Bad Buddy

The following review ran at the beginning of the year on SERENDIPITY after the first 11 episodes of the popular Thai series had aired. At that time, we were eagerly awaiting the finale because BBS gave us a real cliffhanger. You probably know how it ended, but if you were one of the few who don’t know, GMM TV has started running the series again. The mini-series also continues to be available on YouTube and other streaming platforms.

Thai series review, by Rich Paschall

One of the things I have done in the past year while we continue to hide out from the pandemic is to find new entertainment options online.  When you consider what is available from around the world, the options for movies and television series seem endless. I watched a number of foreign movies, full-length and short subjects. Now I have also added some foreign television series.

Recently I mentioned the Chinese series “Dive” and its Thai co-star Chanon Santinatornkul (nickname: Nonkul) when recommending Nonkul’s English language pop tune and music video, “Won’t Tell You.”  I also watched him in a previous Chinese series “Blowing in the Wind.”  He obviously had to dub in a lot of his dialogue in the 28 episodes of “Blowing in the Wind” as working in Chinese was new to him at the time. Since then the popular Thai Actor, singer, and model has been busy with a movie, television series, and photoshoots.

From there I discovered recommendations for other Thai series. I decided to go with Bad Buddy as I liked the series trailer and thought I would enjoy the story. It is a familiar theme.

Two rival families teach their boys to dislike one another. They are made to compete in everything. When one of the mothers discovers the two boys working together in a band at school, she has her son transferred away from there. The friendship comes to an end.

The story picks up years later when both of the boys end up at the same university. One becomes president of the Architecture students while the other becomes president of the Engineering students. The groups are rivals and often end up in fights. A problem sets in when the sister of one of the leaders makes him promise not to beat up the other. This goes back to a childhood incident. Of course, they are both supposed to fight the other. Their friends and their parents would expect as much.

Ohm (Left) and Nanon

Bad Buddy stars popular Thai actor Pawat Chittsawangdee (Ohm) as the boy trying not to fight his rival. Ohm originally did not want the part as he had already been in some series where he played a gay love interest. He changed his mind when he heard they were going to cast his close friend, fellow actor, and pop singer Korapat Kirdpan (Nanon). The two handsome actors are just 21 years old and longtime friends.  The chemistry between the hate and later love relationship is perfect. It has become one of the most-watched and most-streamed series in Thailand. A Filipino dubbed version drops a day later and an English captioned version can be found on the YouTube channel GMMTV and other platforms. You may need a VPN to catch it on some other websites where content is restricted to some countries.

You will find the YouTube channel your best option, although they like to insert a lot of commercials. Like most YouTube videos, you can skip most of the commercials after 5 seconds. You will also find the Thai-sponsored products as you go back into each of the 4 segments in the hour-long comedy-drama. It seems all college students need Canon printers, drink a particular brand of flavored tea, love peppermint inhalers (seriously) and use Nivea products. The product placement in the series is a bit overdone, but we can live with it since the boys are so likable.

As each episode airs, the show starts trending on Thai social media. A popular tag is #OhmNanon. The boys have become so popular together they can be seen everywhere: In commercials, series promotions, interviews, and fan meet-ups. You name it, they have done it. In addition, due to the rise of the coronavirus, the boys from the Bad Buddy series (not just Ohm and Nanon) were kept in a Safe House for weeks to keep from getting the virus. This was set up like Big Brother with plenty of cameras to stream the house for hours a day. As a result, we have plenty of internet hours of #OhmNanon.

The stars speak basic English, and while not so good at it, they did sit through a long streaming event in English for the Filipino channel that runs their show. Ohm and Nanon are both college students and hope to continue in the craft.

[SPOLIER ALERT: Stop reading now if you want to go watch this short series.}

For eleven episodes this has been mostly a romantic comedy. It did have its serious moments, even taking on how children are taught to hate one another based on the lies of the parents. It seemed like it was heading to an acceptable conclusion for the two based on the direction of episodes 10 and 11. Then the series dropped an ominous trailer for what is coming in the final episode.

Pat (Ohm) left, and Pran (Nanon)

If you are going to take us on a rom-com journey, we certainly would not expect a “star-crossed lovers” ending to this Romeo and Romeo affair (Pat and Pran, actually). That’s what the 30-second coming attraction gave us. Are we to see a break-up?  Will there be death for one or both of our stars? Will their parents finally succeed in crushing their sons’ love?  The voice-over promises the most shocking episode of 2022. OK, it’s only January. They have suggested the boys will be torn apart.

Yes, I know. TV series love to tease us with “scenes from our next episode” that often deceive us a bit, but this trailer was a little longer and seemed like it was meant to dash the hopes of all the #PatPran fans.  I will really be annoyed if that is the ultimate ending to this pleasant little series.

Instead of trailers, I will leave you with this song Nanon sings in the series. It is littered with clips from the show. Turn on captions for English. If you are not sure this guy is really popular, check out the number of views of this video:

Update: Ohm and Nanon confirmed in an interview Thursday that they filmed three different endings. They claim not to know what was chosen and they too will have to watch to see how it ends.

See Also: “What Are You Listening To?” SERENDIPITY, December 5, 2021.

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