Fireworks of My Heart (2023) 我的人间烟火

Summary:  Yang Yang plays a firefighter captain Song Yan who reencounters Emergency Room doctor Xu Qin ft Wang Chu Ran after 10 years. During their youth, due to their family’s disapproval, this couple was forced apart. After 10 years, both individuals have matured and changed. Due to the nature of their work, Song Yan and Xu Qin start to interact with each other more frequently. After numerous harrowing and life threatening missions, Song Yan’s perseverance touches Xu Qin and they slowly work through the various misunderstandings from years past to once again end up together, encourage each other and work alongside together.


Total Episode Count: 40

Initial Airing Date: July 5, 2023

Platform: MangoTV


*Note – English translations may not match official translations


Rating [after 11 episodes] 7/10:  An absolute feast for the eyes. The men are handsome and the women beautiful. THIS is what a romance drama should look like in terms of eye candy. The drama shines in the firefighting rescue scenes and the bromance. The first 6 episodes were outstanding when focusing on each lead’s respective careers and storylines. However, the drama starts dragging when it turns towards romance. The female lead’s actions in particular are selfish, obsessive and boundary pushing that if gender reversed, would raise many more eyebrows.


Final Rating 5.5/10: Another drama of wasted potential. All of the heroic deeds of firefighters and doctors are reduced to sideline fodder of romance for a toxic main couple. Not even Wei Da Xun’s Meng Yan Chen could save this drama from being another summer disappointment. 

song yan 宋焰

Yang yang 杨洋

Star fire fighter and team leader. He is always the first to rush into a threat and holds his fellow team members to extremely high standards. 

xu qin 许沁

wang chu ran 王楚然

 A talented Emergency Room doctor. She shows kindness her own way to her patients.

suo jun 索俊

zhang bin bin 张彬彬

Best friends with Song Yan and fellow fire fighter. He is the rock for Song Yan.

meng yan chen 孟宴臣

wei da xun 魏大勋

Adoptive brother to Xu Qin and investment company CEO. He is cold and reserved but cares for his sister deeply.

Initial Thoughts

Plenty of people have recommended this drama so here are some initial thoughts!


Such a good looking cast!

Yang Yang is just so gosh darn handsome! Plus this cast with Zhang Bin Bin, Wei Da Xun and Wang Yan Lin all make for a great looking group of men. Wang Chu Ran and Yang Chao Yue plus many of the background actresses are all wonderfully beautiful as well so this drama was quite easy on the eyes. 

There really is nothing more attractive than when a guy or gal does a job they are passionate about or are good at and we get that on full display. This drama is most captivating when Song Yan and team are out conducting rescues and I partly wish this drama focused solely on the firefighting portion rather than adding romance to the mix. 

Some critics say they still think Yang Yang is too “oily” in this drama. I didn’t think so. He has an extremely straight posture which I attribute to his dance training. I didn’t particularly enjoy his high school scenes but 29 year old Song Yan looks great!


Most impactful character (so far)

Zhang Bin Bin’s character Suo Jun is a wonderful addition and I adore his bromance with Song Yan. Suo Jun is a thoughtful leader, a charismatic man and ultimately the more grounded of the pair (between him and Song Yan). He has great chemistry with Yang Yang and it’s easy to believe their friendship.  Suo Jun reflects the reality of financial constraints of this career and the relationship strains it causes. But he absolutely loves his job and that is why he does it. The intense rescue scene where he saves a young woman from jumping as well as the gut wrenching scenes of his devastating injury and eventual departure from duty were much more impactful than the relationship problems the main couple displayed.

This drama also does a decent job balancing the heroic deeds fire fighters do but also the thankless nature of the job.  It’s tiresome and gruesome and may result in large sacrifices.  But people do it to help their community and I feel this message sticks.   


Breakout role for the summer!

Surprisingly, Wei Da Xun has been THE breakout hit of the drama with his portrayal of Meng Yan Chen. He manages to play the cold, reserved but loving CEO extremely well and somehow without “oil”, how the Chinese use to term a person who’s a little creepy and gross. Something that many other men have failed to do (And many even say Yang Yang fails to do). The number of trending weibo posts and also fan videos gushing about Meng Yan Chen are astonishing. People are like, hold up Yang Yang, we know you’re handsome but how did I not realize how handsome Wei Da Xun is? (My comment though? Y’all a little too thirsty!) 

Reality TV connections!

The reason the shock at seeing Wei Da Xun in this role is so big is that he has established himself as a regular on a variety of Chinese reality TV shows primarily as a jokester. For instance, check out the extremely popular MangoTV show Who’s The Murderer or 明星大侦探 where he has made many classic and hilarious appearances over the years.  Thus to see him as this handsome CEO? It changed many peoples perspectives on him. In a bittersweet comment, Wei Dan Xun said that he had to be on reality tv shows in order to maintain presence in the public eye but that did also result in fewer roles. Hopefully this is another spring board for him to new opportunities in his career. 

I’m also chuckling at Zhang Bin Bin. In this drama, he is this handsome, accomplished and reliable fire fighter. But he actually did participate in a reality TV show called 一往无前的蓝 or First In Last Out where he experienced the role of a fire fighter and he was hilariously bad at it. (Oh Wei Da Xun was in it as well.) Feel free to watch some of those clips. I remember dying laughing at some of his antics.  This reality tv show aired before he filmed this drama so he certainly got some much needed training for the role! 

And also Wang Yan Lin. He’s only been in a handful of scenes so far but he has similarly been in a number of reality TV shows. In every appearance, he is always a hoot. In a season of Go Fighting or 极限挑战宝藏行 with Zhang Bin Bin in 2021, they were so adorable, silly and…empty headed. They generally used brawn over brains and it was the cute joke that season that the both of them, plus maybe He Luo Luo needed the most help IQ-wise.

I’m happy that they’re able to get more attention in this drama l but I am also having a good laugh on the side after remembering their reality tv show appearances. 



With all that gushing about what’s been great for this drama, let’s talk about some reservations. Really, it’s the romance. 


Problematic Romance

Surprisingly, the weakest part of the drama so far is the main romance plot that picks up after the first 6 episodes.  While Song Yan is certainly a flawed individual, Xu Qin is more problematic. From flashbacks, we see that her adoptive family forced her to break up with Song Yan because her adoptive mother thinks too lowly of Song Yan. This presents a whole other set of issues we can dissect later.

After coming back to the city as a doctor, she basically throws herself at Song Yan. She asks for his wechat number from his colleagues, goes to his house unannounced, questions when he’ll be on leave and waits for him at his fire station. Those are just a few examples of her actions. Sure, you could say she’s being brave by being so upfront. But my question is: If the roles were reversed, how would this be viewed? Would it be seen as stalkerish? Creepy? Obsessive? I actually commend Song Yan for refusing her when she point blank asked to reconcile. She was the one to dump him. She returns and now refuses all of his boundaries. When he told her to stop doing that, I actually cheered for him. Again, if this were a guy doing all of these things to a woman, would this be viewed as romantic? I don’t think so. 

At least in episode 11 she recognized her selfishness and that she wants her adoptive family but also Song Yan which is currently impossible. She has a lot of baggage to get through. Her parents died young and her adoptive parents are suffocating, but she doesn’t adequately address her issues before hurting Song Yan again.  I feel awful for Song Yan because he let his walls down after she barrels through and then due to pressure from her mom which Xu Qin always knew about, she once again said they should keep clear boundaries, devastating Song Yan one more time. Her wishy-washiness is irresponsible and extremely hurtful. 

I’m assuming there’s a growth storyline for both Xu Qin and Song Yan so we’ll see what happens.


Final Thoughts

Unfortunately, this drama could not capture the initial promising start and became a dumpster fire that dragged on for too long. Fireworks of My Heart created the breakout hit of the summer in Wei Da Xun and ratings were alright on MangoTV (Hunan television). However, this drama did not garner much praise and instead is consistently ridiculed. There were so many trending tags on weibo questioning the actions of the main characters.  Douban ratings just came out and this drama received a 4.1. Let’s dissect what happened.

Yang Yang’s acting comes into question

Fireworks of My Heart marks a negative turning point in Yang Yang’s career. It seems that Chinese audiences are extremely fed up with his pretentious and arrogant portrayal of Song Yan in this drama and have called him the new “oil king”. Perhaps Chinese audiences are a little too critical of Yang Yang as I don’t think he’s THAT “oily” but his acting based on this drama does indeed need improvement. He excels in being that brooding man but otherwise, his portrayal does come off as wooden. I wonder if he’s better off playing Geralt in the Witcher.  By the middle of the drama, Song Yan comes off as an arrogant prick and a rather controlling person. 

Wang Chu Ran’s Xu Qin did her no favors

Wang Chu Ran is gorgeous no doubt but Xu Qin as a character is extremely problematic. Almost every day, there were trending posts questioning Xu Qin’s world view and flaming it. Therefore, this drama did not really help Wang Chu Ran’s career. Most people are now focusing on her real life relationship with Yang Yang. Surprisingly, she is actually marketing a lot with Yang Yang (and the rest of the cast) and her CP (relationship) in the drama. Some have speculated that it’s because of all the negative publicity the drama has garnered so they’re trying to salvage as much buzz for the drama as possible.

Regardless, the character of Xu Qin is not one to idolize and no one should aspire to be her. Her relationship with Song Yan is extremely toxic. Her terse and cold attitude towards her medical profession, in my humble opinion, would not be well received by those in the industry.  And how she handled her family relationship is not mature. I understand that the screenwriters are trying to portray a woman who seeks true love should not care about his family’s upbringing and background but, especially given how great Meng Yan Chen as a brother is to her, Xu Qin comes off as ungrateful and too romance focused rather than logical. A complete 180 from her overly logical and unemotional view towards her profession. 

So many contrived plot points that made this drama unbelievable

You have to throw all knowledge of the real world out the window to get through this drama. The main couple are 29 in this drama. Can someone confirm for me if a 29yo is able to be a team leader in a hospital? Most of my doctor friends are still in residency or medical school at that point. And why does a hospital need to create that group of doctors to do cross training with Song Yan’s firefighters? Aren’t there paramedics for that? Also, what is exactly the remit of an ER doctor because it seems like Xu Qin is doing any and every type of procedure and diagnosis. I’m happy for someone to correct me if this is indeed how a Chinese hospital system works but I just thought this was highly unbelievable from what I at least know to be true. 

Outside of medical stuff, as a fan pointed out on our forum, too many of Xu Qin and Song Yan’s interactions are contrived rendering them unbelievable. From Song Yan’s childhood trauma being connected to the Meng family to smaller things like Xu Qin+Meng Yan Chen running into Song Yan at the same grocery store at the same time for there to be a showdown between the two men. I also remember how Ye Zi just so happens to be a roommate of Song Yan’s younger cousin Zhao Miao but then also works at the upscale bar of Meng Yan Chen’s friend thus linking once again these two families. 

Sometimes it’s nice that a story is a closed loop but for this drama, the overabundance of coincidences dragged the show down instead.

Firefighters are this drama’s saving grace

If this drama only focused on firefighters, it would have been much more entertaining. The squad members are hardworking yet adorable. Their challenges are heroic but gut wrenching. The various rescue operations the firefighters encounter are varied and harrowing. I am not sure how exactly the director was able to film the various disasters like the large floods and blazing fires but I was hooked on those rescues and commend the production crew for creating such large scale disasters on screen for us to see how rescue operations work.  Sadly, these rescues were often used to move along the romance storylines which then became a turnoff. We should have focused more on these scenes instead!


Final comments


Do I think it is as bad as the 4.1 Douban rating suggests? No. There are some components of the drama that were alright but is it chase worthy? After the first 10 episodes, no. I am bursting out laughing at comments for the finale since people were quite displeased with it. 


Let me know what you think!


8 thoughts on “Review: Fireworks of My Heart (2023) 我的人间烟火

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