Thai Drama 2021
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I decided to watch Bad Buddy due to seeing so much praise about it on my twitter timeline and everyone was right! ♥
Bad Buddy follows the ups and downs of two neighbouring families. The parents have a history of hating each other, which is forced upon their children. Growing up Pat (Ohm Pawat) and Pran (Nanon Korapat) have been in near constant competition with each other. The two lose touch when Pran suddenly moves schools, but unexpectedly meet at University when their respective group of friends start to fight. Once again the pair are rivals, but their newfound closeness stirs up old and new feelings.
While the university setting is nothing new, Bad Buddy subverts many of the tropes in a well thought out and natural way. We get outright conversations and discussions about consent, feelings, misunderstandings, questioning/exploring sexuality, familial duties, environmentalism and more! The main trope it plays with is the school division rivalry which starts the whole thing and even then Pat and Pran both use that to their advantage.
This is one of my new favourite dramas and there are many reasons why and I’ve split them into a few categories:
This drama is very well written and includes both the dialogue and plot. There never felt like there were any filler moments or inherent fan service and this is because it was smoothly integrated and everything felt very natural. Even the product placement was perfect and actually felt genuine. It was obviously PP, but it was never in your face and so obvious that it breaks the illusion.
And the great storytelling had great production overall as well. I enjoyed the watching experience as it uses colouring and scenes well. The beach scenes (because of course in a bl the couple goes to a beach – it’s practically law 😂) are really pretty.
Normally, I wouldn’t be all that interested in a music plotline in which the actors themselves sing… I’ve watched several Thai bl’s and they should stop making most of their actors sing. For the good of the people. However, Nanon has a beautiful voice and the two songs he sings are on Spotify and I was so happy when I discovered that ♥ The music was also integral to the plot and played a huge role for the main characters.
Ohm + Nanon
This drama was truly elevated to a whole new level because of these two actors. Their chemistry is amazing in Bad Baddy and everything about Pat and Pran felt genuine and it was mostly down to all their hard work. A good script and production values can only get you so far.
Pat is generally very playful, but that doesn’t stop him from truly overstepping other people’s boundaries or doing so with any malicious intent. The boy may love to cause trouble, but he’s quick to apologise if he has indeed done something wrong. And he’ll stand up for people who are being treated badly, even if you’re someone he doesn’t like all that much *cough* Wai *cough*
Pran, on the other hand, is more reserved with his feelings and tries to defuse a lot of trouble his friends and Pat’s get into. He is very conscious of what other people think, but there is definitely a wicked playfulness about him. It was fun to see him shoot down Pat’s cocky bravado with his comments.
And both of these characters have strong family ties. I liked that Pat and Pran had conversations about this and inevitably did what felt right to them. Seeing the two leads talk about their situations/feelings on screen makes for a greater connection between the fictitious characters and the audience. They also had great conversations with the side characters, once again making it more believable.
Talking of side characters, I really enjoyed a lot of them!
Pat and Pran’s respective friend groups were okay. I think they all served a purpose, but they each only really had one member who actually had a fully fleshed personality. For Pat it was Korn who is basically the same type of character Drake tends to play. He gets riled up easily, but in a friend setting he loves to tease and joke. For Pran it was Wai (Jimmy Potiwihok) who mostly sulked and started fights with Korn… I found him annoying. He doesn’t really have many redeemable qualities and Pran apologises to him way to much when it should be the other way round.
What I love about Bad Buddy is that we have no villainised female character (I’ll get to Pran’s mum in a bit). Ink (Milk Vosbein) had the potential to be used this way as Pat’s crush on her from high school rekindles briefly, however, she knows the boys well and is more of a shoulder to lean on. Her relationship with Pa (Love Limpatiyakorn) was also very sweet and I would watch an entire drama about them ♥
Pa, Pat’s little sister, is valuable on her own as well. She doesn’t have the in built rivalry, so her perspective is broader and she gives advise to her idiot brother here and there. They also have a great and natural sibling relationship, full of bickering, fun and affection.
And finally onto Pat and Pran’s parents. Pat’s mum and Pran’s dad are more gentle characters, who tend to let their spouse take centre stage with their opinions. However, they’re there to help when things get too complicated or heated.
Pat’s dad (Leo Put) is rather unlikeable. We see some good moments, but his motivation is rather fickle for the continued feud between the families. Pran’s mum (Ple Paradee Yoopasuk) is overbearing and her dislike for Pat’s dad overtly affects the life of her son. She makes him move to a boarding school! And she dislikes him playing music which we quickly realise is a passion of his. Her motivations, once it’s uncovered is more understandable, but there comes a time when you just need to move on. You obviously don’t have to forgive a person, but don’t make your children’s lives suffer.
I don’t see Pran’s mum as a villain in this story. We see her be over protective, as well as somewhat dismissive of her son’s actual feelings, however, we do see that underneath it all they do have a good relationship. Through Pran’s behaviour we see that he doesn’t see her as a bad guy and I think that’s worth mentioning. What do you think?
Watch this drama! I mean it! Do it! 😂
This drama really hooks you in quickly and every episode has a comforting element even while causing you pain. Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol is well known for directing and screen writing some great drama’s including Dark Blue Kiss, He’s Coming to Me and Still2gether. His work with the writers and the cast on Bad Buddy is wonderful.
Everyone who worked on Bad Buddy deserves the recognition it receives and hopefully we continue to see Thai bl’s move away from the negative tropes that have become second nature to the genre.
Plot: 4 || Acting: 4 || Chemistry: 5 || Production: 5 || Ending: 4 || Enjoyment: 5
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Director: Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol || Writer: Pratchaya Thavornthummarut, Bee Pongsate Lucksameepong, Best Kittisak Kongka
Network: GMMTV, WeTV || Release Date: 29th October, 2021 – 21st January, 2021 || Episodes: 12
Images from mydramalist.com
What were your thoughts on Bad Buddy? If you haven’t watched it yet are you planning to?
Thank you for reading!
I hope you’re having a lovely day and staying safe ♥