Full House- this is a totally different story than the American television show from the 80s featuring widowed dad, dad’s hawt bro-in-law, and their best friend raising three adorable daughters. Not the same story at all.
This story was originally a web story. It was made into a drama in Korea. Recently, there was a remake in Thailand.
The basic storyline for both dramas: Our male lead is a superstar from a well to do, socially upper class family. Our female lead is an orphaned aspiring script writer. They meet on the plane when they are both traveling to the same country, but that first meeting is not auspicious. They end up in the same hotel, and she meets his best friend. The meeting with the best friend does go nicely- it’s not love at first sight, but they do enjoy one another’s company and are definitely friends by the time the best friend has to return home. She runs into some difficulties while in the foreign country, and since the best friend already left, the slightly spoiled/jaded superstar is the only person she knows who speaks her language, so she asks for help and ends up borrowing money from him.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to either of them, he ends up buying her house, but she was tricked into selling it by her best friend/sister. She is not the one who sold it and she wants it back.
Because of his pride and impulsive behavior he’s gotten himself in a bit of a mess with the public and his fans (Asian fans can be very demanding). In order to extricate himself from the problem (which, to some degree he’s already involved her in), he asks her to have a contract marriage with him for a set period of time, and then he will return her house (it’s 2 years in one version, a few months in the other). The contract specifies that they are just housemates, no hankypanky, she will also do the housework and cooking, and they actually have to have a real wedding to fool the public- and his family as well. They are both to respect each other’s personal, private lives, but also not to do anything to jeopardize the marriage or tell anybody the truth behind their marriage. That house is where she grew up and it has wonderful memories for her with her parents/father, so she really, really wants it back- not to mention she really doesn’t have anywhere else to live, so she agrees.
Because there must be complications in this already complicated tale, he has had a crush on another girl almost all his life. She was never interested in him romantically until he got married, and now the princess wants her squire back. The best friend (who grew up with the superstar and his one time crush) starts falling for the new wife – he doesn’t mean to, but they were friends first, and he can’t shake the feeling that something is really wrong and that she might need his help and protection. The new wife doesn’t help things, either- she doesn’t fall for the friend, but she is a ditz and periodically blurts out things that don’t make sense or they make it sound like she’s being unappreciated and unloved (which, she is at first, but of course, neither of them intended for love to be part of the arrangement, so it’s true, but not in the way the best friend is taking it).
Because all four of them either work in the entertainment industry in some capacity or, in lead female’s case, aspires to, they are all in each other’s business all the time.
Obviously, this is fairly predictable and we all know what happens. It’s the acting and the hijinks along the way that make this a fun show, as well as the many little things that make this an Asian show rather than American. America could have made something like this story back in the fifties or earlier- and in many ways, the popular forced proximity trope in my fave Asian films reminds me of It Happened One Night, starring Clark Gable and Claudette Coburn. The closest thing we’ve had recently is The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock.
The Korean Version: (This is my earlier review of The Korean version, which has been the gateway drug to K-Dramas for many viewers). You want the one with the actors Song Hye-kyo, Rain, Han Eun-jeong and Kim Sung-soo. This is an adorable romantic comedy based on a ridiculous premise. Release your logical objections to the idea that while a girl is on vacation her best friends would fraudulently sell her house and she wouldn’t take them to the cleaners as soon as she returned, and that she could agree to enter a contractual marriage (with an expiration date) with the guy who bought her house in order to get it back, and that the two of them could live chastely together in that house for quite some time in separate rooms, along with some other zany plot points, and just enjoy the ride. It’s fun, and the two leads are so, so, so, so, so cute I want to reach through the screen and pinch their cheeks. I love the family relationships involving the lead character’s parents and grandmother, too.
Caveats: the second female lead thinks it’s a striking fashion statement to wear fancy bras and leave her shirts unbuttoned to the naval. The male leads treatment of the female lead (before their conflicts are resolved) is at times jarring to those raised with western ideas of chivalry. Actually, this is true of most of the Korean dramas I watch, and it has made for some interesting discussions. Also, as in most Korean dramas featuring idols, you get a fair bit of shirt-free views of the male lead- think Clark Gable. Rain is ever-so-much better than Clark Gable, and there are several scenes which seem to be there just to show you that he is just as breath-takingly handsome from this angle as he is from that. Shrug and move on, because Full House is just too sweet to miss, although Rain’s character is entirely too shouty and the fashions are bizarre and make me choke.
Full House, Thailand version: Pretty much everything that bothered me about the Korean version has been fixed in this one. Mike Pirat Nitipaisankul plays Mike D. Angelo, a Thai superstar who prefers the music scene to acting, but his popularity is waning slightly because he doesn’t like to do Lakorns (Thai dramas). He’s stubborn, a bit high handed, short fused, but he has a warm heart and a good sense of humour, and he generally apologizes pretty quickly when he’s messed up.
Aom Sushar plays Aom Am, the female lead, and she is cuter than a basket of kittens. As in the Korean version, she’s an aspiring writer, an orphan living in the house her father left her, a little bit ditzy. The Thai version gives her a real sister who lives with her- or I think maybe a stepsister- until the whole house selling/fraud debacle.
Aom Am is warm, funny, affectionate, enthusiastic about life, and open hearted. In the Thai version her sister and the sister’s boyfriend do sell her house out from under her, but she actually signed all the documents without reading them, so she has no legal remedy, and Mike isn’t being a jerk by keeping the house he paid for- it’s not his fault she didn’t read the paperwork she signed. The Thai Aom Am does not just accept the crotchets and grouches of her employer/fake husband. She talks back and puts him in his place more than once, and she walks out when that is what she needs to do. She’s a feisty little thing.
The sister has a bigger conscience than the friend in the Korean version, and she thinks her boyfriend has taken care of Aom better than he did. They also intend to have her come live with them as soon as they get things settled.
It began a little slowly for me (so did the other), and you could almost skip the first two episodes if you’ve seen the other version, but it would be a shame to miss MIke’s reaction to her showing up at his hotel room asking him to buy her a plane ticket. He is hilarious when he gets going.(updated to note: actually, that scene occurs in episode 3
Warnings: Mike’s signature musical performance is to a song with crude lyrics (mostly in English) and he does a lot of shirtless writhing in the first episode. That did make for a nice bit of story telling about the change Aom makes in his life when you compare the song that made him famous to the one he makes for Aom later, but you could just take my word for it and skip the first song with the dirty lyrics.
Episode 8 has a long and embarrassing scene when his co-workers call him on his fake honeymoon and think they are overhearing something terribly private and lewd, but in fact he is innocently giving a bike riding lesson. You could just turn off the closed captioning for that scene or skip to where the accidental eavesdroppers disconnect their call. There is the obligatory shower scene- you don’t seen anything, but she accidentally opens the door when he is undressed, there is mutual screaming, and then later he keeps teasing her about it. It was mostly unnecessary, but I admit I did find one line funny-I’ve put it in white text, so hilight the next line if you’re curious. (he compares himself to a mammoth and she points out that mammoths are extinct).
There is one barnyard expletive in English.
Otherwise, I would give this a G rating.
Oh, and he wears more make-up than she does.
I thought the forced separation in both versions was unnecessary and really forced, but it was still done better in the Thai version. I liked this couple better, I liked his character much better, I liked his family better (his mother is a darling and granny is a pet). Really, the Thai version is just delightful. Mike is less shouty, less rude, and just generally less mean than Rain’s character. I did not find it endearing when Rain’s character kept telling the female lead she was stupid and a bird-brain in the K-drama version. I did find it adorable when Mike kept teasing Aom about being a shorty. There was just a lot less mean-ness, a lot more comedy and a lot more swooniness in the Thai version.
I watched it on Viki.com and on Youtube.
Viki: try here
youtube (which you will need a few times, some of them don’t load on Viki), do searches for the episode number you need using English Sub Full House Thai Ver Ep (insert number here) Full HD Aom & Mike
Shows I am currently watching but haven’t finished yet are described here.
You might also enjoy:
Dramas I’ve completed, recommend, and reviewed: see here.
K-Dramas I almost liked- most of these are just darker than I usually prefer. Some are just flawed. If you’re looking to see what I thought about a K-drama and you don’t see it on this post, you just might find it here.fa
Things to know when watching a K-drama
Where to get your fix: Sites where you can find subtitled K-dramas (and dramas from other countries, as well. I’ve watched a handful of J-dramas (Japanese) and TW (Taiwanese) dramas, but I vastly prefer the K-dramas.
About Thai Dramas: I’m still figuring them out. I’ve watched three Thailand dramas (lakorns) now, and this is by far, head and shoulders, my favorite of the three. One I can’t recommend at all, and the second (Cubic) had a lot of adorable, but also some distinctly non-western treatment of crime, the mafia, women, and relationships which I found jarring.