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The war has started…
It’s us against them
Sapai Jao Sua (2021) is a remake of the 2010 Thai romantic-comedy under the same name (yes, Thailand remakes their dramas every 10 years or so). First, let me tell you what the drama is about since the summary on MDL is long and spoilery.
Traiwit or Wit, a Chinese-Thai young man coming from a wealthy family, tried to get away from his controlling father Tien, a silk textile business tycoon. Wit opposed his father by choosing a career as a police officer. During a secret mission to North-Eastern Thailand, where the Isan people live, he met Fahsai, an Isan girl with an aspiration to develop her hometown. When he was transferred back to Bangkok, to avoid Tien’s plan to marry him off, Wit hired Fahsai as his fake wife to help him fight against his father.
|Title: Sapai Jao Sua (สะใภ้เจ้าสัว).
Also known as: Chinese Tycoon’s Daughter-in-Law, Daughter-in-War, Boss’ Bride.
Genres: Action, Comedy, Romance, Drama, Family
Aired: Apr 7, 2021 – May 14, 2021
Duration: 45 minutes
Official trailer (unsubbed): Channel3 Thailand
Trigger warnings: See Important Notes below!
- More information on the Isan people in Wikipedia. I also wrote a recap article on the Isan-centered drama To Me, It’s Simply You with an explanation of the culture.
- During airing, this drama was quite popular in Thailand, as shown in the viewership rating that started with 3.4 and finished with 7.2 for the final episode, averaging 4.87. The rating is only for local TV viewing, not for Youtube with international audiences (source 1 and source 2).
- Trigger warning on some minor scenes showing reptiles (can be skipped at times below in subbed version):
- live eels (Episode 1 minute 27 to 28)
- live snakes (Episode 2 minutes 29 to 30)
- cooked eel (Episode 5 minutes 40 to 43)
- cooked salamanders (Episode 12 minutes 26 to 28)
Now that you have been warned, let’s read the more fun stuff: the characters. We will start with the main couple.
Wit comes from a rich Thai-Chinese family doing business in the silk textile industry. Instead of easily being handed a job at the family company, he opted to be a police officer. Wit is very dedicated to his job, which took him to the current position as a captain who handles illegal drug cases. While working undercover in the North-Eastern part of Thailand where the Isan people live, Wit meets and befriends Fahsai.
Although a country girl, Fah is smart and holds a bachelor degree in Agriculture. She also desires to develop her hometown’s economy, one of them being in silk production. After knowing her aspiration and that she has a backbone (= an unwillingness to be used or taken for granted), Wit struck a deal with Fah to help her with further education and internship at his family company in exchange for helping him fight his father’s control of his future marriage by becoming his fake wife.
It’s not easy to be fake
But becoming a fake couple is not easy, as the deal is only known by Wit and Fah. As shown in the GIF above, they always have to be alert and act as a lovey-dovey pair in every situation. Sparks fly between Wit and Fah as time goes by, but so is the heated war between them and the family. So, who are the ‘enemies’?
Traiwit’s parents, Tien (Jaturong Mokjok) and Lui (Kaew Apiradee Pawaputanont), put major efforts into preserving the Chinese tradition in the family (Tien performs lion dance and Lui sings Chinese opera). They also raised their four sons with an old-fashioned child upbringing style in which they have a say in their children’s education and pick their wives. Although Lui is more gentle and accommodating, Tien is villainous and determined. He orchestrates various schemes to separate Wit and Fah.
Fun fact: The actor who played Tien is also a horror movie director.
Fahsai’s parents, Ming (Wit Phutharit Prombandal) and Soy (Nong Pornsuda), got to know Wit while he was in their hometown when he stayed at their place. Although Soy is polite and more easy-going to Wit (especially knowing that he is a cop), Ming is very protective of his beloved daughter and harsh towards his ‘son-in-law’. Only when Fah showed him the (fake) marriage certificate did he let his daughter go. Beware of angry dad’s ‘super power’, though!
Dad Ming broke free like a Superman
Fun fact: The actress who played Soy is actually the executive producer of this drama.
TRAIWIT’S BROTHERS AND SISTERS-IN-LAW
Besides the main couple, I also like the Poom-Wan couple. I want to see them playing as the main couple in another drama in the future. They just look so adorable together!
Poom’s text message notification sound: “I have a wife. I have a wife.” His ringtone? “I’m married. I’m married.” – LOL
Another feature of this drama that I absolutely love is the variety of cultures as told in the story and depicted in their costumes, as shown below.
Modern hi-so Thai: Traiwit’s family picture
Thai costume worn during company event
(Modernized female dresses with knee-length skirts)
Chinese wedding costume
(Center: Dad Tien wearing lion dance costume)
Isan wedding costume
Why I recommend this drama
- Everyone can watch this drama, but in my opinion, it’s especially great for Thai drama beginners who want to dip their toes into the wonder of the lakorn world. It’s a light-hearted rom-com yet has the full flavor of Thai spices (Thai culture/customs, way of life, characterization, tropes, jokes, etc.)
- The drama has 28 episodes, but the duration of each is only 45 minutes. It makes the drama’s episodes a little shorter than the typical Thai lakorn, Kdrama, or Cdrama.
- Likeable Male Lead and Female Lead. They are nice, smart, and strong in their own ways.
- Although this is the first time Ohm acted as the main lead (he always played as supporting characters in previous dramas) and the first time he and Prima collaborated together as a couple, they acted remarkably well! Their chemistry is great, and they acted comfortably with each other.
- Thank goodness there is no bitchy mother-in-law! There are scary dads, though. Even so, I loved the acting of these veteran actors so much that I cannot hate them.
- There are side stories about the rest of the family members. I don’t think they are fillers, though, since each side story supports how the main story line goes.
- This drama is imperfect and predictable, yet it’s hilarious and very enjoyable. In my opinion, the drawbacks are in the technicality of the sub and viewing.
- Therefore: give this drama specifically, and Thai dramas generally, a try!
- To know more about Thai dramas, contact MDL’s Thai Dramas Club.
Thank you for reading and happy watching!
Acknowledgements: Thank you to the editors who edited this article, and also to fellow lakorn fan Pijush who gave me some info on this drama.
Credits: I do not own any of the images used. Credits go to the respective owners. Self-made GIFs and pictures are taken from official posters/stills and drama scenes.
Edited by: devitto (1st editor), Cookie (2nd editor)