BANGKOK'S SUKHUMVIT - ASOKE intersection is always jammed with traffic and it was predictably horrendous on the first working day after this past long weekend - making it a hell of a time to shoot scenes for a TV series.
"What were they thinking?" scores of passers-by were asking after the cast and crew of the drama series "Khluen Cheewit" ("The Wave of Life") did their part to bog down traffic even more. At least it gave the stymied motorists plenty of time to take pictures of the shoot and post them online.
Uploaded for all to see, there were the show's stars, heartthrob Prin "Mark" Suparat and Urassaya "Yaya" Sperbund, playing a couple involved in a car accident and having a ferocious argument about it.
The photos online all seemed to have the same caption, along the lines of "Why are these people ruining my day?".
So the series' producer, Hathairat Amatawanit, later apologised via Instagram.
However, "apology not accepted" was the consensus response from those caught in the traffic mangle. Such frivolity, they said, such arrogance. Why didn't they shoot during the four-day holiday or use some other intersection that's not as gridlocked as Asoke?
Hathairat pleaded in their defence that they were only filming for about three minutes, just while the traffic light was red. And the police actually verified the claim. If it's true, it was amazingly fast work for a TV crew! But was it true?
Some of the photo evidence submitted by passers-by shows the shoot continuing while the light was green, forcing cars into other lanes. Still other witnesses insist the filming took two to three hours!
Back to the cops, then: Next they're saying the producers formally requested permission through the Thong Lor police station but it still hadn't been approved before filming began. The written request came in late Sunday afternoon and the station commander hadn't even seen it.
The result was a fine of Bt1,000, and of course that menial sum did nothing to improve the public's mood. Just try renting space anywhere near that intersection and see how much it costs, furious folks pointed out.
Back to the cops, then: The chief at the Thong Lor police station has ordered an investigation into the whole cock-up. Justice will be done! (Maybe.) (Probably not.)
This isn't the first time film crews have set up shop in the middle of busy traffic, of course.
Asoke has been used before, as has the Sathorn-Narathiwat Ratchanakarin intersection. The latter is quite popular for this sort of scene, in fact, the lighting trucks alone usually taking up a whole lane.
Someone on Pantip.com recalled a 40-minute traffic jam in Chon Buri during the filming of "ATM Er Rak Error", and that was early in the morning, causing lots of people to arrive at work late. But naturally she wanted to see the movie when it was finished. To her everlasting dismay, the traffic scene in the film lasted less than 10 seconds.