Leh Ratree 2015

18 Jun


meep, I’ve been prompted to peek out from my drama blogging hibernating hole by P’Fia’s recent post on Leh Ratree 2015, which was the last lakorn I finished and enjoyed but I didn’t feel compelled enough to blog about it back then besides a short fangirly post for Jes/Gypsy who played the 2nd leads. I have not been showing up online in part due to real life stuff plus I simply have not been watching that many dramas to write about, and also I started to think that there are already so many varied and wonderful voices on the drama blogosphere that what does it matter if I do an additional post or not? As I draft this post meant for the internet audience (as oppose to jotting down my jumbled thoughts without filters or proper construction in my trusty written journal meant for my reading only) I guess the difference lies in the sense of community and sharing that comes with putting your writing out there. Fangirling doesn’t feel as fun when done alone ne?

Cho9RaQVAAAYLi9 pic credit

Case in point, I need someone to fangirl with me the utter perfection that is Odagiri Joe in ‘Juhan Shuttai!’. It’s a wonderful Jdrama that needs more appreciation, go watch it everyone!

Right, back to Leh Ratree. P’Fia did a lovely post with a detailed summary of the plot and her thoughts on it so do head over there. I share similar thoughts, that Saek and Kate are such sweet, fuzzy bunnies together despite the circumstances that caused their paths to cross that you can’t help but root for them to overcome the obstacles in their paths to find love again. That said, my heart is swayed in the direction of the secondary couple Pak (Saek’s sister) and Pu (Kate’s ex-fiancé). Like what P’Fia said, Pak could well be the heroine in her own lakorn and I’m glad this version of Leh Ratree doesn’t treat the secondary couple as an afterthought, thrown together only to clear the pra nang’s way.

Watching this fan mv is making grin from ear to ear again remembering their journey. They start off on the wrong foot as most (if not all?) drama pairings are obliged to, he thinks she’s an entitled hi-so princess and I can’t imagine she thought highly of him either after he chewed her head off for being late. They inevitably get involved in Saek and Kate’s situation considering their relationships with our leads and would naturally be on opposing camps (one for her brother and one for his beloved ex-fiancée) but as they work together on a project for Empire Mall and even occasionally clash over Saek/Kate, they learn and grow together. It so fun to see Pu being cheeky with Pak and bringing that extra spark and spontaneity into her life while she in turn learn to care for this hot-headed yet tender-hearted man, often times literally chasing after him to know if he’s ok. Jes/Gypsy had cackling sexy chemistry as opposed to the warm fuzzies of Sean/Esther, probably because they were a real life couple then? Sadly I think they are no longer together from what I observe from their IG a few months back but hopefully they parted ways on amicable terms.

This lakorn was billed as a slap/kiss, but in my journal entry I remarked that it felt more like a rom-com than slap/kiss considering the amount of smiling I’m doing! It was only when I skimmed through the unsubbed 2004 original that I realized why, and the more I applaud the scriptwriters of LR 2015 for making a couple of crucial narrative changes that elevated the remake from the run-of-the-mill slap/kiss original. In both versions, Saek misunderstands Kate to be prostituting herself and forces himself on Kate in a jealous rage. Faced with a confused and sobbing Kate, 04 Saek mocks her tears and rapes her anyway, which leads the rest of the lakorn down the slap/kiss path and frankly I don’t have a bit of sympathy for 05 Sake who deserves some jail time. On the other hand, Kate’s tears snaps 15 Saek out of his rage and he pauses to give her a choice, to go on or end it right now… which lead us to a sweet willing.

The decision to take this major scene in a different way in this remake results in a fundamental shift in the tone of the larkon as well as Saek/Kate relationship. While they (especially Kate) may be confused, unsure, afraid of their developing feelings, this relationship is growing on based on respect and not violence. I’m glad that in the 11 years between the two versions, someone finally realized that we do not need to use something as serious and real as rape so carelessly as a plot device to get two characters who supposedly love/will love each other in bed and/or to manufacture conflict. Hopefully in time to come slap/kiss lakorns can do away with this altogether. See, LR 2015 was successful just the same without it no?

The second big difference I observed was that Kate’s youngest sister’s role in LR 2015 was greatly diminished and I mean this in a good way. After the first few episodes, I was pretty sure that younger sis (forgot her name) was going to end up as Potjanee no.2 (the ungrateful younger sister from ‘Baan Sai Tong’) and was waiting for the other shoe to drop but she faded into the background for the most part. When I watched LR 04, I was like, man, I got a good lakorn radar cos 04 younger sis turned out the way I expected her to. Like Potjanee, 04 younger sis wanted the good life without working for it and becomes insanely jealous of Kate for being able to be with the rich Saek. She eventually joins forces with Saek’s ex to pile on the misery in Kate’s life and you want to smack her on the head in most scenes. 15 younger sis showed such ‘potential’ but we get a few scenes of her elder brother correcting her and thankfully that’s that. I’m so glad LR 15 gave younger sis’ screen time to developing the 2 wonderful pairs we have instead of milking the unnecessary angst.

Well, that’s all from me for now. While referencing my written journal for this post (it has been a while since I watched LR), I saw that I had also written about ‘Lhong Ngao Jun’ (ranting) and ‘Nangrai Summer’ (gushing). Anyone interested to read them? Haa.



7 Responses to “Leh Ratree 2015”

  1. Fia June 20, 2016 at 12:40 AM #

    Hi J~ Thank you for sharing your perspective on both the 2015 and 2008 versions of Leh Ratree. I think remakes should use Leh Ratree as an example, because this show managed to use an old premise and made it new and fresh – not to mention better. A lot of remakes subscribe to the same outdated plot devices, and I really appreciate Leh Ratree’s new take. It’s so good – I don’t need to go back and watch the old one.
    I adore the second leads as well, they have steamy chemistry, but also a great romance story all on their own. I usually don’t get caught up in second lead syndrome, but I really like how they’ve written Pu and Khun Pak to be logical characters – and sympathetic ones too. Remember the scene after they did the dirty? Khun Pak is all cavalier about it, like it’s no big deal, but cries when she’s alone in the car? Ugh, that one got me. Then Pu is super apologetic and regrets what he did, which only made me feel even more sorry for Khun Pak – but she puts on such a brave face! A lot of female characters would probably mope and throw a big fit, but she’s so mature. Love these two.
    I think the only qualm (if any) that I do have with these two romance stories is that the confession/reveal of their love was missing. Suddenly Khun Saek tells his mom that Kate is the woman he loves and Kate didn’t even look surprised. I’m like, WAIT, when did he tell you he loves you? Perhaps a lot of things can be left unsaid, and actions speak louder than words (and whatnot), but it would be nice to be on the same page as the characters. That is my only complaint!
    This one is truly a gem and I can’t wait to re-watch during a rainy day. Love your article! ~P’Fia

    • J June 20, 2016 at 9:10 PM #

      I checked out the old version for Pong who plays Pu! haa. Perhaps I forwarded too much and missed some details, but from what I saw there wasn’t as much development for Pu/Pak then, so I’m glad the new version expounded on their relationship because it was a joy to watch! Indeed, I was heartbroken for Khun Pak in that scene especially because she was trying so hard to put up a brave front. =(
      Can I ask you a Thai language question? I noted that you used the ‘khun’ prefix for Saek and Pak’s names but not for Pu and Kate. Are there any ‘rules’ for the use of khun for people’s names in writing?

      • Fia June 20, 2016 at 11:24 PM #

        Thais use title to address others, usually that’s Khun, Phee, Nong, etc. You can’t go wrong if you address everybody as Khun since it’s respectful and the go-to term. Once you become familiar with them, you can use Phee, Nong, or sometimes just their names. Some people continue to use Khun even when they’re familiar just to show respect. For instance, we can call each other Khun J or Khun Fia, but since we’re friends, you call me PFia and I call you NongJ. Hee, I mean, I hope we’re friends!
        Specifically for Leh Ratree, I’ve referenced Khun Saek and Khun Pak because they are always referred to in the formal way. I use Kate because she’s younger and a student and is referenced as Kate in most of the series (unless addressed by the maids). Pu, I feel like someone who doesn’t mind getting addressed only by his name, probably because he’s not rich and doesn’t mind, but it wouldn’t be wrong if we referenced him as Khun as well. Usually when I recap/review I would just use their names, since I’m writing in English, but using titles sometimes is more fun and brings about the emotion of the show.

    • J June 21, 2016 at 9:56 PM #

      Yes of course, you’re my phee in many ways! When I think about it has been quite a few years since I left my first comment on your blog (if memory serves me right!).
      Thanks for the clarification, cos I refer to characters by name when I blog about dramas so just want to make sure I wasn’t accidentally committing any cultural faux pas. 😉

      • Fia June 22, 2016 at 12:32 AM #

        It has been a long time, hasn’t it? Would love to read your thoughts on Talay Fai!

  2. unnichan June 20, 2016 at 3:15 AM #

    Pak+Puh were the best things about LR15 for me. I’d literally just ff to their parts. Oh and the title OST track😉 Been meaning to compile just their clips for rewatching purposes.
    Like most, I don’t usually care about the secondary couple, but this drama made me love and root for them in a greater and deeper way than the leads simply because, they weren’t the “given.” However, I do love Sean and Esther together and certainly like how some (not all) slap/kiss remakes are venturing away from rape. It’s a dealbreaker for me, so I’m glad more writers are finding it imperative to create characters that audiences can understand and relate to, instead of mindlessly justify.
    Thanks for this! And yes, I think every blogger gets to point where you wonder why write when someone else is? Gives you more time to watch, right? But honestly, I enjoy my tried and true bloggers and selfishly wish they’d never stop sharing.

    • J June 20, 2016 at 9:28 PM #

      I had forgotten about the theme song till I went to review a few scenes for this post… listening to it now. haa. I enjoyed both couple’s journey in my first watch of LR15 but if/when I do a re-watch I’ll most likely be concentrating on Pu/Pak ‘cos they really got my heart, and I have a soft spot for characters like Pak who is tough on the outside but quite very soft within.
      Yay for more progressive remakes, though I wonder how lakorns like ‘Sawan Biang’ can be done differently … or maybe that’s one lakorn to be left at Ken/Ann’s classic version.
      Thanks for the comment, it helps to motivate bloggers to keep writing!

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