This is the first time that I’m having dubious feelings about the ending of a show….I’m actually relieved that it is over!
Never thought I would feel this way about any BL show, let alone a GMMTV production; but Enchanté was truly a test of my patience. Whilst the show’s rustic production coupled with topnotch cinematography and stunning visuals were praiseworthy; the storytelling fell apart and led to an unsatisfactory result. I’m not sure if I should blame the author NinePinta (Enchanté was adapted from the book of same name) for the lackluster storyline or the production for failing to drive this drama into the right direction. While I was certainly enchanted with the pilot episodes, the overall script was inconsistent and full of loopholes. What was supposed to be an intriguing romance between two childhood friends turned into a catastrophe of mega proportions; simply because the narrative kept dragging and was disillusioning. I think everything went down the drain when Enchanté’s real identity was revealed. Was it shocking? Yes. Understandable? Hell No!
I spend the last three days struggling to form coherent thoughts about this travesty and I’m still not sure where the drama went wrong. For now, let’s address “the elephant in the room” and figure out if this show is a worthwhile watch?
What I Disliked Immensely
We will be talking about the disadvantages first; because sadly, the negative aspects outweigh the positives.
The Most Hypocritical Protagonist Ever
The bizarre trajectory begins in this moment- when Theo decides that he “Needs” Akk’s absolute attention. The mere concept is deeply disturbing, and his narcissistic attitude grated on my nerves. They have spent decades apart and obviously Akk has his own life and work issues to deal with. To expect that Akk would forever be at his beck and call makes him a hypocrite and I couldn’t help but feel affronted. Craving attention from your loved ones is understandable; but going through an entire charade to accomplish this goal seems foolhardy. While most GMMTV main leads aren’t known for their tactical decisions; Theo might be the worst of the lot. I spend a lot of time questioning his irate nature and simply failed to understand his motives. Falling in love is a beautiful experience and at times, we do want to make our better halves jealous; it makes us feel warm and fuzzy. But to create an alter ego, orchestrate a manhunt to find the said character and driving Akk up the wall; why Akk did put up with this irrationality? Theo’s characterization is so flawed that I couldn’t help but wonder why this storyline was adapted into a drama? Is the original novel really that popular? How can a selfish person like this be worthy of true love? Theo’s entire world revolves around himself and the constant need to feed his ego-
☆ Trying to save the literature department by organizing a fair; where he spends most of his time staring at Akk’s handsome face.
☆ His desperation to find Enchanté (which makes no sense) and playing into the hands of the university ambassadors; he knows well that none of them are Enchanté. The only thing it does is cause undue anxiety and depression to Akk (who has no idea why his best friend is acting in this way)
☆ his inability to respect his parent’s decision. While I understand Theo’s pain and his frantic attempts to reconcile them, this sub plot just highlights his self-absorbed nature. He expects everyone to fall into line and act according to his wish. Life isn’t always a bed of roses; at times it is filled with thorns too.
☆ his annoying habit to find fault where it doesn’t exist; like blaming Akk for not informing him about his parent’s separation. Even though they are boyfriends, it isn’t Akk’s place to interfere in his family issues.
Throwing his weight around and acting like a spoiled child; Theo is indeed one of the most frustrating characters that I have encountered in a BL drama ever!
The Constantly Battered Weak Protagonist
While I can’t say much about Book Kasidet’s acting talents (his facial expressions remain the same in each frame, irrespective of the situation); the script heavily leaned on Force Jiratchapong’s attempts to salvage this untethered romance. Although he does try his best, there is only so much you can do to save a script that is bordering on dereliction. Akk is a complete contrast to Theo, he is more mature, responsible, cares for his sisters and does his level best to support Theo in his stupid endeavors. In short, Akk’s self-sacrificial nature is deprecating (since Theo keeps playing with his emotions). The storyline would have been interesting if it focused more on developing their budding relationship; playing on their reconciliation after being decades apart. But the storytelling spends too much time signaling the fact that these two are incompatible. I was expecting something substantial from this script; Akk’s characterization was promising, but instead they turned him into a novice without a backbone. I was left utterly disappointed with this development. Why didn’t he ever question Theo’s insistent need to find Enchanté? If he had doubts about Enchanté’s true identity, why didn’t he address them? Why experience the emotional torture of watching someone you love be courted by his four suitors? Last but not the least, why is he so forgiving? I wish they had portrayed this character in a better light!
Terrible, Terrible Writing & Odd Pacing
I might sound like a broken record, but I was so emotionally exhausted watching this show; that I literally wanted to get done with it and move onto the next GMMTV Frigay show. This show disappointed me in unimaginable ways. Following in the footsteps of the hugely successful “Bad Buddy Series”, Enchanté had huge shoes to fill in. The show’s utter failure to gain the audience’s favor can be attributed to its loosely written script and improper pacing. Enchanté made me realise what bad direction does to a show. Since both Book and Force are rookie actors, did the Director fail to utilize them to their fullest potential? Or was this just some rushed production to fill in the spot until the next GMMTV release? The biggest loophole in this storyline is the disenchanted search for a character that doesn’t exist- the entire script hinges on the irrefutable plot device. And yet, it is conveniently forgotten whenever Theo and Akk get lost in their own world. At this point, you begin to question Theo’s insistence on finding Enchanté; because it’s obvious he is falling for Akk. While Theo’s suitors are handsome and there is hooking point attached to each of their stories; in retrospect, their presence or absence makes no difference to Theo and Akk’s romance. We spend eight episodes trying to understand the logic behind their dubious approach (when, in reality, Theo is Enchanté); this trope is really befuddling. As if Saifah, Phupha, Natee and Wayo weren’t enough; the storyline tags Sun (Jimmy Jitaraphol) in the penultimate episode to drive a wedge between our bickering couple. An unwanted plot twist that could have been avoided!
What I Did Like
Now that I’m done ranting, let’s move onto the better things in this show. While the storytelling was abysmal, the stunning visuals and brilliant cinematography get you hooked. The cinematic imagery was outstanding and the attention to finer details was flawless (wish they had handled the storyline in a similar manner). The close camera angles used to depict Theo and Akk’s intimacy were reckoning; they typically betray our main couple’s longing for each other. The random switch between warm and cool tones often sets a precedent to their moods; depicting their budding romance or yearnings. Soft filters were used to portray Theo’s extravagant lifestyle, while darker shades represent Akk’s life struggles; a nice contrast which highlights the differences in their personalities and social stature. The icing on the cake was the palatial university (Assumption University) which formed the backdrop for this sober romance; the lavish sets drive home the fact that Theo might very well be the “Prince” of this universe. It is quite reminiscent of the Disney fairytales where we often dreamt about having our own “Prince Charming”. The production value of Enchanté surely lived up to the hype!
Did “Friends to Lovers” Trope Work?
While the storytelling was inconsistent, Force and Book’s chemistry throughout the series was natural and convincing. Maybe that’s why I had a hard time getting invested in the male harem concept, because a) they seemed like unwanted deterrents (most of the times, I wanted to swat them away, so we got more time with our adorable couple); b) the progression of Theo-Akk’s relationship (though stilted) was meaningful. Some might be unconvinced because of Theo’s dubious and underhanded techniques to earn Akk’s attention (that’s because he is a Big Baby and loves being pampered); but you can’t deny the fact that Akk enjoys pampering him as well. Not in the literal sense, because Theo is already rich and can obviously buy anything he wants; Akk somehow fulfills his base need for human connection. Despite having loving parents, Theo is mostly depicted as a loner. Apart from Akk and Sun, he doesn’t have an extended friends circle; he only prefers being with the people he trusts implicitly.
Akk’s kind and caring nature is like a balm to Theo’s soul. They complete each other in ways unknown and I’m pretty sure no one understands Theo as well as Akk does. The best moments in this show outlined their slow burn chemistry; it lingers, is subtle and yet you can strongly feel their attraction. Theo might be surrounded by the most handsome men in the campus and yet, his entire focus would be centered around Akk. Force and Book’s effortless chemistry stems from the fact that they are childhood friends and have been an integral part of each other’s lives. Their real life intimacy surely played a huge role in their on-screen rendition. It is believable, heartwarming and beautiful. Force and Book make a charming couple and I wish the script had afforded more screen time to developing their relationship (I would have been totally ecstatic, if the entire series just revolved around these two). Their confession scene will always be one of my favorites, simply because the ensuing kiss was explosive; it felt like a dam had broken and the could no longer contain their emotions. A realistic portrayal of a modern fairy tale romance!
I was all in the feels, from watching the pilot episodes and as such, expected more from this storyline. But the storyline starts devolving by the fifth episode and this is where you start questioning the liability of the male harem concept. The suitors and their individual stories seem concocted and baseless; except for Saifah (Gawin Caskey) [who was hired by Theo to act as his alter ego]. Saifah isn’t exactly selfless in his endeavors, but at least he doesn’t try to manipulate Theo for his personal gains. Which brings us back to Theo’s indecisiveness- he played the game beyond repercussions. It was unnecessary, drawn out and the pacing clashes with its original purpose. Enchanté isn’t a show without flaws, it will be a huge test of your patience. If you can ignore the bad script and glitches in the direction Enchanté can be seen as a breezy romance; unconventional and without undue complexity. Certainly a onetime watch!
Rating- 3 out of 5