Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's Okay, It's Love: First Impressions


I'm still mixed as to whether I really like this drama, but it's clearly well thought out and intriguingly different from most shows on air. I hardly care about the central romance, which for reasons I'll explain annoys more than interests me. What keeps me invested are the leads as individual characters, and especially Jo In Sung's slightly on-edge, veneered leading man. He embodies so many emotions and complexities, and feels like a raw but real person who does things that are unexpected yet satisfying and authentic. The story for me is about his journey, both in the past and present. 


Episode 1 was frankly all over the place, and left me within an inch of calling it quits on the drama as a whole. It was a mess of characters sprouting up left and right, strange dialog and sequences (I still don't understand what the point of that TV debate was), and frankly tepid chemistry between the leads. In fact, I'm still not convinced of Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin together. They're clearly competent actors who are able to embody their characters, but together they don't sizzle, and I'm not sure any amount of physical interaction can make up for a sheer lack of convincing compatibility. 

But of course, with any drama it's important to try out at least two episodes, and I'm happy I did because episode 2 honed in on some of the topics skirted by episode 1 and delivered an overall enjoyable hour. I think that's largely because I find our hero a much more fascinating character than our heroine, and enjoyed the opportunity to see his point of view. Indeed, while episode 1 was largely told from Hae Soo's perspective, episode 2 was told from Jae Yeol's.


Between the two, Jae Yeol, with his past demons, OCD nature, and twisted relationships with everyone around him, definitely wins the cake as the character I want to spend more time with. Hae Soo's alright, but she's also just one childhood trauma away from being a typical Candy. Her relationships are less interesting in the sense that they're mostly positive - she's got a warm household that feels reminiscent of the Answer Me series, a set of loyal friends, and of course the cliche cheating boyfriend. It's just not interesting, because relationship issues aside she's completely normal. Not to mention she also just acts like a right old bitch in most of her scenes (especially with Jae Yeol), which is frankly a major turn off. 


In fact, she's the main reason why I don't care for the OTP. I feel like Jae Yeol deserves someone slightly better and nicer than this too-big-for-her-britches psychiatrist. Let's rewind through their scenes and analyze their interactions: 

1) TV Debate - I'm sorry, someone needs to explain this to me because I got bored / confused about two minutes in. All I remember is a lot of smirking from him and a lot of eye rolling from her, plus this weird ass paper question that had an even less logical "answer." I know this show is by a renowned scriptwriter, but pretty gibberish doesn't hide the fact that it's gibberish.

2) Bar chase - That's right, she smashed a giant glass vase into his head, which left him with an injury that caused him to later faint. Not to mention, this all happened while he was trying to help her. Bitchy? Yep. Romantic? Absolutely not.

3) Boyfriend is a cheater reveal - For some reason, she decides to hold a grudge against the guy who revealed her boyfriend is a cheater, then proceeds to make the rest of her housemates do the same. This makes sense how? In all logical versions of the universe you should thank the guy who helped you escape the cheating loser. 


4) Wine throw - You're so angry at the guy who revealed your cheater boyfriend that you take his (expensive) wine and throw it at his face. I'm sorry, you lost me again. All that shot through my head during this scene was CRAZY BITCH. Which may be the point this drama is trying to make with this character, I don't know. But as a leading lady you just lost major points, though thank god our male lead had the human inclination to give you the same treatment.


That about sums up my perspective on their relationship, which is largely that this crazy girl doesn't deserve Jae Yeol, and she'll now have to do something awesome before I can get on her side. Being female doesn't give you a license to do whatever the hell you want with your guy, and I'm sick of dramas basically continuing to allow this reverse gender discrimination. Think about it, if our guy had been the one to act like this (e.g. smashed a vase at her, thrown wine first at her face), audiences would be all over him for abuse. Yet it's fine because Gong Hyo Jin does it? No, no it's freaking not.


Anyways, the things that do interest me about the drama are the backstories to the leads, because they seem like they'll be refreshingly different and tangible. Sexuality actually has a place in this story, and it's nice to see a drama finally deal with problems like harassment and physical relationship issues. I'm also interested in that young highschooler who follows Jae Yeol around, whom others have identified as potentially a figment of his imagination. Did he murder someone and shoot the blame to his brother? I'd actually love it if that were the case, because that provides a whole new layer of interest to our character. 


One last thing, I wish this drama would tone down the music, literally. It's distracting to the point of annoyance, not to mention I'm not a fan of the rap / club music they seem to have bought entire albums of. The convertible car driving paired with rap music is just too cheesy for me to handle, and also has no bearing on the otherwise complex story. Also, can we please get Jo In Sung to stop wearing ugly sandals with his suits? Change these, tame the crazy lady, and this could be a great watch.

You can watch It's Okay, It's Love here

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