I wish I could say I loved Cupid’s Last Wish, for no other reason than for the fact that I love EarthMix.
But despite the fact that I love EarthMix, I can’t say I love this show, and it hurts me.
I mentioned in my First Impressions that the series was cursed from the moment GMM put it on a paid platform in Thailand a month before anyone else could watch it, and I hold to that, but that’s not all that contributed to its mediocrity.
So let me try and break this down, as I usually do, into what worked for me and what didn’t.
What I Liked
– The Cast. The cast is fantastic. Earth and Mix bring their A-game despite what they have to work with. Mix is both frustrating and adorable as the insufferable hothead Win, whose temper is the reason for the whole story taking place, Earth as Korn is everyone’s ideal boyfriend, patient and doting and so handsome you want to cry. The supporting cast is also strong, even Gunsmile and GeeJee as the villainous uncle and aunt whose main purpose is to hang around causing trouble like Team Rocket from Pokemon.
And of course, the supporting cast is great too including the farm workers and Korn’s mildly creepy boss at his restaurant. But especially noteworthy are the big supporting characters like White as KornWin’s friend and combined wingman Chanon, and Janhae as Lin, who is, actually, a protagonist but I’m mentioning last because it also leads into the second point I’m making about what I loved –
– Mix and Janhae as Win and Lin. I said this in my First Impressions, but I can’t help but reiterate. This is probably one of my favourite things about the show, the way the series switches between the two characters mid-scene and never misses a beat. Their acting as each other is spot on, whether it’s Mix pitching his voice softer and changing his whole demeanour when playing Lin in Win’s body, or Janhae’s broad shouldered stride and rough speech when playing Win in Lin’s body. Which also brings me to two more things I really enjoyed
– The Bodyswap Subversion. A lot of people were unsure of how the series would go, especially since bodyswap is a trope that is often used to facilitate a no-homo ending. The series actually goes out of its way to validate Korn’s feelings for Win, making it clear that they are only for Win (despite Win’s own misgivings) and that he does not see Lin in that way. Whenever we watch through Korn’s eyes, it’s Win he sees in Lin’s body, leaving the viewer with no room for doubt.
– The Period Episode. I think every person who menstruates who watched this episode can relate to it in some way. When I saw in the trailer that the series was going to deal with Lin being on her period when Win is in her body, I was afraid they’d cheapen it somehow and play it for laughs but it’s probably one of the best episodes of the series. It’s very well handled, Mix as Win is so convincing as a man experiencing the horror that is a period for the first time, complete with cramps and mood swings and emotional vulnerability. And everyone who watched the episode also immediately wished they had a significant other as thoughtful and caring as Korn during those difficult, crampy days.
– The Roadtrip. I really love roadtrips as a trope, and the way that a journey can be used to develop relationships between characters. Watching KornWin’s to and fro, swinging between fondness and irritation, and all the shenanigans in between, and the gorgeous scenic landscape of several provinces in Thailand, was quite a treat. I even enjoyed, although with a bit of ‘what is going on’-ness, the weird drug-induced song and dance sequence to Tilly Birds’ Just Be Friends, because it was so surreal.
– The underwater scenes. They were spectacular, and some of the best cinematography in the whole series.
– The Chemistry. I am biased, for certain, but I do think that Earth and Mix have great chemistry, and they’re great at emoting without words. There are many moments in the series that allow them to highlight this, meaningful looks and longing stares, whole scenes that hit hard because they don’t need to say a word to convey what they mean.
What I Didn’t Like
– The Script. For all that the actors tried to do with the plot, Cupid’s Last Wish is burdened by a very erratic script (unsurprising since it comes from the same writer who brought us Fish Upon the Sky) that is sometimes good but sometimes slides into the absolutely bizarre. The ‘twist’ in the last 2 episodes frustrated me to no end, especially because executing it required all the characters to do another backslide and undo several episodes worth of development.
– Why does Win have to eat in every single episode?! First things first, Mix Sahaphap is one of my favourite actors, and I really love watching him eat because his love for food is not only endearing, but the way he eats really makes it clear that he is enjoying it. And it’s cute that they highlighted some of the local cuisines in the places that they visited on their trip.
When there is a scene of Win eating in every episode, and each time they make a similar joke about how Lin’s body is not accustomed to this amount of food, or that the food is so delicious it makes him want to cry, or that he is too tsundere to order what he wants and makes Korn do it for him, it gets tired really fast. Because Every. Single. Episode. It really began to feel like they were using the scenes as a way to kill time, which is unfortunate on a show that only runs to 10 episodes anyway.
– The ‘villains’. It is 2022, maybe it’s time we retired the trope of a homophobic parent. And also the trope of the property-hungry relatives.
– The sound design. I know they were on a tight editing budget, and both the OSTs Never Knew and Closer are great tracks, but someone decided to play Never Knew whenever there’s emotional moment between Korn and Win, and it gets real old real fast.
In conclusion, I can’t think of a word to describe Cupid’s Last Wish beyond ‘okay’. It has its high points, and cute moments, but there are equally plenty of low points and moments of frustration. With a tighter script or some more creative editing, it could have been elevated beyond ‘okay’ to maybe ‘good’, because there’s so much they could have dealt with when working with a bodyswap trope. When the comedy works, it works well, and when the drama works, it hits hard and you will definitely feel the emotions that the series is trying to deliver. So, ultimately, if you’re looking for a series that is ultimately a feel good rom-com that you shouldn’t think too much about, or you’re a fan of EarthMix or Janhae, I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
Rating: 3 out of 5