Paint with Love is a Thai BL series about an uptight business professional and a free-spirited artist. The main characters meet during a job assignment, clashing over their personality differences. Since then, they begin working together in an office environment, as animosity and annoyance turn into attraction.
The lively characters, enthusiastic personalities, and goofy interactions bring cheerfulness lightheartedness to each Paint with Love episode. While some moments feel genuinely enjoyable, a few other subplots are carelessly mishandled. This decent BL drama makes several mistakes that prevent me from raving about the quality.
Paint with Love Summary
Paint with Love is a happy & funny BL drama.
Maze is the owner of a marketing and event planning company. He is a no-nonsense workaholic who takes his job seriously. Maze is successful at work because of his shrewd mind and ruthless business instinct. He is not above manipulation or underhanded tactics to achieve his mercenary objectives. Maze's employees respect him, but they think he's a stressful boss who cracks the whip.
Maze's newest client is a bride who wants to plan the activities at her wedding. One of her ideas is to hire a famous artist to do a live painting at her ceremony. Maze searches for a talented painter to take the job, which leads him to Phap. Maze immediately clashes with Phap, an eccentric free-spirit who lives unconventionally. This artist loves spontaneity, hates structure, and can't see eye-to-eye with his recruiter.
Phap feels insulted by Maze's arrogant businesslike attitude and won't accept the wedding gig. Maze uses coercion and dirty tactics to force the artist into working for him anyway. On the wedding day, Phap performs the live painting beautifully, impressing all the guests. However, he makes a silly blunder afterwards and spills paint onto the bride. The client is furious that her special day got ruined and demands hefty compensation from Maze's company.
Maze angrily confronts Phap about what happened at the wedding. Phap remains disagreeable and defiant. Just then, an art buyer called Mr. Ken visits the painter. Mr. Ken was one of the guests who felt impressed by Phap's talent. He will pay a large sum of money for Phap to paint a picture for him. Maze seizes the opportunity to do a lucrative business deal, accepting the offer on the artist's behalf.
Afterwards, Maze works out a deal with Phap. Maze will waive the wedding debt if Phap gives him a portion of the profits from the sale. In the meantime, he wants the painter to work at his company, deducting the debt from his paid salary. Phap is cornered into accepting these conditions. He begins working at Maze's company, but still clashes with his uptight boss.
Paint with Love Cast
Singto Prachaya Ruangroj (สิงโต ปราชญา เรืองโรจน์)
Maze owns a marketing and event planning company, which he runs with his wealthy friend Ne. He is a shrewd business exec, using a ruthless instinct and conniving tactics to achieve his goals. Maze is a workaholic and control freak who takes his job seriously. Although his employees respect him, they also think he's a tough and stressful boss.
Singto Prachaya Ruangroj
Singto Prachaya Ruangroj (สิงโต ปราชญา เรืองโรจน์) is a Thai actor. He is born on July 28, 1994. He has starred in numerous BL projects, including SOTUS (2016) and its sequel SOTUS S (2017). He is also the lead of Friend Zone (2018), He's Coming to Me (2019), Baker Boys (2021), Paint with Love (2021), and Shadow (2023).
Tae Darvid Kreepolrerk (ดาวิชญ์ กรีพลฤกษ์)
Phap is a quirky and free-spirited artist. He lives by himself with three chickens (named Teriyaki, Panang & Tom Pha), a lizard (named Poco), and a cockroach (named Steven). Phap blatantly defies structure and convention, causing him to clash with Maze. However, his dire financial circumstances force Phap to accept a full-time job at Maze's company.
Yacht Patsit Permpoonsavat (สุดยอด พัฐสิฏ เพิ่มพูลสวัสดิ์)
Tharn is Maze and Ne's friend. This aspiring actor recently secured the role of a hit BL drama. Tharn feels troubled that his costar is Nueng, who shares a complicated history with Maze. Tharn is a gentle, easygoing soul who often goes along with the flow. His manager is Pookyy, who uses aggressive tactics to secure the best conditions for her client.
Yacht Patsit Permpoonsavat
Yacht Patsit Permpoonsavat (สุดยอด พัฐสิฏ เพิ่มพูลสวัสดิ์) is a Thai actor. He is born on March 28, 1997. His first BL project is the 2018 series, Love by Chance. He has also appeared in The Effect (2019), My Gear and Your Gown (2020), Paint with Love (2021), Dear Doctor (2022), Between Us (2022), and a Boss and a Babe (2023).
Yoon Phusanu Wongsavanischakorn (ยุ่น ภูษณุ วงศาวณิชชากร)
Nueng is a famous actor. He is Tharn's co-star in a popular BL drama, earning many fans who ship them together. His manager is Phueak, who clashes with Tharn's manager Pookyy. Nueng shares a complex history with Maze, prompting awkwardness in their present interactions. Nueng doesn't get along with Phap and there's hostile tension after they meet.
Yoon Phusanu Wongsavanischakorn
Yoon Phusanu Wongsavanischakorn (ยุ่น ภูษณุ วงศาวณิชชากร) is a Thai actor. He is born on April 1, 1994. His first BL project is YYY (2020). Yoon starred in the series, Unforgotten Night (2022). He also had supporting roles in Paint with Love (2021) and My Ride (2022). In addition, Yoon appeared in the anthology series, Y-Destiny (2021) and Close Friend (2021).
Maengmum Tanshi Bumrungkit (แมงมุม ฑันท์ชิย์ บำรุงกิจ)
C'game Supawit Tantimaporn (ศุภวิชญ์ ตันติมาภรณ์)
Natty Thanyanan Pipatchaisiri (นัตตี้ ธันยนันท์ พิพัฒน์ไชยศิริ)
Dada Warinda Damrongphol (ดาด้า วรินดา ดำรงผล)
Simon Kessler (ไซม่อน เคลสเลอร์)
Yano Kazuki (矢野和貴)
Maengmum Tanshi Bumrungkit (แมงมุม ฑันท์ชิย์ บำรุงกิจ)
Gun Korawit Boonsri (กรวิชญ์ บุญศรี)
Mild Jinna Pichit-o-Pakun (มายด์ จิณณะ พิชิตโอภากุล)
Bruce Sirikorn Kananurak (บรูซ ศิริกร คณานุรักษ์)
Teriyaki, Panang & Tom Kha
- Maze's actor (Singto) has a long career starring in BL series. His most well-known works include the SOTUS (2016) and its sequel SOTUS S (2017). Additionally, he also appeared in other dramas like Friend Zone (2018), Our Skyy (2018), He's Coming to Me (2019), I'm Tee, Me Too (2020), Baker Boys (2021), and Shadow (2023).
- Phap's actor (Tae) appeared in the 2017 BL Thai drama 2 Moons. He also starred in two short BL movies, The Right One (2018) and Triage (2019). In 2022, he starred in the full-length series version of Triage.
- Neung's actor (Yoon) had a leading role in the 2020 BL comedy YYY and 2022 crime drama Unforgotten Night. He also appeared in the 2021 BL anthology series Y-Destiny and Close Friend. He has a supporting role in the 2022 BL drama My Ride.
- Tharn's actor (Yacht) appeared in the 2018 BL series Love By Chance and its 2020 sequel Love By Chance 2. Yacht was a supporting character in the 2019 BL drama The Effect.
- You may also recognize Ne's actress (Maengmum) from the 2017 BL series Together With Me, Noona's actress (Dada) in the 2020 drama The Shipper, and Elle's actress (Natty) in the 2021 drama Nitiman.
- Also, Puheak's actor (Gun) appeared in the 2020 series 2gether, while Beam's actor (Bruce) had a role in the 2021 drama Lovely Writer.
Paint with Love Review
Drama Review Score: 7.0
Paint with Love is a decent BL drama weighed down by its flaws. Most episodes are pretty enjoyable, occasionally impressing me with several inspired moments. The cast brings enthusiastic energy, lighthearted humour, and lively rapport. I'm also fond of the workplace setting, the two lead actors, and the dynamics between the characters. This series accumulates plenty of goodwill, but it isn't nearly enough to make up for the various shortcomings.
I like the cute concept behind Paint with Love, focusing on the personality clash between a workaholic and a free spirit. Over time, they're supposed to learn from each other and improve their quirky habits. Unfortunately, the story's execution falls short. The narrative strays off-course, getting sidetracked by petty conflicts, silly misunderstandings, and contrived drama. These distractions interfere with Paint of Love from building persuasive character arcs. The leads spend their time bickering and bantering instead of growing as individuals.
The protagonists either charm or annoy me in various stages. Phap seems funny and delightful on his best behaviour, yet his obnoxious antics go overboard and get on my nerves. Maze becomes more vulnerable during the series, but he still reverts to his moody temper on occasions. Together, they work as a couple. Phap and Maze have a moderately fun romance with respectable BL content. I enjoy their amusing interactions, intimate encounters, and occasionally thoughtful chats. However, I wouldn't classify their relationship as epic or extraordinary.
I'm ho-hum on the secondary pairing, Nueng and Tharn. Besides the memorable first kiss, everything else feels flat and doesn't stimulate interest. The love triangles are agitating as well. Even though Maze and Nueng's history stirs up drama, the few exciting moments are outweighed by too much self-pity and sulking. Frustratingly, Nueng is never called out for needling and antagonizing Phap in their ongoing feud. It also irks me how Maze won't take Phap's side. Maze constantly looks down on his love interest instead of showing empathy or support.
Paint with Love makes some problematic blunders. The first iffy moment came in Episode 3, where Phap drew a nude portrait without consent. The second offence happened in Episode 7, which ridiculed the physical assault of a trans woman. Shockingly, the worst is yet to come until Episode 11, where an abuse victim's testimony was undermined by fake rape allegations. Even though Pookyy's subplot is minor, I'm outraged and disgusted by the warped messages. These abhorrent storylines leave permanent stains on my opinion of Paint with Love.
Beyond the toxic tropes, the quality dips near the end with drawn-out conflicts and muddled character motivations. To clarify, I don't hate the conclusion, which finishes happily with cinematic kisses and adequate closure. Plus, the cast always injects eagerness and exuberance into their roles, propelling the weaker material. Overall, Paint with Love has glaring faults that stifle my positivity. With that said, a harsh review seems inaccurate when most episodes are pleasant and charming. This BL drama deserves a decent score in the middle, despite getting my side-eye at times.
Despite a cute concept about two polar opposites and their personality clash, the characters go on hollow journeys. A few abhorrent subplots also promote problematic tropes.
Maze and Phap make a cute couple. I genuinely enjoy their cheeky banter, amusing interactions, and intimate encounters. However, I feel indifferent about the secondary pair.
Paint with Love celebrates a lively cast. All the actors bring a boost of enthusiasm to their roles, keeping the energy high throughout the twelve episodes.
The series takes a quality dip near the end with muddled storytelling. However, it ends on an okay note with adequate closure and romantic moments between the characters.
Paint with Love is a decently produced BL drama. Every scene is shot clearly, brightly, and colourfully. A few moments stand out and look exceptionally pretty.
Paint with Love is a decent BL drama with enthusiasm, humour, and lightheartedness. While most episodes are pleasant and enjoyable, a few storylines are mishandled thoughtlessly.
Paint with Love Episodes
Paint With Love has a total of 12 episodes. Each episode is around 40 to 45 minutes long. The last episode is around 55 minutes long. It is a long BL drama, and you can finish the entire series in around 9 hours. Paint With Love started airing on November 26, 2021 and ended on February 12, 2022.
Maze vs Phap
My first impression of both lead characters is positive. As expected, they butt heads over their drastically different views and personalities. Their dynamic works for me, creating lots of fun banter and feisty fireworks. I love how much they push each other's patience to the extreme.
When we are introduced to Maze and Phap, they behave like caricatures. Their best and worst qualities are on full display:
- Maze is an arrogant businessman proud to have no ethics or bottom line.
- Phap is a pretentious artist who seems out of touch with etiquette and conventions.
Paint with Love emphasizes the leads' ridiculous personalities and their dramatic differences in the premiere. That makes their future journeys of growth & personal transformation more riveting to watch. Individually, Maze and Phap's characters would drive me up the wall with their aggravating personalities. However, they're seemingly more bearable when annoying each other instead. 😁
I like how the first episode ends with the big wedding mishap. It's a funny, memorable, and larger-than-life event that sets the comedic tone of the series. I also like seeing Phap in his element and excelling in his art. Even though his character has a goofy personality, the narrative establishes his artistic capabilities and proves he's a credible painter. Hey, this guy isn't a hack. He can handle the pressure and draw a pretty picture on the spot.
With that said, Phap protecting a cockroach at the wedding feels a bit…phony? I don't know if that's the right word, but it doesn't seem like an authentic action that somebody would do. Maybe I'm too pragmatic like Maze. However, I just can't envision an ordinary person leaping over chairs and throwing himself to save a cockroach's life. 🪳
To be honest, the plot in this episode feels like a stretch. First, Phap incurs a heavy debt. Then, a wealthy art buyer miraculously shows up to buy his painting. Afterwards, Maze makes up an excuse and forces Phap to work for him. Realistically, what are the odds of these ridiculous scenarios happening? The sequence of events is only possible in fiction.
However, I won't scrutinize this narrative too much. I understand Paint with Love needs to set up a scenario to introduce Phap to the office. I guess paying off the debt works as an excuse. Plus, it's funny putting someone like Phap in an office environment. The scenes are comedic, highlighting his unruly and rebellious behaviour in a creative way.
So far, I think Phap's actor (Tae) does a decent job with his role. Maybe he's a teensy bit exaggerated in a few moments, but I like the energy and sincerity that he brings overall. The actor carries a scrappy, roguish charm that makes his character's annoying antics seem more endearing instead. 🤘🏻
I think Phap adjusted to his new job almost too quickly? My impression is that he never worked in an office before, let alone a marketing company. Yet, he can create this impressive storyboard in a day with little instructions or guidance. Sure, we don't know much about Phap's background. Maybe he did something similar in school. However, It seems like Paint with Love waved a magic wand and gave Phap advertising expertise overnight.
With that said, I adore this subplot with the jewellery client. Firstly, Phap's idea of using light green to rejuvenate the business brand is brilliant. It's savvy, sensible, and a bit quirky, just like his personality. Secondly, I love that he dressed up in a light green suit. Our first impression is that he seems unprofessional by wearing this tacky suit. However, the jacket ties into his marketing pitch, a witty twist that highlights Phap's ingenuity. There's more to his character than meets the eye.
Finally, I also like the conflict near the end of the pitch. Maze wants to charge the client a high price for this marketing campaign. However, Phap immediately protests because he thinks his boss is ripping off the client. It's a clever moment that highlights the differences in their personalities. It also shows Phap lacks job experience to bring this up to the client, which makes sense because it's his first week of work. This storyline is thoughtful on multiple layers.
Did you know I get scared every time the characters drink alcohol in BL dramas? After watching so much BL, I'm conditioned to assume the worst-case scenario regarding nonconsensual drunken encounters. Whenever the lead is intoxicated, I raise my guard and suspect something terrible might happen to him. I only developed this phobia from watching BL, which taught me not to trust alcohol.
I had that exact same distrust when Maze got drunk in this episode. I was like, oh no, here comes the litmus test. Will Paint with Love prove that it respects personal boundaries even when someone gets drunk? Or will it follow in the footsteps of many problematic BL dramas, taking advantage of an unconscious character to shoehorn a sexual encounter?
Nude art consent
Maze is understandably upset when he finds a drawing of his nude body after regaining consciousness. Phap apologizes for getting caught, admitting he drew this picture on an impulse and did nothing else. However, Maze still feels massively violated. "There are many things for you to draw. You could've drawn your rooster, or me with my clothes on. But you drew me like this. You're a psychopath!"
What Phap did is sketchy as hell. His behaviour is worse because he forced Maze to consume lots of alcohol. Maze didn't want to drink initially, but Phap encouraged him to try the shots. Then, Phap stripped his unconscious boss naked and documented him in a state of undress. The severity of his actions is similar to taking a picture or filming a video, aka. totally inappropriate. Consent is a broad spectrum and covers various activities. Just because the night doesn't end with a sexual encounter, you still have to respect boundaries in other ways too.
This nonconsensual nude art isn't the finest moment for Paint with Love. However, the series was swift in condemning Phap's actions, making it clear his character did something wrong. Even though the storyline made me uncomfortable, I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt. If it was just this one incident, maybe I could trust Paint with Love to not do anything dodgy again. Little did I know it had even more sinister subplots in the works… 😨
Maze and Nueng
Paint with Love teased about the relationship between Maze and Nueng, implying they shared a history. Naturally, I assumed they used to date in the past, and maybe they broke up when he became a celebrity. The series definitely wanted us to think they were a couple, leaving enough clues to keep you guessing.
I thought this storyline had the potential to be juicy, especially since Tharn had feelings for his best friend's ex. I was excited about the messy drama. There must be some unspoken bro code about not getting your friend's sloppy seconds, right? Later, we discover Maze and Nueng don't have a real romantic history, destroying all the theories (and fantasies) inside my head.
BTW, Phap playing with the cut-out of Nueng makes me laugh every time. It's the best prop in the series. 😆
Maze and Phap first kiss
Episode 4 ends with the first kiss between Maze and Phap. It's a decent moment with lots of gentle smooches between the couple. The kissing scene came at the right time, IMO. Their relationship developed enough to feel justified at this point of the series. They've grown closer, tolerated each other's differences, and flirted up a storm. The characters have gone on a decent journey, transitioning from enemies to secret crushes. Now, it's time for the next stage of their romance.
In the next episode, Maze plays dumb and pretends he was too drunk to remember the night's events. However, we find out he was fully lucid, only lying out of embarrassment for what he did. It's very Maze behaviour, too prideful to admit that he macked on his employee. Nonetheless, this kiss is a game-changer, unlocking the romantic route and confirming the characters' feelings for each other.
This episode finally reveals the connection between Maze and Nueng. It turns out that they're stepbrothers! Although not explicitly stated, the story implies that Maze had a secret crush on his stepbrother. However, Nueng didn't return his feelings. They fell out because Maze got visibly jealous of Nueng's girlfriend at the time, prompting a tense confrontation between the siblings. Both felt awkward afterwards and had avoided each other ever since.
After learning about their backstory, I honestly would prefer if they were just exes lol. I guess it's an okay twist, revealing the characters are stepbrothers. And I guess their reason for falling out is within the realm of possibility. However, I'm not really excited about anything to do with stepbrothers in BL, so it kinda killed my enthusiasm a bit. At least if they were exes, there's more storytelling potential or at least a bit of messiness. Oh well~
Nueng and Tharn
This episode also ramped up the romance between Nueng and Tharn. However, I find this second couple is progressing too slowly for my tastes. Their scenes thus far are very mild and don't convey much beyond platonic pleasantries. In other words, there's not much to say.
I like the meta aspect of their storyline, since they're two BL actors portraying two fictional actors in a BL drama. There's a bit of cheekiness sometimes, like when Nueng and Tharn commented on giving the same rehearsed interview responses all the time. However, I think Paint with Love could've done more with this angle. Let's go deeper into the BL industry instead of its surface-level representation.
The next statement is only my speculation, but I get the feeling that Paint with Love played it safe with this subplot. It's like they didn't want to offend the BL fans or make any provocative comments about their industry. And that's fine, this series doesn't have to be a critical exposé on the BL genre. But without a bit of sensationalism, it makes watching Nueng and Tharn's scenes less exciting, in my opinion.
I love the moment where Phap slowly undresses Maze and pours paint over his body. Absolutely love this scene. One, it's really sexy and gets my blood pumping. Two, Maze's actor has an attractive physique, showcased tastefully in this scene. And three, undressing Maze makes his character more vulnerable, like here he stands without his business suit and usual bravado. This scene comes at a perfect time after Maze made a vital mistake at work, and I like seeing him without that confident façade.
The seductive moment ends on a comedic note after Phap pours paint over Maze's shirtless body. Of course, Maze is a neat freak and flips out over the paint. Nonetheless, it leads to another sweet exchange when Phap helps dry Maze's body afterwards. Overall, I really like the sensual atmosphere, capturing the intimacy between this couple. It's one of my favourite scenes in Paint with Love.
Unfortunately, I don't enjoy the conflict that arises from Phap's insecurities over Nueng. This episode begins a repetitive storyline where Phap feels jealous of Nueng and Maze's bond. These scenes aren't compelling, plus they make all the characters look pretty awful. I don't wanna watch Phap sulk about Maze's relationship with his stepbrother. I also don't wanna watch Maze get angry and retaliate with hurtful words. Their misunderstanding exhausts me.
Nueng is a dick. After completing the series, I can confidently say that Nueng is the real villain of Paint with Love. His character is SO antagonistic towards Phap. Their dynamic isn't the same as the feud between Phap and Maze. While the leads have fun and comedic banter, Nueng's hostility towards Phap feels more personal. Nueng constantly makes pointed comments to get a rise out of Phap. His insults are aimed to provoke and get under your skin.
In my opinion, Nueng is a malicious wolf in sheep's clothing and I don't like him. However, his character might seem more appealing if Paint with Love had emphasized his malevolence. The series doesn't acknowledge Nueng is a jackass, so he never gets called out for his awful treatment of Phap. A better scenario is that Neung becomes more of an antagonist until Maze or Tharn confronts him. There could be intrigue with his characterization as a scheming actor who puts up a manipulative façade. I might have liked Nueng if he was a more complex villain instead.
Pookyy vs Phueak
I have enjoyed Paint with Love up until this episode. Unfortunately, the scene where Phueak attacks Pookky is the downfall of the entire series. This single storyline tanks my opinion of the show, which stops me from giving a more positive review. I know it's a minor subplot in the grand scheme of the narrative, but I just can't overlook the ugliness. How can I drum up enthusiasm about a BL drama that depicts LGBT violence so callously?
What happened to Pookky is reprehensible. Earlier, the character spread false rumours to hurt Nueng and Phueak's reputations in the industry. Admittedly, Pookky did a bad thing, but that still doesn't justify physical assault against her. I was horrified when Phueak violently smacks Pookyy, pushing her to the ground and overpowering his victim. As Pookyy screams for help, Tharn and Nueng stand there watching from the sidelines. Tharn, she is your friend! Why aren't you doing more to stop this brutal attack!?
The disturbing optics send chills down my spine. Here's a trans woman lying on the ground after she was senselessly beaten, while three menacing men stand over her body. Let's consider that the trans community is one of the most marginalized groups in society, faced with a high risk of physical violence. Regardless of Pookyy's gender or identity, seeing a human being in this vulnerable position makes me fear for their safety. How can Paint with Love endorse Phueak's side and suggest that Pookky deserves the attack!? No, I won't forgive any BL drama that takes this stance.
Maze & Phap sex
Beyond the awful physical assault on Pookyy, this episode is hard to watch because of Phap. Usually, I love his character's cheeky charm and zany energy. However, he just goes overboard in this episode and becomes so obnoxious. You're in the workplace where Maze is your boss. Can you behave more professionally around him?
Honestly, I don't blame Maze for getting fed up because Phap can be too much to handle. His character dances on the line between endearing and annoying. Unfortunately, he falls in the latter camp for this episode, bringing out the worst qualities in his personality. Whenever Phap acts annoying, Maze also gets extra prickly and agitated, which isn't fun to watch either.
While the episode's content infuriated me, I liked the scene with Phap and Maze in the bedroom. Everything worked for me, from the kissing to the body contact to the romantic ambiance. Plus, hot make-up sex is always a bit spicier in BL dramas~ 😚 Overall, the sex scene is like a ray of light in an otherwise dark episode. Thanks, I needed this cleanser after all the other awful moments.
Nueng's accident on the beach was genuinely shocking. There was no build-up, foreshadowing, and premonition of anything terrible happening. The speedboat came at Nueng without warning and suddenly knocked him unconscious. His lifeless body fell into the water as everybody reacted with horror. The moment was quick, scary, and unexpected, just like a real-life accident.
I'm going to be evil for a moment and admit to feeling morbidly satisfied. Nueng's wicked character needs to be taken down a peg, so his accident seems like a fitting act of karma. After his awful treatment of Phap in the last few episodes, divine intervention stepped in and gave him a warning. If you talk too much smack to someone, be careful that you'll get smacked by a speedboat one day. 🚤
Maze and Nueng reconcile
Maze and Nueng reconcile this episode, clearing the air with each other. I guess it's an okay resolution to this conflict. Nueng's hospitalization seems like the wake-up call both characters needed to put aside their feud. Apologizing for having a crush on your stepbrother will always be an uncomfortable scene, but Paint with Love does its best to minimize the awkwardness.
However, this storyline feels lacklustre overall. Not much really happens, other than a series of unenjoyable scenes with the characters sulking, arguing, and getting jealous. When you add a few decent moments with the abundantly annoying content, the net value of entertainment is negative. I would rather focus on other subplots than this stepbrother dynamic.
Tharn and Nueng kiss
I'm not fond of Nueng or Tharn, even before the Pookyy incident. Nueng is too much of a slimy scumbag, and my dislike towards him is transferred to his love interest. Tharn feels guilty by association, maybe because his character doesn't have a strong personal identity. When Tharn interacts with Maze or Ne, he is eclipsed by their charisma. And when Tharn is with Nueng, I focus more on hating his love interest than caring about them as a couple.
With that said, I like the kissing scene between Tharn and Nueng this episode. Their first kiss happens while filming the fictional BL drama, which seems hilariously melodramatic btw. If Return to Me was a real BL series, it looks like the type of show I'd totally enjoy as a guilty pleasure. Anyway, Nueng goes off-script and kisses his co-star on an impulse. Everyone on set is surprised, but the director refuses to interrupt his actors. "If anyone says cut, I will CURSE them." Hehe~
After planting the first kiss, Nueng pulls away and makes eye contact with Tharn. His love interest's expression reveals shock, uncertainty, and desire. Nueng is encouraged to lean in for another smooch, this time with more gusto. Tharn reciprocates the gesture and they make out passionately. The music, the camera angles, and the chemistry create an electrifying atmosphere. I think it might be the best kiss in Paint with Love, even better than anything from Maze and Phap. When the director yelled cut to end the scene, I was the one cursing him. Let them continue! 😠
Phap vs Nueng
Maze and Phap also have a great episode together, sharing many romantic moments as a couple. Unfortunately, their good vibes are destroyed in the final scene. The office confrontation between Phap and Nueng is infuriating yet compelling to watch. Phap gives Maze a homemade gift, but Nueng sticks his nose in and destroys the present. Instead of apologizing, he continues making antagonistic comments. Phap reacts and throws a punch. However, Maze is furious and accuses him for instigating a fight.
I really like how Nueng's actor (Yoon) portrayed this scene. You can clearly see the smugness and hostility in his expression. However, the Nueng character is such a douchebag. He's a shit-stirring instigator with a malicious streak. I thought his relationship with Phap would improve after reconciling with Maze. Instead, Nueng continues to act petty and provocative. Anyone can see Nueng is in the wrong, except for Maze. Frustratingly, he continues to put his stepbrother on a pedestal and won't hold him accountable. Maze always sides with Nueng over Phap.
I don't believe Nueng's excuse of ~testing~ Phap's feelings for Maze. It sounds like a bullshit rationalization of his awful behaviour. You won't act that way around someone unless you have a vendetta against them. What makes Nueng's actions worse is that Phap saved his life last episode. You'd think Nueng might want to stock up on good karma after almost dying in an accident. Instead, his new life mantra is like, "Damn, I better be more of an asshole while I'm still alive!" I'm sorry, but Nueng deserves to get hit by a speedboat again. 🚤
Phap finally completes his painting this episode. Mr. Ken is beyond impressed and astounded by the beauty on display. (By the way, I love his character's catchphrase "AMAZING!!!" every time he looks at Phap's art. Everything is AMAZING to him. 😄) Ken wants to Phap to become his protégé, introducing him to bigger audiences in Japan. However, Phap seems reluctant to accept this incredible opportunity, still committed to his job and his relationship with Maze.
To be honest, I felt skeptical of Mr. Ken throughout Paint with Love. I had a hard time believing this wealthy benefactor would spend so much money to buy a painting from Phap. His character almost seems too good to be true, making me question his ulterior motives. I came up with wild conspiracy theories, like maybe Mr. Ken knew Phap's parents in the past. Or perhaps he's Phap's long-lost father, supporting his secret child under the pretense of an art buyer.
However, there's no grand scheme behind his altruism. Mr. Ken is simply Phap's #1 fanboy and wants to support a talented local artist. I like his character because he's the only person to believe in Phap wholeheartedly. Ken has shown unconditional support since the first episode. He continues to be Phap's biggest champion until the end. Phap, your art is amazing! Let me pay you millions for your paintings! Let me bring you to Japan! AMAZING! Mr. Ken ends up being the most influential person in Phap's life, not Maze.
Maze feels insecure about holding back Phap's career. He doesn't want Phap to turn down an amazing career opportunity in Japan. However, Maze chooses the worst approach to express this sentiment. Instead of communicating his thoughts in a mature conversation, he creates an excuse to fire Phap from his job. He also maintains a rude and standoffish attitude, saying all the wrong things that devastate Phap.
Maze's senseless actions lead to a lot of unenjoyable drama in this episode. None of the characters agree with his decision to fire Phap, yet he refuses to explain why. His chat with Phap is way too harsh, not the tone you use with someone you love. Why is Maze behaving so irrationally!? Just talk to Phap openly and have an honest dialogue about going to Japan vs. staying in Thailand. I want to watch a BL couple work out their issues in a sensible way, not get into stupid conflicts because they are emotionally unintelligent.
I didn't think anything would top Pookyy's physical assault as the worst moment in the series. However, Paint with Love has outdone itself with a horrific follow-up to this awful subplot:
- Basically, Pookyy is furious after Tharn fires her as his manager. She retaliates by leaking the footage of her attack, incriminating Tharn, Nueng, and Phueak.
- In addition, she releases pictures of the bruises on her body. The public sympathizes with Pookyy and turns against their beloved BL stars.
- Disturbingly, Tharn and his friends scheme together to sabotage Pookyy's testimony. They blackmail another actor into making up fake rape allegations to destroy her credibility.
- Their efforts are successful, and the characters smugly pat themselves on the back for demonizing an abuse victim in public opinion.
WHAT THE FUCK!!! I'm abhorred by these vile characters and their deplorable behaviour. Pookyy speaks up about getting attacked in broad daylight, yet these guys slander her as a rapist to cover up their culpability. It takes an unthinkable amount of depravity to twist the narrative of an abuse victim and turn her into a sexual predator. How could anyone believe that's the correct course of action!? Maze, Tharn, Nueng, and Phueak are sick bastards with no moral compass for what they did to Pookyy. And they're all going to hell.
Look, I'm not a fan of Pookyy. The series has taken every opportunity to vilify their only trans character, making her tough to champion. Yes, Pookyy has done some bad things, but that doesn't justify these wretched crimes against her. She doesn't deserve to be beaten violently. She doesn't deserve to have her assault trauma discredited. And she certainly doesn't deserve to be painted as a sexual predator.
This toxic storyline fills me with extreme disgust and outrage. What makes it worse is I see no reason why this subplot needed to exist. Paint with Love doesn't have any meaningful message. They simply wanted some sensationalist drama to make the episode exciting. You are a BL series with a platform for millions of viewers. You have an obligation to portray topics like assault and rape responsibly. Don't thoughtlessly undermine an abuse victim's report and demonize her with fake allegations. YOU NEED TO DO BETTER.
Kuea and Elle
What I wrote about Pookyy is very dark and heavy, so I want to focus on a lighter and happier part of the episode. Look, a cute straight couple! I like this simple office romance between Kuea and Elle, portrayed by two charming actors. While their relationship isn't deep at all, it's a pleasant diversion that gives the supporting cast something to do.
I'm annoyed because Paint with Love can deliver cute, endearing storylines like this romance. Yet, it also includes an ugly and cancerous subplot that overshadows all the positive qualities. I can tell everyone on the Paint with Love team worked hard to put together this delightful BL drama. Yet, their efforts are diminished by this one unfortunate narrative choice that I can't overlook. 😞
Paint with Love has a happy ending where Maze and Phap become a couple after the time skip. Three months have passed since Phap travelled to Japan for a career opportunity. He returns to Thailand with newfound fame and works with Maze's company on a new marketing campaign. Phap intentionally gives his ex a tough time with strict business demands. However, it's just an act. Phap isn't that serious, simply messing around to tease Maze.
Maze becomes agitated the longer they work on this campaign. Phap further aggravates him by deliberately smearing red paint over The Love, thus sabotaging his own artwork. Maze feels mortified about its destruction, since the painting was symbolic of their relationship. He also smudges the painting in an act of pettiness. Phap taunts his ex, stating that Maze never understood the meaning behind his art. A heated argument breaks out between the pair.
Phap challenges Maze to interpret his newest painting, called The Tears. Gently, Phap explains that it represents his feelings during their time apart. Feeling moved, Maze lowers his combativeness and admits he cried about their breakup. Phap seizes the moment and initiates a kiss, reciprocated by Maze. Just then, their coworkers arrive in the room, reacting with surprise and excitement. Phap and Maze separate, embarrassed after getting caught in their intimate exchange.
Kiss in the rain
After their public kiss, Nueng and Phap have a heart-to-heart. Nueng adopts a more amicable tone, a departure from his usual animosity. He shares that Maze's biggest fear is getting abandoned by his loved ones. That's why he reacted terribly to Phap leaving him, indicating he holds a special place in Maze's heart. Nueng gives his blessing for their relationship, entrusting his stepbrother to Phap.
Later, it's raining in the middle of the night. Maze visits Phap's house, where they have another emotional confrontation. Phap reveals that his reason for coming back to Thailand is because he misses Maze. They share their second kiss in the episode, with raindrops falling over them. Maze and Phap have reconciled for good this time, confirming their feelings towards each other.
The final scene of Paint with Love takes place in Phap's home. Maze is remarkably sweeter around his boyfriend. They stand in front of The Love, now blemished with the red paint from their previous argument. Maze and Phap reaffirm their love for each other. They exchange their third and final kiss in front of the painting, as the series comes to a close.
Well, that's a wrap. Honestly, the conflicts in the final episode are pretty annoying to watch. I thought Maze fired Phap to encourage him to go to Japan? Now, he changes his mind and gets angry about being "abandoned". If you wanted him to stay, maybe you should've spoken up. Instead, you acted aloof and kept pushing him away. 😒
Technically, Phap left to pursue a valuable career opportunity with a mentor who believed in his work. Can you stop making him feel guilty about chasing after his dreams? Phap is allowed to have other passions in his life besides you. Also, you guys were apart for three months. From the way Maze was acting, you'd think they were separated for three decades…
With that said, I liked all three kisses in this episode. The last kiss is especially meaningful as the characters stand in front of the tarnished artwork. Even though the picture doesn't look pretty anymore, those red paint marks are symbolically significant. The Love is no longer just Phap's drawing, but it now carries Maze's signature, signifying a collaboration of their love. Plus, a flawed painting describes Maze and Phap's romance so aptly, don't you think? The art looks messy and volatile, but it's ultimately painted with love.
Actors in love
By the way, Nueng and Tharn also get together in the Paint with Love ending. There's last-minute drama between them, because Tharn has cold feet about their relationship or something. However, the trivial issues are put to rest and this couple shares a sweet kiss in the last episode.
Afterwards, Nueng and Tharn come out as a couple during a press conference. According to them, they don't want to hide their love from the public. If they're a celebrity couple in real life, I would feel SO jaded about the timing of their announcement. They were exposed in a physical assault scandal just three months ago. Now, these guys suddenly make headlines and declare they are dating. Cynical me would think it appears like a publicity stunt to rehabilitate their reputations.