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“Greatness isn’t defined by gender.” Thoughts on Great Men Academy

(Via MyDramaList)

Great Men Academy

(Thai Drama 2019)

So I watched many Thai romantic comedies that include a boys’ love scenario but they were never the main storyline couple.  However, I decided to watch my first ever Thai boys’ love series after I saw a music video for one of the original soundtrack songs. The drama I watched was entitled Great Men Academy, which I came across after a series of web-surfing events. I shall give you my research trail because it is pretty epic. I first started this journey by watching a Thai drama called Angel Beside Me, which has my new favorite Thai actor, Jaylerr. (I’ll give my thoughts about this drama on a later date.)

Soon I became curious about him and learned that he is also a rapper/singer.

Then I started getting in the mood to listen to Thai pop music. I listened to my usual stuff until I came across this song from a series called My Ambulance. The song is called “Love Siren” and it is sung by Paris and Pearwah. It’s a cute song that has a cute dance to go along with it.

Then I learned that Jaylerr and Paris had a recent collab song entitled “Unexpected.” And this song also has a cute dance to it!

Also, you should check out this rendition of “Love Siren” by Paris and Jaylerr on the singing competition show, I Can See Your Voice.

After that, I discovered that Jaylerr and Paris were part of the same Thai idol group, 9×9, and so I started listening to their songs too.

Then I saw this song called “The Lucky One” and I was sold to watch this series.

The series, Great Men Academy stars 7 out of 9 members from the idol group 9×9 and my favorite one, Jaylerr plays Tangmo, the main love interest in this series. In the show, a girl named Love (Chanyapuk Numprasop) wishes upon a unicorn to find her destined soulmate. She ends up transforming into a boy (Teeradon Supapunpinyo/JameyJames) and used this opportunity to enter the Great Men Academy and see if her crush, Vier (Paris Intarakomalyasut), is interested in guys or in girls.

I only watched a few gender-bender series such as the anime and live-action adaptation of Ouran High School Host Club as well as the South Korean series, Coffee Prince. Yet, in these cases, we have a girl dressing like a guy. What makes this series different from others is that the girl literally transforms into a guy and that the male role is actually played by a guy. Why would this be important? Well, it’s important because it allows the audience to forget the fact that he’s a “girl” so that we can just fully embrace the masculinity of Love. When you watch a series where the girl is acting like a “guy,” we are in this mindset of knowing it’s “not real” because the way the girl acts is a bit comedic and you can tell that she’s cosplaying with the boyish clothes and wig. However, the fact that we have a male actor playing a guy allows readers to fully accept the reality that she truly turned into a guy and the ending of this drama reinforces this reality when our protagonist is unable to return to her original body (for now). This open-ended ending leaves the viewers to imagine the possibility that it’s a loving relationship between two men or a heteronormative relationship between a man and a woman.

Another aspect that I enjoyed about this drama is during the scene when Love was discovered to be a female rather than a male, the school administration still allowed her to continue in the “Great Man” tournament because she exhibited the qualities of a “great man” despite being a woman. By allowing her to continue in the tournament sends out a message that we shouldn’t categorize ourselves in these binary gender roles. A woman can exhibit masculine qualities of a “great man” just like a man can exhibit feminine qualities of a “great woman” too. I enjoyed the message that Great Men Academy is giving viewers about gender despite the series being a bit too cheesy.

10/5 (It was that entertaining.)

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