It’s just been about one week since this TV series finished airing on Netflix. I have been watching this series religiously, every weekend where it has episodes every Saturday and Sunday. Honestly sometimes it was so hard to hold on for five days until the next episode aired, but I just say it did pay off. I started watching this series because it was Kim Soo Hyun’s return to the small screen but as I continued watching it, the reasons to continue watching the show just kept growing. So here’s my spoiler free review on It’s Okay To Not Be Okay.
Aside from this, I do have episode recaps, reviews done before, in the middle of the series and popular fan theories that rose during the time the series was running, all of which you can view by clicking this link here! Now onto the review –
Listen to the Original Soundtrack on Spotify as you read!
Title : It’s Okay To Not Be Okay, Psycho But It’s Okay, Psycho But It’s All Right
Country of origin : South Korean
Language : Korean
Directed by : Park Shin Woo
Written by : Jo Yong
Starring : Kim Soo Hyun, Seo Ye Ji, Oh Jung Se, Park Kyu Young, Kim Joo Hun, Park Jin Joo, Kim Chang Wan, Jang Young Nam, Kim Mi Kyung, Kang Ki Doong
Produced by : Studio Dragon
Number of Seasons : 1
Number of episodes : 16
Status : Completed
Broadcast : 20 June – 9 August of 2020
Genre : Romance, Drama, Family
Ko Mun Yeong is a celebrated children’s book author who is also the daughter of the famous mystery novel writer who is now considered dead, Do Hui Jae. She suffers from ASPD (Anti Social Personality Disorder) and has a certain liking to sharp and beautiful things. She is shown to have had some bad memories with her mother which is seemingly the cause of her issues. She has had a very rough life with her parents, mentally, more of which you can find out during the run of the series.
It’s at this point we are introduced to our next character – Moon Kang Tae. He works as a helper at a psychiatric hospital.
Kang Tae struggles to take care of his brother Sang Tae. Sang Tae us autistic but is a talented artist and has a very unique perception to things around him as we see through the run of the series. However Sang Tae is tormented every once in a while by “the butterfly” which is seemingly what killed their mother and made them orphans. Whenever Sang Tae gets this nightmare Kang Tae is forced to move homes, where his good friend Jae Su follows as well. This happens almost every year, and it’s a struggle for Kang Tae to keep running away from the butterfly.
It’s at that point that the brothers and Jae Su decide to move back to Seongjin city and Kang Tae can start working at OK Psychiatric Hospital as a helper and stay at his friend Ju Ri’s home on her rooftop. Along with that Kang Tae asks Director Ok of the hospital to help Sang Tae with his PTSD and come to the bottom of this butterfly as well. But at the hospital he is follows by Ko Mun Yeong who has taken an intense liking towards him after an altercation between the two at her book reading and signing events.
Mun Yeong is however followed by the CEO of her publishing company – Sang In and her assistant as Mun Yeong has caused a huge mess that led him to be bankrupt. But that’s not the only problem that followed Mun Yeong as we will see when the story unravels.
When I heard the premise of the story I was just hoping for one thing. With issues such as Autism, PTSD, ASPD being represented in the series, I hoped that it wouldn’t over dramatise it or cause misconceptions of it. As it is there is so much misunderstanding and limited understanding amongst the public and it’s tough to normalise these things and make people understand. Furthermore being a theme that’s not seen that much in K-Dramas was also a concern. But I am happy to say that this series has met with our expectations and maybe even exceeded it with its execution.
The entire theme of the series is a very sublime yet dramatic and powerful storyline that mostly revolves around the trio of Ko Mun Yeong, Moon Kang Tae and Moon Sang Tae. It’s a delicate balance of the events in the past and the present and what troubles them. A one liner summary of this series would be that “it’s a story of a girl who cares for no one but herself, and a boy who cares for everyone but himself”. The pace of the series was also very satisfactory and let me tell you this is an emotional story. It will make even the most emotionless person bawl their hearts out as the audience did almost every weekend. The characters run deep into our hearts and they are here to stay there.
I loved the characters for their accurate portrayal to the most minute details and also their portrayal by their characters. While the trio set of lead actors performed in their roles as efficiently as breathing, I must take this point of time to applaud the supporting cast. Mostly when I mention the details of the series at the top I never really mention the supporting cast a lot, but this time I made sure I mentioned all of them as they are all vital to the story. And can I just give a shout out to the child actors that played our characters in the past?
There were some scenes where when the past and the present clash we see the young and old characters mingle in the same frame. Those were some of the most hard hitting scenes in this series for sure!
When I reviewed the K-Drama Chocolate, I had mentioned how the setting and the fellow patients and characters in the setting laid the foundation for the drama. And that’s the same thing I have to say about this series as well. When we build the story around a character in a hospital, and reflect it against the main story it really leaves a profound effect.
Right before the final four episodes were about to air I had compiled a set of the most famous fan theories that some eagle-eyed fans had noticed. The fans did get the main theory right – the series left quite subtle hints until the very end so try to figure it out – clue : it’s about who the villian is! There was one more theory about Sang Tae and Mun Yeong which I thought was going to come true as well. If it did the series story would have been blown up like crazy. However when episode 15 (the second last one) aired I realised that theory is not going to come true and thought the series was mkt going to end well. But after I watched the final episode I take that back.
The reason I’m explaining so much aout that is because I want to mention that the thing that I loved the most in this series was how realistic they left things to be. There’s no added drama, or the story deviating to become all about the couple and their romance. It’s just truly, heart warming and a series that has set itself apart. I hope we do see such nice works of art in the K-Drama world going forward too!
Another interesting thing is that every episode is based on a fairy tale that’s recounted at a point in the story around which the episode is summarised. There is some cute animation follows by this that really made the presentation feel different! It reminded me of the Teddy Bears in Goong, or the fairy tales recounted in the series My Love From Another Star!
My final conclusion? It’s a series you must watch, especially if you wish to see one with a difference. It’s about what makes a group of people family, about understanding and not stigmatising mental conditions or people for any reason whatsoever. It’s about how we shouldn’t forget about ourselves as we take care of others, and in the end we do belong to ourselves, it’s about spreading your wings and embracing the good and bad, it’s about starting anew. Once you finish watching the series you’re going to be left with a warm hearted feeling and tear marks all over your face.