It’s Okay That’s Love: First Impressions

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Moving on with the next series! I’m kind of starting everything and then stopping if I lose interest, as it’s the only way I can catch up on new series to watch on the side. It’s Okay That’s Love was a drama where I saw episode 4 out of order, and then went back to watch episodes 1-2. And I have to admit, I really like the quirkiness.

*This first impression review is going to be limited to the first two episodes, even though I saw more of the series. I’m not going to go into a summary about the first two episodes, but there will be some spoilers so beware.*

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It’s Okay, That’s Love has a lot of nut cases in one house, and they’re all adorable. As Soo Kwang (Lee Kwang Soo) explains at one point, everyone’s relationships are a bit incestuous but it makes them close and doesn’t stop their friendships from continuing. They may be crazy, but they’re still pretty mature adults who don’t let their personal issues with one other person get in the way of the whole group getting along. And that’s what I really like: a group of friends who are both immature in nature but deal with things maturely. Feels like Friends all over again.

The drama is beautiful to watch, as Padam Padam and That Winter, the Wind Blows were, and I really do appreciate having a bright palette on my screen every so often. The director, Kim Gyu Tae, and his cinematographer really know how to light the actors well because it always paints them in the most flattering light even if they’re at their worst moment. I almost wish I could be in that drama just so I can see myself glowing and looking all dewy and fresh.

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But we know that beautiful dramas do not make a good drama, as writer Noh Hee Kyung has shown us with her past two most recent dramas. Her writing needs to translate onscreen as well, putting that responsibility in Kim’s hands. The two have a great partnership going and I think they bring the best out of each other, but hopefully the story itself just doesn’t go south, or the characters start delivering unconvincing bits of dialogue. For the first time I don’t get a good sense of where this drama is going in the first two episodes. I can tell that we’re trying to get author Jang Jae Yeol (Jo In Sung) and Ji Hae Soo (Gong Hyo Jin) together, and they’re probably two broken souls who will have to heal each other. However, they don’t seem that broken to me yet with just the first two episodes, which is why I can’t tell where this drama is going. In a way, It’s Okay feels a lot like a slice-of-life kind of drama, where it doesn’t really matter what the drama’s arc is because we’re just going along for the ride to see what will happen in these characters’ lives at this very instant. But with a bunch of people with their own psychological issues, there is no way this can just be a simple, slice-of-life drama. There’s a prevailing undertone of something darker deeper within the characters too, and I also get this nagging feeling that there is more to the story but we’re just not getting there yet.

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And on that note, I’m not sure how to take the drama tonally. It feels and looks light-hearted, but there’s always a sense of foreboding that things are darker or worse than they appear. I feel a little frustrated because I don’t really know how I should feel. The music makes a difference too. When I thought I should be worried and fearful during the club scene where Jae Yeol and Hae Soo got hurt, I ended up being amused because of the music. Am I supposed to be amused? Is this supposed to be an amusing situation, because it doesn’t look it. How do I take a drama seriously when it has Soo Kwang twerking with Jo Dong Min (Sung Dong Il), and they’re very seriously twerking?! It’s a little random and hilarious, but then am I supposed to feel scattered and take the random things as they come by too?

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My favorite thing about this drama is that it makes use of its actors all the time. Even if the camera is not directly focused on them, they still have to act because they’re in the background. They must react to the situations unfolding in front of them even though they’re not the focus of the scene. For example, when Jae Yeol smashes his editor Tae Yong’s car, you can see Tae Yong in the background hanging off the ledge of the window sill, forced to watch helplessly. Or when Hae Soo confronts her cheating boyfriend, Jae Yeol stays in the kitchen, unmoving and awkwardly watching the scene unfold. He’s not in focus, but you can tell how uncomfortable he is in the situation. And finally, during the television debate the camera may be on Hae Soo but then suddenly focus on the television behind her to show Jae Yeol’s reaction. The use of foreground and background is so interesting to me because not only do I feel more immersed in the scene, I get a great perception of depth and understanding of my surroundings, and I can look around the scene and see something new. I’m not forced to put all my attention to the one actor in the middle of the screen.

Another interesting thing that this drama does is it likes to have the actors look directly in the camera when they’re talking to another person. You know they’re not talking to you, but it still feels like they’re talking to you, breaking the fourth wall and making you a part of the drama. You aren’t just a viewer on the side (like how House of Cards, for example, treats you when you watch that series) but you are actually the character that they’re talking to. It’s another element that makes me even more immersed in the drama.

I really like this drama and I really want to see where it goes. Padam Padam was a hit for me, while That Winter was a miss. I want to see if this will be a hit!

 

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