and all, I suppose. The drama’s been pretty funny up until what I’ve watched so far.

    • 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

      Yeah, between him and Xing Zhao Lin, the leads lately are sooo young, that most of the time I’m just thinking “Aw, how cute” because they are younger than my little brother. Looking forward to Mark Chao and Lin Geng Xin in their next Detective Dee movie so I have some more age appropriate leads to enjoy. 🙂

  4. 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

    YES! I was thinking I would have to wait till November for it to finish airing (hello, “Attention, Love” with 1 episode a week) but so glad i checked out your post that it has finished airing!

  5. 9 thoughts on “Series Review: It’s Not Easy Being King (Cdrama, 2017)

    I enjoyed it so much during body swap, then came the fantasy demon tribe business and dream magic, and it kind of lost me. But I held on for the ride. It became such a confused mess, but somehow it eventually worked for me again. It was a tvdrama being made about a webtoon story and a story writer within a dream within a dream within a dream…….. I still would have liked the king and the chef to work things out in the palace and live happily after….

What do you think?