The Thai romantic-college-comedy ‘Bad Buddy’ aired its finale on Jan 21st and it has the most fun and satisfactory climactic episode I’ve seen seen in a while.
Directed by Backaof Noppharnach Chaiwimol, the show pretty much struck gold with lead stars Nanon Korapat and Ohm Pawat, who play Pran and Pat – two neighboring college kids from feuding families. It’s inspired by Romeo-Juliet, something they even allude to on the show, except that the lead pair here is older, more mature and have known each all their life, so their feelings run deeper.
While there is a lot of confusion over why Pran and Pat’s families hate each other, the enmity is loud and clear. The two sets of parents cannot see eye to eye and let their rivalry spill over to their kids, so Pran and Pat are constantly made to compete against each other through their school life. In college too, the two are in rival gangs who often come to blows. The too finally get so sick of all the fighting, they strike secret pact and vow to shield each other from trouble. This new arrangement leads to them into falling in love, but now they have to hide it not just from their family, but also from their feuding friends.
Honestly, much of the script is quite run off the mill, but it’s the charming acting of Nanon and Ohm that breathes a lot of honesty and love into the show. Not only do the two make their characters seem very authentic, but they have great onscreen chemistry. And unlike a lot of other series in the ‘romcom’ genre, what really works for ‘Bad Buddy’ is how the lead characters actually COMMUNICATE with each other. Seriously, I am so sick of seeing movies/series where you still have the 20th century trope of the couple misunderstanding something they overheard or believing some shit some third person tells them about their partner. In ‘Bad Buddy’, despite being surrounded by people who despise each other, Pran and Pat talk their feelings out.
While the show is 12 episodes long, the strongest highlight comes early on, in episode 5, where the two leads have a poignant talk about what they want from each other. It’s a tender emotional scene, where the actors transition from being frenemies to more. Nanon and Ohm capture the subtleties of their characters brilliantly and throughout the script, their roles are written in tandem with their personalities with close to zero inconsistencies. There is no awkwardness between the two, something that makes complete sense for people who’ve known each their whole lives. Pat is the more confident, straightforward and laid-back of the two, the one who is always taking initiative in the relationship, who doesn’t hold back what’s on his mind and isn’t afraid to lose little games, if it’s his partner who is winning. Nanon’s Pran is a little more complex, somebody who likes to bury his feelings and needs some pushing to come out of his shell.
I wasn’t a big fan of a sub-plot involving Pat’s little sister, who gets a romantic side-story, which is cutesy but completely unnecessary. It’s just a lot of awkward, overtly sweet stuff that the show could’ve done without. Instead, maybe some more screen-time for their best-friends could’ve made more sense. Towards the last few episodes, the actual reason for the family rivalry is revealed and it felt underwhelming. It was all a little to simplified and didn’t make much sense for the kind of toxic tension between two grown up couples with adult kids. The writing could’ve benefited with more attention to the primary conflict between the family, because it weakens the entire plot in the second-half.
However, the last episode was near perfection as far as a series finale is concerned, tying everything up in a delightful manner. All the creases are smoothed over by the lead pair, they do a fantastic job and have viewers completely rooting for them. The makers also squeeze in some very apt songs through the show, so Nanon gets to show off his singing skills. It helps that all the tracks help in carrying the story forward and aren’t those really random numbers which serve as nothing but musical breaks.
Overall, ‘Bad Buddy’ is a wholesome romantic-comedy, just the fun kind of entertainment for the weekend. It’s a 8/10 from me.
You can stream the show for free on GMMTV’s YouTube Channel.
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