First Impression/Recap: Trab Fah Mee Tawan EP01

So I’ve pretty much watched everything on my watching list (and more) and will be making a post about my reactions to those dramas soon. But I wanted to make a separate post on Trab Fah Mee Tawan, now known as My Forever Sunshine (2020) because it’s good. Really good. Production wise, directing, writing, acting, this is a grand slam. It’s the only lakorn I’ve watched so far this year that I’ve felt that way about. By the way, I have started posting on instagram as I watch, I might try twitter and/or facebook as well, but my instagram is here, so you can follow along as I watch.

Synopsis: The story about Paeng, a girl with a tragic life. After losing her father, she has to go live at Artit’s house. The only way for her to be able to stay at this house is to be with him. But no one expected that her approaching Artit nearly costs him his life. He ends up hating her to the bones and she is exiled far from home for four years until the day they come across each other again. One might think that time will lessen hate, but not for Artit. Not only he still hates her, but he also hates her even more than before. But in order to keep her final promise to Artit’s father, she must endure it! (Source: VIU)

I’ve watched the only episode out so far, and the airing schedule is really wacko.

I have a feeling this has to do with it being on Viu tv and Tencent, not to mention WeTv. So lots of places for fans to watch. You can watch this on Muse as well.

Our first episode starts with Artit, the pra’ek showing off his soccer skills at a match, then eating with his friends as he moons over the girl of the group, Ling. Next we see our nang’ek Paeng/Fahmai who is getting bullied by other girls, but Artit steps in and helps her. Paeng tries to hid her injuries from her dad, but he seems to know what’s up anyway. Then mom comes home and we get this great shot of a close, happy family in a group hug.

Paeng’s happy family

That happy family? Immediately, immediately undercut a few scenes from now. Paeng comes to eat and learns her mom isn’t there. And she goes off. She goes to a club with her maid and pretends to drink and poses with guys, all to get her mom’s attention. Artit is asked to go after her by her parent and does so, getting in a fight with some guys which lands them at the police station.

At school the next day, Paeng is about to skip school, but is stopped by Artit who tells her he knows what she is doing and asks her if it’s working? He tells her to try being good instead and she takes his words to heart, only to come home to an empty house and she eats all alone.

Meanwhile, we see Artit being greeted by the staff and his parents with warmth and sitting down to eat with them.

What are you doing playing around instead of working? Lah gag. As in this scene made me want to gag.

Later, he goes on a bike ride and passes his servant who’s playing and has the nerve to try to dictate to them how they should spend their FREE TIME and then plays soccer with them. Not sure of the purpose of the scene except to make him out to be a total prick. Writer? Could you elaborate?

That scene was completely typical and awful. But regardless, he redeems himself soon anyway. His father has been fooled by his new business partner and it looks like the family has lost their farm. This lands his father in the hospital. Artit stands up against the lawyer who comes to their farm with hired guns who came to their farm and then Paeng and her father shows up.

Turns out Paeng’s father and Artit’s father are old friends, and Paeng and Artit knew each other when Paeng was just four and Artit was? Not sure how old, at least 8 or 10 or something. Paeng and Artit promise friendship with each other at the same time we see Paeng’s father helps Artit’s family to keep their farm by loaning them money.

Artit and his friends – Love Rival, Comic Sidekick, Ling, Artit

We also see more of Artit’s friends and their connections, don’t really want to go into it, suffice to say both Artit and his friend have a rivalry going on for the only female member, Ling, of their group, and there’s the usual comic sidekick too.

Paeng and her mom mend their fences, for like two seconds, lol.

Paeng and her dad had gone to the farm after Paeng got upset learning her mom went on vacation with friends without telling her first and Paeng and her mom reunite and mend ways after her mom apologizes and gives Paeng one of the matching bracelets she bought.

This doesn’t last long of course, as her mom reneges on a dinner promise she made with Paeng and Paeng goes to find her. Paeng does find her mom after asking around, but when they get in an argument, Paeng accuses her mom of not caring about her and runs away. Artit is tasked with finding her and does so, finding she’s safe and sound, if not a bit hungry. She doesn’t want to go home though, and Artit agrees.

At end, Artit finds Paeng, whom he briefly feared jumped after seeing her backpack on railing.

My thoughts: This is good. It’s been one episode, things can change, but this lakorn really surprised me with the strength of its acting, writing and directing. I loved how we see this picture of a big happy family that Paeng desperately wants, and that is immediately undercut as we see Paeng’s desperation to keep her mother close and how she tries to get her family together (in one scene, she orchestrates an elaborate date for her parents, telling them she wants a sibling.)

Paeng eating alone.

I also loved the way the director (I’m assuming it was a directing choice) chooses to layer scenes together and ties them together. For example, the picture of Paeng sitting alone is cut by scenes of Artit with his family. Then we have Paeng and Artit promising to be friends while we see their parents SHOWING their deep friendship to each other. The directing reinforces the previous scenes, giving both more weight. That’s what good directors do, give more underlying meaning to scenes.

And can I just say how much I appreciate Kao Supassara’s performance as a 15 year confused and vulnerable teen? She nails it! The deep yearning in Paeng for a real family, the desperation she feels when she thinks that family is slipping away from her. The relationship between Paeng and her mom makes me uneasy. I can’t tell if its because of the acting (and I’m not talking about Kao) or that their relationship is supposed to make me anxious, because it’s so unstable and fraught (on Paeng’s side) at least with emotion.

I also appreciate Mark’s performance here as well. It’s not just that his character is much more likeable than in My Husband in Law, his caring scenes with his father, his brotherly advice to Paeng and how he looks after her feel very nature and realistic. Maybe this has something to do with the directing as well.

I was unsure based on the synopsis, which seems to suggest Paeng tries to get Artit by seducing him, that I wanted to watch this because, yuck. That’s more a nang’rai’s action then the nang’ek. But now I totally understand and get it. Of course Paeng would do ANYTHING, ANYTHING to have the warmth and love of a family forever. We’ve seen how loving Artit’s family is and I can imagine Paeng wanting to hold on to that by any means necessary. Definitely will be watching more. In terms of recapping, this will have back to back to back episodes, so I don’t know about more recaps, that would be alot to do in a timely fashion. But who knows? We’ll see.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay – Recap 1

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.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Synopsis:

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

“Yes, mother.”

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.

Our first view of Kang Tae’s face. We saw a back view of him on the bus and walking to the school, but the first view of his face is through Sang Tae’s perspective.

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.

Moon Young is often set apart from others in public.

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.

The first meeting. Or is it? Moon Young wonders if it is destiny.

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’s reading

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.

“Fake.”

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.

Moon Young and Juri

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.

The Boy Who Fed On Nightmares

In other words, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.

We see the little girl Go Eun, unable to sleep, looking at the autograph of her book, in which Moon Young wrote to the girl, “Never forget today.”

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.

My Take:

From the opening sequence.

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.

Another image of Kang Tae framed by the drink machine, looking a Moon Young’s poster.

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.

Fairy tale vomit.

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…

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

My Husband in Law – Recap 1

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?

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Synopsis:

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

Muey’s wedding outfit

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?

Flashback

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.

Before: Our beautiful couple.
After: A smirking Thien after a storm disrupts the wedding.

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.

My Take:

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.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

First Impression – Who Are You?

It’s no wonder we got a Thai remake of Who Are You: School 2015, since there are a number of components in it that reminds me of lakorns, the twins thing, and the amnesia definitely takes it into lakorn territory. There is also supposed to be a love triangle as well, though that, and the school bullying aspect as well as being set in high school are more like a Korean drama.

WHO ARE YOU (2020) started airing on GMM on May 2 and currently airs two days a week, Saturday and Sunday, you can watch it with English subs on Youtube.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Synopsis:

WHO ARE YOU (2020): After enduring vicious bullying, orphaned student, Mind, attempts to take her life in hopes of escaping her problems. Miraculously, she survives with the loss of all memory and wakes up with a new life as she takes on the identity of Meen. Mind and Meen couldn’t be more different, of course, besides the fact that they are identical twins. Living as Meen, Mind is granted the opportunity to meet Natee, a young swimming athlete who is Meen’s close friend, and Gunkan, a mischievous handsome boy at the school who later comes to help her recover her lost memories. But, as time passes, unveiling the truth causes her to feel more pain than she had ever experienced. (source: GMMTV)

Cast of Characters

I recently watched two episodes of the Thailand remake of the 2015 kdrama Who Are You: School 2015. You can actually watch both versions on YouTube with English subs, the original Korean drama and the Thailand remake. Also, you can look at the recaps of the Korean drama online at Dramabeans.

Mind being bullied.

There will be lots of spoilers here. In Episode 1, we are introduced to the characters and in particular the main character, of which there are two, twins Mind and Meen. Mind is an orphan who is the subject of much bullying by her vicious classmates. She’s very sweet, nice type who apparently can’t fight back. The one spot of joy in her life is the gifts she receives from a mysterious donor we later find out is Meen.

Then we get a glimpse of our male lead Natee or Na as he is swimming in a competition. He wins of course and we see him presenting the medal to Meen, who seems like she could care less about it and him. 

Instead, Meen is focused more on an ominous text she receives from someone named June, which says “You seemed to have been happy ever since I died.” Whoa. That’s not the only message either. Meen is going on a school trip and she’s distracted the whole time. She goes off by herself and it turns out she’s in the same town as her twin, and she seems to know about her twin, but Mind doesn’t seem to know about Meen. Meen goes to the bathroom and while she’s in a stall, she hears her twin come in, followed by the mean girls who beat her up, but Meen hesitates to do anything until she finally bangs on the bathroom stall and the bullies run off.

Next we see that Meen is missing, and no one seems to know where she went. Around the same time, Mind is facing a charge from the main bully Tida that she’s the one who was bullying Tida, not the other way around. Tida and her gang took pictures in the bathroom when Mind fought back a little and Tida takes it to her mom and the school. So the school forces Mind to resign. Mind goes back to her classroom where she was bullied some more, and we see her? in different clothes at the edge of a bridge, remembering all of the bullying, and she jumps off into the water. All is well as we see her or her twin? in a hospital bed and she’s fine except for a few bruises and a head injury.

Ep 2 is mostly about Meen? (probably it’s Mind) having amnesia and reuniting with her friends, Natee in particular is taken aback by this kinder, nicer Meen. Meen? also meets Tida in hospital, who’s about to lay down some more bullying on her, but is stopped by Meen’s mom. Later Meen? looks at different photos from her? youth, but notices there are no baby pictures, so Meen’s mom tells her they met when she was ten.

Meen? and her friends party thanks to rich girl Koykaew, who seems to have a particular dislike of Meen, although they used to be friends? At the end of the episode, Koykaew can’t pay for her friends when they party at her expense and it turns out she’s been stealing things from home. Koykaew says Meen? has been making her steal, and asks them to look in Meen’s locker. Which they do. And they find Koykaew’s mom’s diamond necklace. (By the way, we saw Koykaew place it in Meen’s locker previously in ep 1 I believe).

My take

WHO ARE YOU (2020) has a number of mysteries that interest me enough to continue watching, with some caveats.

I’m not particularly engaged by any of the characters and the whole weak twin, strong twin thing, that’s sooo like Raeng Ngao or Song Naree (1997). Mind seems weak as anything, while Meen isn’t particularly likable either, witness her treatment of Natee and how she hesitated to come to her sister’s aid. It’s obvious Meen knows a lot about what’s going on too, and that’s one of the things I’m interested in watching to find out. Where is Meen? What does she know and why? The trailer also makes me want to continue watching to find out.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

First Impression – Tawan Arb Dao

I’ve been working towards my April watching goal I listed here to watch more lakorns. I’ve been watching Japanese doramas mainly because they’re shorter and I’m finding my attention span is shot for the most part. But I have watched 3 episodes so far of Tawan Arb Dao (2020) that Thippy is subbing. Thank you Thippy! Here’s my thoughts on it.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

Tawan Arb Dao (2020) started airing on Channel 7 on March 26 and currently airs two days a week, Wednesday and Thursday.

synopsis:

Tawan Arb Dao (2020): Siwakorn disguises himself as Siwath, his twin brother in order to investigate his death. He tries to avoid sleeping with Chorprae who is Siwath’s lover and meets Daopradub, Chorprae’s daughter who was called out from abroad to help with the family’s company. (Source: MyDramaList)

Cast of Characters

Our main couple. Kem Hussawee who plays twins, Siwakorn, Siwath. Thisa Varitthisa plays Daopradub

In episode 1, we are introduced to the characters, with the main couple meeting in a battlezone. Our pra-ek Siwath is a reporter who happens to save the nang-ek from gangsters when he covers a story about gangs. They meet again in Thailand as Dao returns from school overseas, a very common trope.

Yui Chiranan is Chorprae – married to Daopradub’s adopted father and Daopradub’s aunt (and rival)

There’s an award ceremony going on for Chorprae that Dao interrupts and we can see there is no love lost between the two though they are aunt and niece. But Dao definitely loves her adopted Dad, who was married to Dao’s mom before her death. Dao hears of a rumor that Chorprae has a lover and starts investigating who it is around the company her dad owns.

There are other characters, most of them are servants of Dad, and we also have another relative of Dad who works at company, but these are the main characters for these episodes.

Meanwhile, we see the pra’ek has amnesia, but… not really. We learn this early on, Siwakorn got to Thailand in time to see his brother die and he pretends to be him, saying he was in accident and has amnesia as a result. He’s determined to find out the truth about his brother’s death and starts at the company EVERYONE in this lakorn seems to work at, lol.

In ep 3, there is a big welcome home party for Dao, which Siwath uses as an opportunity to spy more at the company his brother worked at. The nang’ek works there too now and of course she finds out Siwath is the rumored lover of Chor and sparks fly between the two. Siwakorn learns from Chor the real relationship between her and Siwath.

my take

Tawan Arb Dao is mildly entertaining, but nothing special. The characters follow the usual formula, with one exception, the main villain of the piece, or is she? Chorprae. Chorprae is easily the most complex character of the lakorn, she openly shows her disdain for her husband, but her acting avoids much of the standard nostrils flailing stereotypes of most ‘rai characters. Yui Chiranan endues her acting with enough vulnerability that makes me wonder who the the real villain is, her or her bratty niece Dao who always tries to show her up.

Apart from her, the most intriguing part of the lakorn is the mystery of Siwat’s death, who’s behind it, but there are also other things I want to know. Why is Dao’s dad in a wheelchair, what happened to him and Chor, and why is it poor people are often such caricatures?

Which leads me to my main critique. The writing is very pedestrian in most instances, and that was shown in cringe worthy detail in one scene. The nang’ek is sent by Chor to handle workers who are protesting and demanding a wage. What follows is a scene sooo awesome in its awfulness, its tone deafness and complete lack of empathy for the working poor that, well, I’m gonna be writing more about. What I want to say is way too long.

In conclusion, the mysteries in the story may drive you to watch further, but I’m doubtful whether I shall bother.

Credits: mydramalist.com, asianfuse.net, asianfuse.wiki

First Impression: Hua Jai Patapee

This week’s theme is all about less well-known lakorn elements and genres, so today I am going in search of something rare, a real diamond in the rough. Today, I seek …a good action scene. I decided to try my luck with Hua Jai Patapee subbed by neko and Nash👍. And…

I got nothing.

Episode 1 of Hua Jai Patapee (2015) turned out to have a lot of the same problems that plague action lakorns in general. Here we have the same style over substance, bad action sequences that don’t make sense, that are boring, or typical, and that don’t add anything to the drama or characters. Take one scene, for example, in which there is all these moves, six different bad guys against The Lone Ranger. When it comes down to the last bad guy, he fights hand-to-hand with one of the heroes, but as he’s losing, he pulls out a gun. I mean, really? It was so stupid. There is another scene where we see one of the heroes, Purin, do all sorts of fancy moves on a training course with paper targets, and he’s wearing sunglasses for no reason that I can fathom except to look cool.

And when you think about it, it’s even more disappointing because outside of their romantic comedies, some horror films, internationally Thailand’s action movies garner the most attention.

Chocolate by director Prachya Pinkaew

Basically,  Thailand needs to use their experts, people like Prachya Pinkaew, pay them some money, and have them work on action scenes in lakorns. I think you also need to have people who know how to film action sequences, and training. The way people in lakorns handle guns, their postures, all of it could be so easily improved, I don’t know why they don’t do it, I know they do some training, but it seems to vary. It’s not just Thailand lakorns of course, Asian dramas in general seem to really falter in action sequences. This has always been a pet peeve of mine as I’m a fan of action films.

Hua Jai Patapee (2015) synopsis: The story is about Forest Conservation. The main lead are special agents from the National Forest Ranger Department.

But let’s get back to the lakorn Hua Jai Patapee (2015). Episode 1 starts on an action scene of course in the forest. Por Tridsadee stars as Pasu, fending off a bunch of criminals with his team in a gunfight. We learn he is part of a special unit that deals with the forest and stopping those who use the forest for nefarious reasons, cutting down trees and so on. Pasu soon gains a partner, a martial arts expert named Purin (played by Mike Angelo).

Along with Purin, Pasu has a team and they try to figure out the identity of the mysterious Nai Yai, the leader of the group of tree cutters. They learn he will be at a party and so the two leads get to play dress up and spy. Along the way, they encounter a masked figure in black, who turns out to be a woman. Who is she and what part does she play in the criminal group?

They do find a clue, the lady in black turns out to have talked to a guest at the party, Khun David, but he is supposed to be one of the good guys, fighting for forest conservation. They confront him about it, but is he really Nai Yai?

I think Por is a solid actor, but Por is not really believable as an action hero, and Mike? Uh, no. I really think you need people who are actually trained and even better, are experts at whatever action scenes you’re doing (Jet Li and Jackie Chan come to mind). Several things did catch my interest about the first episode. Number one, I was surprised to see that one of the main girls is in the enemy’s camp, so questions started to swirl immediately, is it true, what will happen later, will main leads fall in love, that made it more interesting right from the start.

Is it love?

Another thing that caught my attention was the mention of dark powers by one character. I didn’t know this before, so is there going to be a fantasy element to the drama? If so, that might be interesting. Neko and Nash subbed this here.

In conclusion, my search for a good okay action scene, just one, continues…. Maybe Maturot Lohgan?

First Impression: My Love From Another Star

My first impression of the new remake of a kdrama, My Love From Another Star. It comes out every Monday and Tuesday, raws are on Channel 3 youtube channel and it’s being subbed by Muse now. I just watched the 1st episode. What did I think?

The mothership

So we start off with a quick overview of when our hero comes to Earth with a rather laughable computer generated shots of a ship. Immediately, he saves a girl called Bua from falling over a cliff in her runaway carriage, with his freezing time skills and and then we see him in modern-day time, where he talks about how he’s been here for 333 years and how his skills and senses are superior to humans. In 3 months, he will finally have a chance to go back to his home, his star.  (I am totally getting Spock-like flashbacks from Nadech’s styling and demeanor. )

Then we have our heroine, Falada, a famous actress, who is also being heavily criticized as ignorant and stupid for her lack of knowledge of the Thai language. Our heroine is also moving into a new apartment today, right next door to our hero Professor Archira. Later on, she starts taking classes to combat the criticism she’s been receiving and guess who is her teacher? Professor Archira, that’s who.

Falada, our plucky heroine

We meet lots of the characters in the 1st episode, Falada’s mom, her friends, staff, rivals in acting, her boyfriend? Mork, and so on, while we also meet Archira’s one friend, an older man named Arun who knows he’s long lived. We also get flashbacks to the past, as Archira talks about wanting to see Bua again. She died 300 years ago, but 12 years ago, he saved someone from being ran over and she looked exactly like Bua. Meanwhile, our heroine Falada also wants to meet someone, whom she never forgot, who saved her life 12 years again. No surprise who that is, right?

Overall, I enjoyed the first episode. I think Matt is perfect for the role, but I have to see more of Nadech to see if he’s right for this. Not sure either of how much chemistry between the two, but I didn’t think the original stars had that much chemistry either. I don’t see any big changes here, this looks like it’s very similar to the original drama. While the computer generated parts aren’t impressive, the production seems to have placed a lot of effort elsewhere to get the look right. Some of the scene transitions seemed abrupt, but I liked it and want to see more.

Credits: mydramalist.com, channel3thailand.com,startrek.com