I may have spent this past long weekend watching Thai dramas – I have no regrets.
Call It What You Want follows a struggling director, James, as he grudgingly takes a contract to film a “BL” (Boys’ Love) drama – Asian media that focuses on romance between men, but is largely marketed towards women. James himself is gay, but before signing on, has focused on making much more serious films (there’s a nod towards more outright queer films with James’ posters of Brokeback Mountain, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in his apartment).
James, despite already having a boyfriend, finds himself infatuated with one of the leads, and the show becomes a meta BL drama – one that’s both goofy and self-aware, but rich with emotion and sensitivity. It also focuses on the abusive and manipulative working conditions that the film crew, particularly the actors, are trapped in. The two men playing the leads take the brunt of it, navigating the media attention on their lives that’s drummed up to make a buzz for the TV show.