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Life Imitating Art in Mia Jum Pen


The latest weekend installment, Mia Jum Pen or “Wife on Duty”, is a “remake” from its counterpart in 2001. I put remake in quotes because this year’s take on Mia Jum Pen does away with the outdated notions in the old version. In fact, if any of the plot was borrowed, it is created in almost a meme worthy way, which is so totally today. The first episode does not even go into the plot much (because how typical and drab would that be?) instead, show likes to be extra and introduce us to our two leads as Tomorn (Mai Warit) and Tawan (Pie Rinrada), as the lakorn addicts that fall into two camps: (1) those that watch lakorns live and (2) those that catch it later on YouTube.

Get your fighting gloves ready because Tomorn and Tawan are quite passionate and opinionated as to which camp is superior. Take Tomorn on the one hand, he’s an heir to the rubber plantation in Phuket, but also a famous Twitter guru who goes by the handle of @BoilingBullRating (what a name! I hate him already, JK!) and he despises people who can’t take the time to catch the lakorn live! He has a career, but he still manages to fight traffic and get home on time for the lakorn’s opening credits, so why can’t YOU? You being Tawan, who is a Maid-For-Hire. It’s sort of like an uber driver where you pick someone off an app, but they’d come and clean your house or do random tasks for you. Tawan enjoys her line of work because she’s paid by the hour and can part ways with her employer. The only drawback: she misses live lakorn airings and must catch it later. And what she hates the most is the superior people on Twitter who spoil everything for her. Same girl same. This is why I avoid social media until I’ve seen the show – but instead Tawan gets into Twitter wars with BoilingBullRating instead. LMAO.

They’re both such a MOOD. I can see both sides of their pent-up frustration, but listen Tomorn, some of us got responsibilities that keep us from watching stuff live, aight?! Tawan’s line of work causes her to bump into Tomorn frequently, and one of the funny ones entail Tawan (in a medical face mask no less) becomes bothered by Tomorn’s dirty nails (he had scratched dirt off his shoes) and she proceeds to give him a manicure. Mind you this is when Tawan is hired as a maid for the TV team who is using Tomorn’s company location for one of their shooting. It’s even more hilarious because we know that Tawan’s pet peeve is dirty nails. Like she just can’t help herself, she’ll pull out her manicure set and wants to rid anyone of their filthy nails. Oh the quirks in this show. Tomorn gets super curious about what she looks like and asks to see her face (after an hilarious attempt to remove her facemask, because Tawan wears like 5 layers of facemask *shakes head*). Tawan retorts that he would need to hire her if he wants to see her face. All of a sudden, I know why they’re always fighting on Twitter, they’re just confusing it with FLIRTING. They’re just having too much fun.

They have a more substantial run in together that changes everything in the show and sets the plot moving. The latest lakorn they’re watching (lakorn within a lakorn!) has to do with an arranged marriage, which hilariously enough, we see the same parallel in their lives. Life really does imitate art, doesn’t it? But when it happens to you, it’s not so funny anymore. Tomorn learns that his dad had arranged his marriage to his best friend’s daughter, Yardfah, ever since they were little. Engagement rings are already exchanged. Tomorn doesn’t agree with it but his parents (who are not really on speaking terms) beg for him to at least give the girl a shot. Yardfah’s dad helped Tomorn’s dad during a tough spell when he first started his business, so they owe him one. Tomorn complains that if this happens in a lakorn, there would be a good reason why he should marry Yardfah, but in reality, they don’t even have a real reason! LOL! I love how he calls out the typical tropes, but most of all, I love that show made Tomorn into a lakorn addict because of his mother, so he analyzes situations in life like he would in a lakorn. Finally, Tomorn agrees to at least meet her to appease his parents (because he’s a good kid). Meanwhile Yardfah refuses to marry (she doesn’t tell her parents it is because she has another man), but Yardfah’s mom already pawned the ring and their family is going through a tough time financially so they wouldn’t be able to return the ring.

At any rate, Yardfah’s household happens to be one of Tawan’s regular customers, so as she’s cleaning Yardfah’s room one day.. and no one is home.. Tawan decides to play dress up with Yardfah’s rich girl’s clothes. It also so happens Tomorn is stopping by to see his “fiancé”. The two freezes when they see each other, not because of attraction like leads meeting each other for the first time, but in panic! Tomorn threatens to call the police when he’s the one who walked into the home (an unlocked home mind you, oh the privilege!). Tawan panics because she’s caught in her boss’ clothes and she doesn’t want the boss to find out – oh how to get out of this one?! So when Tomorn asks her if she’s the daughter of the house, Tawan squeezes out a yes through her tight throat.

Tomorn is suspicious because Tawan looks so shifty (HAHAHA) so he starts questioning her about the family. Her answers, albeit ends with a question mark (dad’s name is Yod?), Tomorn lets her slide when he spies a stack of lakorn magazines and asks her opinion about it. She scoffs like she’s disgusted (she’s just copying what she thinks others would say), so he asks why, but Tawan, being the ever-clever person to get out of a tight spot, turns the question on him. Tomorn says that lakorns are fitting for their country, which causes Tawan to agree wholeheartedly and as if on autopilot, she starts to reenact one of the scenes from the lakorn they’re watching. LMAO. Tomorn was taken aback because it’s like finding a kindred spirit. Oh how I can relate to this moment! Can we just have them be lakorn addicts together? They’d be totally in love but then have serious debates about lakorns?

Because at the end of the day, lakorn lovers have a like mind, in that we all love lakorns, whether we’re watching it live or not.

From the first episode, we already know it’s funny. But according to the slogan of this show, life imitates lakorns, because it can be funny one minute, but also terribly sad the next (maybe even more than lakorns). The second episode hints at that latter bit about sadness, since Tawan will be faced with a sick mother, and Tomorn has to decide if he’ll marry and end up as a pra’ek like in one of his lakorns. If it goes according to the original series, Tawan would end up marrying Tomorn (but pretending to be Yardfah).

I like the premise so far, but I will say that I don’t feel the chemistry yet, I hope that it happens soon. I must admit I never felt that Pie is a strong nang ek material, this role would go well for someone who could pull off the funny and the serious (say someone like Bua). I like Mai Warit as Tomorn because he’s eye candy that doesn’t take himself too seriously. It is too soon to tell if I’ll like the whole show, but if it is truly a meme worthy show, we know at least there are moments we will enjoy. So for that, I will stay tuned. I will not be recapping this series because it is a weekend lakorn and weekends are sacred to me, but thought I’d share my first impressions. I sure did laugh a lot, maybe it’s because I see myself in both of these characters. And with that being said, from one lakorn addict to another, we’ll see each other on the other side.

Watch Mia Jum Pen at Neko’s!

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