THE ART OF BAD BUDDY

When GMM TV recently held its annual event to announce new series and projects for next year, fans hoped for a Bad Buddy Season 2. This anticipation was fed by the fact that the leads, Ohm Pawat and Nanon Korapat, were scheduled to attend. Each was announced as leads to separate dramatic series. There was no season 2. However, when stories for the anthology series Our Sky were announced, there were Ohm and Nanon, front and center. Ohm commented that Bad Buddy already had its happy ending, but we still miss Pat and Pran. There will be a single Bad Buddy episode.
What made Bad Buddy so beloved by fans around the world? The following thoughts were shared earlier this year on SERENDIPITY.

Clues, Hints, Irony, and Chemistry, by Rich Paschall

There is a lot to watch for in Bad Buddy. If you have not seen the series yet, what are you waiting for? We definitely have some clues for you to watch for but maybe a few spoilers too. (GMM TV 25, YouTube, WeTV)

“This guy with the fierce eyes is Pat.” – Pran, Ep. 1 and 12
“This guy with the dimples is Pran.” – Pat, Ep 12 

If you are watching the hit Thai mini-series, Bad Buddy, for the second time, or perhaps the third or more, you will notice how artfully constructed the whole project had been. While the acting has been highly praised, the series would not have reached massive international success on that alone. It is a simple story of enemies to lovers in a university setting, after all. You will find quite a number of those if you search through the BL series of recent years (also known as Y-Series to some). It is the attention to detail and the consistent development of the characters at the hands of director Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol and the crew that put this series a cut above the rest. Does it deserve the masterpiece status some would like to give it?

Nanon Korapat (L) and Ohm Pawat receive direction

Right from the outset, the crew is dropping clues and subtle hints at us. The parents’ lies, as repeated by the boys at the very beginning, are meant to keep the boys apart but it never really worked that way. Except for the opening sequence, does it look like these guys are really enemies, or just trying to play the parts expected of them by their parents?

In Episode 1 there is a certain irony to Pat’s sister, Pa, telling Pat that his meeting Pran again after three years means they are “Soulmates.” She follows by telling Pat he is not to hurt Pran in the fights between Architecture and Engineering students. When he asks why, she says, “You know why.” We won’t find out until later, but you can see it written on Pat’s face. He knows. If you missed that, you certainly noticed the surprised look on Pat’s face when he looked across the way to see a shirtless Pran walking past his bedroom window.

Next door in Pran’s room he takes out a “treasure box” that holds an old wristwatch. This is a significant clue and the watch will get dropped into every episode along the way. When Pran thinks back to Pat returning the watch when they are children, we are only getting a part of the memory. Do we see a slight smile for that memory? The rest of that story will be revealed later. Pran will take that watch back to his dorm room with him. After the scene where Pat and Pran exchange Line IDs so they can chat to avoid running into one another, you will find Pran in his room winding the watch and putting it on. His time together with Pat has now started over. Notice not only that Pran wears it throughout, but that he looks at it at important moments. He looks at it before he goes out on the rooftop the first time. He looks at it again after Pat returns the guitar and goes back to his room. He even wakes up with it on in Episode 11 and has it across the years of Episode 12.

Time to compete?

There was more in the box than a watch. If you looked closely you would have seen a cassette player and a couple of pictures of a very small boy. In one picture the boy is holding a microphone. The box held the memories that Pran also held close to his heart for years. When he tells Wai in Episode 1 that he quit playing music a long time ago, don’t believe him. You can see that it does not take much convincing to get Pran to join the “Freshy Day” music contest. Of course, Pat will follow him and join the contest too.

It is not just Pran who is keeping Pran’s dream of being a musician alive, Pat is too. After all Pat safeguarded Pran’s guitar for years after Pran’s mother transferred him to another school. When Pat returns the guitar to Pran (Episode 3) he jokes that he tried to sell it online, but we should not believe it. Moments later Pat will also claim that he does not know how they got reinstated in the music contest (after being kicked out for fighting), but it was Pat who went to the professor to plead their case. In Episode 4 when he is explaining his good qualities, Pat tells Pran “I kept the guitar for you.” In Episode 10 Pat will admit that when Pran got transferred out of their high school Pat ran after him with the guitar but did not catch him. In episodes 10 (at the high school) and 11 (at the “green village”) Pat encourages Pran to play. When Pat asks Pran what he wants to be after graduation (Ep. 11) Pran names an Interior designer and a musician. All through his life, he wanted to play and sing. When Pran asks Pat the same question, Pat says he will take on a family business AND “I want to listen to your music.” Soulmates, perhaps?

Pat returns Pran’s guitar

The guys may not be friends at the end of Episode one but they don’t exactly look like enemies either. They share their Line IDs (contact information) so they can work together to keep their school groups apart. Pran changes the ID name to “Just a Friend,” but is that all? It’s the major question of the series, of course. They will use the chat function often in the coming episodes. When Pran is walking down the hall at the end of the Episode and looking at his phone, is he smiling because he got Pat’s Line ID? You will notice the smiley face door hanger at the end of the episode. Pat will not notice it until Episode 2.

Pran’s room is full of smiley face images. This image will be important to Pat as well as Pran throughout the series. When Pa brings Pat’s laundry in Episode 1 she leaves him the basket to put away the items himself. When he looks down at it he sees a t-shirt with a smiley face on top of the pile. This triggers the memory of just why Pa makes Pat promise not to hurt Pran. If you remember this shirt, you might notice when Pat actually wears it (Episode 12).

The smiley face door hanger will become a symbol of when Pran is happy, sad, or upset. When Pat learns the meaning, he will be ready to act accordingly. It is a happy face at the end of Episodes 1 and 3. Pat sees a sad face after their fight in Episode 5 and before he goes up onto the roof. Did you notice the door hanger at the very end of the series?

Deal?

Some of the hints are given to us through what will prove to be rather ironic statements later on. In episode 2 when Pat uses the Line ID to check where Pran is, Pran replies “What are you, my boyfriend?” The “boyfriend joke” will get tossed around a few times before the competition begins (end of Ep. 6) for each to try to win over the other. Pat replies, “The only thing left to do is we sleep in the same bed.” Pran sends him “yuck” (puking emoticon). This exchange is the same scene as the food delivery mix-up. Each does not know the identity of the one across the hall but Pat starts courting who he thinks is a girl. Pran is receiving the gifts and Wai jokingly says, “You like him don’t you?” At that moment Pran glances out the window and who does he see?

The food mix-up and Pat inviting the unknown person across the hall to meet him to see the moon at night leads to the first of 4 rooftop scenes (Episode 2). When the mix-up is revealed, the boys take the opportunity to trade some insults rather than immediately leave. They discovered they are “next door” neighbors, just like at home. The other rooftop scenes will be even more important to the storyline. Reviewers have noted the climactic moment of the rooftop scene at the end of Episode 5 in terms of “iconic” and “legendary.” It came unexpectedly early in the series and may have been one of the longest kiss scenes in GMM TV BL history. I likely do not have to sell you on the idea that everything about that scene came off perfectly.  Would any two others on the list of regular GMM actors have been able to pull this off so effectively?  By the way, there is a fifth rooftop scene where the guys are eating on top of a different roof because they are afraid of being seen at a restaurant.

THE rooftop scene, Episode 5

We also receive an important clue to the question of who liked whom first when Wai tried to assist Pran to write his new song. “Have you not had a secret crush on anyone before?” At that suggestion, Pran immediately thinks back to the music room in high school with Pat and the guitar pick Pat made for Pran from his student ID. Despite us seeing a couple more attempts by Pran to write the song, it will not be possible for him to finish it for the Freshy Day contest. After all, the song is “Our Song” (Pran and Pat). Pran will not find the right words to complete it until after the “honeymoon” night with Pat. That song will lead us to the emotional ending of Episode 11.

“Just Friend?” is also Pran and Pat’s song. That is why Pat is hurt and jealous that Pran would choose to play it with others, especially Wai. Despite the harsh comments they exchange at the fight and on the rooftop, the playing of the song in the Freshy Day contest was not “a little thing” to Pat or “insignificant.” It is their song, just like the one that will come later in the series.

The music used throughout the series perfectly matches the scenes. Notice when the themes of “Just Friend?” and “Secret” are used along the way. The repeating background music is carefully chosen to tell you the type of mood displayed. The selections used for the rooftop scenes to close episodes 5 and 10 are a perfect match for the intensity of the moments. At no point was the music a distraction from the story.

“Honeymoon,” Ep. 11

There are a lot more clues, hints, and symbols along the way, but none of it would have worked so well without the chemistry on display, especially between the two principal performers. Ohm Pawat (Pat) and Nanon Korapat (Pran) were at the right point in their careers for this series. They are both experienced actors. They were both university students at the time. They are real-life best friends. The combination of all these things was pure magic. Notice in the second half of Episode 11 when Pat asks Pran if he wants to join the performer at the seaside cafe and Pran says “No. He’s great.” For the next 30 seconds, Pran looks longingly at the performer as Pat looks at Pran. Without saying a word, these two can speak volumes. That is just one reason why people have watched these 12 episodes over and over.

Some feared that such established stars as Ohm and Nanon would overpower the material, but you do not watch it and think, “There’s Ohm and Nanon acting out their parts.” They became Pat and Pran and you loved each of the characters equally. From the beginning, you hoped the two students would overcome the family hate and become more than “Just Friends” and that is exactly what happened. Now go watch it again.

See Also:Giving It Your All,” ON Friend City review, Sunday Night Blog, “rjptalk,” October 2, 2022.
Who We Are Now,” ON Friend City finale, SERENDIPITY, August 15, 2022.
The Bad Buddy Phenomenon,” Sunday Night Blog, “rjptalk,” November 19, 2022.
So How Does It End?” Bad Buddy Review, Sunday Night Blog, “rjptalk,” February 3, 2022.

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7 thoughts on “THE ART OF BAD BUDDY

  1. That’s the thing with being close friends and collaborating on a project. It either work or not. But that’s for work outside the entertainment biz, particularly working in an office where politics and even jealousy can become factors. In Ohm and Nanon’s case, their friendship added a dimension to their actions since they can also use instinct. How could was it that you don’t even have to use sign language just to get into a scene? That’s what happened. For people to say Ohm and Nanon will only overpower the characters may be regarded as clueless when it comes to acting and collaboration in this art form.

    Acting is art, and it requires feelings not necessarily logic like any routine work.

    For me, that old wristwatch was a hint of what was to come after. I know that there will be conflict given that the parents are at war, but I wanted to have an idea too of how the boys would react. That wristwatch tells everything. It tells the viewers that one of our boys is already treasuring it. That says a lot.

    I don’t want to explain this to non-fans. I think that’s their problem. You either appreciate the series or you reject it and no matter how much convincing you are, you still fail to explain to them. The mindset is the problem. Nowadays some (maybe a lot) BL shippers love to bash other ships in order for their own ship to move forward. I think that’s counter-productive. And, essentially it says a lot about that group and the individuals who lead that group.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found it interesting to read some articles about Bad Buddy written before the series was on the first time. Some were not expecting much and even thought Nanon’s mother would not allow her son to do much in a BL. That was nonsense, of course. He was outstanding.

      The behind the scenes videos tell you a lot about Ohm and Nanon working together. They were not afraid to hug, kiss and joke with one another. Their chemistry together shows in everything they do.

      They were great in early projects and as a variety of characters, no reason to think they would not do well in Bad Buddy.

      Even though I tried, I could not convince some friends to watch BBS. They truly missed something special. As for people bashing others ships, they should realize there is a lot of room in the ocean for many ships. On the other hand, I can not understand why GMM continues with certain pairings. You know the ones.

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      • As some may be aware that Nanon’s family is also into the entertainment biz, and being artists, they should have expected that these people are more open-minded than everyone else. Why is that? Because most actors value freedom and the artistic notion that playing a character is different from someone’s true persona.

        I think the problem now is that some fans equate the character with the real self of the actor. Thus, we get delusional fans trying to dictate the actor’s course of action. They don’t even know the person, and some would bother getting phone numbers and even watching the actors in public places and getting near them – compromising private space. Shipping further this ugly mindset to a big extent. Of course, not all ships are created equal.

        I also cannot comprehend why GMMTV would bother promoting ships with no solid anchor at all. At least, let them attend acting classes!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Aside from knowing that Ohm and Nanon have a close friendship, we only know what they are willing to share with us. Some insist they are a couple and continue to push that narrative. It does not matter and in fact is none of our business. The shipping culture is out of control, especially when it comes to certain personalities.
          I think it is a terrible practice of some of these fan clubs to post every movement they can of some performers. I feel sorry that Ohm, for example, can not take the elevator at GMM or get in has car virtually anywhere without people sticking their cameras and cell phones in his face. Much to his credit, he is always nice (aside from one well publicized moment when he was sick and exhausted, and his frustration was not with fans anyway).
          Even if Pat and Pran are more like Ohm and Nanon than any of the other characters they have played, I do not think of them that way. Even though it is a highly edited show, I think OhmNanon Upvel might be closer to their real personalities than anything else we see.
          There were several on screen couples in the past year that had no chemistry. Enchante is at the top of that list. Yet GMM persists. They also have no luck pairing up someone after his partner has left. Of course some ill advised comments in the past by that performer has a lot to do with that. Yet, they keep trying to find projects for him. DM me if that is too vague.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yup! The delusional part is something I will never accept. I started appreciating certain ships during Love Sick and that’s a way a long time ago. August Vachirawit and Beam Papangkorn and Ngern. I never like the main actors… Anyway, my point is there is such a thing as privacy.

            Many shippers today don’t respect artists’ privacy as you noted. That outburst by Ohm is quite understandable and knowing how people from other ships love to attack a very popular Ohm, it’s also quite easy to see why. I feel for Ohm and for Nanon.

            I never liked that series either. I just don’t appreciate the lack of chemistry and the forceful advertisement/promotion of actors who have no talent to speak off. I really don’t care if people disagree. GMMTV was never consistent. I know they produced some of the best BL and I love that they will not go the full-frontal shit like others are doing.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I felt sorry for Ohm at the Maya Awards. He was sick and exhausted and management would not let him go out to the crowd first but held him back. Whatever really happened, Nanon caught some of it and Ohm apparently felt bad for months. It all came pouring out at the Fan Meeting when Ohm felt he had to apologize AGAIN. It was such a burden to carry for so long. Nanon got to tell Ohm publicly how he felt. It is the pressure of being famous and chased by the press and the fanatics. I respect Ohm and Nanon more for crying in public and expressing their feelings than any brave faces they put on previously. How can you not like those two?

            In addition to Enchante I did not get the Star in My Mind pairing either. Maybe they would have come off better if the script was better. I watched Vice Versa for Ohm and Nanon to be honest. I was not convinced the two leads could carry the show.

            I liked the two leads in Check Out but the script was so bad I think it likely did damage to their careers. That was proof that NC-17 scenes will not win anyone over. Bad Buddy is proof that you don’t need that for the audience to consider your work a masterpiece.

            I think GMM is reaching for some really edgy material next year. The two with Ohm and the one with Nanon seem to want to bring out the evil vibes. Only Friends seems like a sick story I many not like. I know some of these guys are past their school boy stories, but this might be a little too far in the other direction.

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