I haven’t been writing mini-reviews about anything lately because I haven’t had the time to watch. Lately, I’ve been losing interest over Korean dramas because nothing is really catching my fancy (unless someone or something finally convinces me to watch My Lovely Girl; it has been occupying significant disk space on my laptop, untouched, for the longest time), though I am looking forward to watching Kill Me, Heal Me because I’ve been seeing so many people raving about Ji Sung’s acting. In the meantime, I’ve jumped over the fence and saw a couple of ‘lakorns’ or Thai dramas which have been much talked about in forums that I regularly visit, or in the case of the second one, from rave reactions of my friends.
Hormones, Season 2
Warning: post may include SPOILERS
I’ve seen Season 1 and loved it, as I have written about on this mini-review. Since the end of Season 1 was left hanging as a lot of the main characters’ issues remained unresolved, I looked forward to watching the second season. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint.
While it is quite noticeable that the second season was somewhat ‘tamed’ in terms of presentation compared to the first one, the issues are still quite PG-rated (teen homosexuality, for instance; they even went towards the Glee way and showed implied sex between two people of the same gender) that I still think that this drama will never be allowed to be broadcast in the Philippines. But at the same time, they also showed ‘regular’ teen issues such as secret crushes among friends/classmates. Unlike in the first season where the topics were mostly about teen sexuality (like, if you watch Season 1 you would think that all high school students in Thailand engage in nothing but clubbing and sex – I know they’re most probably not, but that’s what Season 1 told me), Season 2 was more diverse. They also talked about drugs, peer pressure and the effects of both broadcast and social media on today’s youth.
As for the actors, the old cast was back and some new ones were introduced. In Season 1, Pachara Chirathivat/Peach as the main protagonist Win caught my fancy, even if he gives me a Richard Gutierrez vibe (which is so weird, because I don’t like Richard at all especially when he took the Justin role in the PH version of Full House). Peach didn’t do much in Season 2, in fact he starred in what I consider to be the most boring episode of the entire series. The one who caught my interest in Season 2 is Gunn Junhavat as Tar, the rockstar musician, thus, a million pogi points for me even if he’s not traditionally cute and sorely lacking in height. He’s the one who got the ‘regular’ teen love story, that is, he has a girl best friend in Toei (played by Sutatta Udomsilp/Punpun who showed amazing acting chops in Season 2) and they seem to like each other, but the girl got a boyfriend who turned out to be bisexual and left her for another man. Meanwhile, Tar got a girlfriend of his own even if deep inside it’s Toei whom he really loves. I totally shipped Tar and Toei, until I learned later on that Punpun (the actress playing Toei) is actually in a relationship with March, the actor who played her bisexual boyfriend in the series. So much for having my ship sunk even before it sailed. Drats.
And speaking of sinking ships… let’s talk about…
Full House, Thai version
True confession: while I’ve learned about the Thai version of Full House from friends who couldn’t stop raving about Mike D Angelo (and one of them actually got the drama files from me but saw it ahead of me), I have always been hesitant to watch it. The reason is obvious: it’s FULL HOUSE. I don’t have to say anything else.
Then I got assigned to a faraway agency and had a lot of time to kill on the road. So I decided to catch up on my drama backlogs, beginning with this lakorn.
Admittedly, in the first few episodes, I couldn’t help but be all, “ugh, they’re ruining my Full House”. The first four episodes were practically duplicates of the original Korean. Mike was made to look and act a lot like Rain – as in Rain himself, not Lee Young Jae – and let’s admit it, he is SO not Rain. (Side note: it is only recently, through my research, that I learned that I actually knew Mike from way back; he was half of the duo Golf and Mike, whom I have seen in Japanese magazines before and caught my attention because of the name “Golf”. I was new in Asian entertainment then; at the time, I giggle at people who have names like Golf, Peach, March, Sprite, etc.) Aom is Han Ji Eun gone bad because (1) she’s not ignorant, but she does a lot of stupid things; and (2) she really intended to fool Mike. Han Ji Eun was really more like a victim of her own ignorance. (Although it could also be argued that what happened at the Korean version might not work for Thailand because they have different laws regarding selling of property.) Mintra, who is the Thai version of Kang Hye Won, was an outright bitch and a brat. Thankfully, she didn’t turn into Evil Lorraine in the Philippine version who even attempted to kill Jessie. (WTF is that version, really. ) The only character who somewhat appropriates the original Korean was Guy, the Thai version of Yoo Min Hyuk. It helped that Channel V’s VJ Utt, who played Guy, has a resemblance to Kim Sung Soo.
Fortunately, by episode six the drama eventually stopped being an exact copy of the Korean version and that’s when I warmed up to Mike and Aom. Mike had the same Rain Effect (pun intented) on me; just like Rain, I didn’t like him at first. By the middle of the series, he grew on me. He’s one of those actors with acting eyes, and he’s a good crier, too. (Actually, he’s hot when he cries. And I am weird. ) Aom can be annoying sometimes, but she’s good at dramatic scenes. Jane (Mintra) is so good at being a brat that I want to slap her silly and throw her into the river behind Full House. Utt is convincing as the player Guy, because well, it’s VJ Utt. He has that swag. Special mention should be made about the golden retriever named Junior who visits Aom’s house every now and then to keep her company. That dog managed to make me cry twice.
Technically, my only gripe about this drama is the editing. I think there were too many scenes that could’ve been shortened or taken out altogether to make the drama more cohesive. But if they did that, the drama might be shortened to 15 episodes instead of 20.
I hate to commit blasphemy against my beloved Korean version, but I think the screenplay of the Thai version is more realistic and convincing. This version also has so many kilig scenes that it came to the point that I wished that the original Korean was like this. Then again, if Rain and Song Hye Kyo did the ice cream scene from the Thai version, all of us would probably die from so much feels. And don’t get me started on that trailer park scene from the final episode…
Mike and Aom looked so comfy together – actually, too comfy, based on the behind-the-scene clips – that I found myself shipping them. Unfortunately, it was revealed that Mike has sired a child with his ex-girlfriend last year, although they’re not married and it seems that they have no plans of getting hitched. So the AoMike ship still sails, but I don’t want to get too attached. One Full House couple is enough.
Still, I couldn’t help but envy the Thai version and wished that the Korean one is like them. The Thai pair is so close, and they never hesitate to go public with it. Meanwhile, we won’t even know for sure that the Korean ones are close until they personally declared it three years after the drama has ended (and we never saw any evidence since then). The Thai pair had many public appearances after Full House (they even had a Full House Live! Special where they had a Big Brother/We Got Married style episode and really, great acting from the two if they were really acting) and rumors (or I think it’s confirmed?) say that they are currently filming a new drama together.
Meanwhile, the Korean counterparts did not have any follow-up collaborations despite Full House being highly successful (seriously, what is up with that?), and the two are now acting as if they don’t know each other.
Trust Agent P to turn this review into another lamentation of the ship that sunk. Sigh.