Okay, Fish Upon The Sky, teach me how to love you!
I am going into Fish Upon the Sky like many others – freshly wrung out by Tale of a Thousand Stars and still reluctant to come down from Pha Phun Dao. However, the wheels of GMMTV turn and there is a new series to be watched, and watch it I will.
Three episodes in, my cold heart melted and I’m sold.
So, the premise of Fish Upon The Sky is a classic one if you’ve watched a lot of early 2000s rom-coms – Pi (played by Phuwin), the nerdy, unattractive nobody falls in love with Mueang Nan (Mix), the campus heartthrob and gets a makeover to win him over. Added to this formula is Mueang Nan’s friend Mork (played by Pond), who just seems to be everywhere, getting in the way… and very obviously being Pi’s actual love interest.
The secondary couple (with their own sub-series titled A Leech Upon the Sky) is of Pi’s older brother Duean (Neo) and the underclassman he just can’t shake off, Meen (Louis). Their story is presented as interludes from Pi’s story, with its own continuity.
There were things I liked and didn’t like in the first couple of episodes, but let me get the bad over with. Particularly in Episode 1, there were some things I am not a fan of, like an over-reliance on slapstick for comedy and some classic BL “oh no we’re standing so close to each other” scenes that force the main pair into a romantic framing. Some gags go on a little longer than you want them to. Duean seems to spend a lot of time in toilets. The slapstick is sometimes very off-putting, but if you are a fan of this kind of humor, then there’s nothing to worry about.
On the bright side, the humor in the show when it’s not reverting to silly slapstick, is great. The series makes use of a narrator to occasionally comment on events and characters and induce some fun fourth-wall breaking humor. The second and third episodes had some great comedic sequences, including some hilarious references to other GMMTV shows and even, memorably, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Despite my best efforts to be jaded, I found myself caring about the characters sooner than I thought, and this is to a great extent because of excellent performances from all the leads.
Pi’s lack of self-confidence and inability to trust even well-intentioned people are established early on. It is also refreshing to see a main character who isn’t just nice and friendly to everyone. Pi’s experiences have made him a bit of an asshole, and he’s all the more interesting for it. Mork is a bit more of a traditional character type, the kind of guy designed to make the audience fall in love with him. He obviously seems to care for Pi for reasons that haven’t been revealed. I’m also curious to see whether there are deeper layers to Mueang Nan’s character – beyond his charm, good looks, and overall friendly demeanor – and whether they’ll be revealed in this story.
Also, another interesting fact is that Pi has a confidant, a ‘Student from a Nearby Faculty’, whom he has never met but chats with online (as one of the few people who he is comfortable talking openly). While normally the narrative would hide this person’s identity from the viewers, here the series makes it very obvious that this is Mork, perhaps setting up for a future conflict when Pi discovers this fact.
Duean and Pi are some of the most believable brothers I’ve seen in a series, with the right amount of fighting and teasing but grounded on genuine love and support. The contrast between the caring but crass Duean, who lacks book-smarts but is fundamentally a nice guy, and the studious Meen, is cute, and the two of them have some very wholesome scenes. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops as well.
I’m going to round this out with how much I really love the way this series uses lighting to create atmosphere. There are some standout scenes where the lighting is beautiful and really gives the scenes an ethereal vibe. Overall, Fish Upon The Sky has only gotten better over the first three episodes, which is promising for the rest of the series.
Rating – 3 out of 5