K-Drama Review: – It’s Okay, That’s Love

This review is not spoiler free at all and will ruin the entire show if you haven’t seen it. Trust me, I’m not just being dramatic, okay? Read at your own risk.

This drama is one that just doesn’t leave you. I’m writing this review after watching this drama for the second time, a year after watching it for the first. I loved this unconventional show and its powerful message of acceptance and love just as much the second time as I did the first. The drama centers around psychiatrist Ji Hye Soo and author-DJ Jang Jae Yeol as they meet, overcome their initial dislike for each other, and fall in love. But this is one drama where the show doesn’t end with the two leads getting together; instead the couple is faced with their biggest crisis after secondary love interests, family disputes, and differing professions are dealt with.

bloggingwithdragons.com - Watch Kdramas- It's Okay, That's Love Review

What is so great about this drama, is that every single character in this show is seriously messed up in some way. I love this. None of this disillusionment that some people just plain have it more together than the rest of us and that these lucky “together” people in turn deserve love more than those dysfunctional people that are weighed down by dealing with heavier things. And Ji Hye Soo, a psychiatrist, is not exempt from the problems that plague the rest of the characters either—she has a fear of love and intimacy after watching her mother cheat on her disabled father for decades. Her roommates are similarly troubled; Park Soo Kwang suffers from Tourette’s and a lack of understanding and support from his parents that seems to find its way into his relationships; and the other roommate, fellow psychiatrist Jo Dong Min is on his second marriage and still harbors feelings for his ex-wife and co-worker.

Major Spoilers Ahead.

 
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So when Jong Jae Yeol temporarily relocates into this house of crazy, as Hae Soo, Soo Kwang, and Dong Min’s new roommate, he seems perfectly in the right place. After all, a wildly successful and charismatic man who can’t sleep outside of his bath tub, suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, and is unable to function normally when working on his next novel, and has an estranged brother who once attacked him with a fork isn’t too out of this eccentric norm, right? Wrong.

 

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When Jae Yeol and his relationship with Ji Hae Soo seems to be blossoming and he’s happier than ever, it is revealed to the audience that his protegee, Kang Woo, excellently played by Exo’s D.O., is nothing but a figment of his imagination created in order to deal with the guilt from his extremely messy and traumatic childhood. This guilt stemmed from the death of his abusive stepfather and the incarceration of his innocent brother. I don’t think I’ve ever been more shocked in a drama, EVER.

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Now you see him…
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now you don’t.

What is even better than this HUGE twist and the shocking way it is revealed to the audience, is the beautiful way the cast of characters, down to the extended cast, deals with this knowledge. They rally around him, accepting him, loving him, and each helping Jae Yeul in his own way. Soo Kwang innocently stays overnight at Jong Jae Yeul’s new place, bringing food and beer and comfort, as well as a puzzle that he uses to poignantly and simply explain mental illness and the stigma it brings. Then, he goes on his way. Hae Soo spends the night, comforting a physically and mentally detiorating Jae Yeul into sleeping into his own bed for the first time. And when his illness culminates into a car crash and a hospital stay, she risks her career as a psychiatrist and breaks the hospital rules to visit him, gently challenging her disbelieving boyfriend to look for the inconsistencies in Kang Woo’s existence.

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With this logic at his disposal, Jae Yeol at last has a breakthrough and realizes that Kang Woo has always been without shoes. When he confides this in Hae Soo, she touchingly gives Jae Yeol a pair of shoes to give Kang Woo as a parting gift. And I dare you not to cry during this scene. I dare you.

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Hye Soo comforting Jae Yeol after he says goodbye to Kang Woo.

My only complaint about this show (other than Hye Soo’s constant disappearing and reappearing bangs), is that after Jae Yeol finally accepts his diagnosis of schizophrenia , he also bids Hye Soo goodbye, telling her to try to forget him for a year, and if she can’t, to come back to him. I thought this was really unnecessary in a show built around the premise that love means acceptance, even when presented with problems that aren’t the norm. I also didn’t like that it seemed harder for Jae Yeol to say goodbye to Kang Woo, than it was for him to say goodbye to Hye Soo, the woman who watched him fall apart and merely wanted to help him pick up the pieces. I wanted to see more of the two of them working together to conquer this, but I guess there simply wasn’t enough time for that in the drama.

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But perhaps this is just the critical side of me coming out to nitpick at a show that is ultimately daring in its complexity of characters and its fearlessness in representing all kinds of mental illness. It really is unlike any other show I have seen yet. Regardless of this hang up, I was pleased when Hye Soo comes back from her trip to the house of crazy, where her welcome is, of course, fittingly bizarre, but happy. The show remains true to its quirky self with the ending, where the audience finds Jae Yeol and Hye Soo married and pregnant.

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Literally everybody and their exes happily double dating.

Ultimately, I think what I love the most about this show is not that it deals with mental illness, but with mental health. It shows that what is healthy for each person is different and that is does not have to fit inside the “normal” or “together” box. If healthy and happy for you is being best friends with your ex-wife and going on double dates with her and her new beau, do it. If your brother stabs you in the shoulder with a fork, and not the heart with a knife, he loves you. If you have to sleep in the bathtub to get a good night’s sleep, do it, but find someone who will crawl in there with you. Converse with a barefooted figment of your imagination? Find someone who will buy that figment shoes. Because ultimately, it’s okay, that’s love.

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Love is messy, but that’s okay.

PS- The soundtrack of this show is just as beautiful as this story, make sure you listen to it!

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Watch Kdramas - bloggingwithdragons.com - "It's Okay, That's Love" Review

Posted March 16, 2016 in K-Dramas, Watch

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