Rak Kerd Nai Talad Sod, Love (Happened) in the Fresh Food Market starring Mario Maurer and Margie (pronounced Makkie) Rasri will run its course in 12 episodes, a shorter than average stint as far as lakorn duration goes. The plot has a simple premise, to showcase the lives of market vendors in this fresh food market, most specifically Thong (Mario) who is a newbie, and how his entrance into the market, changed everyone’s lives accordingly.

Thong is an easygoing kid from the countryside who came to help his sister in law’s vegetable booth due to her high-risk pregnancy. He falls in “love at first sight” with Kim-Lang (Margie) who was the daughter of Kim-Huay, a fish vendor, and highly feared at the market. Unfortunately for him- mostly due to his straightforwardness and justice prevail demeanor- butted heads with Kim-Huay from the onset and caused her to dislike him tremendously.

Thong’s characterization is one of easily loved: he’s handsome, charming, and fearless. The biggest challenge for him in this story is to overcome Kim-Huay’s prejudice and help the market be the best it can be. Because of this simple plot, the director pulled other storylines as a means to compensate, but unfortunately leaves me still feeling a little hungry.

Love in the fresh food market is certainly funny, sad at many times and lighted heart. But when you are showcasing someone like Mario- that many have been waiting to see- wouldn’t you want to center the plot on him? I felt that Mario has done the best he could do, given the material, I mean, Mario brought Thong to life. Who knew it could be so fun to watch him meander around the market and give us that million-dollar smile?

I forget what events occurred in the previous version, but in this remake, the director (P’Off) has changed the pr’ek quite a bit, mostly to suit Mario. His reason being that who would hate Mario upon first impression? But when you remove that challenge and suspense, you risk having a character who is a little too loosy goosy and that because he’s good looking, things come easily to him, and where is the fun in that?

So we are then relegated to watch him solve other people’s problems. That is where the myriad of themes comes in. We have dutifulness (from Kim-Lang to mom, from Nada to her mom and then from Chai to his parents.) There are also social and cultural differences (Kim-Huay to Thong who didn’t want him to be her son-in-law because on the basic level, he’s not Chinese.) I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you. What I’m really trying to say is that the biggest problem in Rak Kerd Nai Talad Sod is the lack of a centralized theme, that if weaved throughout the lakorn nicely, would have made it more solid.

But maybe that is not the point P’Off is trying to make after all. Maybe the whole point is to see that the market is a convoluted place with so many convoluted stories to tell. What I will say is that at least the characters all had motives and even if we don’t agree with their decisions, we can’t fault them.

There are two performances that stood out for me the most (after finishing up episode 11) and made me somewhat happy I watched this series at all: Thong and Kim-Che (Kim-Lang’s younger sister.) Obviously Thong, because he’s funny to watch and his time with Kim-Lang is adorable. But Kim-Che’s story is just so compelling and real. She is the younger, chubbier sister of the Chinese family that owned the fish booth. Her mother is the old school, traditional mom who doesn’t express her love to her kids; she has always been verbally insensitive to Kim-Che’s emotions. So Kim-Che has always struggled with her image, but it hasn’t been a big contention to her until she fell in love with her sister’s betrothed. Her appearance start to bother her and she thinks that maybe he’s not interested in her because she’s “fat.” So she starts taking diet pills to help her lose weight, but encountered the negative effects of it instead. She is a character that is so three dimensional and the actress who played her did a great job.

I once wrote about Kim-Lang’s character that has been the one to wait for her knight in shining armor. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that she is no longer the damsel in distress. Kim-Lang did her own saving and maybe she had it in her all along, she’s just waiting for something she cared enough about to fight for. After exchanging their ‘I love you’s’ Kim-Lang found the encouragement to stand up to her mom. In a natural and un-obnoxious way, Kim-Lang told Kim-Huay that Thong and her are in love and that they were dating! Way to go. All her mother could do was simmer and change her tactic.

So I’m sure in the end (next Friday), all will end well.

If you’re considering whether you should watch this, and if you’re a Mario’s fan, I’d say give it a gander. But don’t expect to be blown away. I’m content with the fact that Mario can act and I’ll be looking forward to his next endeavor.

*Screenshots from Youtube. Featured image from Thaitv3.

*Six Sense to air after RKNTS, Sat. Sept. 1, 2012.

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