What’s up in the blogsphere? Drama News and Recs

So I’m not really looking forwards to any drama coming out this week (thank goodness because there are already too many lakorns out there I want to watch), so instead I wanted to point out some posts I’ve seen that are interesting to us drama lovers.

I’m going to be busy this week and possibly next week finishing up projects and updates to my other blog so unfortunately won’t be getting to blog about the newly released lakorns until later on. Hopefully, this will give you a good idea on where to go to find more posts on lakorns and more reviews.

Drama News

My Husband in Law aired in both China and Thailand at the same time.
  • Because of the popularity of Asian content as demonstrated in this article, Netflix is pouring even more money and resources into making Asian content.
  • A lot of that will be South Korean of course, but lakorns in particular are gaining in popularity in Asia (see here and here – not in English), and this means more money will go into making them, a good thing if you ask me that should increase the production costs of lakorns, but hopefully also reward good writing, directing and so on.
  • Blobofcolour had a post about the rising popularity of lakorns in Singapore here.
  • Now sites like Viu.com and Dimsum.my have lakorns that are English subbed. It’s like we have viki back, but unfortunately only certain Asian countries can access the sites.

Drama Reviews, Recaps and Recommendations

  • Lovefia has been on a roll recently, taking a look at lakorns like Talay Luang, Mia Jum Pen, and Dao Kon La Duang, as well as doing recaps of a drama on my to watch list, Duangjai Nai Montra.
  • You can also catch Lovefia on twitter.
  • I love it when fansubbers do reviews of the lakorns they watched subbed, so check out Thippy‘s 2020 Lakorn Recap and Reviews. She did a rant on Rahut Rissaya 2020, which I sorta agree about, but I also liked it more than she did. And I still have to finish the last 3 episodes (I heard disappointing things about them so I’m not excited.😟)
  • Want to find more recommendations on 2020 dramas to watch, Chinese dramas in particular? I thought this post by mz4jun was really well made.
  • Lakorn Galaxy recently did a Best Lakorns of 2020 list here.

And that’s it for this post. Do you know of any bloggers I’ve missed? What are you favorite go to blogs?

2020 in Lakorns: Drama! Reviews

Lots of dramas were English subbed in 2020, so many I can’t really talk about all of them. So I decided to focus on the lakorns I’ve actually watched at least half of and give some mini reviews so you can decide whether you want to watch or not. And there weren’t a lot of dramatic lakorns that I felt should be English subbed that wasn’t except perhaps the Thai remake of Japanese dorama Mother (2020), so I won’t have a part two this time where I talk about the dramas I wished were subbed.

This year, I’ve already done 2020 comedy lakorns part 1, part 2, historical lakorns and action lakorns. Last year, I put all the 2019 English subbed lakorns in part 1 and if they were not subbed, but sounded interesting, or different and should be subbed, they were part 2. So you can check out these posts to see what you may have missed out on in 2019. So 2019 action lakorns part 1 here, part 2 here, 2019 comedy lakorns part 1 here, part 2 here, 2019 drama lakorns (slap n kiss included) part 1 here, part 2 here. 2019 historical lakorns here.

ENGLISH SUBBED

Drama can be a very broad category covering everything from melodramas, more even keeled, but non comic lakorns, to slap and kiss lakorns. I decided to narrow this to lakorns that don’t fall into other categories, so if it’s a horror lakorn or historical lakorn, I’m not covering it here. I did decide to include slap and kiss lakorns because I’m not making a separate post about them.

My Forever Sunshine (2020) – 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)
(Source: MyDramaList)

Reason it’s interesting? My Forever Sunshine (2020) started off on a really intense note, with our main heroine losing her parents and practically witnessing their deaths at the age of 16. She proceeds to really self-destruct and then we have a time skip of years before we meet her again and we land in a farm comedy. Literally. I was expecting this intense, psychological study of a girl in crisis that would really have revolutionize lakorns forever and instead I got a farm comedy. We stay in that farm comedy mode for most of the drama, only near the last episodes is the trauma of the first few episodes even addressed. I felt this was such a lost opportunity, but on the other hand, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the comedy part or how the romance slowly develops. And why can’t a drama choose to focus on someone who’s healthy and whole rather than broken by their traumatic past? Still, it was disappointing in all. Subbed by Muse.

Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020) – Rosita gets into a car accident and suddenly gets a talent where she sees the future when she touches a rose. She becomes a famous fortune teller. One day, she makes a prediction in public to reporters that Theeruth, a famous actor, will make a woman pregnant and have a secret child. That prediction gets Theeruth into trouble and their relationship becomes antagonistic from that day. A few years later, there is a charity event and the host invites Theeruth and four celebrities as special guests, and also invites Rosita to tell their fortunes. Five celebrities choose different roses and give them to her to read. Once Rosita touches those roses, she sees sweet scenes of Theeruth and herself hugging, kissing and loving each other very much. She is so shocked. Her reaction is so strange and the five celebrities are very curious about what she saw. Rosita does not tell anyone and claims that she saw nothing. But all the guests do not believe her. After that day, something strange happens to her. She is attacked by someone and the suspect is one of the five celebrities whose fortunes she had read. The biggest suspect is Theeruth who had always been her opponent. But one day, he coincidentally saves her from the criminal and also offers to let her live with him as it is the safest place for her since everyone thinks that they are opponents. Their relationship improves little by little from that day through many dangerous situations to find the real criminal who wants to kill Rosita. (Source: James Ji Fansub)

Reason it’s interesting? Overall a solid drama, Payakorn Sorn Ruk (2020) featured one of the top themes in 2020 lakorns where the main character has some sort of special powers, be it ESP or some other type of power. This drama also had one of the best male leads in any drama, he was very sweet, protective and he was always watching out for the heroine. James Jiyaru did an excellent job acting as Theeruth. I didn’t feel the same enthusiasm for a heroine (or her hairstyles, which distracted me greatly as they seemed to change multiple times in the same episode.) but she was okay too. This was a mystery/thriller as someone kept attacking the nang’ek and you had to figure whodunit from a range of suspects, and while the main villains weren’t too surprising, I enjoyed the mystery and learning more about what was behind the attacks. Subbed by Muse.

Mia Archeep (2020) – The Plan is a business that turns women into perfect ladies for a man, which is managed by Mr. Robert. He calls these women the “Ideal Wife”. Chollada is from a middle-class family who became a perfect and educated lady by The Plan. She was considered to be a great product from the company. Mr. Robert thinks she’s perfect for Kasidit and tries to invite him for this service many times. Kasidit starts to think of this as a fun game, so he accepts it and meets Chollada. It’s no longer a game for him when he falls in love with her, but he doesn’t know if she truly likes him or if it’s a set up by The Plan.

Reason it’s interesting? Solid lakorn overall, that played up some clichés, had loving family relationships. Unlike some lakorns, this lakorn felt much more grounded in the present, with the female lead Chollada having a more modern relationship with the male lead played by Mai Warit. There is some angst here because of the premise and also people who are trying to break up their relationship, but I felt this was a surprisingly well made lakorn and the main couple had lots of chemistry. Subbed by Neko.

So Wayree (2020) – Two hotel moguls, once family friends since their grandparents’ generation, are now sworn enemies, and are competing with each other to become the top in the industry. Parin never thought that he would be part of the hatred. Although his father is the son in law of Sirimantra, his mom was only a mistress who was abandoned in America. Growing up, he never knew what having a father was like. Paramita is the only heiress of the famous Emporium real estate mogul. Before going overseas to further her studies, something horrible happened to her. Four years later, she came back with a set of twins but she told everyone that they were her cousins, adopted by her aunt. She then meets the man who caused her misery after many years and decides to willingly help her father into the warring game after finding out that he was the son of her father’s rival. Parin and Paramita, standing on opposite sides of the line as sworn enemies
(Source: asianfuse.net)

Reason it’s interesting? This was one of the most popular and talked about dramas of 2020. I watched about half of it before I couldn’t take it any more. There is a lot of drama here and this is a slap and kiss drama featuring a rape. I was there for the female empowerment, the heroine getting revenge on her abuser, but I just couldn’t stand how weak the heroine became as she fell in love? And the fall in love part? I didn’t see that. How, when, where did she fall ln love? I wanted to see them reunite, but not without major groveling on hero’s part and actions that showed he was sincere. I also wanted heroine to be more fierce and really make him work for his redemption. Kids are cute though. This lakorn really could have used some rewriting and more seasoned actors. Subbed by Neko and Muse.

Prom Pissawat (2020) – This is the story of God bringing two unlikely people from different parts of the world together. Plapol, a half Korean-half Thai man who grew up in Korea his whole life but chose to escape to Thailand sees his new step-mother as just another gold digger after his dad’s wealth. He pretty much thinks that of all women because his mother disappeared from his life since divorcing his dad when he was young. With hatred for his step-mother, Plapol decided to go to Thailand to find his mother. While in Thailand, Plapol goes to a bar and meets a young woman named Pantawan, a sexy singer who’s popular among the men there. He views her in the same light as the other women he has come across in his life. However, Pantawan is not that type of woman and doesn’t take insult from anyone especially from a misogynistic man like him. The two always get in a fight but eventually they came to an understanding and fell in love. But after love blossomed, all is not rosy for Plapol and Pantawan because of one truth that gets revealed: Pantawan’s mother is Plapol’s new step-mother. (Source: NinjaKKN) ~~ Adapted from a novel of the same title by author Tepita

Reason it’s interesting? This was another popular drama and for many of the same reasons that the previous drama was popular. Again the very angsty story, lots of drama and conflict. Here we also had a tale of families divided and reunited. But overall, the storyline was pretty cliché and mediocre. I didn’t really feel the romance, or the acting or anything really took it to another level which made me want to continue watching the last part of it. I may still finish it, I don’t know, but it’s no priority. Subbed by Muse and Neko.

Rahut Rissaya (2020) When the heiress of a billionaire family lost everything including her parents who got murdered…lost all the properties to her aunt and her daughter. Her revenge starts with a businessman who is a fiancé of her aunt’s daughter, as he becomes a chess piece in her game. She uses a confidential document that shows his father’s bad deed as a way to force/pressure him. But their closeness turns to love. Before she starts to see the value in his love and to learn how to forgive, everything is almost too late. (Source: Choi’s_(MY) at MyDramaList)

Reason it’s interesting? A remake of a 2007 titular lakorn, this lakorn seemed more like a complete reimaging of the 2007 version rather than a remake. Just a lot of scenes changed and/or deleted and new scenes added. Characters were fleshed out, or changed and so on. I liked the idea of the changes more than the execution because often times the new dialogue/scenes wasn’t very compelling. Still, good chemistry between the couple and Bank Artit really gives a stand out performance here as Siwa, who has to go through seeing his family torn apart and yet also have a new love bloom. This is even darker than the previous 2007 version, with more attempted murders/murders, but there are some comic moments here to lighten things up. Subbed by Thippy.

Many More English Subbed Lakorns

There were a lot of lakorns subbed this year, in part thanks to streaming platforms like Viu, Dimsum, which isn’t accessible from the US. So there were a lot of lakorns I didn’t watch but still wanted to include in case you’re interested.

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay – Recap 2

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay (2020) continues to be a dark fairy tale sprung to light. And like with any Grimm fairy tale, we begin to see the bits and pieces of a dark past filled with blood and violence that brought this fairy tale to life. You can find this drama English subbed at Netflix.

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 2 Recap

Episode 2 starts right where episode 1 left off, Kang Tae and Moon Young are discussing why he’s here and he says her she reminds him of someone who is messed up. Then we see a flashback of a boy in an icy pond drowning. Meanwhile, a girl stands nearby and picks petals from a flower, asking should I help him or not?

A reference to the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk?

Back to the present, where they talk about bad memories. Kang Tae then tells her to tell the manager not to call again, but the manager Lee Sang In has already arrived, loaded with boxes filled with money. Moon Young learns that Kang Tae wanted her autograph and gives him it, while the manager tries to give Kang Tae the money, but he refuses the money and leaves. Moon Young watches as he leaves and says ‘he’s beautiful’ and ‘I want him’. And then we have this flight of fantasy as we see this gigantic version of our heroine trying to grab him.

When Kang Tae looks at the autographed book, he finds that she has invited them to go to her new book’s launch party and he enlists his friend Jae Soo to take his brother instead. Jae Soo has a guest, an old friend Joo Ri whom he’s excited to see and they go drinking at his place where Joo Ri asks him about Kang Tae. Meanwhile, Sang Tae is very excited to go to launch party, looking at his clothes and figuring out what to wear, while his brother is more concerned with wrapping things up so they can move. And Moon Young? She’s in the middle of a meeting at her company, queening it up as she shoots down any and all queries, she’s more interested in queries about Kang Tae, which she gets Jin Joo, the assistant to Sang In, to look for info on him.

Joo Ri meets with Kang Tae, whom it’s obvious she has a thing for as she tries to scoot closer to him on the bench, and he scoots away. She tells him that her hospital, the OK Psychiatric Hospital, is looking for a caregiver. Joo Ri tells him it’s in their hometown and there is a flashback.

Flashback: There is a stream of blood and a crime scene in a tunnel. A younger Kang Tae is seen crying over a dead body as the other brother (Sang Tae?) keep talking about a butterfly. Younger Kang Tae tries to get more details out of his brother, but Sang Tae just says that the butterfly said it will kill him if he said anything. When Kang Tae hears people arranging to split them up, he tells Sang Tae to leave and they hit the road.

Joo Ri and Kang Tae at the bus

Meanwhile back in the present, Kang Tae goes to see Joo Ri off on the bus. She offers him a place to stay if he comes with her and her mom if he took the job. Kang Tae thanks her but says he won’t go. As she leaves on the bus, Joo Ri remembered something she had previously talked about with Jae Soo about how Kang Tae never builds deep relationships because he’ll just leave. She wondered why he leaves, but Jae Soo just says it’s because of that butterfly.

Later, Kang Tae looks up jobs and then looks at Ok Psychiatric Hospital where he sees an article saying that you have to face your traumas to overcome them. The next day, he calls his friend Jae Soo, but he doesn’t answer because he’s out cold, so Kang Tae has to take his brother to the launch party and stuff. There’s this wonderful little sequence of pure joy as Sang Tae walks to the launch party with his party, seeing these balloons and birds and animated sequences in a full blown musical number.

At the launch party, it’s obvious that Moon Young is looking for them. When they arrive, Kang Tae gets a call and leaves to take it, making sure his brother is in line. The CEO Sang In is having a conversation with a critic of Moon Young. Then Sang Tae sees someone wearing a dinosaur costume and he’s absolutely entranced by it and he goes and starts to point out details about dinosaurs to the kid in the costume. He’s not doing anything really, but the dad pushes him and makes a scene. When the dad touches him, Sang Tae starts screaming and his brother runs back from the call to calm down. And we see the heroine making a calculation, to help or not? She decides in his favor, and joins the group, says that you need to apologize to the father who pushed Sang Tae. She tells him he’s ruining her book’s launch party and basically turns the table on him, not accepting his excuses. The mom steps in to protect her husband, calling the brother a lunatic harassing her son, but the heroine just ask her are you a psychiatrist? She then calls her Crazy B*tch and everyone is shocked. Moon Young goes on to explain that lady was talking about random stuff so she thought she was a lunatic.

Moon Young faces down his critic on the stairs she pushes him down.

Next we see that Sang Tae has isolated himself and is trying to calm himself down. Kang Tae and Moon Young are waiting for him, and she’s getting impatient. They’re interrupted by her critic who is carrying bundles of money thanks to Moon Young’s CEO Sang In and he starts messing with her calling her sexy and so on. He also talks about her mother, a famous writer, who passed away somehow and her father went crazy after that and got locked up.

Moon Young goes after the critic, as Kang Tae tries to stop her. The critic threatens her and he tells her he can destroy her career with his pen. He tells her he’s tired of just receiving the money, and he would rather she humor him a little. She takes his pen and jabs at him and he totters back. She pushes him down the steps with a finger as he’s tottering on the edge and then we see an ambulance coming to take him away.

Kang Tae comes over to her and shows her a technique to help her calm down, a technique called the butterfly hug method. This is the same thing that Sang Tae was doing to himself, but she turns in his arms as she moves in close as if for a kiss. Sang Tae has come out of the closet, and Kang Tae turns to go back to him. But Moon Young is not finished with him, she has an offer for the hero and tells him that he could keep her in check, preventing her further from going out of control and that she’ll pay him a lot. He tells her that unlike his patients, drugs and injections can’t help her and so it’s just best to avoid her. Moon Young tells him he’s not avoiding her, he’s running away and we see a flashback to their younger selves where Kang Tae runs away and Moon Young calls him a coward.

The brothers ride home on the bus, and it looks like someone has a surprise for his brother as Kang Tae pulls out the dinosaur encyclopedia for Sang Tae to cheer him up. Ahhhh.

Kang Tae realizes he’s been running because HE wanted to.

At their stop, he tries to take the book from him, but Sang Tae doesn’t want to give it back and they’re interrupted by his friend Jae Soo. Kang Tae and Jae Soo have a talk, Kang Tae telling him that he needs to stop following them and get a life. Kang Tae tells him that he thought he was on the run because of his brother. But he realized that maybe he was just running away because he wanted to because life was just too hard and the easiest thing is to run away. Later, Kang Tae approaches the subject of them going back to their hometown as they are packing, but much to his surprise, his brother Sang Tae is all for it, talking about the great food they have.

The phones are off the hook and everyone is talking about the scandal that Moon Young created. We see the CEO and his team watching the news as even her past scandals are dragged up. The book burning begins and there are new calls to censor her new book, saying that it is too cruel for kids. Meanwhile Moon Young hits the road, she just got back the report from Jin Joo so she’s on her way to Kang Tae’s or their hometown.

Red shoes = obsession, excitement, invigorated.

Jin Joo also tells Sang In and he calls Moon Young, who asks him if he knows the story of the red shoes. She goes on about the story and says she is on her way to meet her pair of red shoes, Kang Tae. And so they meet again at the Ok Psychiatric Hospital, where we see Kang Tae at his new job.

My Take:

Sang Tae’s musical number

I love some of the movie musicals of the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. (If you haven’t watched some Fred Astaire or Jane Powell you’re missing out). The musical number here with Sang Tae and balloons and dancing very much reminded me of them. And it’s somewhat surprising that in the same episode we can also learn about the death of their mother. Not to mention Moon Young’s tragic life, with her mother dead (killed?) and her father at a psychiatric hospital. Kudos to Director Park Shin Woo and the writer Jo Yong for making it work.

One of the most important moments here was when Kang Tae realized he was running away not because of his brother, but because it was easy to do. After he started running off with his brother after his mother’s death, perhaps it was just easier to move then deal with whatever problems occurred and it became a habit. But when he met Moon Young again, he woke up. Sleeping Beauty perhaps?

And Moon Young, too, has been newly invigorated, newly awakened. She probably spent her years toying and playing with her food (aka the people around her) and Kang Tae was always the good brother, the one who took care of his brother, but lead a lonely life by his side.

In fairy tales, characters have to be tested and tried before they are found worthy and deserving. Cinderella’s whole life at the hands of her stepmother was a test, Hansel and Gretel had to face a witch and Jack a giant. This isn’t just a facet of fairy tales of course, a lot of stories do this, but how many lakorns have you watched which are basically Cinderella tales with the poor, but good nang’ek has to deal with being treated like crap before she gets her hea (happily ever after) ending? So this makes me wonder, will there be a happy ever after? I think the answer is probably yes, but we’ll keep our fingers 🤞🏽.

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

Fairy tale genre

I wasn’t sure what to call this post, as I’m including a little bit of everything here, from fairy tale lakorns to remakes and so on. So if you want to see what’s out there, take a look at this list! Not a complete list by any means, this includes lakorns that are English subbed only. Want to know where to watch these lakorns? Look at my complete lakorn list here or check youtube for GMM lakorns.

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tales and more classic stories – most lakorns could be said to have a Cinderella (Cin) story, but these ones really fit the story. Also includes classic stories like Romeo and Juliet (RJ) – Families who hate each other, their kids fall in love, starcrossed lovers.

Cinderella Rong Tao Tae (2013), Duang Jai Akkanee
(RJ), Mon Ruk Kao Tom Mud/Kao Tom Mud Love Story (RJ), Khu Kam/Koo Gum (RJ), Mia Jum Pen/The Necessary Wife (Cin), Payakka (2018) (Beauty and the Beast), Roy Marn (RJ), Sanae Rak Nang Cin (2018) (Cin), Sao Noi (The Little Mermaid)

GHOST👻/HORROR😱

Buang (2012)

Blood & Treasures or Pitsawad/Pitsawat, Bpoop Phaeh SaniwaatBuang (2012), Buang Athithan (2016)Bangkok Naruemit (2018), Jao Ban Jao Ruen, Klin Kasalong, Plerng Prang Tian (2019, Pom Arthun, Roy MaiSarp Phusa (2009), Wiang Roy Dao ~ Home Of A Hundred Stars

Lakorn Remakes

Lakorn Remakes – This list focuses on lakorn remakes of other lakorns that are all English subbed. If I was to write down all the remakes Thailand does of its own lakorns, that would be at least 50% and more of all lakorns out there. So I’m only focusing here on lakorns and their remakes that have been English subbed.

Dung Duang Haruetai 1996, Dung Duang Haruetai (2007), Dung Duang Haruetai 2020, Hua Jai Sila 2019, Khing Kor Rar Khar Kor Rang (2006), Khing Kor Rar Khar Kor Rang (2019), Leh Ratree (2004), Leh Ratree 2015, Massaya (2000), Massaya 2017, Piang Chai Khon Nee Mai Chai Poo Wised (2016) remake of Samee Ngern Phon, Neung Nai Suang 2005, Neung Nai Suang 2015 Ngao Asoke (1999), Ngao Asoke (2008), Ngao Asoke (2016), Roy Leh Sanae Rai (2002), Roy Leh Sanae Rai 2015, Tae Pang Korn (2005), Tae Pang Korn (2017), Ubatruk Karmkobfah (2008) remake Love Beyond Frontier (2019)

Remakes of foreign dramas

City of Light: The O.C. Thailand (2016), Endless Love, Full House, Kiss Me, A Love to Kill, Mia 2018, My Girl, My Love From Another Star, Oh My Ghost, Princess Hours, Rak Ni Chuaniran, Secret Garden, Sorry, I Love You, Tunnel, Turn Left Turn Right, Voice, You’re My Destiny

Royalty

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Royalty – Chaloey Sak, The Crown Princess based on Manee Yard Fah Suparburoot Jorm Jon: Duang Jai Kabot (2019), Dung Duang Haruetai 1996, Dung Duang Haruetai (2007), Dung Duang Haruetai 2020, Fah Jarod Sai, Khun Chai RachanonLah Ruk Sut Kob FahManee Yard Fah, Mongkut Saeng JunPlerng Naree (2016), Princess Hours, SilamaneeTae Pang Korn (2005), Tae Pang Korn (2017), Tam Hua Jai Pai Sood LahTan Chai Nai Sai Mok, Tard Rak, Thara Himalai (2010), Wan Nee Tee Ror Khoi, Yark Yood Tawan Wai Tee Plai Fah

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

TOP THREE: Pong Nawat

Another top three featuring favorite actors, I already did one on Tik and Andrew. I’ll get to the ladies as well, don’t worry. The top three this week will focus on one actor. Instead of focusing on a certain genre like remakes, or genres, today’s top three will focus on one actor: Pong Nawat.

1. Blood & Treasures (2016)Noon Woranuch as Ubon is a force to be reckoned with in this lakorn, but Pong Nawat holds his own as Akkanee very well and makes his character more sympathetic and realistic then you might believe possible.

Blood & Treasures (2016) synopsis: Present Life: Akkanee is an archaeologist who loves antique so much. He already has a lover who is Thipapa, but they are not yet married because it seems like he is waiting for someone. That’s when Sarochinee came into his life. She is a beautiful and mysterious woman. She is a millionaires who also loves antique from the Ayutthaya period. Most importantly, she has a piece of Siraporn, which Akkanee is researching. When Sarochinee appeared, she caused fear in many people around her. Nobody can answer why unnatural deaths occur with people around her. Everybody whoever breaks a promise has to die. Nobody knows why, but everybody feels that Sarochinee is somehow involved. Sarochinee’s arrival brings back the past of Ubon, a woman from Ayutthaya. Karma starts to circle again, until everybody reincarnates, and meets together in this present lifetime. This is just the beginning.

Past Life: Akkanee is a soldier in Ayutthaya’s ending period. He killed Ubon, who is his wife. He sacrificed her to protect the nation’s treasure. Ubon was very angry at Akkanee. Because of his actions, she was cursed for centuries and was not able to reincarnate. The Heavens pitied her and allowed her to find a successor that will take her place. If Ubon can’t find a successor, she won’t be able to reincarnate again and has to remain a protector of the treasure for eternity. For this reason, Ubon came back as Sarochinee. She come to take Akkanee’s life as her next successor. (Source: asianfuse.net)

Source: mydramalist

2. Tawun Thud Burapah (2015) – I haven’t watched it yet, but this is one of those highly rated lakorns that are on my list. Bromance, action, thriller, crime, romance, this looks to have a little bit of everything. This teaser is pretty intense.

Tawun Thud Burapah (2015) synopsis: Burapa and Tawan are brothers and the sons of a well-known cop. They are very close as brothers. Burapa is into boxing, while Tawan wants to follow in their father’s footsteps to become a cop. One day, they hear a gun shot and go to see what is going on. This way, they witness a murder and when the time comes to point the finger at the killer, Tawan is not hesitant to do the right thing. Burapa knows that the bad guys will not leave their family alone and he begs Tawan not to be a witness. This is how the conflict begins

Source: mydramalist.com

3. Dum Kum. A slightly more recent lakorn of Andrew’s, this lakorn features Aff Taksaorn as Wanida. This is a period lakorn set in the 1940s. I thought this was a light romantic drama that was sweet. It has a marriage of convenience and a cute main couple. Watch it streaming here.

Dum Kum (2009) synopsis: Not wanting to marry Tuthiya, a man who looks down on country folks, Dum paints her body black and pretends to be an uncultured woman to make Tuthiya despise her and break off their arranged marriage. Sure enough, he does. (Source: Viki)

Source: mydramalist

What are your top 3?

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

Historical genre

I took a look at 2019 historical lakorns here. Now here’s an updated look at the historical genre. I included the many lakorns that have a past and present life, as well as time travel lakorns, ghost/horror lakorns and so on. So if you want to see what’s out there, take a look at this list! This is not a complete list by any means, this includes lakorns that are English subbed only.

GHOST👻/HORROR😱

Blood & Treasures or Pitsawad/Pitsawat, Bpee Kaew Nang Hong (2018), Bpoop Phaeh SaniwaatBuang (2012), Buang Athithan (2016)Bangkok Naruemit (2018), Dead Time Stories, Devil Lover/Ploer Jai Hai Nai Pbeesard, A Gift to the People You Hate, Jao Ban Jao Ruen, Jan Euy Jan Jao, Kaen Sanaeha, Kao Waan Hai Noo Pen Sai Lub (2019), Klin Kasalong, Nang Barb, Nang Khaen (2017), Ngao, Oh My Ghost, Pisard Hansa, Plerng Prang Tian (2019, Pom Arthun, Qi Pao, Raak Boon, Raak Boon 2 (2014), Reun Phayom (2017), Roy MaiSarp Phusa (2009), Sleepless Society: Nyctophobia, ThirTEEN Terrors, Wan Sawart, Wiang Roy Dao ~ Home Of A Hundred Stars, Yai Kanlaya

HISTORICAL LAKORNS

Atitha, Bangkok Naruemit, Blood & Treasures, Botan Gleep Sudtai, Bpoop Phaeh Saniwaat, Buang Athithan (2016), Buang Banjathorn 2017, Chart Suer Pun Mungkorn (2018), Ching Chang, Chumpae (2019), Dung Duang Haruetai, Jao Ban Jao Ruen,  Ka BadinKaen SanaehaKehas See Dang, Khu Kam/Koo Gum (2013), Khun Seuk, Klin Kasalong, Krong Karm, Luerd Ruk Toranong (2016), Mafia Luerd Mungkorn Series, Malai Sarm Chai, Massaya (2000), Massaya, Meuh Dok Rak Ban/When Rak Blooms, Mongkut Saeng Jun, Nakee, Naree Rissaya (2016), Ngao Asoke (1999), Ngao Asoke 2008, Ngao Asoke 2016, Neung Nai Suang 2005, Neung Nai Suang 2015, Nueng Dao Fah Diew, Padiwaradda ~ Beloved Loyal Wife, Plerng Chimplee ~ Flame of Chimplee, Plerng Prang Tian (2019), Prissana, Rak Nakara, Roy Fun Tawan Duerd, Roy Mai, Roy Ruk Hak Liam Tawan (2014), Sai Lohit (2018), Sa Kao Duen, Sao Noi 2012, Sapai Jao ~ Royal Daughter-In-Law, Sarp Phusa (2009), Sataya Tis Tarn (2019), SilamaneeSroy Saeng Jan, Sud Sai Pan, Suparburoot Jutathep Series (), Tae Pang Korn 2017, Tard Rak, Tawipob, Thong Ake Mor Yah Tah Chaloang, Wanalee, Wanida, Wan Sawart (2015), Wiang Roy Dao ~ Home Of A Hundred Stars

If You Liked Bpoop Phaeh Saniwaat

Buang (2012)

Buang (2012) – not that similar, but does feature a vengeful ghost, black magic and past and present.

Buang Banjathorn 2017 – Nang’ek travels to past through magic bed, different time period and not focused on politics as much.

Karm Wayla Tharm Ha Ruk – man travels to the future, instead of past.

Tawipob/Tawee Pope – like BPS, nang’ek travels back to past and falls in love.

Wan Sawart (2015) – twins like BPS, but no time traveling, but talks about past life.

PAST LIVES/REINCARNATION

Buang (2012), Jao Ban Jao RuenBlood & Treasures/Pitsawat, Klin Kasalong, Plerng Prang Tian (2019), Roy Mai, Sataya Tis Tarn (2019), Sroy Saeng Jan (2007), Tae Pang Korn 2017, Wan Sawart (2015)

🧡RECOMMENDATIONS🧡

Bpoop Phaeh Saniwaat

Bpoop Phaeh Saniwaat, Blood & Treasures or Pitsawad/Pitsawat, Khu Kam/Koo Gum (2013), Mafia Luerd Mungkorn Series, MassayaNueng Dao Fah Diew (2018), Neung Nai Suang 2005, Neung Nai Suang (2015), Ngao Asoke (1999), Padiwaradda ~ Beloved Loyal Wife, PrissanaSao Noi 2012, Sud Sai Pan, Suparburoot Jutathep Series, Wanida

TIME TRAVEL🕘

Bpoop Phaeh SaniwaatBuang Banjathorn 2017, Karm Wayla Tharm Ha Ruk, Likit Haeng Jan, Roy Mai, Tae Pang Korn (2005), Tae Pang Korn 2017, Tawipob, Tunnel, Wan Sawart (2015)

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

TOP THREE

There are a number of popular Thailand words that are used in lakorn titles over and over again. How many titles do u know with ‘Ruk’ (which means love) in it? Well, another word I often look for in lakorn titles is ‘Jao Sao’, which means ‘bride’. Today we look at the top 3 lakorns with ‘Jao Sao’ in them. And yes, we are continuing our week’s theme of marriage. Why? Because I could. And to help others who love this genre as well find titles to watch.

1. Jao Sao Jum Yorm– Maysarin is a famous socialite who’s engaged to Sarut, but he left her on the day of the wedding. Kadethaen is a 30 year-old real estate businessman who’s waiting for Pinmanee, his bride at the reception of a luxury hotel, but he saw her escape the wedding with another man. Kade walked out to a party at the beach, where he met May, who was still in her wedding dress drinking alone. They started drinking together and people thought they were a couple, so they went along with it and he jokingly proposed to her. Afterwards, they went back to the hotel and spent the night together. In the morning, May regretted what happened and wants to forget about Kade, but he’s not going to give up on her. (Source: MyDramaList)

2. Jao Sao Chang Yon – Meena is a stubborn girl and a talented auto mechanic. Phuphat is the heir of a company engaged in the production of auto parts. His father arranges a marriage between Phuphat and Meena, in hopes she will be able to heal his heart that was hurt in the past and return his interest in life. Everything seems to be going well, but suddenly his ex returns and Phuphat’s younger brother begins to show interest in Meena. (Source: MyDramaList)

3. Jao Sao Ban Rai (2006). After her parent’s death,Pimpika (Namfon P) goes to live with her grandfather and her brother (Ravy) in the countryside and met Saran (Por T), the lord of this place.Unfortunately, her grand father died and Ravy sold her to a rich man Tynamay who wants to own her. Credit to Asianfuse.net.

Other English subbed lakorns starting with Jao Sao: 1. Jao Sao Rim Tang 2. Jao Sao Salatan 3. Jao Sao Prissana 4. Jao Sao Chapor Kit 5. Jao Sao Gae Kat (being subbed now) 6. Kor Pen Jaosao Suk Krung Hai Cheun Jai 

What are your top 3?

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

Drama Matchup: Marriage Lakorns part 3

Our last part in this drama matchup is one of the best matches I’ve made, scout’s honor! Let’s just call this a royal match! Switched brides, arranged marriage, young love. But there is actually a very clear message that the drama is trying to convey. Curious? Read on!

2006 Korean drama Goong or Princess Hours, holds a special place in my heart. I loved the story about a young couple in an arranged marriage who fall in love with each other. If you want to watch a lakorn with the same premise, Roy Marn (2011) is the closest to it (er, outside of the Thailand version of Goong, Princess Hours which I’m trying to forget ever happened🤣.). No royalty in Roy Marn, but they do have interfering exes and lots of sweet moments together.

Roy Marn (2011). Boy Pakorn and Margie Rasri work surprisingly well together as a couple here. And like Goong, there are some boring parts here related to the family’s history. Both Goong and Roy Marn really make a point about how the past affects the future, and that the choices that people made years ago can come back to haunt them. I didn’t find them boring, but some might not care for all the flashbacks.

In both dramas, there are references to a love in the past that directly affects the characters in the present time. Also in both dramas? The male love interest has had a love relationship with another girl and that relationship comes back to haunt him in the present. Watch Roy Marn streaming here.

Roy Marn (2011) synopsis: A lakorn involving a forced marriage that wasn’t meant to be. Bee’s cousin should have married Mark but the day before the wedding, her cousin was kidnapped by a guy who had loved her for years. He kidnapped her, assaulted her, got her pregnant, and thus everything changed. The young and bratty Bee had to take the place of her cousin because it was a marriage to erase a debt. Her uncle owed money to Mark and his father. Since he can’t use his daughter, he’ll use his niece instead.

Source: mydramalist

What are your drama matches?

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

Drama Matchup: Marriage Lakorns part 2

Part 1 is here, where I made an improbable drama match between Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms and Manee Yard Fah. Now, we’re continuing to pick one lakorn that can be compared to a drama from another country based on similarities in premise. Enjoy!

You’re My Destiny (2008)

The 2008 Taiwanese drama, You’re My Destiny (2008) was a smash hit, spawning Korean and Thailand remakes. The plot of the story, about a couple who have an unplanned one night stand that results in a pregnancy, is very similar to Thailand’s Oum Ruk. One big difference? The heroine of You’re My Destiny is a weakling, though she does improve throughout the drama. If you want to watch a drama with a stronger heroine and hero, but also has a surprise pregnancy, look no further than Oum Ruk.

Oum Ruk (2006) synopsis: Napat is a beautiful, but head-strong young lady. Against her father’s wishes to come and live with him in the States, Napat decides to stay back in Thailand and earn her way through modeling.

During Napat’s first magazine photo-shoot, she meets a fast-mouthed photographer, Chen, who predicts she will never be famous in the industry. However, despite Chen’s “prediction”, Napat turns out to be a huge success, with everyone in the business wanting to work with her.

Napat’s lucky streak comes to a halt when she bumped into Chen for the second time, while at a beach-side anniversary party for a famous magazine. Due to a drinking competition during the party, both Chen and Napat get badly drunk and end up in bed together. It isn’t long before Napat realizes that she is pregnant. However, rumor has it that Chen is currently dating Jasmin, one of Napat’s biggest rivals in the modeling industry.

Source: mydramalist.com

2. Oum Ruk (2006) – Anne Thongprasom and
Ken Theeradeth
are the leading couple in this romantic comedy, and Anne as Napat is a smart and stubborn young woman who has her own ideas. Ken as Chen, meanwhile, really matures and becomes the perfect dad. You can watch it here. Download it here with English subs.

What are your drama matches?

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