It's official, social media's fallen hard for Thailand's newest Boys' Love (BL) series. Officially titled 2gether: The Series, the show, which currently averages 2 million views per episode on YouTube, is based on a novel by Thai writer JittiRain. It's one of the many BL shows openly produced by the country, although none of this viral caliber has garnered more fame than 2gether.
The story follows a college freshman named Tine (Win Metawin Opas-iamkajorn) who finds himself being followed by a relentless gay suitor. In a ploy to shake him off without directly having to break his heart, Tine's group of friends suggests that he fake-date Sarawat (Bright Vachirawit Chiva-aree), their university's enigmatic and reserved resident heartthrob. Though both apprehensive about the plan at first, Tine and Wat's reluctant fake relationship eventually turns into something more.
Below, we round up the reasons for its overnight fame and why you should give it a chance too! And no, it's not just because of its swoon-worthy leads, though the promise of constant eye-candy definitely helps.
It's a lighthearted comedy.
Even in the year 2020, romantic comedy storylines involving queer leads are a rarity, which is what makes 2gether a breath of fresh air. Amid the admittedly limited number of available LGBT media, a staggering amount of films and TV shows seem to only know how to depict the struggles of the community, most of which end in separation, and often even death.
2gether, on the other hand, adapts none of that. It's a lighthearted, feel-good romantic comedy laced with mounds of kilig scenes enough to have you cheezing before your laptop screen like an idiot for hours. The best part? It takes a tired heteronormative narrative and serves it to the Asian queer community on a silver platter. Fake dating? Check! Enemies to lovers? Absolutely! Incredibly cheesy one-liners? They definitely hit differently when you can finally relate to the images onscreen.
Sure it's not perfect. There's a lot of cringe-worthy scenes, problematic lines, and the acting may be questionable at times, but at the end of the day, it's a series that positively depicts the nuances of a very real love story between two people of the same gender. And for queer consumers in dire need of a frothy pick-me-up that they can identify with, 2gether definitely delivers.
It's unapologetic in its depiction of its LGBT characters.
It's true. Gay people kiss too. They don't just affectionately touch foreheads, unlike what most local LGBT TV shows weighed-down by unnecessary censorship would lead you to believe. 2gether treats its two male leads like how any other heterosexual couple caught in a romantic storyline would be treated: perfectly and utterly normal. There's no need for guessing at a "subtle" or subtextual romance onscreen. What's more, the queer characters aren't just limited to Tine and Sarawat. In fact, aside from them, the show explores two more BL couples on the side and, believe it or not, no one ever questions it! What I'm saying here is, 2gether is unapologetically gay and we're absolutely here for it.
Fun fact: Frank Thanatsaran Samthonglai, who plays Wat's younger brother Phukong, and Drake Sattabut Laedeke who portrays Mil, Phukong's crush, have already starred alongside each other as love interests prior to 2gether. The two played the leads in the 2018 Thai romantic-comedy 'Cause You're My Boy.
It's a mirror image of what could be.
Let's call it what it is. 2gether is a fantasy. A gay-utopia if you would, where no one's ever vilified for loving who they love. No matter how progressive the world has gotten, it's still not usual for a group of seemingly straight college boys to casually throw around the idea of fake-dating someone of the same gender, just to get out of a predicament. Nor would a completely heterosexual person agree to it without batting an eye or worrying about what others might say or think of them.
That said, no matter how unrealistic, what it presents then is a possibility. It proves that, although we're nowhere near it, an open and accepting society such as 2gether's version of Thailand can and should definitely exist.
Watch 2gether on YouTube now! New episodes come out weekly so stay tuned!