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?
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.