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Melodrama is the name of the game in this newest weekend installment, Nai Suan Kwan, which aired its premier episode this past Sunday. Headlining this new channel 3 lakorn is Boy Pakorn and Margie Rasri, produced by TV Scene. Two years and three lakorns respectively later, the pair ‘Bargie’, has reunited to bring more smiles to their shipping fans. And what’s better than to star in a romantic drama, all together with cutesy animal names and a story centering around family conflicts and.. a beautiful garden?

The story opens with Peck-pook (Margie) driving her father to their newly acquired home. The cinematography is nothing shy of perfection, with clear and crisp HD quality, while the score hints of sadness that indicates even though this father-daughter duo is buying a new home- a cause for celebration for many people- is actually quite a sad event for them. But.. why so sad?

Peck (meaning duck) consoles her father that this is going to be a good, necessary move. However as she’s driving, she does not keep her eyes on the road and nearly hits a truck that is clearly backing out of a driveway. Pan to angry truck driver, which is Ton-Mai, meaning tree (Boy Pakorn,) who has half of his face covered in a worker’s towel. The near fender bender causes the two parties to argue (I’m on Mai’s side) while the homeowner association (property manager?) ends the dispute.

Right off the bat, despite Mai appearing as the gardener, he is not afraid to speak his mind. This is a rare behavior of someone who is supposedly an underling, which only hints that Mai’s unspoken position in this property management firm if you will, is more than meets the eyes.

I find myself feeling quite sad with the first 30 minutes of this episode. Peck’s father is an astonishingly great actor that he pulls you into his melo without even knowing why he’s so sad. Apparently his son Gai-gook, meaning chicken, is a drunkie and this frustrates his wife to no end. They have two kids together and live in his father’s home. But the wife has no respect for Peck or her father and constantly badger, scold and blame them for her husband’s condition. Isn’t there a rule that once you’ve turned 18, everything that happens to you is usually your fault? At any rate, the wife causes discord among the family and to instill a measure of peace in their lives, father-daughter duo decide to move out.

Peck believes that this move should bring some happiness to her father’s life, but she realizes that is not the case. After all, he moved from the home that he’s lived in for 30 years, and will be far removed from his two grandkids and son. Their change is really only that, a move. Because despite alienating themselves from the problem, the core family issues are still there. Peck cries into her pillow, not knowing that a certain gardener has an excellent view of her bedroom window from his fancy tree house.

Mai has a green thumb and a calm hand, but a stubborn and steel heart. But I quite like his character, he’s a smart ass and challenges Peck, who believes whatever she hears and read. Such a weakness for a marketing manager.

Upon her first day at the new home, her gossipy and nosy neighbor cautions her about the gardener, that he’s a pervert. Despite the coordinator dispelling those rumors, Peck continues to believe whatever her neighbor tells her. She doesn’t get along with said gardener, so he must be a suspicious person. And yet, we’ve no idea why the neighbor is so keen on badmouthing Mai so much.

Her family drama and the new move have affected her quality of work. The boss calls her into the office to scold her for not reviewing the proposal before sending it to the customer. Apparently her subordinate and friend submitted the same marketing proposal from two months ago. I have concerns about Peck’s people reading ability and her professional skillset. But I like that the show is inferring that sometimes, try as you might, it is difficult to keep your personal issues at the door.

I don’t know what is more cute, Mai getting Peck’s father to laugh and bringing some joy in his life, or the idea that Mai’s entrance into this father-daughter duo’s life will change everything. Especially when the gardener has a bird’s eye view of the heroine’s internal strife’s- unbeknownst to her- as she’s crying alone in her bedroom. Peck may not be the most cunning or sharp of a heroine, but when it comes to her father, she’s like a lion protecting her cub. This reversal of role is funny as she warns her father to be careful of making friends with the suspicious gardener. This is something a father would be telling his daughter, not the other way around.

The story sets up a simple premise, which is concerning, because a show with a basic plot typically loses its steam. The biggest conflict in the story is that Peck’s family doesn’t get along, and well, Mai doesn’t want anything to do with his mom. Can this conflict carry a show? Or are they just relying on the relationship development (and character growth) to sustain a new series? The trouble with TV scene lakorns is that even though everything is so good to look at, there’s not a lot of substance to move the interest along. I hope, for the sake of Bargie fans abound, that Nai Suan Kwan, will be interesting. Best thing is to expect it to be bad and be pleasantly surprised that it is good.  Right? Right.

Episode 1 Youtube’s playlist.

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