“Stuck on You” First Impressions (Episodes 1 & 2)

It’s another quarantine BL, everyone!

I remember taking a solid half-year break from Pinoy BL after watching My Day the Series—for reasons I won’t delve into right here in this article—only to realize that I’ve been missing out on a whole lot. Getting back to watching them was difficult, but the poster of Stuck on You that popped up on my Twitter feed had me curious. The boys looked great, and it turns out that I have a thing for quarantine-themed BL. Sure, they do seem cliché and repetitive, but it’s fun to see how the characters in these series navigate around the pandemic.

Produced and directed by Pancho Maniquis, Stuck on You is set in the same universe as that of Quaranthings, which was also released on the same YouTube channel (Ride or Die). It revolves around Reb (Iyo Canlas), a young barista who lost his job due to the pandemic, and his ‘plans’ to hookup with JM (Yves Flores) aka @alt.media who he met on a dating app called Alter. ‘Plans’ would be the operative word here; as most plans do, this one too goes awry. JM believes that anonymity is key for hookups via dating apps like Alter—and goes around painstakingly reminding everyone about this—and is very particular about both of them having masks on at all times, except for when they are alone.

As I’d mentioned before, their plans to have a one-night-stand are foiled by Reb’s panic attack that seemed to be triggered by JM finding out that he’s a virgin. What follows this seems to be an interesting and refreshing turn of events, with JM helping Reb with grounding techniques and highlighting the importance of consent in any relationship, especially under these circumstances. I found JM to be a relatively considerate man, seeing that he’s willing to let Reb stay the night as it’s past curfew time.

Or so I thought.

The next day reveals a grumpy JM who’s very eager to get rid of Reb. Much to his dismay, a neighbor of his has tested positive for COVID-19, and the latter is required to stay with him for 14 days to prevent the spread of the disease. JM, who insists upon having his personal space intact, does all sorts of things such as maintaining separate areas of contact for the two of them, making sure that they wear masks when they’re in front of each other, having schedules for things such as eating, using the washroom—you name it!

The series is full of fascinating oddities (like the ones mentioned above). JM insists on calling each other by their Alter handles, which sounds awful after a while. He also wants Reb to keep his mask on even when he sleeps (only if they’re in the same room, of course). What’s worse is that this sequence takes place right after Reb’s panic attack, when a mask really isn’t the best thing to have on at the time. He even gets angry when Reb makes breakfast for him as he considers it an ‘invasion of his personal space’. Sequences like these which show JM acting like a spoilt brat are bound to make many viewers annoyed with him, just like I did.

However, there are quite a fewpositives. The stark contrast between the two characters, although cliché, is wonderful to see. From Reb’s colorful room and cheery walls to JM’s gray-toned bedroom, we see a huge difference between them, not just in tastes but also in personalities. Reb’s child-like optimism is reflected in his Alter handle (@trueloveskiss), and his habit of talking to himself or inanimate objects around him is adorable to the point of being almost irritating. On the other hand, JM is portrayed as a grouchy, pessimistic man who probably doesn’t believe in true love because of some deep sorrow (with the series hinting at a painful past with an unknown woman). The nonsensical banter between the two provides great on-screen chemistry, and makes the audience wish for them to fall in love despite all their differences.

Assuming that the first scene of the series may be providing us with a glimpse of their future together, it seems like the two young men will fall in love with each other during the 14 days that they quarantine together (with some conflicts here and there, no doubt about that). Although a very typical quarantine BL that follows the no-strings-attached route, I find myself looking forward to the next episode to see what happens.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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