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  • Writer's pictureHargun Sachdev

Kdrama Review: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

This show was not just entertainment for me. It wasn’t just some cheesy romance. It taught me about life, people and myself. It taught me about family, sacrifices and art. It taught me that no matter how many people rely on me or how much I mean to someone, I belong to myself. Hargun belongs to Hargun.

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay also known as ‘Psycho But it’s Okay’ is by far my favourite k-drama of 2020. I thought nothing could beat Itaewon Class but I was wrong and gladly so.

1. Emotional depth

It features Moon Sang-Tae who is autistic, his younger brother Moon Gang-Tae who is is care taker and also a Psych ward caretaker and Ko-Moon Young who is a popular children’s book writer with an antisocial personality disorder. These three people, together and individually, have a lot of healing, learning and growing-up to do. They each have traumatic childhoods and burdens that they are still not free from.

In addition to these three leads, the Ok Psychiatric Hospital adds emotional depth to the k-drama. Throughout the show, we are also introduced to certain patients and their mental health struggles and I’m not going to lie, overall, I’ve cried my fair bit while watching this k-drama.

2. Real friends And family

One of the most heartwarming things about this show is that it features what it means to really be there for someone you love. Whether it’s Ahjumma Kang Soon-Duk who is their landlady but also someone who makes them delicious food and shows them patience, understanding and love or their friend Jo Jae Soo who follows them everywhere and provides Gang-Tae friendship and laughter and support.

Personally, I have been struggling a lot with seeing the true colours of the friends in my life. And it really shouldn’t be this hard. They will not always be there for you but whenever they can, they will and they won’t ask anything in return for it, and you won’t have to beg them or pacify them. They will just be there. That’s what real friends and family do. And by family I don’t necessarily mean blood relations – but people you pick as family.

3. Fairytales and happy endings

I loved the mystical vibe, the cute illustrations and the fairytale element that was central to It’s Okay To Not Be Okay. Each episode had the theme of one fairytale – some that are age-old and the others new. This one is my favourite:

The Boy Who Fed On Nightmares

The boy woke up from another awful nightmare. Bad memories from his past that he wanted to erase from his head were replayed in his dreams every night and haunted him non-stop. The boy was terrified of falling asleep again. So one day he went to the witch and begged. ‘Please get rid of all my bad memories so that I won’t have a nightmare ever again. Then I will do everything you ask.’

Years went by and the boy become an adult. He no longer had nightmares. But for some strange reason he wasn’t happy at all. One night, a blood moon filled the night sky and the witch finally showed up again to take what he had promised in return for granting his wish. And he shouted at her with so much resentment. ‘All my bad memories are gone but why, why can’t I become happy?’

Then the witch took his soul as they had promised and told him this. ‘Hurtful, painful memories. Memories of deep regret. Memories of hurting others and being hurt. Memories of being abandoned. Only those with such memories buried in their hearts can become stronger, more passionate and emotionally flexible. And only they can attain happiness.

So don’t forget any of it. Remember it all and overcome it. If you don’t overcome it, you’ll always be a kid whose soul never grows.

You can watch the illustrations/video clip of this fairytale here:

4. Overcoming your fears by yourself

That’s the only reason happy endings are possible.

If we all belong to ourselves, we have to fight our fears by ourselves. Whether that’s butterflies, turning into our parents, never finding happiness or always being the second option for those we love.

It’s not easy, fun or a one-time thing. But one of the only things that’s really worth it. That’s how you can really smile. The smile that reaches your eyes. The smile that’s straight from your soul.

5. Cute character bonding

Not going to lie, one of my favourite parts about It’s Okay To Not Be Okay was Ko Moon Young and Sang-Tae Oppa bonding. And even other characters such as Lee-Sang In and Nam Joo Ri. Also just all the other relationship dyanmics with all the side characters such as Director Oh Ji-Wang, Ahjumma Kang-Soon Duk, patients such as Kang Pil-Wong, Joo Jung Tae, Lee-A Reum, etc was very wholesome.

6. OST and visuals

From the first episode itself I was going crazy to find the OST of this k-drama. A lot of them at the time were unreleased and made me wonder who the artists were because the songs gave me a very Melanie Martinez x Billie Eilish vibe. Here are my favourites:

As for the visuals, while the overall aesthetic of the kdrama is really cool, the highlight of the visuals for me really is Ko Moon-Young’s clothes. OH MY GOD. In some of the clothes, her waist was way too tiny and I got worried about her health. But then I read up and apparently that’s literally always been her body and not something she distressed herself for. But honestly, she could put on as much weight but she’ll still look gorgeous if she continues with that dressing style.

This talented artist has captured he fashion throughout the k-drama so brilliantly!

Final thoughts

As you can tell by now, this is not a kdrama about a female and male lead and their love story. This is a kdrama about three protagonists who bless us with the privilege of seeing their journey to healing.

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