The Lady Summer (Nang Rai Summer)– A Review
Posted on May 5, 2014
More than twenty years ago, Pu Song Tarn Resort in Ratburi had once been a renowned resort due to its exotic and rare hybrid flower, The Lady Summer. However after the unfortunate death of its horticulturist, this rare breed ceased to bloom and flower for any eyes to feast upon its beauty, thus taking away the guests, the popularity, and the curiosity with it, leaving Pu Song Tarn Resort scraping by in present day, with an interested buyer knocking at its door.
But the younger generation of the resort owner, Tonnam (First Akkapong), has grand ideals and strong work ethic, not to mention something to prove. He is determined to turn things around and make his resort- a resort that his father built from the ground up- become famous once again. His only hope lies in making The Lady Summer bloom, and much as he hates to admit it, he needs one particular person’s specialty. Ploylada (Namfon Patcharin), the resort’s horticulturist and resident thug, has been the cunning and bothersome girl that he had the bad fortune to grow up with. The two fight tooth and nail and are both too hot in the head to let a day go by without a fight. He refers to her as “Nang Rai” which means a mean girl or villainess in lakorns. The lakorn title “Nang Rai Summer” plays on the reference to The Lady Summer as well as our mean and conniving leading lady.
Things get even more interesting at Pu Song Tarn Resort when Ploylada meets her long lost twin sister in Bangkok on one of the resorts marketing efforts at Avenue Mall. She spots a face identical to hers and immediately makes chase, reason being her older twin sister, PraeChompoo (Namfon Patcharin), doesn’t actually know that she has a twin. She was raised by their aunt Sai and uncle Mook, who had deceived their mother Rampai that they will help raise PraeChompoo while Rampai takes care of Ploylada. Rampai at the time was devastated by the loss of her husband with little means to support her twin children (she works for Housekeeping at the resort.) The moment her sister in law have the bundle of joy in her arms, they took off with PraeChompoo, never to be seen or heard of again. This devastated Rampai to no end, and in the past twenty odd years, she finally came to terms with the prospect that she will never see her elder twin daughter again. Ploylada on the other hand, doesn’t give up on the idea that she will meet her twin sister one day. And when that day inevitably came, Ploylada is like a dog with a bone, she refuses to let her sister go.
PraeChompoo finds herself between a rock and a hard place when presented with the evidence that she has a twin and that the people she calls mom and dad, are actually her aunt and uncle. Not to mention the terrible news that they had taken her away from her mother. What’s a girl to do? She wants to see her biological mother but she also wants to stay with the parents who raised her and loved her as their own, and this revelation had to happen just when she met someone special and opened her own restaurant.
The aforementioned person is Chotiro – Khun Cho (Alek Teeradeth) – who is the only son to Avenue Mall’s CEO, who not only has a firm hold on her business, but her family too. (Especially her son, who will not disobey his Momma.) CEO Phan would like to choose only a woman with the perfect pedigree for her son and when she comes across one that simply would not do, she makes the girl’s life a living hell. So much so, that the girl would leave her son on her own accord. PraeChompoo, with her proper, gentle and kind demeanor is no match for CEO Phan.
Enter a bright idea by our cunning Ploylada who suggests that they switch places. Ploylada would pretend to be PraeChompoo in Bangkok so that she can win over Khun Cho’s tough Momma, and PraeChompoo would stay at the resort and pretend to be Ploylada so she can get to know her biological mother. And that’s where the fun begins.
The twin sisters swap places blindly – without briefing each other about what they may encounter on the other side of the fence. I mean two 11 year olds in Parent Trap were more prepared to deal with each other’s lives than these two grown women. But that’s where the humor comes in, their natural characteristics conflict greatly with the other, causing people around them to wonder what in hell is wrong with Ploylada/PraeChompoo. That is also where the mistakes come in, despite any efforts to phone each other for consultations.
When you’re unfamiliar with the surroundings and the people, you make mistakes. PraeChompoo unknowingly promises Tonnam that The Lady Summer will indeed bloom this year (because aren’t flowers supposed to bloom when they’re supposed to?) without knowing that that particular breed hasn’t bloomed in twenty years. Tonnam trusts her professional call – although he doesn’t trust her per se – and signs an agreement with the Japanese Tourism that in three month’s time, The Lady Summer will be available for viewing. His father then takes out an investment from the bank in order to spruce up the resort. Meanwhile the baddie who is determined to buy the resort, finds ways to sabotage The Lady Summer.
Tonnam couldn’t stand Ploylada, but in a matter of a day, she changes 180 degrees. From the top of her head to the tips of her toes, Ploylada was different. She’s more sensitive, emotional, even-tempered and more attractive to him, somehow. He finds himself drawn to her and the rougher side of him softens.
PraeChompoo on the other hand seems to become feistier overnight, livelier and it makes Khun Cho wonder if this new PraeChompoo could stick around forever. She taught him to be a better man, one who doesn’t give in to his Momma all the time and isn’t afraid to do what he thinks is right. The old PraeChompoo expects him to be her hero, while the new PraeChompoo simply makes him want to be better. I love that. It’s difficult to find someone who accepts you for your weaknesses, but calls you out on them because they know you can do more. Khun Cho is made to appear weak and a pushover, so it’s nice to see when his character grows some balls without being an undutiful son. His mother tends to manipulate him into doing what she wants him to do so I completely cheered when Khun Cho turns that charm on her.
But alas, nobody wants to be lied to or be made a fool. Tonnam struggles with loving someone who already has a boyfriend and who is pretending to be someone else. While Khun Cho is completely confused as to whom he professes to love, the soft spoken or the sassy PraeChompoo? I like that the show takes its time in giving us an engaging beginning, a moving middle and a satisfied ending. I love the scenes where the twins switch; it puts them in unfamiliar surroundings and causes the boys to be highly uncomfortable. I actually sighed – the good kind – when the story came to a close. Everything wrapped up nicely and tied with a bow.
There is also a message to one of the bigger problems plaguing Thailand and any other nature conscience countries: one has to protect the natural resources and mother nature. That is the reason why The Lady Summer hasn’t bloomed in twenty years, she needed to grow in a natural environment where she will flourish and be happy. Upon uprooting a few of her stems into the wild, and recreating her natural habitat at the resort, The Lady Summer finally bloomed again, taking the resort back to its glory days.
Hats off to Namfon Patcharin who truly came alive in this lakorn. She did an amazing job as both Ploylada and PraeChompoo, that at times I feel as if I’m watching two different actresses. She had great chemistry with First and Alek- whom I initially wanted to see more of from Spinsters and Casanovas and the reason why I tuned into this lakorn.
And I’m sure glad I did! I should watch more evening dramas, after all, each episode is only 54 minutes long, as oppose to its primetime counterpart, which is 1.45 hours. I like that the light hearted and softer side will pair well with any blood pressure inducing primetime shows.
Master One Production (the maker of Paen Rai Phai Rak and Spinsters Versus Casanovas) has taken me on a twenty-episode ride filled with fun, laughter and a lighthearted romp in the city and breathtaking resort. I’m quite impressed with Master One thus far and hope that they continue to make quality lakorns fit for any romcom loving viewers out there.
*pic credit to original owners
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