I just finished what is hands down my favorite drama ever (out of the twelve that I’ve watched). I know, I’ve said this before about at least two other dramas, but I am completely serious about this one. Even compared to regular American shows that I watch, It’s Okay That’s Love is one of my favorite shows ever.
I was initially interested in the drama because I wanted to see EXO’s D.O’s acting, and I have to say, he really did surprise me. He has some real talent, and his character is just adorable. However, I quickly forgot about EXO once I really started watching this drama. While D.O is definitely an attention grabber for K-pop fans, he doesn’t even begin to cover what makes this drama so good.
Let’s talk about the story.
Put simply, it is a love story between a romantically scarred psychiatrist and a novelist with a shady past, but as the drama unfolds, a lot of the subplots merge into the main plot, such as a murder mystery and various cases of mental illness. The pacing of the plot is great. It isn’t rushed at all, but once I begin to get tired of one plot point, the story moves forward introducing something new for all of the characters. Like a true drama, it is full of twists, and I mean twists. Of the two biggest twists, one of them was spoiled for me, but even despite that, the drama was interesting enough that I was still on the edge of my seat for the entire show even though I knew part of what was going to happen.
This drama is an emotional roller coaster (with a pretty solid mix of happiness and sadness). I have to say that the writers and directors particularly outdid themselves with episode 13. This is right after the big twist of the story is revealed and all of the characters have to come to terms with reality. I was a mess of emotions while watching it. Just like Hae Soo, for the entire episode I felt as though I was about to shatter into a million pieces. Even now as I look back I feel emotional all over again. The episode covers all of the main characters in their efforts to deal with the situation.
The reason why I was so emotionally attached to this storyline is because it is realistic. The romantic relationships are not like the fairytale romances we get in most other dramas. More importantly though, this drama addresses mental illness. It is so hard for a person to experience a mental illness, and this drama not only addresses that hardship, but also the difficulties that are involved in being a loved one of a person with mental illness.
The mark of a truly good show is the ending, and I found myself filled with so much happiness and satisfaction coming out of the final episode. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster, but it really does have a truly happy ending.
There are so many really strong and likeable characters in this drama. First of all, Gong Hyo Jin’s acting is amazing in this. Even if her character could be frustrating at times, I was able to relate to her in every single scene. One of my favorite scenes is in the second episode when Choi Ho tries to apologize for hurting her and the way she breaks down crying is so painfully realistic. (Sidepoint: I also love her wardrobe in this.)
Of course, everyone has to love the suave and witty leading man, Jang Jae Yeol. While he does come off as a bit of a jerk in the beginning, seeing him grow in his relationship with Hae Soo will make you absolutely fall in love with him. On the flip side, his character development, or should I say character decline, is so well done. He begins the drama so high and successful, and to see him hit rock bottom in episode 14 is so heartbreaking. I have never cried so uncontrollably over a fictional show in my life. It is normally pretty rare for me to cry while watching something, but I literally had one of those moments where I was watching so intently that before I knew it my face was wet with tears.
Another of my favorites: Jo Dong Min or Hae Soo’s “Sunbae.” I always find myself loving the older brother figures in the show, and even if Dong Min may be creepily older than his peers on this show, his character is so essential. He really is the one to bring the main problem to light and in the end fix it. It is odd that he acts as both friend and therapist to half of the characters on the show, but it makes for a really interesting dynamic between him and each of his friends. While he is the harsh and blunt voice of reason, the care he has for everyone he encounters is really endearing.
Now let’s talk about Soo Kwang. First of all, his name is hilarious. Even until the final episodes I could never take his name seriously. I am pretty familiar with Lee Kwang Soo, however I know him more as a slapstick comedian on Running Man rather than an actor. He can be funny, but most of the time I see him as more obnoxious than anything else, so it was hard for me to like his character upon first encountering this drama. However, as the drama progressed, I grew to love his character more and more, and now upon finishing it, I argue that he is the best written character on the show.
His most obvious role is comedic relief, and he gets that down pat. There are some funny, and I mean laugh out loud funny moments from him. Yet at the same time, he goes through character development like all of the other characters. He is the immature little brother, but he also struggles with his own disorder and learns to live with it rather than victimize himself. His romantic relationship, though somewhat random and very obviously a side plot, is surprisingly realistic, and ultimately super sweet. The reason why he becomes my favorite character in the end is because he truly plays a supporting role for the main characters. He is amazingly appropriate at helping Jae Yeol and Hae Soo in the end, and those moments between Soo Kwang and Hae Soo in the last few episodes warmed my heart more than anything else.
There are a lot of factors that made this drama as amazing as it was, but the real reason why I connected so much with it is that it combined the two loves of my life: writing and psychology.
I think I’ve mentioned this on here before, but I am a psychology major (and I am actually getting going to be graduating from my university soon). It is my dream to become a therapist one day. Going into this drama, I had no idea that Hae Soo, the leading female character, was a psychiatrist, but I absolutely fell in love with her (and her job) through watching what she did on a day to day basis.
And of course there is Jae Yeol, the writer. Since I was in third grade (about 8 years old) I have loved writing. I doubt I’ll ever become a professional novelist like Jae Yeol, but I know that as long as I have the mental capacity, I will always be writing stories. (In fact I am in the middle of a huge fanfiction project that I can’t wait to share with you all.) Every time Jae Yeol mentioned anything about his writing, or when did things like keep Hae Soo up until 4 in the morning because he was on a role in his writing, I found myself connecting personally to it all.
In addition to the great story, I love that we were able to see aspects of both of their careers in this drama. Both are jobs one doesn’t normally see in a Korean drama, and I think they portrayed both jobs accurately enough.
Now, because I am pretending that this is a review, I have to include my critiques. There were four main points where I feel this drama fell in quality. It is surprising though, because the bad is minor, but so obviously bad that I am surprised the writers did not pick up on any of this. (Some small spoilers here, but it’s not going to ruin the whole show for anyone. It isn’t anything you wouldn’t already expect to happen.)
1. Why the hell did they keep bringing Choi Ho back into the story? After he cheats on Hae Soo (this isn’t a spoiler; it is one of the very first scenes of the show), he should have been kicked out and gone. However Dong Min kept bringing him back and for some odd reason he and his girlfriend are included in one of the final scenes of the show. Why? Except for in the very beginning there was no point to his character.
2. Hae Soo’s mom was really despicable, for the entire drama. Of course all of the characters had their faults, but there was always a reason to be sympathetic towards them. With Hae Soo’s mom, I disliked her from the beginning and disliked her all the way until the end. There was one slightly touching scene near the end in which she gives Hae Soo advice based on the mistakes she made in her own life, but for the most part, she is just an unpleasant woman from beginning to end. It is one thing to make mistakes, but the mom didn’t once seem to regret anything or even feel sorry towards her daughter or husband.
3. Hae Soo makes such a big deal for the first third of the show how it takes her such a long time to get close to a man, yet once she is with Jae Yeol and they spend that first night together, her problem seems to have gone away completely. Every other aspect of their relationship is very realistic except for that one point. When she was with Choi Ho, he complained about how they had been together for months and not once did she let him sleep with her, yet she and Jae Yeol seal the deal in what seems to be only a few weeks of knowing each other. Supposed “disorders,” which is what Hae Soo believed she had, don’t just go away like that.
4. What the heck was going on between Dong Min and Young Jin (Hae Soo’s boss) this entire show? Dong Min mentions he has a wife in the very first episode and then again in the last episode, but for the whole rest of the show it looked like Dong Min and Young Jin were romantically involved with each other. For a while, I thought Young Jin was his wife from the first episode, but apparently the two of them had formerly been married, but now are divorced, and throughout the show they go back and forth about why they got divorced and whether or not they still had feelings for each other. It is so confusing and annoying at times because Dong Min would be so wishy-washy with Young Jin that it really made you forget that he totally had a wife (and apparently kids according to Wikipedia?) in the US. Dong Min’s whole romantic situation was just unnecessarily complicated.
Even with the critiques though, I would recommend this drama to everyone, whether or not you’re into Korean entertainment. It is just such a good story, entertaining from episode to episode, and is so good at allowing the audience to emotionally connect to so many of the characters.
There are so many quotable lines from this, but in the end my favorite one is by none other than Soo Kwang. In reference to one of the characters with a psychological disorder, he says “He’s not crazy; he’s sick.” As a budding psychologist, this makes me so happy to hear.
It’s Okay That’s Love is now on Netflix so go watch it! (If you don’t have Netflix, it is also on DramaFever.)
Question of the Day:
Did anyone else watch this drama? How did you like it?
Also, please be considerate of those who have not watched this yet and put a big “spoiler alert” before your comment if you think it might ruin something for someone.
#NowPlaying: Best Luck by EXO’s Chen. One of the OSTs of It’s Okay That’s Love. I liked this song before I saw the drama, but now I just love it even more. This was the song that played at the end of a lot of the episodes. The soundtrack to this drama is just as amazing as the drama itself. They had the perfect song for every moment. As I go back and listen to the OST, I actually get emotional again as I am reminded of the different scenes of the drama.