Moon Gang Tae is a community health worker at a psychiatric ward who was blessed with everything including a great body, smarts, ability to sympathize with others, patience, ability to react quickly, stamina, and more. Meanwhile, Ko Moon Young is a popular writer of children’s literature who, due to suffering from an antisocial personality disorder, seems extremely selfish, arrogant, and rude. Moon Gang Tae denies love and Ko Moon Young doesn’t know it. The two defy fate and fall in love, finding their souls and identities in the process. (Source: Soompi & Koreandrama.org) Edit Translation
- Native Title: 사이코지만 괜찮아
- Also Known As: Saikojiman Gwaenchanha , I'm a Psycho but It's Okay , Psycho But It's All Right , Psycho But It's Okay , Psycho But It's Fine , Saikojiman gwaenchana
- Director: Park Shin Woo, Jung Dong Yoon
- Screenwriter: Jo Yong
Where to Watch It's Okay to Not Be Okay
Cast & Credits
A lacking story with a pretty package**CONTAINS SPOILERS**
1) **Aesthetics**: the FLs costume, cinematography and animations are really eye-catching. However, it must be said that the animation style and aesthetics style they went with is very **derivative**, clearly taking inspiration from the works of Tim Burton (and his team) as well as Tadahiro Uesugi and Neil Gaiman (Coraline). Anyways, bravo for the art direction department.
2) **Representation of people in the autism spectrum**: although seen in Western movies and series, it seems that in Kdrama-land the depiction of people in the spectrum is overall lacking. Oh Jung Se also does a great job in this role, picking up on the small details without coming off as a caricature.
3) **Acting of leads and chemistry between the main couple**: Oh Jung Se and Seo Ye Ji showed that they're great actors. Kim Soohyun was good too, but I wouldn't say he was particularly remarkable. However, he and YeJi did a good job building the chemistry between the main couple. Also, on a superficial level, they just look good together, period.
**lots of spoilers ahead**
1) **ASPD being used as lure without proper development and approach**: the drama original title (Psycho, but it's okay) is sensationalist enough -- and one might say even offensive to those who suffer with ASPD -- but it could be given leeway if they were to subvert the stigma carried by people diagnosed with ASPD. However, besides one single mention by a secondary character, the show never expands on the FL alleged diagnosis. Her toxic behaviour in the beginning of the series were even excused by some viewers on the ground that she has a personality disorder. Unfortunately, in the end, we learn that >!the FL was just a person that had traumas and developed (toxic/unhealthy) coping mechanisms. So basically the show used ASPD as an "exotic" character trait to get viewers interested on the show and then didn't raise any awareness about it. It was a mere plot device.!<
2) **The trope of the toxic male lead but with genders reversed:** we all know that many kdramas are guilty of having a jerk ML that constantly mistreats or looks down upon the "doormat" FL only for him to be redeemed and the couple finally get together. Usually, in order to redeem the ML we learn that he actually had a terrible childhood, even though he was rich, his parents were abusive or just absent etc etc. We all know that. What this drama does is the exactly the same thing, except that the toxic part of the couple is initially the FL.
A lot of people considered her rudeness, aggressiveness and manipulative behaviour as "badass" and others excused her because of her supposed ASPD. Well, even if she did have a personality disorder that absolutely doesn't excuse behaviours like >!sexually harassing the ML, using his disabled brother to lure him to her house, among other gratuitious mean behaviours she had initially!<.
The whole idea that one should endure boundary-pushing, threats, and manipulation until stockholm syndrome kicks in and they finally heal their stalker who loves and obsesses over them is just an outdated and tired troped that should be dropped by writers at this point.
On a side-ish note, I guess it has also become a trend in kdramas to have a FL with alleged "sociopathic tendencies" as seen recently on Itaewon Class for example. Seems like writers are overcompensating years of male toxicity by writing toxic females, which is not the point of feminism at all. And seeing people lowkey (or highkey) glorifying that behaviour is kinda disappointing too.
3) **The trope of the destined connection**: aka "we actually knew each other as kids but can't remember that for some alien reason!". Do I need to say anything more about it? I guess it's consensus by now that we're done with such trope. And it was barely needed in this drama too.
4) **The trope of the forced cohabitation**: again, not only this is tired but it was also connected with the FL toxic behaviour as explained above.
5) **The gigantic plot hole**: welp, the whole way they dealt with the FL mom was a mess and a half. It was textbook **deus ex machina** plot device. >!The implausible survival and comeback of the mother serves as a way to bring "resolution" and a happy ending to the characters.
One could disregard this argument and say this series is inspired by fairy tales and it was borderline within the magical realism genre. First of all, I think it's a strech to call it a magical realism work of fiction. But even if it was, every work of fiction regardless of genre should have a [generic verisimilitude](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-verisimilitude#what-are-the-types-of-verisimilitude-in-fiction), even fairy tales. No matter how outlandish the premises of the work are, it should carry internal consistency. In the world/universe established in IONTBO the mother plot still doesn't make any sense, nowhere it's hinted that magical plastic surgery exists etc. It's just poor writing, let's admit that.!<
6) **The trope of 'love heals all'**: people who loved this drama will say the characters improved on their own and weren't really codependent. But weren't they really?
>!The haircut moment -- usually used as an example of MY independently healing -- is more a symbolic and cathartic moment but it by no means is proper treatment or would accomplish major strides by itself. The show didn't give treatment of mental illness any layers of complexity. Not once she had to sit through therapy sessions, take medication, and her progress was pretty linear when in reality we have ups and downs. Another issue I take with her development is that she barely builds any relationships outside of the brothers.!<
>!KT could also have gone through therapy to learn some healthy coping mechanism and how to assume his role as a caretaker in a less burdensome way.!<
What we saw on the show was that the leads healed as their relationship developed/romantically progressed, it was an intertwined process. The overall message conveyed is that they could ultimately heal because they were each other "safety pins" -- something that was mentioned a lot in the discussion threads btw -- and that's neither healing on your own nor how it works irl.
So yeah, the show did not approach healing of trauma in a groundbreaking way, they went with the "love heals wounds" path.
**The "what isn't really my cup of tea but isn't objectively a flaw" aka personal side notes one shouldn't take as criticism**
1) The drama is really slow-paced, nothing much happens in its first half and barely on the second. But hey, some people prefer slow-burning stories and character study dramas. So there's that.
2) Having not read much about this show before watching, a friend told me this would focus on mental illness, so I build the expectation of it tackling this social issue in the way Sky Castle did with the Korean school system. But the show actually is just a romcom/melodrama that is set up in a mental institution. The main focus is the romance and not a commentary on the Korean mental health system.
WHAT A JOURNEY IT HAS BEENFirst of all, i just like to say that this Series is not for everyone. I know everyone has different tastes especially in dramas. Aside from being a HUMAN HEALING DRAMA, this show is a character driven kind of drama. You have to immerse yourself in the drama to fully understand and go through the process of healing while watching the show.
STORY - I really love the story. It's unique and refreshing how the writer used many fairy tale and folk tales references and combined all those stories into one. It's so brilliant.
ACTING - Now let's talk about the performances for the Actors.
Immediately after watching episode 1, you will be amazed already of Oh Jung Seng's performance. It really is a role of a lifetime. He is so effective as Moon Sang Tae. I cry on most of his scenes with Gang Tae. He exceeded everyone's expectations and he will definitely get many awards from this show.
Seo Ye Ji's role is also very challenging. She is phenomenal as Moon Young. I cannot think of anyone who can do this role as perfect as her.
Supporting Roles from the younger casts, CEO, Juri, SEung Jae, Jaesu, Director, the OK staff and patients. Everyone had amazing perfomances.
Now for my bias, Kim Soo Hyun.... I have to be honest, as a fan of KSH, i really did not understand at first why he chose this project. Maybe i was used to A list actors to work with more known and award winning directors and writers. After his last drama The Producers in 2015 and military enlistment in 2017, i was really waiting for his comeback and has high expectations on the first project he'll work on. THANK GOD, he chose It's Okay to Not Be Okay. He really took time in reading many scripts and he really wants to challenge himself. His role is not as flashy or flamboyant as Moon Young and Sang Tae.... What makes his performance a stand out was the fact that his character wasn't a stand out. SYJ and OJS, being such amazing actors themselves could have easily stole the limelight from KSH. Moon Gang Tae's character was less explosive and more contemplative. His role is very deep and requires consistency. Many of his emotions must be conveyed using his eyes alone. and he did it perfectly. His crying scenes have different emotions and meanings especially his breakdown scene on episode 9. It felt like he poured his heart and soul on that scene and the audience felt it. The fact that KSH was able to get rave reviews for his performance both internationally and locally, and many people became a huge fan of Moon Gang Tae's character.... and lastly, that KSH was able to showcase such amazing and brilliant acting range for a role that's quite a challenge... that's really IMPRESSIVE and not all actors would be able to accomplish that.. I'm just happy that KSH is a risk taker and took this risk and not doing the usual OPPA dramas.
CINEMATOGRAPHY/MUSICAL SCORING/EDITING -
We have to commend the cinematographer of this show. WOW. just WOW! the camera shots are so perfect. i love how the cinematographer used different techniques. It was so effective. Same as the editing. I love the transitions from one scene to another. Not just the cool transitions but just the regular transitions where musical scoring is used to properly connect one scene from another.
OVERALL - this show will be one of my all time favorites. I have to admit that i expected more from the mother's plot. maybe because i watch too many crime dramas and i wanted more explanation how the mother survived or what really happened. I guess i overthought and had watched too many theory videos that i forgot what the show was all about. Thank you to the Finale episode"FINDING THE REAL FACE". My take on the mother's plot is very simple. The mother survived and whatever stories we saw from the father's POV and MY's are not really accurate since the father had brain injury and even had major surgery for that, and MY was too young and grew with too much trauma to remember everything and just remembered the trauma she experienced during her childhood. Once the "Finding the Real Face" story was told, everything made sense to me that this drama is not about MY's mother. It's about the journey of Moon Young, Sang Tae and Gang Tae. From episode 1 to 16 we saw their character developments and how they were healed in the process of knowing each other. There might be an evil witch who took their real faces, but like in any fairy tale, there will always be a happy ending.
Reading this definitely gave me some closure on the mother mystery :
I have to say that this drama has one of the best finales and most satisfying endings I've ever watched. I don't know how many times i cried watching all episodes but one thing is for sure , i learned so much from this drama. I immersed myself in the show and this show really healed me to overcome some of the trauma and regrets i have in my life. The title itself is such a meaningful and powerful phrase that "It's Okay to Not Be Okay". Here are some of the lessons i learned from this drama.
- Family is Beyond Blood Relations
- Fight for your Happiness
- Don't Make Rash Decisions
- Don't Judge a book by its cover
- Confront your Trauma
- Remember Good Memories
- Speak Up for Yourself
- Reach Out for Help
- It's Better to Kiss than Fight
"When you're tired get some rest. When your sad, go ahead and cry. It's okay to do that."
Damn, there so many life learning quotes in this show. Watching this while on air is the best decision i made this year. Usually i will wait for a show to be completed before i binge watch but i made an exception for IOTNBO. I really invested too much in this drama. I'm happy to be one of the active posters in IOTNBO page and one of the users who broke records of having 16k+++ comments on the 16th episode. Most of all, i'm very grateful for this show because i met many friends who will be my forever MDL friends!
I felt like i was also riding in the camping van when the show ended. It really is a great and amazing journey. Thank you OKAY Family! Thank you IT'S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.