Friday, September 19, 2014

Drama Review: It's Okay, That's Love

It's official, It's Okay, That's Love is the best Korean drama ever. But now that it's over and as a blogger that I am, what am I supposed to say about the drama that blew my socks off? A ride on the emotional roller coaster might take some time to heal, but it was the best ride in a long time.

Let me just make myself as to why I think this drama is the best. It hurts so good. I'm one of those masochistic watchers that crave a tear or two. Some of my favorite movies include American Beauty, Like Crazy, and Before Sunset, all of which made me sob like nothing else (I also love (500) Days of Summer but a sob-fest that is not, unless you're Tom. Or Summer watching The Graduate). There's something about crying to movies that makes it feel so good.

That being said, I don't think I've ever cried as hard to a drama as much as It's Okay. Innocent Man got close, the classic Sorry I Love You is a sure bet tearjerker. But nothing, that I've watched at least, was as raw as It's Okay. The tears weren't forcefully punched into my face accompanying somber orchestral melodies and the alligator tears produced by the actors. It's the sort of rawness that a lot of people hate watching on movies or TV shows since it brings them emotions they're trying to escape from in real life. But what can I say, I like my movies to hurt.

It's a risky move for a drama airing on a major broadcasting channel to portray these kinds of emotions. It's Okay ended with a 12.9% rating, only 6th in its time slot. Those numbers aren't terrible, but they're not exactly the best. Especially with all the wonderful romcoms that are out (some of which I've enjoyed), who in their right mind wants to end their day sobbing?

I know not everyone is going to share my fondness for this drama. As I've mentioned before, it can be an emotional roller coaster. In one episode I can be laughing my ass off and a few minutes later I'll be bawling like a maniac. Yeah, it plays with your heart. But it's just so good. To me, everything just fell into place. The actors, the writer, the director, the cinematography, the songs. It all fit perfectly like puzzle pieces. Take one aspect out and it wouldn't be the same.

As I've mentioned in my First Take that this drama is smart and real. It deals with grownup feelings and relationships without dumbing the audience. A big factor of this is the actors themselves who would play out each scene and emotion with full awareness and subtlety that it never goes overboard. It's also thanks to writer Noh Hee-kyung who decided to keep the drama's metaphorical feet on the ground. I could imagine all these "crazies" running about would create the best makjang series ever, instead she along with director Kim Kyu-tae decide to keep it on the drama down low.

I also appreciate its depiction of mental health. It can be a doozy trying to explain the storm that's happening in someone's head. I don't think their goal is to portray mental illness exactly as how it is. They're not trying to impress a board of medical professors. But what they did try to do is shed a more sympathetic light on this thing that is usually seen as scary and mysterious. Your everyday person doesn't need to know the required positive symptoms necessary to diagnose schizophrenia, but they do need to know that it is relatively common (1 in 100 people), it can be managed by medicine, and with proper care they can have a normal life like anyone else. In that sense, the drama succeeded.

And no, it's not a perfect drama. Throughout the series, I'm often baffled by Hae-soo the Psychiatrist (Gong Hyo-jin). First off, in the earlier episodes, she would consult her cases with Jae-yeol (Jo In-sung) of all people. Or how she has a heavy psychological burden (by way of her sex phobia) when she's a practicing psychiatrist. No one can be free of mental disorders, but her condition is a bit much for someone who's supposed to ease other people of their emotional baggage. My biggest complaint is mostly that, and it's not even that significant as her phobia would later be overcome and she would later only discuss work with her colleagues. Some also say the resolution to these mental problems were a bit quick, but hey, we're not watching a documentary and there's a limited time here. They were dealt with in the best way a drama could. No need to dwell in unnecessary angst.

And with that I'm going to say It's Okay is the best drama not just of this year, but ever. It hit all the right notes in the right way. This throne might be taken by Secret Door (premiering in a few days!). But for now, It's Okay takes the number one spot. Sorry Sassy Girl Chun-hyang, you're a personal favorite but this drama is too fantastic.


  1. You're back! Haven't seen a post from you in ages!

    I am excited to watch this drama! I've heard pretty good reviews about it, including your one. Hehe, I'm excited to see how they depict mental illness.

    1. Yes I'm back! My internet went dead for a week (the horror!) hence me going MIA. This drama is really something, so I hope you enjoy!

  2. IOTL was soooooo good!!! :D

    Anyways, you have been nominated for the Sunshine Award!!! Yaaaay!! :D

    1. Yes it is!!!! I will miss it so.

      Also, thanks for nominating me! Hopefully I'll be able to reply within the week. It's been a hectic week at work oh boy.

    2. Take you time!! BTW to answer your question on my blog, call me Vee!!! ;D

  3. It's okay,that's love.
    Not since queen of the classroom (Japanese version),has a drama made me think the way this one has.When it started off first, i thought i might just give it a 5/10, then it veered between 6 and 7, for a long time, then 8. but I still wonder why i didn't want to rate it higher.It's one of the best written dramas I've seen. The two leads are excellent and for the most part are backed up a wonderful cast. Being specific, the punk girl isn't really in the same league. It seems to be going in one direction, then goes in another unexpected one. Well at least for me, who hadn't read much about it before. I don't know how anybody who deals with mental health issues would rate this, but i thought it portrayed them honestly. It brought home to me the fact, that anyone can suffer from mental health problems, and just because you look okay, doesn't always mean you are okay.
    i see it won a plaque of appreciation at the Korean Society for Schizophrenia arch
    Lee Sung-Kyung (the punk girl) is actually 24. Maybe her acting deserves a bit more credit, than i was giving her..
    nice soundtrack,
    In regard to the emotional scenes, from what i remember for the most part, they were done in a low key way and were all the better for it.

    1. Well the punk girl (I think her name was So-nyeo) was a minor character, which is why maybe her character wasn't as rounded as the others. Saying that, I think she was portrayed well. She wasn't running on one note and actually had different layers to her.

      I'm not exactly sure either how actual psychiatrists will feel. I'm sure they have a lot more to say. But compared to other dramas dealing with mental health, this was the most humanistic which I appreciate. They glossed over a lot of the problems which I think is the biggest complaint I've seen so far. But in general it was written with poignancy. I could imagine this situation heading off to the makjang realm of things, but I'm glad they didn't.