Currently airing on evening television is Kularb Son Klin starring First Ekkaphong and Marie Broenner by Quiz and Quest production. Evening dramas air Monday to Friday for 50 minutes and doesn’t procure as many viewers as their primetime counterpart, and they tend to be a little fluffier and a lot more contrived. However, after giving evening dramas my due diligence, I find myself enjoying it so thoroughly. And you have one person to thank for that, First Ekkaphong. Despite being relegated to playing an evening drama pr’ek, I find First to be more engaging than other primetime pr’eks out there. He’s charming, too tall, and absolutely too handsome for his own good.
I started noticing First in Nang Rai Summer where he delighted me with his role as Tonnam, the hotheaded resort owner. But he especially stood out for me in this newest installment, Kularb Son Klin as Khun Soon, the level headed restaurant owner and operator. This lakorn is also Marie Broenner’s last lakorn for Channel 3, and despite many ridicules about her off screen behavior or lack of onscreen talent, Marie’s acting has improved since her first lakorn, 3 Num Nuea Thong. But I believe more than anything, that much of a good lakorn has more to do with directing, writing and chemistry with one’s costars.
Herein, we have Kularb Son Klin, which is a story about Gusuma (Marie Broenner) who dreams big. Gusuma’s biggest dream in life is to live in Australia with her auntie. Upon graduation, her auntie pays the family a visit and reports that she will be opening a restaurant in Australia, and that Gusuma would be her chef. This news came entirely out of left field, because being a chef isn’t one of Gusuma’s aspirations or forte. But since it means achieving her dream, Gusuma decides that she can certainly be flexible. This is only a minor kink and obstacle to a well-paved road (as yellow brick road as they might be.) However in order to work in Australia and establish a work visa, Gusuma would need a letter of recommendation from a restaurant owner. And only the best one would do.
Khun Soon (First Ekkaphong), Im Suk Restaurant’s owner and operator, meets the most stubborn and persistent girl who literally and figuratively rocks his world. All tomboy and 100% headstrong and focused on achieving her dreams, she enters his life and turns it inside out and upside down. After some initial resistance, Khun Soon eventually is drawn to her perseverance and finally offers her a job. Although, she must prove to him by working her way through the restaurant chain, that she has the goods and gumptions to backup her goal, otherwise, he would never write her the sought after letter of recommendation.
Perhaps Khun Soon would be better able to handle the chaos that entered his life (aka Gusuma) if he hadn’t been so heartbroken. Khun Soon had been dating his first and only love for four years. As typical, he wants to work hard and ensure that he created enough means for a stable life with his future wife, and so, he doesn’t notice that his girlfriend is feeling put out and seeing another man. Upon his proposal – gosh this sweet man made his own bouquet of flowers and baked her a cake! – his girlfriend tells him that she no longer loves him and she’s going to marry another man. Gusuma witnessed the whole debacle and has it in her head that if he’s not happy or find another love soon, he would not be able to focus on turning her into a redeemable chef! That shall not be impossible as Khun Soon has two conniving women hoping that he would give them a second glance: his exgirlfriend’s sister and a cake shop owner.
However, adversities to achieving Gusuma’s dreams are abounding, not to mention the love at the end of the tunnel. First and foremost, Gusuma herself. This girl gets into so much trouble and at times so frustratingly inadequate that you want to smack her beside her head and tell her to grow the hell up. But she does make up with her perseverance – backbone made of STEEL – and she knows when to apologize. Secondly, she has two women who would rather make her look bad in front of Khun Soon so that they can eliminate another competition for his heart, then to actually make him love them fair and square. Thirdly, Gusuma has to impress the head chef who’s as moody and finicky as a shark. Not to mention, proving herself to the entire restaurant and customers that she has what it takes. Whew.
Thankfully a distraction with Gusuma is the perfect remedy for a broken heart. She’s the kind of distraction that takes 24-hour focus. Khun Soon slowly puts his time, heart and mind to become her champion, personal tutor and all-encompassing cheerleader, and will see to it that she becomes the best chef Im Suk Restaurant can muster.
I like the timeline and layout of evening dramas. Misunderstandings are quickly resolved; problems are squared away making new, interesting ones as the stakes are raised. With 13 episodes aired thus far, and everyone pulling the two apart, but the two are adamantly telling each other that they care about each other, I’m enjoying the anticipation of what happens next (and curious to learn why Gusuma wants to go to Australia so damn badly.)
Most of all, I love First Ekkaphong. His character Khun Soon is also the kind of pr’ek that I can watch all day, everyday. And if I have to watch only evening dramas to see First Ekkaphong play second fiddle to NONE, I’d gladly do it.
*Pic credit to owners
AND because they are so cute, I’ve created a video with their cute scenes. These are taken from episodes 6-10 of Kularb Son Klin:
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