Where is the love?
Posted on June 4, 2013
Although Khun Chai Ratchanon, part four of the Gentlemen Series is fast paced and has a relatively good plot, I don’t find it resonating with me on the level that the second and third part did. Allow me to explain why.
The stakes are definitely higher, the plot thicker, but character development or even relationship development is surface level, lacking depth. We know Khun Chai Lek is adorable, playful and doesn’t take many things seriously- in exception to when he was forced to be engaged to a woman he hardly knew, and he hightailed out of town- but character wise, we haven’t gotten to the flesh and bones of his character. His relevance in this story is a catalyst to meeting our heroine, the Warrior Princess Soifah who lived in hiding from the Wieng Phu Kam soldiers with her village, and must find a way back to their home country. In order to resurrect the throne, Soifah must find the Crown Prince in Bangkok. And in order to keep her relatively safe, her father (who is the King and is withholding her princess status from her) marries her off to Chai Lek due to her “compromising” state with the nobleman. Stone, meet three birds.
Obviously, if Chai Lek doesn’t want to be married to Soifah, he would find a way out, the same way he had done with Nuch. So clearly, he’s going in this matrimony with eyes wide open. Soifah on the other hand, is using this (well, after much hemming and hawing) to her advantage. She would marry him- but makes it clear that she would not be his wife- so she could pursue the Crown Prince while her father and village elders, plot a way to enter Wieng Phu Kam. Forced marriage is not my most favorite plot to bring two people together, because I liked that Chai Ruj and Chai Pat treat their matrimony prospects as serious endeavor, that they would only marry someone they love and will have a future with. As oppose to someone trying to eventually weasel their way out.
Granted, Chai Lek and Soifah may be soul mates and will inevitably fall in love and live happily ever after. But it would be nice to witness it. Thus far, I don’t feel the emotional impact or the pairing’s relationship development. They like to tease each other and they’ve been through tough times together, but I’m missing the romance. Part of the problem in this lakorn is the excess use of unnecessary characters. I agree with the director P’Off, he wonders why he has to incorporate the grandmas’ scenes, the so many Khunchais’ scenes when they are not central to the story (not to mention the ever annoying mother-daughter Nuch.) I love the brothers, don’t get me wrong, but if I were to choose more main character scenes, I’d go with the latter.
Take for instance, Chai Pat. He may not be the central story- because the plot focuses on Krong Kaew surviving her Miss Siam debacle- but Chai Pat is the driving force behind it all. We fall in love with this stoic doctor because through love, he becomes more passionate, protecting, ever loving. There is a character arc. Even Chai Ruj has so much character depth. His inferiority complex, his internal struggles. These are factors that prompted major fangirling and thus, I become emotionally connected with the characters.
I like that Chai Lek is a gentleman, that he balances Soifah in her intensity by being carefree, but is there more to him? We are starting to see his jealous side, because Soifah has bonded with Chatchavee (whom we surmise as being the missing prince and her brother), but Chai Lek fears that she would like Chat more than him in a romantic sense (heh.) I want to see more of the emotional side of him, that someone matters to him, I want to see him fight for his love. After all, this is the Gents Series, and if you’ve followed me long enough, you know I watch lakorns or any drama series for that matter, for the leading man. And so far, Chai Lek, a hyperventilating fangirl, he makes me not.
They are returning to Bangkok, where Chai Lek asks Soifah and her cohorts not to tell anyone that they are married. He wants to wait for the right moment to tell Grandma. So, that alone should be interesting. He will fight for his love, right? And erm, we still have until June 15th until the show draws to a close. So, he can still impress me, right? *Fingers crossed.*
Thank you for this post, Fia. Now that you are watching City Hunter, I think you will have your eyes peeled to the series as I had even on my second watch. The plot is awesome and I too loved it so much that I even bought the DVD for keeps. Also loved the ever persistent proscecutor as well as the lead actress. Happy spazzing!
Ha. I finished City Hunter last weekend. Seriously considering on going back for a second helping. I’m listening to the soundtrack over and over to relive the awesome moments!
i agreed with your opinion .i also did not feel the love and romantic feel between this couple ,not like previous 3 couples .The part that only feel the love between them is when khunchai show the jealous side .i like your blog as i can know more about thai lakorn and learning english in the same time .please continue your recaps /review on mon jantra as i follow this lakorn every week but do not understand what is means as i watching the non-subs ones.Sorry for my weak english n hope that you understands what i trying to say.Thank you .
Thanks for your feedback 🙂 I will be recapping Mon Jantra ’til the end, so no worries!
I also the fans of Lee Minho .Have you watch the the korean drama – The Faith ?
thanx for your recap, i doesnt understand thai have to watch it raw since the eng sub for this lakorn down again. Yeah, i doesnt watch other Khun Chai except for this one….this Khun Chai is aweeesome n the plot much more better than the other
Thanks for the review Fia. The lack of love has not yet started bothering me as much. I guess I am much more caught up in politics of it all. How will Soifah find the prince? , How will a group of villages, even if they might be well trained, take on a general’s army ?, will the Thai military help ? and such.
Agree with you on the lack of depth of Chai Lek’s character. Other than him inheriting his “Gentleman” status and his declaration that once he gives his word, he would follow through, we have little material with him. Hopefully we will see other facets to him ?
I am more drawn to Soifah and the movement. In regards to their relationship, I see it as Chai Lek being drawn to Soifah as she is unlike any other woman he has met in his life. You can see that he is drawn to her even though he does not realize it. He constantly tries to engage her. He feels comfortable with her and does not feel the need to pretend. He can be his goofy self and she makes no demand of him to be anything else. Not so with the city girls. With the city girls, he has to be at his best behaviour and do things that may annoy him or not interest him at all. He acceptance of the fact he has to marry Soifah was fast enough compared to running away from his soon-to-be fiance.
I think the grandmothers just serve to highlight the ridiculousness of shallow concerns in this part of the series. One one side, we have entire populations of people fighting for their lives while Grandma On is stuck in a shallow world trying to setup people like it was doll wedding. We will have to see how the shallow concerns and the real concerns face and tackle each other. Done well, it would be a treat to watch/read.
Still haven’t given up my hope with part of the series. I think the success of this story will lie very heavily in the unfolding of the tale and more importantly the way it unfolds.
Thanks for your two cents. I find it pretty funny that the missing people are right under their nose. The prince (Chat) and his betrothed (Jantha.) Imagine their reaction when they realize that they live in such a coincidental world. I think that for me to feel a little more connected to the plot, I would need more time with the set up. Everything is happening so matter of factly. But then again, I’m such a picky fangirl and if the pairing or even characters don’t get me going in the first place, it’s challenging for me to stay invested emotionally with the drama. Regarding Soifah, she’s a fierce one to be sure, and a good contender for Chai Lek, but she raises my hackles too, ha. Sometimes I understand her, sometimes I want to throttle her. Oh, what to do? I’ll just have to continue watching lol.
Oh I hear you!
I think I am finding this more palatable for two reasons:
1. I don’t understand thai and I am watching an un-subbed(??) version. So I am mostly using my own imagination to plug in the holes.
2. Just not taking this seriously at all. Just there for the ride :).
I am watching Sai Roong, with Ann T, which is a lot heavier and understanding it, since it is subbed. So an extremely light one is a good balance :).
It takes almost an apocalypse(almost) for me comment in blogs or even forums because my comments tend to be pretty aggressive at times and I find that I often offend a few people. Sometime I enjoy the debate, often time it annoys me. I stop going into forums almost 5 years now and just stick to Lyn’s Blog. I came upon your blog by accident after searching for articles and reviews on this particular series in which I am absolutely obsessed about. My last obsession was Oum Rak. I must applaud and appreciate your reviews. With all that said, I have to agree with you on the relationship development or lack of but I have to say I am not surprised because this is under Off Pongphat’s directing. I often find that most of his lakorns lack the deep romance that some of us dreamers crave. I do want to recommend you to read the novel if you do read thai because you will be able to sense the adoration of the relationship between the characters more.
I, same as you am still uncertain if we will be able to get or believe in the relationship development in only 3.5 more episodes. My fingers are also crossing, both hands.
I am glad that for whatever reason, this post prompted you to leave a comment, I def appreciate reading fellow lakorn fans’ feedbacks. Thanks for recommending the novel. I may consider purchasing the whole series down the road. Not sure if I’ll have time to read it, but it would be good to have on hand should some free time arises, if I’m not too busy watching too many lakorns, lol.
Perhaps we must concede to the fact that we may not get more out of Chai Lek’s character for the remainder of the series, which is a pity. But there are redeeming aspects of the lakorn, for those that the plot appeals to.
Hi, fia. Thanks for your post. I also watch the gentlemen series. Right now I’m watching khun chai lek without sub so I’m trying to understand the story through their act. So far I can’t feel the same love that i felt when I’m watching khun chai ruj and khun chai pat. In khun chai Ruj sometimes I cried for him and proud of him at the same time cause he is so great. for khun chai Pat I love him cause he shows that the robotic doctor can fall in love and fight for his love. But for khun chai lek I haven’t see it till now. I really hope he can show more love for soifah besides being jealous. Sorry if my comment is too long. Love your blog.
PS. I found your blog from youtube. I was searching video about plerng and numfon, love your video.
I love long comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one 🙂 glad to hear that you’re enjoying the Gents series as a whole, I feel like we’ve been able to spend so much time with the five brothers, getting to know them and watching them fall in love- and hopefully the fourth one will fight for his wife too.
I haven’t indulged in any subbings for awhile, but glad that my YT channel brought you here. Hope to see you around more, and happy lakorn watching!
im w astra. i dont have a particular genre or reason to watch a lakorn. i can watch a romanceless film/drama if the plot entice me. this on the other hand, soifah and her story seems to keep me intact. aof is known as a romanceless lakorn producer lol (dong poo dee) but then he did pretty well w mario and margie lakorn but most of the time his romance lakorn comes out really flat.
i also blame the length of this series. it is too congested, cramming all this into 10-12.5 episodes. btwn bomb tanin isnt really the greatest actor out of the 5 gent but i still heart him haha. but i am looking forward to joi&janta, chat&janta, chat&soi, lek&soi, soi&her journey, chat& his father, omg the list goes on. u see. how can they fit all this in 10 episodes!!!
Your comment pretty much sums up my thoughts regarding this lakorn though I don’t much about the director or his/her other work. I wish I knew the Thai language – would have been fun to read the book.
What’s interesting is that scriptwriters are notorious for straying away from the book. That’s why writers are always curious on how their story will get interpreted on the small screen. Also, the Gents series is written by 5 different writers who collaborate and give insight on each story- so to start with- this is an interesting project. Unlike a series that is written by one author and one objective on mind. Not sure whether I like or dislike that, but I’m a fan of one specific writer who casts her magical tale from one story to another. It’s more cohesive that way. Not to say that this Thai book publisher isn’t creating something rather unique. 🙂
@ Fia, Oh that’s interesting. Even if the authors are collaborating, the voices will be different, along with the writing styles. Imagine Harry Potter being written by 7 different authors. Don’t know if I would have liked it all that much then. I guess in a series like this, since the stories while inter-twined, are essentially different, this multi-author thing would work. Still the idea that *all* siblings find their special significant others is a bit ludicrous. I guess one can still enjoy them for what they are or are not. Reminds me of Judy Garland’s books and other similar authors where each books focuses on a different sibling and can be multi-generational. So far I have been drawn to the story of the 2nd brother and the 4th brother. Haven’t seen the 3rd brothers story as yet.
I agree with you, and understand your reason. To me, so far, I like Khun Chai Lek’s story the most. It have a fun plot, and it’s very interesting. I enjoyed the last 6 episodes. I have to agree that I want to see more in Khun Chai Lek’s character. I want to see how he “fall in love” with her and the same towards Soifah. Hopefully, in this week episode, there will be many, many love and cute scenes for us or else I’ll be disappoint.
I totally have been overwhelmed with work that I haven’t been able to visit your blog but I def expressed my emotions towards this lakorn.
I really wanted to like it but Bomb comes off as sort of stiff to me…I don’t FEEL the chemistry with Taew which is a shame because I think she’s doing a great job!
I also just finished episode 7 and I literally screamed when Khun Chai Pat and Krong Kaew came into the scene…He soooo loves to touch her…skinship yay!!! I am seriously now watching this part for Chai Pat and Kaew LOL I feel like a stalker right now eeek…I hope the last part will wrap it up for me and I will feel the LOVE between James Ma and Mint…
ETA: What I meant is that you seriously expressed what I am feeling about the lakorn at this stage…you can read my mind and we have quite similar tastes 🙂
One of the many reasons why I’m addicted to your blog
Aw, thanks Raiya, as always I appreciate your continued support 🙂
I love part 4 very much. As for the lack of love chemistry, I think it was the stiffness in bomb’s acting. Otherwise I would think soifah and chai lek made an interesting couple. I love his willingness to commit into the marriage and eagerness to make the marriage real. Soifah, on the other hand, refused the love. Unlike the other parts, love seem to come too easily and even obsession.
The love story begin but very slowly so you almost can feel it. This so far is one of the best is the story, every time since they left WALAHOK. I’m scared and I love it. But I don’t know why I just can stop to watch it