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Mario and Yaya in Keu Ter – Bad Romeo

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The long awaited lakorn, Keu Ter (It’s You) or Bad Romeo is finally here. It has been three years since we have seen either Mario Maurer or Yaya Urassaya on the small screen. In fact, since Klin Kasalong and Thongake in 2019. Both have been gracing the big screen and knocking it out of the park. They are back to a more intimate setting, opening our eyes and heart to the struggles of Saikhim, the heir of a hotelier and Kaokla, a small garage shop owner from the poor side of town. Helmed by Thong Entertainment (Anne Thongrasom), and directed by Aew Ampaiporn, who has brought us many exceptional dramas, Keu Ter is a melodrama about two people whose paths crossed and forever changed because of it. Sometimes you do not need to meet Mr. Right, you need Mr. Right Now.

But curious mind wants to know, why the title Bad Romeo? This is not a drama based on a novel of the same name, and we are only two episodes in, so it is hard to speculate – but I have been speculating, more on that below – and I suppose we shall continue to tune in and see where the title inspiration came from. Keu Ter, at its finest, is not afraid to call the characters out for their bad behaviors. That is one thing I appreciate about the show, the characters may not realize something about themselves, but they are confronted with the truth. It is not always pleasant, and it can be ugly, but it is real. It helps us (the viewers) reflect on similar issues we may be going through.

We open the story with Saikhim exchanging a holiday with her friend, Lita. Saikhim would stay at her friend’s humble abode while Lita would stay at Saikhim’s ritzy condo in London, and they plan to do this for ten days so Saikhiim could experience some freedom from her father. One would think this is a story about a bored, rich girl, but one would be mistaken. Things quickly got out of hand. The home Lita had rented for the duration of Saikhim’s stay turns out to belong to Kaokla, who had purchased the home as his bridal home for his cheating girlfriend. Lita had also signed Saikhim up on a dating (hookup) app, whom Kaokla’s friend had been corresponding with, so Kaokla believes her to be a loose girl. He first encounters her when he discovered his girlfriend had been cheating on him, and he went looking for her at the house, but he found Saikhim instead. Imagine the surprise on both sides. Saikhim’s adventures ended before she could even begin, since Dad was also onto her diversion.

Speaking of Dad, I would take a Kdrama dad who owes money to a loan shark and disappears so that his daughter had to contract marry a rich dude to pay off the debt than a controlling, obsessive lakorn dad who holds onto a grudge for a century. In our case, Saikhim’s father despises her mother who was “boy crazy” and has raised Saikhim within arm’s length, he believes she is just like her mom (because she is a girl?) and every little disappointment from Saikhim gets him on a tirade about how she’s just like her mother, a no good for nothing slut. He keeps her on a leash and controls her every move. Saikhim is terrified of him but at the same time, craves for his approval and love. Her self esteem is as low as the dirt, and if this holiday taught her anything, is that she cannot escape from dad’s watchful eyes.

Case in point, when she helps to stop a fight at a wedding that is taking place at their hotel, Dad misconstrues it for something else. Kaokla confront his girlfriend at the wedding venue, for being a lying, cheating, manipulative woman. He starts tearing apart the decoration and flowers, and causing havoc at the hotel, but Saikhim calms him down by telling him that she knows he is a good person, that he cannot let this anger overcome him and destroy what he has worked so hard to build – and that is a decent life. While this scene was touching in so many ways, dad sees the footage as another dark mark on Saikhim’s character. He thinks Saikhim had came back to Thailand to date Kaokla. Thanks to her meddling cousin, Prompat, who wants to ruin Saikhim’s image and relationship with her father. Not that it was a loving one to begin with.

Saikhim gets away in Kaokla’s car, with Kaokla in tow, and drives into a concrete wall as her thoughts keep taking her back to her father’s harsh accusations and his vicious slap to the face. Saikhim feels responsible for the damages and offers to pay, but Kaokla only knows her as a poor urchin who may sell her body to make money, so he tells her no thanks just get lost. But she finds her way back to his garage, where she decides to test her dad, and vice versa (her dad is testing her too). Saikhim asks for money and she would return home straightaway, but dad wants her to choose him over the money (over Kaokla) so he doesn’t make a move. Saikhim realizes her dad would never choose her nor forgive her for the one mistake she has made in life, and this causes her to breakdown in front of Kaokla, relenting, “I won’t seek love from other people, when my own father cannot even love me. They say that love from your parents is unconditional, but it can’t always be true. Why do we have to try so hard to love someone?” Oof. “I tried to do the right thing all my life, but I messed up one time, why can’t I be forgiven? Maybe that’s not love at all, it must be true that I am worthless.”

But Kaokla, like she said, is a good person. He tries to cheer her up, he makes her feel good about herself, and so that fateful night, she gives herself to him. Granted, they had a lot to drink and she has never been drunk before. Lots of searing kisses and a hot night later, Saikhim returns to her life again. Meanwhile her father has Kaokla investigated, and he is determined to send Kaokla to jail on the basis of kidnapping and ransom. But the police did not have enough evidence, so Kaokla is released. Instead, dad decides to pay him off, which his friend had accepted the money on his behalf. The friends in this show are really something else! Kaokla decides to give her a peace of his mind since her dad is terrorizing him, and so we get a few more encounters where he runs into Saikhim. Dad had sent her to their beach home and she is essentially on house arrest. Tanthai is the son of a rich bank owner who likes Saikhim, and could be the only one who can take her out of the house. Saikhim knows that nothing good would come of her or Kaokla if they were to meet again, but unfortunately, she discovers that she is well.. pregnant.

This lakorn is not a fluffy, boy meets girl story, nor is it my go to type of drama, but it is Yaya and Mario. The first part of the story sets them up at a younger age, because their paths will cross again years later after he gets adopted by Asia Raman, the woman who saved his life after Saikhim pushed him into the sea so that they don’t get caught together. She did not realize that the deep sea can kill someone even if he can swim. Asia Raman wants to take him under her wings, but with the way she says, your life is mine, methinks if he chooses to give his life to her, it is not one of rainbows and butterflies. But she is a badass and very rich, so we will have a chance to see Kaokla all cleaned up. The plot reminds me a bit of Game Rai Game Rak, where the two cross paths as years go by, and we get this angsty competition to see who can be more jealous. But for now, Kaokla admits that he has feelings for her, and he is not afraid to speak up to anyone, which is why he is in such hot waters with dad. He told dad that he must have treated Saikhim like crap because she only came to him because he made her feel good about herself. Even her friend Lita tells dad that she used to be jealous of Saikhim, but after befriending her for many years, she no longer envies her, cos Saikhim lives a terribly unhappy life. I love it when Kaokla tells his friend that they should not take money from Saikhim’s dad because it would only prove that Saikhim has terrible choice in men and further validates her dad’s narrative.

Wow it is a lot in two episodes. I like Kaokla, and he is a good person, who may do bad things occasionally, as the title alludes to. Hopefully, they do not end up like the star-crossed lovers – Romeo and Juliet. Saikhim’s character breaks my heart, I want to reach through the screen and give her a big hug. I do hope she finds peace with herself down the road, and that she should be her own priority. Forget about pleasing dad or seeking his approval, he is projecting his own insecurities onto her.

Mario and Yaya look great together on screen, while their love story starts fast and furious, I do hope we are shown how the romance progresses and how they fall in love, after all, there will be 17 episodes. I am curious if they will keep the pregnancy, how they play out this first part of their love story, and then how Kaokla becomes Karl Raman. Mario in a suit! I am here for it. Yaya is absolutely stunning and nailing her character to a tee. But at the end of the day, I am just glad we get to see them on the small screen again. With each channels introducing so many new faces, it’s nice to see some old, talented ones that we love so much over the years. So cheers to that my friends.

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