What happens when a tsundere intern meets a strict, disciplined boss?
A Boss and a Babe premiered to great anticipation and trepidation. Excitement surrounding the premiere can be attributed to the genre. Mature office romances are few and far between in the Thai BL industry. Force Jiratchapong and Book Kasidet’s rookie act in “Enchante” was impactful, but it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for their acting skills. The disillusioned screenplay didn’t help their cause and, as such, the show tanked without much fanfare. Their chemistry, though appreciated, was undermined.
The first BL from the “GMMTV 2023 Diversely Yours Lineup”, director New Siwaj, builds a universe that talks about serious topics- marriage equality, depression and homophobia in A Boss and a Babe. Siwaj’s directorial seems to have improved by spades. I’m not passing judgment on his prior works, but A Boss and a Babe feels different. Despite being promoted as a light-hearted romcom, this show is anything but that. A Boss and a Babe touches base on the societal mindset while quickly building the tension between main leads, Gungawin and Cher. I’m enamored, but slightly cautious. While subjectively speaking, the screenplay looks good and is well executed, I have been burned badly after having high expectations of Enchanté. Despite that, let’s enjoy the ride for now and reminisce about some of the finest moments in this “FriGay” sojourn!
The Most Endearing Main Lead Ever
“Love is always pleasant regardless of who has it”
Cher Saran is a living, breathing, walking tornado. You can’t help but be swept in a whirlwind, because he is THAT animated. You can have your pick; I’m pretty sure he will remind you of your favorite cartoon- a character that evokes fond memories of comfort and solace. If you are a staple consumer of GMMTV’s BL dramas, then it is obvious that Cher is unlike any other main lead. He is optimistic, talkative and lives without restrictions. A staunch advocate of marriage equality, Cher doesn’t shy away from stating his opinions. He might seem childish, but he is loyal and values friendship above all. He is also kind-hearted and warm; Cher’s characterization is so lively and refreshing that you can’t help but be drawn to him. He is endearing and every week; I look forward to watching the mayhem he creates. It’s nice to have an “Out-of-the-box” character who isn’t shackled with an outdated mindset and isn’t questioning his own sexuality. Cher lives freely and I think that’s commendable because most people spend a lot of time fearing societal rebuke. Cher does not, he just takes the leap; consequences be damned. Book Kasidet’s acting skills have definitely improved; he literally embodies Cher’s distinct mannerisms and his funny quirks. It’s amusing and I’m in love with his over-the-top portrayal.
The Misunderstood Boss With A Lot of Hurt
“Many people seem to understand at first, until they start asking who’s top and who’s bottom.
When we want to have kids, they want to know who is the father and who is the mother.
Honestly, I feel like I’m a freak in society.”
As I sat down to watch the premiere episode, I was prepared to draw undue comparisons (because that’s exactly how my brain is wired). Shockingly enough, Force Jiratchapong proves his critics wrong with a depiction that is admirable and honorable. The characterization calls for a suave guy whose actions are often misinterpreted. Gungawin/ Gun is grossly misunderstood by his employees. Some believe that he is a hardheaded boss who never listens to reason, while others think that he is a sexual pervert preying on unassuming interns. His sexuality is a hot topic for open discussion and most of his employees don’t understand/approve of his actions. As such, Gun is obviously reserved and stonewalled. While the first episode introduces him as an unlikable boss, the second episode dwells deeper into his personal struggles and choices. Yes, he is unapologetically gay, and he doesn’t care much about the society. But underneath the cold exterior lies a bleeding heart that seeks company and comfort. He is afraid of being misjudged but at the same time, he also yearns for a normal set of friends- people who might stand beside him while he is experiencing hardships. He is rich but lonely; suffers from insomnia and is afraid of voicing his opinions. Force does a phenomenal job, embodying Gun’s sophisticated attitude and silent nuances; it’s unbelievably natural and painfully resounding.
These Two Are Way Past Their “First Kiss”
If you could spell out the meaning of the word “comfortable” through actions, then that is what Cher & Gun’s relationship looks like. They have an odd familiarity that transcends beyond a normal boss-intern relationship. It happens quickly, but there isn’t a single moment where you don’t feel the trust they slowly build or the mutual respect they have for each other. Cher’s voice might be the catalyst for their unusual camaraderie (Gun can sleep only when he listens to Cher’s ASMR videos online), but Cher talks and Gun listens. It might seem unrealistic, but their contrasting personalities actually mesh well. Cher is like an excited puppy-full of energy; Gun is reserved and stoic. It’s hard to interpret a person’s psyche, especially someone as introverted as Gun; but Cher walks past those high walls to understand the hurt and pain that Gun keeps well hidden. Their relationship might seem unconventional, making them the target for fervent, inhumane gossiping; but Cher defends Gun fearlessly. I just love how the script touches on Gun’s vulnerabilities; they aren’t projecting him like some superhero ought to save the world. He is common man, facing varied problems on a daily basis as he strives to maintain an equilibrium. Cher could very well offset this delicate balance, and yet somehow, in due course, he becomes Gun’s staunch supporter. Their first kiss was surprisingly unexpected and yet it didn’t seem forced. The buildup to that moment was convincing. Force and Book make a handsome pair, no doubt, and I’m hoping they keep up with this synergy in the upcoming episodes!
A Boss and a Babe is like comfort food; there might be a wide variety out there to taste and yet subconsciously, you return to your favorite because it gives that homely vibes. So far, the screenplay is brilliant. They are utilizing every second of the 45 minutes runtime to put out a script that is both enjoyable and thought provoking. I’m not saying that it is the best out there, but it is definitely better than some of the roque scripts that I have watched recently. The casting is interesting. Cher has a strong safety net, his friends are an important part of his life and he is willing to share them with Gun, because he understands his loneliness. Mike Chinnarat as Jack is stylish and loyal; I want to dwell deeper into his depressive disorder. Thi (Fluke Pusit) and Zo (Ohm Thiphakorn) make an intriguing couple; the fact that Fluke gels well with most of his male co-stars is a known fact. In just two episodes, Gun and Cher seemed to have moved past their inhibitions; but we don’t know if it is love or something else. Gun is drawn to Cher’s happy-go-lucky attitude, like a moth to the flame. Right now, they are in the initial phase of their relationship. It isn’t exactly rocky but quite unstable. I’m hoping they don’t rush this relationship, since the show is only 10 episodes long. The short runtime (as against the usual one hour formula) is a major deterrent. This show could be a phenomenal success if they keep up with the current pacing and storytelling style. The storyline strongly hinges on this message-
The world would be a better place if people could accept change and reconcile with the fact that “Love is beyond gender/sexuality”.
Rating- 4 out of 5
Streaming on- GMMTV YouTube Channel
One thought on ““A Boss and a Babe” First Impressions (Ep.1 & 2)”
I often start a BL commentary with “that character is reminiscent of me as a teen / uni student / young adult. ” This is the first time I can say a character reflects me and many of my peers as adults in today’s world.
To use a little outdated and perhaps very American term, we are Guppies (Gay Urban Professionals). Usually white, highly educated Gen Xers and Millennials who threw our efforts into our careers while our cis/het friends got married, moved to the burbs, and unsuccessfully tried to find a work-life balance. They made kids, we made money. They built McMansions, we gentrified the city. (Yes, some of them made money and some of us had kids, but stereotypes generally do come from somewhere.)
What caused our behavior? Internal homophobia, family / societal nonacceptance, fear…pick your poison. But now we find ourselves like Gun, sleepless & too-often alone, successful but not really part of the team, scared any mistaken touch or comment will be misconstrued or at least misjudged, financially able to wine-and-dine a date, but not sure who to trust.
Then we observe the Gen Z kids like Cher and his ABAAB friends. (And the boys from THE ECLIPSE and the students from MSP.) Generally unafraid and definitely unapologetic. People who actually believe “born this way” and “love is love” and live their lives following those credos.
And we wonder “what if?” as we drive away in our fancy cars with heated seats, headed home to a tastefully appointed but empty condo.