Better Days tells the story of two childhood friends who use their talents as a vlogger and chef to revive the restaurant their parents built. (Source: Credit to the Director, Carlo Obispo) Edit Translation
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Better Days (2020): A Palatable Pinoy BL Series“Better Days” was a tasteful Filipino (Pinoy) boys’ love (BL) series. There was a bit of bitterness, but also a little sweetness. It wasn’t too sweet, too spicy, too sour, or too salty -- it was just about right. There was nothing too fancy or over the top about it. There were enough ingredients that made it a palatable Pinoy BL series. For the most part, it was a very wholesome Pinoy BL series.
“Better Days” had a simple plot/storyline about rekindling childhood friendship, confronting daddy issues, and discovering oneself as a vlogger, chef, and maybe even as a lover. It’s also about Pinoy cuisines! Character backgrounds were clear. At first, I was really uncomfortable with the unequal power relations between Kian, the boss, and his house helper Aron especially when the childish Kian was throwing tantrums and the timid Aron was showing signs of lack of confidence. But because of good character development, the issue of unequal power relations was somehow resolved. While it felt a bit short in terms of relationship development, in the end, it was shown in some ways that they support and love each other. Even though it obviously hurt, Kian was supportive of Aron who received a culinary arts scholarship which will most likely mean that they’ll have to be away from each other for quite some time. This was difficult for Kian because Aron made him feel loved. Aron for his part, eventually realized that he also needs to love himself. While “Better Days” had a straightforward plot/storyline, it didn’t shy away from larger societal issues like the COVID-19 pandemic. When Kian’s father died and he couldn’t even bury him because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was reminded again of the major challenge that our entire world is facing right now. Like Aron and Kian, we are all hoping for better days ahead.
Script was natural and realistic. Screenplay had good comedic (“it’s a frank!”) and dramatic (“you ask every day why were you left behind”) lines.
With regard to acting, newbies Benedix and Chesther were fine. They appeal differently but both of them are adorable. Chesther’s Kian was annoying at times but he’s still cute, lol! Benedix’s Aron was nice... plus, he cooks, lol! Even with the dearth of intimate moments, Aron and Kian’s chemistry was evident. I liked their funny and tender moments together. They were mostly bromance moments but they were alright. Benedix and Chesther fit their roles perfectly. It was also good to see Jomari and Rex as guests on this series.
Audio-visuals were mostly ok. Notwithstanding its small budget, “Better Days” was actually well-made. I especially liked the presentation of Pinoy cuisines and how they’re cooked and prepared (I miss Pinoy food!). The soundtracks “Lahat ay Posible” (Everything’s Possible) by Carlos Dala and “Nandito” (It’s Here) by Benedix were nice.
In summary, I would certainly recommend rewatching “Better Days.” It’s a palatable Pinoy BL series with wholesome plot/storyline, fine acting performance, and satisfactory production. By the way, “Better Days” has Book 2 (hopefully with less of the bromance and more of the BL romance ) to look forward to.
Could have been a better series if the entire team had better daysAlthough the main action takes place during a lockdown, whoever came up with the story could not help throwing in a couple of characters who seem to turn up in spite of lockdown rules in the series. This is perhaps a sign of a lack of confidence with pulling off a series of six episodes featuring only the two main characters.
The story is actually ok in some ways: two childhood friends meet each other again after many years ; there is is palpable master/servant class difference between them, but they do have genuine affection for each other. Kian decides to play a prank on Aron by pretending not to recognize him--it is only a prank, but the prank works because of the inherent power difference between them. While Aron is saddened that Kian seems to have forgotten him, he can't really be assertive here. The potential of the "friends with unequal power" angle isn't fully used, however. We see how it manifests in the different way each expresses his jealousy upon seeing the other with someone else as Kian throws a tantrum while Aron has a more muted response. Yet, how do they overcome it? There isn't much development here.
As if to make up for the lack of eventfulness in the story, Kian gets news that his father has passed away in the final episode, but there isn't really any exploration of how this impacts Kian's character or future. To be fair, the death isn't altogether unexpected: from early on, it is revealed that Kian's father has been hospitalized. But one would be hard-pressed to think of a good reason why it is included.
The series does manage to have some moments of BL sweetness, particularly in the final scene. The ending scene is rather good. There is no sudden passionate kissing or cloying confessions of love, but Aron takes the initiative to hold Kian's hand. It is a happy ending though not an unambiguous happily-ever-after ending. The couple may have to be apart soon, but there is hope that they will overcome challenges that come their way. If the quality of the ending scene had been maintained throughout, if the series had focused on the two characters' struggles with their increasingly undeniable romantic feelings for each other from the start, perhaps the series would have been much better.
This is a series I wouldn't mind having a sequel to, nevertheless. Although a sequel does not seem likely, it may well make up for the shortcomings of the original six episodes.