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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 15, 2020


‘GAMEBOYS’ is a series now available on youtube . We’re not really keen on watching it but Peachy Guioguio, of the trendsetting IdeaFirst Company of Perci Intalan and Jun Lana, forwarded us the link and asked us to review it. We thought we’d get bored but surprise, surprise, it has a fairly good concept and it’s entertainingly presented on screen.

Its obvious target is the gay millennial crowd who enjoys watching the Thai BL (Boy Love) series, but “Gameboys” might also cater to a wider audience because it’s treated by writer Ash Malanum and director Ivan Andrew Payawal ("I Anerica+) in a very contemporary style.

The action takes place mainly on the characters' computer and cellphone screens. You’d think it can be quite limiting but they execute it quite effectively. We doubt if it would work as interestingly if it were done in the usual traditional manner.

The first episode, “Pass or Play”, was uploaded on May 22 and runs for only 10 minutes. We see Cai Lazaro (Elijah Canlas) and Gav Alarcon (Kokoy de Santos) while playing against each other in a streaming video game. Gav beats Cai and tells him “Liligawan kita.” Cai plays coy and snubs Gav, who tells him: “Pass or play?”

The May 29 episode is “Game of Love” and runs longer at 20 minutes. Gav continues to try wooing Cai who continues to ignore him at first, but it's easy to see that he also feels for Gav and just doesn’t want to acknowledge his feelings.

He retreats all the more when a girl, Pearl (Adriana So), appears in the picture. Jealous, he blocks Gav.

The third episode, “Strangers Online”, was shown on June 5. Gav implores Cai to accept him again and explains that Pearl used to be his girlfriend but their relationship didn’t work. This episode also runs for 20 minutes and ends with Gav driving to visit Cai in person during GCQ.

We heard the series now has more than a combined million views and it’s a hit even abroad, so they now are shown with subtitles available in English, Arabic, Czech, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish and Ukrainian.

The series works because the two young actors are both good in their respective roles and we get invested in the way their characters are presented on screen.

Gav is an orphan who lost his parents as a child, raised by his grandma, who has also passed, so he’s now all alone.

Cai is the second of three kids, not in good terms with his family and his dad is currently in the hospital infected by the dreaded corona virus.

Both Kokoy and Elijah started as child actors and has since done lead roles, Kokoy in “Fuccbois” and Elijah in “Kael”, both acclaimed independent films. Both of them are both straight acting, not the swishy type of gays.

But between them, it’s Kokoy who brings the “kilig” factor in the show. He’s very forward, very persistent in courting Cai, but does it in a playful, winning way, even when he delivers his giveaway lines like “Kainin kita” or “Wala bang kiss diyan, baby?” or “Uy, selos na yan.”

Ironically, between them, it’s Kokoy who looks more manly or macho in his appearance (he works out) and the way he moves and speaks. In contrast, Elijah is more guarded, but he has some nuances that come oui as more effeminate or “malamya”.

We don’t know where “Gameboys” will eventually go. Will they dare go sexy and show the two young men doing a love scene?

Kokoy, for sure, won’t demur as he has done it before it in “Fuccbois” where he already appeared full frontal. But Elijah seems to have a lot of secrets and we don’t know if he’d be as ready to come out of the closet as Cai.