Hi! I’m taking a break from studying and exams to write this post. I’m not quite ready to create a book review yet so this is going to be a non-bookish post, but I’m really excited to share it with you guys nonetheless. While I was on my reading hiatus (aka reading slump) I decided to start a subscription to DramaFever because it’s just been so long (a year?) since I’ve watched any Asian dramas (I did have a fun Netflix marathon with Nikita, The Vampire Diaries, and Reign this year though; boy, am I a CW fangirl) and so I binge watched a couple of dramas. She Was Pretty was one of them; though I wasn’t much of fan of that one I finished watching all 16 episodes anyway. Maybe I’m just really tired with the whole magazine/journalism theme and “oh! I find my cranky boss so attractive” approach (it’s way overused in lots of entertainment). Although, I have to recognize its merit for the plot with role reversals (a pretty teenage girl ages into an physically unflattering woman, while a chubby boy “blossoms” into a handsome guy). But anyway, I wasn’t planning to make this post about She Was Pretty but rather another show.
I recently finished watching It’s Okay, That’s Love, which has now become one of my favorite dramas. I’m not sure if it’s the post binging high or what, but I seriously fell in love with the story. It made me laugh and cry… and just experience a ton of emotions I wasn’t expecting. So I thought I’d share this while I’m still fangirling over it.
I was actually recommended this drama last year, when it was airing, by a lot of my friends that swore that this was such an amazing drama. With school and everything I just never really had time for it. Although, I can’t really understand why pre-exam time was perfect for me to watch this… because it wasn’t. Ah, well.
I didn’t start this series until Thanksgiving weekend of this year but I was quite familiar with it even before since I was reblogging a lot of the posts related to this drama (an Exo, a K-pop band that I really love, member was part of the supporting cast) on my other blog throughout 2014 and this year. And I had pretty much half of the soundtrack downloaded on iTunes prior to actually watching the show.
Anyway, before I get into why I loved It’s Okay, That’s Love so much. I’ll give you guys a short premise.
In It’s Okay, That’s Love, Jang Jae Yeol is a successful thriller writer that has apparent OCD symptoms. Han Hae Soo is a psychiatrist working on her fellowship and has a problematic phobia of sex at thirty. Jae Yeol (JY from here on out) and Hae Soo (HS) have a chance encounter when HS’s coworker/roommate needs her to sub in for a talk show. Though they get in a heated debate on Korean TV, they can’t deny an intriguing attraction that they both have for each other. And soon they find themselves in a tangled mess and romance. But the plot soon becomes more complex as they learn that JY’s mental health seems to be far worse than they originally thought.
I found an English subtitled trailer if you guys are interested:
The trailer is ultra cheesy and makes it appear like a fun, heartache free type of show. So the wave of intense range of emotions hit me off guard as the drama progressed. Other than the fact that it induced a rollercoaster of feels for me, I kind of just loved how there was a nice blend of some action, humor, and reality in this drama.
The on-screen couple’s chemistry was unreal (as in it was very real) and this is probably one of the few dramas where there were so many believable kisses, which makes me sound like a total creeper (I promise I’m not). But it really is refreshing to have such “passionate” (but still clean; don’t worry) scenes coming from Asian entertainment, where there’s seldom breakaway from conservative and modest acting (though I think that’s been changing lately).
The acting was superb, which was totally not a surprise since the cast comprised of many popular artists. And had a lot of my favorite Korean actors/actresses. I really enjoyed Gong Hyo Jin, the actress that plays the main female protagonist, and her role in this. She was also in Master’s Sun in 2013, which was a horror/mystery/comedy drama that I also highly recommend. And I know Jo In Sung is a pretty popular male actor but I’ve only seen him in That Winter, the Wind Blows, which also was in 2013 and made me cry buckets to no end. It’s Okay, That’s Love also had Do Kyungsoo, better known as a vocalist in the K-pop boy band, Exo. Like I said, prior to watching this show I was already supporting it for the sole fact it had a member from my ultimate musical bias group. (Xingsings is a derivative of my love for that band; that’s just how serious it is.) And there’s also Lee Kwang Soo, a hilarious guy that’s part of the permanent cast for one of my favorite Korean reality TV shows, Running Man. Think of Running Man as Asia’s The Amazing Race but add in some more belly laughs. It’s so funny!
As for the ending, which is an element that usually becomes the biggest letdown for most Korean dramas… It was quite satisfying and cute without being too, too cheesy. Admittedly, it was getting a little cliche but, thankfully, it was saved by the group scene, where a lot of the cast is featured. I won’t go into too much detail for spoilers sake. Overall, it was one of the best Korean drama conclusions I’ve ever watched, which says a lot since I’m a semi-avid Asian drama watcher (I maybe have watched 100? Which isn’t too much for Asian drama addicts in my opinion, but still a significant amount nevertheless.).
But probably the biggest aspect that made this such an enjoyable drama was the symbolic use of hope. Throughout the entire series, viewers are able to watch HS light a candle daily for those that are lonely, suffering, or believe that they have no one that cares for or believes in them. Her character, as a psychiatrist, meets a lot of broken people with mental illnesses that face despair, and though her character is bleak and sometimes cold, I really like that she’s positive and compassionate throughout the drama. You also get a really good feel with the health care professional and patient relationship, which is nice to see as a student hoping to pursue a profession in such a field. I also really liked the nonchalant but passive JY. He was charming and witty, and his shortcomings and childhood trauma only added to the complexity of his character and plot. Listening to his radio show was also uplifting and seeing his little dances made me smile.
Not to mention, this was one of the best dramas I’ve seen because there’s other meaningful messages and scenes throughout. About love, trauma, grief, and other normal emotions we go through on a regular basis as humans.
However, I was a little disappointed by how mental illnesses were portrayed in this. I’m glad that the topic of mental health was a big part in this drama since it’s half set in the hospital or in a psychiatrist’s office, but it just wasn’t enough. I wish more of the subconscious side of all was explored even though I can see that it’d be hard to portray in motion picture. And, of course, there were inconsistencies and minor (or sometimes even huge-but not for this case with this drama) loopholes Asian dramas are prone to have, but they didn’t really hinder my watching experience (is that what you call it?). And a small thing I was annoyed at times by was HS’s paranoia with JY and his dating history. Just because he never really had a serious relationship before her did not warrant her to have continuous suspicion about “the other women.” However I’m going to just let it slide because it did go with her character and phobia of sex/intimate relationships with men, I guess.
But gosh, this post is getting super long, so I’ll end this quasi review here with a sweet and heartwarming quote from the drama, which is narrated by JY on his radio show.
“To those who feel lonely and think that you’re alone, know that someone is always praying for you.”
(This was in reference to HS’s daily candle lighting for the lonely and lost folks that wander the world thinking they’re unloved.)
So yeah, I know my main focus with this blog is on books, but I wanted to share this today in case you’re one that wants to try watching an Asian drama or has not seen this one yet (it’s perfect timing for us college students in the States now that we’re all almost on winter break). I highly encourage you to do so since I loved it so much. (In fact, so much that I may go and read It’s Okay, That’s Love recaps just to reexperience the story all over again.)
And as you guys know, I originally started this blog as a way of finding solace and alleviating post fangirl feels. And the funniest thing is that some of my non-bookish posts are some of my most viewed posts on Xingsings to date. You guys wouldn’t believe how many times people google a variation of “death of K-pop stars” and have found their way to this blog, which is so morbid now that I think about it. I’m still unsure if I’ll continue to make non-bookish posts like these in the future but I may create one for another impressionable Korean cinematic film I recently watched called Always soon.
Anyway, have a lovely day everyone!
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Another huge bonus to this drama was the beautiful soundtrack. It was awesome they decided to feature a bunch of English songs (like 14!), which is very rare for Korean dramas. But I’ll leave some of my favorites (Korean and English ones) down below for you to listen if you’d like to.
1. It’s Okay, That’s Love – Davichi: I’m feeling super awkward because of the frame they chose for this MV, but this is the main theme so I had to include it.
2. Ship and the Globe – Kae Sun: Addicted to this song for the very reason that JS was swinging to it. His dancing was adorbs. Such a feel good song; I’m so glad It’s Okay, That’s Love introduced me to this artist! I don’t think I’d find him otherwise.
3. Best Luck – Chen (of Exo): And, last, is a song performed by an Exo member (not the one in the show), which was appropriately placed on several occasions all through the drama.