This weekend was sunk, thanks in large part to Jacqueline, who one time was hooked on this crazy pants Thai drama. Here’s about how she explained the premise to me:
This dad borrows money from a mobster and offers his pretty daughter up as collateral, the father, of course, doesn’t have the money to pay said mobster back, but not wanting to give his beloved beautiful daughter away to a brutal gangster, instead runs away to hide his daughter away—offering instead—his less pretty younger daughter. Yes, this man gambles away a daughter and still has the gall to be an even worse parent. Said mobster is very upset about the fact that he’s been thwarted by the swapping of the girl he wanted to make his unwilling mistress (you know with some rapey, rapey, rape-rape) for the unpretty but instead, of course, brilliant younger daughter.
Apparently dog-like younger daughter promises to work to pay off the debt while the gangster hunts for the sister and whoever gets first wins the girl. Also? On top of being head mobster and general stand up guy—he also happens to be her school’s principal. And there’s our OTP people.
“Uncle,” I cried. “I insist you share what has to be the craziest drama in the world.”
And then began the most incredulous maddening, seemingly bajillion hours (seriously, why was this so effing long??) drama experience. This is absolutely, positively one of those dramas where you have to leave your disbelief along with any sense of reality at the door.
I’ll come out and say I have very little experience in the Lakorn genre—my sum total experience in dramas from Thailand include Full House which I thought was good, Hormones the series (which I thought was pretty terrible), and the current love of my life, Love Sick the series. I’d heard in the past that Lakorns were a mixed bag of crazy, comments which I’d just tossed aside as, you know, I watch kdrama, how much crazier can you get?
Turns out, if Cubic is any gauge, a LOT crazier.
Although perhaps the perceived crazy didn’t so much come from the plot—but the filming style all together. With it’s incessant ever closer close-ups, the drama went from crazy to straight up ridiculous. Before when I commented about how long the drama was (16 hour and forty-five hour episodes), I swear, if they just cut out half of the over the top camera mugging, these episodes could have been cut in length by at least a third. Think I’m kidding? A typical scene goes something like this:
Pedo Mobster Hero: What do you think you’re doing, daring to talk back to me?
Close up on Pedo Mobster looking arrogant.
Close up on smarty pants heroine looking scared.
Closer close up on Pedo Mobster looking arrogant.
Closer close up on smarty pants eyes just slightly wider looking scared.
Closer closer close up on Pedo Mobster looking arrogant.
Closer closer close up on Heroine looking scared.
Smarty Pants Heroine: But you’re a disgusting mobster who wants to dirty up my sister–and yet I’m oddly drawn to you.
Close up on Pedo Mobster looking surprised.
Close up on smarty pants heroine looking defiant.
Closer close up on Pedo Mobster looking arrogant.
Closer close up on smarty pants eyes just slightly wider looking more defiant.
Closer closer close up on Pedo Mobster looking arrogant.
Closer closer close up on Heroine looking impish, sticking out her toung at him.
Pedo Mobster is back to looking surprised.
You think I’m joking? Alas, I joke not. A good quarter to one-third of this drama is just close-ups. There are times when the characters look directly at the camera!
And a few more unfortunate scenes when the heroine, while indoors, seems to have a freaking wind machine pointed at her. A wind machine. That only blows on her. Indoors.
I’ll come right out and say that completing this drama requires a liberal use of your FF button.
The ridiculous doesn’t just end at the premise. Nope. Let’s delve a little deeper here. After the initial WTF start, our Pedo Mobster hero who (for a mobster) is the leader of the big gang/corporation. However, at the board meeting (Dude–mobs have board meetings?) there is some sort of power play and he has to prove his worth by getting the best gun runner in the world to sign a contract with them to be their exclusive gun runner. This in itself brings up lots of questions:
- If he is the head mobster, why does he seem to have such little power?
- If this is the best gun runner in the world, why can’t he get his own guns run? Something tells me he’s not living up the hype.
- Sign a contract? Bad guys sign contract to do illegal things for other bad guys? You know what, I watch a lot of People’s Court, and Judge Milian would be having none of this–it is for illegal work–not to mention the fact YOU ARE ALL BAD GUYS, what is the point in having a contract???
So, after 2 very pathetic attempts Pedo Mobster hero and his lackey/secretary have a conversation which goes something like this:
PMH: If I don’t get this gun runner to sign this contract, we’re sunk!
Lackey: Hey boss, I have this crazy idea. You know that girl you kidnapped and have working off her fathers debt until you can find her sister and make her your underage mistress?
Lackey: Well, I heard her dad used to send her off to do business deals for him.
PMH: Maybe that’s why his business failed?
Lackey: Anywhoo, Ugly Sister totally got the contract. There’s like 5 hours left on this deadline, I think we should send her in to negotiate for us.
PMH: Uhhh…. how many times did it work?
Lackey: Well, just the once, she failed all the other times. I think we should totes send her in there!
PMH: Why not? It’s not like our entire careers and possibly our lives depend on this deal happening.
Yep, with the sum total of that one contract that one time she was able to get signed for her father, they send her in to deal with the gun runner. With 5 hours of prep. Saying that if she wasn’t successful they would kill her. (Of course this was before he was in LURVE with her.)
This being the crazy pants show that it is, she of course completes the task with a promise to get those pesky guns across the border that the world-famous gun runner hadn’t been able to. Which she again, succeeds with a little help from her BFF who just happens to be the gun runners son. (I KNOW, this show is CRAZY.)
When they were done the hero was all “Were you crazy, why would you offer to run guns for him, you should have told me!” To which I say–YOU THREATENED TO KILL HER YOU MOFO. (Sorry for all the caps locks up in here, this show totally deserves it.)
Then there was the time his life was threatened and he made her is personal chauffeur because of that one time she beat him to the school on her bike–which of course means she could navigate all the streets getting him around unscathed and murder free. You know, because out of everyone in his evil empire, she is the only one he can trust.
Which of course only serves to bring them closer and closer.
The drama is called Cubic because in the midst of all of the things she does for him, the underworld wants to know how he keeps coming through and getting out of the scrapes (or traps laid for him by some sort of evil doing insider) and instead of saying he has indeed been helped by this young girl (because of course that would be crazy) he has this all-powerful force behind him called Cubic (he’d given her a rubix cube to solve) and because of their bylaws (uhhhh mobsters have bylaws?) he didn’t have to tell anyone anything and they all had to do whatever this Cubic said. (Because that in itself isn’t crazy at all.)
More unbelievable hi-jinks ensue.
I’m not entirely sure this drama is actually review-able as it is so over the top. Did I believe this pair as a couple? Is it weird to say yes? Despite the fact that there wasn’t single fudging kiss (and don’t just say it’s because it’s a Lakorn–if we can get a GAY kiss in Lovesick, we can get a kiss here) I did actually root for them to get together by the end. (I’m not entirely certain that doesn’t make me a sicko too.)
It did irritate me beyond belief that the hero kept stringing the girl along. He started having feelings for her waaaay before she did, but every time he tried feeling her out he would deflect like he was the high schooler and not her. He kept his soap star mistress, he refused to tell her how he felt, and in a creepy move to keep seeing her, he demanded she come to his office every day to tell her one fact about her sister. (You know the one at the beginning that he really wanted in a perverted rapey way.) Which, I’m not sure why, gave her the idea that he was still in ‘love’ with her sister. And he could never understand why she never caught on that he liked her.
The whole thing reminded me of one of those romances from the 80’s, back when romance novels were truly bodice rippers. (For a drama with no kissing there was an over abundance of men willing to rape to get what they wanted–and women who were perfectly willing to overlook that part of their personality.)
The outlandish plot, the overly stoic/emotionally repressed hero and the spunky heroine. In particular this reminded me of an old Kathleen Woodwiss called So Worthy My Love, where the hero sent his minions to kidnap a woman only to have them accidentally kidnap her spunky cousin.
You might think this a complaint, but as a voracious reader of these books back in the day, this drama kind of hit me in my remembrance feelz. It was actually a big surprise to realize that this drama is only a couple of years old.
I will say that I really did love the heroine in this drama and I’d watch a million (or at least 5 ) more dramas with leads like her in it. She was smart and funny. She was completely wise to all of the hero’s shenanigans and whenever he tried to pull one over on him, she figured it out–and called him on it! There were several times in the drama that she figured out giant parts of the plot before the hero did and when she brought him the evidence, and he didn’t believe her, she went right out and got the evidence herself.
The one thing I did not care for at all though (not just her need to look directly at the camera) was how hot and cold she was. There she was working for the mob going head to head with their leader, but she only seemed to remember she was there unwillingly and that he was after her sister when it suited her. Then she’d pout, call him a name and flounce off–but then just a scene later she’d be making cutesy faces complete with an impish toung sticking out at him. No wonder he was so baffled by her–so was I! One could just chalk it up as her being so young but then that would put you back in the squidgy territory of being reminded that he was so much older than she was.
Would I recommend this to others? Uhhhhhh no? Unless someone comes to me and says “Can you recommend the most outlandish drama ever–a drama that makes Boys Over Flowers look like a BBC miniseries?” Then maybe. Here’s the thing. I couldn’t stop watching this drama. There were two nights that I was up until 5 am watching the show, but in the longrun I wasn’t OMG hooked on it. It’s hard to describe. I watched it because I didn’t want to stop, not because I loved it. It’s an odd balance.
Would I watch another one of these? Well, if I can find another one that is this crazy and yet entertaining? Count me in! But alas, I don’t know that much about Lakorns, so the chances are probably slim.