Thursday, October 20, 2016

K-DRAMA: It's Okay, That's Love

IT'S OKAY, THAT'S LOVE

Credits to owner. The photo shown above is not mine.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS! RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN!

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DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU!


TIMELY REACTION

20 OCT 2016
     I just got done with episode 4, and to be honest, I was confused in the first two episodes. I didn't know the characters' relationships until I got to the end of the second episode and so forth. I figured this might throw some viewers off, and I can understand if you discontinue watching this by the end of the first episode (beats me, I remember my attempt watching this drama in the past and closing the tab a few minutes in). Now, I am coming to like this more and more. I wouldn't say that it has had an impact on me yet. I like the fact that this is about mental health. The mental cases used as examples so far (Tourette's Syndrome, Brief Psychotic Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Gender Identity Disorder, OCD, and such) are common and profound ones, which is both a good thing and a bad thing for me. I like to know about the more complex mental illnesses other than those. I sure do hope that there are a lot more coming my way as I finish the other episodes.
     I like the fact that Hye Soo was able to figure out that Jae Yeol has OCD just by looking at the pattern and colors of his room. Hell, how the drama showed Jae Yeol's OCD was impeccable. It was subtle in the first few episodes (how it was delivered), but the latter episodes showed Jae Yeol checking the towel cabinet twice, him fixing the plate, and if you even pay attention to the background, you will see that some of the things in his bathroom are arranged in a weirdly organized way (toilet paper rolls on the shelf).
     Is it just me who got the feeling that something weird was going on with Jae Yeol and Kang Woo (Kyungsoo)? I kinda figured out that Kang Woo was imaginary. I am not certain, though, if Kang Woo is Jae Yeol's past self, figure of the past, imaginary friend, or whatever. I knew something was up between those two.
    Other than being puzzled about everyone's relationship with each other, I like the drama so far. I get the feeling it has mind blowing twists in the end, though, but nothing I feel I can't catch up to.

21 OCT 2016
     I just got done with episode 7. Dear Lord, the drama is a bit confusing to me. I mean, it's not that I don't know what's happening rather because I just don't like the supporting character's stories. So Nyeo and Soo Kwang's story isn't being elaborated that well. Soo Kwang likes her, but she has a boyfriend? The drama seemed to end it there. No progress for their story so far. As for Dong Min and Young Jin, I just don't get why these two were even a couple in the first place. I don't see chemistry in them. They always fight, and they seem like they both don't mix well. Don't get me started on Hye Soo's mom. What's the deal with her? She still contacts that President Kim, but there isn't even information on who he is. I feel like the characters' stories are independent of each other, but their stories individually don't have complexity nor a proper flow. Their stories appear to just be fillers stitched together to make the drama. It's the 7th episode, and I feel like I am only in this for bubbly background soundtracks, mental cases, and Jae Yeol's and Hye Soo's love story. Nothing more. Yes, the comedy, too. Also, how they treat their patients is just like giving them medications and advice. Like for real? You just tell a patient to "have the will" and then they expect them to get better. I did learn about "Amytal Sodium" aka amobarbital. Apparently, it's a sedative-hypnotic drug, which I thought was pretty cool!
     They do not even have any remarkable quotations that stand out. I do like Jae Bum and Jae Yeol's relationship. I like how Jae Yeol treats Jae Bum right despite their past (and their present). The character I like the most in this drama is Jae Yeol. I like his OCD and past very much. I like the character he plays.
     Hopefully, in the next episodes... I get to see some more complexity in this drama. I would still finish it, and I hope I do end up liking it the way I like Angel Eyes, I Hear Your Voice, and Descendants of the Sun.

24 OCT 2016
     I am typing this reaction on the 25th, but I actually finished the drama on the evening of the 24th. 9 episodes later and I can say that this drama is not as bad as I thought it was. I was still confused a lot and was left with questions episode after episode that all the questions just piled up until I no longer can recall any of them. I will say that, above all, Jang Jae Yeol made this drama. I am pretty sure most of the people who watched this will agree with me. His character, his struggles, his imperfections, they all made the drama more meaningful and lively. I feel like it's a little too late to react now, and having said that I finished 9 episodes in one sitting, I can barely remember what to say about each episode. I will be throwing in my two cents in the in-depth review below.


REVIEW

*** Overview ***
     Jang Jae Yeol (Jo In-Sung) is a novelist slash radio talk show host slash rich and handsome bloke who suffers from a variety of mental illnesses such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and, spoiler alert, Schizophrenia. He is very confident to the point of arrogance, but he is surprisingly kind-hearted and loving, especially towards his mother. Ji Hae Soo (Gong Hyo-Jin) is a Psychiatrist who suffers from a sex and physical contact phobia that was a result of witnessing her mother's infidelity. She has a nasty temper, is very frugal, but nevertheless hopeful. The two meet at a talk show where they both headbutted each other in a debate in which the more knowledgeable and witty Hae Soo wins. After seeing that side of her, Jae Yeol then gets intrigued by her and takes any chance to be in contact with her. Jae Yeol meets her again as a roommate and shares space with two others, Jo Dong Min, a Psychiatrist and Hae Soo's senior, and Park Soo Kwang (Lee Kwang Soo), a guy with Tourette's Syndrome. Jae Yeol is haunted by a rather complicated and dark past that still eats him subconsciously through guilt, strong enough to acquire Schizophrenia. With Han Kang Woo (Do Kyungsoo) in the picture, Jae Yeol spends a good amount of time with this high-schooler who is a mental and visual manifestation of his own guilt and young self. The guilt that he has kept inside for the past 3 years is from throwing his own brother, Jang Jae Bum, into prison for a crime that their own mother has done. Jae Yeol and Hae Soo's story unfolds as they both go through a rough journey of getting over mental illnesses together, moving on from the past, distinguishing reality from illusion, and sharing a love that overlooks flaws and imperfections.


*** Thumbs Up! ***

[Characters]
  • Jang Jae Yeol
     I really liked Jang Jae Yeol as a character. I believe he was the one who made the drama, and that if it weren't for him, this show would be dull and boring. I like his quirks and flaws. The fact that he as OCD and that it can be seen in his dorm room and in the way he dresses are what really makes him a fun character! Him only being able to sleep in the bathroom is kind of weird but endearing. It shows how vulnerable and affected he is by the past, and that alone is enough to portray a strong link between his past and present self. His childhood story and trauma are heart-breaking to an uncomfortable degree. It is almost so unheard of and gruesome that you can't help but feel sympathy towards him.
     How he overcame his mental illness, resolved his past, and made peace with his guilty self are delivered impeccably by him. Props to Jo In-Sung's acting! He really nailed this one! Even his lovey-dovey moments with Hae Soo were carried out perfectly that I found myself squealing whenever they were intimate.



  • Jang Jae Bum
     If there's a character that I resonate with the most, it would be Jang Jae Bum. I feel like he's the one who determined the dynamic of the whole drama. From willingly taking blame for Jae Yeol as a child, stabbing Jae Yeol with a fork, causing a scene by beating his brother up, being injected with the Amytal Sodium, being the deliverer of truth in the drama, being unjustly imprisoned, to forgiving everyone... I think Jae Bum wins the award for being the most dynamic character in the drama. I just can't help but love this guy. I would choose his character over Jae Yeol's, but it will be a close fight!



  • Tae Yong
     He's probably the underdog of the drama. He did betray Jae Yeol at first, but if it weren't for Tae Yong running and helping around, they probably wouldn't have achieved anything. I feel like he was the one who constantly managed and figured out the situation. Although I disliked him strongly in the beginning, I found his sincerity and brotherly love towards Jae Yeol and Jae Bum, and his gratitude towards their mother (he is an orphan) to be a redeeming moment for him. He is like the invisible 3rd brother!



  • Ji Hae Soo
     I didn't love her character as much as I thought I would. I usually dislike female leads because they tend to be annoying in many flavors, but I don't dislike her as much, so I guess that means I like her eh? I like her as a partner to Jae Yeol. That's about it. I think she is the perfect fit for him, too! Have you seen her outfits? And her body!? I feel like every time I see her, I would secretly envy her body. I like how Hae Soo is not conventionally pretty. I like how she's beautiful and unique in her own way. Not to mention, she was not as annoying as the other female leads I know.



  • Park Soo Kwang
     Kwang Soo is a very great actor. My heart would sink a bit whenever Soo Kwang has his Tourette episodes, but I can't help but admire Lee Kwang Soo's acting skills. It's just so believable! As a character, I didn't like the fact that Soo Kwang was always hunting for a girl. It just irked me to no end. I loved how he cared for Hae Soo, though. There was a brother-sister love happening between them where they bicker but look after each other. I like it whenever he would look up to Jae Yeol as his older brother (hyung), and even taking care of Jae Yeol when he found out he was schizo.




[Story-Related]
  • Jang Jae Yeol's OCD
     In my opinion, Jae Yeol's OCD is what made him the character that he is. It wasn't the main issue of the drama or a serious concern for that matter. It was more like an accessory mental illness that Jae Yeol carried with him. I like the fact that it didn't hinder him from functioning as a normal human being besides the fact that he sleeps in the bathroom and even I found that quite fun and different. His OCD was portrayed so subtly throughout the drama that I was vigilantly on the look out on how this oddity of his manifested. To point out some instances, he had toilet paper rolls aligned on top of an open shelf, red, blue, yellow towels piled evenly in his cabinets, and even a peculiar geometrical design going for his room and bookshelves. Not to mention, his room follows a color scheme of red, blue, and yellow, too. Of course, dare he jump out of that theme when it comes to fashion? He wears red, blue, yellow polo shirts with the occasional black, gray, and white shirts because come on, how can you live without black and white shirts?

  • Jang Jae Yeol's Schizophrenia
     Even from the very beginning, I already knew he was too perfect to be normal. Whenever he was with Kang Woo, I get this strange eerie vibe from their relationship. Jang Jae Yeol (Jo In Sung) and Han Kang Woo (Do Kyungsoo) have this uncanny and strange resemblance when together. They both smile the same way, and their stories have similarities, which pretty much gave it away. Knowing guilt was the reason for his mental condition, we can learn a thing or two from this. Guilt is an ugly monster to play with. No wonder he turned schizo. Nevertheless, I like the fact that although Jae Yeol was the victim of his own mind and faults, he really isn't the bad guy. He's a complicated character with flaws, and I really like that about him.

  • Jae Bum and Jae Yeol's Brotherhood
     Now, at first, I thought Jae Bum and Jae Yeol were enemies. Well, they were until the last few episodes. The two of them have this invisible bond that people may overlook and find hard to understand but exists and is unique to only the two of them. Everyone saw Jae Bum as some evil psychotic man, but Jae Yeol, knowing what his brother has done for him and their mother, understood why Jae Bum was the way he is. Jae Bum, although completely hateful of Jae Yeol, is actually very caring and loving. He just doesn't like to show it.

  • Deception of Characters' Roles
     One of the main points of the story, I believe, is character role deception. To explain further and simply, Jae Yeol, being locked up in prison for 14 years despite being innocent, looks psychotic and mentally unstable but is actually the sane one. On the contrary, Jae Yeol, roaming freely and having framed his brother of a crime that their mother had done, looks normal and poise, when in reality, is the guilt-driven schizophrenic one. I am impressed by the simple logic here that was played out impeccably and flawlessly through the contrast of the two brothers. The lesson to be taken away here is that the internal and mental imprisonment controlled by self-condemnation and guilt cause greater damage overall than the incarceration of the innocent behind cold bars. To make it simpler, the truth will set you free. 

  • Han Kang Woo as a Fantasy
     There were a handful of scenes that gave me the hibbly jibblies. Most of them are that of the progressive revelation of Kang Woo as a figment of Jae Yeol's imagination. 

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