Saturday, January 20, 2018

Once Upon a Time {Seasons 1 - 6}


WHERE TO START.

I want to review this, but it's like . . . wow.  There's so much to cover. XD  So many mixed feelings, so many squee-worthy ships and cringe-worthy moments.  There was a lot that I loved about this show, and a lot that brought on multiple facepalms.

To begin with, I'm reviewing seasons one through six because I just recently finished the sixth season, and after season six the makers decided to "take it in a new direction," so season seven and on will be quite markedly different from the previous seasons, according to everything I've heard. 

I Am Not Pleased With This Idea.

I mean, I understand that some of the actors want to "move on" and pursue other roles (really, the nerve of these people -- pretending they should have any control over their lives), and that the show was getting a touch repetitive, but that's what TV shows do!  They're repetitive by nature.  SO DEAL WITH IT.


*le sigh*  Anywho, here I am.  I might try to keep an open mind about the "new Once" (if I'm feeling especially magnanimous), but I'm also quite ready to keep the first through the sixth seasons as "what really happened and how it really ended" if I need to.

Let's get on with the review!  (I think it'll be relatively spoiler-free; if I do include a spoiler, I'll also include a warning.)

// LES CHARRIES //


Okay, so the characters are, on the whole, AWESOME.  Yes, just about every one of them annoys the ever-lovin' heck out of me at times, BUT, I'm also pretty darn invested in seeing each of them get "a happy ending." 

If you hate black-and-white baddies and prefer "complex villains," then LET ME TELL YOU. There are so many of them that this show might actually make you wish they'd revert to the black-and-white idea. One moment you'll hate them and the next minute you'll love them till death do you part and cry your internal fangirl's eyes out over their miserable pasts.


Then, of course there are the "heroes" -- and even they're not exempt from grappling with "darker tendencies."  This is good, usually -- since everyone struggles with selfishness, hate, power-hunger, etc., not just those who give into those feelings -- but the way in which the makers did it leaves something to be desired at times.  I'll probably talk more about this in the "Messages" section, so I'll leave it there for now.

Regarding specific characters . . .

Well, let's start with Emma Swan.  THIS GIRL IS A TOTAL #BOSS, Y'ALL.  I'm a fan of her. <3


She's a solid character throughout the whole show, I'd say.  I mean, obviously, I wish she'd made some different choices (*aHEM*), but on the whole, she's great.  And guys, she is so strong.  I love it. <3  But again, I'll probably save it for the "Messages" part.

Then there's Killian Jones.  He's my other favorite. ;D  (One of them, at least.)


He probably had an edge on the other characters from the start because 1) I'm a sucker for "tortured soul" characters who've Made Bad Choices but then See the Light, and 2) he's Captain Hook, and I have a soft spot for Captain Hook to begin with. <3  HOWEVER, as much as I love him and am pleased with how he turns out, I AM STILL VERY UN-OKAY WITH THE WHOLE MILAH THING.  Like, excuse???  What?!  NO, MA'AMS.  Nope.  Nossir.  BADLY DONE.  (Plus, it's just . . . kind of disgusting?!  Like, she's clearly a lot older than him and THEY ARE CLEARLY NOT A GOOD COUPLE.  Uh-uh.)  So, anyway, yeah, just wanted to get that out there:  I love Hook to bits but I am NOT OKAY with his Milah thing, and I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for that aspect of his "tragedy."

. . . But I still love him. ;)


Oh, OH, and RE-FREAKING-GINA.  THIS GIRL.  I love her, too, because MAN, talk about a character arc.  Regina works so hard to change and overcome her darkness and I STAND AND APPLAUD, MAM'SELLE.


I also want to talk about Rumplestiltskin, but as I say below, he needs his own category. :-P

Suffice it to say that overall, this show has some fantastic characters.  I think it's neat how a lot of the secondary characters weave in and out of various episodes/seasons.

My personal faves (not necessarily in order):  Killian Jones (Captain Hook) // Emma Swan // David (Prince Charming) // Henry // Regina Mills (The Evil Queen) // Zelena (The Wicked Witch of the West) // Aladdin // Jasmine // Belle // Neal/Baelfire // Ruby (Red Riding Hood) // August (Pinocchio) // Jefferson (The Mad Hatter) // Roland // Elsa & Anna // Merlin

Villains that are the most fun to watch: Cruella // Hades // Peter Pan // The Black Fairy // The Snow Queen (even though she's more of a pitiable character than a straight-up villain)

// LE RUMPLE //

(Yes, he needs his own category.)


So, this guy drove. me up. the freakin' wall.  But he is a fantastic character.

He's unpredictable (until you get used to his shenanigans, and then you can basically predict that he's going to be unpredictable) and kind of a terrible person, but he's also complex and kind of a hurting person.  A lot of the time he's basically like:


But he's very necessary to the plot of the whole show, and life has definitely been unkind to him.  So . . . yeah.  THE EMOTIONS ARE CONFUZZLED.

I hated how self-serving he was, how deceitful he was, how much he profited by other people's pain, how he always seems to have a loophole to exploit, and all his other problems.  But I also felt for him and wanted him to redeem himself.  The one part at the end of S5 when he DID THE UNTHINKABLE THING with Killian/Emma made me really, really bitter against him for quite a while, heh. *nervous laugh*  But during S6 I started feeling bad for him again and wanting him to do good.


Since, like I said, he always seems to have a loophole, I still sort of have a suspicion that someday we're going to find out that he's been orchestrating absolutely everything that's happened in all the seasons for "some mischievous reason of his own".  BUT, assuming and hoping that I'm wrong in that suspicion and that he's actually just doing what he looks like he's doing, I say, "Bully for you" about the whole S6 finale.  I'll be so proud of him if it turns out to be genuine. <33  *SPOILERS!* (Plus, you know, he does end up having to kill both of his parents, and that's A Little Rough on just one guy.) *END OF SPOILERS*

Plus, there's the issue of Belle, and there are Many Feelings there. <333

// LES SHIPS //


THE SQUEE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE.  

There are so. many. ships. in this show!  My favorites are Captain Swan (ALWAYS AND FOREVER), Aladdin and Jasmine (<333), and Rumbelle (even though I GET SO MAD AT RUMPLE).  I also ship Ruby and Dr. Whale, but we won't go into that.

As I mentioned in another post, S6's take on Aladdin and Jasmine made me unreasonably happy.  Like . . . I don't even know.


^^ This scene really Touched Me and I don't know if I could explain exactly why?

Rumbelle is a Laden subject, feels-wise and Rumple-himself-wise, but they're still beautiful and it still makes me sad (most of the time) whenever they're apart.


AND THEN THERE'S MY FAVORITE. <3333333333

I would just like it known that this is unfair.

Captain Swan is my favoritest of all favorite things.  (Not really, at all.  But they're one of my favorite things, sure.)

They're just . . . *happy sigh*  They're perfect.  (Ish.)  And that's all there is to it.


// LE SCRIPT //

The script is good in terms of plot twists (see below) and bad in terms of a few other things, such as corny lines, flawed messages, etc.  For example, the running line of "I will always find you."  StaaaAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHPPPPPP.  ENOUGH.  There were also times, especially in the S6 finale, where you could tell that someone was about to say something suuuuper cheesy and you were muttering under your breath, "Don't say it, don't say it," and then they did.  Like this:  " . . . A happy ending."  "No! . . . A happy beginning."

PLEASE DON'T DO THAT.


Really, though, you just have to take this show with a grain of salt.  (Several, possibly.)  A lot of the plot hole resolutions are rather silly (like that one part in S6 with Hook and a certain figure in Greek mythology . . . heh . . . ), so just bear with it.  (Unless you don't want to, of course.)

// LES PLOT TWISTS //

WELL GOOD GOLLY GOSH. O_O  This show sure has the element of surprise down pat!  A++ for the plot twists, script team!  I tell ya, they connect people in so many different ways that you lose track of who's related to whom and why.  


And it's always (or nearly always) really Cool and Dramatic.

// LES THEMES & MESSAGES //

The good stuff first:  This show is good about emphasizing the power of hope and the fact that light always wins in the end.  

I'm also always interested when a story incorporates a character struggling against some power that might be stronger than them, and how that character's will can help or hinder them in their battle.  So I liked how that came into several of the different plotlines, especially *SPOILERS!* in S5 when Emma is fighting to overcome being the Dark One.  Like the scene when Nimue is trying to persuade her to kill Merlin, and we see her struggle, but her desire to do what's right wins out and she's able to see through Nimue's lies.

"I'm not nothing, I was never nothing!"


I just . . . my baby. *wipes tears* :') *END OF SPOILERS*

It's cool how Once shows that "baddies" can change if they want to, if they're willing to work through setbacks and failures and get back up and try again, cliché as that sounds.


Now, obviously, all the villains are ultimately responsible for their own choices.  They can't blame everything on their circumstances.  But I think the picture above holds a lot of truth, too, especially for the villains of Once.  And what's really cool about the show, again, is how it gives these villains a chance to change if they want to.

There are bad messages too, I believe, but I'm actually kind of blanking on specifics.  Mainly, the bad thing about most of the messages is how overt they are. :-P  There's no real attempt to conceal them, which isn't always a bad thing, but when they're so in-your-face, it is -- it robs the good ones of some of their power by making them somewhat corny.  


// LE CONTENT //

*sigh*  Unfortunately, there's a lot to cover for this, too.

Magic:  Lots and lots of magic.  Sometimes the characters are "born" with the powers and sometimes they learn them, and there's not that big of a delineation between the two.  I was always relatively comfortable with it, except for one instance of what is basically a séance.  That crossed a line for me.  However, seeing as nearly an entire season takes place in the Underworld and I was mostly okay with that, perhaps I need to be more consistent. :-P  (Speaking of the Underworld season, yes, that's a thing, so naturally there's some inaccurate stuff going on, theologically speaking.)  There's a running theme in the show that "All magic comes with a price," which is good, at least.  And there is more of a distinction between "light magic" and "dark magic."  Anyway, I guess your level of okay-ness with the magic in this show will depend on your okay-ness with different kinds of magic in other stories.  I don't know exactly what I think of it all, myself, but as you can see, it didn't stop me from watching the show.

Language:  Your typical TV show stuff.  Nothing very strong, but there definitely is some profanity.


Sex:  *big sigh*  *facepalm*  Whyyyyyyy.   Okay, so, there are never any explicit sex scenes; it's only ever implied.  BUT it is implied, on a semi-regular basis.  Which is Quite Frustrating. :-/  Some of the "affairs" seem to be adulterous at first, and even though it's later discovered that most of them technically aren't, it's still rather disturbing that the characters -- whatever the extenuating circumstances may have been -- were willing to do that when they didn't know that it wasn't adultery.  (But, then again, there is at least one legitimately adulterous affair that Does Not End Well for anyone involved, but the fact of the adultery itself is still not shown to be wrong, per se, but rather a sympathetic, tragic sort of conundrum . . . *sigh*  I can't explain it without Spoiling Things. :-P)

They also include a lesbian couple (briefly, like one or two episodes) in one of the later seasons.  And I'd understand (though not agree) if it worked with the story, but it really didn't seem to?  It seemed a lot like a "token gay" moment, which didn't seem right on several levels.

Again, as you can see, none of this bothered me so much that it kept me from finishing the show, but it is something to be aware of, potential watchers.

Violence:  I mean, it's there, but it's never really disturbing.  It's kind of laughable sometimes, actually, due to the often terrible special effects, which leads me to my next point.

// LES VISUALS //



Ehh . . . not so much. So much of the show is CGI/other special effects, and so many of the special effects are just . . . so bad. And I'm like "why though" because it's a fairly popular show and I find it difficult to believe that funding is that big of an issue for them, so . . . why aren't the special effects better? Whyyyyyyyyy????

As for the costumes, some of them are quite nice and beautiful and some of them are totally unforgiveable. Like, the fairies (especially Blue). Get a load of this:


What?!?! What?!?!?! Are you kidding me?!?! That is just . . . no. (And y'all can't tell from the picture, but she has blue tights on underneath.) I just don't understand that costuming choice. xD

// LES SEASONS //



With the exception of the first season, I think most of the seasons follow a pattern of having two big "conflicts" per season, with the second one usually somewhat unresolved at the end of that particular season.  Am I right about that?  

Anyway, I think each season has been interesting and enjoyable in its own way.  My least favorite is probably the first one, just because of Reasons, but it's not bad, necessarily.  My favorites are prrrobably S3, S4, and S6.  But I also really like the second one, I think . . . BASICALLY I LIKED MOST OF THEM. :-P

(Oh, and the musical episode in S6?!  Like . . . I don't know whether to laugh or face-palm or both. xD  I mean, it was neat the way they incorporated it into the whole Emma vs. the Black Fairy thing, but . . . it was still pretty cheesy?  And like, what?  I do kind of wish that they hadn't used that song at the very end of the episode for the Rather Momentous Event which occurred (because how dare they make that cheesy!!!), but the rest of the episode was pretty cool. :)  It was fun to hear the cast singing, and most of them had such good voices!

// LE FINALE //



(I call the last episode of S6 the finale because it's the end of Once as we knew it. *cries a little*)

Without spoiling things, I think I can say that I was very pleased, overall, with how it turned out (even though some things seemed to be resolved a bit too easily).  I mean, it was a little bittersweet seeing the "preview" at the very end for the seventh season, but at the same time it was very Nostalgic and pretty Good. ;)  

AND THE PART RIGHT BEFORE SAID PREVIEW WAS ALLLLLLLLL THE FEELS-Y. <3333

// LES FAN VIDEOS //

Because what's a TV fandom without its quota of feels-inducing fan-made music videos?  Here are some that I love; I hope you'll enjoy them too.  (Because my evil plan is to Draw You In by showing you all these Cool and Emotionally Evocative videos. :-P)

Note:  There is language in at least one of the videos ("Wildest Dreams").  And I don't thiiiink any of these are unduly "spoiler-y," but there are clips from most of the seasons, so exercise caution and all that. :-P








// OVERALL //

On the whole, I love this series and I'm thankful I got to watch it.  Its weakness are the mediocre visuals, the annoying content, and some of the inaccurate messages; its strengths are the messages that are accurate, the ingenious plot twists, the gushy ships, and the thoroughly amazing and endearing characters.  <333

I'd recommend it (with a few warnings) to anyone who enjoys fairytales, retellings, character-driven stories, and fangirling!

Have you seen Once?
What are your thoughts?



27 comments:

  1. "There were also times, especially in the S6 finale, where you could tell that someone was about to say something suuuuper cheesy and you were muttering under your breath, "Don't say it, don't say it," and then they did." Hahaha. This was so well put. I CAN RELATE!! I've never seen this show but I do this all the time with other shows. I'm thinking particularly of When Calls the Heart right now because that's what we're currently watching and yeah...THEY NEVER LISTEN WHEN YOU TELL THEM NOT TO BE CHEESY!! NEVER! It's very frustrating!!! :P

    That gif from Saving Mr. Banks! <3 <3

    I don't know if this would be my type of TV show or not, but this was great fun to read! Thanks for a fun post!

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    1. *aHERM* Yes, When Calls the Heart is . . . well, it's somethin'. :-P (I do like it. But . . . yeah, it's just SO cheesy. It's very frustrating indeed. :-P)

      D'yes! <3

      Hm, I don't know, either. But thank you for reading! :D

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  2. I've only seen the first ep, but my older sister ADORES it and has shown me some Regina/Robin clips. WHY DID THEY HAVE TO KILL ROBIN?!?!?!?!?!??!? THEY WERE AMAZING TOGETHER!!!!!!

    Oh, and how dies National Treasure or Beauty and the Beast sound for our movie night?

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    1. Bailey, I KNOW RIGHT. I was seriously shocked and Rather Affected when he died. *sniffles*

      Eeee, yes please!! I'll email you. :D

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  3. I'm not done with Once Upon a Time, But gosh darn it, once I get done with the other show I'm watching, then I'll sit there and finish watching it, because good lord this show is soo good AND I LOVE REGINA SO MUCH

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    1. YOU SAID IT, KID. Regina is SUCH a good character. I love her. <3 And yaaasss, do it. Finish it. :D

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  4. I loved OUAT up to Season 5, and then I just felt like there was too much reused stuff and none of it was fresh, but I'm so happy that they've done well enough to keep the seasons going (and I am curious to see where they take the New Once).

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    1. Hey, that's fine -- to each their own, right? ;) It WAS getting repetitive, but it didn't really bother me. Who's your favorite character?

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  5. I've seen the beginning two seasons of Once. And yes. I'm so glad you gave Rumple his own section. XD All magic comes with a price.
    And Kilian Jones. He's cool too. :D

    D.G. Snapper | silverphoenixwriter.blogspot.com

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    1. I really like the second season! Because, well, as you said: Kilian Jones. Quite and Indeed. ;D

      Haha, he just needed it. I have so many mixed feelings on him. :-P

      Thanks for commenting!

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  6. I've always been a little confused as to how this TV show works. And I was never really that interested in it, to be honest.

    Buuuut.


    *sighs* I really HAVE to watch it now. :P I love character-driven shows, and honestly I've had a thing for TV shows lately. I'll not be able to watch it anytime soon because I'm pretty much halfway through 5 TV shows right now ("Suits", "Limitless", "The Good Doctor", sort of re-watching "White Collar" and "Lark Rise to Candleford"... not to mention trying "Cranford") so it'll have to be put on hold. BUT it will also be put on my to-see list. :D

    Just out of curiousity, were there any actors/resses you knew that played in it? :)

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    1. *squeals* Yay!! I convinced you?? That makes me happy. ;) I hope you like it! I don't know for sure if you would, but it's definitely character-driven. <3

      (Ooh, ooh, how is "The Good Doctor"? Because Freddie Highmore. <3) Haha, wow! You really do have a lot of TV series going at the moment! :D Those sound interesting.

      Hmm . . . I was only introduced to most of them through this show. But I think I figured out that I had seen one of the actresses, Rebecca Mader, in the "Samantha: An American Girl Holiday" movie. *checks Google* Yep, that's her! I also knew the girl who plays Cruella de Vil in the fifth season from a version of "Ivanhoe." :) There may be more, but those are all I remember?

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    2. I haven't watched much of The Good Doctor but from what I have seen I really like it!!!

      (Just have to suck in my breath for some of the surgery scenes. :P)

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    3. Okay, cool! What is it like inappropriate-content-wise?

      (Heehee. ;D)

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    4. Well, as I said, I haven't seen much, but of the few episodes I DID see, it was reasonably clean? More innuendo, or "implied" things, but nothing extremely explicit?

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    5. Okay, cooleo. :) Thanks!

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  7. Okay so I have to tell you how Emotional your first picture of Emma made me. Because of the Quote. "All that pain . . . and misery . . . and loneliness . . . and it just made her kind."

    Because DOCTOR WHO.

    (That's seriously one of my favorite Doctor Who quotes and I just have a lot of feelings.)

    This show sounds a teensy bit like Doctor Who, actually? Fantasy and #feels and redemption arcs and such. I might have to try it, cause I lurve Doctor Who. As I think you might be able to tell ;-) )

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    1. Okay, so that quote is from Doctor Who? I'd wondered . . . Anyway, yes, I love that quote, and by all accounts it appears that DW has some fantastic quotes in general. <3

      Hmm, maybe? I've never watched DW, but I have a friend who used to watch it, and she loves this show, so . . . "Fantasy and #feels and redemption arcs and such" is a perfect description of this show. :D

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    2. It is, yes! Actually it's from one of the very first DW episodes I watched, so I remember it well . . . and yes. Good & meaningful quotes Abound, on that show. <3

      Well, maybe I should try it!! :D It sounds like it might be my sort of thing.

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    3. Daww. <3 It definitely sounds like they do! <3

      Yes, try it!!! I can't guarantee you'll like it, obviously (as I said before, it's quite cheesy in parts), but I think you'd like some of the characters and the reimagining of the different fairytales and such. :D

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  8. What a delightfully long and fun post to read! I love Once and have watched it all. Rumple/Gold is my absolute favorite followed by Regina. Basically those two are the best and my whole reason for watching. Well, not my entire reason for watching, LOL, but most of it! And I love Belle. I like Emma and the Charmings... but they were never my favorites. And you will not be surprised by this, given that I like the third season of Robin Hood the best, but I'm really enjoying the current season of Once. All the characters I was bored with in Once are gone, and all my favorites are left. I've got Regina and Gold and *person who's kind of a spoiler as I wasn't expecting them so not saying their name lol*. And Gold and Killian are police detectives which is just The Best. I could watch a whole show just about that. And, so sorry!, but there's no Emma to get in the way, so I like this Killian much better. (I liked Neal, he's probably my third favorite ep, so always had a hard time with anyone else with Emma.) So yeah, depending on where they go with the second half of this season, it may end up being my favorite. (Although it did take me a couple eps to get my head around the changes and expectations and repeat story lines, yet again before I got into this season). I like the new characters a lot, particularly Alice. And there's one Rumple-centric episode that ... well, just LOVED it. Might be my favorite ep of the series. And now I want to go watch it!

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    1. Thanks, DKoren! Yaaaasss, I love it, too. <3

      Haha, well, I can't blame you, really. ;D Haha, thanks for not telling me the spoiler! Ach, well, we shall have to agree to disagree on favorite characters and all that. ;D (Oh, I LOVE Neal, too! I had a hard time deciding who I wanted for Emma, but eventually decided on Killian.) Ooh, is that Rumple-centric episode one where it shows his later life with Belle? I don't know much of anything about it, I've just watched the clips on YouTube. :)

      Thanks for the fun comment! :D

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    2. Yep, that is indeed the Rumple-centric ep. Loved it so much.

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    3. Cool! I liked what little I saw of it, so I'm glad to hear that it was good all around. :)

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  10. Obviously, having not seen the show (yet), I don't have much to say except two things....
    1) OKAY I'M PRETTY SURE I AM ALREADY A KILLIAN AND EMMA SHIPPER. Are they on the same shelf as Robin and Marian? Because I feel as if they could be a Top Couple like that. (That Wildest Dreams video thoughhh <3)

    2) This review is absolutely FANTASTIC. Great job, m'dear. I heartily enjoyed it. :D

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    1. Okay first of all THANK YOU FOR COMMENTING ANYWAY. <3 I 'preciate it. :)

      1) YES SERIOUSLY I THINK YOU'LL LOVE THEM. (I mean, minus the not-so-great moral issues.) Ooh, well . . . I mean, as you know, our beloved Robin and Marian are on a level all their own, BUT they're definitely close. ;) Lots of feels and happies and feels and all that. :) (ISN'T THAT VIDEO JUST <333)

      2) D'awwww, THANK YOU!! I'm so glad. :D

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Comments make my day. Seriously. I'd be so happy if you commented. :)

I've gotten really bad about not replying to comments in a timely manner, but it's always my intention to reply eventually, even though it doesn't always happen.