There is power, and then there is power. Not Me, the Thai BL series starring Gun Atthaphan and Off Jumpol, certainly knows how to leave an impression, the kind of deeply felt moments meant to change hearts and minds.
While many may begin watching Not Me simply because of its leads and the BL premise it promises to offer, they will walk away from it feeling empowered.
I don’t live in Thailand, and because of this, I don’t fully understand everything happening in the country, nor do I understand the extent of inequality the people there face. However, what I do understand is the depth of passion this show has for bringing awareness to its viewers, no matter where they live. All countries and the cultures born from them are full of people who want to make change. Every country suffers from inequalities, political issues, and strife.
Every country is full of people trying to find their voice.
And this is where Not Me‘s power lies.
I’ve seen tweets and threads about what kind of issues each episode deals with. From Rule of Law to marriage equality, Not Me gives a voice to the silent. It walks a fine line between protesting for change and knowing when to hold back.
From the beginning, it was apparent this drama was different. As a twin myself, I was particularly interested in brothers Black and White. I have a special bond with my twin sister that defies a typical sibling relationship. Because twins share a womb, their connection is special from birth. Even for twins who don’t get along, there’s no denying the connection. While dramas and films tend to exaggerate this bond, it remains nonetheless. So, I was drawn to Thai actor Gun’s dual portrayal. What I was not expecting was the symbolism.
Black and White are aptly named, representing a Yin and Yang ideology where they both contradict and complement each other. And when White takes on his brother’s identity, he enters that blurred grey line where his ideals and his brother’s overlap. Not only does Gun act this out beautifully, he conveys the doubt, frustration, and awakening that happens when what you thought was right is challenged. He struggles to find a balance, to maintain many of his beliefs while also accepting new ones.
I’m not going to attempt to break down the issues tackled in each episode because I think that’s better suited for Thai viewers, but as an international fan, I do want to point out what makes this so universally powerful for me and how issues we all face makes this drama so relatable.
In Not Me, Black and White’s twin relationship symbolizes what it means to compromise and meet in the middle when facing unfair societal issues. While doing so, it also brings attention to the difference between those in power and the people. It highlights the inequalities faced by deaf workers, the struggle for freedom, corruption in business, and the risks to our lives and others when choosing to stand up for a cause. It also touches on essential matters by mentioning the BLM movement and showing the fight to obtain equal rights and marriage equality for the LGBTQ plus community.
No matter where a person is from, these are things we are all fighting for to some extent, some countries more than others, especially when it comes to a power struggle. Even in peaceful nations, there is a large margin between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the common people. Money often equals immunity from the law, and it’s heartbreaking what that means for the rest of us.
Although Gun has the added pressure of portraying twins with different opinions but similar ideals, there is something equally multifaceted about each character in this drama. They are all fighting an internal struggle. They are all fighting to find a balance within themselves. They are all asking themselves how far they’re willing to go to bring down Tawi. It’s a touchy subject dealing with protests, a subject everyone has strong opinions on. Protests for change can be both peaceful and violent, and that divide can make it hard for those protesting to understand each other. While one believes peaceful marches are enough to garner attention, others believe harsher actions are required to get the results they want. Not Me is doing a fantastic job representing both sides while also attempting to bring those sides together.
This drama is not light. It’s not as much about romance as it is a story about dealing with societal issues while falling in love along the way. It gives everyone a moment to shine. It provides all the characters with a voice.
It would be interesting to see a Thai perspective, how each episode and the issue it focuses on affects the Thai, and what each one means for their country. From an international standpoint, it’s eye-opening while also being universally relatable.
I wish more people were watching. Heavy dramas are harder for many to dive into. The rhetoric and things happening can be triggering and hard to understand depending on age and perspective, but shows like this are essential, no matter what genre. It’s important to think about things, to contemplate how you feel about issues and how they affect you rather than ignoring that they are out there. The fact that this is a BL drama that many rushed to see because of Off and Gun makes this even more powerful because it took a shipping audience and gave them something to think about. I enjoy the rawness of it and the rawness of the relationships.
This brings me to the music. Not Me leaves nothing out. Its entire production is well developed. As powerful as Not Me is, as well thought out as each scene and moment happens to be, as brilliant as the tension is, it’s made even more so by the music. The music supervisor behind this project did his/her/their job exceptionally well. Music plays a big part in moving people, and the music in Not Me is well placed and carefully selected to heighten certain emotions.
Thailand is fast becoming a game-changer when it comes to BLs. I admit, Thai BLs have often been hit or miss for me. While I like light dramas as much as the next person, I tend to gravitate towards power. Recent Thai releases like I Told Sunset About You, I Promise You the Moon, and Not Me prove that Thailand has realized its audience and is finding ways to use its dramas to highlight deeper aspects of society and gay relationships. Their dramas are becoming less about shipping two actors and more about relating to their gay audience.
I hope this is a continuing trend.
More could be said about Not Me, but with seven episodes aired and more to come, I’m waiting to see precisely where this drama takes us and if it will end as powerfully as it started.
For those looking for heavier storylines, don’t miss Not Me. It most certainly needs to be experienced. Watch it now on GMMTV’s official YouTube channel.