Saturday, July 14, 2012

In Which I Watch Some Thai TV And Discover The Glories of Red Kool-Aid

I've been watching a lot of Thai television lately; lakorns (soap operas), music videos and commercials.  It's a good way for me to get used to hearing the language, to have some idea of who the main actors and actresses are that grace the screens there, and to give me some insights into Thai culture.  Thai television is very, very different from what we see here in America.

Take the music videos.  Thai music videos, like many of the commercials they show, have complete storylines.  Many of them are seven minutes long or longer, and include dialogue before and after the song.  Here's what I've discovered happens in at least half of these videos, many of which are based off of lakorns:

1.) Boy is in love with girl.  Girl is a bad person (shown by her dancing at nightclubs and drinking alcohol).  Girl rejects boy's advances, usually by refusing to hold his hand, but he loves her anyway.
2.) Through a misunderstanding, girl believes that boy is cheating on her and causes a big scene, which almost always ends with her slapping him in slow motion.  Boy looks hurt, stoic and manly as girl screams a lot and then runs away.
3.) Girl finds out it was all a big misunderstanding.  Girl runs back to boy just in time to see him die horribly, from tuberculosis (surprise!), a car accident, or anything that allows him to dramatically spit red Kool-Aid out of his mouth.  Girl immediately runs to him and shakes him violently while screaming, therefore ensuring that he's dead by neck injury if he hadn't already been mortally wounded.  Cue the video montage of her remembering everything nice he's ever done for her.
4.) Girl spends the rest of the video sobbing uncontrollably at all the places they visited together.  The End.

Here's a glorious example of the above (Warning: Copious Amounts of Red Kool-Aid Involved).  And here's another one

There are a few variations-- sometimes it's the guy who's the bad person, in which case he usually cheats on the girl and then discovers he really loves her right after she either commits suicide or dies in his arms after some tragic accident, sometimes while saving the girl he's cheating with.  She skips the Kool-Aid spitting though; she just looks all pale and declares her forgiveness and undying love for him and then kicks the bucket.  Then they zoom in and show a single tear rolling down his cheek.  Cue video montage.

In some ways the videos are refreshing; the women are all fully clothed, pda is limited to the occasional chaste kiss or hand holding, and there's no booty shaking in sight.  While I can't understand most of the lyrics, I seriously doubt that drug use or blatant sexual references are mentioned a whole lot either; Thailand is pretty strict on what's allowed to be shown on television. 

On the down side, pretty much every single girl in the videos has super, super pale skin, hair that's dyed brown, blond or red, and is, in the vast majority of cases, at least partially Caucasian.  My beautiful chestnut skinned, raven-haired daughter is being exposed to just as many unrealistic beauty ideals as teenagers are bombarded with over here-- not to mention the glorious "if you die then they discover they really love you" message. 

Still, it's probably better than MTV.  At least Flava Flav hasn't made the transition to Thailand.


1 comment:

Julia O'C said...

Re: Video #1
We're those girls toasting each other with water in wine glasses? And did the red goo come flying out of that guy's mouth before he hit the ground? And what does "weddings for life" mean?

A most excellent video. I must go watch the second one now.

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