How many of you watched Blogger Boy before? Judging by the amount of fanfare generated since Blogger Boy hit Malaysian television screens back in 2008, I doubt many Malaysians know about the existence of this underrated series. Produced by Red Communications for 8TV, the story is focused around Budi (played by Qushairi Razali a.k.a Qi), a middle-aged tuition teacher who’s down on his luck. Imagine getting dumped by the woman you’re about to propose to right after dinner, only a few minutes into the first season’s pilot episode!
All is not dreary in Budi’s life though; he takes solace in drawing comics depicting scenes plucked out from his own weary life, and uploads them onto his blog (Autobio Comic Artists, I’m sure you can relate!). His flatmate, Kid (played by Nas ‘T’ Muammar Zar of KAMI fame), is a heck of a joker and a playboy to boot, the exact opposite of Budi…which is also the reason why they help to keep each other in check.
Most of the time though it’s Budi who gets dragged along in one of Kid’s less-than-brilliant ideas which more often than not end in disaster. Then there’s Nina (played by the oh-so-sexy Julie Woon), Budi’s childhood sweetheart who comes into the picture when their paths cross again, thanks to his now ex-girlfriend-and-datuk’s-wife-to-be who commissioned her as her wedding photographer.
I’d hate to give away too many spoilers (all I’ve said above will happen in the first episode of Season 1) but you could probably tell from a mile away what’s going to happen between Budi and Nina, yet that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of watching the events as they unfold.
A lot of hijinks ensue throughout the series, ranging from awkward situations where Budi has to deal with a homosexual student from his tuition class with a knack for manipulation, to the introduction of a Blogger Girl who is all over Budi in Season 2.
You must be wondering by now, what does this TV series have to do with comics? You see, in almost every episode of Blogger Boy, the scenes that Budi turn into comic pages are rendered in Flash animation with accompanying voiceovers to liven up what would otherwise be a very boring sequence. This came as a pleasant surprise to me when I first watched it as no TV series (local or international) I know of has combined comics with live-acting in separate scenes to tell a story aimed at young adults.
Animation has been blended into movies quite some time ago, but comics? Maybe it has been done before, but this was my first exposure to something like this, and it was made in Malaysia, which made it so much better! Yes, my Malaysian pride is showing. (P/S: It also goes to show just how rare it is to see something Malaysian AND Original. Heh.)
Created by Lina Tan, Bernard Chauly dan Rafidah Abdullah, this series has a pretty strong story buildup in Season 1, only to be caught in a downward spiral in Season 2. The Season 2 finale felt too hasty, as if the producers were trying to cop-out of having to come up with a third season for Blogger Boy.
From what I heard from the artist who drew the comics for the series, Nikki Liaw (who also happens to be a friend of mine), there was a change of writers between the seasons, but so far I couldn’t find any online sources to validate that claim. If that was the case then it makes sense as to why the quality of Blogger Boy suffered in Season 2…such a pity though.
Nikki’s art used in Blogger Boy drifts toward a Japanese-influenced drawing style and her characters look oddly androgynous. I found it hilarious the way the producers used this point of contention as a plot device in the middle of Season 1, which is suspect was something of an inside joke as well, but I can’t be sure.
I managed to find some episodes of Blogger Boy on Tonton a while back, but now they seem to have disappeared. Well, if you’re really desperate to watch it (it’s only available in the Malay language, no dubs), you can try your luck on Google and get them through other blogs *COUGHwhichistotallyillegalbythewayCOUGH*…makes me wonder why hasn’t 8TV or Media Prima considered selling the series as a box set yet.
All in all, Blogger Boy is good as far as Season 1 is concerned, and I still adamantly refuse to accept the events that happened at the end of Season 2 as canon (i.e.: official version of events). It’s a fresh take on how comics could mesh with other media outlets to reach a wider audience, and I sincerely hope that somehow, someday, a TV series that incorporates comics-style-storytelling into its visual narrative will make it big globally.
P/S: I shall leave you with the Season 1 Wrap Video the crew made to commemorate…well, the completion of filming for Season 1 of Blogger Boy. I found it pretty sweet! Trivia: Most of the production crew for Blogger Boy were the same people who worked on another TV series, KAMI. The song used in the wrap video is an ode to that series. Also, here’s a link to the Malay Wikipedia Blogger Boy entry just for fun. Enjoy!