Napat is a beautiful but head-strong young lady. Against her father's wishes to come and live with him in the States, Napat decides to stay back in Thailand and earn her way through modeling.
During Napat's first magazine photo-shoot, she meets a fast-mouthed photographer, Chen, who predicts she will never be famous in the industry. However, despite Chen's "prediction", Napat turns out to be a huge success, with everyone in the businesswanting to work with her.
Napat's lucky streak comes to a halt when she bumped into Chen for the second time, while at a beach-side anniversary party for a famous magazine. Due to a drinking competition during the party, both Chen and Napat get badly drunk and end up in bed together. It isn't long before Napat realizes that she is pregnant. However, rumour has it that Chen is currently dating Jasmin, one of Napat's biggest rivals in the modeling industry.
Cast & Credits
In the 'Fated To Love You' style cliche of having main leads being thrown together through an intoxicated 'one-night-stand' which leads to pregnancy and all the resulting drama that comes with two unprepared parents-to-be, this show is hilariously lovely and sweet.
Before diving into this show, my initial expectation was that it would be a mix of funny hijinks - both from a situational and character-driven perspective. I expected that half the laughs would be from our characters being put in funny situations, and the other half would arise from the main leads' own eccentric/ quirky personalities too.
Well, I was half right. There were comedic situations for our main leads but that was mainly during the first one-third of the show. The remaining two-thirds were surprisingly rather grounded and warmly heart-tugging as our main leads settled into an agreement to see through the pregnancy process together. The show is more involved in showing viewers the changes and stages a mother goes through during a pregnancy, more than any other show I've seen which involves this trope.
I don't know about you, but this was really one of the best parts of the drama, for me. I just loved seeing how Rachen (Chen) quickly stuck right in and became such a dedicated and responsible man through it all. He embodied your modern metrosexual man in that he not only did not mind, but actually wanted to know all about what a woman goes through during pregnancy. He took pains to read, learn and get as involved in the process as he possibly could, and nothing was too squeamish or personal for him - from breast pains to morning sickness to foot massages and ante-natal classes. This guy is just such a sweetheart!
On the other side though, you have Napat who seems to be more detached, and even annoyed, at the whole pregnancy thing. (PS: I wonder how many people actually realise that as it was non-consensual sex, it was technically a rape? Which explains a lot about her reaction to the whole situation.) She didn't want the baby, knew it would hamper her modelling and acting career, and she behaved exactly as someone who didn't want to get pregnant but had little choice but to suck it up and see the whole thing through. The difference in attitudes among the would-be parents, and to have the male/ father being the more dedicated one of the pair, is a surprising but lovely little twist to your average pregnancy trope. I liked this change in dynamic and I loved how this show so excellently depicts it. I'm glad to say that Napat eventually grows more emotionally attached as her pregnancy advances, and with that comes another change in the relationship dynamic, which was another compelling watch.
Another great thing about this show is that a lot of the emotional heft and moments come from the agreement and arrangement which the main leads have settled amongst themselves. What was thought of as a good and suitable arrangement slowly grew fangs and they were gradually feeling the bite of it as time passed. For me, some of the best emotional moments in the show was when both leads were individually feeling that bite themselves. How nice is it that bulk of the conflict and issue within the drama was one of the main leads' own making, rather than a third-party interference?
And on that note, yes, of course this is a tv drama, so you will always have interfering third-parties, but for me, their interference was really of the pot-stirring kind, rather than the bomb-chucking sort. There were no real villains here - just interested parties trying to stir up an already rather finely-balanced situation. But those pot-stirrings didn't really last that long (another great thing about this show). The main leads generally know where their priorities should be and they are rather good at keeping their focus on the right ball. Seriously, how many shows are like this? Love it!
We do have a couple of other side stories running alongside the main couple. Both are secondary couples also trying to have a baby and finding it a lot harder than our main couple (who basically just hit the jackpot in one sitting). Both couples have very different dynamics in dealing with this, and I also liked seeing this difference. One is there for comic relief/ humour, while the other is more heart-wrenching. I thought both were lovely complements to the main coupling, even if the comedic couple were often a bit over-board in their characterisations.
The supporting cast and the secondary couplings were generally solid. Aside from the two second leads who were pretty one-note i.e. Mark (who is interested in Napat) and Jasmine (who is interested in Rachen), the other supporting characters and secondary couples had distinct personalities and motivations which made them more emotionally relatable, at least for me. I particularly liked Rachen's family unit and their portrayal through the show.
JAYME BOOHER as Anna, Napat's best friend (whom I also recognised as playing the rather annoying second lead female in 'Neung Nai Suang'), was great in her portrayal of Napat's BFF. She is what every BFF should be like - entirely supportive through thick and thin from buying pregnancy test kits to arranging doctor visits to lending a listening ear and offering sound advice. She was a huge advocate of Rachen having rights as the baby's father too, and made every effort to keep our main leads together - something I whole-heartedly supported. Her portrayal here is very different from that in 'Neung Nai Suang', but she pulls both off well. A good actress and I love her role here.
ANNE THONGPRASOM as Napat. I have heard about Anne being Ken T's 'koo kwan', but since this is my second Ken drama (the first being with Janie), this is my first time seeing Anne opposite Ken. She did not impress me that much in the first few episodes - partially due to her character's rather arrogant personality, and partially due to her looks which were not to my personal taste.
But she grew on me as an actress, especially when her character started to take her pregnancy more seriously and when she also started to reflect on her relationships and her future with her baby. Anne was able to show a lot more range and emotions when the show progressed, which was really wonderful to see. It is not an easy task to show conflicted internal turmoil (the hallmark of any good actor/ actress is whether they can pull this off well, for me), and Anne nailed her scenes here. She was able to show Napat grow and mature from your selfish and prideful woman into one who has learned to love and care for others and to seriously consider how to balance her future of career vs baby. She had her insecurities, hang-ups and doubts too which played a part in her making some of the decisions she chose to make, but there is no denying that her character had evolved greatly through the show, and that Anne was able to show that progression all the way. Well done.
KEN THEERADETH as Rachen. What can I say? I was amazed and impressed by his portrayal of Anawat in 'Neung Nai Suang', and here he plays a very different character in Rachen and he nailed it once again. This guy has officially won me over for his stellar acting prowess and for his charming smile. At the risk of going into full fangirling mode, I will try to be as lucid and objective as possible, but it is rather difficult, lol.
Rachen is a very different character from Anawat. While Anawat was in essence a gentleman of his time, Rachen is your modern day cocky and temperamental man. He is impulsive, loud and emotionally driven. But unlike Anne's Napat, his emotional outbursts come across more childish than offensive and I think this is something only Ken can pull off. He can make a dislikable character, or dislikable character traits, less dislikable for some reason. I think it is a combination of his looks (yes, being that handsome helps a great deal), and his ability to imbue subtle nuances to his character's looks and actions.
He has great expressive ability and this show gives him lots of opportunity to showcase it. There is a lot of playfulness and cheekiness on show here (which is just great because Ken's smiles are so lovely, and his comic expressions hilarious), but there is also plenty of internal doubts and disappointments too. His character's earnestness in wanting to be involved in every aspect of the pregnancy process is also just too adorable and sweet for words.
Best of all, Rachen, like Napat, grows and matures throughout the series and from the man-child he was at the start, he slowly grows to be a man who takes his responsibilities seriously and carries them as best as he possibly can. This evolution was also wonderfully portrayed here.
In short, Ken plays every aspect of Rachen like a maestro and best of all, he makes it all look so effortless and natural.
This is my first time seeing the much touted Ken/Anne koo kwan combo and I can't deny that Ken's chemistry here with Anne is a lot better than that with Janie in 'Neung Nai Suang'. Perhaps it is also Anne's acting ability (she is head and shoulders above Janie from what I've seen so far) because Anne is able to emote a lot better and so perhaps Ken is able to capitalise on that and also bring out more ability from his side. Or maybe they are really comfortable with each other from the start. From what I gather, 'Oum Rak' was their first drama together and they became such a great hit they starred in more dramas together afterwards.
EDIT: I was wrong. 'Oum Rak' is their second drama together.
Whatever it is, I can see why they make a great on-screen couple. Their acting is very balanced between them - when one is being over-the-top, the other is equally over-the-top, but when one is being quietly emotional, the other can also be equally quietly emotional. There is a very good and equal balance when they both interact on-screen so both characters develop memorable and individual personalities that play off each other well and none are really completely overshadowed by the other.
Anyway, suffice to say, I am definitely keen to check out more dramas with this couple combo (maybe even eventually venture into the crazy slap/kiss fest that is 'Sawan Biang' *gasp*).
I loved the background music and the sound effects on this show. I thought it really added to the tone and mood of each scene, and even though I don't understand Thai and the meaning behind the vocals of the songs, the melody is still a nice scene and mood setter.
Yes, definitely re-watchable, even if it is just for Ken's cute smiles and adorable sweetheart actions. An absolutely brilliant romantic comedy - it brings on the laughs but it also brings along the feels.
Honestly, it has been a long time since my heart was so emotionally touched during some of the poignant and emotionally-driven scenes, and 'Oum Rak' has now become one of my favourite romantic-comedies, on par with my favourites from the K-drama, C-drama, J-drama and TW-drama scene. What an amazing find this was!
EDIT TO ADD:
I would actually also like to say this, which is NOT a spoiler as it relates to Episode 1:-
I think what a lot of viewers don't realise is that the 'one-night-stand', which triggers the whole premise of this show, was actually non-consensual because Napat (the main female lead) was so intoxicated she was literally passed out i.e. unconscious. Therefore, she was actually incapable of knowing nor providing any form of consent when Rachen (the main male lead) mistakenly mistook her for someone else in his own drunken state and took advantage of her.
This means that the act was technically a rape. Yes, I know a lot of people are sensitive about this r-word but even though it was not a straight-forward forced-act-against-someone's-will, it was still non-consensual and hence we should call a spade a spade.
This is important because it really gives context to Napat's very strong reactions after she finds out upon waking up; and it also explains Rachen's own deep sense of guilt and shame over the whole incident. It also gives a lot of context to their inter-personal dynamic and their own relationship development as the show progresses.
Without seeing things from this perspective, viewers may not necessarily understand why our main leads behaved the way they did at certain points of the show, so this is why I have taken the time to explain it here. The script, characterisation and character-motivations on this show is actually consistent, well-structured and well-thought through, but not many people may realise this without understanding the context and the trigger right from the start.
So, although it is a sensitive issue, it makes a whole world of a difference to how you view the show and understand our main characters, and I hope by sharing this many new (and old) viewers would be able to better appreciate this hidden gem of a show.