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.

Monday Meeting – Rape and So Wayree

So I guess I took a week off the blog, (I actually had posts scheduled in advance cuz I knew I’d be busy this week, but it turned out I had the wrong dates scheduled, 😅 OOPS.). I did manage to watch the six episodes out of So Wayree (2020), and oh boy, where to begin? The very first episode is soo problematic, I continued watching hoping there was a twist or something that would redeem the show. Was there? Eh, not really. MASSIVE SPOILERS for first 6 episodes of So Wayree (2020) ahead. And yes, I will be talking about rape, so trigger warning for those who may be troubled by it.

Myth: Rape and sexual assault are about sexual attraction and gratification.

Fact: Rape and sexual assault are all about control and domination.

https://prevent.richmond.edu/prevention/education/rape-myths.html
So Wayree (2020)

Synopsis: Two hotel moguls, once family friends since the grandparents generation now sworn enemies, are fighting over who will reign supreme. Prinoot never thought that he would be part of the hatred. Although his father is the son in law of Sirimontra, his mom was only a mistress who was abandoned in America. Growing up he never knew what having a father was like. Pramida is the only heiress to the famous Emporium real estate mogul. She was pulled into this warring game after being drugged and sent to Prinoot as ransom. 4 years later, she came back with a set of twins but she told everyone that those were her siblings. Prinoot and Pramida meet again but standing on opposite sides of the line as sworn enemies. Although they have the twins, not as chains of love but chains of enemies that tied them together unwillingly. (Source: asianfuse.net)

Summary of Episodes 1-6

Myth: Rape happens only to “certain” types of women.

Fact: Any person of any gender, age, race, class, religion, occupation, physical ability, sexual identity, or appearance can be raped. The perpetrator does not choose the victim because they are young, pretty, or provocatively dressed; the perpetrator chooses the victim who is vulnerable. 

Source: https://prevent.richmond.edu/prevention/education/rape-myths.html
Mitra (played by Mookda Narinrak)

So let’s begin with the story in episode 1. We see the heroine Mitra (played by Mookda Narinrak) is having a graduation party with her close friends, they’re taking pictures and I guess later they go to a bar in her father’s hotel where they drink nonalcoholic drinks. Meanwhile, it seems like the “hero” Parin (Kem Hussawee) is watching her from afar. One of Mitra’s so-called friends, Naphasiri, drugs Mitra’s drink and then we see Mitra being carried/dragged by Naphasiri (Kochakorn Songsangterm) to a hotel room, and Parin takes over. There is also money exchanged and words between Naphasiri and Parin. There are some bed scenes and Mitra wakes up with Parin next to her and she has no idea what happened. She leaves as quickly as possible and goes away to cry. So basically what happened was Parin paid Naphasiri as a pimp for Mitra’s services, never mind the fact that it’s obvious Mitra is drunk and has no clue what is happening. This is rape by any definition. I hoped I was wrong about this interpretation of what happened, but so far, nope, I’m not.

Kochakorn Songsangterm as Naphasiri

And in the next episodes, we see Mitra going overseas to live with her aunt, learning she is pregnant, having twins and putting them up for adoption, only to change her mind and have her aunt adopt them. She comes back to Thailand to help her dad run his company, which is in direct competition with Parin’s dad’s company. There she meets Parin again, and he chases after her, she tries to play him and keep him from finding out her secrets, while gathering admirers, and enemies.

Myth: If you wouldn’t have been drinking, you wouldn’t have been sexually assaulted. 

Fact: Alcohol is a weapon that some perpetrators use to control their victim and render them helpless. As part of their plan, a perpetrator may encourage the victim to use alcohol, or identify an individual who is already incapacitated. Alcohol is not a cause of rape; it is only one of many tools that perpetrators use. 

Source: https://prevent.richmond.edu/prevention/education/rape-myths.html
Kem Hussawee as Parin

We also learn a lot about Parin in six episodes. Apparently, according to his friend, he has a reputation with the ladies. Parin thinks he’s in love with Mitra, whose name I’m not even sure he knows until a couple of episodes in, spends years pining over his lost love, 🙄 without any sort of realization apparently that what he did was rape her. So he is pleased when he sees her again, she not so much. Parin attempts to rationalize what he did by saying that she was asking for it, that he thought she was for sale and well she put herself in a position to be drunk and therefore whatever happened to her, happened. In the later episodes 5 and 6, we see Parin seem to realize that he was mistaken about her, she is a good person, not a slut like he thought and she wasn’t a drunk whore slept with anyone for money like her friend said. He starts to try to help her behind the scenes in episode 6, so on.

Rape in So Wayree

There are sooo many problems with this lakorn, I don’t even know where to begin.

Photo by Josie Stephens on Pexels.com

Myth: Women shouldn’t go out alone at night as they are likely to get raped.

Fact: Only one in 10 of rapes are committed by ‘strangers’. 

Source: https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/myths-vs-realities/
  1. Being careless/making a mistake doesn’t excuse rape. First, there was a moment in the drama where Mitra’s father learns what happened and he says to Mitra, you were guilty because you were careless and Parin says something similar, that she put herself in a situation like that by being drunk. 🥵There’s so much wrong with that. Nobody can be careful all the time, we’re human, we’re going to make mistakes. So if by his metric, we happened to have a car break down in a bad neighborhood, or we overslept and got to work late and we had to stay late because of that and something happened to us, we were raped or hurt, that’s our fault? Those things happened to me, fortunately I was safe, but I guess I shouldn’t be since I wasn’t being careful enough. NOBODY is capable of being careful, proactive or mistake free 100% or even more than 60% of the time I would say. We’re only human. We’re not robots.
  2. Not being a virgin doesn’t excuse rape. Parin is told by Naphasiri that Mitra has slept with lots of guys and I guess that gave him the green light to rape because he says or implies numerous times that he thought she is/was a slut (even though there was blood on the bed after the rape). Regardless, whether she or anyone is a virgin or not doesn’t and shouldn’t give anyone leeway to rape them. Lakorns are notorious for this really. Often times, we see the ‘bad girls’ in lakorns, like in Marn Bang Jai being raped and she is never saved by anyone. Many lakorns have the good virginal girl, the nang’ek in situations where there’s an attempted rape and she’s usually saved by the hero (aka Prom Pissawat). The main exception to this is if the hero tries and/or rapes the heroine himself (no saving nang’ek from that!) and most slap and kiss lakorns are like that, with the rape mostly resulting in a romantic relationship and a happy ending. (And yeah, that’s a whole another discussion I don’t have space to write about now).
  3. Being drunk (or not) doesn’t excuse rape. Uh, do I even need to explain this? In fact, I would say being drunk means you can’t really give consent, so having sex with someone who’s drunk is a no-no. Mitra doesn’t know what happened, the lakorn makes it plain she and her friends were not drinking (though even if they were, that still wouldn’t excuse raping her), and her friend drugged her, but so far only the friend knows this and most assumed she was drunk, including Parin.
  4. Personal responsibility – a double standard. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use our brains that God gave us to protect ourselves, that’s just common sense of course. Yes, we should be careful where we are and what we do and educate ourselves, but this same argument is NEVER used for the rapist. Parin never seems to think about his own responsibility to like not rape someone, to make sure they are consenting to sex and oh, maybe actually use his brain at times. Instead, he and others rationalize their behavior so much it’s ridiculous. Parin’s father hears about the incident and basically claps him on the back and says good job, that Parin won’t be hurt at all from people knowing he is promiscuous. So Mitra should have been careful, but Parin did a good job, according to the views in this lakorn.

In conclusion

I want to make it clear that these views or myths about rape are widespread in every country to some degree and in many dramas besides lakorns (Koreans had to deal with a number of real life rape issues regarding a number of popular actors like Kang Ji Hwan recently), so this isn’t just a Thailand/lakorn problem, it’s much, much more pervasive than that. But this is a blog mostly based on lakorns, and So Wayree is a currently airing lakorn that features rape, so it seems like the ideal time to tackle this subject.

The lakorn tries to redeem Parin, he’s a great son, good at his job, likes kids, but all I can think is the dude paid someone to have sex, a drunk person at that. This doesn’t seem like my idea of a good person, or even a bad person. That seems pure evil. And yet, I liked Kawee and Sawan Biang (2008), so why does this bother me more? I’m not sure, maybe because it’s the first picture we get of Parin as a rapist. Or, quite frankly, while both Kem and Mookda are okay actors, neither of them are on the same level as Ken or Ann in Sawan Biang. Maybe also most rapes in lakorns are framed as being impulsive, spur of the moment fits of anger/jealousy or both and that’s what makes this cold blooded rape seem especially heinous.

Good chemistry, but the story is a no no.

Regardless, this lakorn really leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth. There are some things to like here, kids are cute, Parin’s half brother Chanathip might be a lazy spoiled rich kid, but he’s also treats his girlfriend with respect, is horrified by Parin’s treatment of Mitra and seems an overall nice guy. And Mitra seems like she may become a stronger person or at least she’s trying to become one. I also like how Parin’s friend Gun tells him some home truths about his behavior.

Boss Chanakan Poonsiriwong as Chanathip

But this lakorn embraces and justifies the many rape tropes and myths out there without trying to challenge them in any way. There’s these underlying assumptions that we’re supposed to be okay with and that’s not right. I really don’t know if I can keep watching it, as it doesn’t seem likely to change, but I see a number of people raving about this lakorn, so maybe I will watch more to write more about this lakorn. It is not okay.

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

What’s Next?

Hmm, Romeo and Juliet like feuding families, pregnancy, secret twins? Uh, sounds melodramatic, but promising? So Wayree (or Soh Wari) is probably going to be a 2020 release, but that’s coming up soon, so look for it.

Two hotel moguls, once family friends since the grandparents generation now sworn enemies, are fighting over who will reign supreme.

Prinoot never thought that he would be part of the hatred. Although his father is the son in law of Sirimontra, his mom was only a mistress who was abandoned in America. Growing up he never knew what having a father was like.

Pramida is the only heiress to the famous Emporium real estate mogul. She was pulled into this warring game after being drugged and sent to Prinoot as ransom. 4 years later, she came back with a set of twins but she told everyone that those were her siblings.

Prinoot and Pramida meet again but standing on opposite sides of the line as sworn enemies. Although they have the twins, not as chains of love but chains of enemies that tied them together unwillingly.

(Source: asianfuse.net)

There’s an English subbed teaser by neko here you can watch, and she also has it on her future projects list, so yeah! The two leads are played by Mookda Narinrak (starred in Suparburoot Jorm Jon: Maturot Lohgan and Massaya, who’s gaining quite a reputation and fanbase as an actress and Kem Hussawee (from Hua Jai Look Poochai).

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