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Playboyy thai drama review
17 pessoas acharam esta resenha útil
by femslashedtires
Mar 1, 2024
14 of 14 episódios vistos
No geral 8.5
História 9.0
Atuação/Elenco 8.5
Musical 8.0
Voltar a ver 9.0

an ambitious diamond in the rough, once you know what you're in for

Playboyy, I think, is something quite special. Before I get into a review though, I want to clarify what Playboyy *isn't* because I feel this show is getting a bad rap from viewers who came in with false expectations and were disappointed by the reality:

This show isn't really "BL" in the traditional sense. While there is romance, it is not the focus of the show. The romantic relationships frequently take a backseat to the the personal development of characters and the relationships between friends. It is also nowhere near "an idealistic world free of homophobia" (or, as in more modern BL, a world where gay love triumphs over societal homophobia)--it is a very real and harsh world where the characters are hitting rock bottom. Finally, a lot of the NC scenes aren't *trying* to be sexy or titillating. They function as pieces of the plot and often depicting negative experiences.

I think going into the show with these expectations in mind makes it a better experience. But on with the review:

-The Full Review-

I, personally, really loved the story of Playboyy. As someone who has experienced losing friends badly to drug addition, I found Nont's story particularly raw and effective (and, honestly, quite triggering). I thought the decision to use an ensemble cast and a weaving narrative was especially effective in creating a real sense of this disadvantaged and isolated community caused by societal prejudices. It was very satisfying to watch these narratives bump into each other, often in completely accidentally and tragic ways.
While I agree some of the story was over the top or hard to follow, I didn't find it particularly detracted from the quality of the show. I like getting a little exaggerated in my narratives and I think it fit with the highly stylized production. While it wasn't a water-tight plot, I think it was probably the strongest script in the past year in terms of really exploring the depths of the characters and their conflicts. None of the characters felt like extras or like they were leaning on tropes. Each individual had their own story to tell and had their moment to shine.

The acting in Playboyy is a bit hit and miss. As a stand-out star, Dech is absolutely untouchable. Nant/Nont are a monster of a roll that swings between camp, performative highs and truly raw, exposed lows, and he brought me along with him every step of the way. Really, really impressive work. Shell was a wonderful partner for him, matching him in almost every scene and developing a unique and intriguing chemistry. I also greatly enjoyed any scene with Parm and/or Aun, which always felt very grounded and warm, and was continually impressed by Korn, who managed to maintain a necessary friction between Zouey and the rest of the cast.
Beyond these actors, the performance were a little bit shakier. Some of the actors struggled with stilted line deliveries (and I don't mean the English, which I've never had a problem with) or unnatural body language. I was never quite sold on Jack/Chat or Jeffy/Fay as couples, though each actor shined in other areas (such as Chat and Korn's wonderful friendship). In particular, and unfortunately, I found Hymn took a stylized drama and crashed it into melodrama more often than he stuck the landing. That said, I still found this ensemble created a style that played to their strengths well and rarely rendered a scene ridiculous.

Production is where this show really, really shines. The lighting is absolutely gorgeous, full of intentional color, harsh shapes, and neon texts. Each arc and couple has their own world and visual language that helps sort out the massive cast and is, quite frankly, beautiful. The highly stylized, theatrical sensibilities also help highlight the moments when humanity comes crashing in and we left very broken characters in plain framing. It's really, really beautiful to watch.
I know I'm in the minority here, but I love the costuming of this show. I think the underwear was a phenomenal way to juggle the desire for nakedness with the reality of film-making and the comfort of the actors. If you allow it to, the underwear becomes part of the style and lets the characters exist, naked and vulnerable, without becoming exploitative. I also loved the way fashion (especially Nont's) brought it's own sense of drama and feeling to the characters. Realism clearly wasn't the goal here, and this department delivered.

Finally, because it has to be talked about, I think the way the NC scenes were stylized were nothing less than brilliant. Playboyy telling a story about the human condition through sex, it is not making porn. When the characters are feeling good and feeling pleasure, the audience is allowed to find the sex scenes hot. But more frequently, the scenes depict a vast variety of other emotions. When Zouey is feeling awkward, nervous, and uncomfortable, the scenes are made awkward with clumsy blocking and...eccentric soundtracks. When characters are being hurt, the scenes are painful and brutal and shocking--escalating quickly and making you wish it would slow down or resolve to something different. It's incredibly effective.
I've been very disappointed at the way BL fans discuss sex in this show, as if the only purpose of an NC scene is to provide spicy fanservice for the viewer to get off on. The old Oscar Wilde "Everything in the world is about sex. Except sex, which is about power." definitely holds true here. For these characters, sex that is about their own pleasure is rare and the show mirrors that reality. But that doesn't make the scenes bad or "accidentally" ridiculous. It is an intentional part of the story and, in most cases, very effectively done.

In all, this isn't a show that I would widely recommend to everyone, largely on account of the seriousness of the subject matter. But I am infinitely grateful that this show exists and is pushing the boundaries of what stories are acceptable to tell in BL. I've genuinely enjoyed my time in this world, and I very much look forward to the to be continued. :)
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