The decision to star Pimchanok Luevisadpaibul พิมพ์ชนก ลือวิเศษไพบูลย์ was controversial. Some questioned why the producers did not cast a real transexual actress instead, but I see this as a smart move - not because her nickname “fern leaf” Baifern ใบเฟิร์น somewhat matches with the title, but because she could carry the whole series single-handedly with her superb acting. I knew about her from the movie FRIEND ZONE (which was, by the way, released in the same year) and now after Bai Mai Tee Plid Plew I am officially a fan. In addition to tapping into Baifern’s large fanbase, casting this diva also made such a topic of taboo more palatable to the audience.
As with reading José Rizal, you don’t ever get an easy time watching this series; it is meant to sting, moments of bliss are short-lived and it keeps you feeling as if you were on the edge. I find this melancholy much more meaningful than those popular “BL” series from Thailand. Some have commended Bai Mai Tee Plid Plew for bringing to light the transgender and transexual communities, a salient topic in Thailand. More so than advocacy for LGBT+, however, to me what Bai Mai Tee Plid Plew stands for is this desire to turn over a new leaf. Despite all the suffering she had endured before her return to Thailand, Nira did not actively seek to hurt anyone. Even though there was much hatred in her heart, eventually Nira simply wanted to be left alone - she was even willing to let go of Chatchavee. To me this is resemblant of the characters under Rizal’s pen. Like Ibarra after his father’s death, and like Basilio after his brother was killed and mother went insane, Nira was willing to let the past go and start afresh. But a series of incidents pushed her into a corner and resulted in the tragedy that ensued.
Apart from the cast and the storyline, I believed the music itself deserved a section of its own despite the fact that this series did not have its own original soundtrack. The theme song is a rearrangement of the classic Thai song Rak Tee Yaak Leum รักที่อยากลืม, covered by Jiew Piyanut จิ๋ว ปิยนุช. The original style remains widely popular, but I prefer the new version more.
ลองรัก translates to “trying to love” in English, and it mark Nira’s transformation throughout the series. From the first episode when she could hardly control her anger, Nira gradually learnt to become independent and moved out of the doctor’s house. She was learning to hate less and try to love.
Although Gam Wichayanee แก้ม วิชญาณี’s Bai Mai ใบไม้ appeared only once in the series, the lyrics made it my favorite out of the three: beautiful, poignant, and melancholic.
Even the background instrumentals were nothing short of impressive. I wished there could be an album released with all of the lyrical and instrumental music included, like those Korean dramas.
The hardest part of exploring a new genre is finding where to start. While I have not viewed enough Thai la korns to be able to make a definite judgment, I definitely liked Bai Mai Tee Plid Plew and would recommend it. There will be many more la korns to come, but I am confident that Bai Mai Tee Plid Plew would remain to be a timeless masterpiece. I shall continue to work on my Thai, and when I am proficient enough I would definitely read the original novel.