There are two main factors that I usually consider when deciding what drama to watch next — the plot’s uniqueness and the charm of the lead actors. “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” barely meets these qualifications, but Kim Soo-hyun is enough to make me go ahead and watch the first two episodes.
Except for his cameo roles on “Crash Landing On You” and “Hotel del Luna,” this is Kim Soo-hyun’s first lead role in a K-drama since “The Producers” in 2015. So yeah, I’m sold.
Kim Soo Hyun stars as Moon Kang-tae, a psychiatric ward caregiver who lives with his autistic brother Moon Sang Tae (Oh Jung-se). Both have emotional scars after being orphaned at an early age. The lead actress Seo Ye-ji is Ko Moon-young, a popular children’s book author who suffers from antisocial personality disorder. Moon-young takes an interest in the reserved Kang-tae who is somewhat repulsed by her forwardness.
Aside from their somewhat similar titles, the mental health element in “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” reminds me of the 2014 drama “It’s Okay, That’s Love” starring Gong Hyo-jin and Jo In-sung. Both are described as a ‘healing drama’ during promotional interviews as the main characters in both dramas strive to heal each other’s emotional and psychological wounds. It will be interesting to see how the two dramas differ in tackling such a heavy plot.
I started watching this show not knowing the people behind it and so I was thoroughly surprised when I saw the opening billboard. It reminded me of the opening billboard of “Encounter,” and after a quick Google check, I found out that they had the same director Park Shin-woo. This couldn’t be a good sign, or is it? I have yet to recover from my trauma that is “Encounter.” That show was such a flop for me, even Park Bo-gum’s angelic presence was not enough to salvage it.
On the other hand, “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay,” with its Tim Burton-esque animation and old Hollywood feels, somehow matches the overall mysterious feel of the show and the characters. For the first two episodes, transitions were seamless and overall it seems to be a visually appealing show.
Here’s the thing: I do love complicated characters in dramas. There’s nothing I hate more than dull one-dimensional characters. That drew me in at first with “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.” However, there are moments when I feel like the two main characters live in two very different worlds (or dramas?).
Ko Moon-young is like a character straight out of a comic book, with her flashy outfits and over the top personality. Moon Kang-tae, on the other hand, is your typical male lead — cold and aloof yet a softie when it comes to his loved ones. Together, Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji have an explosive chemistry, and that’s saying much as I have yet to watch the succeeding episodes. I find their encounters sexy and intriguing, enough for me to anticipate what’s coming next.
Will I continue to watch “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”? Yes, most definitely if only to see more of Kim Soo-hyun (and his abs) and Seo Ye-ji’s character developments, and of course that undeniable chemistry.