Well, um, that was weird. SBS kicked off their new Wednesday/ Thursday drama It’s Okay, That’s Love last week and I am still trying to figure out what I watched. Time for first impressions.
Meet the Players
Jang Jae Yeol (Jo In Sung)
Jae Yeol is a bestselling author and radio DJ. He is also his Hyung’s favorite stabbing target. Literally. Fork stabbing. To the shoulder. Family is a beautiful think. Jae Yeol has some issues, apart from being forked by his big bro (he appears to have a touch of OCD manifesting in a paranoia of people entering his bathroom).
Jae Yeol’s life becomes more interesting when his girlfriend / f***-buddy of three years plagiarizes his latest novel (with the help of Jae Yeol’s childhood friend who works at his publishers). A lawsuit ensues, and before Jae Yeol can figure out his friend’s betrayal he is set up by said friend to live in a house with three very interesting roommates.
Ji Hae Soo (Gong Hyo Jin)
Hae Soo is a psychiatrist at a university hospital. She is a compassionate doctor, but a distant person away from her patients. She fears commitment. Her father is mentally handicapped and her Mother is having an affair. Hae Soo lives in a house with her first love (her sunbae Jo Dong Min) and Park So Kwang.
Jo Dong Min (Sung Dong Il)
Jo Dong Min is a psychiatrist at the same hospital where Hae Soo works. He is divorced, but still sees his ex-wife regularly. He can be a bit of a hot head but is good natured overall.
Park Soo Kwang (Lee Kwang Soo)
Soo Kwang has Tourette syndrome. He is being treated by Dong Min. He works as a waiter and lives in the same house as Dong Min and Hae Soo.
Han Kang Woo (Do Kyungsoo)
Kang Woo is a student and Jae Yeol’s number one fan. His father abuses him. He dreams of becoming an author like Jae Yeol one day. He can usually be found hanging around Jae Yeol, trying to get his idol’s attention.
Our Story Thus Far
The opening finds us at a bikini fest pool party, which is revealed to be a birthday celebration for author Jae Yeol. The party is cut short when Jae Yeol’s hyung, recently released from prison, busts in and forks him in the shoulder. Jae Yeol collapses with a smile on his face.
Next we see Hae Soo moving into her new digs, a messy house that is occupied by her new roommates Dong Min (her sunbae at the hospital) and Soo Kwang (who is moping around after being dumped by his girlfriend).
Twenty six months pass and we find Jae Yeol with his girlfriend, hanging out at home. The couple seem less than pie to the sky in love, and something fishy appears to be going on as Ms. Girlfriend makes a call about her book.
Hae Soo takes a call from Dong Min, asking her to appear on a talk show in his place. She agrees, and once there meets her opponent (this is a back and forth debate format), Jae Yeol. Not impressed with his smugness, she goes into the show resolute to “win”.
Hae Soo and Jae Yeol have a lively debate about psychopathology and offenders, with Jae Yeol seemingly winning the debate. That is until Hae Soo poses a question that has Jae Yeol intrigued and unable to answer. The show ends and Hae Soo heads out, leaving Jae Yeol hanging as he was set on getting her number.
Next we see Han Kang Woo catching up with Jae Yeol in the restroom (in an awkward peeking scene) where we learn Kang Woo is Jae Yeol’s number one fan (which Jae Yeol is well aware of and seemingly okay with).
Hae Soo goes out for drinks at a club, where Soo Kwang is dancing in the most beautiful way ever. Ha. At the club Hae Soo runs into Jae Yeol, and the two of them run into a recently released patient of Hae Soo’s who is off his meds and suffering from delusions. A physical altercation followed by a long, high speed care chase ensues, ending on a cliff (how dramatic) as the cops and an ambulance show up and haul the patient away.
Hae Soo and Jae Yeol are left on the cliff, both injured (her shoulder and his head) without any gas in Jae Yeol’s car to get home. Hae Soo calls the ambulance (they are both injured after all- why they did not take the first ambulance is anyone’s guess). Hae Soo eventually passes out and Jae Yeol decides to carry her towards the road, waiting for the ambulance. And then he passes out too.
They are treated at a hospital, Hae Soo waking up first and leaving. Jae Yeol discovers a note that Hae Soo left (telling him she would pay him for damages) and he calls her. Looks like somebody is interested. Hae Soo hangs up on him, not really caring what he wants (once she knows he doesn’t want money for the damage to his car that is).
Hae Soo is told she needs therapy of her own after she yells at a patient’s Mother, which makes her none too happy. Therapy or not, her teacher Dr. Lee (who happens to be Dong Min’s ex-wife) gives her a tough new case of a patient who compulsively draws the sexual organs of the people he meets.
We catch up with Jae Yeol finding out that his girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend now, has plagiarized his book. Now there are rumors that he is the one that plagiarized her work instead. Yikes. Jae Yeol meets with his publishing team, which includes his childhood friend Tae Young. After the meeting his best bud lets him know he has found him a new house, which happens to be the same place where Hae Soo lives.
Jae Yeol shows up at his new digs (after an extensive remodel of his room, causing buzz among his roomies), much to the disdain of Hae Soo. He meets his roomies, which is interesting to say the least. Later he drops in to see his ex (well, confront her about her plagiarism). Jae Yeol’s childhood friend, Tae Young (the one who gave his book to his ex) is currently at her apartment. Terrified, Tae Young climbs out a window and clings to the side of the building to hide from Jae Yeol. The plan does not work as Jae Yeol notices an extra coffee cup and Tae Young’s car. He tells his ex he knows who leaked the book (while she has words of her own- along the lines of “we were just sex partners and you never paid any attention to me”) and then goes outside to smash up Tae Young’s Jaguar. Ouch, that has to be one expensive mechanics bill. After leaving the apartment he calls his publisher and asks them to drop the lawsuit against his ex and pull his books from the shelves.
When Jae Yeol returns to his house he finds a party in progress as the roomies plus guests watch the World Cup. While at the party Jae Yeol learns of Hae Soo’s boyfriend (who Jae Yeol happened to see smooching another girl only days before). He lets that piece of information be known to Hae Soo and she confronts her boyfriend in front of everyone. This leads to the guests leaving and a hilarious fist fight breaking out between Jae Yeol, Soo Kwang, and Dong Min.
Days pass and the roomies give Jae Yeol the cold shoulder due to him revealing Hae Soo’s cheating boyfriend. Um, okay. One evening Jae Yeol knocks on Hae Soo’s door and offers her some wine (“we are in the same boat. My girlfriend stole my book, my best friend cheated me. Your boyfriend cheated on you”). She throws it in his face. He does the same to her, and then still offers her a drink. She stares at him, without saying a word.
This is not your run of the mill, everyday drama. I think that is why it is hard for me to really pinpoint my opinion of it- I don’t’ really have a precedence to compare it against. So far the pace is a bit uneven, but I can’t tell if this is a good thing or bad thing. That said, there are a lot of strong points the show has going for it right out of the gates apart from just being…well, different. The acting is what I would expect from Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin (amazing). The soundtrack is both plentiful and fitting (in a way that is as strange as the drama itself, I can dig the odd music choices). The characters are intriguing to say the least; complex people with complex relationships.
Speaking of characters -Jang Jae Yeol is kind of a prick. A quirky prick with some definite baggage. I don’t think there is any way to really spin his character into something he is not (as of episode 2), at least not without some major revelations about his character’s past and his state of mind in the present. He has done some nice things (helping Hae Soo chase her patient, carrying her when she was injured), but I can’t help but find him to be a little too smug and a little too abrasive to be called a “just a misunderstood nice guy with a couple of flaws”.
Hae Soo is strong willed, distant, and stubborn (but shows compassion and caring towards her patients). Yep, these are not easy characters to understand (or fall in love with) without a whole lot more story. Which means the right mixture of past revelations and joint character growth are needed before I start making sign boards for a non-existent It’s Okay, That’s Love fan meeting. Time will tell how effectively the show will build these characters into something more than what we have seen so far.
The supporting characters are equally out there. Soo Kwang is by far my favorite character thus far, which is only about fifty percent due to my love of Lee Kwang Soo and twenty five percent due to the character being named Soo Kwang (bahahahahaha). Jo Dong Min, Hae Soo’s sunbae, comes off as a hot headed, but good natured sunbae. Han Kang Woo (Do Kyung Soo in his first drama role) is effectively Jae Yeol’s stalker fan, who apparently gets the s**t beat out of him by his dear old Dad. The larger question is if this character is even real, but I suspect the way this drama is written could lead to half of our cast being the figment of our lead character’s imaginations.
So far this drama’s focus on social stigma, mental issues, interesting characters, and an oddly paced narrative have me wanting to see what will happen next. I expect the unexpected from It’s Okay, That’s Love which means my drama watching motto for this is “Anything goes”. Well, anything but normal. That would just be disappointing. Cheers!
I love it! I love it! Ok, ok, ok, let me explain why I love it so much– and I promise 30% of it has nothing to do with Jo In Sung running down the streets of Seoul. *Wink*
This show has already given us some interesting plots, characters, and beautiful scenery that are hard to erase from the mind. I like that I have no idea where the show is going; sometime it can be the most enjoyable part of watching a drama… not knowing what to expect.
Yes Jang Jae Yeol is some what of a jerk, but I believe there is a reason for it. Totally a defense mechanism, but you know, other stuff too. I like him– we would totally be at the house (his, mine, or the crazies) drinking wine and eating cheese together. He has a lot of stuff going on and he told people what he was about: “If you show out, I will show out. If you are kind, I will be kind.” That is the type of thinking I can roll with.
While I do not hate Ji Hae Soo, her throwing that wine in his face did something to me. She is strong, but almost elitist because she thinks she knows something that everyone else in the room doesn’t. Which is why I was immediately on board for her and Jae Yeol doing whatever. Friends, Lovers, or Nothing works for me. I love the vibe they both give off in a room. It can be volatile or comforting.
While I really love this drama, I will have to give it a little more time before we discuss a long term commitment. But I promise, If you keep Jo In Sung running up and down the streets of Seoul, I will always come back for more. *Wink*