A drama that never enters the realm of absurdity; it seemed too good to be true at times.
Hello lovelies and welcome back! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas holiday; I sure did! As the title (and fantastic picture) has already hinted to you, this review has been placed on hold for too long and so it is finally time for me to share with you all what I thought of “It’s Okay, That’s Love”, possibly one of the best dramas I have ever seen in 2014 (and when I mean dramas, I mean out of any Taiwanese, Chinese, Korean etc. that I have seen all year!) There is just so many positive aspects to say about this drama, but not enough negatives for it to seem fair. Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?
As per usual, I will try to make this review as spoiler-free as possible, which actually may happen this time hehehe~
Name: It’s Okay, That’s Love/It’s Alright, It’s Love
Broadcast Time: 23rd July 2014 to 11th September 2014
Total Number of Episodes: 16
Note: Followed the drama from the beginning, right to the end
Synopsis (borrowed from wiki-addict):
Jang Jae Yeol (Jo In Sung) is a mystery writer and radio DJ. He suffers from a obsession. He then meets a psychiatrist named Ji Hae Soo. Ji Hae Soo (Gong Hyo Jin) is going through her first year fellowship in psychiatry at a University Hospital. She chose psychiatry because she doesn’t want to perform surgeries. After she meets Jang Jae Yeol, her life goes through big changes. They end up becoming home-mates and things turn romantic.
So, I did post a first impressions reaction to the drama a long, long time ago, and you should go and check it out if you have not done so already. It’s a pretty positive one, so hopefully it will encourage most of you to go ahead and check out the drama!
Opinions about the drama:
Firstly, let us thank gratefully writer Noh Hee Kyung, for writing such a beautiful drama once again. The last drama she had written, “That Winter, The Wind Blows”, I’ve actually watched and for those who have read the review would know that I had had congratulated her on the fantastic writing of that drama as well. Knowing that she was in charge of writing this beautiful drama definitely gave me confidence and insurance that it was not going to be a bad drama, and how right I was. Her chemistry with the cast is spot-on, and I cannot wait to see what her next project will involve. As expected, the writing was solid, pacing was great, and she never allowed the drama to enter the realms of becoming unrealistic or absurd. It all flowed together well, and surprisingly, it never became a story where I was left being able to predict what was going to happen next; the drama always seemed to be one step ahead of me. And so for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“It’s Okay, That’s Love” is definitely one of the most refreshingly and realistic drama that I have ever seen, ever since I started watching dramas years ago. Any other drama, although enjoyable, dealt with themes and storylines that never seem fathomable in our day-to-day lives. This drama, on the other hand, is not like that at all. Instead, the drama became a healing drama, looking into a truly sensitive topic within South Korea – mental illnesses. And for that I am already thankful, as I am sure it must have been quite difficult to not only research, but to also write and design an entire drama around. Through this drama, we didn’t just simply follow the journey of Hae Soo and Jae Yeol, but rather we had followed the struggles that most patients would have had to encounter both in and out of the hospital. And so, this is why I feel that this particular drama is simply different from the rest that I have seen before in the past.
Firstly, the writing and interactions between characters is simply spot-on. Never does it seem forcefully-scripted (despite it being a drama lol), which gives the whole production more life and realism than most other dramas. Similar to “49 Days”, this drama had the characters pull the plot along with them, rather than having a script that pushed the characters to act or react towards something. The idea behind each certain character was definitely thought-out very thoroughly; they all seemed so ‘tangible’ and real, yet still just as flawed as you or I. They all seemed so true, as if I personally could meet them all one day (although, I hope that I don’t have to be in their situations to be able to meet them ><). So, thank you once again Noh Hee Kyung seon-saeng-nim for your beautiful writing displayed clearly within this drama.
Next that needs mentioning is certainly the actual filming/directing of the drama. As the director and writer combo (Kim Kyu-Tae & No Hee-Kyung respectively) is the same combo in “That Winter, The Wind Blows”, I definitely anticipated for some gorgeous shots within the drama. And…that certainly was delivered perfectly in this. From the way each scene was displayed, to the choices made about the background music (or rather sometimes, the lack of), each and every decisions was always correct and on purpose. Sometimes, some choices almost seemed unsettling, making us wonder “Why would you choose to do that?” however, we never think that it is indeed the wrong choice. That, my fellow friends and readers, indeed takes skills to execute, which this PD certainly had. As mentioned before, this drama screams realism, and one contributing factor was definitely through the filming choices made by the director, which seemed to give the drama more life and humanity. How the way a drama can display that simply through the way it is recorded onto a camera still baffles me but, who am I to completely understand, right?
And of course what needs to be included in this ‘positives’ list is without a doubt, the actor/actresses themselves in portraying their respective characters, along with the amazing chemistry between them all. How is it possible that I cannot find even one person who could be considered a ‘black hole’ within this cast? How?! I mean, don’t interpret that as a bad thing; it is certainly amazing that I can’t seem to see anyone fitting into that category. I’m just more amazed, and worried that I may be biased in looking into this drama >_<
First off, let us all hail the amazing talent and perhaps the crowd-favourite in the drama, Jang Jae Yeol acted by the handsome and gifted actor, Jo In Sung. He was by far the most solid character from start to finish, and I cannot imagine another actor playing this role as well as In Sung oppa did. He was certainly my most favourite character, and his most memorable interactions, in my opinion, were in fact not with simply Hae Soo, but actually with Kang Woo. With such a raw and vulnerable yet genuine lead character, it’s not surprising to see why everyone seems to deem Jae Yeol as their favourite character from the drama. Jae Yeol was a man who never held anything back, and always expressed how he felt. His dedication towards his loved ones was simply heartwarming, and by pairing him up with D.O. (who is actually my bias from EXO, as a unrelated sidenote lol) allows us all to see all layers of this person who’s trauma seems to move us even more than the central romance between Hae Soo and Jae Yeol. So thank you Jo In Sung for this outstanding performance. Another special mention needs to be made for D.O. (Do Kyung Soo) from EXO, not simply because he is my bias, but rather because as this drama is his actual debut performance (as a notable character therefore To The Beautiful You does not count), we certainly have to congratulate him on giving us such an intriguing and interesting character who got us all suspicious right from the start. He definitely did the best performance he could provide, and I cannot wait to see how he will perform in his future activities, acting wise (I’m looking at you “Cart”!).
And of course, who can forget that fantastic OST! As I had mentioned in my first impressions, “It’s Okay, That’s Love” by Davichi was by far the best song from the OST, and possible one of the greatest songs of 2014. Still to this day, and I stand by that statement proven time-and-time again by the ridiculous amount of plays on iTunes, which currently is at 2236 plays, making it the 4th most played song out of all of the songs I own on iTunes and like I have mentioned before in the past, I have an insane amount of music on there…just saying. But of course, the rest of the OST is fantastic as well, with songs from Orange Caramel (kyaaaa, love them!) to Chen from EXO. Such a wide range yet somehow, they all fit perfectly in this drama. Well done!
The Not-So-Negative Negatives:
As I have mentioned before, it was quite difficult for me to find any wrongs in this drama (which I must admit is REALLY REALLY RARE in K-dramas) however, there may be just one thing that I might mention however, please take note that this isn’t really a huge negative point; it’s just me being a little bit critical and nit-picky right now.
WARNING: SPOILERS MAY BE EXPRESSED IN THIS SECTION. PLEASE PROCEED FORWARD AT YOUR OWN RISK! (Although, in my opinion I believe that this info may be harmless ;D)
And this point, in fact, is in relation to Gong Hyo Jin’s character, Hae Soo. Now, this point is certainly no direct attack to the actress herself; I actually wanted to congratulate her in giving us another character who I just adored, and couldn’t possibly imagine her being the same Tae Gong Shil from last-last year’s (lol, still getting used to it) drama “Master’s Sun”; these two characters are SOOO different, it is almost insanely mind-blowing how they were both acted by the same actress. No, in fact what I would like to just lightly poke at is the way Hae Soo’s psychological problem was dealt with within the drama. Her certain fear, in my opinion, seemed to be ‘solved’ much more quickly and easily than expected. This may have been on purpose in order for us as the audience to focus on Jae Yeol’s more greater problem, but at times it seemed almost too good to be true. After having her deal with this mental issue for years, within a month or two of hanging with a man seems to allow her problems to dissipate immediately, allowing her to make a miraculous recovery without question (Even though prior to meeting him, she had been dating another man for almost 3 years!). I just felt that the drama shooed off her problems too quickly for it too seem realistic, as if the drama itself didn’t even consider her problems to be great enough to regard as ‘important’. I’m not exactly complaining per say, but I wish that they had allowed a little more attention towards her problem, rather than just putting it aside in order to make room for Jae Yeol’s issue. I know, this is probably a very minor issue in comparison to the entirety of the drama itself, but hey, I’m just nit-picky okay?
END OF SPOILERS!!!
Despite what the previous paragraph has stated (although I really find that it is a really really minor thing about the drama overall) as this review may imply, “It’s Okay, That’s Love” has been an amazing drama to follow. It was emotional, touching, sweet and just simply enjoyable (at least to me) from start to finish. Yes, this drama may sugar-coat the severity mental illnesses entails in real life, but it still brings us an optimistic approach to this situation that has certainly affected everyone before.
For me personally, this drama hits close to home. After having to deal with the loss of my father years ago I, like many others that I have encountered, couldn’t have left the ordeal scar-free. Although I never had to deal with such extremes with my mentality, I cannot deny the fact that I wasn’t affected in any way, or that I definitely was not left perfect and ‘back-to-normal’. What this drama provided for me, and possibly to many others, is a sign of hope that allows us all to finally humanise an illness that speaks volumes to all of us. In so many cases, this drama has allowed to accept what I might have had, and has convinced to dealt with problems head-on, by expressing it to others, and to venture into realms that will allow me to express what I feel, or what is on my mind. Blogging may be a perfect example of that, which gives me a place to truly be myself, and to actually say what I want without being judged and instead, allow me to relate to others.
So, borrowing the rating system from the lovely goddesses of Kdrama reviews themselves Javabeans and Girlfriday, I would rate “It’s Okay, That’s Love” as:
How much I liked it: 9/10
How good was it objectively: 9/10
So, thank you writers, producers and of course, this perfect cast of “It’s Okay, That’s Love” who allowed me and possibly thousands of others to see how mental illnesses should not be shunned upon, but rather to understand how important this issue is to all of society and that it should not be ignored at all. We should attempt to help one another to recovery, rather than just sweeping it under the rug and just leaving it at that. Remember everyone, never forget to ask yourself and the others around you “Are you okay?”, because who knows, that one questions may actually one day save someone’s life. Thank you “It’s Okay, That’s Love” – you will a drama that I personally will never miss.
Thank you all for reading, and I’ll talk you guys soon. Stay safe~
❤ Yami Hyunnie ^^~
January 13, 2015 at 2:10 pm
Nice one :). I haven’t got round to finishing this one though I’ve been meaning to for ages. Probably the only one left (aside frm Marriage Not Dating) frm last year that I really want to finish. Time though, why to find it??!
January 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm
Hey DDee, thanks! Yeah, I know what you mean! With absolutely no time to even watch dramas (not to mention review them afterwards) it is practically impossible to do anything. Btw, I’ve been meaning to start Marriage Not Dating since everyone seems to rave about how good it is. Do you recommend it, or not?
January 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm
I saw the first 6 eps or so and really liked what I saw. Han Groo was dynamite and so was Yeon Woo Jin, and it felt funny and fresh too. The second leads might have been off putting for some, and I get the impression that it went a bit wonky in the middle. But finish it, I shall!
January 15, 2015 at 11:14 am
Woah, i hadn’t noticed until i read your review that she was the same writer behind That Winter, the Wind Blows which i loved! And the director too! No wonder they can do wonders together! Jo In Sung is a magnificent actor and a master of facial expressions when it comes to emotions, i’m highly looking forward to his next drama attempt. Hyo Jin was immense as well and pretty much everyone that took part in this drama was flawless at interpreting. And who can forget the Kwang Soo & Dong Il bromance, but also the interaction between Kwang Soo and In Sung! As for Hae Soo, to my view, her problem was not so intense, even though its roots were strong, so the writer let the audience find out in a way that not every mental issue requires great medical observation and/or treatment and that’s where Jae Yeol comes into play, he was there for her when an emotional crisis was taking place and through their unique interaction, especially when things were becoming tougher for Jae Yeol and she was getting closer to him, it was a way of self-cure through interaction, something like releasing all the stress step by step and finally getting rid of it. Don’t know if it made much sense 😀 One of the best 2014 dramas, but definitely the most refreshing with great scenario with respect to the fragile psychiatric issue. I’m really glad they didn’t depict people with medical problems as pure lunatics with dark eyes laughing like nuts in a dark corner of a psychiatry room, it was realistic and humane. Ah, i should shut up now lol 😛 Great article 🙂
January 15, 2015 at 1:42 pm
Hey, thank you so much for your comment!!! Yes, every single relationship within this drama was so great, and it was really nice to know that it wasn’t just the main leads driving the drama forward; even the rest of the cast was really enjoyable to follow and watch (p.s. I totally shipped the Kwang Soo-Dong Il bromance, along with the In Sung-Kwang Soo-Dong Il bromance! Not ashamed, not ashamed).
Don’t worry, all of it made perfect sense 😉 I can understand why they downplayed Hae Soo’s problems because, in comparison to Jae Yeol’s, his was much more extreme and required more focus than her problem; I won’t complain to the writer about that 🙂
Yep, definitely one of my most memorable dramas of 2014, and perhaps one of the best dramas I’ve seen in a while. I’m also thankful that they didn’t make us think that people with mental illnesses were all crazy or as you’ve stated “pure lunatics” – I’m really grateful for that.
Thanks again for the lovely comment, and I also checked out your blog that you share! It looks really good!!! Definitely following and adding to the blogroll! Can’t wait to check out more reviews and OSTrich Mondays from you guys 😉
January 16, 2015 at 9:28 am
Sorry for the late reply on this one, i’m struggling over a recap xD You’re very welcome! Yes indeed, there were many people involved in making the drama progress, not just the leads with the supporting characters floating around all of the time! Both bromances owned and they had various faces of affection and caring that seemed realistic and not just for the sake of it.
I’m really looking forward to a new In Sung drama, this one and TW, TWB were powerful and both of them had a distinctive female lead that was making the different with their very own characteristics. As for the mental issues, generally they are being depicted like Lee Gun on Fated to Love You when he’s sleepless with smokey eyes xD So it was more than refreshing here 😀
Thanks a lot for your generous words!! 🙂 It’s a little bloggie swimming in the vast sea of drama 😀 But chincha, thanks a lot!!! 🙂
January 17, 2015 at 3:24 am
Something i wanted to ask but i forgot to do so. After finishing the drama, did you think of saying goodnight to yourself at least once? 😀
January 17, 2015 at 7:35 am
…Yes I have, and I am not embarrassed about it lol! I feel that this act isn’t simply saying goodnight, but it is also a way of asking yourself “Are you all right?” and that you yourself is there to look out for yourself, if that makes sense??
January 17, 2015 at 7:51 am
Thanks for your answer! Me too and i’m not either! 😀 I agree and it makes perfect sense! And along with the question and the fact that you are there for yourself it leaves a soothing vibe in the end even if things are not that positive, something like a really friendly “kwenchana, everything’s going to fine”!
August 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm
Just finished watching episode 16 an hour ago. Definitely one of the best dramas I’ve ever watched. Realistic…moving…excellently written, directed and acted. I hope it will perfectly be translated to Filipino when it is finally shown in one of our local channels here in the Philippines.
September 8, 2015 at 12:44 pm
Probably wont read these comment but i agree with everything you write! Btw these is the first time i watch a dorama (drama) from asia and i have to say im very impress!! If someone have another drama like these one (funny and realistic) i would like to hear it!!
September 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm
Haha thank you Kevin for the nice comment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the drama; definitely one of my favs from 2014! As for another drama that is both funny and realistic…to be honest, not that many come into mind. I think that’s probably why I loved this drama so much. However, what I can recommend to you is some other dramas that I really liked either on a realistic or funny level. Perhaps try “49 Days” which despite it’s lack of realism, really taps into certain themes that are really meaningful and seem realistic enough to us as an audience. Another few I would perhaps recommend is “Reply 1997″, ” A Gentleman’s Dignity”, “Pasta” or “Flower Boy” Series/franchise that contains titles like “The Flower Boy Next Door” and “Flower Boy Ramen Shop”. Some may seem less realistic and more romance-based, I know, but I feel that they deal with more issues outside of romance quite well hence I’m deeming them as realistic dramas.
For funny ones, maybe “My Love From Another Star”, “Coffee Prince”, “Pinocchio” or “Master’s Sun”. Yes, they are all rom-coms, but I feel that for most of them, they are the more recently good rom-coms to come out over the last 2 years. Coffee Prince is an all-time favorite of mine (it was released in 2006 lol) so I would *wink wink* highly recommend that one 😉
Anyway, I hope that you do find something that suits you. Have a look around the blogosphere and maybe check out some of their top 10 sort of lists. Hopefully they will be helpful for you. Welcome to the world of drama watching, and thank again for your lovely comment.
❤ Yami Hyunnie
September 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm
Btw, sorry for the lengthy reply >.<
September 22, 2015 at 1:54 am
Hello, it’s the first time I read this blog and I already need to comment. 🙂
Nice review ! I agree with you on almost everything. Almost. In fact, as for KHJ’s character psychological problem, I didn’t feel like they put it aside to make room to Jae Yeol character problem. I just think that this shows very well the difference between having a mental disease, and having a psychological (or sexual) block. One needs medical cure, not the other one. It doesn’t mean it’s nothing : her anxiety with sex can cause a lot of suffering, especially in a society where you constantly have to show that you’re cool with sex. But solving this kind of issue has nothing to do with curing a mental disease. I recently read an article about people who never had sex in their 30’s, and those who overcame this all said the same thing : it just happened one day, just like that. And then the problem was gone. I think it’s cool that, in this drama, they take it seriously enough, but show that it’s not that much of a big deal after all. It means that people who have this problem are not abnormal (they seem to feel like they are), they just have to overcome some kind of internal conflict and anxiety. And have an opportunity to do so, of course (having Jo In Sung with you must make it easier!).
Have a nice day !
September 22, 2015 at 8:09 am
Hi Mokuren, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It’s great to hear that we both have differing thoughts about KHJ’s condition; that’s what discussions are for. I had no problems with the psychological block that she had, but the drama did simply just glide over on the issue imo. Reading that her condition could simply be ‘cured’ on a random day, however, is interesting to note. But, considering most people within the audience probably have had little to no experience/interaction with mental or psychological conditions (or, at least I hope), it was just a little strange to hear that she was just fine one day, without much explanation. If they discovered that she was able to finally let go of her mental block and embrace the notion of sex, then probably I wouldn’t have mentioned that point at all.
This was a really informative comment! I’ve learnt quite a bit from it, and I hope to hear any other fascinating statements/comments you make in the future. Thanks again Mokuren, and I hope you too have a nice and lovely day!
❤ Yami Hyunnie
August 16, 2016 at 10:54 am
Suits and sandals are absolutely sexy……
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