How Thai BL series, 2Gether, has turned every Friday night into a glorious date to look forward to in this anxiously, uncertain time.
Tine is a serial dater, calls himself “Mr. Chic” and is very much in love with girls as any normal college boy should be. But he gets pestered by a gay suitor named Green, who just won’t let up. While he isn’t gay, he is though deeply bothered by the persuasions of his admiring fan. Having exhausted virtually all the means to push Green away and still to no avail, Tine and his friends resort to their last solution: find the hottest boy in campus and contract him to be Tine’s boyfriend. No one fits the bill better than the charming Sarawat, a brooding musician who already has a legion of fans who swear by his name. Where this premise takes you is the push that breathes life to this much talked about Boys’ Love series from Thailand called, 2Gether The Series.
A GIF taken from this show had made serious rounds online: sun about ready to set, faceless people in the background and the focus of this shot show two good-looking boys, next to each other, with wavy hair for crowns and smiles about to bloom on their faces. Their eyes meet and it’s as if the first time they’d felt something for each other that just goes on for an eternity, until the GIF exists.
“Who are these two?” Handsome but also, faces you may catch in the crowds—when that was still a thing. When two friends on separate occasions had confirmed with me who they were and what the show was about, I had to watch. As a gay man who has rarely seen our stories told on mainstream media, I needed to see something of our own. And what I had seen was not really what I had expected.
I was coming from the glossy, meticulously strategized world of the Koreans and its dramatic effect on all of us who admire them. I’d converted my family into becoming ARMYs, seen BTS’ concert in Chicago, pierced my ears thrice, had even dyed my hair in a blue balayage, because if BTS had dark blue hair, who am I even with just black hair? Let’s not get deep into the sleepless nights when my mom and I clutched our pearls to every episode of Designated Survivor: 60 Days, wept to Goblin over take out Frankie’s and just recently, an endless roundtable discussion with practically everyone I know on how dashing Hyun Bin is, and which looks we’d definitely cop from Seri’s closet. Whatever it was I consumed, I had on Korean lenses that when I started watching the much-talked about Thai BL Series, 2gether, I felt lost like a stranger.
To be real though, and in my opinion, 2gether is nothing new. The devices, the little plot turns and twists the show takes are predictable. At best, it is snackable viewing to help ease the uncertainty and the waiting at home. Nothing groundbreaking, but it got to me. There was something that clicked in me around the third and fourth episode that changed the way I saw the show. Slowly, I started stalking their lead stars Metawin Opas-iamkajorn (who plays Tine) and Vachirawit “Bright” Chivaaree (playing Sarawat) on Instagram. I’d gotten to sharing their photos online. Sometimes, I’d practice what basic Thai I learned from the show and from a trip two years ago, with just my mom and sister for audience. Even those two, are now waiting for this Friday’s 9th episode, along with the rest of the growing fandom of 2gether, as well as what I began to learn was a bigger and thriving community of Thai BL series enthusiasts.
Getting deeper into the system, I asked around and had been opened up to about the show. The feedback is without a doubt, shining and bright. One of my friends said coming into the show without any expectations easily turned him into a fan. Another, who’d been religiously watching Thai BL series—as we now know how huge the market is for these types of shows in Thailand, pulls his kilig from these shows. Something that he rarely sees in our own, which mostly consist hetero romances, family dramas and comedies. The same sentiment echoed amongst another batch of friends. The deepest insight I’d gotten about 2gether though, is how refreshing it is to watch a story that looks less on the tragedies of gay lives and love, and instead focuses on, a light, romantic perspective of how our lives and loves sometimes are and could be. “Minsan, masaya lang kiligin,” was how he put it.
While the show’s leading tandem, playfully married and baptized as BrightWin, are very much straight guys who have no qualms whatsoever playing gay roles, the fact touches a nerve on such a sensitive topic. Why aren’t gay actors playing gay roles? Points have been raised about the Boys’ Love genre as a marketing tool that in part uses the demand for gay presence in media which in turn, brings in handsome buck for its producers and stars. And yet plenty are still wanting and needing for more, a natural recourse obviously.
In a discussion on why it works so well, despite the obvious facts presented, someone had raised the truth that the magic of the show is the chemistry of its lead actors. How they play up the characters to a soon climax that would hopefully end just as magically. That on-going tension that grows each episode, the unraveling of character truths, fears and personalities, that mirror-if not every, most of who and how we are in real life.
The smiles exchanged, little naughty tricks played here and there, the getting-to-know-you phase these two lead characters are still sailing in, really do get us kilig. It reminds us of how crushes are, how life would somehow change when your crush likes your post, calls you by your nickname or glances your way. It’s young love that burns brightest in this show—unbridled, not entirely innocent, but youthful in its nature that we may have forgotten about, because life on the daily is, and recently has been too serious.
If it is an escape from a global pandemic and an uncertain future that’s haunting our waking hours and even in the depths of our sleep, some of us would gladly wait then for content, new episodes or even just Instagram posts from BrightWin that help turn the daily a bit bearable, if not better. If it’s not that bothering us, then some of us are simply asking for a little sprinkle of kilig in our lives. Moments that make us toss and turn in sheer joy.
It’s the same feeling that we get when we hear a song from our childhood and in our 20s, 30s, possibly even in our 60s, still makes us want to dance. The same joy we get from ice cream, that glows sweet and cool, melting in our mouth on a hot, scorching day. The same laugh we let out when a best friend reminds you of that one time in high school and even after so many years, still brings happy tears to your eyes. Getting philosophical aside, the success of the Thai BL series, 2gether is its simplicity. While it may not be a high-concept piece of art, for us viewers, gay or not, we have indeed found contentment in the fact that in life, sometimes all we need is a little light-hearted fare. And this show, perfectly gives us that. Honestly, that is enough to make us happy. Quite fitting too, is while the word itself kilig translates loosely to other languages, that fact as well, is completely fine with us.
This show’s 9th episode premieres this Friday, April 17, and all the other episodes on the show’s network’s YouTube channel, GMMTV.