by elexir, November 27, 2020

My Husband in LawThe smart and multi-talented Muey lives with her crush, Thien, for over seven years. During that time her crush deepens into love but Thien only notices her as someone to tease and bully. He is completely oblivious to her feelings. So she resigns herself to loving him from a distance. After all, Thien is smart, wealthy, hard-working, and good looking. His only “flaw” is being a bit of a player. Unfortunately, that leads to major trouble when he sleeps with the wife of a dangerous mobster. In the aftermath, Thien’s life is in danger. To protect him, Thien’s mother forces him to marry Muey. Muey only agrees for Thien’s safety, but it is also a chance for her to be closer to him. While Thien reluctantly concedes and marries Muey, he wants to keep the relationship secret. How will their relationship fare when Muey begins working at the same company?  Is love even possible for them in these circumstances? (Source: MyDramaList)

WARNING: Now before we begin anything, I am just going to put it here that this review is packed with SPOILERS! So do not read ahead if you're not someone who likes such a thing. This review is more for people who have already finished the drama and want to read someone else's perspective on it. It is not a summary nor a recommendation article! Because I am warning you now, I am diving deep down baby, so don't come at me with your pitchfork. I'm also going to be going into some sensitive topics, so you have been told ahead of time. With that being said, buckle up kids, because this is going to be a long one. I'm going to be pouring in everything. There's a lot I want to say so I'll try to separate it into sections if I can. THIS IS ALL MY OPINION!

Introduction: Initially, I wasn't going to review it, but I have a lot of things to say about My Husband In Law and wanted to get it out. It's actually quite funny because the scores I am giving now weren't the scores I'd imagine I would give the show when I started watching it a few episodes back. I am a picky person, but I am not hard to be impressed by a person. Very contradicting somewhat, I know. And as much as I love Mark that my biases are literally pressuring me to give this a 10/10, my last brain cell is convincing me and showing me all the grey areas that aren't the greatest about this show as well. But that's not to say I do not like it. Heck! I love the show! I had a blast watching it! But that still doesn't mean I do not have a few complaints.

The show started off with a blast, a super promising start. The first two episodes had me hooked and wishing for more. Just the general idea of unrequited love and holding onto your first love, I am pretty sure a lot of us couldn't wait for the moment that our cold-hearted male lead will finally see the light in the female lead. I think the whole idea was great and at some point, I was crossing my fingers hoping that it does not fall into the bear trap of Thai drama clichés, but boom! What did you expect? Husband In-Law unsurprisingly took a turn and dived right into the Thai drama tropes bin. I was almost in disbelief when it hit me what was going to happen later on. My reaction was literally just, like really? I mean, of course, Husband In-Law nor the producers never claimed the drama would be "different from others", but with the hype and in these modern days, it's like something in the back of your mind was wishing it was different. But we'll talk about more of that later on. There are bigger problems I have with the show than just well... clichés.

The Cons: And what are these problems you may ask? Husband in Law does a decently good job at covering things in areas when they do matter, but at the same time, it also glorifies topics that shouldn't be of laughing matters or taken lightly:

  • Marital Rape: Guys! It's a thing! Just because you are married to someone, that still does not give you the rights to feel like you own somebody or can do whatever you want to them. Any sexual engagement that does not involve consent or the ability to consent is rape. Period. It's kind of horrifying how the show takes such matters like this and makes it seem like some kind of joke or as if it's okay. Muey joking about raping her husband/groping him is not okay! And most infuriating of all, Thien taking advantage of Muey when she was drunk was definitely NOT OKAY! I still can't get over how this was an actual concept in the show and was treated as an everyday thing. This is not acceptable. Like at all. I dO It bEcAuSE I LoVe YoU head-ass. Go step on legos, Thien. This seems like a slap in the face that Thai producers (sorry Anne) are still not very up to date with what's acceptable and what is crossing the line.
  • Pushing yourself onto someone when they clearly do not like it/already told you No is not okay also! I hate to admit I liked the scenes because I like a female lead who knows what she wants and goes for it, but STILL! If they say no, it means no! We all think it's cute because a female is doing it, but if you were to reverse the gender, then now it's just downright creepy. It's the same thing. Imagine you're a girl and some dude who's been in love with you since forever keeps hitting on you desperately even though you told him no plenty of times.
  • STAY OUT OF YOUR CHILDREN'S LOVE LIFE! I cannot stress that enough. As much as I enjoyed the Mother-in-law's character, she started to annoy me a bit toward the end of it. But seriously, please keep out of your children's love life. Not even love life, but please keep out of their life in general! Do not meddle in your kids' life! As a fellow Asian, I sort of took this a bit personal because I have my own experiences of my parents always trying to butt into my personal life. This is a cultural tradition that needs to die because the amount of pressure and distress that comes from it is not welcoming. Here, it is more played off as something light-hearted but Thien is basically getting mauled by all of his relatives (except Muay's mother. I love her) into accepting Muay. It's not cute and it's not acceptable.
  • Last but not least from the problematic list, please remember this y'all: DO NOT LET ONE PERSON SHAPE YOUR WHOLE LIFE! IT'S A NO NO! As intriguing and adorable as the drama has managed to make the topic look as ideal as possible, I believe it is still necessary to address this. Do not dedicate your whole life to trying to get someone to accept you. You are so much more than that. If somebody is not going to give you the time of the day, forget them. If they can't see how great you are, build that bridge and get over it. That's speaking if you're actually a good person :P. Do not make yourself any less than you are to get the validation of one person (or anyone, unless it's for the better of you). Girls or boys, the world has so much to offer so please do not make someone your everything. I also speak from personal experience as someone who once held a single person as my whole world. Thankfully I have gotten out of that and am learning to accept myself. I know this is so sappy but every day is a new step towards self-discovery.

Story: Now let's talk about the story. Great beginning, but it definitely fell flat around episode 3 or 4 if I remember correctly because that was when the hacking phase started. Around episode 4, imagine the story like a rocket that was set to go in a certain direction, but when it took off, it just completely yeet the opposite way. That's pretty much the best way I can explain the hacker storyline that somehow manages to form a batch with the Rom-Com, My Husband In Law. I find it quite a hard watch at times because I'm not going to lie, whatever was going on was melting my small brain. Kind of like I had to get up and force myself to watch through it because I kept telling myself it'll get better. "Watch it for Mark, watch it for Mark!" and spoiler alert, it did get better! Trust me! It definitely picks itself back up around episode 7, so keep going my friends, you will get there. 

Although I'm sure a good 90% of us had no idea what the hell went down during that hacking phase, I think the result of it was worth it somewhat? It was a good character progression on Thien's part and was about time his ego took a hit for the better. It was his wake up call that the idea of the kind of person Muey is who he had planted in his head was far from the person she actually is, that she was actually much more capable than he had thought. I believe here was when he got more indulged and interested in her character? Who knows. But I'll talk about that later on when I do go in-depth about the characters.

The clichés, oh the clichés! It is my most guilty pleasure. I can't believe that they made her get pregnant and run away from Thien? And then an illness? Like bruh. The running away part is already making me roll my eyes so far to the back of my head, but an illness too? Boi. Not to mention the hidden pregnancy, ugh. I can't even begin to describe my hate for this trope. It's my biggest pet peeve. It's like they ran out of unique ideas near the end and is just like "Alright, we're just going to slap this in although it's already been done by nearly every Thai Lakorn that exists out there, but it's fine." أ‿أ I just--when I read she got a medical problem later--I just can't--I died a little inside not going to lie.

The Pros: Okay so now at this point you're probably thinking: Okay b*tch, you trash talk so much, why are you still watching the show? This is where we draw the middle ground. Husband in Law has its cons BUT it also has its pros, and it has a great amount of them! These are the things that kept me glued to the screen/what made the show so great.

  • Music was 10/10. I don't know what it's with Thai dramas and their superior choice of songs, but I manage to like a good 95% of soundtracks from the dramas I’ve watched. My Husband in Law was of course no exception. I love every song down to the instrumentals, everything. It's very fitting and does a good job of setting the mood when it needs to.
  • MARK AND MEW! Ain't got time to lie to anyone that they are the sole reason I even thought about watching this show in the first place. Mark freaking served hard and he looked so goddamn good in every scene. He in that Boran/Sung Tong outfit can get it! I need to see him in a drama where he looks like that 24/7 now Lmaoo. And is it just I or he has improved a lot on his acting? I know a lot of people love to nitpick his acting but in MHIL, there wasn't an awkward moment from him at all. He did his parts well and believably so. This was my first time watching Mew as I've never seen any of her other work, but I've watched scenes of her from Rak Nakara and she was quite impressive. There wasn't an awkward moment from her either. They both did good and their pairing was cute.
  • Chemistry! Their chemistry was great! One of the things that kept me going was waiting for a Mark and Mew lovey-dovey moment! I love all of their moments together regardless of what it was about. Also, I gotta give it to them for doing real kisses considering Mew is married and Mark is with Kimmy.
  • Female empowerment! Yes! You read that right. I think the show does a good job at not hiding/not downplaying/highlighting a female character's capability when she has it. Mainly Muey (although too overdone), Sister Mon, and Thada's secretary Matana. None of the female characters are watered down to such a saint to the point where they could be related to Mother Teresa.
  • LIKEABLE CHARACTERS! Yeeeee! The show had likable characters and lots of them! Maybe one or two who you just want to skip their scenes once in a while but nothing major like wanting to push them off the edge of a cliff because they're literally insulting your IQ. I'm emphasizing this quite majorly because there have been shows I've watched where there wasn't a single redeeming character and every one of them manages to pull on my nerves. So kudos to MHIL. They did an awesome job. Even the villains were not that bad or even tolerable to a degree.

Characters: Speaking of characters, let's talk about characters okay? I'm not going to write an essay for them except for the two main leads.

Thien: He is as good as he is trashy. As flawed as he was, it was what made him so much more likable. He was without a doubt, the most realistic character and is the product of only human's selfish nature. He feels very fleshed out because you can actually imagine someone like Thien existing and running around in the real world. He definitely reminds me of an older brother/friend that likes to pick on you all the time. The kind of relative that would embarrass you in front of your crush and tell them all the displeasing things about you just to make your life hard because he can.

I really like the contrasting opinions the characters in the show have about him as well. It makes his character even more genuine in a sense. Some saw him as this wicked person who just loves making himself feel superior to others and some saw him as this smart rich handsome guy and hey who doesn't love smart rich handsome guys Lmao. But Thien wasn't just some rich handsome guy who also happens to be super smart and intelligent. Thien was selfish, egocentric, and insensitive to his core, and he definitely felt he was above others.

So when Muey finally hit him in his weak spot, he couldn't accept the reality of it. He wasn't as great as he thought he was. I think if anyone got good character development, it'd have to be Thien (and Yada). He started out as this super stuck up person that thinks he's greater than god or some sh*t to someone who actually starts to doubt themselves and realizes that he will and can actually lose something he thought would be his forever. He still continues to act like a jerk but his pride has already been beaten down, his ego took a hit and his wall has weakened.

Also, can I just bash on how much faith the characters in the show do not have in Thien? Like at all. Yes, he can be an asshole and a jerk but most of the characters (especially his OWN mom) likes to completely disregard his opinions or say anything. The most prominent example is them always trying to push Muey onto him, always trying to guilt-trip him to accept her, but when he finally accepts her and it's her turn to do the run-of-the-mill doubting, they pull the double standard and tell him to back off and give her space? Like what. Where's the logic in that. Even his own mom cares more about Muey's consent than her son’s because she told Thien even if Thien wants to marry Muey, he must get Muey's consent first. But where was her care for Thien's consent when he made it clear multiple times he will never love Muey? Jesus, with a mom like that, I am not surprised Thien grew up to be the person he is.

Muey: At first Muey was an interesting and mysterious character in her own ways. She's just a girl chasing after her first love knowing full well he's never going to reciprocate her feelings back and we were all rooting for her to win his heart because she really was such a lovable person. She was super likable in the first half of the show, but then near the latter end of it, she kind of shrunk into this one-dimensional Mary Sue-like character that became even less pleasant than dare I say it, Thien.

She had so much more potential to become an actual complex character because besides her love for Thien, we never got to know much about her (at least in the first halves of the show) but when we did, she became like every other Thai drama female lead we got out there. She was perfect in everyone's eyes and the only exception was our male lead. She was good at everything and didn't have a single flaw to correct except her undying love for Thien. Do you see a pattern here? All of her struggles are only related to Thien, but it's never because of the person she is. If you take away Thien, all you have left is a female lead who's already good at everything, pretty and perfect in every way.

She is supposedly an interior designer but then all of a sudden she's a hacker too now? And what's that, she also won a hacking competition once. I am confusion. Not only that, this girl can finish any work given to her no matter how difficult it is. Everyone also like to dote on how intelligent she is because she also managed to outdo at least 50-100 applicants and win over the position of Thien's assistant. Now all of a sudden, every guy is also head over heels for her. Even Pondayt was charmed by her through first encounter. I like some female empowerment (hence what I wrote) but not to the point where it's so forced and try-hard that they're literally shoving the character down my throat.

Don't get me wrong though, she's still a decent character. It's just that what she had become just isn't what she should’ve become. I do admire qualities in her such as going for things she wants and not being such a pushover (except when it comes to Thien ofc) and the things she sacrifices for Thien's happiness. She truly is a good person by heart but if you want a true female character with flaws and a bit of a realism touch, Muey is not the one for you. She can feel very manufactured and calculated, but her loyalty to Thien is undeniably touching and I bawled ugly tears in Episode 9 because she's well aware that as much as she loves Thien, she still does not own anyone and a person isn't a possession. Props to her. Good character, just not as great as she could've been.

Pondayt: Ooooh boy! I hate him as much as he amazes me lmao. Nut Devahastin is honestly just so goddamn good in his role. I hated the character down to every last inch of my body but I do admire the actor for the way the character was portrayed. As creepy and just downright perverted he was, when Pondayt walks into the room, b*tch you know you shat your pants. Pondayt made it well known to everyone in the show that he was the baddest in the room. I just hated how his character turned out. He was first introduced as this terrifying member of a gang? With incredible power, only to be subdued by Thien's family near the end??? Like is he supposed to be the mafia or Thien’s family lol. Sounds like backward character writing, but then I don't mind too much because I hate plots where it revolves around evils too much to the point of my brain malfunctioning.

Yada: Yada is what I believe a Nang rai should be like. Crazy, but not over the top. Just about the right amount that is enough to keep stirring the pot but not too much where it'll overflow. She was more of a nuisance than an actual threat and while I don't like her at first, I never hated her. She was stuck in a situation she had no control of. Forced to be with an abusive pos and a deadbeat father that cares more about his business than her well being. Heck, I'm surprised she didn't turn out even more reckless and whip out a pistol in front of everyone after all she's been through. She is also the one other character who had an immense character development besides Thien. Yada was a tolerable character that you really couldn't hate even if you wanted to.

Onto more supporting characters

Characters I like:

Toon, Beer, Nut: Love the trio. They were hilarious, dorky, dumb as hell but loyal to the end. I wish I had friends like them IRL.

Ri and Mon: Thien's brother and his sister-in-law. They were a nice addition. Realistic to an extent, not too in your face but they're there when they needed to be. Also, can I just comment on how good looking they are as a couple :P

Kob: I was a bit conflicted on him at first but when I think about it, he's actually a really nice and logical character. He only wanted the best for Muey. Backed off when he found out Muey was married and only got back on when he found out the marriage was only to cover Thien's ass. He only did what he did because he suspected Thien was treating her like a doormat. But he wasn't a little beeyotch like every other guy friends ever who would consistently beg the female into accepting him. He always put Muey and her feelings first. Never pressured her into anything and him in Episode 10? 9? when he said something like "I don't really care anymore if you divorce Thien or stay with him, because whatever you choose, I respect the decision." really solidifies my feelings for him as a genuine person. If anything, Muey was the one dragging him along and made him unlikeable at some point. Like gurl, just tell him you do not feel the same way? I thought you were smarter than that. I know she might be scared to hurt his feelings since they were good friends, but you know it yourself you only love Thien. Stop giving the man some hope and tell him as it is. Ugh. Some characters can be so book smart but when it comes to little things that need common sense, it's like their brain just dips on them or something.

Toom: Not much to say about her. Seems like a nice typical friend. I like her the best out of Muey's friend trio as she seemed the most level headed. The girl knows her place and knows what is and what isn't her business, compared to the two others who always seem to have a thing for using Thien as their punching bag lol.

Chet: He was an adorable character. Not a thing unlikeable about this man. He was also intelligent, openly gay, and just such a good person. I am heartbroken he didn't get his fairy tale ending, but then not everyone gets to live happily ever after with the person they seek so it was a nice touch of reality. Love him as a character but the show also wouldn't be any different without him.

Muey's mother: The superior mother. She wasn't very vocal throughout the show or even had that much screen time at all, but you can see she cares about her daughter. She knows her daughter's struggles and doesn't try to force anything.

Characters I am lukewarm about:

Kang: I do not hate her, but I find her kind of annoying? This is something that is very petty but I am still very confused to as why in the opening credits, she was introduced right after Mark and Mew, the two main leads. Doesn't it go by relevancy? Kang was easily one of the most forgettable characters who doesn't even hold a candle next to Yada, Pondayt, Kob, or even Toom. She adds nothing to the storyline except bicker with Kaofang and constantly put Thien down lol. She's still not bad though, but not my cup of tea.

Kaofang: Another character that the show didn't need. I gotta give it to Pear though. She is an amazing actress with a lot of versatility. In every Thai lakorns, there is always that one insecure jealous beach who has the mouth of a whale and likes to spread rumors about the main girl. Our main Nang rai Yada was saved from that role, but hey look, it isn't a Thai lakorn without this type of character, so here we have Kaofang to fulfill that. As much as I do like the yuri storyline, Kaofang and Kang were not needed for MHIL sorry >.<

Thien's mother: I like her and don't like her at the same time. She was better in the beginning but she reminds me of my Asian mom and grandma who's always trying to know what's going on in my life. She caters way too much to Muey's ego, yet never gave her own son the time of the day and always made him felt like he was inferior. There's a part where Muey got kidnapped by Pondayt and Sathit called asking if they should send Thien back to safety and I kid you not, she legit went NAHHH let him go get her and risk his life for her. I--I can't even begin to express. Like what the hell. Who is even her child anymore? Thien or Muey? Because it's starting to get a little blurry here. I mean I get it, Muey is in danger and needs rescuing, but aren't you a millionaire who could just send one of your men after her? Why would you risk your own son's life as well??? Still somewhat managed to be likable for some reason, but thinking rationally, she would annoy the hell out of me IRL.

Story: 6.5/10

Acting/Cast: 10/10

Music: 10/10

Rewatch Value: 5.5/10

Overall: 7.5/10

That's it y'all. I've already said too much. I applaud anyone who even manages to make it through this long-ass essay. But I just needed somewhere to put my thoughts down. Dang, if only I was this enthusiastic when writing my school essays, but yeah. Take it what you will.

It is an enjoyable show but definitely filled with many flaws just as any show would be. 

- Sincerely, elexir

Editors: BrightestStar (1st editor)

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