Dok Ruk Rim Tang aka Love Flower by the Edge of the Road
Credit for pictures go to their uploaders!
I just finished watching Dok Ruk Rim Tang (DRRT), English translation “Love Flower by the Edge of the Road”, which aired on Thailand’s Channel 5 between May and June, 2010.
The drama starred Bie Sukrit Wisedkaew as Patthavee (Pattavee or Vee), our hero. Wannarot Sontichai (Vill) starred as the heroine, Anuch aka Ood (when disguised as a boy). Fang Pitchaya Srithep played Janejira, the dreaded other woman. Toey Jarinporn Joonkiat played Patcha, the parallel lead, a sweet girl and the heroine’s best friend’s girl. And Oh Anuchit Sapunpohng played Than, our heroine’s very supportive (and very rich) best friend.
The drama begins with an old man sitting sadly in his home, remembering how his cruel ex-wife dragged off his precious daughter when he threw her over for a newer, younger version, Jittri. Jittri turns out to be a gold-digger (surprise!), who is having an affair with her assistant. When the old man catches them together and tries to kick her out. Her assistant pushes him off the stairs, and the two force him to sign over his property when he becomes paralyzed by the fall before killing him off. Before he dies, the old man hides his true will in a painting and leaves behind as witness his faithful dog, Hangtu.
The real story begins when the old man’s daughter, Anuch, comes back from abroad after learning of her father’s death. She comes back to find that everything has been left to Jittri, who is quick to sell off all the properties/painting to her sister’s boyfriend, Vee. Knowing that her father would not have so completely forgotten her, Anuch begins to investigate, attempting to find the secret that Hangtu is hinting at. When her father’s mistress has both her and Hangtu kidnapped, hoping to get this final roadblock out of her way, Anuch escapes and comes back disguised as a 15 year old boy (Why 15?!) named Ood. She enters Vee’s home as a new servant, and begins to search for a hidden will. She promises to take care of the dog, Hangtu, who has also found his way home, until Anuch can take the dog back.
Ood quickly makes her place in Vee’s home, finding a place in his heart, as well. Vee is a famous photographer with a famous actress girlfriend, Janejira. Vee is understandably freaked out at his feelings for a young boy and strives to keep his distance from Ood. He tells her to stay meters away, hating himself for having these feelings. He calls himself crazy repeatedly and even goes to a psychiatrist to get help. At the same time as he is fighting his feelings for Ood, Vee begins to search for Anuch, looking for her to hand Hangtu and Ood over. When he comes across her in a mall, he chases her for some time, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. He does not know that Anuch is Ood.
The two spend time together, as Ood works with Vee, with Ood taking care of Vee when he is injured saving Hangtu, and Vee takes care of Ood when she is injured multiple times from various incidents. Despite knowing his emotions are wrong, Vee begins pulling away from Janejira. When she manipulates him into getting engaged to her to prove his manhood, Vee agrees, only to break up with her because he cannot imagine marrying her.
Ood is largely ignorant of Vee’s inner turmoil and very aware of his search for Anuch, but her primary focus is on finding the will. She conspires to go to Vee’s office when she learns that the will is in a painting. But before she can actually get to the painting, Vee locks them away. But even she, as she spends time with Vee, begins to become jealous of the time he spends with Janejira. She slowly realizes that she is falling for Vee, as well.
At the same time as the main couple is falling in love, Than, Anuch’s best friend, and Patcha meet up. Than is Anuch’s best friend, who helps her in every way, providing her with resources, medical care and helicopter rides to make her life easier. He is the perfect, understanding friend. His family seems to own a mall, a resort and even part of a hospital. Patcha is a sweet girl of a rich, watch dynasty who is not too confident of her looks. Her mother tries to match-make her with Vee, hoping the two will click. They don’t. Patcha ends up meeting Than and the two have lots of interactions. While Than is actively chasing Patcha, it takes her a while to realize that she has feelings for him. She then immediately becomes jealous of the relationship Than has with Anuch, suspecting the two of being in love. She then suspects that Than is hiding something big from her. She tries to keep her distance from him, until the truth finally comes out. From then on, she is completely on both Than’s and Anuch’s side.
When the story comes back to the paintings, Ood is finally forced to tell Vee some semblance of the truth when Jane accuses Ood of trying to steal from his studio. Ood admits to being Anuch’s servant and coming to Vee’s home solely for the purpose of searching for the will because Anuch cannot safely do so. By this time, Vee has sold the paintings to Jittri, not knowing how important they are to Ood. Jittri immediately burns them, knowing that she will never have the time to find the actual will and it would be too much trouble keeping the paintings, and the will, around.
Ood is injured while trying to rescue the burning paintings, but some of them are successfully rescued by Vee and Than. Vee and Ood spend the night in a hospital, with Vee taking care of an injured Ood. There, despite his struggle against these feelings, Vee kisses Ood when she awakens crying from a nightmare. After the kiss, Vee freaks out some more, running to the bathroom to put some distance between himself and Ood.
The next morning, Ood and Vee pretend that nothing has happened. But on their way home, Ood is kidnapped by Jittri’s assistant. Janejira, angered by Vee dumping her for Ood, has made a deal with Jittri. Jittri will get rid of Ood, and Janejira will get Jittri the rescued paintings. Ood is taken to a deserted island, and Vee, Patcha and Than quickly follow. Vee is able to find Ood with Hangtu’s aid, getting there just in time to perform CPR on an almost drowned Ood. Ood awakens, saved by Vee’s heroic efforts. 😛
Vee hugs Ood, and in the process, feels Ood’s bindings. He figures out that Ood is a girl and that he is NOT gay. He is understandably relieved, and doesn’t really think too much on who Ood might be. He decides to play with her, making her suffer some of the turmoil that he has gone through through the time he has known her. While the world is thinking that Vee has become gay, and Ood is increasingly confused by his loving behavior, Vee takes every opportunity to enjoy being with Ood. He makes her cuddle under the same blanket, sit next to him, feed him, and even sleep with him in the same bed.
Over a breakfast conversation one morning, Vee finally figures out that Ood is actually Anuch, the real heir to all the properties currently under Jittri’s control. He plays a gambit to draw Anuch out, threatening to get rid of the will unless Anuch herself comes to meet him. When Anuch comes out in her real avatar, Vee flirts with her, urging her to reveal her face to him from up close. While Anuch is getting irritated by Vee’s flirtatious behavior, Jittri learns of the planned meeting and sends her assistant to kill Anuch. Anuch is shot in the arm, but manages to escape further injury. Vee races home, and is shocked to discover Ood already there. Ood was able to come home in time with the help of Than’s helicopter.
Seeing the pain in her face, when he grips her arm in the same area where Anuch was shot, Vee confirms his suspicions. But he does not confront Ood at that moment.He spends the entire night tossing and turning, remembering all the times Ood displayed her desperation. When Janejira comes over to confirm Jittri’s suspicion that Ood is Anuch, Vee stops her, making an excuse for Ood’s injury. While Ood is secretly wondering at Vee’s assistance, Vee takes her to another place and tells her that he wants to see the real her. Ood, realizing that Vee knows that she is Anuch, escapes instead thinking that she cannot face him. Vee is left behind, heartbroken by Ood’s/Anuch’s refusal to trust in him and her implicit rejection.
When the two meet up again, Anuch, in her girl avatar, is afraid of his reaction and hurt by how cold he is to her. He angrily points out that he already knew about her gender, but he was hurt by her inability to trust him. She demands to know why things can’t remain the same, and he points out to her that things aren’t the same. The person he fell in love with was Ood, and Ood doesn’t exist. The two fight, each refusing to admit how much they love the other. They are then distracted by yet another (this time successful) attempt on the painting and Hangtu’s accidental kidnapping. As the two search for Hangtu, aided by Than and Patcha, they kind of reconcile when Vee sees how broken up Anuch really is. They share an almost kiss, but Anuch pulls back, shy because she is now a girl and good girls don’t do these things. As Vee aids her in looking for Hangtu, she asks him why he is doing so much. Vee points out that it’s because he cares and loves . . . Hangtu, too.
As the search for Hangtu ramps up, Anuch goes back to dressing as Ood, saying that she wants to remain this way until they find Hangtu. Vee then goes back to treating her as Ood, hugging her and stealing kisses at every opportunity. Just before things get utterly cute, Janejira shows up at Vee’s studio, demanding a private audience with Vee. She blackmails Vee into promising to marry her in 3 days or she will destroy the will. Vee agrees, hoping to steal the will from her before the marriage happens. Anuch is heartbroken by Vee’s decision, thinking that Vee only loved Ood and because Ood doesn’t really exist, she means nothing to him.
Jane decides to take the will to Jittri, knowing that Vee won’t stop looking for it. Vee figures out that she is returning to her home town, and the entire gang, along with the police, chase Jane. Jane throws the will into the water and Hangtu sacrifices himself to save it. Jittri and Jane are arrested and are now safely out of the way. Before Anuch can be too heartbroken, Vee hatches a plan and the two find their way to Hangtu. Hangtu is saved, only suffering malnutrition from his kidnapping.
Than proposes to Patcha, gifting her a dream bakery and asking her for a wedding cake in return. (It was utterly cute!) There is some more hesitation on Anuch’s and Vee’s part, as they struggle with her identity as a woman. Growing frustrated, Anuch tells Vee that she’s returning to America. Everyone tries to hatch a plot to get them together, only to turn to Hangtu when they have no ideas. Hangtu conspires to get Vee and Anuch together. The two bicker a little bit when they come to face to face, before Vee orders Anuch to marry him because she loves him and he loves her. She agrees.
And everyone lives happily ever after!
I watched this drama after watching another Taddao Bussaya, another drama about a lost will and an heiress who dressed up as a boy. Only, this drama had Hangtu, our trusty, loyal dog. The story was the same, so it clearly wasn’t treading any revolutionary paths. Even so, I found myself enjoying this drama much more than I enjoyed Taddao Bussaya. DRRT was a bit more comedic and the villains were way less screechy. Believe me, that was a huge blessing on my ears, but even so, since the premise was the same, I couldn’t help but compare this drama to Taddao Bussaya and other dramas where the heroine dresses up as a boy and confuses the hell out of the hero.
The Writing . . .
The Story . . .
A direct lift from Taddao Bussaya.
. . . Plot holes / bad writing . . .
Even when they had the framework, they still created a story that had plot holes/bad writing. For example, if Anuch’s father knew that the only reason he was kept alive was because he hadn’t signed the will, then why the heck did he sign the will?! He’s killed immediately afterwards.Or how can a will he created before he signed Jittri’s will stand as his last will and testament? As an attorney, that drove me crazy! Or why the heck were the police shown as so incompetent. Or why didn’t Anuch freeze Jittri’s assets so that she couldn’t spend the money on putting Anuch’s life in danger?
. . . Missing details . . .
Second, I always wondered about the background details about the characters. And the writers didn’t fill us in on anyone. How did Than and Anuch become friends? How did they know each other? Where did Jittri and Janejira come from? Why this hunger for money? Maybe, the writer could have humanized the villains a little bit.
Why the heck was Anuch so desperate for the will/money? The writer never addressed that in the drama. I just wondered what was so important about the money (even if it’s millions) that the heroine risked her life for it. Dressed up as a boy for it. Continued to lie to the man she came to love for it. I mean, isn’t that what a villain does? Suddenly, at the end we have a throwaway line about how she doesn’t want the money, she wants Jittri punished. But too little, too late for me to believe.
. . . Same events on repeat . . .
How many times did Anuch and Hangtu get kidnapped? How many times was Anuch the victim of attempted murder? How many times did Anuch dither about telling Vee the truth? How many times did Patcha beg Than to tell her the truth and he refused?
. . . Some skeevy/questionable details . . .
Why did Ood have to be 15 years old?! Not only was he a male, but Vee was attracted to a minor! That was really hard to take. I had to skip those initial scenes. I don’t know if in Thailand the age of majority is 15, but in the US, it’s not.
Also, if Than was so in love with Patcha, why couldn’t he have told her the truth? He trusted her with his heart, but not with Anuch’s truth. She was desperate and hurt, but he never opened up. It made me really feel bad for Patcha.
. . . and the Characters.
I liked Anuch for the most part. When she wasn’t crying. She had the courage to do something when her father died. She didn’t stop fighting, even when she thought she was trapped. She then kind of devolved into a weak willed woman who wouldn’t even confess to Vee, but she was good at the beginning.
Vee was a good man. He did fight his love when he thought he was falling in love with a minor. When he found out her truth, he started having some fun. I loved the playful energy he had when he was messing with Anuch. He only wanted to help, even going as far as to sacrifice himself for Ood. And that was a good man.
Than was a great friend. He unquestioningly helped Anuch with everything, using all of his resources to provide that help. It did get kind of funny when he owned almost every other thing that we saw, but he had the power and he wasn’t afraid to use it to protect those he loved. And when he fell in love with Patcha, he was unrelenting in his pursuit of her, as well. He was loyal, and also a good man.
Patcha was cute. Vee’s sister, Na, strong. The parents were supportive and sweet.
I didn’t like the villains, but that is what you’re supposed to feel for villains.
The Acting . . .
The villains got on my nerves. Both actresses who played Janejira and Jittri had this way of constantly moving, like they weren’t comfortable in their skin, and the crazy look in their eyes that got on my nerves. There was a lot of overacting, and that was not enjoyable.
Both Bie and Vill were good in their roles, but the roles didn’t ask a lot from them. Vill spent most of the drama crying incessantly, and that could get tiring. Where was the woman who had the courage to dress up as a boy and go into a stranger’s home? She did that, but then just broke down when in that home? Bie was given a character that didn’t required a lot of him. There were no quiet moments with him. He exaggerated his initial feelings to Ood, which I skipped most of, his interactions with both the psychologist and his coworkers as he dealt with his emotions, and his happiness when he found out Ood’s truth. When Vee works out Ood’s real identity, that was good acting. I’ve seen Vill’s acting in other dramas, and I know she can do more. This was just a matter of two good actors not being trusted with more. This drama could have had so much more depth if Bie and Vill had been given better characters. But they weren’t.
I really liked the actor who played Than. He seemed very natural with his acting, and fit very well into his role. I had no trouble believing that he was Than every time he came on the screen because he was that natural in his acting I believed that he fell in love with Patcha as soon as he met her, even though the way he showed it was through teasing. I believed that he supported Anuch 100% because she was his family. Oh Anuchit Sapunpohng did a great job as Than.
A shout out to the dog(s) playing Hangtu. The team got a lot out of that dog, down to his sad expressions when he was unhappy. And a very special shout out to the man who voiced Hangtu’s thoughts. He did a great job in expressing Hangtu’s emotions in every situation, as well.
I have no opinion on the other actors. They did their job ably and did not detract from my viewing pleasure.
. . . and Chemistry . . .
I liked the chemistry between Than and Vee. How refreshing was it that there was no jealousy between the two, even when Vee didn’t know the truth of Than’s and Anuch’s relationship? They were two males who loved one woman in very different ways, and they were very natural in their camaraderie and support of that woman.
I couldn’t enjoy the chemistry between Bie and Vill because of the whole 15 year old thing, and later on it was a bit more comedic than romantic, so I didn’t have much of a chance to witness their chemistry nor enjoy it. I missed that part of the relationship because I couldn’t watch it, and that completely sucks. The falling in love stage is the most important part of a relationship for me, and I feel like this drama stole that from me.
Even so, I gave Dok Ruk Rim Tang a 7/10, and I feel it was worth the watch. It just could have been so much better, but what it was wasn’t too bad either.