Needing a reprieve from the all encompassing drama of This Land is Our Land, I turned to a new lakorn that promises to be lighthearted, laugh out loud funny and endearing- Rak Kerd Nai Talad Sode- which I will be calling Love in the Fresh Food Market moving forward. This drama is a remake of Andrew Gregson’s lakorn of 2001- needless to say that many of Andy’s lakorns are slowly getting remade like Torranee- this year’s version of Love in the Fresh Food Market brings about a different personality to our leading man’s character, Thong. With Act Art Production and director Off Pongpat (of Roy Mai and Wayupak Montra) along with Mario Maurer as Thong and Margie Rasri as Kim-Lang, this lakorn may just give us a run for our money.
Mario is not a newbie by any means, he is already renown on the silver screen, and debuted on a TV series Plerng Toranong, but surprisingly there is so much more depth to this actor than a serious, cute Plerngrit from Ranong. As Thong, Mario portrayed a funny, fearless and honest vegetable vendor to a tee. The personality he brings to Thong is lively and I feel- the best part about this drama. I find myself tuning into Love in the Fresh Food Market just to see what Thong will do or say next. Not to mention that Mario’s quirky, adorable face makes his character even more appealing.
The tone of the drama is fast paced; conducive to a boisterous, busy fresh food market. Kim-Lang(Margie) has worked in this market longer than she could remember, her mother, Kim-Hua is the matriarch and feared entity in the market: no one dared to cross her. [Also, they are Chinese descendants living in Thailand, which is why you may notice them using Chinese terms mixed in with Thai, for example ma (mom), pa(dad), oua(me, I), leu (you).] In exception to one person- Thong (Mario) who enters the fresh food market in place of his sister-in-law who needed to take time off to care for her pregnancy- he is a true contender to Kim-Hua.
Prior to entering the market, Thong lives at home and is content to tease and joke around. Life for him is easy-going, he is an easy-going person- until he must work as a vegetable vendor, and we see how fearless, brave and excessively mouthy he can be. Thong and Kim-Hua did not start off on the right foot: Thong was the first person that dared to stand up to her and even called her out in front of everyone. This embarrassed Kim-Hua and she hated his guts from the onset. Unfortunately for Thong, he becomes attracted to Kim-Lang (Kim-Hua’s elder daughter) because she is very much unlike her mother, and not to mention, cute, so he decides to test his luck with her. Little did he know that Kim-Lang is already betrothed to her mother’s friend’s son before she was born. Kim-Lang on the other hand is a sweet, docile and obedient daughter, who has accepted her fate. She wouldn’t dare go against her mother’s wishes. Until she meets Thong who says whatever he thinks, dared to defy authority and so charismatic that he appealed to many of the females at the market, including herself. Perhaps this will get her wheels spinning.
There is humor and light-heartedness, however, there is great depth as well. We see that behind Kim-Hua’s family, lays an unhappy and miserable lot, yet she (Kim-Hua) thinks her dictatorial ways are acceptable. As for Thong, he starts off as a young man who is unaffected by many things, doesn’t have focus or direction, he sort of lives day by day being happy with who he is. Yet soon, the vegetable booth, the market will matter more to him than he thinks and challenge him to grow as a person, to give him a purpose. Especially when he has to prove to Kim-Hua as well as the rest of the market vendors, that he is not all fluff and no substance, that he is somebody.
I shall wait to see how that will unfold. (With maybe some FF’ing through some of the cast scenes, just a forewarning, there are many many side characters and subplots! I’m more interested in Thong and Kim-Lang at this point.)
Thong and Kim-Lang are so cute together. Kim-Lang has this obsession about drawing a face on her thumb- it represents her companion, a person who accompanies her to the many adventures outside of the market. This is all happening in her pretend world. One must wonder why a grown up woman draws on her thumbs and wish for adventure. It is because she has no experience outside of the market. She could not do as she pleases, she could not even decide her own future and mate. It is a sad reality for Kim-Lang, but despite her reality, she is a ray of sunshine, positive and sweet. Thong is receptive to this sunshine, attracted to her energy. When he saw her taking pictures with her thumb, he volunteered to take the picture for her.
She frowned at first and felt uncomfortable, but Thong was able to relax her. They sat down on the bench later to review the photos and he asked her why she liked to take pictures with her thumbs and in different locations.
She explained her situation.
“Well Kim-Lang, it is not like people cannot choose their own lives.”
“There is me (I cannot choose..)” she admitted to him.
“If you can’t choose it on your own, would you like me to?” he asked her.
“What significance do you have with me? That you think you can determine things for me?”
“From the sound of it, I do want to be it (the significant person),” he said with a smile.
“You are mad!” she exclaimed with a suppressed smile, “give me back my phone.”
Thong proceeded to express that he lost his phone, so he would use her phone to call his in order to get her telephone number. He’s so cute!
He also realized how much her mother means to her, which has been a big obstacle for him already.
We see that Kim-Lang is opening up her feelings for him, telling him aspects about her life that she doesn’t tell anyone else.
This prompts Thong to make amends with her mom by approaching her with her favorite drink and apologizing. It didn’t work however, but this sets up a conflict and incites the story further- making us curious to see how Thong will appease Kim-Hua, as well as how his love with Kim-Lang will develop and bloom. Along the way, there will be lots of laughter but if P’Off’s past directorial skills are any indication, there will be some tears of joy too.
As suggested in next week’s preview, the market vendors perceived Thong as the unlucky person and they are determined to evict him from the market, Thong proclaimed that he would show all of them what he is made of. The scenes with him and Kim-Lang are just simply sweet.
I don’t know about you, but I’m bit (yet again) by Mario’s charisma and will be tuning in to find out how Thong’s character grows and flesh out into his own. There is more to this milky-white skin and beguiling smile.
*Pics taken from Asianfuse and Ch.3