Theory of Love Ep.6: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

This episode is titled after the most fitting film for this episode because so much happens here. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is famously considered one of the best romance films of my lifetime. Here’s the synopsis for anybody who doesn’t know:

A man, Joel Barish, heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and may be too late to correct his mistake.

That synopsis alone is so loaded for this episode and moving forward to the next episode since it will be from Khai’s POV. Episode 6 is full of Khai doing his best to build Third up and make him feel as good as possible before he shatters his heart. This is a semi-spoiler, but I feel like it’s worth talking about because of how apt this episode is titled. So much about memories and good memories and bad memories fills this episode and it’s just really well written.

In this episode, at one point, Third says in his narration,

“I want our world to have an MIB memory eraser. I want to forget all the times he treated me badly, leaving only the good times like this one now.”

Third’s love is so close to unconditional that it’s painful. He wants to only remember how

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Khai loves him as his best friend and not remember how Khai hurts him as the man he’s in love with. It’s so deep to title this episode after a movie in which memory plays such an important part of it all. There are scenes this episode where you see the little ways that Khai and Third are perfect best friends, such as the scene where Khai surprises Third with a gift and plays with him like best friends to even if the guise is that he’s shopping for his girlfriend. It’s really Khai spending a day with Third and Third enjoying their time together.

This episode is really hard to talk about without spoiling it so this review won’t be very long, but I have to say there’s another beautiful instance of how perfect this show’s writing his in the scene where Third is talking to Khai about his girlfriend, Praew.

Third: “Hey Khai?”

Inner Third: “I love you”

Third: “Your girlfriend is beautiful”

Inner Third: “I love you. Do you hear me? I love you but I can’t say it.”

That scene alone brought me to tears and I really can’t get over how good the writing on this series is. It’s so perfectly dramatic without seeming overdone or cheesy. There’s so much emotion on both sides of this story that you can’t help but be eager to see Khai’s side of things when it flips to his POV. Seeing Third suffer for so long makes you wonder what the writers can do to make you not hate Khai anymore and start to root for them getting together.

And through all of this we have to talk about Two and Un’s progression. I think I officially think Un likes Two, not Third, and their interactions in this episode are great. punUn using his knowledge of Two’s crush to get Two to work for him is very clearly a ‘pulling pigtails’ kind of situation. Also the way he takes him out to dinner and treats him special is just sweet. Un is definitely into Two and I have high hopes this will go somewhere for them. I love these actors and can’t wait to see how their relationship progresses. As for Bone and Paan, welllll there’s a little snag that I think will keep them from ending up together. It’s sad but who knows. Maybe their relationship will take another turn we don’t suspect. Either way, these two couples are definitely not overshadowed too much by the main couple of Khai and Third.

 

 

As always, Theory of Love is available for free on GMMTV’s youtube every weekend. Please support this amazing show by watching the official channel.

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Theory of Love Ep.5: “10 Things I Hate About You”

This episode of Theory of Love is stylized after the iconic 90s romcom 10 Things I Hate About You and I love it. We’ve had the reference to the confession scene in this movie before on this show, but in this episode, Third decides to make a list of all the things he hates about Khai to try and help get over him and, just as it goes in the movie, it doesn’t really work. Especially when the first ‘list item’ is “he drives too fast”. This is a family favorite in my house so a 10 Things I Hate About You episode is such a nice surprise.

We start where we left off last episode, with Third once again crying because Khai is a d-bag who doesn’t deserve him. Honestly, after this last bullshit discovery (no spoilers, but you’ll know if you watched the last episode), I am so ready for Third to move on and find someone else. I don’t know how they are going to make Khai redeem himself after doing something so horrible to the person is supposed to be his best friend. He’s a bastard who makes Third cry and I hate him for it. BUT I love the performances. Off is just mindbogglingly good at playing this character.

Third is shown to be vulnerable but not weak. He gets out of Khai’s house and tries to move on. I also find the video confession he makes to be so well done. It shows he’s going through this pain as his catharsis. He finally gets to say everything he feels out loud and nobody will ever see it, but he got those words out. He gets to tell the world how he feels. Also this piece of writing as he films and saves the video to his website with the ‘only me’ privacy setting is just incredibly beautiful. The montage is one of the better scenes in this series so far, honestly.

“I spent around 15 minutes to tell my story through words and tears. It’s stored as a memory and it will be kept here forever.”

I have to say, on the front of Two and Lynn and Bone and Paan, I get the feeling Two/Lynn won’t ever happen. It seems Two is doomed to be the boy in love with his friend who has a boyfriend she loves and will never look his way. There’s also a hint that there might be a potential for Two to join the other team and end up with Un, though I thought Un liked Third? Maybe we’ll see what happens there. Bone/Paan might but what we learn this episode puts a big damper on that. I won’t spoil it but, MAN! It’s dramatic. It’s a big one. It’s one of those ‘conflict of morality’ types of situations between the two of them. Either way, I really want things to work for Bone and Paan. They’re very cute together.

The biggest scene of conflict in this episode is very much one of my favorites. I won’t spoil it, but Two and Bone both take Third’s side and prove to be smart guys who want to be good friends. They take his side even though Khai is their friend, too. Too many times in these shows, people stay neutral or stay out of it, but this time they stand up for the friend who was wronged and protect him against the friend who wronged him. It’s such a refreshing showing of healthy friendships. They know Khai is wrong and they aren’t too afraid it will ruin their group dynamic to take Third’s side. They have a trust in their friendship that fighting won’t fuck up the dynamic. It’s so nice to see male friendships that aren’t tragically toxic but are very complicated and realistic.

One of the best scenes in this entire episode is the one in which Third is up to his usual ‘cry in the shower’ routine and Two stands outside the door to talk to him and try to help him work through his feelings. He gives one of the most moving quotes in the episode when he says to Third that he doesn’t have to be strong all the time. Third tells him that he’s angry at himself for being the Third that loves Khai, not the Third that is Khai’s friend, and Two tells him,

“But here and now, you can be Third that loves Khai.”

The way that Two loves Third as his friend and supports him and doesn’t give a flying twosadfart in space that he’s gay for Khai, who only cares that he’s hurting because of it, is so beautiful. That type of friendship is so wonderful and to see it here is so moving and I love it so much. The way Two just stands outside while Third breaks down after he tells him, ‘it’s okay for you to be vulnerable with me’ is so freaking amazing. You can see on Two’s face how much he is hurting for Third and that is friendship, folks. That’s true friendship. Romances are great, but friendships are what I love the most about REALLY well-written scripts.

This episode ends with what I hope is going to be a turning point because it’s very clear that Khai saw the video Third made when he was using his laptop. He shows up to make up and be friends again, but I hope he starts to understand what he’s done to Third all this time. The look on his face says it all. He knows what he did. He knows what Third feels. If he still hadn’t worked it out by now, he knows now. I cannot WAIT to see how this khaisawplays out because I truly want to believe that this whole thing is unreliable narrator and Khai isn’t entirely heartless. Sure, he did what he did. But Third’s POV means that we only see his perception of two Khais: His best friend who loves him and the slut who doesn’t love him the way he loves girls. Because Khai is too complex of a character for us to not get to see him earning his forgiveness. This show is too well written for the shitbag that is Khai to get with Third in the end without adequate ass-kissing and suffering on his own part. Now that he knows what Third is suffering through, I really have hopes this is going to go off big time and become EPIC!

As always, Theory of Love is available for FREE on GMMTV’s Youtube channel. New episodes go up Saturday and subtitles are usually available by Monday. Please support this incredible series!

Theory of Love Ep.4: “Crazy Stupid Love”

This one was a real turning point in the series so far. Episode 4, titled after the movie Crazy Stupid Love follows the vibe far more than the plot, because there’s some Crazy, some Stupid, and some Love all rolled up in one episode. Crazy Stupid Love is a classic and always enjoyable to watch.

Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the American dream. He has a good job, a beautiful house, great children and a beautiful wife, named Emily (Julianne Moore). Cal’s seemingly perfect life unravels, however, when he learns that Emily has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Over 40 and suddenly single, Cal is adrift in the fickle world of dating. Enter, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a self-styled player who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to be a hit with the ladies.

However, episode 4 is not a funny tale of navigating the dating field at middle age. Instead, it’s a lesson in broken hearts and lying friends. It’s also, however, one of the most incredibly written episodes of the series.

sausageIn this episode, the Gangsters are selling sausages – and yes, there’s just as much innuendo as you can imagine – to try and win the coveted #1 top sellers for the school fair so they can get first pick at studio time. Their draw is that they’re handsome and girls can do ‘whatever they want to us’ for buying sausages. However, in the midst of all of these flirtatious girls, there’s also a weird amount of Khai flirting with Third. As a viewer we can’t know how it’s going to go, but it’s pretty freaking obvious it’s not a good thing.

One of the things that make this episode so good is how it builds you up and then rips the ground out from under you. There are sweet moments where Khai and Third are just two best friends having the time of their lives and living it up. And there are lines that make you remember why Third can’t give up that tiny, lingering hope that Khai is worth all of this pain.

“Don’t sweet talk me like I’m the only one. There are hundreds who are cute for you.”

“No, only you is enough.”

Also this episode has a fair bit of development with the other two Gangsters and their (I assume) future partners! I haven’t spoken a lot about Bone and Paan, but while a lot of viewers don’t seem too keen on them, I really like the way Paan and Bone sort of flirt by talking about movies. In this episode, Bone asks Paan to come see a movie with him at paanthe festival, and it’s just so cute how eager he is to see her. She’s a beautiful film buff who comes to his coffee shop and takes his film recommendations, so it’s easy to see how he likes her. He’s known to be a player just like the other two, but with her, he’s the one smitten instead of girls all lusting after him. She’s also older than him, so it makes it even more interesting. He’s not after some hot freshman, he’s after a grown woman who shares his love of movies. I really hope things go well for Bone and he gets to be with Paan after all.

twounAs for Two, I see a budding chemistry with our old friend Un. I really thought Un liked Third, but I know how these dramas work, and when you have two characters that strike up this kind of animosity, it’s usually sexual tension in the end. I can’t blame Two, Un is hot as hell. I guess we’ll see how things go there, but I definitely think that this whole ‘Don’t go after my best friend’s girlfriend’ is code for ‘LET ME LOVE YOU’. Doesn’t hurt that Un is a known gay or bi guy, so it sets it up ever better.

But before you get too complacent, though I won’t spoiler you, I’ll end the review with the inevitable shot of where poor Third, the crying king, ends up at the end of every episode.

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Anyways, the episode was excellent, one of the best yet, and as always, you can watch Theory of Love for free on GMMTV’s Youtube Channel. Episodes go up on Saturdays, subtitles are usually out Monday!

Theory of Love Ep.3: Friends With Benefits

Episode 3 of Theory of Love is titled after the film Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. The synopsis of Friends with Benefits is as follows:

Jamie (Mila Kunis) is a New York-based executive recruiter who entices Dylan (Justin Timberlake), an art director from Los Angeles, to take a job at the New York office of GQ magazine. Finding that they have much in common, the two become fast friends. Feeling jaded by a number of broken romances, Dylan and Jamie decide that they are ready to quit looking for true love and focus on having fun. However, complications unfold when the two best pals add sex to their relationship.

I can definitely reassure you there is no sex between Third and Khai in this episode, but I can absolutely say that the domesticity of a couple comes through in heaps in this episode. Essentially, after living together for a while, they develop this wonderful(ly one-sided) routine in which Third is basically a sweet little housewife and Khai is a continued man-whore. It’s pretty painful to watch, but the issue is that isn’t all there is to Khai.

This episode shows us a unique side to their relationship in which they are so domestic together and so soft with each other. There are so many scenes where you understand why Third can’t quit loving the sweet man that Khai is when it’s just the two of them. With an Ikea shopping sequence straight from of 500 Days of Summer it’s easy to see the way that Khai gives Third hope even when you don’t trust it as a viewer. Below are the two scenes in question:

(Note: Though I have the link set to begin at 2:50 for Theory of Love, one some browsers, it begins at the beginning. Sorry.)

It’s not hard to understand why Third keeps that hope. He’s loved Khai for three years and he wants so badly to keep him in his life, whether as a lover or his best friend, and with Khai giving him these moments of happiness together, just the two of them, it’s so hard to blame Third for putting up with all the bullshit.

Even when Fahsai enters the story and rears her ugly head and tries to take over, and even when Khai prioritizes her over Third, you can’t blame him because every time Khai seems absolutely irredeemable and unworthy, something happens to make Third forgive him. I think one of the most significantly heartbreaking examples of this is when (minor hurtspoiler) Khai kicks Third out so he can get laid and he says he doesn’t know how long it might be because, “I can go all night long”. Third’s response is so freaking heartbreaking and yet you understand why he’s playing the long game and is willing to deal with all of the crap Khai throws at him.

As horrible as Khai is, the way he redeems himself is simple: He puts Third first when it matters. There’s a scene in this episode where a girl breaks something of Third’s and you hate how Khai is more worried she cut herself than worried about Third’s beloved item, and yet at the end of it all, he has the item repaired even though it’s an entirely replaceable item. It’s a reminder that he does love Third. That’s one of the most amazing things about this show: Third could so easily be absolutely pathetic. He could be annoyingly pathetic and you don’t give a fuck. But instead, Third is understandable. You feel for him because you see all the bad but also see the way when Khai is good to him, Khai gives him the love he craves and can’t give up. I think nothing is more perfect of an example of this than the quote that keeps Third from leaving after all the bad stuff this episodes throws at him.

“With girls I use my body. With you I use my heart.” – Khai to Third

Once again, Theory of Love is available for free at GMMTV’s official youtube. New episodes go up every Saturday and usually there are subtitles by Monday or Tuesday!

 

Theory of Love EP.2: “Love, Actually”

Episode 2 of Theory of Love is stylized after the film Love, Actually. Continuing with our romantic comedy trend, this is definitely one of the most famous romantic comedies in recent history. Though I don’t actually like Love, Actually, it is important that the viewer goes into this episode review with at least a basic knowledge of the plot of the film:

Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are David (Hugh Grant), the handsome newly elected British prime minister who falls for a young junior staffer (Martine McCutcheon), Sarah (Laura Linney), a graphic designer whose devotion to her mentally ill brother complicates her love life, and Harry (Alan Rickman), a married man tempted by his attractive new secretary.

This is very relevant because as we get into episode 2, we see how this entanglement of connected stories is all based around these four friends and their experiences in university as they study film here. There are various types of relationships, both romantic and platonic, and as we move forward, they’re all connected together by this group of Gangsters.

At the onset of this episode, the first and most important thing we discover is that of all the people in this series, Two is the REAL MVP of friendship. When he discovers that Third is in love with Khai, his only reaction is that, “Khai doesn’t date friends, what are you going to do?” In Thai culture, being gay still isn’t something widely accepted. Though there are tons of BL series coming out of Bangkok these days, in general there’s still the usual homophobia you experience even in the most tolerant societies. So to have a ‘player’ like Two (because remember, every one of them apart from Third gets the girls really easily) just roll with it like, ‘shit, my friend is gay and in love with our other friend, how am I going to help them end up together?’ is such an incredibly positive male friendship. Two in this episode becomes, by far, my favorite person in this entire story.

Another major even tin this episode is that we’re introduced to a new character who I believe will become significant: Un (or An? I’m not sure which it is but the subtitles say unUn so I’ll go with it), played by Earth Pirapat Watthanasetsiri. Un is shown to us to be a very popular guy at the school, and he’s also friends with Third. I’ve seen this actor in a lot of stuff, and I’m always super annoyed he only had one main role casting and that series was kind of shitty, because this guy is an incredible actor. I only hope we get some good scenes with him further along in the series.

There’s a very significant amount of moments where you get the idea that Khai knows how Third feels but doesn’t want him to confess and ruin the balance of their friendship in this episode. It’s so interesting to see how he looks at Third in certain moments when Third is sucking up the courage to finally confess something. I’m really enjoying the acting here. Off and Gun have a history of playing a couple and the chemistry is so well done that their acting together is almost better than their acting in scenes with other characters (which is common with actors who have good chemistry, hiring them together on other projects). I’m really happy with the casting for everybody in this series so far. As I said before, I’ve seen most of them in other things, but every character is so fully realized in a way that in these dramas isn’t very common.

The most enjoyable aspect of this episode is the way that Two and Third decide the best way to confess his feelings is to study up on famous romantic scenes in movies as a way to do it in a big gesture kind of way and not be so shy about it. The montage of him imagining various confession tactics is absolutely hilarious. The wig in the Dear Dakonda scene is hilarious. The best one of all, however, is the 10 Things I Hate About You football stadium confession scene. Anybody who has seen 10 Things I Hate About You is very familiar with this very famous scene in which Heath Ledger’s character confesses very publicly to Julia Stiles Character.

I won’t spoil how the actual confession ends up going, but let’s just say it can be summed up by the following quote from Third:

“His stupidness makes me want to give up.”

I can’t say that Two’s plan in the next phase is the best plan, but it lends to some seriously precious moments. There’s so much that could go wrong with his plan, but the domesticity of being roommates is almost as happy as it is painful, knowing that this could all go wrong so easily. I have no idea what will happen later on, but seeing them sharing a home only gives me hope that things work out for them. And please know, it’s not inevitable. These types of series aren’t always a happy ending. I went into this knowing that they man well not end up together, though I have serious hope they will.

The way this series plays so seriously into the movie theme is honestly one of the most unique things I’ve ever watched. The effort they go into in reminding you these are film students and this is all based on romance movies could be annoying and heavy handed, but instead it crosses over into the technical aspect as well. These series often aren’t the top notch of technical film-making, but this one has excellence in so many things, and for this episode, what really stands out to me is the sound work. The foley work in this one is really intricate. There are so many finite movements that have very proper sound work done such as the handling of headphones or the movement of very small items. In a Hollywood film, of course these are commonly well done, but in these types of series it’s really a standout to me.

And of course, in the same way, the story keeps coming back to the idea of screenwriting for Third. He’s a writer more than anything as his specialty in the ‘gang’ and for him to highlight ever point in his journey to be with Khai as a plot development is just beautifully well done writing.

“I don’t know how this is going to end, but I know that I’m in the stage of a turning point.”

I can’t wait for more of this wonderful series, and I hope some of you check it out as well. As always, you can watch Theory of Love for free on GMMTV’s youtube channel! New episodes go up Saturdays with subtitles usually by Monday!

 

Theory of Love Ep.1: “เพื่อนสนิท” (Dear Dakanda)

Though I haven’t reviewed anything in a fat while, I think that this is a series worth devoting my time to reviewing not only as a TV lover but as a movie lover, as well. I really think some of you will enjoy this drama quite a lot. Theory of Love is a Thai drama that, though I am a lover of Thai dramas in general, might be a master-class level of artistry that any film/TV lover could appreciate.

Following the lives of four third year film students, affectionately known as The Gangsters, Theory of Love tells the story of Third (played by Gun Atthaphan Phunsawat), Khai (played by Off Jumpol Adulkittiporn), Two (played by White Nawat Phumphothingam), and Bone (played by Mike Chinnarat Siriphongchawalit). The four of them are the most popular guys on campus because they’re all experts in their own area of focus and they’re handsome guys. Khai, Bone, and Two can get any girls they want whenever they want to get them with their popularity and good looks.

But Third has a secret: he’s been in love with Khai since they met the first day of university.

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Left to right: Khai, Bone, Third, Two

What makes Theory of Love so unique isn’t the (very common) ‘secretly in love with my best friend’ trope, but rather how this series approaches things. Ignoring the incredible acting, the intricate and perfect writing, and cinematography that some Hollywood films could learn a thing or two from, this series about film students presents itself in a way that every episode is titled after a famous romance movie and has Easter eggs from that movie throughout that episode.

This first episode is based on the film Dear Dakanda. I planned to review every episode and the movie it’s titled after and post them simultaneously, but I cannot find a single way to access Dear Dakanda, so this first episode will have to be one I don’t do that with. However, for both your and my information, let’s look at the summary of Dear Dakanda.

“Dear Dakanda” poses the question “What would you do when you fall in love with your best friend?”

Khaiyoi, a shy young art student, develops feelings for a classmate Dakanada. The couple become close friends, but Khaiyoi is unable to express his true feelings for her.

It’s entirely understandable why they started with Dear Dakanda to get us started in what will be a journey of ups and downs for a young man in love with his best friend.

Before getting into the actual first episode after giving an overview of what this show is about, I’ll begin by saying that Thai actors are like British actors: If you’ve seen them in one thing, you’ll see them in more. I’ve seen all but Bone in various other things, sometimes in multiple things, and I knew going in that Gun is one of the best actors I’ve ever seen on a screen. This person would already have been cast in an Oscar winning film if Hollywood looked for true talent outside of Western actors more often. And let me tell you, Third is possibly his best performance out of all the amazing ones I’ve seen.

gun1We meet Third doing something many of those reading this who follow me have done: reviewing movies. Our first interaction with him is watching Third record movie reviews for romance movies, including Dear Dakanda, for his vlog, which is shown to be very popular, but made even more so by the handsome man hanging around in the background of each video: Khai.

For the first episode, the intro scene is very long (like 10 minutes) before the title sequence because Third is setting up the entire story for us: he met Khai first day of khai1university when they were doing an activity where they wore characters from famous movies on headbands and the new students have to find the matching character from that same movie, and when he looked into Khai’s eyes, he knew. As we learn about who Khai is as a person through Third listing his flaws, we learn he’s not the type of guy that Third has any chance of getting to love him back.

“Even though Khai has countless flaws, those flaws can’t compare to this one: He makes me fall in love.”

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The use of lighting and cinematography in this series is so perfect at showing us the dichotomy of being in love with someone and having those warm, fuzzy feelings as a contrast to his acting. You can see the anguish in his eyes as he looks at the love of his life who can never know how much he loves him. It’s so smart and so effective in giving us this dream world feeling while the actor reminds us it’s just that, a dream world.

And then we have the INCREDIBLE intro-music for this series. This drama has one of the best OSTs I’ve ever heard, but this introduction fully embodies the spirit and feeling of this drama in that it is musically hopeful yet sorrowful? It’s almost nostalgic or wistful feeling where you know there is pain but there’s that lingering hope of ‘just maybe’. The music is just perfect for what we know is going to be a long, painful road ahead of us.

That said, it isn’t all doom and gloom. There’s a lot of comedy that doesn’t feel out of place, such as Third’s ‘cry fully clothed in the shower’ scenes that we get in this first episode. There are plenty of comedic moments and light-hearted friendship themes that it isn’t all drama and depression. I really enjoy that they find a perfect balance in this first episode to not put people off from continuing but rather bring a balance so that it’s not so heartbreaking you can’t take continuing with it.

In this first episode, we get a good sense of how badly Khai takes advantage of Third’s friendship, and it almost makes you want to hate him at points, but then he turns around and does something so kind and loving that you remember that, though he’s kind of a jerk, Khai loves Third so much, even if it’s just as his best friend. That’s the best part about Third’s character: You can’t find him pathetic, because for all the bad shit Khai does to him (not too extreme, but the little things build up), he turns it around and is a loyal, faithful friend who cares for Third too much for Third to give up on him just because he asks so much of him and doesn’t return the favors often.

Last thing I want to touch on is how Third’s first person narration of his internal thoughts is so perfect. I normally hate that sort of thing, but for once, it’s absolutely the best thing they could have done with this show.

“I love him, but it means nothing to him.”

gun3

They could have honestly let this entire show be carried on Gun’s acting alone, but they don’t. They put so much thought into every detail, into the narration, into the cinematography, into the writing of these utterly perfect lines, and even into making each character as perfectly flawed as possible but not irredeemable (at least in this first episode), and it all adds up to be one of the best romance dramas I’ve ever watched.

I absolutely cannot wait to get onto the next episode and review it as well, and I really hope some of you give this series a shot after reading this. This series can be accessed for free and with subtitles usually within 3 days of the newest episode going up on GMMTV’s official YouTube. Please watch the official YouTube to appreciate this wonderful drama and feel free to reach out to me at my Twitter to talk about it when you do!

(Also if anybody can get me a link to Dear Dakanda I absolutely welcome the help!)