Get Yourself an Order of “Moonlight Chicken”

Jim (Earth Pirapat) and Wen (Mix Sahaphap)

In continuing to fall down the Thai BL rabbit hole (and encourage others to do the same), it’s time to serve up a recommendation for Moonlight Chicken. The title sounds a little ridiculous, but the show delivers some fabulous writing, stellar acting, and varied stories of queer experience (though, admittedly, all presumably gay men).

Moonlight Chicken stars Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri and Mix Sahaphap Wongratch, whom you might recognize if you watched one of my previous recs, A Tale of Thousand Stars, as Jim (Earth) and Wen (Mix). Jim owns a failing diner called Moonlight Chicken. One night as he’s closing up, he finds Wen passed out drunk at a table and tries to send him home. But the two can’t ignore their attraction and end up having a steamy night together. Though Jim insists that it will only be one night, Wen refuses to give up on the possibility of more.

Their relationship is fraught with drama. Jim’s reluctance to enter into a relationship is due to his lingering trauma over his last relationship, which ended very badly. Despite being in a similar circumstance, Wen maintains his optimism about a potential new romance. However, that isn’t the only thing standing in their way. The building containing Jim’s diner is set to be demolished for a new construction project… and Wen has just been put in charge of it.

I hesitate to characterize their relationship as messy, because it’s not, really. It’s an adult relationship beset with adult problems. I think what makes their dynamic so fascinating is how much effort Wen puts into wooing Jim. Ordinarily, that kind of persistence can come across as creepy and invasive. Jim is very upfront about his expectations, and Wen keeps trying to manufacture meet cutes to try and wear down his defenses. But Jim is also sending out some pretty serious mixed signals, so I can’t fault Wen for continuing to try. After all, if Jim isn’t turned off by the fact that Wen’s job is to literally tear down his life’s work…

I suspect that Wen’s primary motivation isn’t even necessarily coaxing Jim back into bed (though that’s definitely on his agenda). Wen has a penchant for adopting the local gays (his interactions with Li Ming and later Heart read very much like he’s thinking, “These are my sons now”), and so I’d wager that a big reason he keeps pursuing Jim is that he saw this sad, lonely man who has seemingly decided he doesn’t deserve to be happy and went, “well, that won’t do”. A lot of their scenes are about pulling Jim out of his sadness, about facing what happened in his past and moving forward.

The secondary plot revolves around Jim’s nephew Li Ming (Fourth Nattawat Jirochtikul) and his developing relationship with Heart (Gemini Norawit Titicharoenrak). Heart is the son of a prominent family who is kept secluded in the house since he went deaf several years prior, and Li Ming is often in the house working off a debt the family believes that he owes them. I have to admit that while I initially watched the series for Earth and Mix, by the third episode I basically only cared about Heart and Li Ming.

These two, I swear. The sounds I made whenever they were on screen together. Despite being the younger of the two couples, I feel like they had more figured out than Jim and Wen (less baggage to deal with, after all). Li Ming figuratively storms the castle and rescues the prince; he learns sign language for Heart and is the catalyst for Heart’s parents to realize that while their intentions may be good, they’re actually not in their son’s best interests. Li Ming and Heart’s scenes all have the same kind of quiet joy and intimacy that – while being much more chaste than Jim and Wen’s scenes – still have you blushing. They’re young and in love, and everything is new and exciting.

Heart (Gemini Norawit) and Li Ming (Fourth Nattawat)

Heart and Li Ming’s scenes are all about little moments. They have big dramatic moments as well, like when they sneak out and get into a bike wreck and have to face Heart’s parents. But for the most part, their scenes are only the two of them, alone at Heart’s. I think my favorite scene is the opener of episode 4; Li Ming has slept over, and he and Heart lay in bed, making combined shapes with their fingers and intertwining their legs, and the piano music is soft and the sun is shining and it’s just an incredibly beautiful moment.

I really have to take this moment to highlight Fourth. He is fantastic in this series, especially when you contrast this with his other main role in My School President, which is completely different in tone. Fourth has so much range as Li Ming that I was surprised at how young he is. I’m honestly looking forward to where he goes with his career.

Moonlight Chicken is at its heart a story about essentially three generations of queer characters. You have elder Millennial Jim, who is nearing 40 (hilarious, as Earth isn’t even 30), Millennial Wen, whose age isn’t specified but is believed to be late 20s or early 30s (he has a degree and an established career, as well as his own place), and Gen Z Li Ming, who is 17 or 18. Their attitudes about relationships and being queer in general are shaped by their experiences, which are vastly different.

Jim was ostracized by his family, has a sister who doesn’t believe that same-sex relationships are as important as opposite-sex ones, and was in a long-term relationship that wasn’t recognized and ended up costing him everything. As such, he is very aware of his status and wary of letting that happen again. It’s why he concentrates mostly on one-night stands. He’s not hiding anything, but he’s not broadcasting anything, either. And everything he’s gone through has made him fiercely protective of the found family he’s cobbled together at the diner.

Wen has a supportive family, a stepfather who jokes with him about the new guy he likes, and a job that doesn’t care about his sexuality. For lack of a more descriptive term, he is an activist. He talks openly about queer issues, including discussing his sex life with a friend at the gym. There is a pride flag displayed in a position of prominence on his desk at work. He still believes in love, even after the somewhat toxic destruction of his last relationship. And he’s willing to fight for what he wants.

Li Ming has the same family that Jim does, with the exception that he has Jim. He is angry about everything and doesn’t understand why he needs to keep such a fundamental part of himself under wraps. He is completely unapologetic about it. There is so much going on in his young life that he doesn’t have time to worry about being gay, thank you very much. He just wants to hang out with his boyfriend.

Honestly, this show is just very therapeutic. It has some absolutely heartbreaking moments, but at the same time, there is complete joy in some scenes. There is some serious growth not just among the main characters but the side characters as well. I highly recommend it.

Moonlight Chicken has 8 episodes and can be streamed for free in its entirety on the official GMMTV YouTube Channel.

Author: Jamie Sugah

Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.

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