Clean With Passion For Now is about the relationship between a cheerful and untidy woman (Kim Yoo Jung) who works at a cleaning company and the company’s owner (Yoon Kyun Sang) who suffers from mysophobia (germophobia) and is completely obsessed with cleanliness.
Yoon Kyun Sang is our germophobic Jang Sun Gyul. He is the CEO of a cleaning company, and he’s serious about cleanliness. He’s meticulous about his hygiene, sits on paper towels in public, wears gloves if he has to touch other people, and carries a spray bottle of disinfectant that he uses generously. He may come off as uptight and fussy, but his condition is actually quite serious and causes him many problems.
Kim Yoo Jung plays Gil Oh Sol. She’s a bit of a slob who isn’t too concerned about hygiene. And wouldn’t you know, she gets a job at Sun Gyul’s cleaning company. That has problems written all over it. Kim Yoo Jung was certainly adorable as Oh Sol. She may be a complete slob, but she’s a cute slob!
Song Jae Rim is Choi Ha In. He lives in the rooftop apartment of Oh Sol’s home. He seems a bit strange, but he’s actually a well respected psychiatrist. He’s also had feelings for Oh Sol for a long time. And did I mention he’s one of Sun Gyul’s doctors too? Talk about a conflict of interest as this love triangle develops! He is nice enough, but this guy is not professional at all, and I just always had this icky feeling about him.
Clean With Passion For Now is a drama that didn’t immediately hook me. The first few episodes were leaning positive but felt mostly average. Sun Gyul and Oh Sol don’t have a ton of screen time together either. I always prefer the main couple to have plenty of scenes together early on. Luckily, the show had an overall fun vibe that kept me interested until our couple got more time together and their story developed.
I always like seeing dramas tackle mental health issues, and the main story of Clean With Passion For Now revolves around Sun Gyul’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which manifests itself as germophobia.
Experiences in his childhood ultimately led to his severe germophobia, and he has quite a difficult journey to go on. Of course, with this show being more lighthearted and fun, it plays many of his troubles for laughs. Much of it is stereotypical, but it is still pretty humorous.
Thankfully, they do eventually explore his condition more in depth and touch upon just how difficult having it actually is. Not only is he experiencing emotional pain, but it is a full time job staying clean.
There’s the constant washing and disinfecting as well as the effort it takes to avoid common things like shaking hands and people bumping into him. As much as he might downplay things, it’s not easy in any way and causes him a lot of mental anguish as well as some physical problems.
Then Sun Gyul’s life really gets turned upside down by Oh Sol. Not only is she super messy and unhygienic, but she seems to be constantly popping up in his life and disrupting his cleanliness routine. It’s quite the frustrating experience for him.
At first she doesn’t understand how severe his illness is which just makes things more difficult for him, but once she learns more about him, she feels genuine compassion for him and his struggles. As her feelings begin to grow for him, she just wants to help him any way she can. And she becomes a big part of Sun Gyul’s recovery because of her positive effect on his illness.
Like I mentioned above, it’s nice to see dramas take on mental health issues, but as is usual in dramas, the portrayal is not always completely accurate. Specifically, the illness is usually cured or greatly improved with a bit of love from the right person.
While of course, love and support from others can help mental issues immensely, it is definitely not common to fall in love and for that to override the illness to a huge extent (not saying it’s impossible, but really not the norm).
But I suppose one wouldn’t expect to get to in depth and accurate with these things in a lighter romantic comedy, so I try to be forgiving of that and just appreciate the attention the issues get.
Although the drama keeps a lighter vibe, I thought it blended the humorous and serious elements well. There was plenty of comedy and fun to add joy, but then there were some very emotional and heartrending moments.
The show definitely has some slow spells here and there though where I thought the plot got draggy. There just wasn’t a whole lot of story to work with, and the pacing felt a off at times. I would have liked to have seen the story surrounding Oh Sol’s mom’s death and its connection to Sun Gyul’s family delved into more throughout the show rather than concentrated more towards the end.
Now, here’s a heads up as we near the end of the drama. You better hold onto your hats because things get all kinds of serious in the last few episodes. It transforms from cute and fun into angst and despair. It’s a pretty big shift that could definitely give you whiplash if you’re not ready for it. As someone who doesn’t mind shifts like these in dramas, for the most part I was fine with it…with a few caveats.
I was a bit taken back by Oh Sol’s actions. I completely understood her initial shock at the news that Sun Gyul was part of the family of the company that was responsible for her mother’s death. A brief break up as she tried to process and sort through her feelings could certainly be expected.
But she fell into this hole of despair where she wouldn’t even speak to him to explain what was going on. He’s left despondent and confused. Then as his illness begins to relapse as he feels he no longer has any reason to try and cure it, he falls into his own pit of despair which culminates in a car accident that nearly kills him.
Things initially look hopeful as this finally draws Oh Sol back to him as she waits daily by his bedside for him to wake up. She knows none of the things that happened in the past were his fault and that he too was a victim of his grandfather. But no, no, almost losing him still wasn’t quite enough. Once he wakes up, she heads off on her own again and doesn’t even let Sun Gyul see her.
Then we get the customary years of separation of the couple as Sun Gyul heads to the US for treatment. And when Sun Gyul returns, he is completely cured of his OCD. We don’t get to see any of the healing journey which was quite the let down. Since it really was the main part of the story, I was hoping for more.
Instead, we focus on Oh Sol coming to terms with what happened and deciding she still wanted to be with Sun Gyul after receiving her father’s blessing. All the events leading up to this just felt a bit forced. It also would have been nice if they would have included more of his OCD story at the end rather than just wrapping it up off screen, which is usually how mental and even physical illness is handled.
END OF SPOILERS
Clean With Passion For Now works well if you want a lighter romantic comedy that is plot light. It’s mostly fun with plenty of cute, but it is slow at times, and it has a big angst dump at the end as well as some disappointing choices from the characters. Its simple and humorous side is what the drama does best, and it also has a sweet couple that eventually deliver plenty of adorable couple moments.
My Rating: 6.5/10
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