Updated with new OST from Michael Kiettisak and P’Aam .
After directing several films, a BL series, and even documentaries, Director Aam Anusorn teams up with LGBT Streaming service GagaOOlala to bring us his new BL series Call it What You Want. There’s been a fair bit of promotion for this series with one of the primary teasers touting the series as an exposé of what truly goes on behind the camera in the World of BL that we all love so much. At least one of the promos valiantly pushes two hashtags on Twitter dealing with sexual abuse in the BL industry, and the desire to protect the young (and some quite naive) male leads of these fantasies.
—Edited by TheFNGee
This website is on record as being a supporter of all of these efforts to expose the sexual predators and those involved with actual criminality that seem to permeate this business. Unfortunately, that list includes companies and single individuals who are also primarily responsible for creating some of the best and most popular BL series airing out there. It’s a double-edged sword for fans by being difficult for us to separate our strong emotional draw for these stories while at the same time condemning the foul actions by some of those who create them.
This is the underbelly of the BL world that P’Aam is going to expose to us the viewers, to give us an idea of what really happens beneath the pretty faces, young angst, and developing relationships that we are exposed to in nearly every BL we watch. I watched the first two episodes today on GagaOOlala, and the initial start is well done. While not being high-drama, it certainly intrigues. There’s a little humor – a natural amount, nothing slapstick. The entire 60 or so minutes is structured so we’re able to embed ourselves in the surroundings, unseen, witnessing the unfiltered events as they happen. A sort of behind-the-scenes (BTS), but for “real.”
One of the facts that these initial moments bring to the surface is that the entire process is marketing these boys, stories, and situations as mere commodities for consumption by the BL fans. The fictionalized producer-character even states that he’s spent a large amount of money creating the characters and their personas with the express purpose of “shipping” the two actors together, and receiving all the revenue from that marketing to follow. He also refers to his absolute determination to protect his investment at all costs. The dehumanization of these boys is furthered when they’re introduced to the director-character of James (and us) with just the labels “top”, or “he plays the bottom” substituted for the actual character names in the script. The admin assistant character and Director James even confess to not actually knowing what the terms mean.
I laud P’Aam’s efforts with this series and I hope the series is as successful as I believe the initial episodes indicate.
James (The Director)
The “Director James” is portrayed here by Time Dhamawat Suntanaphan, whom you’ll recognize from his role as the allegedly unfaithful husband Kham in P’Aam’s film “Present Still Perfect”, the sequel to “Present Perfect.”
Bas (The “top”)
Bas is played by experienced young Thai actor Michael Kiettisak Vatanavitsakul, who had roles in previous BLs Love Sick 2 and Oxygen.
Ait (The “bottom”)
Ait is played here by BL newcomer Benz Panupun Vongjorn, who will also play another role P’Aam’s “Secret Admirer.” Personally, I think Benz looks to be a perfect “brother” to one of our favorites, veteran BL great Gun Atthaphan. This shot from P’Aam’s reveal of Aik, sans plaster, at the coffee bar.
Marco (“The friend”)
A Taiwanese model and friend of Director James, who is performing check-up and comforting duties for James after James relationship fails. The beautiful shot from Jame’s front door.
Kaprao (“The fired star”)
One of P’Aam’s goto actors and another favorite of ours, Kaprao Pongkorn Wongkrittiyarat. We don’t have much information on his character other than his name is also Kaprao. At this point, with all the trailers and teasers, Kaprao was fired for having a girlfriend seen with him in public, and making some deadly serious accusations against producers.
The Story (from the promos)
Inspired by true events, CIWYW follows a BL director James, who starts a secret relationship with Ait, the lead actor in his new series. Ait’s co-star, Bas, is feeling the pressure of the BL industry: plastic surgery, strict diets and, worst of all, he is suffering the harassment of the producer of the series.
At the same time, Marco, James’ Taiwanese friend, is heartbroken when he finds out about the relationship between his friend and Ait. But when he learns about Bas situation, the two of them will embark on a healing trip together.
This series “bite” has just started, and we have 4 more episodes for all hell to break loose!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. [See our Review Guide]