Title: It’s Okay, That’s Love (괜찮아, 사랑이야 or Gwaenchanha, Sarangiya) (2014)
Also Known As: It’s Alright, This is Love
Written by: Noh Hee-Kyung
Starring: Jo In-Sung, Gong Hyo-Jin, Sung Dong-Il, Lee Kwang-Soo, Do Kyung-Soo, Jin Kyung, Lee Sung-Kyung, Yang Ik-June, Cha Hwa-Yeon, Tae Hang-Ho, Kim Mi-Kyung, Do Sang-Woo, Choi Moon-Kyung, Choi Seung-Kyung, Han Jung-Hyun, Myung Jong-Hwan, and Lee Seo-Joon
Country of Origin: South Korea
Original Language(s): Korean
No. of Series: 1
No. of Episodes: 16
Genres: Medical, Melodrama, Romance
Running Time: 60 minutes
Original Network: Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)
Jang Jae-Yeol is an author of bestselling mystery novels and a radio DJ. Playful and a bit arrogant, he also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Ji Hae-Soo is a psychiatrist on her first year of fellowship. Driven and ambitious with her career yet compassionate towards her patients, Hae-Soo has a negative attitude towards love and relationships in her personal life. Once Jae-Yeol and Hae-Soo meet, there is much contention between them caused by their strong personalities and refusal to give in to each other. But slowly their bickering turns into love and they begin to learn how compatible they are. Jae-Yeol and Hae-Soo attempt to heal each other’s deep-seated wounds, but their fledgeling relationship takes a blow when they learn that Jae-Yeol’s mental health issues are more serious than they initially suspected.
I have intended to watch It’s Okay, That’s Love for so long but only have time to watch it just lately. My first impression of this Korean drama is that no character in it was normal. Everyone seemed to have a mental health issue. Not until later that I realised that not everyone has a mental issue and even they all have, it’s because the main idea of this Korean drama is about psychology and mental health issues. I think the idea is somewhat refreshing and new. Well, perhaps not new but this kind of topic is not something common either. Therefore making this Korean drama unique. It was quirky and beautifully packed.
Although Jo In-Sung is a veteran actor and has played so many dramas before, I’ve only watched his drama once, which is That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013). And I love that drama very much. His character there was so sweet. This time, in It’s Okay, That’s Love, Jo In-Sung played the role of Jang Jae-Yeol, a best-selling mystery novel author and a radio DJ. He seemed normal at first, but later on, we’ll know that he has many hidden depths. He has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and some sort of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). When we thought that’s just it, apparently it wasn’t. There’s more about Jang Jae-Yeol that we haven’t known. Something that can be considered as dangerous. Despite all of those mental issues and his arrogance, Jang Jae-Yeol is very kind and caring. He can be annoying and irritating but he’s actually has a very warm heart.
I think Jo In-Sung really portrayed his character well. He got the essence and vibes of being arrogant and mysterious for Jang Jae-Yeol, yet also the bubbly and cheerful side of the character. His performance is very entertaining and emotionally powerful. Jo In-Sung really has the charm that makes the character of Jang Jae-Yeol easily likeable. Not only he is charming, but Jo In-Sung has also given the charisma that was needed for his character. Even Jong In-Sung’s performance during the last few episodes of this drama could easily make you cry and your heart breaks. Jo In-Sung really did a fantastic job in portraying his character.
Gong Hyo-Jin’s performance was also as powerful as Jo In-Sung. As Ji Hae-Soo, Gong Hyo-Jin’s performance was amazing in every aspect. When she did emotional scenes, she really looked emotional and you could feel her sadness. Her facial expressions couldn’t lie the emotion within her. They were just spot on. Like Jang Jae-Yeol, Ji Hae-Soo also has her own mental health issue. Apparently, she has some kind of sex phobia. She couldn’t bear the thought of sex. Even kissing would make her anxious. There’s a reason why she had the phobia. At first, it was understandable, but later on, after we knew more about Ji Hae-Soo, I just didn’t get it.
“Because I believe that the best thing that I can do for those that I love is to never give up hope, no matter what may come my way.” – Jang Jae-Yeol
Both Jang Jae-Yeol and Ji Hae-Soo were the type of characters that you would love and hate simultaneously. Sometimes you like them, sometimes you don’t. Nevertheless, I like how both Jo In-Sung and Gong Hyo-Jin managed to portray their characters flawlessly. As for the chemistry between them, it’s exceptional. They were really good together. Jang Jae-Yeol and Ji Hae-Soo were the kind of couple that’s not like other couples yet still give a very strong chemistry. The way Jo In-Sung and Gong Hyo-Jin showed their love, the way they stared each other or spoke to each other, their gesture, their attitude, everything was convincing to the point that we will believe them if they said they were actually a real-life couple as well. Unlike other couples, they didn’t try to be sweet or romantic. Well, there are times when this couple looked sweet together. Some actions that Jang Jae-Yeol did to Ji Hae-Soo might seem very sweet. However, most of the times, they weren’t. They were very straightforward and never tried to sugarcoat things. If they don’t like about some things, they said it bluntly. The relationship does suit their personality and both Jo In-Sung and Gong Hyo-Jin portrayed their characters really well. Together, they really made a strong couple with strong chemistry.
Aside from Jo In-Sung and Gong Hyo-Jin, the other cast have also given their best performance. Lee Kwang-Soo as Park Soo-Kwang, who has Tourette syndrome, also did great. I’ve never seen someone with a Tourette syndrome before—or at least people around me—so I don’t really know what a Tourette syndrome patient would look like when they’re having an episode. However, I can tell that Lee Kwang-Soo did his very best in portraying his character. Lee Kwang-Soo is great at being a model and an entertainer in Running Man TV shows, though I still don’t know if he’s a great actor because honestly, I’ve only seen him in The Innocent Man (2012) as one of the supporting cast and a cameo in Descendants of the Sun (2016 and both of his characters were quite similar, even in this drama too. So I don’t know if he can do other kinds of characters but at the moment, he’s doing well. His performance is really entertaining and refreshing. His chemistry with Lee Sung-Kyung who played the role of Oh So-Nyeo is also good. It’s Okay, That’s Love is Lee Sung-Kyung’s first drama and she’s already doing good. I think she got better as time went by because her performance in Doctors (2016) as the second lead character was much better than in It’s Okay That’s Love. I also like the chemistry between Lee Kwang-Soo with Jo In-Sung, Gong Hyo-Jin, and Sung Dong-Il.
I never doubt Sung Dong-Il in terms of acting. I’ve seen him several times by now—the recent one being Reply 1988 (2015-2016) and The Legend of the Blue Sea (2017). His performances are always outstanding, including as Jo Dong-Min in this drama. I like how he can smoothly shift from serious character to wise character to funny character from time to time. I can also say the same to Jin Kyung, who played the role of Lee Young-Jin. I like the chemistry between Jo Dong-Min and Lee Young-Jin. They can be funny at times, but other times when they were talking about their patients they looked serious. At any rate, I like the chemistry between Jo Dong-Min and Lee Young-Jin with the other characters as well.
Do Kyung-Soo knew how to give a mysterious vibe to his role, that much I can say. I’ve seen him before in Hello Monster (2015), though It’s Okay, That’s Love did come first. Do Kyung-Soo made his acting debut through this drama as Han Kang-Woo. His relationship with Jang Jae-Yeol was something that made you curious and made you kept on second-guessing until the end. Their relationship was somewhat mysterious and you can only guess it if you watch the drama from the beginning until the end. The character of Han Kang-Woo did give me new insights about people who have a certain mental health issue. It’s kind of unbelievable, yet at the same time, it’s true because I knew some people who had the same problems in the past and I knew those people perfectly well. So, the story of Han Kang-Woo might seem unrealistic, but believe me when I say that it’s true and it can actually happen in real life. Of course, not everything is realistic because they needed to adjust it for the sake of the drama, but what happened to Han Kang-Woo is indeed truly true. I know it got confusing but you’ll know what I mean if you watch the drama.
I have to praise all the actors and actresses for learning the psychology terms for this drama. Correct me if I’m wrong but as far as I know, psychiatrists don’t do surgery. They give therapeutic and medical treatments but not surgery. Well, mental health is not something that can be fixed through surgery after all. Even though these actors and actresses didn’t perform surgery actions, they still needed to memorise psychological terms, which are not easy either. I think the scriptwriters have done their job tremendously because they are the one who needed to do research first. They have to understand many psychiatrist patients. How they have their problems and how their psychiatrists handled their issues. The writers needed to research in detail in order to make the story true and realistic. Only then the actors and the actresses can learn about their characters and the medical terms and such. So, in terms of psychology story, It’s Okay, That’s Love has a very good story. They took a unique and unusual topic and packed it beautifully.
Unlike the other Korean dramas that I have watched before, It’s Okay, That’s Love has more adults content because of the sex phobia that Ji Hae-Soo’s suffering. They spoke about having sex more bluntly than the usual Korean dramas that I’ve watched. If I can categorise the drama, it will be somewhere between PG-13 and R-rated. It’s not too vulgar there are few things in the drama that aren’t really appropriate for pre-teenagers—let alone children. However, It’s Okay, That’s Love is a good drama if you want to see different sides of people that have mental health issues. Not only we can see what kind of mental health issues from the main and side characters, but this drama also gave us many cases from the patients. Some cases were so unique that would give you some insight that there are people out there that actually suffered such mental health issues.
As always, the settings in this Korean drama were beautifully set up. Every place was arranged to perfection. Every detail is well thought out. Like the fact that Jang Jae-Yeol is an OCD and therefore the arrangement for his bedroom and working place wasn’t supposed to be like other normal people’s room, and the production team managed to set his rooms fit perfectly for his personality. I always admire how they get to set up the houses and made it look cosy and very realistic.
All in all, I really like It’s Okay, That’s Love. The cast is great. They all have performed their job really well. The chemistry between all the characters is nice. The story is unique and unusual. It can give you some new insights for the psychiatrist and psychology patients. I also like how the story was written. You’d keep getting surprised up until the end of the drama.
I give It’s Okay, That’s Love 9 out of 10 stars.