Hormones Episode 1: Testosterone
Posted on October 21, 2013
A strong start to the Hormones series, Episode 1 introduces us to the compelling cast by presenting the theory that in order to reach an answer, we must first ask a question. Even though you may fear authority, but if you express your point of view, perhaps there are many people out there who feel the same way, but are just waiting for a brave soul to lead the way. Power in numbers. With that being said, let’s get this show on the road.
EPISODE 1 RECAP
We open at a high school, it’s 8am and the entire students and staff assemble before the principal in neat single filed lines, singing the national anthem. The synchronized voices are heard through the speaker system, blaring throughout the school. Not all however, are present. A few students are hiding in the classroom, smoking (Phai’s gang,) while a teacher administrator marches around the school, eyeing for potential naughty students not abiding by the rules and regulations.
Praying follows the national anthem, and our heroine Khongkwan, takes the podium to lead the student body. A group of girls whisper how envious and perfect she is: a good student, smart and beautiful. Everyone practically adores her. We are then introduced to our antihero, Win, who walks out of the restroom stall, buttoning up his shirt and straightening his clothes. Trailing after him (out of the same restroom stall) is Sprite, who’s adjusting her uniform. Phai watches the two with a knowing look, but no one exchanges a word.
Back at the school assembly, the principal commences his introduction to the first day of school, and that the students’ contributions to society are to be good and focus on their studies. However he doesn’t garner much interest as the students are more invested on what everyone did on their holiday. The administrator cracks a whip (figuratively) and scolds the students for their inattentiveness and dismisses them to their classrooms. Cue the school band- a band member with a fresh looking face- Phoo, attracts the attention of girls. Toei is among the group who finds herself being immersed in uncomfortable female chatter, and about her ex boyfriend Phoo to boot. She vehemently indicates that they are over.
In the next line over, Khongkwan is approached by the homeroom teacher, who assures her that if she keeps up her 4.0 GPA, she would write her an excellent letter of recommendation for college admission. The teacher also asks Khongkwan to take Dao, the 10th grader under her wings- apparently she’s the child of a PTA parent.
Students file into the classroom, excited to be with their classmates/friends again as they pick their seat of choice for the rest of the semester. Toei peers around for a good seat when the chatterbox girls motion her over to them. She gives a reluctant smile and proceeds to sit at a desk behind them.
Meanwhile Thee and friend rinse out their saxophone mouth piece and Thee scolds his friend to give it a better rinse, but his friend snipes that if his mouth gets infected, then he’ll come back to Thee for a good cleanse of the mouth and sax.
In another classroom (the tenth graders), friends of Dao are reading her romance novel out loud. They praise at her exceptional writing skills. Then at the corner of their eyes, they spy Win walking down the hallway, and Dao imagines that Win would pair up with Khongkwan in her next daydream/stellar romance story to come, despite ignoring the fact that Khongkwan doesn’t give Win the time of day.
Speaking of Khongkwan, in her particular classroom, they are about to vote for the class representative (I would prefer to call it ‘president.’) Obviously, she’s the top contender and gets majority of the hand raised for her, in exception to two boys in the back, who happens to be Win and cohort, who votes for her competitor. Majority rules and Khongkwan wins.
And since it is the first day of school, the administrator, Teacher Niphon inspects each classroom to ensure that every student meets the hair regulation, including the teacher. He finds his first victim in the second row, where he snips off the boy’s hair to show the remainder of the classroom what an acceptable hair length looks like. After all, rules are rules, which have been obeyed for many years, and thus they must continue this tradition.
Win would like to question this very tradition thank you very much. He raises his hand and inquires Teacher Niphon, while the rest of the classroom looks on with a mixture of horror and respect. Teacher Niphon relents that rules are meant to be followed and abhors at the idea that Win is questioning his ancestors’ decision making. Win is dissatisfied with the answer and continues to press why they should cut their hairs, and if the teacher doesn’t know, how would the ancestors who created this tradition answer the aforementioned question? Ha.
In an irritated flurry, Teacher Niphon marches to the front of the classroom and laments that rules are rules, they cannot question it, and it is their responsibility to uphold it. Got it? It is like a parent who says ‘coz I told you so. Which only cuts it as an excuse when you’re younger than 5 years old. Teacher marches out, and Win cracks a smile.
In the science class, their topic for this term is the very title of this show: hormones and behavioral studies. Khongkwan happens to be the only student who opened her book prior to class and showed the not surprising classroom (and us) that she’s going to be the goodie two shoes in this show.
The squeaky girls in Toei’s classroom encourages her to go to the restroom with them, Toei is confused why she would need to go when she doesn’t need to pee, but she follows along. They even apply blush on her cheeks to pretty her up. Unfortunately the administrator spots the girls and scolds Toei for wearing makeup- because apparently according to him, the more makeup you wear, the more your brain cells would die. (I’m sure no science is available to back him up.) Suddenly, I cannot wait for Win to continue challenging this old fart.
As the girls meander down the cafeteria, they give Toei the low down on the students. That Sprite girl is currently seeking her next victim as she reads a boy’s palm. She’s been around the block a few times and gets any man she wants. Toei doesn’t believe in gossips, but the girls seem to think that gossips are as real as they come.
They peer at two girls (Khongkwan is one of them) and comments that Khongkwan and Sprite used to be the best of friends but had a falling out. One is a studious girl and the other.. a slut. Toei looks away uncomfortably, feeling out of sorts with this group of gossipy, squeaky girls.
They spy her with Krit and notice the awkwardness. Toei remarks that Krit had a crush on her but she doesn’t feel the same way, so they aren’t close anymore. They comment that it’s natural that Krit would be attracted to her, she’s cute after all. Just like her ex over there, Phoo. One of the girls shamelessly retorts that Phoo is just her type.
First day of school ends, the shirts come un-tuck, the bags thrown over the shoulders. Win and Mok go about their ritual of going to the game shop after school, but not before the administrator has something to say about the state of Win’s un-tucked shirt. No matter where he’s at or what he’s doing, when he’s wearing his uniform, he must wear it properly. Win questions Teacher Niphon again on what the writer of said rules/traditions has to say about this? Lol.
Later at the game shop, Win spies a familiar senior walking with her boyfriend. He decides to stalk them until the two lovebirds part ways, he goes in to purchase a pack of condoms and nonchalantly makes his move with the senior by offering to walk her home.
Toei’s home life is warm despite having a single mom. While Dao’s well-to-do home life is managed strictly by her mother, who thinks her daughter is being studious and doing her homework, but Dao is actually penning her next romance novel.
Win stirs awake in his senior’s bed after an apparent nightcap with her. He dresses quietly in the dark and slips out. Once he reaches his home, he changes into a fresh uniform, but pauses in between buttoning up his shirt. A thought came to him and he takes off his uniform.
Much to the surprise of many students that very morning, Win shows up sans uniform. His two besties Tar and Mok, surmise that it will be a fun day indeed as they watch Win saunter down the hallway. Win retorts that his act is not an act of rebellion, but a mere question.
The whisperings about Win spread throughout the singing of the national anthem. The girls exclaim that he’s hot and bad at the same time, which is apparently an irresistible combination. They ask Toei why he’s not wearing his uniform, to which Toei claims she doesn’t know, and propels the girls to claim that since she’s close to all of the boys at school, if she doesn’t know, then who else would? Pfft.
The stern teacher announces at the podium that the student who isn’t dressed properly for school should come see her. At the middle of the lineup, Win questions loudly why they should wear their student uniforms. The teacher relents these are school rules and thus has been structured for many years. To which, Win says that if the rules exist for so long, then she ought to know why they should follow them. Heh. She chastises him to meet her at the administration room immediately.
The administrator leans back in his chair and questions Win why he’s rebelling against him. Win says that he’s merely waiting for a valid answer- but the administrator exclaims that because Win doesn’t want to wear his uniform, there is no reasoning that will convince him otherwise. Win practically tells the man to sell it to him, why should he love to wear his uniform? Teacher Vilai laments that he should be proud to wear his uniform, it represents his school. But Win replies that he’s already proud, why should he wear something to prove it? He knew this would deem too much for the administrator, as the man flips out. Win touches something in his pocket.
In the chemistry class, Toei asks Tar whether he thinks Win would be in trouble. Tar doesn’t think so but if he does, Win can usually get himself out of whatever trouble he’s in. Toei finds herself more comfortable talking and relating to boys. She discovers Tar plays guitar and asks to listen to him play some day.
The rest of the school cheer on Win as they watch him leave the administrator room, suspended for the rest of the day. Apparently he doesn’t merely talk back to his teachers, but to his father as well, who doesn’t seem to care what kind of trouble his son gets in, so long he doesn’t fail his studies. The man gets back to his ‘unfinished’ business of womanizing, while the son goes to his room and makes his next move. Wonder where he gets that from..
Win takes the voice recording of Teacher Niphon and puts it on Facebook, proceeding the question, “Why do we have to wear uniforms?” The video spreads like wildfire at school and Win follows the Facebook video with a posting “Let’s show them the power of resistance.” Just a few seconds after the posting, Teacher Niphon marches into the chemistry classroom to further validate the repercussions of failing to adhere to school rules. He forewarns them that whatever happened this morning better not happen again- or else! But Teacher Niphon is the laughingstock of the classroom as someone plays the exact same dialogue that he had repeated to Win.
In a matter of minutes, his posting had 2100 likes. Win smiles, and then ignores a call coming in from his senior whom he rendezvous with the night prior.
The following morning is a result of social media and power in numbers. Win walks into school (sans his uniform of course) and many students before him are also wearing their regular clothes. He beams with pride, a younger classmen even came up to him to shake his hand, sharing that Win’s his idol. The local student reporter, Pop, interviews the big man on campus about the resistance that’s making wave at the school. Win believes that it’s going according to his initial expectations: the fact that his fellow students share similar beliefs, while the rest remains to be seen.
Toei also shows up with her regular clothes, the girls remark that she would get along well with the boys based on what she’s wearing. Toei peers at the girls, who apparently had made plans to dress similarly and girly. She excuses herself when she heard they were going to the restroom together again, but the mean girls lamented that nobody invited her. Pfft.
During the national anthem, Teacher Niphon marches over to Win questioning whether he had created the vapid mess. Win doesn’t deny it and throws the question back at the teacher on whether he’s afraid? Furious, Teacher Niphon orders every student who isn’t wearing the uniform to go to the gym.
The students congregate on the floor, before their teachers and principal. Win admits that he had been behind the idea but that he cannot force his fellow students to conform. Furthermore, this resistance stems from the dissatisfaction of Teacher Niphon’s reasoning and answers. If Win does well in school and gets good grades, why can’t he wear whatever he wants? Teacher Niphon wonders why they can’t adhere to the rules when every other student can. Phai speaks up and thinks that it’s irrelevant that they should follow everyone else. A female student stands up next and questions why the hair regulations should have anything to do with whether a student does well in school or not. Teacher Vilai retorts that if they allow the students to go willy nilly and do whatever they want (such as dressing the way they like, wearing their hair in different colors) would result in their inability to focus on school.
The students’ then bargain for an opportunity to prove to the teacher that their grades won’t drop, but Teacher Niphon remarks that they are not at the market and therefore cannot bargain, coz rules are rules! Win relents that they won’t bargain if the teacher offers up a proper answer.
The voice of reason offers her take on this searing question. She’s younger than the rest of the teachers, and much more forward thinking. She proceeds to offer the students an explanation. Let’s say a burglar snatched their bag, what is the first thing that pops in their mind? Toei throws in ‘police.’ The teacher nods her head and asks the next question, how would they know which one is the police among a crowd of people? She could see the light bulb turn on in their heads: well, the ones wearing a police uniform of course. Furthermore, every career has its duties and responsibilities, and thus, their uniforms serve to remind others of their duties. Therefore, students wear uniforms to remind them that they are, well, students and their job is to study. Other countries may do things differently, but that works for them. But in this school, rules are set for both students and teachers, and therefore must be followed. And because they broke the rules, they must be punished, otherwise the rules would mean nothing, and they couldn’t call this establishment a school.
Win gives his homeroom teacher a thumbs up, feeling that she has a given him a satisfied answer. The students punishment is to clean the gym and that their first offense will be considered a light one.
Phai and his gang prepare to clean the gym when they spot their former senior waiting by the corner. Pex is still dating Sprite, who’s still in high school. Phai exchanges an awkward look with Sprite because he knows her game. He had seen her coming out of the men’s restroom right after Win. He doesn’t say anything though.
Win goes to exchange a new bucket of fresh water when he encounters Khongkwan. She chides him for being proud of his handy work but he says he’s merely happy that it went according to his expectations. He surmises that people who are afraid of the rules are afraid of breaking them. But Khongkwan snipes that she’s not afraid, she just doesn’t see the value of his proposal. This doesn’t surprise him because people like her simply won’t understand something like this. Meaning, she can’t understand the need to question. People like her just accept and follow the status quo without asking why, and live her life by other people’s standards- without contemplating whether it is good or bad for her. He adds that when people question things, things change. The answer is right before their eyes, despite having to clean the gym, at the end of the day, the students win. Khongkwan gives him food for thought though: tomorrow will go on the way they used to, if he really wants to make a difference, then he ought to change the school’s rules. Touché.
Whether Win is being a smartass, a pain in the ass or naturally curious (or perhaps all of the above) he is nonetheless a leader- so on a character basis, I am curious to see how he evolves as a leader and as a person- will things always go according to his expectations or will life throw a wrench into his laid out plans? For my sake, I hope it’s the latter. I want to see him care, I want to see a kink in his armor.
And where does testosterone- the first hormone represented in this show- come into play in this episode? It is after all, the title. In terms of teenagers, hormones influence many body systems, human growth and development. The two major hormones that come into play is testosterone and estrogen- both male and female secrete both hormones- obviously in different amounts- but both work together to maintain overall health.
Perhaps testosterone is alluding to the introduction of our leading man, Win, who certainly utilizes his testosterone production. There’s a lot of potential in this young man, and I hope they take him there. But if he fails us, we have a slew of other teenagers and teachers to watch and grow- not to mention the flaws of the education system, the challenge of newfound views, as well as those teenage hormones just waiting to rip out of their chest.
I’m still waiting to find a character I will be rooting for, a character I can sink my teeth into and hang back to enjoy the show, but yunno, it’s only the first episode and we’ve got so much in store for us in the next 13 episodes to come. I’ve got an abundance amount of patience for this show, since I’m launching each episode recaps on a weekly basis. It’ll give us time to weigh in our thoughts and debate.
So what think you of the first episode? Do you agree with the teachers? Or do you agree with the students? Who are you rooting for? Who do you care least about?
*Please try your best to maintain comments relevant to episode 1, I know some of you may have already seen the whole series in entirety, but some of us (namely yours truly) haven’t, and she truly dislikes spoilers! That’s right, reign in those excitement for now! Thanks so much 🙂