On Sunday, the heartwarming and interesting Korean drama It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (IOTNBO) ended its 16-episode run. While the first eight episodes of the programme mostly focused on establishing our characters and the start of their personal journeys, the second half of the season made us eager participants in their healing and acceptance journeys.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
Studio Dragon created It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, which was written by Jo Yong, directed by Park Shin-woo, and produced by Story TV and Gold Medalist. The drama is focused on Jo Yong’s friendship with a man who suffers from a personality illness. She shaped Moon Sang-personality tae’s by hearing to experiences from individuals who had autistic brothers and consulting literature recommended by the CEO of Bear Better, a social company that employs persons with developmental impairments. Costumes were overseen by fashion director Cho Sang-kyung, while some of Ko Moon-clothes young’s were designed by fashion designer Minju Kim.
We meet Ko Moon-Young (a fiery, immaculately groomed Seo Ye-ji), a children’s book author, in the first few episodes, but her demeanour and stories are everything but warm and cosy. Her publisher and those close to her discuss her Antisocial Personality Disorder in hushed tones (APSD). Moon Gang-Tae (Kim Soo-Hyun), who works as a caretaker in a mental facility, and Moon Sang-Tae (Oh Jung-Se), the elder brother with Autism Spectrum Disorder and a blossoming artist, are on the other hand.
The brothers, who were orphaned as children, are seen to have travelled around a lot, with Gang-Tae working as a caretaker in a psychiatric institution in every place they stop for the night. Despite their turbulent history, Gang-Tae and Sang-Tae have a real warmth in their connection. It’s quite pleasant to observe Sang-innocence, Tae’s zeal, and forthright assertions as the episodes proceed, and how they give Gang-Tae strength.
The episode spends a lot of time in the OK mental hospital, where Gang-Tae first starts working. The mental health centre defies stereotypes by being brightly lit, with breathtaking vistas, and calming colours. The carers and nurses wear pastel pink and green uniforms, and the programme has mainly succeeded in avoiding making caricatures of the convicts.
The show’s early hype stemmed mostly from its premise and the idea that it will focus on mental health. While the show has dealt with a variety of topics thus far, it will benefit significantly from more nuanced talks of mental health in future episodes.
What’s Interesting About It’s Okay to Not Be Okay?
Moon-‘haunted Young’s castle’ dwelling is the polar opposite of the mental facility’s warmth and brightness. This show’s production design merits a special mention for its wonderful aesthetics. So far, each episode has been titled after a Moon-Young novel or a folk storey and has dealt with its themes. These stories were included into the episodes in a variety of styles, including a Tim Burton-style animated short, pictures from a children’s book, and even a silent film.
Moon-Young is a well-written character who is also brilliantly performed by Seo Ye-ji. If it hadn’t been for the perfect performer, this character may have easily devolved into a caricature. She’s self-assured, doesn’t mind being unpleasant, is unrepentant about being a’monster,’ and follows her own set of rules. However, she is weak and plagued by her history, and it is touching to witness her attempting to form a relationship with the brothers.
The focus of the episode is mostly on Moon Gang-Tae and Ko Moon-path Young’s to personal recovery. The fact that they aren’t relying on the other person to guide them is what makes the writing so refreshing. Character growth and the characters’ slow but continuous progress stems from their self-awareness and contemplation. Kim Soo-Hyun also does a good job as Gang-Tae, who is quiet, peaceful, and kind. The last episode was a watershed moment for his character, and it will be fascinating to watch how the writers handle this going forward.
On Instagram and Twitter, there’s a lot of content dedicated to decoding Seo Ye-looks Ji’s from the event, and for good cause! Following in the footsteps of Son Ye-Jin from Crash Landing on You, Ye-elegant Ji’s ensembles from IOTNBO, which included an assortment of high-end brands, are sure to be talked about for a long time. If you’re missing the program, the varied soundtrack is the next best thing to listen to. Elaine’s song Wake Up will quickly become a favourite on your morning playlist.