Do you like your BL dramas with a side of anarchy and a dash of social justice? Are you a big fan of enemies to lovers (sort of), found family, and mistaken identity? Well, you’re in luck, because Not Me has all of those.
Continuing my slow descent into Thai BL dramas, I’m recommending another one. Not Me is the story of twins Black and White (Gun Atthaphan), who share a connection so powerful that they can feel whenever the other is in pain. Their parents separate them as children, and the two lose contact. A decade later, days after White returns to Thailand, Black is beaten into a coma. At the urging of their childhood friend Tod, (Sing Harit), White masquerades as Black in order to investigate Black’s friends Sean (Off Jumpol), Gram (Mond Tanutchai), and Yok (First Kanaphan), as Tod suspects one of them is responsible.
White quickly realizes that he doesn’t know anything about the person his brother has become, as one of the first things he has to do with Black’s friends is burn down the country house of a prominent – and corrupt – Thai business owner named Tawi. Not Me aired almost immediately following two years of protests in Thailand, and much of the show is about fighting corruption, standing up for your beliefs, fighting for what’s right, and recognizing your own privilege. The romance is almost secondary.
The gang that Black has cobbled together are all there for their own reasons, be it revenge or wanting to force change or the desire to burn the world down. As White (and the audience) learns more about the members, you start to understand why Black has changed so much. And White starts to change as well, giving up his guaranteed job as a diplomat (following in his father’s footsteps) and committing himself to the cause. Black may have started things, but White is determined to finish them.
However, one of the problems with pretending to be his brother is that everyone, you know, thinks he’s his brother. And that definitely causes issues when White starts getting closer to Sean. White seems to be immediately drawn to Sean, despite the fact that Sean definitely hates Black – and therefore White.
I love that the show talks a lot about important issues – everything from disability rights to LGBTQ+ rights – but that means that there’s often a lot of talking. And while it’s interesting watching White explore Black’s different relationships, White and Sean are the highlight of the series for me. Not Me is the third series (after Puppy Honey and Theory of Love) where Off and Gun have played love interests, and their chemistry is fantastic. It’s especially great watching Sean struggle with his anger towards Black in the face of this new, caring, and confusing version.
I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who may want to watch (and hasn’t yet already seen it), but Sean really Goes Through It, and Off totally nails it. This boy broke my heart on more than one occasion. But you also can’t discount how amazing Gun is at switching between White and Black (once he wakes up). Even with Black and White being identical, you can tell the difference. (Hint: it’s all in the eyes.)
Watching Not Me reminded me a lot of when I used to watch Suits. It gave me that near-constant feeling of escalating tension. It’s very apparent right off the bat that White is terrible at being Black – which is understandable, since he hasn’t seen or spoken to his brother in ten years. And right away, Black’s friends know that something is up. But as they don’t know about White’s existence, they don’t immediately jump to “Black’s twin brother”. That doesn’t make the tension go away, though. I sat through every episode anxiously waiting for the truth to come out and worrying about what would happen when it did.
If I had one complaint, it’s that we don’t get a lot of focus on White and Black’s family. Black is in a coma for more than half of the series, but even once he wakes up, he and White don’t share that many scenes – maybe one an episode. (I’m sure this is a logistical issue, but still.) And after White walks out on their father early on, he never reappears, which I find very difficult to believe. Likewise, their mother only shows up once, unsuccessfully trying to talk White into not ending up like his brother. I suppose it’s meant to show that as a family, they were never close, but I still can’t imagine why their father didn’t try to bring White back.
This show is a little heavy, given the subject matter, but it does have some moments of levity – both intentional (White can be pretty sassy) and unintentional (the jumps holy jeez, you’ll know it when you see it). And allegedly they changed the ending after everything that happened with the real-life protests; they thought the original ending was too dark. But honestly, everything feels worth it once you get to that scene with Sean, White, and a giant Pride flag.
You can’t go wrong with a show that is the literal embodiment of “be gay, do crime”.
Not Me is 14 episodes and can be streamed for free in its entirety on GMMTV’s official 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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