[K-Drama Review] ‘It’s Okay to Not Be Okay’: Strangely Healing Unpredictable Romantic Comedy

Edited by Kim Won Hee
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

Credit: tvN

From the first episode, a drama has captivated viewers with its unique charm. Drama It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, which made headlines as the comeback project of Kim Soo Hyun, is the one. Kim Soo Hyun’s return was highly anticipated as he distinguished himself in the romance genre through You Who Came from the Stars (2013) and The Producers (2015). But as it turns out, there’s more to it.

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a romantic comedy about a bit peculiar and strange love between Moon Kang Tae, a psych ward community worker who takes care of a brother with autism spectrum and Go Moon Young, a storybook writer who doesn’t understand love due to her antisocial personality disorder. Kim Soo Hyun, who has even “prepared” the perfect visuals, plays the role of Moon Kang Tae and shows a “harmless” acting of taking care of his brother wholeheartedly, but he is not the only one that stands out in the drama. Go Moon Young, who seems to lack the ability to sympathize with other people’s feelings, and Seo Ye Ji, who perfectly portrayed the role, have definitely become the talk of the town.

Credit: tvN

Go Moon Young shows an unrivaled character in a romantic comedy genre. From her first appearance, she reminded viewers of a witch from a fairytale and made an unusual first impression by revealing her unique “distant from emotions” personality. The first encounter with Moon Kang Tae was also extraordinary. Go Moon Young, who attended a storybook reading at a hospital where Moon Kang Tae works, got in trouble after being caught up in an incident and ended up leaving a big scar on Moon Kang Tae’s hand.

Since then, Go Moon Young has felt a strong attraction to Moon Kang Tae and doesn’t budge a bit as she runs, no charges towards him even when it’s so apparent that he is trying to avoid her. I wonder if there’re any other female leads in romantic comedy dramas who candidly stayed true to her heart without paying a single attention to her surroundings. Seo Ye Ji flawlessly plays the role of Go Moon Young, who sometimes exudes a cold and sharp atmosphere but sometimes presents a nonchalant and comical side. Especially, her husky voice that further highlights the character maximizes the character’s charms.

Credit: tvN

The charm of the drama doesn’t end with the two main characters. The chemistry between Kim Soo Hyun and Seo Ye Ji in every episode is fantastic, but the story between them doesn’t only stay in the frame of romantic comedy but stretches to the psychology of other characters. How Go Moon Young’s arbitrary words and actions pierce weak spots of patients in a mental ward with different symptoms and help them face reality leaves quite the impression. Also, Oh Jung Se’s performances of a man suffering from autism spectrum is notable. The fact that he approaches the role prudently without emphasizing the “funny sides” or “light actions” is remarkable. Moreover, the directing that follows Moon Sang Tae’s eyes/views clearly stands out.

If the early parts of the drama delivered the dark tone by combining fantasy and “cruel” fairytale, from the latter half, it gradually depicts the relationship and psychological changes of the main characters in a stable tone, increasing the satisfaction of viewers. From revealing the trauma of Go Moon Young, who first appeared like a “psycho,” to showing how Moon Kang Tae, who has been repressing his true feelings, slowly breaks out of his shell, the drama strangely presents healing to viewers. Now that Moon Kang Tae, who had gradually opened his heart to Goo Moon Young, finally expressed his feelings honestly, I am looking forward to how the characters will speak out their innermost feelings and heal their deep scars.

Verdict: It’s okay for all of us to not be okay (7/10)

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