“Jack & Jill” Series Review (Ep.1 to 8)

This is a surprisingly good series. A bit too short, however. It does not pretend to be anything than what you see. This is no masterpiece, but it gets to a story quickly with some excellent dialogues and exchanges. The acting, sorry to say, is a bit amateurish in parts and has no real depth in the beginning. But towards the end, the two main protagonists become believable and effective.

Let’s talk about the story first. It is messy but honestly so cute. Not sure, if it’s intended to be analogous to the actual nursery rhyme of the same name, but it does so effectively. Jill (Mateo Valasco) is a naïve, immature, and starry-eyed romantic young man who still sees the world innocently. That of course leaves him vulnerable and hurt. Apparently, he is enamored with a social media idol by the name of Jack (ZK Nakaoka). Jack is a fitness guru and Jill entices him by telling him he makes vegan brownies (which they are not since he used eggs). Jack is intrigued and circumstances lead the two of them baking brownies together. While Jill does not want a one-night stand, he succumbs to the temptations of Jack’s built body. This shouldn’t have been unexpected as the whole meeting seemed contrived on both parts and each should have conceived of the possibility of having sex no matter how one may have rationalized the motives. Where it takes a twist is when Jack is forced to return to Jill’s place because of new Covid restrictions.

Obviously, they have a chance to connect and get to know each other, while Jack figures out Jill’s trust issues. Jill had a commitment phobic boyfriend who simply used him for sex. He shares the woeful story that on his 21st birthday, his boyfriend left him without even dancing with him. And so, he was deeply hurt and is now cautious of anyone not wanting to commit to him. In a sense, Jack plays on this. Initially, it is obvious that Jack is a playboy and found Jill perhaps an easy target for a one-night stand. But as they spend more time together, he gets to know Jill and a blossoming connection begins to take hold. Jill senses that and so does Jack. Jack is falling (hard) for Jill and Jill already has. While staring at him in bed, Jack calls Jill his MOSH (my only sweetheart – who would not melt even if it is corny?)


But Jack is not entirely forthcoming about his present commitments and is lying about the phone calls he is getting; disguising them as calls from his mother. Jack has a boyfriend, and he decides to pick him up. Suddenly, Jack has a 180 degree transformation and begins to distance himself from Jill. He tells Jill that their relationship was nothing more than a ‘one-night stand’. Jill is incredulous, deeply hurt, angry and slaps Jack out of frustration for his manipulation. The story ends when Jack’s boyfriend comes to pick him up and the cliffhanger surprises both Jack and Jill when the door opens.

Summarizing this story perhaps makes it sound corny or contrived and parts of it were (as well as parts of the dialogue). But it isn’t hollow; rather comes across with greater realness than most other BL’s with their long lingering banal stories that keep deviating from the main point. The complexities of these two young men should not be minimized. They are both flawed. Both are living in their own fantasy worlds of reality. Both are vulnerable. And they are both weak individuals. They met briefly and have lustful sex, which defines and fulfills the classic definition of a one-night stand. What changes is that they got to know each other because of their forced confinement. That alters the dynamics. Each fall for the other but at different degrees. (Jill describes how Jack really feels about him in a soliloquy that was quite worthy, astute, real, and very beautiful). Jill fell too fast, while Jack wasn’t honest and did not know how to be. So, he reverts to what he knows. And that was to look at what they had as only an extended one-night stand. That made it ‘ok’ in his mind.

Both actors only have a limited time to develop their characters. Mateo as Jill is certainly consistent and plays vulnerability with believability. At time his acting seems a bit too contrived, but when he shows the hurtful wounded side of his character, he is quite credible. However, Zk as Jack plays his part with greater depth. There is a playboy aura about Jack from the beginning, but never with a sense of maliciousness. It is more so with the sensuousness of sex. However, when he gets to know Jill, he changes. He shows a sweet, caring, gentile side of him that I did not see as phony or in a gigolo way. I never felt that he simply wanted to use Jill and that what he felt for him was not sincere and genuine. That scared him. His characterization was full of complexities and incongruities, and I found that worthy of mention. Additionally, he has one of the best sculptured and chiseled bodies I have ever seen in a BL series and has no problem taking off his shirt and showing us that stunningly beautiful body. He has, without question, a remarkable Adonis physique and that is part of the story.

This is obviously a low-budget series that with a little more effort could have been made into a more intense series. An acting coach would have been helpful. Better editing would have enhanced the series. Sound was off and occasionally it was hard to hear their dialogues. Lighting, especially in the night scenes, was not good. Also, please, please stop with the physical abuse of another, even if it seems justifiable. Slapping someone because they played you is still not a valid or legitimate reason to resort to a physical altercation. BL’s, in my opinion, should be at the forefront of trying to change the ‘old ways’ we portray our anger or frustration at someone. This shouldn’t be displayed in such a cavalier manner. On the positive side, the kissing and romantic scenes were unapologetically sensuous and filmed with great sensitivity. In other words, they were steamy. These guys had no problem showing us what young gay men do in bed.

This is a very short, too short, series with production issues and not-so-strong acting. But I can overlook all of that if it tells a good story. And this one does. Personally, I loved the ending, even though that received the most criticism. I found it to be ironic, creative, and true-to-form for this series. Even if there is not a Season 2 (which just screams that there will be or should be), I found it quite entertaining. Perhaps many will not; I did.

I simply liked it!

Rating 4.1 out of 5

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