It’s Okay, It’s Love with Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin Bursts Out of the Gate with a Captivating Start

It’s love at first sight for me and It’s Okay, It’s Love. Episode 1 was everything I love about screenwriter Noh Hee Kyung‘s work without the artificial overwrought packaging of her last dramas Padam Padam: The Sound of His and Her Heartbeat and That Winter, The Wind Blows. It’s quirky and intelligent wrapped in some pretty serious dark subject matter, but presented within the normalcy of daily life happening all around these characters. The drama opens with a shocking act of violence and then quite abruptly jumps to points in the future where many questions wait to be revealed. Leads Gong Hyo Jin playing an attractive and serious psychiatrist ignites seamlessly with Jo In Sung‘s flirty and glib famous writer of murder mysteries. All roads in this drama lead to mental illness and it’s clear all the characters suffer from some form or another of mental health issues of varying degrees of seriousness.

The supporting cast is excellent with Sung Dong Il having loads of fun as a fellow psychiatrist, Kwang Soo as a guy who suffers from Tourette Syndrome, and D. O. playing a character that was immediately clear to me was more than meets the eye. I really don’t think it a spoiler for me to discuss who I think he is in this drama but I’ll save it for after the jump. The highlights are an excellent ear for music selection which starts off with the amazing first track “Best Luck” by D.O.’s EXO group mate Chen and plenty of great use of background music to liven up many scenes subtly. PD Kim Kyu Tae also returns to fine form after doing a visual stillness overkill in TWTWB and here lets his actors move with the scenes rather than pose prettily in it. The ratings for the Wed-Thurs dramas are neck and neck right now with Joseon Gunman at 11.6%, Fated to Love You with 9.7% and IOIL right behind with 9.3% I think all three dramas are excellent in their own unique ways and I wouldn’t be sad for the two that don’t end up winning the ratings race since the quality speaks for itself and will last longer than eking out ratings wins. I’m so mesmerized and fascinated with this drama already and can’t wait to get a better sense of the full set up.

Everyone can take it to the bank now – Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin’s chemistry is sultry and simmering and totally adult sexy. These two follow in their respective costars who have mixed up the pairings and also done wonderfully. Gong Hyo Jin and So Jin Sub was exceptional in The Master’s Sun and there was Ha Ji Won rocking with both Jo In Sung and So Ji Sub in What Happened in Bali. At this point all of these established A-listers are just money in bringing it and we’re so lucky they keep on reshuffling the couplings to create new and unique pairings.

I like that this drama is tackling a lot of different mental illnesses, and even very modern conundrums like gender identity choices and societal pressures leading to depression and even suicidal tendencies.

I think Jo In Sung’s character of DJ-novelist-talk show veteran Jang Jae Yeol is poised to be an incredible psychological treat to mine. It’s so clear from the very moment D.O.’s high school student character Han Gang Woo shows up in the club after Jae Yeol has been attacked by his older brother Jae Beom that he’s not simply a book fan worried about Jae Yeol. Gang Woo is obviously younger Jae Yeol and only he can see him. Gang Woo wore a white NY cap in the club attack scene and after the time jump we see a blue NY cap in Jae Yeol’s apartment table. Gang Woo also shows up in random places and only Jae Yeol has interacted with him before. Jae Yeol likely suffers from high functioning schizophrenia and may have something to do with Jae Beom attack on him and the death of their father. My gut tells me Jae Yeol might have been the one to kill their abusive dad and then had a mental breakdown and spun out his high school self to remain at that age forever.

I don’t think this is meant to be a narrative twist or mystery but obviously I probably glommed on too quickly, but at the same time with mental illness it’s not just why but using that why to figure out what to do about it that matters the most. Jae Yeol’s fascination with Gong Hyo Jin’s Dr. Ji Hae Soo is probably all linked to his mental health issues, why he writes murder mysteries with people acting horribly, and somehow remains so aloof and glib about it. It’s incredibly daring for the story to be anchored by a male lead with schizophrenia, if indeed Jae Yeol has it, and somehow make it compelling to watch him live his life and fall in love. No wonder Noh Hee Kyung said this drama was about mental illness but in a way not to stigmatize it but to make people see that it’s all around us. Great cast, great first episode, my expectations are dialed up so high now please don’t let me down later on IOIL! Have a listen to the excellent first OST track below.

EXO’s Chen “Best Luck” for It’s Okay, It’s Love OST:


It’s Okay, It’s Love with Jo In Sung and Gong Hyo Jin Bursts Out of the Gate with a Captivating Start — 28 Comments

  1. yay! finally you commented on the first episode 🙂

    im glad you liked it! im more excited now to watch the first episode. and thanks to having Kyungsoo of EXO in the cast, im pretty sure each episode will have its english sub released hours after airing (the first episode is already subbed by fans)

  2. I loved it and I agree that the way the writer is tackling mental illness is really good especially when at a meeting in a karaoke bar, the Stomach Cancer doctor made fun of Sunbae Doctor when he asked why his ex wife and him went to counsel whereas they are supposed to be doctors curring mental illness and so, Sunbae Doctor got mad and answered that divorce was a pain in the heart so of course he had to cure it. Don’t doctors with cancer get cured too ?
    I don’t know but I thought it was brillant. So many times, we look down on psychology so yeap’, it was brillant.

    I think the show will do really good in South Korea. Making viewers realize that having a depression isn’t a weakness and there are always a cure for it. I read an article that the biggest obstacle is for patients to acknowledge it.

    OMO, I didn’t think about that theory but it’s quite interesting. It’s true that we didn’t see the high schooler talks with anyone else and he was always at random places.

  3. I’m in the minor camp it seems: the first episode did not do much for me. I think my problem was with JIS’ character/characterization. There is something that’s not quite charismatic and a bit off. He’s supposed to play a jerk casanova type but it’s coming off too deliberate and unconvincing – it pulls me out of enjoying the show. I think it has to do with his acting method/characterization mannerisms – some classic JIS mixed into his portrayal of JJY such that I’m seeing JIS and not what JJY is supposed to be. But I’m glad IOIL was a huge success in its debut since I love SDI and GHJ. A lot of hijinks in episode 1, but felt that it was way overboard. There were some golden moments so it was not a complete loss. My love for GHJ and SDI will have me boarding this train (regardless of possible wreckage).

    (Is it just me? JIS in a rom-com-ish type role, so far, not as good as his chops in melo…)

    • I loved it. I personally thought the chemistry hit right it out of the park 🙂 The show gave me goosebumps how awesome the first ep was

    • I think it’s just you. I think there are multiple levels to his character and JIS is doing a really good job portraying each aspect of his character.

  4. Hmmm I don’t know how I feel about this show yet…

    Anyways, that would be really interesting if the main lead is in fact a man dealing with schizophrenia but why does Wiki say that he suffers from OCD?

  5. Great first episode Love it already. Love JIS and GHJ together they are so Hot! The story is interesting and I like all the characters.
    Very excited about this show.

  6. Oh yeah, I love the ost. And this first ep actually quite interesting to me. I like their character and storyline. I think I need to check another Chen music project outside exo.

  7. Great to see you commenting on this drama. Will we see a recap from tomorrow? I hope you will continue to enjoy this drama and decide to recap it since it only started.

  8. Wow you’re so brilliant mrs.koala…I’ve never thought D.O. is the youngerself of jo insung. I think you’re right, kang woo is jae yeol’s pastlife.

  9. if its true that kyungsoo is jo in sung, the arrangement of the cast in the poster makes sense. kyungsoo is hugging jo in sung’s back whereas the other cast members are hugging the front side of jo in sung. its like he’s hiding kyungsoo from the rest of them. i mean why not just let kyungsoo hug sung dong il? i find it weird that the last person he saw when he fainted after being attacked was kyungsoo. and he’s in a club. wouldnt kyungsoo be considered underage? then again, its just the fangirl in me rambling.

  10. Oh wow! That’s a nice take on GangWoo’s character. Ever since they released the characters for this project, it’s always GangWoo’s character who remains mysterious and had a very little information about. Let’s see how it goes.

  11. Thanks for the review. I am not quite sold with this drama although I’m a huge fan of Gong Hyo Jin. I guess I got lost in the translation. I have to rewatch the tv/radio guesting part to get what they were actually arguing about. I think that the first episode was not able to establish what this drama is all about and it left me confused. Your analogy on DO’s character gave me something to think about and makes me curious. Anyway, I’ll still try to keep an open mind and watch some more episodes. This drama seems different from all the K-dramas I have watched so far and I want to know if the writer can make it worth watching. I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I really like Gong Hyo Jin as an actress.

  12. Not really liking Chen’s song. His vocal is quit weak and dull. Makes it boring to listen. I just hope the constant replay throughout the drama will change my mind.

    My little sister actually watched the first episode and was confused. Lol. Told me that she’ll drop it. Haven’t gotten the chance to watch it. Was distracted w/ shopping. Hopefully I can catch up to it. Sounds like it’ll be a fun ride. 🙂

    • Chen’s voice is weak and dull? And it’s not the song that’s boring but his voice?
      your hate is not so subtle, try harder next time

  13. Jo In Sung gives me icky/greasy vibes seriously. I can’t really look at his face in this drama. He’s very handsome, but his character comes off too greasy for my taste.

  14. I just watched the second episode and I have to say this is better than the first. The characters are being peeled layer by layer especially our two leads and we get to understand their psyche better. The group dynamic between the roommates is fun to watch. And I also agree that JIS and GHJ have an amazing chemistry you can feel the sexual tension when they are having their petty fights. So, I guess I’m gonna stick around and see this drama through.

  15. There’s something about this drama, it feels like it’s exploring a new place in in k-dramaland that hasn’t been explored yet. it’s got a bit of a quirky tone to it. It’s certainly not without its flaws, and i think i watched it with mediocre subs so the whole debate they had on the talk show I couldn’t quite understand 100%.. But there’s something about this show. Just something about it that makes me really want to know more about its characters. It might be love at first sight for me too, koala. Hope any blog is able to recap this show, because i think it’s going to be a show that requires great attention to detail..

    The chemistry, oh yes. It is sizzling.

  16. Um hi I would like to know the background music on episode 1. I don’t know which time, but is a song with a male and a girl duet 🙂 and some of the songs also nice if you guys know ㅠ

  17. I am totally hooked up with this drama… Damn I love Jo In Sung!!
    The OTP chemistry is all over…I can´t wait for Wed… This summer is looking great regarding new dramas…ohh yeah… I am getting the same feeling I had with Lie to me… I was totally obsessed with that drama and that´s how I found this blog…hopefully we will not get dissapointed with IOIL <3<3<3<3<3

  18. This is the first drama after You From Another Star that has made me that excited. Waiting week after week for new episodes. I love Gong Hyo Jin’s fast and no nonsense talk. Jo In Sung is a feast for the eyes. Story is riveting, and chemistry is perfect! I can’t ask for more.

  19. I am loving this drama and thank you for tackling such a sensitive issue. This is beautifully written and protrayed. JIS is an amazing actor and much love to him for taking on a such a character. He absolutely is doing it Justice on so many levels.

    I have worked in Medicine for the past 28 years and have seen my share of mentally patients. It does not matter what end of the spectrum you are on, it is NOT easy to deal with.

    Keep up the good work, cannot wait to see how this turns out, although I see the writing on the wall.

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