Since there are a couple of lakorns coming up around the same time, and not much else airing this week, I decided to talk about one of my least favorite genres, teen/young adult lakorns. Hook (2020) airs July 4, followed by The Underclass (2020) which airs July 5. Both will air on GMM25 and will probably be English subbed on youtube.
Hook (2020) synopsis: Despite their fathers’ rivalry, two university students form a friendship at a boxing gym as they tackle family drama, romance, and personal crises. (Source: Netflix)
The Underclass (2020) synopsis: After getting dropped from an elite program, a student gets tangled in the affairs of a high school gang while trying to find her own identity.
Of the two, I am more interested in The Underclass (2020) which will also be airing on Netflix.
Two episodes in and I can already tell It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is going be a favorite for me in terms of soundtrack. I’ve been scouring youtube looking for songs from the drama, and one was released, but my fav still isn’t out.
This week I will be working on more recaps, but I also want to focus on the music I love, the soundtracks that has stayed with me other the years.
I debated whether I should write about It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) at all, as I’m sure there will be many people (some who actually know Korean, I will be depending upon English subbed version at Netflix), who will be recapping this. But the quality of the production is a master class in so many ways that I wanted to write about, to talk about it. I could discuss the characters, the bromance, the music, the directing, the writing, but in the end, I want to focus on two things, fairy tales and cinematography.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020): The story of a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who lives on 1.8 million won (approximately $1,520) a month and a storybook writer suffering from an antisocial personality disorder. A man who denies love and a woman who doesn’t know love defy fate and fall in love, finding their souls and identities in the process. Moon Kang Tae is a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who was blessed with everything including a great body, smarts, ability to sympathize with others, patience, ability to react quickly, stamina, and more. Meanwhile, Ko Moon Young is a popular writer of children’s literature, but she is extremely selfish, arrogant, and rude. (Source: Soompi & Koreandrama.org)
Episode 1 Recap
The animation sequence ends with a shot of Moon Young (played by Seo Ye Ji), who hears a different voice (her mother?) saying no one will ever stay by your side and then we hear Moon Young’s voice saying yes, mother.
“No one can ever stay by your side because you’re a monster. Do not ever forget that. Do you understand?”
Shadow of death
Moon Young replies.
Back in the real world, we see a book called The Boy Who Fed On Nightmares by Go Moon Young that is beloved by Sang Tae (Oh Jung Se), the brother of Kang Tae (Kim Soo Hyun). Sang Tae had an incident where he caused a ruckus at the Daun Vocational School he attends and his brother came to talk to the people in charge. He wonders if his brother is angry, and seeing Kang Tae’s face, knows he is. Kang Tae sees Sang Tae is upset and reassures him beautifully, saying Sang Tae was never meant to stay there long anyway and they’ll find somewhere else.
Next, here’s our heroine Moon Young eating in a restaurant, dressed to the hilt. Moon Young’s lunch is interrupted by a young fan and her mom and Moon Young writes an autograph for her, but when the young girl babbles about being a princess cuz they’re pretty, Moon Young says cutting words to her, suggesting that the girl must not have read her books, because in her books, the witches are the pretty ones. She suggests the girl tell her mom she’s going to be a pretty witch, which sets the girl off. The CEO of Moon Young’s publishing company, Lee Sang In comes in as the girl and mom run off and he immediately knows what’s up as it seems like a situation he’s very familiar dealing with. As they leave, Moon Young casually steals a knife from the restaurant and puts it in her purse.
At Kang Tae’s workplace now, we get a view of various scars on his upper torso as he dresses in scrubs for his work in a mental hospital. He has to deal with a woman who is gobbling up food on the floor and elsewhere and he tries to talk to her. Eventually she hugs him, she thinking he’s her cheating hubby, but then the woman makes herself vomit all over him (presumably because said cheating hubby left her for a skinny woman). A flight of metaphors appear in place of actual vomit, an image of a waterfall and others. Kang Tae is also told of a new case, a man with an anxiety disorder who tried to kill himself and his daughter Go Eun, who is fine because she threw up the pills, but the father is being restrained.
Back to Moon Young who is headed to the hospital to do a reading of her story for the kids and their parents there. Sang In (CEO/manager) gets a call from another hospital that Moon Young’s dad stays in. Apparently, a nurse there by the name of Nam Juri (Park Kyu Young) is trying to get in contact with Moon Young to get her to sign papers as her father’s guardian so he can get a surgery. But Moon Young just says her father is dead and asks why are they trying to resurrect the dead? Juri is told by her supervisor to visit Moon Young to get the signature and we see a scene of the dad who get upsets when Juri mentions his daughter visiting him, talking about death.
A coworker asks Kang Tae about why he’s worked at so many different hospitals, changing them every year, but Kang Tae just shrugs it off. He notices that his brother Sang Tae’s favorite author is coming to the hospital and calls his brother, who immediately gets ready to go see her, but Kang Tae tells him it’s only for kids and that he’ll try to get her autograph instead. He asks his brother who’s better, he or Moon Young, but his brother hung up already and went back to his drawing.
There’s a beautiful scene when Kang Tae sees someone smoking and asks them to stop. It’s Moon Young, who of course, isn’t about to just obey orders, but makes a scene of stubbing out her cigarette in his cup.
Moon Young starts her reading and things go beautifully until the patient Kim Seung Cheol who tried to kill his daughter tricks a worker into letting him loose and comes looking for his daughter Go Eun. As the hospital workers shut down the reading and ask families to leave, the father finds his daughter and manages to shuffle off with her and Moon Young sees them. She follows after them, taunting the father he’s too cowardly to die alone and smacks him with her purse. The knife she took falls out, and both reach for it, but she knocks it away.
Eventually, the father manages to get her in a chokehold, and we see Moon Young remembering? another scene of a young Moon Young and her dad choking her. Kang Tae comes to the rescue and ties the father up, but then he has to stop Moon Young, who has the knife now and is trying to hurt the dad. Kang Tae stops the knife with his hand around the blade, cutting himself, and Moon Young tells him he overreacted, she was only going to hurt the father a little. She tells him that there are people who kill vermin like the father without most people being aware of them.
In another frame of his horrible, no good, very bad day, Kang Tae learns he’s to take the blame for the incident, and well, he probably would have left soon anyway since he doesn’t stay in the stay place long, so he’s fired. He’s waiting for the bus, when his old friend Jo Jae Soo (played by Kang Gi Doong) comes by on a motorbike and gives him a ride. His luck being what it is, of course, it breaks down and they have to push the motorbike to his home.
Kang Tae then remembers the autograph he never got, thankfully Jae Soo makes a forgery, which Sang Tae takes only one look at to denounce it as fake and goes off in a huff.
Meanwhile Moon Young gets an unwelcome visitor in Juri, who is trying to get her signature so Moon Young’s dad could get his operation. There is something uneasy between the two, Juri and Moon Young, who seem to have known each other in the past. After much verbiage from Moon Young about her father being physically alive with a dead soul and her mother dead, but her soul is alive, Juri gets her to sign and collapses outside the apartment, talking about how much she (Moon Young) pisses her off.
And in an almost throwaway clip, we get a brief shot of news saying someone died in solitary confinement. Go Eun’s father, the man who caused the incident at the reading. Interesting, no?
Bedtime, with both thinking of each other. Kang Tae starts to read Moon Young’s book, The Boy Who Fed On Nightmares. Basically the story goes as follows (paraphrasing here.) A boy was besieged by bad memories and nightmares that he wanted to forget so he went to a witch and she helped him. But the boy grew older and noticed he wasn’t happy. He meets the witch again to pay the price, his soul and tells her that, and she replies that the bad memories are what makes you grow stronger, more passionate and without them, you don’t have happiness.
In other words, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.
Another person has nightmares as well, Sang Tae, where he’s younger and is being chased through the woods by butterflies. His screams wake up Kang Tae and his friend Je Soo who spent the night.
In the morning, Kang Tae heads out to get the autograph. He meets Moon Young of course, and she wonders what’s he’s there for? Money or even… sex? He denies it, saying he came only to see her again, her eyes that reminds him of another girl he knew, one without warmth or conscience. Moon Young asks if he was afraid of her and he tells her it was just the opposite, he liked the girl. And we see flashbacks of a boy drowning and a girl, picking flowers with the boy trailing after her. And the two stare at each other, the boy with the beautiful eyes, the girl with eyes lacking warmth.
When I was young, I discovered fairy tales. I would go to the library and check out swathes of Andrew Lang’s fairy tale books. I would go on to become a fan of Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and TV shows such as The Storyteller. But along the way I discovered something, that there was and is a big difference between the Disney versions of fairy tales and the Grimms Brothers original tales which contained more violence, sex, and many other facets of society. I started to watch more Hayao Miyazaki films such as Princess Mononoke, which contained multiple scenes of violence and gore as well as a more nuanced look at good and evil.
It’s Okay to Not be okay is such a tale. It is the darker side of fairy tales, the Grimms Bros version, that wants to remind you that there are always things hiding in the dark and it is better to face them, rather than pretend they’re not there.
We could argue about who is the princess in this drama, who is the villain, the Big Bad Wolf, the evil witch (Moon Young obviously wants this role 😁) or the prince (Sang Tae perhaps?). I could debate whether Kang Tae is the fairy godmother, the wise old man who sets the characters on the right path. Or whether he is the Big Bad Wolf. Because of all the characters in the drama, the most closed up and less unknown one is Kang Tae. He appears framed as if closed in a box, from the first shot we get of his face, to another frame shown below. Perhaps he is the sweet brother, competent worker he appears to be. Perhaps not. From fairy tales, we should know by now that the sweet old grandma could indeed be the wolf in disguise, or the beautiful polished apple is also a poisoned one.
But what is clear is that it is the fairy dust sprinkled around, the visual flights of fantasy that make this a fairy tale. What is a fairy tale that is just reality with no fantasy elements? So for vomit, we see waterfalls, we see animated trash, milk. Think of these visual flourishes as Tinker Bell’s pixie dust.
The main character, Moon Young, is a pure wonderful, glorious fairy tale creature. She wears clothes that mark her as such, acts as if she’s a princess (she claims to be a witch or monster, but only a princess is that entitled). What or rather who is the shadow of death that follows her? What parts do her parents play in this? And why do those around her end up dead? To be continued…
Director Aew Ampaiporn is responsible for many of the best lakorns, Kleun Cheewit, Sawan Biang, Game Rai Game Rak so when I heard about her new lakorn, My Husband in Law (2020), it made me all the more anxious to watch it. Plus, it also stars Mark Prin and Mew Nittha in a marriage of convenience story, so what’s not to like?
My Husband in Law (2020): Muey is a young girl who lived with her mother, who has a very close friend. Muey also has a crush on Thien who is the son of her mother’s close friend. Although Muey loves him, Thien never seems to love Muey, instead, he always teases her, messes with her, and sometimes bullies her. Muey never got angry or responded to Thien when she got bullied because she loved him too much.
One day, Thien was forced to marry Muey just to get rid of the wife of a powerful man. As Thien never looked at Muey as his life partner, he was not really okay with the marriage. In addition, Thien wanted a perfect woman as his wife, but Muey was never perfect in his eye. Will Thien fall in love with Muey at the end? Will Muey be the perfect wife for him? (Source: Collin Hypercuz at MyDramaList)
Cast of Characters
Episode 1 Recap
We begin with a voiceover of our nang’ek Muey as she describes an incident when she is saved from being bullied by a boy whose face she doesn’t see. And now a quick peek at the beaming Muey (Mew Nittha)on her wedding day to Thien (Mark Prin), our pra’ek and her rescuer? But will Thien even show up to be married? This seems to be the main question on his family’s minds, as he goes off the last minute to the bathroom and doesn’t return for a while. His brother starts looking for him and Thien finally shows up, a reluctant groom. We see why as we flash back to two weeks ago.
Two weeks before the wedding, we see Thien with a woman named Yada in a heated embrace. They have a night together when the phone rings and Yada’s husband Pon-Det learns about their affair. Thien didn’t know she was married and basically says screw you to Yada and takes off to his home, where we see that Muey is there as a housekeeper?
Muey and Thien slip easily into a bickering conversation that seems to be their forte, as Muey manages to throw as many adoring looks at Thien as she can, while he seems oblivious to her adoration. We see another flashback to when a young Muey, high schooler maybe, meets the pra’ek and his family for the first time as his mother announces she will live with the two boys as their sister, and Thien’s like ‘What?!’, but mom persists.
Thien goes out to meet Yada again, and Muey sees he got a threatening message on his phone and follows him. Yada wants to continue their relationship and says she’s divorcing her hubby, who beats her (another flashback to Yada’s and Thien’s first meeting when she’s distraught and he saves her from stepping in front of a car), Thien sympathizes with her, but tells her he doesn’t want any problems. With that he leaves.
Thien is followed by Yada’s husband Pon-Det and a car chase ensues. Pon-Det manages to drive Thien’s car off into the water and drives off, but Muey arrives to save the day. His whole family visits Thien in the hospital, including an unwelcome vistor, Yada. Yada says she’s divorcing her husband, but Thien just says he has no feelings for her. Yada answers that he doesn’t have anyone, so Thien replies that he does have a fiancee, Muey. Pon-Det shows up then and implies the marriage better happen or else. Another eavesdropper was Thien’s mom, who tells him he must make the lie the truth to avoid being killed by Pon-Det, to save Muey’s reputation as well and to avoid facing other consequences as it appears Pon-Det is related to a well connected family.
So the marriage is on and we’re back in the present now as Thien reluctantly shows up to his wedding. Then things start going downhill, as the dog runs off with the ring, only to poop it out, and the rain and wind starts and we see Thien enjoying the chaos.
Wedding night sees an ecstatic Muey and a complacent Thien, where an argument over who gets the bed ends with Thien getting the bed, and Muey sleeping on the floor. Thien attempts to continue life as normal, but his mother basically leaves him no choice but to stay with Muay. At the end of the episode, we see the two moving in together and a little story about their pets, a cat for Thien and a dog for Muey.
Really this is all Director Aew Ampaiporn‘s show right now. Aew’s has directed a number of romantic comedies before, Oum Ruk and Soot Sanaeha and there are a number of comic moments here handled with a deft touch, namely the wedding chaos scene.
Mew Nittha is sure to win hearts as the cheerful, optimistic Muey. Yes, it’s very much a stereotypical Mary Sue character, but in spite of that, I still can’t help but root for Muey. Muey tries to live in the present, and makes things easy for her love, but she also attempts to be close to him, tries to sleep with him and make them share the same room. In other words, she doesn’t seem as passive as some nang’eks are.
Thien, played by Mark Prin, isn’t supposed to be the villain of the piece, but he is smug, self adsorbed and it’s obvious that he’s due to get knocked off his pedestal, like so many other spoiled, entitled pra’eks. His view of Muey is skewed of course, he sees her as a nuisance, and not getting stressed over things. But Muey is in the perfect position to start getting stressed over things, as she is closer then ever to the one she loves, yet must still stay away from him.
Good start to the series, and I can’t wait to watch more.
Out of all the Thailand channels, GMM seems to be the least affected by COVID19 due to many of their lakorns being filmed in advance. Here’s yet another one, Fai Sin Chua (2020). It looks to be high drama indeed and starts airing July 8 on GMM, so GMM may English sub it on their youtube channel.
Synopsis: Orawee and Tharn are perfect spouses with no child because Orawee’s always been busy with her work. They decide to adopted the boy and the girl, named as Aekaong and Atcharee who love each other and have so much attachment, even not be biology sister – brother Orawee becomes a successful businesswoman, then behave bossy to Tharn, he feels so much uncomfortable with it. Vichuda is Orawee’s cousin, who takes care of the house for this couple. One day, Tharn sleep with her in order to be drunken. Orawee get mad when knew it, later ask him for divorce Tharn takes Vichuda and Aekaong out of this house.
Aekaong and Atcharee still try to meet several because they start to be in love with each other until Orawee knows this. She cages Atcharee in house, not letting go anywhere As time passed, Tharn and Aekaong life are getting better while Orawee decides to open up Atcharee as her daughter to society because she needs to set Atcharee with some guy who will be under her control. Ben is the best choice for Orawee but he doesn’t like Atcharee , just think that she’s plain for him but need to marry her due to financial problem of his family Aekaong needs to stop the wedding but Tharn doesn’t let him go and set him to marry Khunlah, daughter of Saeng Kham. Hearing about that make Atcharee so sad Eventually, Ben knows Orawee true color and what she has done to Atcharee , start to feel sorry for her, later become romantic interest.
(Source: Fahyongwaree_world )
I debated whether to write about this lakorn as there is a fair chance that Fai Sin Chua(2020) could turn out to be an angsty mess (just count all those slaps in the teaser 😁), but there appears to be a marriage in the lakorn and that’s catnip to me. This is a remake of a 2003 lakorn and for those who don’t want to read the synopsis, it’s apparently about a dysfunctional family where adopted siblings fall in love, only to be divided and married off to other people by their parents. We’ll see if this will be English subbed.
Hello and welcome to Music Monday! I’m so excited for the week ahead because I have not one, not two, but three different dramas I’m waiting for to air this week! I try not to watch dramas as they’re airing as then I’m constantly waiting for the English subs, but I couldn’t help myself because I was determined to watch Payakorn Sorn Ruk, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay and I’m counting My Husband in Law (2020) too although it has already ended in my must watch dramas.
Yes, I will be writing about them this week, I’m just figuring out what form, reviews, recaps, etc. But to get back to music, I wanted to introduce you to a great channel for osts and mvs on Thailand lakorns, Channel 3 Thailand Music. I’ve used them for Music Monday over the years, they’re the official channel for Channel 3 osts and mvs of their lakorns, so expect to see only Channel 3 lakorns here. Here are some of the mvs you can catch, including a young Nadech singing with Yaya. Enjoy!
Things are starting to pick up in lakornland again, so yeah! Lots of new lakorns being subbed, lots of choices, such as Por Mai Lek Tai Song Tua (2020), Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020) and Leh Game Rak (2020), so right now not that many new lakorns being subbed to talk about. I’m finally out of my own lakorn slump and eagerly watching several lakorns, trying to decide which I want to write about in the form of first impressions, recaps, etc.
Muse is working on a number of currently airing lakorns, including Leh Game Rak (2020), Raeng Tian (2019) and Peek Hong (2020). They’re also subbing Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020) and another subbing group, Jirayuhomedrama is subbing this as well, more options to choose from!
Leh Game Rak (2020) – An orphan having to disguise herself as a heiress of the Patayakul family who has died in an accident In order to manage the company. (Source: PPTVHD36)
Thippy is working on currently airing lakornPor Mai Lek Tai Song Tua (2020) and another older lakorn that has been incompletely subbed before,Prao (2014) or Proud in English. She just finished subbing Tawan Arb Dao (2020).
Por Mai Lek Tai Song Tua (2020) – When Panu’s twin children Oley & Nene wants Karaked, a teacher, to be their step mom, the two starts to play cupid. But their obstacles are General Samurjai, Karaked’s father who tries every way to intervene between Panu and Karaked and the twin’s maternal grandmother Khun Nuankae, who wants to take custody of the two children. So Panu must use his love and sincerity to prove to everyone.
Synopsis:Yan Zhixia is a the daughter of a minister who disguises herself as a man in order to work in the royal palace. She mistakenly becomes the eunuch of the Emperor, and with his help, slowly becomes the Head eunuch. However she discovers that actually, Yan Jin knew of her true identity long time ago. (Source: DramaWiki)
We have a new lakorn pairing in the upcoming Leh Game Rak (2020). It stars Son Yuke (Love at First Hate) and Esther Supreeleela (My Girl) and will be airing from June 17, 2020 two days a week on PPTV. This is a crossdressing/ childhood love romantic lakorn. It’s unknown if it will be English subbed.
The cross dressing, dog in the teaser reminds me very much of Dok Ruk Rim Tang (2010), but I guess it’s not a remake?
Synopsis:None at this time.
PPTV is one of the lesser known in Thai television, at least in the USA, mainly because it doesn’t release that many lakorns when compared to its competitors like Channel 3, 7 or GMM ONE. Actually, Leh Game Rak (2020) was supposed to be a GMM ONE lakorn, so I’m wondering what changed. But not many PPTV lakorns are subbed, so it remains to be seen if this lakorn is English subbed by anyone.
Korean drama It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) stars Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji as the main couple, with other main leads Park Kyu Young and Oh Jung Se starts airing on June 20, 2020. Most of the romantic drama seems to revolve around the inmates and workers around and in a psychiatric ward. This is the type of drama I would like to see from Thailand, with characters who have mental illness (and yes, I realize most screaming nangrai’s and parents could qualify as such). They’re getting there, there was one lakorn I remember about Wai Sab Saraek Kad (2016) involving a female psychologist, but it’s not subbed unfortunately.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) Synopsis: The story of a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who lives on 1.8 million won (approximately $1,520) a month and a storybook writer suffering from an antisocial personality disorder. A man who denies love and a woman who doesn’t know love defy fate and fall in love, finding their souls and identities in the process. Moon Kang Tae is a community health worker at a psychiatric ward. Moon Kang Tae is a man who was blessed with everything including a great body, smarts, ability to sympathize with others, patience, ability to react quickly, stamina, and more. Meanwhile, Ko Moon Young is a popular writer of children’s literature, but she is extremely selfish, arrogant, and rude. (Source: Soompi koreandrama.org)
Kim Soo Hyun (You Who Came from the Stars) is a very popular star and this is his first drama since he completed his mandatory military service. Seo Ye Ji (Save Me) is the female lead and we also have director Park Shin Woo, who is known for his kdramas such as Encounter and Trap. This tvN drama should be available on Netflix English subbed.