Netflix keeps betting on sharing Korean dramas with the rest of the world. But It’s Okay to Not Be Okay brought fresh and unique elements to K-dramas.
In the past, I have shared some of my top Korean dramas to stream on Netflix. But 2020 has been a year of K-drama releases on Netflix. One of the latest dramas on the platform was “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”. Also known as “Psycho But It’s Okay”. This Korean series refurbished the old format of dramas.
There are many reasons why this series changed the way to do things in the Korean entertainment industry. That is thanks to the addition of many vital elements that never used to be part of the format of Korean dramas. This drama has an exciting and deep plot that combines romance, comedy, fantasy, and psychological elements.
For me, this was an overwhelming drama to watch. It is one of those series that show real-life topics that need to be seen. Mental disorders were never shown in the Korean entertainment industry before. And there is no better way to do it than through deep and interesting stories. So, here are some things that make “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” a unique Korean Drama, available now on Netflix:
A Unique Love Story
Even though “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” is a romantic drama, it redefines romance. If you have seen many Korean dramas, you might be used to their overrated pink love stories between almost perfect and unrealistic characters. They often have love stories without a deep and complete plot to support it. That is why “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” shares a different love story.
This Korean drama has unique and realistic main characters. It is not afraid to show the light and the shadow in each character, including the two main ones, Go Moon Young and Moon Kang Tae, two people with unique personalities and marked by their past.
They have a captivating relationship. At the start, Kang Tae doesn’t really like Moon Young at all, and Moon Young makes her interest in him seem superficial instead of a real love interest. The two characters are on opposite sides of everything in life. Kang Tae is a nurse and caretaker in a psychiatric hospital. While Moon Young is an eccentric writer with sociopathic traits. Not a regular Korean drama couple.
Kang Tae is not a heroic prince, and Moon Young is not a damsel in distress. That is a real plot twist that this Korean drama has. Rather than saving or rescuing Moon Young from danger, Kang Tae is stopping her from hurting others. At the same time, Moon Young is trying to make Kang Tae a man without “Tightness” because Kang Tae has too many responsibilities and carries the burden not only his life but also his brother’s. This couple is mostly trying to help each other by trying to understand each other’s differences.
Another huge difference from the regular Korean drama is the fact that the love story has a deep story behind it. We discover that the couple used to know each other, but they chose to block their memories of being together because it happened in a dark moment of their lives. Most Korean dramas focus on forbidden love; in this one, their passion is marked by past scars. So, this love story is not forbidden at all! But both are trapped in their traumatic childhood.
Kang Tae and Moon Young have something only a few Korean drama love stories have, sexual chemistry. In Korea, most sexual aspects of entertainment are banned. Moon Young is the one that shows sexual interest in Kang Tae, which is unique for this kind of drama. In Korean dramas, women are usually innocent and inexperienced in intimacy and sexual attraction. Moon Young’s seductive behavior goes perfectly with Kang Tae’s seriousness and avoidance, which makes them an overwhelming and hilarious couple.
A Unique Korean Female Character
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a Korean drama with unique and well-developed characters. But Moon Young refurbished the typical female in Korean dramas. She is my favorite character. And many elements make her unique; she is a strong and independent woman. And that is something only a few Korean drama characters have.
The beginning of the drama introduces us to Moon Young as an eccentric writer. A smart and rich woman. Moon Young is the true definition of a boss. She knows she is the star and mastermind behind best-selling children’s books. And she is proud of it. Moon Young is not afraid of standing up in front of others to share her thoughts and desires, even if it is not the place or the moment to share them.
But the reason for Moon Young’s eccentricity and disinhibition has a deep back-story. Even though it is not declared in the drama, Moon Young has traits that imply she has a mental disorder. And thanks to the actual translation of the drama’s original name in Korean, “Psycho, But It’s Okay”, we partially know Moon Young’s diagnosis. We know this Korean woman presents pathological traits. And this makes Moon Young a unique character because it makes her human.
Moon Young’s behavior made me think a lot about this drama. In the beginning, she does seem to have some psychopathic traits. But through the episodes, we get to know her better. And that made me start to ponder about her diagnosis. I realized that what Moon Young has is an Antisocial Personality Disorder. She is not a psychopath; she is a sociopath. And those are different mental disorders.
Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of disregard for consequences and for the rights of others… People with antisocial personality disorder commit unlawful, deceitful, exploitative, reckless acts for personal profit or pleasure and without remorseSkodol, Andrew. (2019)
And to explain it better, here are some sociopathic traits this Korean female character presents:
- Moon Young is mostly indifferent to the harmful effects her actions have on other characters. There are many events in which the Korean woman doesn’t measure her actions against others. Even when most of the time, those actions seem in self-defense
- One thing that makes Moon Young unique is that she is hilarious. But most of the time, her humor is dark. That happens because the Korean woman is always mocking other characters of the drama. And through most of the drama, she does it without remorse
- Moon Young’s eccentric and uninhibited. The Korean woman is mostly self-focused. We can see that her pleasure and personal profit drive Moon Young’s reckless acts. Including making fun of others and her seductive behaviors towards her love interest Kang Tae
A Unique Major Plot Twist
If you are looking for a series with an unexpected plot twist, this Korean drama is a great option. In the beginning, the drama is full of humor, romance, and fantasy. There is a significant and unique plot twist in the last few episodes that will blow your mind. Those episodes have a well-developed addition of psychological thriller elements that you cannot predict!
I am trying to avoid the key spoilers. Only a few Korean dramas combine elements from different genres as smartly and successfully as this one. The plot gets dark through the episodes without losing its sense of humor.
The psychological thriller elements and the unique twist are there for a reason. It supports the entire plot. This part of the Korean drama helps us to understand the remarkable preface. It guides us through why the characters are the way we see them. And that is not only something uncommon in Korean entertainment, but is also why this drama is less superficial.
There are many other elements to talk about and review in this Korean drama. But I chose these to show you that even if you are not into Korean dramas you have to watch this one.
I tried not to give too many spoilers, so I don’t ruin the drama for you. But if you have already seen it, let me know in the comments if you want me to go deeper into the key elements of the series. See you soon!