Broadcast Thai Production just stepped it up a notch with their latest weekend installment, Dao Kiang Duen, starring Ken Pupoom and Namtarn. Airing on Channel 3, following the first story about Prakai Dao and Khun Chai Jantarapanu in Dao Kiaw Duen, this sequel fast forwards 20+ years to the current setting of this story about their son, Momluang Jantarakarn. This lakorn not only reminds me of how much I enjoyed the first installment, but actually manages to impress me with its tone, quality and above all, loveable characters. Within five minutes of the show, I am already laughing and having a ball. If they keep up the funny as well as consistent characters, I may come to love this lakorn even more than its predecessor. And that’s saying a lot, because come on, it’s Janie and Aum Atichart.
Quick correction: This is not a true sequel. Khun Jan (our hero) is not the son of our couple from the first installment.
The jarring difference is that I loved Dao Kiaw Duen mainly because of the actors, while I find myself admiring the characters in Dao Kiang Duen despite the actors. See the difference? This means that I would still like this drama no matter who plays it and that’s credit to the screenwriter. Another difference is the overall story. In Dao Kiaw Duen, we have a specific goal: Prakai Dao insists that she must find the perfect specimen for her IVF child, and this goal pulls the story along until the end, where she got what she needed instead of what she initially wanted. But to that end, she gets her cake and eat it too.
While in Dao Kiang Duen, the overall story is more flexible, if you will. Actually, by the first episode, we are not quite sure exactly what the characters are after, but I got to thinking, perhaps the goal is a little more abstract than that. Perhaps the take home message of the show is that it is possible that two people from different social standing can truly end up together. Even though we know this can happen because the first series proved that it can, however, in this particular case, the argument may be that two people meet and cross paths due to the right and correct timing. It’s serendipity. Fate. Call it what you will.
For example, in the first two minutes of the show, Walang, Boss Lady of an event planning company that our heroine works for, is presenting an advertisement for her client “Love Diamond” a watch company. She uses the example of the Moon (our hero’s nick name is Khun Jan meaning moon) and Star (our heroine’s nick name is Dao meaning star) and questions the possibility of whether two different entities can truly align? Walang argues that if the timing is just right (i.e. the watch) than the stars (and hearts) can finally be together. Methinks this is the main analogy that will be woven throughout this show. I can agree that a lot of things in life happen because you’re in the right place and at the right time. Timing is everything.
We open the show with Khun Jan returning from his study abroad. It’s been a long time since he has been gone, even his employee who picks him up from the airport claims that he has grown so tall. Not to mention, even more handsome. Everyone at the airport nearly falls at his feet due to his good looks. What’s even better, Khun Jan is not the typical douche pr’ek. Yay us. He is actually pretty awesome. His parents, Chai Jan and Prakai Dao throw him a surprise welcome home party with an entire cast of friends and family. His momma plays a video that she put together in honor of her very special baby’s homecoming, and much to his horror, everyone gets to see his full frontal as a boy. He shields his face in embarrassment and asks his momma that maybe its best they stop the video footage. But he doesn’t have the heart to disappoint her because the next footage shows everyone how much he is loved. Aw. The older Chai Jan and Dao is played by Johnny Anfone and Tanya Tanyares. I must say, I LOVE the casting. You can tell that Mom loves her son (because she had dreamed of having him for so long) and she dotes on him. The problem is, she never envisions that her son is a grown man, she still thinks he’s her baby. But she certainly gets an eye opener when she enters his bedroom (with maids at her heels) and disturbs a sleeping man. A man who happens to shed his underwear while sleeping. Mom pulls the sheet away from his body, thinking to wake him, but exposes his full glory to everyone instead. OMG.
To her credit, mom wants to wash her eyes out and can’t make eye contact with her son for a whole day. Dad just laughs his ass off and tells her that it serves her right. Their son is a grown man and she ought to start thinking of him as one. I died laughing at this scene. So flippin hilarious.
But this will not do. It gave Khun Jan the final indication that he needs to move. I couldn’t agree with him more. He needs the freedom to grow and do as he wishes without Tiger Mom looking over his shoulders, or his junk, for that matter. Dad is happy to oblige, while Mom puts up a small fight, until hubby reminds her that she has SEEN that her son is a grownup. ROFL.
So not only is Khun Jan a darling son, he’s going to make one heck of a CEO for Brand Mall, Chai Jan’s first baby. Remember how the younger Chai Jan was obsessed with his mall? As an older man now, with a grown son, he rescinds his position to allow Khun Jan to test the waters. Employees are noticing right off the bat that Khun Jan is very particular. He certainly likes what he likes. In a way, he takes after his father in being a perfectionist and wanting everything done just right – leaving the employees scrambling around ensuring that everything meets his expectations. He’s not just the educated and wealthy Manager, he is a capable one at that. Which doesn’t come without haters who want to take him down. Chai Jan claims that if Khun Jan turns out to be the capable Manager within two year’s time, he will take over officially. Like the Grinch who stole Christmas, the employee decides to aid in Khun Jan’s downfall. We shall see about that.
Khun Jan also has a curious mind indeed. He meets a young woman who happens to peak his curiosity. And could you blame him? She is a HOOT. We are talking about our heroine, Dalika aka Dao who is a funny, plucky and strong woman. The best thing about her though, is that she is so contrary to what everyone seems to think of her. I can watch her all day. Khun Jan gets a glimpse of her face a second time at his mall (first time was from his car as he was heading home from the airport) and he wonders why she’s the only person waiting in front of the store while everyone else is clamoring around another. Soon he learns that she’s fully prepared for this sale event. She knew exactly which store will open first and exactly what the discounts will come out to be.
Khun Jan tells his assistant that he’s quite interested to see how this plays out and the assistant, in order to be inconspicuous, decides they should borrow the staff’s name tag so they won’t be noticed. Khun Jan stands in the corner while witnessing the modern day jungle we call, a SALE. Women would slaughter each other to grab the product that they want. Ha. He watches the Shop Girl (a name he gave her after witnessing this debacle) play tug of war over a jacket and proceed to crawl out of the mess. When he helps her to stand, she immediately thinks that the mall has really nice staff (and good looking too.) BUT too bad none of the female staff could contend with her beauty. OMG. She actually said that out loud. What we’ve come to know of our heroine is that she laughs at her own jokes, not quite caring that it doesn’t go over too funny for everyone else. Khun Jan finds this Shop Girl to be quite the strange and loony one.
But our Shop Girl isn’t the shopaholic that he seems to think she is. She’s just a very smart shopper. Coupon clipper, frugal woman who goes after sales because she knows she’s getting the best deal. Furthermore, we see that most of the things that she buys are actually for other people: her mom and grandpa. Her goal is to save up enough money so that they can buy the place her mom lives outright so that they won’t have to rely on the temple anymore. She’s also a sweetheart. The girl that makes things happen at work without a complaint – but she doesn’t just let anyone walk all over her. She’s got the smarts and gumption to turn things around in her favor. But most importantly, she surrounds herself by good people. Her boss, Walang, even at first glance, appear as if she only cares about the outcome of her event. However, Shop Girl has come to find that her Boss is caring and looks out for her best interest.
Case in point, the Maxx sequence. Ick, what a douche. Walang assigns Dao to ensure that Maxx the singer/celebrity agrees to be the presenter for Love Diamond watch. This comes as an expense though, because Maxx wants to go on a lunch date with Dao, which turns out as an invitation to his condo. Like I said, ick. He tries to harass her into sleeping with him, but Dao uses her wits to get out of the situation. Unfortunately she must try to get him to be the celebrity for Brand Mall’s event next, despite hating to be near the douche. Overhearing that her Boss Lady confronts Maxx’s manager that he better not harass her employee again or he’s going to find himself in hot water – Dao can breathe a sigh of relief.
Also, Dao is willing to housesit for a sister she truly respects, even if that sister (I’m calling her sister because we don’t quite know their relationship yet) is OCD about her place and has specific instructions that she must live by. Dao is willing to help her out by staying at her condo for six months. I love our heroine, she’s such a carefree, sensible and quite loveable person. But little did Dao know that by agreeing to housesit, she’s going to come in close proximity to the Sale Employee (aka Khun Jan) whom she later misunderstands to be gay. Ha.
Which in her opinion is a bummer. For one, good looking guys are hard to come by. Secondly, good looking WORTHY guys are even harder to come by. For example, when Dao was moving her things into the condo, the property manager doesn’t believe that she actually lives there – based on her appearance. Dao was being judged immediately. Khun Jan at the time is looking for a condo so that he could move out of his parent’s home, and finds himself looking at the condo by Dao’s. He helped her carry her things in, but they both are stopped by the property manager, Renee. Renee orders the security guard to remove Dao from the premises, but Khun Jan steps in. He surmises that since the condo manager here is prejudice, he doesn’t find it worthwhile to consider buying a condo here. He doesn’t condone someone who judges another base on their appearance. This got Renee to shut up and give Dao the opportunity to explain herself. Dao finds Khun Jan to be such a Prince Charming and feels regretful that he’s gay. LOL.
Khun Jan sort of lets her continue on with the misunderstanding because it rather aid in his endeavor to figure out this little piece of puzzle – that will hopefully appease his curiosity about Shop Girl.
The premise is set! The perfect timing is set! Next door neighbors, a big misunderstanding, and lots and lots of laughter. Let’s see how this moon and star can be aligned.
It might be too soon to tell, but if this lakorn continues on the funny, smartly written and consistency route, it might just be the romcom we need and crave for. Totally warm and fuzzy stuff.