The Unraveling of Dao Kiang Duen
Posted on August 4, 2014
I can accept a lot of imperfections in a lakorn – because let’s be honest – many lakorns seldom are perfect. So I let a lot of things slide. Unfortunately, it becomes quite a shame when a show with great potential seemingly unravels at the seam. From episode 6 onwards (we are at episode 9 now), Dao Kiang Duen has really lost its steam.
For a show that could use tropes to its benefit, neighbors and paid assistant for example, they could essentially play this out until the cows come home. But instead, they opted for misunderstandings that tore a good team apart. When I say team, I’m referring to the characters that really made the show appealing to me: Khun Jan- Wiwit, Khun Jan – Dao. I had mentioned in the first impression that if this show remained consistent on a story and character level, they would have me until the very end.
Unfortunately, such is not the case. First example is the falling out of the bromance. Khun Jan and Wiwit made a good team, they got each other’s back. But Khun Jan’s weakness is his inability to confront problems head on. He always opts the sneaky, backhanded route, thereby causing the Big Misunderstanding that inevitably affected his friendship with Wiwit.
Which leads us to the second problem, our hero. I’m okay if the pra’ek has some flaws, but when he’s such weak sauce and prefers that someone else solve his problems, I get a little frustrated. Khun Jan’s goal is to past muster as the Acting Director at Grand Mall so that his father doesn’t send him off to study abroad, and he also needs to keep his mom’s matchmaking at bay. Thus, Khun Jan thinks that Dao is the answer to all of his problems: help him with his business and fend off his mother and any potential girls. He does this by hiring her as his assistant (and even part-time fake Mistress)– by paying off her former employers to boot – all in an effort to smooth out the kinks in his life. Don’t get me wrong, I take a gentle and caring pra’ek any day, but Khun Jan simply isn’t swoon worthy. Come to think of it, why can’t Khun Jan be more like his dad. Johnny (who plays Chai Jan, the father) is absolutely a joy to watch. I LOVE him.
The third problem is Khun Jan and Dao’s relationship. They started in the friend zone (well the attracted friend zone if you will) and I liked where they started. It seemed genuine, he’s intrigued by her and she finds him quite a nice man. However we didn’t get to see the budding of their romance – unless we’re supposed to imagine that proximity built that romance – because suddenly, he straightens out the Big Misunderstanding (I’m a REAL man!) and she falls into his arms. I would be okay with the Show if they took the whole gay contrivance into the climax of the story – MAKE her actually fall in love with him, thinking that she’s in love with a gay man, instead of making Dao into a meddlesome, unbelievable character.
The minor characters’ story on the other hand, actually has more poignancy (not to mention made more sense), for example, Khun Jak and Chaiya’s story. He fell in love and married Chaiya thinking that he found his happily ever after. Come to find, his wife still harbors feelings for Khun Jan, his cousin. After trying to make his marriage work, he concedes that divorce may be their best bet. Although Chaiya is a total shameless hussy, she actually has conflicting feelings when it comes to her husband. For so long she has convinced herself that she doesn’t love him and is only spiting Khun Jan by marrying him, however, as time passes, when Khun Jak turns out to be such a man, she’s starting to have second thoughts. Granted, they are now divorced, but methinks she may realize the value of her husband after the fact. Better late than never?
I haven’t been pulled by Wiwit and Infah’s love story, but I will say that they have a more romantic angle – the Romeo and Juliet kind- than our leading duo. Their love story even mirrors the story of Khun Jan and Dao – in that their social statuses are different, and I have to laugh every time the puppies remind Wiwit that he’s like a dog staring at the airplane. But to that end, I find that Phet (the actor who plays Wiwit) is a stronger actor than Ken (who plays Khun Jan.) Even though I didn’t quite care about his love story, when he cries or is torn away from his girl, I feel for him.
The new characters that are introduced added unnecessary conflict to the show, especially when Mom and central conflict is challenging enough as it is. I don’t mind that Mom isn’t actually Prakai Dao from the last show, and I also don’t mind that she’s the obstacle to Khun Jan’s happily ever after, because Chai Jan’s character in the previous installment also had an opposing Mom. But it’s Chai Jan’s method, and Dao’s steadfast character that won Mom over in the end. I wish this show was a strong contender. Granted, they can’t follow the recipe of Dao Kiaw Duen, but can’t they be a shadow of the first installment? What’s up with that, Screenwriter?
The laugh is still there though, which is a relief, if one decides to continue viewing this show, one can count on that at least. I suppose I can thank my lucky stars too that the soundtrack is beautiful and the filming itself is beautiful.
It’s such a letdown when a show doesn’t live up to its potential though, especially when I was beginning to like the pairing together. Ken and Namtarn are quite compatible.