It’s Okay, That’s Love follows the complicated love story between a writer and a psychiatrist who both suffer from mental illness rooted in trauma from their past. They go on a journey of acceptance and love as they work towards healing.
It’s Okay, That’s Love is a unique drama because of it’s focus on mental illness. Most of the main characters deal with some form of mental illness. The drama doesn’t shy away from exploring some of the quirks and symptoms that come along with these issues. It also sheds light on them with a nice balance of humor and seriousness.
Jo In Sung plays Jang Jae Yeol, a famous writer and radio host. He’s a bit of a player with a cool and confident personality. But after suffering years of abuse as a child, he has developed some severe trauma issues.
He also deals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as struggles with an illness I don’t recall seeing in a drama before, Schizophrenia. It’s an illness that can be very destructive and scary for both the one experiencing it as well as family and friends. But the illness isn’t the person. Underneath it is a real person that isn’t crazy, but has some serious symptoms that have to be dealt with. Jo In Sung beautifully portrayed Jae Yeol’s struggle with the illness.
Gong Hyo Jin is Ji Hae Soo. She’s a psychiatrist with a very prickly personality. She also suffers from a phobia of sexual intimacy due to witnessing her mother’s infidelity as a child. This gives her a great deal of anxiety as well as a panic disorder. She’s a very strong willed an interesting sort of character that I think Gong Hyo Jin handled wonderfully.
We then have Lee Kwang Soo as Park Soo Kwang. He suffers from Tourette Syndrome which causes him problems around people at times, especially when it comes to dating. He’s an awkward sort of guy but has a very fun loving and supportive personality.
Sung Dong Il is Jo Dong Min, another psychiatrist who works with Hae Soo. He’s the most together one of the bunch. He’s a straight forward and no nonsense kind of guy, but he has a big heart and is a major support for all of our characters.
Another important character includes D.O. who put forth a moving performance as Kang Woo, a high school student who Jae Yeol takes under his wing. The relationship between the two was unique and very nurturing. I really enjoyed the scenes between the pair and the fascinating dynamic between them.
We are definitely seeing more dramas that deal with mental illness these days, but this one really tackles the subject head on. It takes on “smaller” issues as well as some very big and hard hitting ones. I was really impressed with how the drama was able to portray people struggling with mental illness as normal. They weren’t weird or scary. They were just people trying to live their lives while dealing with their own issues.
Jae Yeol and Hae Soo are an interesting couple for sure. The drama paints them very realistically by showing very well rounded personalities that included both likable and unlikable aspects to them.
At times I really liked them, and at other times I really didn’t. It was a bit difficult to adjust to, but I really credit the writer for creating people that aren’t cookie cutter and are very much like most people. We all have aspects of our personality that are positive and negative, and these two were really presented in that way.
Their relationship is both sexy and awkward. They have undeniable chemistry that makes for some pretty heart fluttering scenes. But then they also have to deal with both of their trauma issues which very much affects their relationship. But these two are very much supportive of each other. This is the kind of relationship that makes you realize that true love is very accepting.
Jae Yeol and Hae Soo are able to be very honest with each other about their issues. These are things that most people would find weird and maybe even write someone off for. But by seeing beyond these surface issues, they were able to see the real person underneath. And that acceptance made a huge difference. Acceptance for some can lessen the severity of issues while at other times it just offers an important support. Both make a difference.
Jae Yeol and Hae Soo go through some very difficult circumstances. It was painful to watch their struggles and my heart really ached for them. I was rooting for them both as a couple and as individuals as they worked through their traumas. Their story was very much a moving one.
While in some instances the drama simplifies some mental health issues, for the most part it does a great service by giving us a window into what people with these illness’ have to deal with. I was very pleased with the overall handling of the subject and would love to see more dramas take on these issues. I should also note the absolutely fantastic soundtrack that thoroughly enhanced this drama. Truly so many wonderful songs!
Also, here’s my little story as to why this drama was a particularly interesting experience for me. It really illustrates that the timing of watching a drama can really affect one’s enjoyment of it.
I actually started watching It’s Okay, That’s Love almost three full years ago! Here’s where the timing issue comes in. I started it upon completing one of my all time favorite dramas (Pinocchio), and we know it can be difficult for a new drama to live up to a recent amazing drama.
I watched two episodes of It’s Okay, That’s Love and was not that impressed. The subject matter intrigued me, but I found it slow and had a difficult time warming up to it. I thought Gong Hyo Jin was fine, but I had never seen Jo In Sung, and he did nothing for me. So alas, I put the drama on indefinite hold and moved on. Though I did think about it quite often over the years and always had plans of giving it another whirl.
Fast forward three years later. I recently started and dropped a new drama that was highly praised, but I found it incredibly boring, sterile, and emotionless. I needed something else! Having recently watched That Winter, The Wind Blows and really getting to see Jo In Sung for the first time completely changed my impression of him. I didn’t even remember him from It’s Okay, That’s Love, but he really impressed me in That Winter, The Wind Blows. I wanted to check out more of his works and remembered that drama I put on hold years ago.
So back I went for round two. I resumed the drama and within 15 minutes I already felt emotionally connected to the drama and all four of the main characters. Now was the TIME. And well, it ended up being a thoroughly enjoyable drama. I always love it when moments like this happen. A not so great experience years ago turned into a very positive one now.
So you just never know sometimes. Your enjoyment of a drama can be affected by your mood, what your going through in life, what dramas you’ve recently watched, and so many other things. So keep that in mind if you ever find yourself thinking about a drama you dropped long ago or find yourself in a different place. Maybe you should give it another try. Watching a drama at the right time can make all the difference.
My Rating: 8/10
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