Afterthoughts: Mam Gaem Daeng 1

I’ve been watching lakorns (Thai dramas) for only a couple years now but haven’t jotted down my thoughts because when you watch a lakorn, much like any other marathon experience, being in the throes of all the drama and insanity, leaves little to no time for writing.

However, recently, I’ve gotten down to consuming quite a large amount and realized that if I’m having all this fun watching the crazy, someone else must be as well. So when I was choosing my lakorn of the week, I stumbled across this breezy watch, with a simple plot, that hopefully remains so until the very end.

But then again, with lakorns, you never ever know.

Mam Gaem Daeng (Madam Red Cheeks) is a 2012 Thai rom-com that depicts the story of a young woman named Ana who pretends to be her friend’s two month pregnant wife but upon meeting his older brother, “forbidden” love sparks between them.

Episode 1 Runthrough: Anamika (Matt Peeranee Kongthai) and best friend Metawee (Woosen Virithipa) are in London studying, counting the days and their funds, till their return to Thailand, when mutual friend Napat (Pae Twerit) gets a call from his parents that on his return home (in just a few weeks), he will get engaged to a long time family friend. But initial excitement is quelled when Ana and Art (Art Palungtam Klomtongsuk) realize Pat nor May are happy about this development.

For May has been harboring and hiding a crush on Pat for some time unbeknownst to her friends and especially Pat. And while Pat has always known this was his parents’ intention, he’s never gotten the chance to know his betrothed and frankly has no desire to marry at all.

So when Ana hatches a plan to lie to Pat’s family about his marital status (read:create a fake wife), in order save both her friends heartache, Pat jumps on the idea, believing a quick overseas call will rid him of his marriage woes.

Unfortunately, his brother, Nadol (Chakrit Yamnarm) calls their bluff and decides to jet over to London to check out his story. Before he leaves, Nadol stops in to apologize to a friend and colleague for his abrupt departure to London but Payap (Penpeth Penkul) is more interested in his new club talent, commenting that Nadol never seems interested in women. Nadol laughs it off but grows quiet and serious once Payap leaves to have a word with his new conquest.

Later, at work, the girls are accosted by a set of college mean girls and a fight breaks out. Their boss decides to fire them both on the spot but Ana convinces her to keep May, which leaves her without the doe to return home in a month. So when Pat begs Ana one last time to pose as his fake pregnant wife, she agrees once he throws in two tickets to Thailand( one for her, the other for May).

Art passes his fashion design curriculum, which gives them all an excuse to dress up and drink the night away, excited for their futures, an end to their studies and their much awaited flight back home. But the next morning, the hung over party wakes up to greet Pat’s steely, unamused older brother Nadol.

Ramblings, Reactions and Remarks

Honestly, I found this first episode to be absolutely adorable, though perhaps a little slow in the first quarter or so. I don’t have a lot of experience with light and quirky lakorns, so this episode was not only a surprise but a complete delight as well.
What this episode did well was establishing its characters, their characteristics and especially its heroine’s motivations. Anamika is a no-nonsense type of girl but she’s kind and puts her friend’s happiness above her own comfort. I can see this being an issue as the show progresses but my hope is, her feisty and opinionated personality will thwart any self-sacrificing ideas she may have in the future.

She’s definitely an independent woman and a great friend but she has enough flaws to make her the perfect foil for the prickly Nadol. She sways toward being loquacious and flighty but she’s strong-minded and I can see this combination being the perfect way to get under big brother’s skin in all the right ways.

Nadol is the other half of our OTP and it’s clear from their first meeting (when Ana opens the door and disgruntledly mistakes him for a salesman), that these two are virtually perfect for one another. But, even without that misunderstanding in play, we know that Nadol is grumpy and persnickety, not to mention, a hard as nails boss, that invokes fear and disillusionment in all those around him, except it seems, his one flirty friend Papya.

The second funniest sequence in the episode had to be when the audience is introduced to Nadol and his staff are found laughing and talking, enjoying their time at work (which can be heard from outside), until he enters the room to complete silence. Evidently, his staff also believes he is always on the war path, hence their startled looks and agitated escapes from his line of vision.

I’m not convinced this rigid, brusque persona is all there is to Nadol but it is pretty sad even his brother referred to him as “mean.” His screen time is short and sweet but it’s apparent, not only is he uptight, he may be bitter and his attitude might have everything to do with a woman. Thankfully for us, this could be where Ana will trip in and tussle his perfectly stuffy world.

Napat, Metawee and Art feel pretty much supporting to Ana’s boisterous personality but have their own charms. Or at least, it’s not beyond understanding why Ana may like and love them. Napat has found himself in a mess (with a mess of women) and lacks the spine to tell his parents and especially his brother, that he’s just not interested. But what I appreciated about this “plot” is there’s virtually no way Ana will find herself having romantic feelings for Pat. She is pretty explicit about having zero interest in him beyond friendship and I’m loving that this line is drawn early on in the story.

Art is strictly in the narrative for comic relief, while May is the docile wallflower, beloved by our heroine. At the moment, I’m pretty indifferent to her beyond Ana’s need to protect and help her. I suppose her crush on Pat is cute and being they both seem a little senseless and doe-eyed when it comes to love, perhaps they are a well fitted match. Pat seems to give her a little eye time, once she’s half-dressed, with her hair and makeup did and since she seemed pleased, I will go with that— for now, because it’s very possible he’s been silently liking her as well.

However, I have to admit, I wonder where the fake wife hiccups will come into play if there are no mixed signals and emotional confusions between our fake couple as well as our intended? Will it all come down to secret romantic entanglements, based on one misunderstanding and lie? Though if there are tons of family hijinks and believable bubbling chemistry between our pair, none of the sticky stuff may matter.

Guess we’ll have to see what the next episode will hold and I am intrigued and tickled, cause for now, this drama is cute and fun and just perfect for that rom-com tickle leading up to Valentine’s Day.

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