Imagine waking up one day in a drama world written by your sister in which everything has become the complete opposite of reality; your best friend is in love with his archenemy… and your lover is your nemesis.
Aired from January to April 2020, WHY R U? is a Thai BL/gay television series that follows the aforementioned synopsis. Revolving around two main couples – both who started in conflict but gradually develop intimacy by way of revelation and character dynamics – the rom-com features both Thai drama’s one of a kind hilarious scenes as well as intense, dramatic moments, which is also unique to the Thai entertainment industry.
WHY R U? opens with a dream sequence in which our main character Zon finds out his best friend Tutor is in a relationship with Fighter. Later on, Zon is approached by his archenemy, Saifah, who starts showing affection towards him – obviously causing him to freak out and run away. The second part of this dream is being depicted through the use of animation which is quite surprising to me and is indeed a fun new discovery.
Now a little bit more insight into the character relationships:
Zon is an online sci-fi author aspiring to create a masterpiece and one day get a book deal with a publishing house. Much to his annoyance, his younger sister, Zol, has a thriving online audience for her BL novels with characters based on real people. Due to a bet with his sister, Zon begins spending too much time trying to write, ultimately leading to him attaining poor grades. After being scolded by his parents for not studying properly, his writing is cut short. On the other hand, his archenemy Saifah is the uni’s popular musician who often ends up quarrelling with Zon whenever they meet – in public or privately.
The other main couple in this series is Tutor, a smart, hardworking engineering student whose family used to be wealthy before going bankrupt, and Fighter, an arrogant senior who dislikes Tutor and would often find himself getting on the former’s nerves. To pay back his parents’ debt and support himself, Tutor takes up multiple part-time jobs. While Tutor is said to be wise and acts rationally, Fighter is the emotional and aggressive kind. Similar to Zon and Saifah, their relationship commences in despise and argument, only to later discover their true feelings for each other.
As the plot progresses, Zon discovers that his sister’s novel was based on Saifah and himself and demands that she take it down. After being refused, he swears that there is no romance between him and Saifah. As it starts to thunder, Zol states that if Zon is untruthful with his words, he will be transported into the novel. Zon disregards her warning and starts to see strange occurrences around him; with the couples from Zol’s novel coming to life.
More to his surprise, he and Saifah have been chosen to perform at the uni’s concert as a duo. Though not willing to, the two of them begin regular practices on campus and at Saifah’s house. Now spoilers alert(!) the two of my favourite couple moments take place during this period: the pouring rain scene where the couple starts running hand in hand and the sleepover after which Saifah develops interest towards Zon. After weeks of rehearsal, the duo puts on a splendid show and starts to admit their feelings towards each other.
In short, their relationship is one that a lot of us adore; cotton-candied, sweet, fun and heartfelt. The development from rivalry to friendship and then to romance is one of the reasons I love this show.
Back to Fighter and Tutor, they met each other at Freshers’ Fair (not Fayre, cos you know ;-)) and when Tutor asked Fighter to write his name on a card, the latter spelt it wrong and had a small argument afterwards. Later on, Tutor’s childhood best friend Hwahwa persuades Tutor to help Fighter with his English to help improve their relationship. At Hwahwa’s birthday party, Fighter leaves early but is confronted by Tutor to ask him about his feelings for Hwahwa. Tutor suspects he was just toying around and does not have a relationship and suggests that Fighter actually likes guys. Annoyed by Tutor’s suspicion, Fighter pulls him in and kisses him (internal screams).
After a few teaching sessions, Fighter discovers Tutor’s struggle and one night, Tutor asks if Fighter likes guys. Fighter hesitates and does not answer, but instead kisses Tutor again and that is when their relationship blossoms and escalates quickly.
Though the couple’s relationship looks smooth and sweet, it also faces challenges; for instance, when Fighter’s father discovers their relationship, he forces Tutor to leave his son alone so that he can follow the ‘social norm of marrying a woman and having a family.’ Fortunately, supporting characters help them along the way for them to get together: Tutor’s sister encourages Fighter to follow his heart and love bravely, Zon, Saifah and Hwahwa support Tutor during challenging times. Eventually, Fighter’s father accepts their relationship and the series concludes with our main couples taking a vacation to the beach and celebrating their love, be it friendship or romance.
I binge-watched this series during August – after almost 5 months of not leaving my house. My first reactions were: “Wow this is a hot mess,” and “damn it is actually quite fun to watch.” I think that especially in these trying times, we all just need to embrace the hot messiness of good television to keep ourselves sane and active. And I think that incorporating animation is innovative. As a viewer, I got even more drawn to the show because of the bubbly nature of the plot supported by cute animated characters, but it is quite sad to see that this element was not sustained throughout after the first episode.
As a conclusion, my WHY R U? journey has reminded me of the kind of friendships I forged during high school, ones that build each other up and would definitely last a lifetime. 7 billion smiles on this planet, why r u the one? 😉
WHY R U? is available on both YouTube and Drama Cool. Simply search ‘WHY R U series’ on YouTube or you can go to this link to watch the series for free.