What is normal? And why does it matter? It’s Okay, That’s Love has reached the halfway point this week and while the show is holding lower on the ratings than its competitors (Joseon Gunman and Fated to Love You) this drama has built up a strong story full of interesting characters and concepts. Time for a Stone Cities halfway there review. Cheers!
For the first impressions post please see here.
Our Story thus far (in brief)
Jang Jae Yeol is a bestselling author and radio DJ. He has a troubled childhood – he suffered physical abuse alongside his Mother at the hands of his Step Father and brother. His life took a turn when his Step Father was killed by his brother. His adult life took another turn when his girlfriend plagiarizes his latest book idea, effectively ending their relationship and tarnishing Jae Yeol’s image.
Ji Hye Soo is a psychiatrist. She suffers from a panic disorder centered on physical affection (the romantic kind) due to finding out her Mother was cheating on her mentally disabled Father (which she discovered as a child). Dedicated to her profession, Hye Soo is compassionate towards her patients.
Hye Soo and Jae Yeol cross paths a few times before they end up living together in a shared home- alongside psychiatrist Jo Dong Min and waiter Park Soo Kwang. The quartet are interesting characters as they deal with their own problems while learning how to co-exist and become friends.
Rounding out the cast is Jae Yeol’s unreal (literally) friend Han Kang Woo, a young aspiring writer who is abused by his Father, Lee Young Jin, Dong Min’s ex-wife and Hye Soo’s co-worker, and Oh So Nyeo, a juvenile delinquent that works with Soo Kwang.
I like it. Its Okay That’s Love continues to be an unpredictable and introspective look at some amazing characters. I will say it again – this is not the “usual” Korean drama fare. While there is a romantic comedy thread woven into this storyline; the true (well, interesting) story is centered on the character’s and their hang-ups. The psychological theme, and the overarching question of “what is normal” keeps things fresh and…dare I say it, realistic.
It is refreshing to see characters like this– and a romance like the one between Jae Yeol and Hye Soo. They bicker, but not in a “cutesy” way. Their neurotic arguments are just that – and they reveal their flaws, their strengths, and their affection for each other in a few biting words that I find more relatable than many relationships portrayed in dramas (I mean, who doesn’t go on vacation with their significant other and have a few disagreements. I admit this is story is a bit of reality on steroids, but still, the reality is there far more than I see in half of the dramas I watch).
As I mentioned in the first impressions post, I needed some major revelations about Jae Yeol’s character to really understand him. I feel like the story thus far has delivered just that. Now we know why his hyung stabbed him, why he sleeps in a bathtub, and why he can come off like a bit of a prick at times. Hye Soo’s character has been equally as well fleshed out. Her anxiety disorder (caused by her Mother’s infidelity) as well as the solace she finds in her occupation make her actions (as guarded and sometimes hot headed as they are) understandable if not always relatable.
The writing is stellar, the directing is stellar, and the acting is stellar. There is not much to dislike about this show – other than a certain juvenile delinquent girl I want to slap five ways to Sunday. But I guess that is not even something to dislike – since it is making Soo Kwang wake up from his crush. If this writing and directing team had been able to show such a strong performance in their past work (That Winter the Wind Blows) I would have touted that drama as one of the best showings of 2013. As it stands, I will be touting It’s Okay That’s Love as one of the best dramas of 2014. There is just something to be said about such an original premise that is executed as well as it has been. I love it.
I totally love this show! I love what it is trying to convey about relationships, men and women’s social hangups, people’s reactions, and mental illness on a real level.
I was all about Jae Yeol from the first moment we met him. My heart breaks a little more each episode for him as his neurosis tend to spin out of control. What I love most about him is how he handles Hye Soo as a person and a woman of interest. He is willing to talk to her like a man, person, and friend; genuinely informing her of a situation from the other person’s perspective. Not only with words, he will act out like she does to make her feel hurt, good, etc. to get his point across.
I am not mad that Hye Soo is guarded. She does tend to harp on and on about things, she has to be in control, and she until recently was not willing to change. Now that Jae Yeol has stepped into her comfort zone, she is able to deal with the things that upset her and confront her issues head on. I was indifferent towards her but she has really grown on me in the last few episode–because not only is she saying she is willing to change, she is actually doing it.
The family aspect of the show is great as well. Both of these people have family that love them, despite all the craziness that ensue their everyday lives. Even if Hye Soo is annoyed with her mother, she undoubtedly loves her, or she would not have this intimacy disorder consumer her life for the past x-amount of years. The same thing can be said of Jae Yeol, his mom, and his hyung Jae Beom.
I hope this show continue to deliver the goody goods it has been so far. I had no expectations (But seeing Jo In Sung running up and down the streets of Seoul) but I am most certainly glad that I tuned in! Though, I am very concerned about Jae Yeol (Kang Woo) and his fingers and cough. Show if you are going to kill him off– I won’t be mad, but let me know well in advanced. Thanks.