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Is it possible to be more than ‘Only Friends’? | You Had Me At ‘It’s Gay’

Everyone loves a good and raunchy TV show every now and again.

It’s something to tune into when life gets too complicated and all you want to do is grab some chips, lay in bed and pretend like you’re out partying instead of staying in on a Saturday night.

“Only Friends” is a queer Thai series that follows four college students and their messy relationships. In classic sex comedy fashion, everyone is interested in everyone else, everyone likes to get drunk on a Tuesday night and, even though they’re college students, they never seem to study for anything.

Oh, and everyone seems to be sleeping with everyone else.

I’ve watched a lot of queer Thai shows before, including “2gether,” “Until We Meet Again” and “Why R U?” However, out of all of them I feel like “Only Friends” is a uniquely queer show. In other words, it doesn’t only have queer characters, but queer themes as well. While it doesn’t dive too deeply into those themes, likely due to the constraints of both uploading it to YouTube and the still heavily conservative Thai government laws, I do think its exploration of queer themes is nuanced enough to still be unique against its competitors.

One thing I loved about “Only Friends” was despite the highly sexual nature of the show, it still took the time to talk about consent. A large part of why shows like this can be uncomfortable is when characters express discomfort but are pushed aside or ignored. This is a problem not only in straight media but a lot of queer media as well, so I was glad to see “Only Friends” go out of its way to express that saying no is okay and not wanting casual relationships is also okay.

I also enjoyed the fact that as the show goes on we see more toxicity. A lot of queer Thai shows focus on the “cute and fluffy” aspect of gay relationships, often ignoring a lot of the toxicity that can appear in queer relationships as well. One of the series’ directors even mentioned this on X as an aspect of the show that they wanted to highlight. While the topic could’ve been handled a little bit better, I do think “Only Friends” does a good job of at least calling out toxic behavior when it happens.

And boy, there are a lot of walking red flags in this show. If you enjoy watching a show with your faces between your hands because every character seems to be making the worst decision possible at all times then you’ll enjoy “Only Friends.” I certainly had my fair share of moments where I had to pause just to let myself calm down.

But I think the embarrassment I felt just highlights the skills of actors. A highlight for me was Thanawat Rattanakitpaisan as Ray. The last time I saw Rattanakitpaisan act was in “2gether” as Fong, a stereotypically feminine gay character. While watching I was actually trying to figure out where I had seen him before, as his role as Ray is so vastly different from Fong. Ray is undoubtedly the character with the most emotional and heartbreaking scenes.

Rattanakitpaisan’s scenes with his love interest, Sand — played by Kanaphan Puitrakul — are also a highlight of the show as a whole. The two have the best chemistry out of all of the couples. Ray and Sand’s dynamic is fun and snappy, with some really heartfelt moments shared between them.

If I had to complain about anything it would be the loose ends the audience is left with after episode 12. While a second season is possible, it still remains that what we have currently leaves too much unanswered.

While “Only Friends” is far from the best TV show I’ve ever watched, it’s certainly one of the most entertaining. While many Thai shows suffer from confusing plotlines that never seem to go anywhere, I feel like this show’s plot is easy to follow and compact enough to at least give each character a satisfactory amount of time to shine.

Sinqueerly Yours,

Kal

Watch “Only Friends” for free on YouTube here.

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