Why do Thai soap operas remain so popular among local viewers from generation to generation? Two top scriptwriters give their views.
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A scene from the Channel 3 soap Raeng Pradhana.
Thai soaps still the viewers’ favourite
Today's Bangkok Post has a long story by Kanokporn Chanasongkramon on Thai soap operas, better known here as nam nao – stinking water. The story talks about current and upcoming productions on the three main free channels, 3, 5 and 7. You can read it in full here: http://www.bangkokpost.com/arts-and-culture/tv-and-radio/333294/soaps-grease-the-conscience
The story also tries to explain why soap operas remain so popular among Thai viewers from generation to generation and that is where we will focus. Two top scriptwriters give their views:
Kantana's head of scriptwriters, Lalita Chantasadkosol. (Kantana specialises in action and suspense thrillers that are aired nationwide on Channel 7.)
Suea Sung Fah 2 Payak Payong premieres tonight on Channel 7.
"Some people may still perceive Thai soaps as nam nao because they haven't really watched what is screened on TV today. The variety includes action, suspense thrillers, fantasy and sci-fi.
"However, these productions may not receive ratings as high as plots regarded as nam nao.
"The mass audience, particularly upcountry viewers, want to watch something that relates to them. With that in mind, we create the script and its twists for an entertaining and easy-to-follow story."
"We have to understand the nature of the target audience, and like how they would eat at a noodle shop rather than an Italian restaurant, we give them a good lakorn with a local flavour."
Sirilux Srisukon, script director at TV production outfit Exact.
A remake, the sixth, of Khu Kam, currently airing on Channel 5.
"The script has to be concise and stimulating, otherwise, with the remote control, viewers can promptly change the channel to see another soap.
Wan Nee Thee Ro Koy
"People have a preference for food and they may want to eat Thai, Korean, Indian or Western dishes. As for watching TV, the mass audience still wants to consume spicy Thai soap operas, which share some similarity to Korean shows because of the Asian culture. But if we do something like The Tudors, (a historical fiction series set in England and produced for an American audience), it may not work at all," she said.
"We have tob-joob – slap and kiss – drama or romantic comedies which are not the norm in Western series. A romantic scene in a Thai soap can make viewers pinch their pillow in excitement, and they may shed tears along with the characters in a distressing situation. That doesn't normally happen when watching a Western series."
"Viewers get emotionally involved while watching a Thai lakorn whereas a Western series gets them rationally following the story. Western shows maintain a distance from viewers who don't get to develop that kind of emotional attachment."
"No matter how sensational the soap opera, once it ends, the emotion dries out and viewers move on to next story, so that they can join in the discussion. Lakorn is a hot topic along with fashion, shoes, and make-up that Thai women like to talk about."
soap opera – a story about the lives and problems of a group of people which is broadcast every day or several times a week on television or radio เรื่องน้ำเน่า
favourite – something you like the best of all similar things ที่ชอบมากที่สุด, ที่โปรดปราน, ของโปรด
current – of the present time ปัจจุบัน
upcoming – happening soon; available soon ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา
production – a film/movie, a play or a broadcast that is prepared for the public ละครหรือภาพยนตร์
popular – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
generation – a group of people in society who are born and live around the same time รุ่น (คนรุ่นต่างๆ)
script – a written text of a play, film/movie, broadcast, talk, etc ตัวเขียน,ต้นฉบับ, บท
specialise – to concentrate on a particular subject or activity มีความชำนาญเป็นพิเศษ
suspense – excitement or worry that you feel when you are waiting to find out what has happened or what will happen ความน่าตื่นเต้น (ด้วยความดีใจหรือความกังวลก็ได้)
thriller – a book, play or film/movie with an exciting story เรื่องเขย่าขวัญ
air – to broadcast; to send out a programme on television or radio ออกอากาศ, กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว
nationwide – throughout a whole country ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
perceive – to think of or understand something in a particular way เข้าใจ, รับรู้
screen – to show of a film or video to a group of people ฉายบนจอ (ภาพยนตร์, ทีวี ฯลฯ)
variety – many different types of things or people ความหลากหลาย
fantasy – a pleasant situation that you imagine but that is unlikely to happen การจินตนาการ
fiction – a type of literature that describes imaginary people and events, not real ones บันเทิงคดี, นวนิยาย, เรื่องเล่า
sci-fi (science fiction) – a type of book, film/movie, etc. that is based on imagined scientific discoveries of the future, and often deals with space travel and life on other planets นวนิยายวิทยาศาสตร์
rating – a measurement of how good or popular someone or something is, in this case, a television programme การประเมิน, เปอร์เซ็นต์ผู้ขมหรือผู้ฟังของรายการหนึ่ง
plot – the series of events that form the story of a novel, play, film/movie, etc. เนื้อเรื่อง
regarded as – considered to be ถือว่า
mass audience – a very large number of people who watch/read something, especially throughout a country or area ผู้ชมจำนวนมาก
upcountry – areas outside of the Bangkok area; connected with an area of a country that is not near large towns ต่างจังหวัด, ที่อยู่ในชนบท, ที่อยู่ห่างไกลจากเมือง
relate to – to be connected with something/somebody; to refer to something/somebody เชื่อมโยงกับ
twist – an unexpected change or development in a story or situation การเปลี่ยนแปลงที่ไม่คาดคิด
nature – the basic quality of feature of something ลักษณะที่แท้จริงของสิ่งต่างๆ, ธรรมชาติ
target audience – the intended audience; the intended customers or market for something กลุ่มเป้าหมาย
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
flavour – a particular quality or atmosphere ใจความ, จุดสำคัญ, รสชาติ
outfit – a group of people working together as an organization, business, team, etc กลุ่มคน, พวก, ทีม, บริษัทเล็ก
concise – giving only the information that is necessary and important, using few words สั้นกระชับ, สั้นได้ใจความ
stimulating – full of interesting or exciting ideas; making people feel enthusiastic เร้าใจ
otherwise – if not; used for saying that if one thing does not happen or is not true, something else will happen, usually something bad มิฉะนั้น, ไม่เช่นนั้น
promptly – in an immediate or quick way ทันที
preference – something that you want or like most ความต้องการ
consume – to eat, drink or use something บริโภค
similarity – being like somebody/something but not exactly the same ความคล้ายคลึง, ความเหมือน
slap – to hit with the flat part of the hand ตบ
comedy – a (type of) film, play or book which is intentionally funny either in its characters or its action ความตลกขบขัน
norm – a situation or type of behavior that is expected and considered to be typical มาตรฐาน
pinch – to take something between your thumb and first finger and squeeze it hard หยิก
pillow – a soft object on which you rest your head in bed หมอน
shed tears – to cry ร้องไห้
distressing – making you feel extremely unhappy, worried or upset ที่น่าหดหู่
situation – all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place สถานการณ์
series – a set of TV broadcasts on the same subject or using the same characters but in different situations หนังชุด
rational – thinking about what you do in a calm way, and making sensible and intelligent decisions มีเหตุผล
emotional – related to strong feeling such as anger or love, or strong feelings in general อารมณ์
attachment – a strong feeling of affection for somebody/something ความผูกพันทางอารมณ์
no matter (who, what, how, etc.) – always true, whatever the situation is ไม่ว่าในกรณีใด, มิไย
sensational – causing great surprise, excitement, or interest น่าดึงดูดใจ, น่าเร้าใจ, น่าตื่นเต้น
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