Wai Series: A Preliminary Statistical Study
In recent years, “series wai” (Y[Aaoi] series) have been increasingly popular among youth interested in Thai media. Series wai is defined as television drama series that thematically focus on romantic love and partnership between two cute and/or stylish young men. Despite the fast-growing popularity of this Thai genre, there is a lack of systematic data collection and empirical analysis. The present study has three aims: (a) to report preliminary data on the number of Thai series wai; (b) to examine the way in which the wai phemonenon should be observed based on quantitative analysis; (c) to explore whether or not centering romantic male–male relationship as the main plot has relationship with the parental guidance rating of series wai, assigned by production companies.
The results indicate that (a) the wai phenomenon should be observed through the series, whose plots center around romance between good-looking and effectiminate young men (wai-couples); (b) the main plot featuring male same-sex romance statistically associates with the parental guidance rating of series wai, assigned by their production companies.
The study argues that the following factors played a role in the unstoppable rise of series wai: (a) the embeddedness of sao-wai culture (b) the 2007 genre shock in the Thai mediascape, (c) potential business opportunities, and (d) smartphones and social media. It concluded by stating, that the cultural odorless-ness of wai media might be the key making the genre popular among East Asian youth.
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