When I checked out Khun Samee Kamalor Tee Ruk (My Dear Fake Husband) soon after it aired, I went in expecting hijinks of the 'What Happened in Vegas' sort but what I got was an overbearing nang'ek engaging in petty office arguments and a mild- mannered pra'ek trying to avoid his overbearing grandma. Despite Chompoo and Rome looking great, there wasn't any sparks between Pim and Don at their first meeting and the meandering story in ep1 didn't look like it had a destination in mind so out the window this lakorn went.
I picked it up again last week cos I was desperate for something download-able on my iPhone to watch on my commute to work but even then ep2 was equally uninspiring and I would probably have dropped it again if not for the fact that the alternative was me staring into the space for 40mins on the train.
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In my previous post on 'Manee Dan Suaan', I talked about how I couldn't care for the main couple because I didn't understand how they came to supposedly love each other. That got me wondering, what makes in you tick in a drama romance? Some people go for fairytales complete with rainbows and stardust while others prefer watching the trails and tribulations of star-crossed lovers and then there are those who like unwinding to a light-hearted romcom. I enjoy all those stated above but I prefer those where characters overcome issues/problems within themselves and become better/more complete persons because of the relationship, in contrast to ones who keep the OTP apart with circumstances. A good makjang drama complete with manipulative exes, domineering parents, unfortunately coincidental accidents and terminal illness for good measure is tons of fun too but it takes a rare one (like 2001 Kdrama Beautiful Days) for the romance to stick after the drama finishes its run.
A couple of my personal 'classic' drama romances:
Aishiteiru to Ittekure (Say You Love Me) 1995
This Jdorama taught me what heartbreak was at the tender age of 12. At my first watch, I cried for poor Koji who got his heart trampled by Hiroko and couldn't understand her betrayal. It was only with subsequent re-watches when I got older that I appreciated this drama for its realistic portrayal of the older man/younger woman and handicap/healthy person relationship. Young and vivacious, Hiroko brought vitality into the silent world of Koji but at the same time, her immaturity worked against their relationship and ultimately led to her impulsive betrayal of the man she so loved. Koji also had his share of emotional baggage from the rejections he suffered from those dearest to him when he was younger due to his deafness and that exacerbated Hiroko's insecurities. I guess it's not 100% realistic since I have yet to run into anyone resembling Toyokawa Etsushi drawing and being contemplative at the park in front of my house
damn but it's close. If anyone is thinking of checking this out, it does end on a positive note.
Sood Sanaeha (Recipe of Love) 2009
I wouldn't say lakorns are the place to go to for realism and there are exaggerated comedic elements in SSH but despite the larger than life set up, the romance is most wonderfully grounded. As romcoms go, the main couple starts off on the wrong foot but the initial conflict isn't drawn out and they are given a believable reason for sticking with each other. It annoys me to no end when romcoms have the couple bicker from start to end then have them fall into each others arms for no apparent reason in the finale. Din and Alin learn about each other's strengths and flaws through friendship first and later when they grew fond of each other, they were 'kept apart' believably by Alin's blind pursuit of the perfect husband and Din's own insecurities. My favourite part of SSH is watching Alin learn that you don't love someone because he/she is perfect. The person is perfect to you because you love him/her.
What are your favourite drama romance tropes and what on-screen romances do you still remember years later?
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