Although Thailand is usually thought of as a recipient, not exporter of pop culture, Thai soap operas are making waves in mainland China.
Is it possible for a lakorn to paint a realistic picture of a rocky marriage? “Padiwarada’s” subtle yet major deviations from the usual soap fare shed a new light on Thai women and marriages.
A time-traveling romantic soap opera surrounding the events of Bang Rachan, based on a novel written by a right-wing author, colours the imagined past through rosy, blood-tinted glasses.
All year round, Thai TV channels air military-themed soap operas, where cute actors dressed in military uniforms play silly pranks on their crushes. This neutralizing formula of cuddly fictional soldiers tries to overwrite actual military men, who look—and act—much uglier. The latest farce, coming soon to you is a three-part military action-drama, “Master of the Skies,” which will focus on heavily armed, sexy commanding officers in order to more seriously popularize—and sexualize—the military.
It seems there can never be enough done in the overwhelming glorification of Thai kings. The Thai junta has built giant bronze statues of the so-called ‘seven great kings’ of Thai history to glorify and strengthen the status of the monarchy. Soon, a soap opera which aims to glorify King Rama V will be on air. It features the recurring theme of the emancipation of slaves during the reign of King Rama V, although the story is heavily romanticized and distorted, say experts.
Since the 70s, Thais have been encountering periodic remakes of a military-themed romantic comedy. Its nine—that’s right, nine—manifestations, released after military coups, show themes of legitimizing and romanticizing the military.