One of the most interesting things about watching Bad Buddy the Series or BBS has been seeing how its fandom grew from ‘oh this series looks interesting’ to ‘they did what?!’, finally culminating in ‘omg greatest series ever’ over the course of its twelve episodes. As to what I thought, well, that’s what this review is for.
Bad Buddy, directed by Aof Nopparnach and starring (five-BL-veteran) Ohm Pawat and (BL newbie but acting powerhouse) Nanon Korapat is the story of Pat and Pran, the sons of neighbouring households that have been at odds together for nearly two decades. As expected, the two of them fall in love in true starcrossed lovers fashion, and the series is about how they navigate a relationship built on such rocky terrain.
What I Didn’t Like
Best to get what I thought were the negatives out of the way first.
The PatPran Show. One of the weakest parts of the series for me was the supporting characters. Now, by supporting characters I don’t mean Ink and Paa, who I’ll come to later, or the parents. I also don’t mean the acting, because the supporting cast is strong and talented. What I mean is that Pat and Pran’s groups of friends don’t feel like their friends. The series is so focussed on Pat and Pran that the others kind of become unmemorable. I only remembered Korn and Wai’s names by the end of it, and that’s because they both have slightly more important roles than the rest of them.
That One Scene with the Cola Bottle and Other ‘eh’ moments. The plot, when it works, is fantastic, but the series does have its moments where it seems to fall of the wagon a little bit, with a script that is sometimes very uneven. It may be because of filming restrictions and difficult schedules owing to the covid-19 pandemic, but there are entire episodes that feel somewhat disjointed, like filler episodes that don’t really contribute to the plot. There is an entire arc involving a play which is very relevant to story progression but I was disappointed when we ended up seeing nothing of the actual play itself. Once again, this may be due to filming restrictions, so I’ll let it go.
The Resolution. Maybe other viewers will see it differently, but for me there were two major points of conflict, both of which I won’t mention because of spoilers, which are ultimately left unresolved or just resolved in a very dissatisfactory way.
What I Liked
Ohm and Nanon. Goodness gracious, Ohm and Nanon. I’ve enjoyed watching both actors in different series before and I know that there’s nothing they can’t do on the performance front, but in BBS, the two of them just shine. Their chemistry, their experience which gives them a knack for improvisation, their complete dedication to their characters, all shine through. I mentioned this in my First Impressions but I’ll say it again, the way they bring emotional scenes to life is absolutely amazing. The two of them brought PatPran to life in the truest sense of the world and they are more than enough reason for me to recommend the series.
Ink and Paa. Mild spoilers if you’ve not seen anything related to BBS on any social media but Ink and Paa are one of the first GL ships I’ve seen in a GMMTV BL, and it fills my heart with joy that they exist. Ink (Milk Pansa) is introduced as something of a red herring, like the centre of a love triangle between Pat and Pran, but we learn that Ink only has eyes for Pat’s sister Paa (Love), and they are all sorts of adorable.
The Backaof Guarantee. In every single one of Aof’s works, he tends to address some aspect of the reality of the LGBTQ+ community, and in this one he seems to be challenging some of the stereotypes associated with gay men, whether in BL or outside it. Here there is outright denial of husband/wife labels, a constant switching of tropes – especially hurt/comfort ones – and a depiction of a couple who are absolutely equals in love. Literally half the series is dedicated to their relationship after they’ve gotten together, which is fresh compared to the usual BL formulae that focus more on the courtship part of a romance. I’ve heard it said that this series uses a lot of Aof’s own relationship experiences, and that confidence shows.
The OST. I love all the songs they’ve included in the series, they’re definitely worth checking out.
All in all, Bad Buddy is novel in how it takes what should be a cliché ridden narrative to a higher level through some stellar acting and direction. While some factors do keep it from getting a perfect score (we were robbed of a proper redemption arc and the possibility of KornWai), I highly recommend checking it out.
Rating- 4 out of 5
3 thoughts on ““Bad Buddy” Series Review (Ep.5 to 12)”
“We were robbed of . . . the possibility of KornWai” With respect, no you weren’t. The screenwriters and the director gave them an interesting side narrative. It was made clear from early on they were both straight. You weren’t denied anything. Please judege these narratives from the POV of the intentions of the production company: How well did they do what they sedet out to do? That should be the criteria in my opinion.
I actually will give this a higher rating 4.5 of 5- due entirely to the P Aof/Nanon/Ohm show- I trying to put in any other lead actors from 2021 into this weak story and it comes out no stronger than so-so-
I mean multiple episodes of rival friends fighting in badly staged scenes, rebuilding a bus stop!!!! and a beach trip, disapproving parents- there just isn’t anything great about this plot….
But perhaps the story not being as interesting as Tale of 1000 Stars, Cherry Magic, Until We Meet Again- etc allow the room for this actors showcase- I’ve seen Nanon and Ohm in multiple series and do a nice job- and Ohm was excellent in He’s Coming to Meet Me.
But this team had so many wonderful and natural expressions/feels of two real people being caught on camera as they went through the ups and downs of their relationship was wonderful to witness.
Paa/Ink was starved a bit for time- but appreciated every time they were on screen. Lots of tongue in cheek playing with tropes (calling the more feminine one a “wife”/Who is the top/bottom?, I don’t like men ONLY YOU, Parents/Society disapproves therefore we must break up….
This was just an acting and directing BL clinic and I enjoyed it almost every step of the way:)
Ohm and Nanon are – quite impressively – the very reason why this series should be seen. Ohm showcases some ‘baby fat’ which makes him such a pleasure to watch. Nanon have been always ‘on the verge’ of a BL casting coup and it does happened here.
The chemistry is palpable. For someone who have not seen a BL series in a while, the scenes are just sweet, even exquisite. Always regarded Ohm as a superstar – the, now and in the future. Do we need to see torid kissing? Nah, just their ‘sticky’ looks are enough, oh and there was!