The first episode of “Nang Rai” which means female antagonist, introduces us to our protagonist, Kaewalai (Now Tisanart), and how she was discovered and came to star as the “nang’rai” in this lakorn world. Kae has been blessed with amazing looks, but prior to entering the entertainment industry, she worked multiple jobs to support her poor family, which includes the gambling addict mother, drunk father, and three selfish siblings (and a partridge in a pear tree). Men who couldn’t contain their own perverted thoughts decide to kidnap and rape her after a construction shift was over. Thankfully, Anuwadee (Maggi Apa) – a newbie model/dancer – and her mother, discovers Kae being dragged into the trees and rescues her.

Kae and Dee bonded immediately and became fast friends. Dee notes how beautiful Kae is and encourages her to go to the casting for a music video. For one, Kae could make much more money working one job, than multiple part-time jobs. As it stands, she had a part time job serving drinks at a hi so party, while Dee was hired to do the opening dance. At this hi so party, Kae bumps into the man of the hour, Pawapope (Boom Kitkong), who is immediately smitten the minute he laid eyes on her. Pope belongs to the family that owns an entertainment firm, who prefers that Pope mingle within the hi society people. Pope concedes to his family’s wishes for what appears to be many things in life, including a future marriage candidate. He doesn’t seem like the rebellious type, until he meets the one woman who captures his attention and he finds himself going to her all the time.

Kae joins the casting but vies for the nang’rai role, despite the casting crew encouraging her to cast for the main role. Kae had overheard that Dee is trying out for the nang’ek role, and Kae is too fond of Dee to compete with her. Besides, in Kae’s mind, her target is money, not fame, so it doesn’t matter what role she gets, especially when nang’rais could star in more lakorns than nang’eks. Their friendship sets off with an amazing start, and Dee acknowledges and is thankful for her new friend’s non-competitive streak.

Dee’s life presents to us quite the opposite of Kae’s, her life is happy, healthy and loving. Even without a dad, her mother fills the void and then some. They have a relationship that clearly is envious, and a reason why Kae is protective of her new friend. But the nice thing about Dee is that she’s not naïve, she is quite perceptive about the people around her. Her second lead pairing is Sanguansak, who is an actor that plays an antagonist in lakorns, and an incorrigible one at that, because he sets out to annoy her. I think their scenes are funny and adorable because he just wants to tease a few strands out of her otherwise perfectly placed hair.

Pope is a popular model but when he learns that Kae is going to be in a music video, he’s suddenly interested in becoming an actor. Despite seeing first hand her tough family life, or what a good daughter she is to a family that takes advantage of her, Pope continues to pursue her, even if it means just looking at her from afar. Kae warms up to him shyly but she doesn’t want to cause any trouble, especially after the nang’ek Paksuda forbids her from associating with him.

There is the theme of antagonists throughout the story, whether Kae is acting as one, or the many, real antagonists prevalent in this story. We will be taken on a journey of Kae’s climb in the entertainment industry, how the real villains would thwart her successes, and how she is treated like the red-headed step child with her family, which couldn’t be further from the truth as we see a small indicator in this first episode that Kae might not be exactly who she thinks she is.

Nang Rai airs Monday-Tuesday timeslot on Channel 7, Thippy Fan Sub will be picking this up for English Subtitles.

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