Not Me tells the story of Black and White, a pair of not at all subtly named twins who were separated as children during their parent’s divorce. White and his father moved overseas and lost contact with Black and his mother. But when White returns to Thailand as an adult, he wants to reconnect with his long lost brother. Unfortunately, Black has fallen in with a dangerous crowd, and as the series opens, he’s in a coma in the hospital, having been beaten nearly to death. Upon seeing his brother’s condition, White vows to find out who’s responsible. To do so, he takes on his brother’s identity and looks for clues by infiltrating Black’s life. Because that’s the natural course of action when you’re identical twins.
What he finds is certainly more than he bargained for. Black’s gang is not so much a gang as an anarchist group. And White quickly gets caught up in their illegal activities in the pursuit of social justice. Not Me touches on everything, from corporate monopolies, marriage equality, trans rights, misogyny, discrimination against disabled people, police brutality, state sponsored violence, and corruption of all kinds. This is a show that very clearly has something to say, and boy did it say it. Often with all the subtly of a sledgehammer. But sometimes a sledgehammer is exactly what’s needed.
This is also a BL show, so of course there is a romance. There’s several, actually. But they all take a backseat to the social activism storyline. The central romance, however, is between White and Sean, one of the anarchists. Sean is cold, filled with trauma, and has more than earned his trust issues. And he can’t understand the sudden change in “Black”, his often adversary. The romance between Sean and White is definitely a slow burn, but it is also beautiful. And heart breaking. There is one scene in particular that was so devastatingly raw, it still haunts me. But that’s just a testament to the performances of actors, Gun Atthaphan Phunsawat and Off Jumpol Adulkittiporn.
In fact, I need to take a moment to specifically highlight Phunsawat’s performance as Black and White. It is not easy to portray twins, but he wholly and completely embodies these two very different people. You always know who is who, just by the physicality he brings to them. And for most of the show, he was playing a character trying to impersonate another character. That is no mean feat. I also have no idea how tall Phunsawat is in real life, but next to Adulkittiporn, he’s tiny. However, Black is a brute who often resorts to violence, and Phunsawat is entirely convincing in conveying just how lethal Black can be, despite his size. Just a fantastic performance all around.
Not Me is really just a fantastic show all around. As I said, it’s not subtle. Characters have long debates about the rule of law for crying out loud. But I learned so much about Thai society and social structures, and I was 100% invested in all of the storylines. And when I found out that the entire series was directed by one of Thailand’s only openly trans woman directors? Perfection.
Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!