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Sakura_Falling

Where The Cherry Blossoms Fall

Sakura_Falling

Where The Cherry Blossoms Fall
Completed
Big Dragon
52 people found this review helpful
Nov 27, 2022
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 5.0
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

How To Turn A Crime Into A Romance...Badly

Watching the trailer for this drama, I got serious KinnPorsche vibes which, despite its own issues, I mostly enjoyed. What I imagined was a slightly dark, gritty, adult drama. What I got was a hot mess and not in a good way. Dark yes, but, again, not in a good way, actually very problematic. Not gritty and not adult, but your typical college BL with typical first world problems, an overpacked plot and very little substance. In short, a disappointment.

Let's start with the premise. Everything I read basically said that our two male leads get drunk and have a wild romantic night together. Yeah, not what happened. Yai gets jealous that Mangkorn is evidently vying for the affections of the same woman as him and more successfully at that, and decides to drug and rape him while video taping the whole thing in order to ruin him. Its a truly messed up and sadistic plan. The only hitch is that his bodyguard uses the wrong drug, I'm guessing some kind of aphrodisiac instead of the sedative that was intended, and drugs both drinks so they end up having sex on tape. Mangkorn takes the memory card and proceeds to use it to threaten Yai several times. And somehow, after all this, after making it quite clear how much they dislike each other, in an incredibly, unrealistically short amount of time, they've fallen madly in love. I understand shorter dramas make it necessary to speed things up, but this is borderline absurd. And this whole mess is portrayed as being hot and sexy when its in fact dangerous and criminal. Neither guy comes off looking good here, they're both morally corrupt characters, but Yai is definitely the worst and his behaviour and what he tried to do is really never addressed.

But then there's more. Mangkorn, a fifth year architect student, has apparently been in love with Yai since their first year. Besides the fact that absolutely nothing he does or says gives any inkling that he has romantic feelings for Yai prior to their drugged intercourse, he honestly treats him with derision and contempt for the most part, this is the man who is seen routinely hooking up with and casually flirting with women. So maybe he's bisexual? Both men actually since they're both seen with women. That would have been refreshing. But no, it's never addressed, and they both just suddenly stop being attracted to women apparently which goes into the whole "only gay for you trope" which is problematic in and of itself.

And speaking of women, they seriously did them dirty in this drama. I was so excited watching the trailer that it looked like there was going to be a lesbian couple. I'd never seen that before in a BL so I thought that was going to be a really nice addition. Nope, they screwed that up too. You could barely call them a couple. They didn't act like a couple and they didn't really give off that vibe. It seemed like production just didn't know what to do with them and they ended up coming off just as good friends. I'm not blaming the actresses, I actually thought they did pretty well with the scraps they had to work with. Another issue was the way Yai and Mangkorn, though primarily Mangkorn, treated women like sexual objects, hooking up in back alleys, and showing little respect. That coupled with the way some of the men talked definitely bordered on predatory. Like come on, you have to know that a large part of your audience is women, can you not treat the women in your story with some level of respect? Women in BL dramas are generally underutilized but Thai dramas are the ones that typically go the extra mile of downright disrespect and misogyny, this being one of the worst I've watched recently.

The character development overall felt pretty minimal. Yes, there was some, but when you have characters talking about how much they've changed when they really haven't changed that much, its eye rolling. I know 8 episodes is short, but I was hoping for more. I'm also going to throw in here that the attempts at comedy, mostly with the bodyguards just really fell flat. There were one or two moments that were moderately funny, but I was mostly wondering how two such idiots could possibly be considered bodyguards. If there was ever a legitimate threat on Yai's life, he'd be dead in two seconds flat.

The problems the lead couple faced were equally eye rolling. I mean, talk about first world problems. Okay, not so much the arranged marriage, but even that was blown massively out of proportion. I get being nervous talking to your parents, but seriously, the fact that neither of them had the guts to talk to their dads was a little ridiculous and then it turned out to be no big deal. And maybe because the whole "I have to go abroad" trope is used so frequently, I just really didn't have much sympathy for their separation. It seemed like they made a much bigger deal of it than was necessary. Planes are a thing, Yai's family is absurdly rich, you visit each other. I don't know. I was pretty over them and their petty drama by that point. Their constant fighting and miscommunication and refusal to act like adults, mostly on Yai's part, was incredibly frustrating to watch.

There was also just far too much packed into this drama for 8 episodes. It may have been slightly more successful if they had pared it down and focused on two or three plot points instead of ten. It made an already messy story even more so and added conflict and side stories that served little to no purpose. Was it kind of cute that they actually met when they were kids? Sure. Did it do anything to further the story or really serve a purpose? No. It could have very easily been cut out and almost nothing would have been lost.

There was just so much potential here. Enemies to lovers is always going to be popular and it could have been good here if it hadn't been so dark and downright sinister. There's sexy and then there's wrong and disturbing; this was definitely the latter. And if its done in a way that's at least somewhat believable. There were also some things that were hinted at but never allowed to fully develop. The lesbian relationship was one, but the BDSM aspect was another. It was briefly toyed with, mostly in the first episode with Yai's bondage gear and his friend, and then never seen or mentioned again. That definitely would have added some interest.

There were a very few things that I did like. The smaller cast was nice. Thai casts almost always seem too big and cluttered and its impossible to keep everyone straight. I was thankful they didn't do that with this drama. I was also surprised, but again, thankful at the lack of secondary couples. Again, normally Thai BL dramas are clogged with three or four additional couples to the main and I liked that they didn't do that with this one. Aside from our poor lesbian faux couple, there was no competition, though I kept suspecting they were going to put the bodyguards together. As there's evidently going to be a season 2, that may still happen. The OST was overall good. In particular ISBANKY's song was gorgeous. It embodied everything I had hoped this drama would be in a song but so completely wasn't. I love it, its the one good takeaway. The acting was overall pretty good. I really am going to blame the production and writing for pretty much everything wrong with this drama at this point.

All that being said. Don't waste your time. If you were one of those who thought this was going to be KinnPorsche 2.0, it's not, not even close. It's not even a good knockoff. The only reason I'm rating it as highly as I am is because I didn't think the acting/casting was bad for the most part and I did like the music. The story was a mess though and as for rewatch value? Don't make me laugh.

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Completed
Moonlight Chicken
26 people found this review helpful
Mar 3, 2023
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers

Could Use A Few More Chickens

This was an overall well done drama that was unfortunately too short to realize its full potential. The material was great, but eight episodes wasn't long enough to fully develop some of the issues presented or to fully develop the relationships and characters. Even so, I did enjoy this drama for the most part, it has some great messages and it does tackle some tough issues with tact.

I liked the concept for the story, how a one night stand could turn into something more. The way Wen helped Jim in so many ways, not just with working at the diner, but also with helping him find closure with his past relationship and heal and move on, was well done. I admired Wen's perseverance and that while he continued to pursue Jim even when Jim had indicated he was not looking for a relationship, he did so relatively tactfully, never pushing too hard, but still making it clear that he was interested and that he thought they could work things out. However, things turned complicated, which was exactly what Jim feared, when Wen's ex-boyfriend who he was still living with, Alan, showed up and threw a wrench in things. Despite their break up, he is still possessive of Wen and hopes that they can patch things up and get back together. Wen, however, is ready to move on, and he is faced with having to do just that and more firmly sever his ties with Alan as he tries to establish a relationship with Jim. And Alan, for his part, is left trying to move on as well and come to terms with the fact that his and Wen's relationship is truly over. Meanwhile, Jim's nephew who he has raised, is a senior in high school and is still trying to figure himself out amidst the limitations of not being the scholarly type and being poor. Jim can be overbearing with him and Li Ming feels trapped and isolated until he meets Heart, a deaf young man his own age and they slowly become friends which then turns romantic. The relationship is a healing one for both as Li Ming finds someone who understands and cares for him exactly as he is and Heart finds someone who treats him as a normal person and actually puts out the effort to communicate with him. They serve as each other's escape in many ways and I loved their relationship in all its facets.

With so many BLs these days sticking to high school or college settings, it was refreshing that this one stepped outside those bounds. I think that opened up a lot more doors for it to tackle issues that it couldn't otherwise. However, because it was confined to only eight episodes and it did try to tackle multiple issues, it wasn't necessarily able to dive into them as deeply as one might have liked. The economy and cost of living were both subjects that were brought up multiple times. Leng, one of Jim's friends and employees, and his girlfriend Praew find themselves unexpectedly expecting, so unplanned pregnancy, the cost of raising a child, and even abortion are touched on, if only briefly. By creating a deaf character, the deaf community was given representation and it was done well. The various ways of parenting is also touched on, how there's not one right way to parent and parents are always learning, even from their children. Relationships serve as a major focus, examining how some relationships simply peter out after a while, unrequited love, and, particularly, moving on from past relationships and how, while it may be painful, we can hope that there's something and someone better out there for us in the future. I enjoyed every part of it, again the only detractor is that I wanted more time to explore those topics.

Probably the biggest downfall of this drama, and I know I've seen others commenting on this, is the miscasting of Earth. Earth is a damn good actor, there is no denying that, but in no way does he, as a 29 year old young man, look anywhere close to 40. I know he's a couple years older than Mix, Khaotung and First but he really doesn't look it, and in the drama, there's presumed to be something like at least a ten year age difference between their characters. Earth is one of those people who looks younger than they really are, but this seemed outside the range of probability to me. Papang, in contrast, who played Jim's former lover, Beam, is only a year older than Earth, but he looks older. I could more easily believe he was in his mid-30's. There's also looking at him next to Lookwa who plays his sister. She's a beautiful woman, don't misunderstand me, and looks fantastic at 42, but they don't look like they are close in age at all. I understand that Earth and Mix are a popular pairing, but if they wanted them paired together, it would have made more sense to change Jim's age to something closer to Earth's actual age. As it was, Jim's age was hammered home so often you couldn't forget it, and there were some scenes that were supposed to be more emotional that just didn't work as well as they might have with a more age appropriate actor.

Jim and Wen's relationship was another issue. The first episode is great. The chemistry and tension between the two is electric and then suddenly, it's just gone and while there are still flickers of it throughout the rest of the drama, it's not quite as strong as that first impression. Wen's feelings for Jim remain clear throughout the drama while Jim's feelings are much harder to decipher. There are moments where it's evident he does feel the same way, but it wasn't always consistent and their relationship felt stagnant at times. Even when things were supposed to be changing between them, I didn't always feel it.

I really enjoyed all the side characters, particularly Alan and Gaipa. Khaotung is such a good actor, I wanted more of Gaipa just so he could showcase his skills more, but also he was so sweet, I just liked his character and I wanted to get to know him a bit more. And Alan, aside from the fact that First is also a fantastic actor, was such an interesting character, I wanted to know more about him and his history with Wen. I felt like there was a lot more to unpack there.

But the highlight couple for me was Li Ming and Heart. Having just seen My School President, I enjoyed seeing them in such different roles. Li Ming is a somewhat similar character to Gun, but much heavier on the teenage angst. But it's not in a bad way. You can feel the frustration Li Ming has with his life and circumstances, and it's justified. Fourth did such a good job with bringing Li Ming to life and bringing such nuance to the character. Heart, being deaf, was a much different character for Gemini to portray. I was so impressed with his ability to emote without speaking a single word and he was utterly believable in the role. He and Fourth have such great chemistry. The build up of Li Ming's and Heart's relationship is so well done and feels very natural.

In general, the romance is not why I enjoyed this drama. Jim and Wen's romance lacked some consistency and while Li Ming and Heart were the highlight couple for me out of those present, what I actually loved about this drama was the chicken rice family that they created. The way the characters all came together for each other to take care of each other and build each other up was so heartwarming. They may not have been related by blood, but that didn't matter, they did what needed to be done even if that cost them personally. And I liked seeing how Wen was welcomed into their family, really without much question, he was just accepted. So if you take it from that angle, rather than a romantic one, it is a very wholesome story. And for me, personally, that is better than any romance.

The production was overall pretty strong. I really liked the sets, particularly the chicken rice shop was just so aesthetically pleasing to me. It made me wish I could go there and visit that place. The lighting was an issue at times. There were a number of late night conversations and sometimes the lighting was too dim and it made it harder to make out faces and expressions. However, one scene that I absolutely loved was the one of Jim and Wen at the beach at twilight. The way it was shot with their silhouettes was beautiful. I do wish they'd translated the sign language as a fair amount of it got missed. There were times when Li Ming would essentially repeat what Heart had said, but a lot of the time I was just left guessing.

This is a drama worth watching at least once. It's short so what do you have to lose? I don't as it's one that I'll come back to which is a bit disappointing because I think it could have been absolutely phenomenal with some tweaking of the story and the cast. And I think this drama really does highlight how important casting truly is. I don't think the miscasting of Earth broke the drama, but it did affect it and its ability to pack an emotional punch. I hope in the future they focus more on delivering a solid story with an appropriate cast than keeping particular pairings together.

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Completed
Wedding Plan
19 people found this review helpful
Sep 1, 2023
7 of 7 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 6.5
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 7.0
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 5.0
This review may contain spoilers

Stupid Plan

*sigh* I don't know why I was hoping this would be a decent drama given that MAME is the writer. I will give her credit that she is good at creating stories that are surface level attractive, that being said, don't try to go any deeper or you'll be sorely disappointed. Wedding Plan is no exception. It's filled with attractive actors/actresses, decent music, lovely camerawork/visuals, and beautiful sets and costuming, but the characters themselves are lacking as is the plot. A good portion of the story hinges on unnecessary drama and while the initial concept isn't bad, it quickly comes crashing down.

The story centers around Namnuea, a wedding planner, and his client, groom Sailom. Nuea is supposed to be planning Lom's wedding to Yiwa, but there's a catch; neither Lom nor Yiwa is straight. The "plan" is for the two of them to get married so that Yiwa can be with her girlfriend, Marine, and get away from her conservative family. She and Lom have been friends for over a decade so he agrees to this arrangement. But having seen Nuea at a friend's wedding, Lom falls in love at first sight and decides to pursue him. Now I had zero issues with Yiwa and Lom's plan. I can certainly sympathize with their situation and how they didn't see another way out. They both had conservative families who wouldn't accept their sexuality and were forced to do something extreme to escape and gain their freedom. That was all fine and dandy. Lom's plan, however, was incredibly stupid and was the one that caused all the issues, because he starts to pursue Nuea without telling him about his and Yiwa's arrangement. And Nuea has pretty much fallen for him at first sight so Nuea is put into the situation of trying to hide his feelings initially and then once Lom starts actively pursuing him, fight those feelings. It's incredibly unfair to him because a brief conversation with Lom explaining things would have cleared everything up. But then this drama would be 3 or 4 episodes instead of 7. So instead, this situation gets dragged out with Nuea feeling more and more guilty and anxious as Lom continues to pursue him, almost forcing himself on him at times, until Nuea finally gives into his feelings. I truly feel bad for Nuea because Lom forced him into a corner, physically and morally. Nuea doesn't know that Lom isn't actually taken, so naturally, he feels incredibly guilty that he has, in his mind, cheated with the groom. He runs home, Lom follows and they eventually get everything worked out. The wedding moves ahead as planned until on their wedding day when it turns out Yiwa has eloped with Marine and left the country. Not only does this give her and Marine the freedom to be together and get married, but it also allows Lom to slowly bring his relationship with Nuea out into the open. I also didn't have an issue with Yiwa's plan here because while I know some people think it's unfair that she shouldered all the blame and Lom got away scot-free, that was her intention. So the fact that she planned it that way and that's what she wanted, I was fine with it. Honestly, typing this out, it sounds more interesting than it actually was.

Besides the stupidity of Lom's plan, there are a myriad of other issues here. There are plenty of unnecessary scenes that affect the pacing and make it drag. A prime example was all the wakeboarding scenes towards the beginning. Did it look cool? Yes. Was it necessary? No. Those scenes could have been significantly cut down and absolutely nothing would have been lost. The repetitive scenes of Nuea moping and his boss and co-workers trying to eke out of him what was going on could also have been cut. And that after credit scene with Lom and Nuea as children was equally unnecessary. I was afraid they were going to pull something like that where they actually met as children when Lom commented he thought he'd been there as a kid, but was hoping they wouldn't do it because it's just so cliche. Unfortunately, they did and aside from being sort of cute, it served absolutely no purpose. There were more, but I'll stick with those couple. Similarly a lot of the dialogue was repetitive and did nothing to move the plot along. And while the moms could be entertaining, particularly with the music that played whenever they entered, the fight between them at the wedding went on far longer than was necessary. And speaking of the wedding, weren't there supposed to be like 600 people? I mean, I understand logistically with filming that simply wasn't possible, but it didn't look like there were even 100 people there and there were ways they could have been consistent without actually having 600 people on set. And while I don't find fault with Lom and Yiwa's plan to get married in and of itself, the logistics of it did not seem well thought out for the long run. What exactly were they going to do when their mothers wanted grandkids? How did they plan to keep their lives separate while also being married to each other? Living in the same building made things easier, but if one of their mothers decided to drop by unannounced as happened with Yiwa's mother, that had the potential to cause issues. Frankly, I think the strain of carrying on such a farce would have eventually led to trouble in their respective relationships. Their plan would have solved one problem, but caused numerous others. As a final note here, I also didn't appreciate the way they tried to use repetitive shots of a half naked Lom as a way to distract from the lack of plot. I hate when dramas do that, it's so cheap, and while the man is attractive, I'd rather have a cohesive and entertaining plot. But that's just me.

I did enjoy getting to see Payu, Rain, Prapai and Sky of Love in the Air again. While I thought Prapai and Sky speaking English at their wedding was odd, it was still a sweet moment and Payu's proposal to Rain was beautifully done. Their appearance in particular made it believable that time had passed since the drama which I appreciated, but they were also still very much themselves.

Besides the plot and writing being less than great, the characters, similarly, were nothing special.
-Lom, while not necessarily toxic, was at best an idiot and at worst a total ass. My biggest problem with him was his decision to remain silent and all the damage he did by doing so. By pursuing Nuea while still planning a wedding with Yiwa, he put Nuea in a moral dilemma which was incredibly cruel and unfair to him. I still do not fully understand why he didn't tell Nuea from the get go. I could understand potentially being afraid of coming out to someone when he'd kept it such a secret, but considering the fact that he made it very clear that he wanted Nuea, I don't understand his reticence in telling him what was going on. It was ironic that he was friends with Love in the Air's Prapai because he reminded me of him to some degree with his stalking of Nuea, manipulation, and deception. On the flip side, he could also be incredibly caring and sweet. I did believe he loved Nuea, I just didn't care for the way he went about it.
-Nuea was supposed to be this very put together wedding planner who excelled at his job and yet his lack of professionalism when dealing with Lom didn't give me that impression. I work in customer service, I understand clients getting under your skin and irritating the crap out of you. However, I have never lost my composure with them and gone off on any of them, no matter how tempting. Nuea had to have faced challenging clients before, so the fact that he lost his cool so easily seemed weird to me. And while I can't justify his actions with Lom, I can understand them. I felt his struggle regarding his feelings for Lom were relatable and human. He actively tries to resist, he even reminds Lom that he's getting married, but he does eventually cave. It's not right, but again, I could understand how he reached that point because resisting someone who's pursuing you that hard has to be incredibly difficult. He could have done more to separate himself from the situation and I do feel like he put himself in the path of temptation, but I appreciated he realized his mistake and owned up to it and then worked to make sure it wouldn't happen again until Lom finally explained everything to him.
-Yiwa and Marine were our girl couple and while I found them to be kind of sweet, I didn't find them to be particularly interesting which was disappointing because I felt they could have been utilized much better. Despite the fact that their relationship was given some background, they still felt fairly shallow and a lot of their interactions felt repetitive. Marine came across as sweet and empathetic, however, she was also a bit bland. She lacked energy and she seemed very hesitant when Yiwa initiated any kind of physical intimacy which was odd since they were supposed to have been together for 2ish years. Yiwa was the more outgoing and bubbly of the two. I liked her personality and I liked her friendship with Lom. They definitely gave a brother/sister vibe. I also appreciated the conundrum she was facing with wanting to try to balance her familial obligations while remaining true to herself. I thought it was incredibly gracious and brave of her to take the brunt of the backlash regarding her and Lom's failed wedding. And I was glad that she and Marine got their happily ever after.
-I liked Nuea's family. They were all so incredibly supportive of him and their protectiveness of him was equal parts amusing and endearing depending on the situation.

The acting was tolerable but nothing special. Sunny and Pak weren't consistent with their chemistry. Sometimes I felt it, other times it was lacking. Both felt pretty green which was understandable considering their lack of experience. Pak seemed more versatile, his expressions and actions were more varied. Sunny's acting lacked that extra nuance. Aya and Kate really seemed to struggle with their chemistry. Kate in particular just seemed uncomfortable when they were kissing and it made it hard to believe they were an established couple. Individually I found Aya more interesting to watch. There was a sameness to her expressions, but she brought more energy. Kate lacked that energy and seemed a little too reserved and perfect. I felt like she could have done more with the character, but given this was her first acting role, she wasn't awful.

The production value is excellent. The camerawork, the lighting, the sets, etc. were all high quality and very well done. I loved the costumes. I particularly liked how each character had their own distinct style that was maintained throughout the drama. The music was also pretty good, but not particularly memorable.

I ultimately found myself disappointed in Wedding Plan. I wasn't expecting anything spectacular, but I hoped it would at least be a fun and fluffy diversion. Instead we got MAME's trademark of a lack in communication causing more issues than were necessary which lead to more drama/angst and less fluff. So, if you're looking for an actual plot and decent characters, I would skip this one, you won't be missing much. But if your cup of tea is some steamy scenes and attractive, shirtless men, you might enjoy this.

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Completed
Pit Babe
18 people found this review helpful
20 days ago
13 of 13 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.5
Story 5.5
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 5.5
This review may contain spoilers

In the Pits

I wanted to like Pit Babe. The racing concept, in particular, was intriguing to me as was the action/mystery aspect of the story. The inclusion of several actors that I was familiar with and liked was equally appealing. However, the more I watched, I found the lack of explanation regarding the plot and characters' actions, the poorly developed relationships, and generally awful script to be a major turn off and by the end, I was more just happy that it was over than anything else.

Pit Babe suffers from a mess of a plot combined with terrible writing. It tried too hard to combine multiple genres and failed to do so in a coherent way. I also found the lack of any kind of explanation for things to be very frustrating. I was aware this was based off a novel, but had never read it or looked into it, so I went in blind. I was immediately slightly confused by the whole Alpha concept which was never explained and which became further confusing with the introduction of Pete and Way as Enigmas. The story is apparently part of what's called the Omegaverse which I had no knowledge of and had to go poking around the internet to even get a basic understanding of what it all meant. That was a major strike against this series. You cannot expect people to have necessarily read the source material so there needs to be some kind of explanation woven into the story to at least give a general idea of what's going on. As frustrating as it all was, I eventually just went with it as I had no intention of doing a lot of extra research that I shouldn't have to do in the first place. Aspects of the "senses" that some characters had was also either not properly explained or not explained at all. Why did some have it and others didn't? How exactly did they work? After Charlie's fake death, the fact that Babe's sense was apparently fluctuating between them was equally left unexplained. Again, there was a lack of explanation in general, and that, combined with a number of fairly glaring plot holes, really took away from the story. The first half or so of the series was plagued with a certain level of repetition with Babe finding out something about Charlie that made him question his feelings and kick Charlie out, go crying to Way who pretty clearly was trying to manipulate him, only to discover that it was either an overreaction on his part or Charlie had hidden some piece of information for a good reason and they would eventually reconcile. Some of Alan and Jeff's interactions also felt a bit repetitive at times towards the beginning though less gratingly. I found the ending to be unsatisfying. Tony's dead but what about all the kids and cleaning up the mess he made? What happens with Kenta and Pete? Instead of answering any plot related questions or attempting to wrap up the story, the last ten minutes or so are mainly NSFW scenes or cute scenes between the two main couples. It felt cheap. The pacing was inconsistent. There were a few moments where it got into a good flow, but those were generally pretty short lived. There were far more moments where it just dragged.

This is yet another Thai series that suffered from an overinflated cast. There were too many characters introduced at once and even by the end I still didn't have all of them straight. Because there were so many characters, there was a tendency at times for characters to disappear for a period of time and then suddenly pop back up. That also didn't help with keeping them straight. A number of those characters proved to be superfluous and could have very easily been cut or condensed into one character to make things more cohesive. Besides the two main relationships of Babe/Charlie and Alan/Jeff, there were several others that were toyed with but never went anywhere which was annoying. North and Sonic was a pairing that was teased and actually could have been made to work but was never confirmed. Pete and Way was a late addition that was somewhat interesting, but too little, too late for me compounded with the fact that given Way's feelings for Babe, I doubted he was ready to move on so quickly. There was also Pete and Kenta's history which could have been used to bring them together, but again, they completely disappeared after Tony's and Way's deaths.
- Babe was interesting initially with his playboy attitude and cockiness, but an underlying current of kindness and though he would deny it, love for his friends/family. All of that immediately gave him a certain depth of character, but his sudden change of character when it came to Charlie was odd. He went from being a playboy to a committed relationship essentially instantaneously. There was little to no reasoning given to what it was about Charlie that made him fall in love aside from the fact he didn't smell like other Alphas. It was instances like this that left characters feeling unrealistic. While his lack of trust was understandable, his back and forth with Charlie got old very quickly and even in the last couple of episodes, the way he said things, the wording he used, made me wonder if he really did love and care about Charlie. Certainly I never got the impression that his feelings were quite as deep as Charlie's.
- Charlie left me with a lot of questions regarding his past and how he got to where he was. There was a lot left unexplained about him in general, including why he didn't smell like other Alphas did and how his sense worked and how he found out how it worked. I didn't find him to be a particularly interesting character. Sure he was cute, he obviously cared about Babe and worked to take care of him, but as a character, he felt fairly shallow. His love and loyalty to Babe seemed to make up most of his personality. But similarly to Babe, it wasn't made clear why he fell in love with Babe aside from physical attraction. Time was not well delineated in this series, but I did find his improvement in racing to be improbable, particularly since it seemed that he was a complete novice and yet in a relatively short period of time he was somehow able to compete with Babe who'd been racing for years.
- Way was a disappointment of a character. He'd "loved" Babe for years, however, it's clear that his love was more an obsession than anything true. He didn't hesitate to use his sense on Babe on several occasions to nudge him in what he perceived as the right direction, namely breaking up with Charlie and remaining alone. Nor did he hesitate to attempt to force himself on Babe eventually and showed more remorse for having been caught than for what he actually did, at least initially. The fact that Pete was so easily able to turn him was implausible to me and it was clear that they were going for a redemption arc which conveniently concluded with his death. It felt shallow, cheap, and poorly executed. I have no issues with a redemption arc if it makes sense with the character and is properly done, but this was not it.
- Alan and Jeff were generically cute, not that that's a bad thing. I did enjoy their relationship and the build up of it. It felt better developed than Babe and Charlie's since they'd worked together and gotten to know each other before they got together, but there was still a bit of that element of what really drew them together. Separately, I appreciated Alan and his care for those under him. He was loyal to a fault and he truly treated the team and those who worked with them as family and my heart broke a little for him at Dean's betrayal and seeing how much that hurt him. While Jeff's sense and how it worked wasn't well explained, he made it sound like he had to actively use it when touching someone and yet there were times when it seemed like that wasn't the case, it did give him the excuse to be a loner and then have Alan be the one to help coax him out of his shell. While not an overly strong character, I did generally like him. He, and Charlie for that matter, could have just disappeared, but instead they stayed behind to fight Tony.
- Tony felt cartoonish as a villain. I never found him to be particularly threatening or scary. It seemed they were going for the kind of character who appears benevolent on the surface with a malicious streak under the surface, but I don't think they successfully brought that out. Certainly he was an absolutely horrible person, but there wasn't enough to him to make him a true threat. There was nothing regarding his history and how he came to power to help give him depth as a character and that was a major failing.

While the plot and writing were definite detractors from this series, the cast made the most of it and they were a highlight. Pavel's acting has improved since I last saw him and despite the inconsistencies of his character, he did quite well and I enjoyed his portrayal of Babe. Pooh was the baby of the cast, I believe, and this was his first role so I wasn't surprised when he didn't quite meet the standards the others. Not that he was bad, he actually did a decent job all things considered, but there were moments where it was obvious that he's quite green. His chemistry with Pavel fluctuated a bit. There were times where I really felt it and others where it seemed hollow. However, I'm chalking that up to the writing more than anything. While I was not a fan of his character arc, I do think Nut did a great job as Way and working with what he had.

There was one aspect of this series that I really liked and wanted to comment on and that was how Babe and Charlie did not conform to the norms when it came to who was top and who was bottom. With most BLs, the more traditionally masculine looking character, i.e. taller, more muscular, etc., is the top and the softer character, i.e. shorter, less muscular, cuter, etc., is the bottom. I liked that it was flipped with Charlie as the top and Babe as the bottom. It was refreshing, particularly the way that it was normalized, no questions asked, it was just the way things were. That is one aspect that more BLs should normalize, not pigeonholing characters' sex position based on appearance or even personality.

The production aspect was overall pretty decent. There were some odd camera angles at times and some awkward jumps, but overall, nothing too distracting or detracting. The action scenes felt amateurish at times and obviously choreographed rather than natural. The music was catchy, but forgettable.

Pit Babe could have been so much more than it was. The racing concept is not one that I've seen used frequently and it was refreshing to be outside the typical high school/college setting, but the poor writing combined with the messy plot and multiple plot holes just made it fall flat. The lack of realistic characters and well developed relationships was another detractor. There were parts of it that I enjoyed, but as a whole, I wouldn't have missed out on anything if I never saw it.

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Completed
House of Stars
14 people found this review helpful
Jul 31, 2023
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 3.5
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 3.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

House of Boring

The trailer for House of Stars made me think it was going to be a dark, intriguing, sexy drama. I was sorely disappointed in every possible way. There is nothing sexy or intriguing about this drama and I'm already working to scrub the memory of it from my brain. It is just so poorly done from the acting to the writing and everything in between. The poor quality was compounded by the latter part of the drama feeling like a set up for a second season which is such a cop out. One way or another it's a terrible ending. It's not a cliffhanger per se, but nothing feels resolved. There was really no part of this drama that I enjoyed and it was simply a trial to get through.

The plot is all over the place. I feel like this drama didn't know what it wanted to be. Did it want to be a snapshot of actors' lives and a behind the scenes look at the not so pretty parts of them? Did it want to be a romance? Did it want to be a murder mystery? Or perhaps a revenge story? The problem is that it tries to be all of the above and more and it simply doesn't work. There's simultaneously too much and not enough, too many stories trying to be told, but they're not told well and it becomes boring. I reached the halfway point and seriously considered just dropping it because it felt like nothing was really happening. It was all just incredibly tedious and frustrating. Things finally started picking up at Episode 10 with the murder, but at that point it was too little, too late and all I could think was, if they had put this closer to the beginning, it could have actually been an interesting and decent drama. As it is, there's far too much crammed into those last couple of episodes and large parts of it end up feeling rushed. The final episode felt unfinished. Again, I'm guessing they're gunning for a second season, which I would not watch because this was such a disaster, but considering the fact that a second season isn't always guaranteed, it seems foolish to end it the way that they did with so much unresolved. It was a disappointing conclusion to a disappointing series.

The pacing was far too slow for most of the drama. It feels like there's a lot of filler and a lot that goes on that doesn't really serve any kind of purpose. Most of the romantic relationships progressed at such glacial paces it was infuriating to watch. I got so frustrated with the love triangle between Pitch, Gun and Soh that by the end I didn't give a damn who ended up with who. Weyha and Wayu's relationship was slightly more bearable, but even it got frustrating to watch at times. And the love triangle between Korn, Mintra and Phawin was just a hot mess and not the good kind. Also frustrating was the lack of knowledge provided, particularly regarding the house rules. We know that dating within the house was not allowed aside from Korn and Mintra since it was written into their contract, but otherwise they were not elaborated on and it got very tiring to have everyone talking about the house rules and how they had to follow them and reminding people to follow them when we had no clue what all of them were. It wouldn't have been that hard to have the rules weaved into the narrative at different points, but I'm guessing the writers never thought beyond the no dating rule. I also questioned how Weyha was treated. He'd obviously been failing auditions for a while, his speech was a known issue, so why was that not addressed until he was at the point of being kicked out and Wayu voluntarily stepped in to help him? Same with Pitch but to a lesser extent. He seemed to struggle with connecting to his character's emotions and emoting, yet nothing was done about that until he asked to shadow Gun and basically fixed himself. It seems like since Miss Susie was investing in them and needed them to be cast, it would have been common sense to hire acting/dialect coaches to help her actors reach their full potential.

Having a big cast is always an issue, in Thai drama especially, because they never seem to know what to do with those large casts and how to divide the attention evenly enough for everyone to get established. The relatively short seasons don't help either. Chinese and Korean dramas can get away with larger casts because they're typically much longer either in terms of number of episodes or episode length and can thus delve into their characters more and stretch out their stories and allow the viewer to get to know them more gradually. Thai dramas don't generally have that luxury and large casts rarely work out well. Here there simply was not enough time to really get to know all the characters well enough to actually care about them and what was going on in their lives.
-Pitch felt like he was supposed to be one of the more main characters initially as there was a larger focus on him than some of the others. But oh my goodness was he dull as a bag of rocks. He just didn't seem to have much of a personality and the fact that he had both Gun and Soh pursuing him was baffling. Like why? What on earth do you both see in this guy? He's kind of cute, but that's about it. To give him some credit, he did seem like a genuinely decent guy for the most part, if incredibly dense. How he didn't click that Soh had feelings for him is beyond me since it was painfully obvious.
-Soh was a surprise, to say the least. I had inklings that maybe he wasn't who he appeared to be, but wasn't fully expecting how far his revenge would extend. I do wish more of that side of his character had been hinted at throughout as he only really became interesting in the last couple of episodes. I was also confused by his character in that I was left unsure if he actually had feelings for Pitch or if he just didn't want Gun to have anything positive in his life. Either way, I was left with mixed feelings regarding his character.
-Gun was so perfect that he was boring. His expression was generally so stoic and he was so unflappable that he simply wasn't all that interesting to watch. Even his history with being responsible for Sin's accident didn't really give him much more depth. His romance with Pitch was poorly portrayed. The buildup was so minimal and I just really didn't feel anything between them. I also found it disappointing that he's so apologetic to both Sin and Soh about being the cause of the accident and yet he apparently has no qualms about pursuing Pitch when he knows that Soh likes him too.
-Korn was a colossal ass and I think he got exactly what he deserved. He was an incredibly unlikeable character what with cheating on Mintra then gaslighting her and eventually trying to use both her and Phawin. His whole attitude too that he was almost owed bigger and better parts was off-putting. In general, he was an incredibly selfish person and aside from being attractive, I don't know what either Mintra or Phawin saw in him.
-Mintra was one of the few more interesting characters in that she had my opinion of her go up and down several times. I started out with mixed feelings for her. On the one hand, I liked her strength and the fact that she could be the voice of reason for Korn. On the other hand, her sniping with Phawin and possessiveness of Korn made her seem like a jerk, to put it mildly. Once Korn cheated on her, my opinion of her took a major downward turn. I felt bad for her, but her manipulation and antics were just overbearing and quickly became tedious. My opinion of her changed again though when she apologized to Korn and broke up with him and basically paired up with Phawin to screw him over. I liked that side of her and I liked that she and Phawin got to a point that they were basically frenemies.
-Phawin also gave me mixed feelings because of course it was absolutely not okay that he knowingly seduced Korn when he was already in a relationship with Mintra, but I also kind of admired him for the fact that he was upfront about everything. He made all the snide comments to Mintra and was openly antagonistic towards her, but aside from hinting to the police that they should look into her as a suspect, he never stooped to her level of manipulation. Also just loved his sassiness. I do wish we had seen a bit more of what went on in his head to make him decide to reject Korn. It felt sudden and unexplained, not that I'm really complaining since the important part is that Korn got called out for trying to use him. And, again, I liked that he and Mintra reached a truce of sorts.
-I'm going to put Weyha and Wayu together because their characters pretty much ended up revolving around each other. They were a generically cute couple. I ended up rooting for them more than any of the other couples mostly because they were at least moderately interesting to watch and had the healthiest and most wholesome relationship. I felt the pacing regarding their relationship was the most well done and the most natural. I didn't have much of an opinion regarding them as individuals. I think Weyha was a bit more interesting with being the rookie actor. It gave him more room to grow and develop. Wayu was a generally nice guy and that was about it.
-Lalit made no sense in any way, shape, or form. She's a literal stalker who is somehow able to enter the house as an actress, no idea how that happened since we never saw her working as an actress, so how exactly did they find her? And then when Miss Susie catches her red handed, she decides to use her as a spy of sorts. And so she ends up facing zero consequence for anything that she does and ends up as an assistant to Host. Like, what?
-Sun was an odd character in that I didn't really see the point in him. He obviously scared both Miss Susie and Host, but we never find out why or really anything about him other than he was in prison (?) in another country. He just didn't seem to serve any real purpose other than being dark and imposing and making a far too convenient a murder suspect.
-And Miss Susie? She was a bit of an enigma, and a creepy one at that. The way she watched everyone hooking up with each other but then rarely, if ever saying anything, was disconcerting. For all the talk about the rules, it wasn't like they were always enforced. She was given some background, but so much about who she was and her thought process was left unknown. She could have been a genuinely interesting character, but that lack of information just made her out to be more of a raging ass than anything.

One of the biggest flaws of this drama though were the actors. I don't know who approved the decision to select an almost entirely rookie cast, but it was an incredibly foolish decision because in no way were any of the actors believable as seasoned, highly sought after stars. Frankly the only two I can really give any kind of credit to are Heng as Weyha and Boss as Soh. Double was also pretty decent as Phawin. Heng though was believable as a rookie actor because he is a rookie actor, so it worked perfectly. Also kind of loved the scene of him and Wayu filming together. His deranged laugh was entertaining. Boss absolutely carried Leo through pretty much all their scenes. The difference between them was almost painful because Boss was able to emote and bring his character to life and Leo was just kind of there. I could at least feel the chemistry on his end even if Leo didn't contribute. Double is up there because while his expressions could be repetitive, he at least was expressive. The rest were all very blah. Leo frankly cannot act. I usually like to give newbie actors the benefit of the doubt, but it was almost physically painful watching him. He had zero chemistry with anyone and the idea of Pitch and Gun having feelings for each other was laughable. Pepo had two expressions and spent most of the drama looking aloof and vaguely irritated. Again zero chemistry between him and Leo. Namchok and New were fairly bland, though Namchok's chemistry with Heng was decent if not a full blaze. Oaey and Katang were slightly better, but their expressions were just repetitive.

House of Stars is quite simply, in my opinion, a drama to avoid. There is really nothing worth watching here, it's just a colossal disappointment. It joins a steadily growing list of dramas that could have been decent, maybe even great, but was crippled by subpar writing and acting. I like dark and gritty dramas, but they need to be well done and this is simply not it.

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Completed
Cutie Pie
116 people found this review helpful
Jul 25, 2022
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 8
Overall 4.0
Story 1.0
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 5.5
Rewatch Value 1.5
This review may contain spoilers

Nothing Cute About It

I was very intrigued by the synopsis of this drama and having liked Zee's acting in Why R U?, I decided to give it a shot. It was, quite frankly, a hot mess. I honestly don't even know where to begin. There was so little good about it and so much bad. It all felt very forced and unnatural and much of the story made little to no sense.

I was not impressed by the overly preachy beginning and ending dialogue. Do not get me wrong, I think same sex marriage should be legalized in all countries. That being said it felt out of place and unnecessary. I feel like there were more subtle ways of getting the point across that would have been more tasteful and again, less preachy.

The story was a complete and total mess. More than a romance, I felt like it was a drama about toxic relationships and how not to communicate. It is very and I do mean very, kiss scene heavy. I think those scenes were put in the drama to try to draw attention away from all the problems both in the story and in the relationships. Both Hias are depicted as being very controlling and possessive, to the point of wanting to know what their SO is doing at all times. While they try to portray this as them just being worried and caring, it came across as extremely unhealthy to me. For example, Hia Yi sets a curfew of 9pm for Khondiao who has to leave his friends in order to make said curfew in one scene. Hia Lian has had someone monitoring Kuea for who knows how long and is fully aware of the secret life he is living. Both men also seem quite unconcerned about the fact the men they love are afraid of them. The level of control the Hias have is just disturbing. At least with Yi and Khondiao's relationship, there is a moment where Khondiao stands up to Yi and their relationship seems to achieve some level of balance though still very much skewed in Yi's favor. Lian and Kuea's relationship, however, is stagnant for the entirety of the drama. Though Kuea has a few moments of defiance, in the end he always gives in to Lian. After the scene at Lian's father's birthday party, I was really hopeful to see a change, but it was basically just everything back to normal with no real growth or resolution. Overall there was just such a complete lack of character development.

On top of the toxicity of the relationships, there's the lack of explanation for why characters acted the way they did or why things are the way that they are. When and why did Kuea suddenly feel the need to act like a perfect person to suit Lian? When did Lian turn into the cold, emotionless jerk and why exactly did he tell Kuea he didn't love him? I felt like his reasoning and his initial behaviour was glossed over and dismissed far too easily for all the damage it did. Also, what was with the arranged marriage? Why was that in any way necessary? And how did their families even know each other since they were from such different backgrounds? The background was just so completely lacking and nonsensical that there was no way anything else could make sense. On top of all that you have Yi and Khondiao's story which was incredibly vague and disjointed. I was actually semi-interested in it because of the mystery of what Yi did to Khondiao. The "mystery" was that Yi didn't actually do anything, it was an accident. And the flashback regarding that incident made it seem like they had a similar relationship to that of Lian and Kuea which seemed out of the blue as I never got that impression previously.

The plot positively drags. Scenes are drawn out that don't need to be drawn out or are just repeated multiple times. The couples keep lying to each other and failing to communicate. There's this constant theme of maybe telling the truth would be the best thing and then in the next scene they're lying to each other again. Its honestly so frustrating to watch because they never learn and even at the end, it doesn't feel like anything has really changed.

While the story was terrible, the acting was not. Zee and NuNew in particular had good chemistry and while there were a few moments where I felt like NuNew's acting was a bit forced or awkward, I thought he did really well for his first roll. I also have to give a shout out to Poppy as Foie for bringing some much needed comedic relief. He was absolutely hilarious and I laughed every time he was onscreen.

The characterization, again, was lacking. I have rarely seen a drama with such stagnant characters. Very few characters had any real growth and most of them seemed to be in the same place at the end as they were at the beginning with nothing or very little learned from their experiences. That was very disappointing for me. I can generally forgive or at least mostly forgive a bad storyline/plot if the character development is good, but it was just wasn't there.
-Kuea really does come across as a doll, maybe not an Annabelle doll, but a doll nonetheless. He acts the way he assumes others want him to and even when Lian tells him he loves him no matter what, he refuses to trust him. On the one hand, I can understand that lack of trust, based on how Lian is at the beginning, but after a while it just seemed like an excuse. His roundabout way of trying to get information was also frustrating, adding to the whole lack of communication theme. His constant assumptions made things worse for himself and others. In the end, I didn't really feel like he had learned how to communicate to prevent the same issues from recurring.
-Lian's cold then hot attitude was just confusing and, again, never clearly explained. It also felt overdone and too abrupt going from his cold boss persona to adoring partner. I feel like that could have been pulled back to make it somewhat more believable. Based on his personality, I have trouble imagining someone like him making out in public. And although his attitude changed to all lovey-dovey, he still came across as controlling.
-Khondiao came across as more of a kid than an adult so taking his relationship with Yi seriously was a bit of a stretch. I did appreciate him standing up for himself though and I felt like he had more character development than others. He seemed more able to stand on his own and stand against Yi if necessary at the end.
-Yi came across to me as a sadist who enjoyed the control he had over Khondiao and the fear he could incite. He supposedly feels guilty towards him for something that happened during their childhood, and so takes care of him, allowing him to live in his house. He wants to know where Khondiao is at all times and even sets a curfew for him. The communication between the two is just nonexistent. They get together without discussing any of their issues really and it just feels so forced. While he does soften, he doesn't ever seem to trust that Khondiao can take care of himself and remains overbearing.
-I can't say that I had much of an opinion about the other side characters. Foie was an amusing diversion when he was onscreen and added some much needed comedic relief. Kuea's university friends were also amusing. Of them, I did enjoy Nuer and Syn's love story. As a side couple, their story was not really elaborated on, but they made a cute couple and were by far the healthiest relationship.

There were two moments that I particularly appreciated, though one promptly got thrown out the window shortly thereafter. The first is just before Lian and Kuea have sex for the first time, Lian asks for Kuea's consent, making sure that he's not drunk and knows what he's doing. It was nice to see since most dramas just imply that both parties are consenting. To actually have it verbally given was refreshing. That was promptly thrown out the window multiple times afterward when Kuea clearly says no or to stop and Lian keeps kissing him. Apparently you only need to ask the first time and its fair game after that. The second moment was when Kuea is with his university friends and one of them asks the sole woman in their group if she's on her period because she's cranky. She gives him a proper verbal beatdown that was kind of awesome to see.

As a side note, I always have an issue with the way most pets are treated in Asian dramas and this one was no exception. Aside from the Golden Retriever who, unsurprisingly, seemed to be content being on set and getting pets, the Chihuahua really bothered me. The poor thing's body language screamed that he was stressed and did not want to be there. I felt so bad watching. And also, having Yi give him as a gift, just no. It is never a good idea to give an animal as a gift, there are too many things that could go wrong. And I will now step off my soapbox.

The music was overall good. I did like NuNew's voice and I think he's frankly a stronger singer than actor. I didn't love the song that Lian and Kuea sing to each other though so having to hear it twice was a bit painful. Actually both those scenes in general were just awkward to watch.

I will also comment that the whole engineering/university setting is massively overused and this was no exception. While the automotive engineering aspect was different and more interesting with the students working on their project, it still felt repetitive.

This is not a drama that I would ever recommend anyone to watch. It has no substance and instead promotes toxic relationships as being hot. It uses steamy scenes to make up for the fact it is lacking in anything remotely genuine. At times it felt like an infomercial about gender equality, but I couldn't take it seriously because none of the couples, aside from Nuer and Syn, portrayed anything resembling a healthy and normal relationship. I highly recommend NOT wasting your time with this one.

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Completed
Hidden Agenda
28 people found this review helpful
Sep 25, 2023
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 5.5
Story 4.5
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 2.0
This review may contain spoilers

Hidden Plot

I wasn't expecting fireworks from Hidden Agenda, but I also didn't expect it to be as bad as it was. I anticipated the name to play a far larger role in the story than it did. It was barely a blip in the bigger picture. The acting, bless Dunk and Joong's hearts, is subpar and it definitely brought the quality down. The OST is kind of fun, but severely overused and it got old very fast. It ended up being a complete train wreck.

The plot was nearly non-existent. There's a bit of an over arcing focus on the debate competition, but it's pretty thin. Besides the romance between Zo and Joke which was underdeveloped, the drama, beyond Episode 5 or so, is mostly made up of various filler story lines that get wrapped up far too quickly to have any kind of meaning. Aspects like Zo's past with Puen, the whole stalker scenario, Zo's and Joke's conflicts with their parents, etc. all were introduced fairly quickly with very little meaningful background and then the issue was typically resolved within an episode or two. The sad part is that several of those story lines could have been interesting. The stalker part had potential, I actually thought it was going to play a much larger role than it did, but it ended up being incredibly lame in part due to how quickly everything was worked out but also because of foolish decisions characters made. The issue with Zo's and Joke's parents could have been introduced much earlier and played a bigger role in the characters' actions and behaviour. Instead they fell flat because of how late in the drama they came in. And then there's the whole "hidden agenda" which was just very poorly planned out. It felt forced and while Zo had every right to be upset, his reaction seemed excessive. In general, it felt very scatter brained and incohesive. The pacing while initially relatively smooth if slow, quickly became inconsistent. The filler episodes were tedious to get through and it felt like the story was going nowhere.

The characters were fairly lackluster. The few that actually breathed some life into the story were unfortunately underutilized. It was disappointing that they weren't given the chance to shine as removing a lot of the filler and giving them more screen time would have significantly improved the drama. Joke and Zo, despite being the main couple, lacked a lot of development in their relationship. There were moments where they seemed to be on the same page, but then there would be conflict out of nowhere. Joke in particular seemed to lack a sense of self. Everything about him was focused on Zo and yet it's never clear exactly why he's so in love with him. Zo's emotions were hard to read which I think was mostly an acting issue, but it made it difficult to identify with and care about the character. There were also some awkward moments between the characters. One that stood out to me was the scene where Joke and Zo have sex for the first time. Zo says he doesn't think he's ready, then apparently changes his mind two seconds later and then looks absolutely terrified when Joke goes to take off his shirt. Joke's actions also felt out of character. Considering how caring and attentive he had been towards Zo up to that point, he felt too assertive in that moment. I imagined him taking things much slower to make sure Zo was comfortable. The energy and emotions just felt very off for an intimate scene. Characters like Jeng, Pok, Kot and Pat added a necessary level of dimension to the story, but were never given full rein to develop into fully realized characters. Jeng and Pok in particular were a great addition as an established couple and frankly I found them to be far more compelling than Joke and Zo. They faced legitimate issues in their relationship that unfortunately were rushed but did provide a nice reprieve from the monotony. Kot and Pat were filtered in mostly as a source of humor, but I generally liked their characters and I think with better planning, they could have served as more than that. I found Nita to be fairly boring. She had some good lines, I did think she deserved to win the scholarship as her answer was the best thought out and compelling, but otherwise she didn't impress me. She felt like the token female character that needed to be present for the lead to crush on before realizing he was actually into guys. As a side note, the whole conflict between Wave and Trin was incredibly contrived and unnecessary. Why they couldn't have just had Wave not like the guy because their personalities clashed or something less convoluted is beyond me. The ending between them felt cliche and unresolved.

The acting, particularly the leads', was underwhelming. Dunk is a sweetheart, he seems like a genuinely nice and good guy, but when it comes to his acting, he really struggles. It felt like he was playing a very slightly different version of Daonuea from SIMM. He either under acts or over acts depending on the scene, emotional scenes are painful to watch, he fails to emote, and he does this weird thing with his head sometimes that I don't even know how to describe. Frankly, I don't know as he's so much acting as just being himself. It's just no bueno. Joong felt like he was portraying a less closed off Khabkluen from SIMM. His performance wasn't bad, just not great either. And the thing is, he can act. He had a small role in Home School recently and I really liked his performance. Here though, he was a bit boring. I do think some of that was the way the character was written though. Joke doesn't have much to him. The chemistry between Joong and Dunk wasn't great which is both surprising and disappointing because off screen, their chemistry is fantastic. But in this instance it felt forced and unnatural at times. Aou was one of the bright spots in the cast. I've seen every drama he's been in and he has yet to disappoint me. I don't think this was one of his stronger roles, but I'm chalking that up to the writing because he didn't have a whole lot to work with. Boom was another bright spot. His chemistry with Aou is great. They seem comfortable with each other and it shows. I love Louis. He's such a versatile actor and I found him entertaining in this role though I wish we'd had more of him. I like AJ, but I feel like he typically plays the same kind of characters. I'd like to see him in a different role. Jamie is a gorgeous young woman, I liked her in Home School, but here I just found her to be wooden. She lacked expression a lot of the time or seemed to only use one expression. Her performance was just bland. I felt she could have done a lot more with the character.

My biggest problem with the production was the sheer number of inconsistencies. Every drama is going to have them, but this one stands out in terms of how blatant they were. In the scene where Zo almost falls twice and Joke catches him, arms were in different places between takes. Same with the scene where they cuddle in bed. In one take, Zo's arm is under the cover, in the next it's on top of the cover. In the scene where Joke takes his roadside shower which was weird to begin with, there was a smear of grease on his arm that kept appearing and disappearing. And probably the most glaring instance was, in the shot right before Zo finds the smashed ceramics, as he's closing the door, you can clearly see them, still intact, on the shelf behind him. There were a few others, but those ones really stood out to me and to me it just showed a lack of attention to detail.

This is not a drama that I can in good faith recommend. It was too inconsistent and too poorly acted to make it worth the time to get through. There are some sweet scenes, but they're not enough to make up for all that's lacking. Unless you are a die hard JoongDunk fan, steer clear of this one.

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Completed
Enchanté
10 people found this review helpful
Jan 28, 2023
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 6.5
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
This review may contain spoilers

Désenchanté

I was so intrigued by the concept of this drama, the mystery of who Enchanté was, and the first half or so of the drama was decent while that mystery continued to unfold, but the moment it was revealed who Enchanté was, things started to go downhill fast and ultimately I found this drama to be a disappointment.

The story started out interesting, if a bit improbable. Out of all the library books in this huge library, someone happened to also select this French book and decide to write back to Theo. Alright, fine, I'll go with it. And then all four ambassadors of the school show up declaring that they are Enchanté. That's where things get both interesting and messy. Interesting in the sense that Theo and Akk's relationship starts to develop more. We get some really cute moments with the two of them. Messy because of the four Enchanté's, three of them turn out be stalkers/manipulators. And then eventually comes the reveal of Enchanté as Theo himself which I'm guessing was supposed to be seen as a brilliant twist, but was in fact a huge disappointment.

A huge part of the issue with this drama was the acting. The chemistry between the leads was hot and cold. There were a few scenes where I could feel a spark, but there were a lot of times, especially towards the end where it just wasn't there. Book, I'm sorry to say, just really didn't bring it. I get that he was playing a character that was a terrible human being, but I don't feel like he brought anything redeemable to the character and I think he could have if he had played it different. Force seemed to be relying on his looks more than anything. He does have some good moments, but he needs to work on consistency and engaging more in the scenes. Overall, nobody really stood out in terms of acting. It was all just very mediocre, which is disappointing, because with better writing, directing, and a more charismatic/talented actor playing Theo, it might have been a decent drama.

The only real likable character in all this was Akk. He's a genuinely good guy who cares about others. He's willing to help Theo find his Enchanté, even though it hurts him to do so. He doesn't even judge Theo when he finds out he was Enchanté that whole time. And when Theo runs back to France, he works his ass off to earn a scholarship to study there so they can be together again. He deserves so much better than Theo. Theo, on the other hand, is a self-absorbed narcissist, bordering on an egomaniac, if I'm being perfectly honest. I kind of get his reasoning for becoming Enchanté with wanting Akk's attention, but then again, he already had Akk's attention. It's how long he let's the lie go on that's the issue for me. He could see the problems it was causing so why did he let it keep going? I really don't understand it, and it just feeds the idea that getting what he wanted was more important than the issues it might cause, which, again, self-serving much? He's also just incredibly immature, blowing up at Akk for not telling him about his parents' separation, which as Akk tells him, he didn't feel was his place to tell him, and won't listen to reason. He really is just insufferable. The four false Enchanté's started out kind of interesting, but quickly became problematic and by the end, three of the four were left pretty much unredeemable. Natee was basically a stalker. How Theo wasn't more freaked out seeing his art exhibition, I don't know. Maybe being a guy gives a different perspective, but as a woman, I would have been full out panicking seeing that. Also the fact that no one else seemed to see it as weird or a cause for concern. Natee, Wayo and Phupha were all manipulative. Natee with finding a place for his art exhibition, Wayo with trying to hide the fact that he'd lost the team's money gambling, and Phupha with trying to get a scholarship without actually putting in the work. How exactly Wayo and Phupha figured they would be able to pull off their schemes without Theo figuring out what they were up to, I don't know, considering those aren't exactly minor things they're going after. Saifa was supposed to be the "real" Enchanté as requested by Theo. I honestly found him pretty forgettable other than he did have a decent singing voice.

The OST was okay, not totally forgettable, but also not super memorable.

Is this a drama I recommend? No, not really. If you have nothing better to do, then sure, go for it. It's easily bingeable and it does have a few cute moments, but there are far better BLs out there to watch than this one that I would recommend checking out first.

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Completed
Never Let Me Go
11 people found this review helpful
Mar 1, 2023
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 3
Overall 5.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 6.0
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
This review may contain spoilers

Please Let Me Go

This turned out to be a drama that had an at least somewhat interesting sounding premise but was in fact just a total mess. So many plot holes, so much unnecessary drama, the acting was lacking, the OST was laughable, there just isn't much positive to say about it, unfortunately. I felt like this was yet another wannabe KinnPorsche, a severely watered down version without any of what made KinnPorsche such a hit. All in all, if you skip this drama, you won't be missing much.

The biggest issue of this drama was the plot. So much of it is just completely nonsensical. Why on earth does Palm need to act as Nueng's bodyguard when they could just hire bodyguards like Nueng does later on? What even qualifies Palm to be a bodyguard in the first place? He's a teenage fisherman, for crying out loud! How do all the "pranks" at school go on for as long as they do without some kind of intervention? And if it was that bad, why didn't Nueng just switch schools? It's not as if his family couldn't afford it. Or why not get a private tutor or something? I don't know. The fact that this was even set in high school just seemed weird to me, especially as the drama went on. Like yes, it makes complete sense that this kid is running a business empire and attending high school at the same time. Right.

Moving on from that, there's the lack of security that allows Nueng's mom to get shot thus requiring Nueng and Palm to go on the run in the first place. I mean, I would think that after her husband was killed in front of her that she would have a bodyguard and that security would have been significantly tightened, but maybe that's just me. Nueng and Palm run off to stay with Palm's mom who he hasn't seen since she left him and his father when he was a kid. There are only two purposes to this arc: to develop the romance between Nueng and Palm and for Nueng to "mature". The problem here is that we haven't seen Nueng and Palm really together for a romance to have developed. The class difference sets them apart and aside from staring into each other's eyes repeatedly, which we're apparently to take as how they fell in love, they don't interact a huge amount in a way where they would get to know each other on a personal level. But apparently they're madly in love. Okay, whatever. The second purpose is for Nueng to mature and essentially toughen up which amounts to him performing manual labor, learning how to ride a motorcycle, and paying off a loan shark. You know, super hard, transformative stuff there. The rest of the time is spent running around with Palm on the beach, apparently having the time of his life. Um, did you forget the mother that you claim to love was just shot and is in a coma? He even makes a comment at one point about it being the happiest time of his life. Your words and actions are not matching up.

In order to pay off the above mentioned loan shark, Nueng uses an ATM to withdraw the necessary money and rather than leaving town immediately, because that would be the logical thing to do, nope, he and Palm stick around, which inevitably leads to Palm's mother's death. Nueng then proceeds to break up with Palm essentially twice, the second time successfully by putting sleeping pills in his beer because nothing could go wrong with that and leaves him a note with the whole BS reasoning of go find someone who will make you happy, blah blah blah, I absolutely hate when they pull that kind of crap. It is the lamest excuse in the book and its supposed to be all noble because you're putting their happiness first but its really not. You're making a decision for them without their input and that's not fair to anyone.

Anyway, Nueng heads home and hires bodyguards for himself to follow him around which, again with this plot, what was the point of them running off when they could have just hired bodyguards in the first place? He takes over his family's business because, yes, an eighteen year old who up to this point has done nothing to help run any part of it is going to know what to do. Sure. And while I get that he's more than a little pissed at his uncle, I would be too if he tried to kill me and my mother, baiting and antagonizing him is probably not the smartest thing to do. There's also the slight matter that part of the reason that he goes back is to help Palm's father and throughout a good portion of the following events, he seems to completely forget about him. Palm and Nueng are, naturally, reunited. Turns out Palm has been following Nueng around which, I had to laugh at, because he honestly couldn't be more obvious if he tried. There's one shot where he's sitting on his motorcycle a grand total of maybe four feet from the car Nueng is in, staring at him. Nueng should probably find some better bodyguards.

Following more drama and after getting shot which led to what I assume was supposed to be an emotional scene but was more comedic, in my opinion, because, yes, when someone gets shot, the correct response is to shake them repeatedly, not put pressure on the wound, Palm breaks up with Nueng this time by leaving him a note telling him to not waste his time on him and not to look for him. I'm rolling my eyes at the stupidity of these two. At this point, I don't care what happens, I'm just ready for this drama to be over. Of course they eventually get their priorities figured out and end up together, but holy crap is it a ride and a half and not a worthwhile one.

Besides the plot, again, there's the absurdity of Palm as a bodyguard. Obviously he knows how to fight to some extent and use a gun, but its not like he has any special skills or training. And his fighting skills range from he can absolutely kick ass at times to he gets taken out with extreme ease depending how the plot needs to play out, so there's a total lack of consistency there. He's also a hot head, which is not a great character trait for a bodyguard. I admire the fact that he wants to protect the weak and his heart is absolutely in the right place, but also, honey, you need to use your head. He just reacts without a second thought and in several cases does more harm than good. In essence, the only thing that makes him a good bodyguard is his love and loyalty for Nueng.

There's also Nueng's uncle, the one responsible for all the murder and chaos going on. I like the actor, I thought he did a good job with the character, but I thought the character was lacking, especially the background. There was just enough there for me to understand the level of hatred he felt to want to kill his brother and his family. Not being the golden child doesn't quite cut it, at least not the way they did it. If that's the angle you're going with, you need to delve into it more to make it believable and make the audience understand why. Just making him jealous, greedy and deranged is boring and predictable. I want to know what makes him tick, what exactly pushed him over the edge. That's where things get interesting.

In general though, I didn't feel like any of the characters were particularly well developed or interesting. I found Chopper to be the most compelling, but frankly I think that's because of Perth's acting. There just didn't seem to be all that much to most of them. They felt fairly stereotypical without much to set them apart and make them unique. There wasn't anything there to make me care about them, again, aside from Chopper who I felt was the most sympathetic character.

The OST was weird. What is with the Christmas music in some of these dramas? I legitimately want to know what the reasoning is behind choosing these songs. Silent Night was one of them, I think, and there was at least one other. And then there was some random country song too. Do they just spin a wheel and whatever song it lands on is thrown in there? I don't know. There were some actually decent songs, but nothing spectacular, and the ones that didn't fit stuck out like a sore thumb.

The acting was very divided. On the one hand, you had Pond and Phuwin who I am sorry to say were the weakest links in this drama. Neither one was strong but it was especially conspicuous when they had any scenes with Perth who is an extremely talented actor. They were also outshone by Chimon and Nat who are also quite talented. I just didn't find their performances to be very compelling, their chemistry together was fairly lackluster, and neither one was great with the more intense or emotional scenes. Pond is just very wooden. His expressions seem very limited and he just overall lacks emotion. Phuwin, bless his heart, sometimes seemed like he was trying way too hard. I can appreciate that he was trying, but it just did not work. On the flip side, Perth, Chimon and Nat were all great and I wish they had more screen time, particularly Perth and Nat. I would have loved to have seen their characters' father/son relationship explored more. I also would have liked to have seen more of a build up of Chopper and Ben's relationship. It kind of went 0 to 60 there towards the end. I would have been far more interested and invested in their relationship if more time had been devoted to it.

I was tentatively hopeful going into this drama. It sounded like it was going to be way more high stakes, action oriented than it really was. Even with characters dying and getting injured, for some reason, it didn't feel high stakes. If the plot had been tighter, had fewer holes, and was better developed, it might have been a decent drama. And if the characters had been better developed with more background, more information as to who they were as people, I might have cared more about what was happening to them. But as it stands, I found this drama to be extremely underwhelming and it is not one that I would recommend.

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Completed
KinnPorsche
8 people found this review helpful
Jul 30, 2022
14 of 14 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 8.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 7.5
This review may contain spoilers

The Mafia Never Looked So Good

This was a drama that almost literally left my head spinning and not necessarily in a good way. It had so much potential and at first, it seemed like it was going to live up to all the hype, but that last episode just killed it for me. I can never understand why so many dramas struggle with this issue of saving everything for the last episode. Its incredibly frustrating and it rarely works out well. That being said, I didn't hate it.

The one saving grace of this drama is its actors. Every single one of them owns their character. While they were all superb, I really have to comment on Bible and Build as Vegas and Pete, respectively. Their acting and chemistry quite literally blew me away. The intensity of their scenes together, the way they played off of each other and their individual performances too, the nuance of it all just, wow. Literally left me speechless at times. But truly the whole cast was phenomenal. Mile and Apo's chemistry was absolute fire and those eyebrows! They were both just so good. And I can't forget Tong who absolutely stole the show as Tankhun. I can only imagine how much fun he had in that role.

The characters were another win for this drama. I have rarely seen a drama where characters left me with so many conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I appreciate that, it makes the story more interesting and keeps you glued to the screen. On the other hand, it also left some things feeling unfinished.
- Kinn was interesting right from the start. I appreciated the fact that, although he had bodyguards, it was obvious from the first that he was also perfectly capable of defending himself. That was refreshing. And watching him fall in love with Porsche was adorable. I really enjoyed the nuance of his character, the severe exterior but more sensitive, caring interior. His character development was well done, I thought. There's clear growth as he relaxes and becomes more comfortable being himself but he's still absolutely deadly. Beautifully done. My biggest qualm was his reaction, or lack of reaction, to Big's death as well as his lack of insight regarding Pete's disappearance. Honestly, the fact that Big's death was so completely ignored really pissed me off, but Kinn's complete dismissal of the person who had been his personal bodyguard at one point and was so completely loyal to him was off-putting and felt out of character. I wasn't expecting him to break down crying, but some kind of acknowledgement of the man who died to save his lover's life would have been nice. Same with Pete's disappearance. It was obvious he thought something was off and that he so easily dismissed it and that he even forgot that Pete had gone undercover seemed uncharacteristic.
- Porsche left me cringing the first couple of episodes. The level of second hand embarrassment was intense. I wasn't sure if I was going to like his character at first, because he frankly seemed like a bit of an idiot. I mean, he's offered this gig with the understanding that, in accepting it, his brother will be cared for. And yet he acts like a complete ass and makes it clear he doesn't care. He was obviously not an idiot so the fact that he acted with such disregard seemed weird to me. That being said, I also enjoyed seeing his character growth. One of the things I loved about this drama is that despite the character growth that all the characters undergo, they still remain fundamentally themselves. So while Porsche is softened and becomes less cocky and more serious, he's still Porsche. His tug of war for power with Kinn was fun to watch as was watching him slowly fall for him. As with Kinn, my biggest issue with Porsche was his complete lack of acknowledgement of Big's death. The man literally died to save your life and you can't take two seconds to mourn him? Again, it felt out of character. And while I liked his character development overall, there were aspects of it that did feel abrupt. It was like after he and Kinn were kidnapped and what they went through, he was suddenly more okay with what the family did. I would have liked to see a little more development with that.
- Tankhun was one of the highlights of the drama. He was just so much fun to watch with his dramatic outbursts and his fabulous fashion. While I wouldn't say that he had a huge amount of character growth, there was definitely some. I really liked that he was one of the most insightful characters. Everyone thought he was crazy, but there were times when he was actually the voice of reason. He knew Tawan was not to be trusted, but Porsche could be and that Pete was in danger. It added additional depth to his character that I really enjoyed.
- Pete came completely out of left field for me. I really liked his character from the get go, he's just so darn cute and funny. And yet, after being captured by Vegas, we see a whole other side to him. He's not the kind of character that you would typically think would hold up under torture, but he shows a resilience that's frankly astounding. On top of that, he is a genuinely good person. Despite the abuse he suffers at Vegas' hands, he reaches out to him and offers him comfort and friendship. His whole relationship with Vegas, though, I found very conflicting. I don't think it was a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but it was certainly not a particularly healthy relationship given it was initially born out of abuse and violence though at the end it seems to have taken a turn for the better. My only issue with Pete's character was in the last episode. Earlier in the drama, there's a scene where he tells Vegas that he's not a pet, he's a human but in the final episode, he tells Vegas that he's his pet and he had to go find his owner. I feel like there's an element of he's just trying to keep Vegas from killing himself and/or walking away, but there's also a note of truth to his tone that made me think he was willing to keep being Vegas' pet just so he wouldn't be left alone. That scene felt like a bit of regression for Pete's character and I didn't love it.
- Vegas was one of the most interesting, conflicting characters of the series. He was absolutely riveting to watch. I loved that I never knew what he was thinking or what the true purpose of his actions were. The way he vacillated between good guy and bad guy was fascinating to watch and I really liked that there were reasons for why he did what he did, namely because of his father. His developing relationship with Pete was very well done as was the change in that relationship from owner/pet to more equals. There's a certain twisted beauty to their relationship and while it left me feeling conflicted as to whether I should actually be rooting for them, I did enjoy watching it. I also appreciated how the drama illustrated that people handle abuse in different ways. While his father's abuse turned Vegas into a volatile, sadistic person, the abuse Pete endured from his father gave him insight into his father's actions and made him realize he was not the one at fault. I really appreciated that at the end of the last episode, Vegas tells Pete that he's not going to treat him like a pet anymore. It showed that their relationship was on a healthier track and at that point, I wished their little family all the best.
- I'm going to group Porchay and Kim together here. While I found Kim to be a somewhat interesting character, I found his relationship with Porchay to be unnecessary, distracting, and underdeveloped. To be honest though, I found his entire character to be lacking. While his focus on gathering information for his crime board was an intriguing concept, I never got a good idea of what exactly he was hoping to accomplish with it since it seemed like something he'd been working on for some time. What exactly was he looking for? I just would have liked to see him utilized as more than just a love interest. Porchay was, well, boring. Similarly to Kim, his sole purpose seemed to be acting as a love interest. He just wasn't well-developed. We knew he loved his brother and loved Kim, wanted to play music and that's about it. He cropped up when it was convenient and was pushed to the side the rest of the time. I also didn't get a good sense of why Kim even fell in love with him. They spent, a few days together tutoring, Porchay wrote a love song for him and that was it, he was in love? I don't buy it. And Porchay's feelings seemed more fanboy than in love especially since he didn't actually know Kim. The status of their relationship being left uncertain at the end of the drama was also frustrating. If you're going to make them a couple, at least give a satisfying conclusion. My only thought for why they left it that way is they're hoping for a spin-off with those two.
- Korn and Gun were honestly the most problematic characters for me in this drama just because there were so many questions left unanswered with both of them. I didn't feel like there was ever a clear resolution on who actually killed Porsche's father, though I lean towards believing Korn did the deed. And then there's the mystery of what Gun was going to say before he was killed. I found Korn's character to be more interesting than Gun, mostly because he was more nuanced. Gun was obviously meant to be seen as the bad guy, while Korn was supposed to be the more benevolent one though at the end he's revealed to be just as ruthless and cunning as his brother. And I'm sorry, but I cannot forgive Gun for wearing those shorts to a shoot out. I wasn't sure if I should laugh or just shake my head in embarrassment for him. In any case, I feel like this one of the areas that the series failed. It was so busy adding in minor scenes that didn't really accomplish anything that it failed to focus on the relationship between the two brothers and their history. A whole host of important information regarding the two of them was left until the last episode and there just wasn't enough time to do it justice.

The OST was awesome. I really loved the opening song, it fit the drama and mafia theme very well. I am also in love with the song Jeff Satur sings. Not only can he act, but he has an amazing voice. And the song is just beautiful. The visuals and cinematography were also quite good. The way they used the lighting in some scenes was very well done and worked to enhance the overall mood. The vast majority of the action scenes were well choreographed and were entertaining to watch.

Now for the parts that ended up killing this drama.
- For a drama about the mafia, there was very little information given about it and that whole concept took a backseat which was disappointing. It felt like it should be more central and play more of a role in the character's lives. Instead it felt like a prop piece that was only used when convenient. The world building in general left a lot to be desired.
- The pacing was also off. There just wasn't a good balance of important scenes and filler scenes. The last two episodes in particular were very rushed with a huge amount of information packed in and felt very half-assed. There's also the lack of a consistent plot. The first half or so of the drama was pretty good aside from the pacing. It seemed to generally know where it was headed and then it suddenly lost itself and it just went downhill from there. The ending left a fair number of unanswered or half answered questions. It didn't work for me.
-The attempts at comedy often fell flat. The jokes just weren't that funny and made me cringe. Don't get me wrong, there are some genuinely funny moments, but there are others that just don't work.
-I know I mentioned it before but the third couple of Porchay and Kim was just unnecessary.
- The ending was creepy to me. Porsche and Porchay's mother has brain damage and has no idea who they are, but they proceed to crowd this poor woman and touch and hug her without making sure she's okay with them doing so. I think it was meant to be a sweet, hopeful moment, they're together as a family again, but she just looked confused and uncomfortable and it made me uncomfortable watching it.
- There's an element of romanticizing abuse. The first time Kinn and Porsche have sex, Porsche is still under the influence of the drug Vegas gave him. Despite Porsche goading him and touching him, Kinn should have realized his actions were due to the drugs and he was in no shape to give consent. Yes, he does apologize, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the damage was done. The second time, in Vegas' bathroom, Porsche is drunk and again, Kinn engages in sexual activities with him. Even the first time they kiss, Porsche is drunk and high. And then there's Pete and Vegas' relationship which starts out in an incredibly toxic and unhealthy way. And like I said before, I won't go so far as to say it's an example of Stockholm Syndrome because I think Pete is made of sterner stuff than that and its hinted that there's attraction on both sides before he's kidnapped, it is obviously not an ideal way to start a relationship and it does perpetuate that kind of toxicity is hot which is dangerous. Vegas in particular is a complicated, conflicting character and their relationship is equally complicated and conflicting but ultimately, its not healthy and they both desperately need therapy.
- Finally, the number and explicitness of the sex scenes frankly surprised me. This is the only BL I've seen to this point that's featured actual sex scenes and this level of nudity. No full frontal, but a fair number of bare asses are scene throughout. There's also a scene where several characters watch porn. Though nothing is explicitly seen, it is heard.

I really wanted to love this drama especially since I kept hearing people talk about how amazing it was, but while I enjoyed it, I don't feel like its the best drama I've ever seen, not even close. There were a lot of issues in terms of plot and pacing and in the end it just couldn't realize the story that was attempting to be told. It is a nice break from the typical BL college setting, I just wish more time had been spent making sure there was a story that made sense.

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Completed
Naughty Babe
7 people found this review helpful
Nov 2, 2023
8 of 8 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 3.5
Story 3.0
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 5.5
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Toxic, Not Naughty

I am still wondering why I bothered to watch this drama. I wasn't a fan of Cutie Pie, toxic relationships made to look cute are not my thing, but the trailer made me wonder if this drama would put some of that in the past. I should have known better. Naughty Babe, quite simply, is a disaster. I'm not sure what was worse: changing the original story, the lack of plot, the complete lack of character development despite years having gone by, or the acting. Honestly take your pick.

So let's start with the story. There really wasn't one. Honestly it felt like a toddler throwing anything and everything at a piece of paper and calling it a masterpiece. With only 8 episodes, they needed to stick to a central story line and they just didn't. The mystery of who messed with Diao's car and caused Yi to crash is probably the most consistent story line, but even it falls flat. The choice to change the childhood attack Diao suffered from a dog to a tiger was absurd. The CGI tiger was awful and the change didn't serve any purpose other than creating inconsistencies and erasing some of the development in their relationship from Cutie Pie. Because it was so disjointed, the pacing felt off. It never got a good rhythm going and I struggled to stay invested. Things like their plan for the wedding was just so nonsensical and out of the box, and not in a good way. They were in on the plan together, so why Diao kept going on about being afraid he was going to hurt Yi and break his heart and blah blah blah just didn't make sense. And the ending, maybe it was just me, but it felt like there was a level of favoritism for their son over their daughter. They interacted far more with him than they did with her, especially considering it was her birthday. Again, could just be me reading into it too much.

One of the biggest issues though truly was the complete lack of character development. It's supposed to have been what, 6 years or something since Cutie Pie and three since Cutie Pie 2 You and literally nothing has changed in their relationship. In fact, they've taken steps backward. I didn't watch it, but my understanding is that a lack of development was present in Cutie Pie 2 You as well. Relationships change over time, that's just a fact. That Diao and Yi's relationship remained so stagnant shows that the writers and production had no clue what they were doing. Because of the foolish decision to change the attack to a tiger, some of the issues between them that had been dealt with or at least acknowledged were rendered pointless and they were right back where they started. And you would think, after all the time they'd been together, that they would have figured some things out. But no, they are still unable to communicate effectively, they make assumptions, there's a clear lack of trust and understanding between them, oh, but they're madly in love. Cue eye roll. The imbalance in their relationship is still very present. There are times that Yi comes across almost as more of a father with his controlling ways than as a fiancé. And Diao, for all that he does stand up for himself on occasion, it never seems to be when it matters or when it would do the most good. Frankly, they're just frustrating to watch. And a bit disturbing, because, all joking aside, at the heart, their relationship is not one built on love, but rather years of manipulation and Diao being conditioned to rely on Yi. And that is simply not addressed. It just points back to the fact that nothing has changed since Cutie Pie and their relationship is just as toxic and discordant as it was then.

Lian and Kuea reappear and while Lian does have his useful moments serving as a sounding board for Yi and actually giving solid advice at times, Kuea causes some issues by sticking his nose where it doesn't belong and making incorrect assumptions that he then feeds back to Diao. Together they're alternately vaguely amusing and mildly cute. While their relationship in Cutie Pie displayed the same imbalance as seen with Diao and Yi, they seem to be on more equal footing here. Nuea and Syn also pop up briefly and bring a few moments of levity. The only other character that I actually liked was Yi's father. He had a decent balance of comedy and seriousness that worked fairly well.

Nat and Max are not the strongest of actors and expecting them to carry their own show was asking a lot. Of the two, Nat was the more compelling to watch. His expressions are limited and there's really no nuance to his acting, but it feels more authentic. Max is just wooden and his emotions always felt very surface level. It looked like he was acting.

The production value was meh. There was nothing special about it. The product placement was incredibly annoying and distracting. It's been a minute since I saw a drama that was so in your face with it. And the music felt pretty generic. Nothing like Cutie Pie which had some decent and catchy songs.

Naughty Babe is simply a continuation of the toxic relationship first shown in Cutie Pie and a further romanticization of it. I don't generally totally regret watching a drama, but I fully regret taking the time to watch this one. There is frankly nothing positive about it and unless you are a die hard Cutie Pie or Diao/Yi fan, I would avoid it like the plague. You'll never get those hours back.

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Completed
Tin Tem Jai
7 people found this review helpful
May 11, 2023
10 of 10 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 3.5
Story 2.5
Acting/Cast 5.0
Music 5.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
This review may contain spoilers

Plots Are So Last Year

I'm going to preface this by saying that I very, very rarely drop dramas. I may put them on hold, but I generally will eventually finish them. I was sorely tempted to drop this drama after the first episode. The only reason I completed it is because it was only 10 episodes. Any longer than that and I wouldn't have continued. I kept hoping that things would get better, that a plot would emerge, the characters would get better, the sometimes confusing editing would improve, but it never did. It was just a giant ball of disappointment from beginning to end.

First of all, there's no plot here. I'm not even kidding, it is literally non-existent. It's like they threw a bunch of ideas into a bowl, blended it and popped it in the oven expecting something good to emerge. Suffice to say, that plan failed epically. I think they may have been going for a slice of life drama, but it's so poorly done that it's impossible to tell. It felt like a lot of the plot, miniscule as it was, revolved around bubble tea, orange juice, and snacks. There were far, far too many characters. I'm used to Thai BLs having a bloated cast, but this one really took the cake. I couldn't even begin to keep track of half the characters and some would pop in and out and it would be like, who are you and why should I care? Inconsistencies run rife throughout the whole of the drama. They just add to the general confusion and make the non-existent plot even more obvious.

The romantic aspects were by and large a joke. Two of Tin's friends would randomly pop up on dates throughout the drama which was weird and nonsensical. They weren't featured enough for me to have an opinion about them or care about their relationship. I just found them annoying. And Tin and Park didn't make much more sense. Tin spends half the drama pining after Park with Park pushing him away and insisting they're just brothers and then it's like a switch gets flipped and suddenly he's declaring his love and becoming all lovey dovey. I got whiplash with that one cause there was basically no build up. Yes, it was obvious that he was jealous of Tin spending time with Phloen, but that was it. And then, because the writer apparently decided the last episode or so needed to finish with a bang, we have multiple spats between Tin and Park that were stupid and added nothing. I didn't even know what they were fighting about half the time. The only couple, if you can really call them that, that I liked was Pao and Khana. They get very little screen time, but they had chemistry and felt like they worked well together. Unfortunately, we get a single make out scene between them and that's really it. It's implied that they're in a relationship, but not really confirmed and they don't really act like they're in a relationship, at least not overtly. There are some subtle clues, but I would have liked something more obvious, more of them spending time together one on one getting to know each other and clearer signs that they were together.

As far as the characters go, they were a bit of a mixed bag.
-Tin was the most annoying character ever. It was like a whiny toddler was placed in a college age man's body. Seriously, 90% of what he did was whine and complain. And that's what he acts like for the entirety of the drama. He doesn't really mature or develop, it's just ten episodes of this man child constantly proclaiming his love for Park and pouting when Park doesn't act the way he wants him to. And the sad thing is, I could have liked him. He had moments where he was very sweet and compassionate towards others, moments of vulnerability, where I could see the potential the character had, but then he opened his mouth and that went right out the window.
-As for Park, what on earth did he even see in him? He talks about how cute he is, but I've rarely seen anyone less cute. I really did not get a good impression of why he fell in love with Tin or even why Tin fell in love with him, though the fact that he's clearly smart, handsome, and charming when he wants to be certainly helps. Also, the age gap between them was confusing. Flashbacks made it seem like they were fairly close in age, they were both wearing the same high school or middle school uniforms, but then you have Tin who seems to be a freshman in college and Park is already a full certified nurse. It doesn't add up.
-Barbie was a hit or miss for me. Sometimes I really liked her, other times I found her to be a bit annoying/boring. For the most part though, I liked her determination to forge her own path in the world and the way she was there for her friends.
-I really liked Pai. I know she wasn't in there much, but I enjoyed the scenes she was in. She was a straight forward, no nonsense kind of character, but she had moments of vulnerability that just made me want to give her a hug. The scene where she talks about how she came back for her brother and she was willing to sacrifice her freedom for him was a powerful one. I thought it was so sad that her parent's didn't realize what a gem of a daughter they had.
-I also liked Pao and Khana. They were such a study in opposites which I think is part of why I liked their relationship, minimal as it was. Pao, the golden child that everyone loves and compares others to, who has so perfected that façade, even his friends aren't aware of it. Everyone thinks he has such a great life and he has his life together, while under the surface he's depressed, he's struggling to the point that he turns to drugs. And then there's Khana, an apparently former drug addict, who's turned over a new leaf and is striving to become a better person. My heart went out to both of them and the struggles they faced and, again, I would have really liked for them to have more screen time learning about each other and helping each other grow.
-The other characters really didn't leave much of an impression. Phloen was cute but forgettable and Tin's friends were by and large annoying.

The acting was pretty subpar all around. Tiger, besides playing such an obnoxious character, was boring to watch which didn't help matters. There was no nuance to his acting, it all just felt very, very repetitive. He needed to massively tone down his character but it seems over the top is what he went for. Run wasn't much better. I've seen him in other dramas and liked him. He's the main reason I even watched this drama actually. But he was also pretty boring to watch with many of the same facial expressions appearing again and again and very little emotion a lot of the time. You can play a quieter character without being boring but he apparently didn't get that memo. The chemistry between the two was non-existent. Their kissing scenes were just awkward to watch. They didn't seem fully comfortable with each other and that definitely translated to the screen. The rest of the cast wasn't quite as glaringly bad, but no one really stood out to me. I will give credit though to Lee and Tong because they actually did have chemistry. Again, I wanted more of them!

The production value was pretty meh. There was a number of awkwardly cut scenes where there was just no transition, it would abruptly jump from one scene to a completely different one with no reference as to what's going on. It made following the story at times much harder than it needed to be. The music was another forgettable aspect. I honestly don't remember anything about it.

This drama is just bad all around. It's simply not worth the time or energy to watch it. This isn't one of those dramas that's so bad it's good, or is at least moderately entertaining. You gain nothing from watching it other than a desperate desire for it to end. Seriously, don't bother with this one.

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Completed
My School President
7 people found this review helpful
Feb 28, 2023
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.0
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
This review may contain spoilers

Approved By The School President

Slice of life type dramas can be hit or miss. Too close to reality and they can stray into dangerously mundane territory, too far from reality and they run the risk of the story becoming ridiculous. My School President manages to toe that line very well, staying pretty well within the lines of reality while delivering a heartwarming story.

The main focus of the story is on characters Tinn and Gun. Due to some unfortunate circumstances the previous year, Gun's Music Club is at risk of being cancelled. In order to save it, Tinn, who has harbored a two year crush on Gun, runs for and succeeds at becoming school president. There are two problems though: Tinn is the principal's son who is leading the charge to cancel the Music Club and Gun has no idea that Tinn is on his side. With the help of his friend Tiw and his own brains (it also helps that Gun and his friends are not the sharpest knives in the drawer), Tinn succeeds in convincing Gun that he is on his club's side so that they can bring glory to their school by winning the Hot Wave music contest. And what started as a reluctant partnership start to develop into something more.

Part of what I really enjoyed about this drama is that while it is most certainly a BL, that is not the sole focus. Friendship and family also play huge roles throughout. I really appreciated the realism of the boys' friendship. Like any group of friends going through high stress situations, they had their ups and downs, but in the end they always made up. Despite their differences in personality, they meshed together really well, and I really loved their friendship, how they were there for each other and how supportive they were. I also enjoyed their comedic side which could be a bit over the top and overdone at times, but for the most part I liked it. Gun and Tinn's families played a large role in their lives and it was so interesting to see the difference in parenting styles. Both families obviously loved their sons tremendously, but the more freewheeling style of parenting the Gun's mother had with him meant that their relationship was much more open. Unlike Tinn who was terrified of his mother finding out about their relationship, Gun was able to calmly tell him mom about it and it really wasn't a big deal. For her, his happiness was most important. Tinn's mom obviously loved him as well, but had more of the focus of him having a stable future and was more concerned about how he would be perceived and what trials he might face with his sexual orientation. It becomes clear that she's not homophobic, it just never crossed her mind that her son might be gay, and, again, she's afraid of how the world is going to treat him. The way she defends him and Kajorn with the homophobic teacher though was positively glorious. Seriously, dude, never screw with a kid in front of his mom, big mistake!

Every part of the pacing of this drama was well done from the story itself to the romance. I didn't feel like there was any lag, there were no filler episodes, it all just flowed really well. And again, I have to point out the realism of this drama. I feel like some BLs cater a little too much to everything must be rainbows and unicorns and I really liked that the characters had to deal with real life trials and disappointments. I was really up in the air on whether I wanted them to win the Hot Wave contest. On the one hand, I do like happy endings and I honestly wouldn't have minded if they did win because they had obviously worked their butts off for it, but on the other hand, realistically, in a final competition, the other bands were going to be pretty dang good as well. And I appreciated that they didn't just bounce back after their loss like it was nothing. Again the realism there. Some people are capable of just moving on, but others aren't and I liked that it was explored a little more. The development of the romance felt pretty natural. I liked that while Gun obviously thought and hoped he was the one Tinn liked, he didn't just blurt that out. Once again, I found that realistic. You want to believe that you're the one, but the fear of voicing it because what if you're wrong? My one complaint was the constant blocked kisses got a little bit old after a while. It was kind of cute initially, but after the third or fourth time it felt like it was time to move on. I enjoyed the side couple of Win and Sound. I felt their relationship was pretty well developed and I liked the way their characters interacted. They weren't this picture perfect couple, they were both a bit hot headed, but, in the end, they did care about each other. On the other hand, Tiw and Por was a sideish couple that I felt came out of nowhere right there toward the end. I honestly was not a fan of them because I didn't feel like there was any buildup. It really felt like they were just thrown in there out of the blue. I think they could have been cute, but I needed more time to see their relationship developing.

The music is definitely the highlight of this drama. These are some seriously talented kids. While the music isn't original, and they're all covers, they still brought their own flavor and style and there wasn't a song that I didn't enjoy. There were a couple that I actually enjoyed more than the originals frankly. The songs fit well within the story and, in general, were just well chosen.

For a bunch of newbie actors, I was pretty impressed. There were definitely moments that it was obvious they're still pretty green, but for the most part, they delivered! Gemini and Fourth had really great chemistry together, they seemed comfortable, their interactions were natural and not forced at all. Separately, they could both be a bit hit or miss in some of the more emotional scenes. Fourth has great facial expressions, he really emotes, and he has expressive eyes. Gemini's emotions didn't always reach to his eyes, I noticed, but I thought he made good use of his body language. Again, for baby actors all around, they did great and I can't wait to see them in future projects.

I honestly cannot recommend this drama enough. It is just so well done on every level. We are treated to healthy relationships, both romantic and otherwise. There is none of the husband/wife nonsense, they are just boyfriends which is so refreshing. Despite having a relatively large cast, the characters are well developed and nuanced. Even the more minor characters are well done and have a purpose. It has a plot that it sticks to and carries out well. There is just so much that it does right and so little that it gets wrong. This is definitely not a drama you want to miss.

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Completed
Theory of Love
7 people found this review helpful
Feb 6, 2023
12 of 12 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 6.0
Story 4.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 2.5
This review may contain spoilers

I Have A Theory, This Drama Kind Of Sucks

I decided to watch this because I really enjoyed Off and Gun in Not Me and I've also really enjoyed Earth's acting in dramas I've seen him in. But as much as I liked Not Me, Theory of Love really didn't do it for me. The conflicts just kept dragging on and on, back and forth, and it got really tiring after a while. I wanted to see the characters settle into their relationship and have a chance to see that relationship grow and we really didn't get that which I found disappointing.

The story concept, while nothing new, was still promising. I liked how it revolved around different rom-coms. It was the execution and the characters that just didn't work for me. I get unrequited love, I've been there myself, it absolutely sucks. But Khai is such an unredeemable ass at the beginning that it didn't take me long to stop sympathizing with Third and thinking that he really did need to just over him because the few nice things he did really did not make up for the amount of mean/cruel acts he suffered at the hands of his supposed best friend. Also the repeated scenes of him standing in the shower fully clothed, I don't know what reaction they were going for with those, but they were awkward bordering on amusing. And then, of course, once Third finally gets of Khai, Khai realizes he's actually in love with Third and the cycle repeats with Khai pursuing Third and that turns into a whole other level of tedious with countless scenes of Third getting sulky and suspicious of Khai. On the one hand, I don't blame him, but I also feel like it was severely overplayed and the lengths he pushed Khai to show his love were a tad ridiculous. The ending was kind of cute, but also felt a bit abrupt? I'm not a big fan of time jump endings like that because I feel like it leaves a lot of questions unanswered of what's happened in the interim and where everyone is now in their lives and few, if any, of those questions really get answered. Ultimately though, I think what I struggled with the most was the why they fell in love with each other. For Khai, I can understand it more. The video was the catalyst for him realizing his feelings and Third has always been there for him, has always care for him, but for Third, I don't get it. Love at first sight, okay, sure. But there has to be more to it than that and with Khai being such a colossal jerk, I just don't see how he could have done enough nice things for Third to continue to love him for three years.

The side stories were not my favorites. I actually think I would have really liked Two and Un's story, but like with most Thai secondary couple side stories, it was just severely underdeveloped. I suspected that Un liked Two when he dragged him out of the pond and again when he asked Two to help him with his project, but then they just kind of abandoned them and there was nothing until you suddenly hear him telling P'Shane that he's heartbroken. And then he somehow knew where Two and his friends were there at the end so he could confess his love? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for them getting together, despite their somewhat nonsensical story, they had good chemistry and I liked them together, I just would have liked a better developed story. As for Bone and Paan, as much as I liked Bone's character, I was not a fan of their story, mostly I was not a fan of Paan because it was so obvious that Bone was into her and she did not shut that down and basically led him on. I'm also just not a fan of teacher/student relationships even when it is in a college setting and they're consenting adults. There's still a power discrepancy there that makes it questionable to me. I did admire Bone's conduct for the most part. Other than going in for a kiss when she was drunk, which was not okay, he did make sure to give Paan the information she needed so she could make an informed decision about her relationship with Gap. I was really glad that they did not end up together in the end and that it seems like he found someone better.

I liked the acting overall. Gun seems to possess the ability to slip into whatever character he's playing. His eyes are so expressive and while I certainly found Third to be incredibly annoying at times, Gun's ability to show his character's pain was spot on. Off naturally has a bit of a tough guy look, so portraying Khai as a jerk seemed to come pretty naturally. But I also felt he did well with the softer scenes. Like Gun, he was able to express a lot with just his eyes.

I really liked the OST. The music really fit the mood for each scene. I especially liked the piano pieces that were used for several scenes. The cinematography was fantastic. They did such a great job . I really liked that they used movie names as the title for each episode. I thought that was really creative and fun. As a side note, I also really liked that the characters were Film Majors. It was a nice departure from the typical Engineering/Medical majors in most BLs.

One of the biggest issues I had with this drama though was the way women were treated. There were so many comments made about women's bodies, objectifying them. Every comment was about how pretty she was or how big her breasts were or something along those lines. There was literally never anything positive said. And when it came to Khai, the way he went through women and how it was minimally addressed. Also, with the reputation he had, I can't imagine that many women being okay his treatment of them and willingly putting themselves into that situation. In any case, just the overall objectification of women in this drama left a very bad taste in my mouth.

Considering how popular this drama was and the lead actors in it, I was really excited to watch it and was hoping it would be a new favorite. Unfortunately, it just really didn't do it for me. I feel like it could have been so much more and had a lot of wasted potential. It wasn't a bad drama, but it wasn't a good one either. I think this is one you have to watch for yourself to see if you'll like it or not.

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Completed
Our Skyy 2: Bad Buddy
8 people found this review helpful
Jun 2, 2023
1 of 1 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 6.5
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 3.0
This review may contain spoilers

Bad Chemistry

Going into this final stretch of Our Skyy 2, I find myself with conflicting feelings. I was not expecting to see Bad Buddy and A Tale of Thousand Stars combined. None of the other stories were connected and I'm wondering why they decided to do so here. It's not bad, but I feel like the focus is more with the Thousand Stars story and Bad Buddy is the side piece. Like many other viewers, the Bad Buddy and Tale of a Thousand Stars episodes were the ones I was looking forward to most. They're the two oldest and so the nostalgia is stronger with them since it's been a couple years since we've seen these characters. As much as I anticipated these episodes, I'm finding that they fall a bit flat unfortunately.

When it comes to Bad Buddy, I'm not sure how much of a fan I am in going back in time a bit to just after Pat and Pran pretend to break up. I feel like a lot of the plot in that first episode is a rinse and repeat of what we've already seen. I would have preferred if it was a continuation from the end of the series after they graduated. We'd seen the rift between their parents starting to heal and things had reached a point where they weren't going to need to hide their relationship. Going on from there, continuing to show that healing, the novelty that they could be together openly, all would have made for a great conclusion to their story and would have focused solely on them.

Their relationship, while very similar to how it was in the series, does have its differences here. There was a good balance in Bad Buddy of mischievous/playful and sweet moments between them. I liked that it was a series where both leads were strong minded young men. It gave a whole different dynamic that worked very well. In these episodes though the sweet moments are few and far between and the mischievous/playful moments take precedence. And those few sweet moments are by and large initiated by Pat at which point Pran pushes him away or something interrupts them. It's been a while since I watched it, but I felt like they were on more of an even keel in the series. That's not to say there aren't some sweet moments between them, there are, it just overall doesn't feel quite in harmony with the series. And I was expecting a lot more of those sweet moments once they were away from their friends and parents since they wouldn't have to pretend anymore, but they're still few and far between. As a side note, Pran's reaction to up and leave without Pat because of Pat's comment felt over the top. Since they were pretending to still be enemies, it would make sense that Pat would be bad mouthing him or making himself out to be superior. Considering that Pran typically came across as relatively level-headed previously, his taking that comment to heart and deciding to abandon Pat didn't seem to quite fit with his character.

There were a couple of other things that just didn't quite work. Pat and Pran are supposed to be broken up and back to being enemies at this point. However, they don't act like it at all. They're constantly together in public without showing a bit of animosity and yet we're supposed to believe that their friends are in the dark. Yes, they're questioning it to some degree, but seriously, those two are so obvious a blind man could see they're still together. Besides that, it also appears that they're living together. Living across the hall from each other and sneaking into each other's rooms is one thing, but how on earth does them living together work? Do they just not have any friends who aren't in on their secret over? What about their parents? The other part that didn't work for me was how little time they spend together. With the first episode they spend a good portion of it together, but once the second episode hits and they're in the village, they're pretty effectively separated for much of it. I would have preferred to see more of them working together rather than their divide and conquer strategy.

Ohm and Nanon are both very talented actors and two of my favorites. Their chemistry together in Bad Buddy was phenomenal and their interactions were just very natural. I've heard rumors of some kind of conflict between them, it's not something that I've looked into, but after watching these two episodes, I do have to wonder if there is something going on between them. The spark they had previously just wasn't quite there. I can't put my finger on it, but something felt a bit off.

A Tale of Thousand Stars was a series that I really enjoyed. I liked the story which I felt was overall well done as well as the characters and acting. I was very excited to see Tian, Phupha and the rest of the characters from their story again and I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed at how few of the characters were brought back. For their story, I was hoping for a continuation from the end of the series focusing on Tian getting reacquainted with the village and villagers and settling back in with them and into his relationship with Phupha. I was not hoping for angsty, teenage drama between two grown men.

The inconsistencies between the series and Our Skyy 2 are grating. Phupha seems to have undergone a personality transplant because he's just coming across as an unreasonable jerk here. He was a serious character in Thousand Stars, but he wasn't totally unbending and there was a tenderness about him whenever he was with Tian that was very endearing. That's just gone. Their conflict feels very contrived. In the series they generally came across as two reasonable adults, now though they feel more like sulky teenagers. I hope we get a better explanation for why Phupha doesn't want to accompany Tian than he doesn't like crowds. Which, that reasoning just seems like BS since we saw him at at least two gatherings in the series. Sticking with Phupha for a moment, his fainting just as he meets Pran also felt off. This is a man who very rarely showed any kind of weakness, so to see him keel over because he hadn't had breakfast seemed out of character. There was also Tian acting like he didn't know how to get to Pha Pun Dao when he went there alone, in the dark previously. And besides that time, he'd gone at least two other times, if not more, so his uncertainty of how to get there didn't make sense. There are a few other minor details that don't quite jive with the series which is more just annoying than causing any actual issues.

Similar to Ohm and Nanon, Earth and Mix don't have quite the same spark between them as they did in the series. Even when they were in conflict, you could feel that magnetic pull between them. Maybe because their bickering here just feels petty more than anything, that pull doesn't seem to be as present. That being said, Earth and Mix are great actors and there is chemistry between them, just not as strong as what they had in the series.

Having these two series combined did create some interesting and entertaining moments. Pat and Phupha waking up and panicking about what they may have done together was a particularly funny scene. Also the fact that Phupha offering Pat his shirt was a direct call back to a scene from Thousand Stars. I am enjoying the friendship springing up between Pran and Tian as well as the competitive camaraderie between Pat and Phupha.

While I love both Bad Buddy and A Tale of Thousand Stars, I don't know as I love them combined. At this point, I feel like we're being robbed of Pat and Pran's story in favor of one centered on Phupha and Tian. And I think with both stories, they're just missing the brilliance of the originals. I hope they find their way before the end, but right now I'm just disappointed at how this is turning out. I'll update after next week when the final episodes air.

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