The Puzzle Pieces of “It’s Okay, That’s Love”

Seeing as today is Thursday and the perfect time for a quick throw-back article, we’ve invited phoenixbasilisk of Picadrama to write about a great drama from the not-so-distant past – “It’s Okay, That’s Love” and the many pieces that make this drama both unique and unforgettable!

Like a jigsaw puzzle, life is something you need to piece together. Each piece is unique and you need to find how everything fits. It’s about patience and learning that if one piece doesn’t fit right now, come back to it later. Eventually, the pieces will come together to bring satisfaction wrought by effort and time.

Puzzle Piece One: Bluntness

What I really appreciated about this drama is how blunt all the characters are with each other. There is barely any beating around the bush with feelings. It’s either I like you, or I don’t. Let’s work for our love or let’s break up. The couples talk about their feelings with each other so the other party is in the know and can act accordingly. They tell each other their dreams, goals, career limitations/boundaries, and what they want to get out of the relationship. Most importantly, they learn to compromise.

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Puzzle Piece Two: Relationships

The drama portrays several different types of relationships. The one between Jang Jae Yeol and Ji Hae Soo is complex with both of them having suffered from traumatic pasts that make it hard to be close to each other. Hae Soo is traumatized by having seen her mother in an ongoing affair, while still being married to her father who is impaired. This leads her to fear intimate touch to the point where she almost has panic attacks. Jang Jae Yeol is suffering from a hard-to-manage mental illness, schizophrenia, which blurs his idea of reality versus fantasy. He must endure involuntary commitment and isolation from the one he loves. However, they let each other in and do not keep what they perceive to be their flaws, hidden. They compromise and support each other by letting each other grow.

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The second relationship sheds light on middle-aged divorced couple of Dong Min and Young Jin who are already married to other people for a second time around. The drama touches upon the very possible lingering feelings of affection and regret that can be part of a divorced pair. It shows that being close friends afterwards without overstepping boundaries can still be possible. It also shows the cat and dog fights that the pair constantly has due to misunderstandings and unspoken feelings in the past. However, it is important for each side to understand and forgive what had torn them apart.

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The third relationship is between the young lovers, Soo Kwang and So Nyeo who both have parental issues. Soo Kwang has suffered his entire life from Tourette’s Syndrome, which causes him to burst out into uncontrollable tics and vocalizations. Even his parents often look him down upon him. He craves a person who can understand him and not be ashamed of his tics. So Nyeo is a high school drop out who was abandoned by her mother and has a poverty-stricken family. She craves the attention of men who are able to buy her things and take care of her. Although both are still immature, they learn to grow together. Although rocky at first, these two gradually begin to understand each other. They are not ashamed of each other’s flaws.

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Puzzle Piece Three: Mental Illness

Coming from a nursing perspective, I appreciate what the drama has done to shed a positive light on individuals suffering from mental illnesses. Often mental illnesses are severely looked down upon and people tend to ignore it because it is not “physical” and you can’t see it. Furthermore, coming from a traditional Asian background, it is sometimes hard for the older generation to accept mental illnesses and instead they treat it as something you can get over if you have the will to do it. It is important to remember that much of mental illness is caused by chemical imbalances that can be corrected through pharmacological ways and different forms of therapy. These individuals are often incredibly lonely as they deal with an illness that is within their own mind and that no one can fully understand what they are going through. The drama shows that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or repressed, but rather something to be supported through and treated.

Furthermore, this drama casts light on caregiver strain and the effect mental illness can have on loved ones. The couple where the female with schizophrenia was pregnant and was married to a loving husband is a good example. When the female had an episode or felt like the burden was too much and even tried to walk into a lake, the husband was there to support her and draw her back to reality. His patience and care was moving to watch since he couldn’t help cure her illness, but he could be there for her. Furthermore, mental illness can be stressful for parents of the person affected. Sometimes parents do not know how to deal with their child who is experiencing something in their mind that they don’t understand. This can at times break a relationship, or bring it together. There is no shame in going to group therapy for caregivers. It is a safe place for them to express their feelings and ideas to other caregivers who are experiencing similar strain.

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Puzzle Piece Four: Domestic Violence

Again, this is another of those hidden issues that is often overlooked in society. Domestic violence is such a personal and complex problem. The victims of domestic violence are often spouses and children. What can start as a small bout of yelling can quickly escalate into a shoving match or beating. The couple can be stuck in a vicious cycle where they must depend on each other for financial reasons or other reasons. It can be hard for one partner to speak out and call authorities since they don’t know what will happen afterwards and if children would be taken away. Furthermore, sometimes there can be emotional dependence where one partner thinks the other one will change and forgives, but the violence will continue. Unfortunately, children are also commonly victims of domestic violence. Whether it be they are the main victim or get hurt trying to protect another loved one, many times children do not have the strength or ability to defend themselves against a stronger opponent. The result of these violence acts can cause such deep scars that they carry over into adulthood or trigger mental illnesses. This drama sheds light onto the domestic violence problem and how it is often ignored by outside people. It is difficult for bystanders to get involved, as they don’t want to interfere with personal affairs. That is why in the drama it is such a touching and heartbreaking moment when Jang Jae Yeol makes peace with himself and the past as he acknowledges it was not his fault.

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About the author in her own words:
phoenixbasilisk (phoenix) ~ Who am I, really? A question I often even ask of myself. On appearance, I’m a female of Chinese origin who is sometimes too short to reach most kitchen cabinets without the aid of a chair. A sure detriment to my love of food of course.
On the outside, I may look girly which only contrasts with attraction to well…let’s just say slightly darker material. Hannibal, for example…a wonderfully cinematic and disturbingly psychological thriller. However, my Asian drama journey only started about 6 years ago, growing from a previous enjoyment of anime. Like many others, I started with Boys Over Flowers, before falling for dramas that focused on suspense, action, and my most favorite, dysfunctional relationships (makjang mania). With Asian dramas, my obsessions extended into Asian pop music. My bias being…..EXO who suffered quite a lot of losses this year. But alas, my heart holds true.
In my spare time, when not glued to the screen watching a drama, I indulge in the guilty pleasure of fanfic reading and writing. Other hobbies of mine include graphic designing, photography, as well as a little of band managing.
And lastly, what’s really putting food on the table, as we can’t all be swept off our feet by a chaebol? Nursing.

 [tv]Revisit It’s Okay, That’s Love on SoompiTV now![/tv]