Hot Guys Getting It On: HIStory3 Make Our Days Count

History3 delivers regressive fan service in lieu of a new storyline and it’s as horrible as it sounds

The second installment of HIStory3 for this year is a regressive detour into fan service that has neither the coherence nor the charm of previous storylines.

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Supportive friendships is the one thing the show does well but even that is formulaic

One thing I usually say about the HIStory series is that it does good queer stories even if it doesn’t do other things right. But HIStory3: Make Our Days Count is not working for me at all. Which is a shame because I was looking forward to it a great deal. However nothing can hide the fact the show is badly written, poorly characterised and has nothing to say.

This story about popular and oblivious Xiang Hao Ting (Wayne Song) who falls for the studious and impoverished highschool student, Yu Xi Gu (Huang Juan Zhi) (whom he used to bully) seems regressive – annoyingly so. HIStory1 was little but cliched Fujoshi baiting and I have been enjoying how the series has been maturing and evolving through HIStory2 and then HIStory3: Trapped, which for all its many many many many flaws was ambitious storytelling with mature leads.

Not that my issue is with the highschool setting itself but with the awful seme-uke “gay for you” nature of the main relationship and its associated stalking, harassment and abuse. I felt like the first few episodes were basically a relationship post on the “Am I The Asshole” reddit. (Yes, Hao Ting, you are the asshole).

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Call me “seme”

I feel so sorry for Xi Gu who just wants to work and study and has this succession of classmates harass, bully, assault, stalk, abuse and finally sexually harass him. Also I have no idea when or why our male lead suddenly decided he liked him; the switch happened suddenly and without much preamble. The romance essentially came out of nowhere and, while I could believe that Meng Shao Fei’s pursuit of Tang Yi in TrappedĀ could easily become a romantic pursuit, a bully swapping relentless harassment for wooing does not work as well. It’s no surprise that Xi Gu assumes that the sudden sexual element to the harassment is merely a new ploy by the boy who has been torturing him.

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The terrified expression just means you’re hiding your feelings well

Of course the other relationship is just as bad, with an older man, Lu Zhi Gang (Thomas Chang), dating a highschool student, Sun Bo Xiang (Wilson Lui). One particularly revealing (and slightly gross conversation) involves the older man denying he has a romantic interest in Xi Gu because he’s far far too young – despite him being the exact age as his boyfriend. No one – even the writers who put that dialogue on the page – seem to have noticed the problem here.

Bo Xiang is headed for heartbreak here and I don’t have sufficient confidence in the writers to give them the benefit of any doubt on how they’ll treat this relationship going forward. Especially since the writers inserted an unnecessarily graphic sex scene between the two of them that, again, felt like fan service rather than a genuine narrative development. Also did I mention he’s still in highschool – gross!

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It’s only statutory rape if there’s a complaint!

I could argue that the relationship in HIStory2: Right or Wrong was equally as disturbing but there I felt like the show was saying something and had put some thought into the characters and the relationship. The whole thing was both wrong but also quite romantic and it was up to the audience to work out where the line was and whether they were fine with it or not.

I honestly feel like this iteration of HIStory3 was written to a formula containing things people liked about previous HIStory stories and BL generally. They don’t have anything to say, they just pulled elements together as fan service. There is nothing that subtle or interesting about it. It’s a copy and paste job that celebrates the worst of BL while romanticising harassment.

Worse than that, “gay for you” as a plot device has a tendency to whitewash homosexuality out of the picture, something that’s both ironic and frustrating in a series that’s supposed to be dedicated to queer romance stories.

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“I don’t like men, I just like you!”

Writing gay love stories without the gay may be a standard element of Yaoi but that doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to be evolving past that. And this is where I see this series as mere Fujoshi baiting. And that is a depressingly regressive move from these particular writers.


7 thoughts on “Hot Guys Getting It On: HIStory3 Make Our Days Count

  1. Everything about this latest installment in the HIStory series is not just disappointing, but also just plain problematic. In the first episode when Hao Ting has a make out session with his girlfriend in the school infirmary, my first thought was that this drama was going to give us an unapologetically bisexual character. I was looking forward to a, hopefully, interesting exploration of queerness, but no, that is not what we are getting. Instead, like you said, it’s the inexplicable “gay for you” that somehow seems to be a favorite trope that does an injustice to complexities of sexuality, queerness, and those who are not raging heterosexuals. It’s like it’s some romanticized notion of true love for this one specific, and idealized, human being, while still maintaining a destructive heteronormative identity.

    And the age inappropriate couple? Eww. Just no. By making the younger man (really a child both in age and level of maturity) the aggressor in the pursuit of romance and sex, the drama has also managed to reinforce the arguments of hordes of abusers throughout history: they wanted it.

    I want to rewrite this drama. Instead of an inexplicably “gay for you” bullying male lead forcing the very vulnerable Xi Gu into a relationship, how about a young man discovering his queerness, and a slower, more introspective, coming together between this two characters as they get to know each other and themselves. Additionally, lets have an adult male who firmly maintains appropriate boundaries between himself and the teenager. Oh, and if the kid forces a violent kiss on him, calling the authorities is not out of line because that crap, no matter the age, is not okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Really well said. It’s Xi Gu’s vulnerability that really upsets me the most about this. He is an exhausted young man, physically and emotionally emaciated, who has no friends or family and suddenly has this giant overbearing boy essentially forcing him into a relationship. While this particular age may be long behind me now, I remember enough to know that lots of vulnerable, unloved children end up in sexual relationships with the first person who pays attention to them. And the Nice Guy concept exists for a very good reason, since there comes a point when you can be tricked into thinking they deserve a reward for their attention. Xi Guy to this point has shown zero interest in anyone, male or female, no hints of sexuality at all. So it’s impossible not to think his sudden desire for intimacy has more to do with him servicing what he thinks are Hao Ting’s needs rather than being a true expression of his own.

      As for the other relationship, I wish to God that Zhi Gang had stuck to his guns around the fact that Bo Xiang is too young. That would have been a way more interesting plotline to explore. And then I wouldn’t have to be subjected to scene after scene of him treating his so-called boyfriend like a toddler or the show’s excruciating decision to reassure me that it’s all okay because Bo Xiang is a top.

      Also, yeah, use condoms people. Use. Condoms.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I could not agree more. You – and the above comments – have pointed out all the many disappointing, and even offensive, things about HIStory3 Make Our Days Count. I’ve watched all of the HIStory series, because I want to be supportive, so we can hopefully see more dramas about LGBT couples. However, this particular series is so bad that I can barely watch it. And when we finally got a more explicit sex scene, it was really horrible. I hated everthing about it, for the reasons already set forth by the original blogger and the comments. I was so disgusted by the sex scene – apparently unprotected sex between an adult and a kid who is so socially and emotionally immature that he seems even younger than his probable 16 years. And the messaging – he’s a top so it’s fine – is so offensive.

    And although it is far better than the chicken hawk’s relationship with the kid, the main couple’s relationship is also nothing to write home about, again, for reasons already well expressed. I particularly liked the comment about Xi Guy being “physically and emotionally emaciated,” because it so perfectly describes what I see when I look at him. I want him to have parental figures who take care of him, not a bully turned “I’m-not-really-gay-but-want-to-do-you-right-now” demanding lover). Like everyone else – or at least everyone who isn’t so titillated by the gross sex scene that they’re actually saying this drama and the actors deserve major acting awards! how can anyone’s taste be THAT bad? -I see this as a big step backwards for this series, and I’m disappointed. For a while, it seemed that, despite the low production values, mediocre to bad acting, and weak story lines, the series was actually improving. Now, I’m not even sure I can watch the rest of this hot mess. .

    Liked by 2 people

  3. MODC is a really good blood, even think the ending ruined it all, but still u didnt had to use the word “GROSS” or “DISGUSTING” EVERYTIME. it makes the whole article look homophobic.

    Like

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