Review: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A meaty, dark, whimsical melodrama that examines the difficulties faced by people suffering from trauma and mental illness, It’s Okay is not an easy watch at all. There is lots to unpack, difficult feelings to feel, and even internal biases to examine. So if you’re looking for a fluffy rom-com, this is probably not for you, for right now.

However, it is remarkably satisfying to witness our characters’ journeys, because those journeys are teased out so organically, that all of the growth and progress feels earned and true. Fantastic performances by our cast – with a special shout-out to Oh Jung Se for his impressively amazing interpretation of an autistic character – brings everything to life, and it’s not hard to get invested in our characters’ journeys.

There are a few bumps in the road, but overall, this proved to be a very satisfying watch.

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Guest Post: Original music inspired by It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

Today we have a very special guest post by our very own Snow Flower, everyone! 😀

If you know Snow Flower, you might know that she’s a drama fan who’s passionate not just about her shows, but about music too. I learned some time ago that she plays music, but I did not realize that she writes music as well – until she asked if I’d like to share her original IOTNBO-inspired music with my IOTNBO review (the review is coming! Stay tuned!)

Once I took a listen of her music, however, I immediately felt that these pieces didn’t deserve to just be tacked onto the end of a review; they deserved their own place to shine. Which is how this guest post was born.

I hope you guys enjoy listening to Snow Flower’s lovely compositions as much as I did!

~kfangurl

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Review: Find Me In Your Memory

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Find Me In Your Memory does a rather unusual thing, by tapping into one of Dramaland’s favorite sources of dramatic tension – the stalker arc – and then using it as a platform for our main characters to work through the healing that they need. In this way, Show sets itself apart from other healing dramas, which tend to be more introspective in vibe, by being comparatively more action-heavy instead.

Despite a tendency to use tropes in its narrative, Show manages to serve up characters and relationships that feel real and relatable, where growth feels earned and true. The OTP relationship is portrayed as sweet and restrained, and taps nicely into the chemistry between Kim Dong Wook and Moon Ga Young, which feels sweet and natural. As a bonus, the secondary loveline between Kim Seul Gi and Lee Jin Hyuk is super cute.

Not groundbreaking by any means, but a solid watch overall.

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Update: A couple of things, just so you know

Hi everyone,

I just thought I’d give you a couple of quick updates.

1. New ad network

Today I experimented with a new ad network, and apparently things went wonky. 😛

I thought I’d approved selected rows of ads interspersed into each review, but Beez alerted me that she saw literal entire pages of ads. 😱 How awful. 😫

If you encountered that today, I’m very sorry.

I’ve since deleted everything and started over, and now, what I have in place – supposedly – is single rows of 3 ads, to be allowed every 1,000 words, plus a single row of 3 ads, at the very end of the post. I’ve removed pop-unders, and I’ve also removed the banner ad at the top of the page.

Do let me know if the updated ads format isn’t working, and I will see how to fix it.

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Review: Hi Bye, Mama!

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Hi Bye, Mama! is the kind of show that makes you face difficult emotions and feel all the difficult feelings – and then make you grateful for having felt it all. Show has a bittersweet premise, and treats it with sensitivity and poignance, with a side of levity. For the most part, Show manages this delicate balance well, and makes me laugh and cry, often within the same episode. The performances from our cast are strong, and I am particularly impressed with Kim Tae Hee and Lee Kyu Hyung; this is literally the best I’ve seen from both of them. And Kim Mi Kyung, is, as always, a treasure to have onscreen.

On the downside, I felt we spent too much time on stuff to do with the ghost community, and that ended up feeling like filler. I also feel like Show suffers from some pacing issues, causing the last third of our narrative to feel somewhat stalled.

Overall, though, in spite of what I feel are its downsides, Show still manages to feel like a solid, worthwhile watch, with a lot of good ol’ heartachey feels.

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Review: Oh My Baby

THE SHORT VERDICT:

When Show is at its best, it manages to balance fun, comic moments with heart-hitting poignance and thought-provoking themes. The episodes feel deft and efficient, the feels are served up fast and furious, and there’s a cracky quality that makes you want to watch episodes back to back. (Which is what I did, when I loved this show most.)

The problem is, to me, Show is at its best only in its first half. I think Show’s second half slumps somewhat, unfortunately. For the most part, our story remains cohesive and the characterization of the people in our story world makes sense. However, I was personally rather underwhelmed by how Show chose to handle its ending (though you might not have the same issue, since I know folks who actually like the ending).

Overall, a heartfelt ride that manages to feel worthwhile, in spite of Show’s flaws. Also, Go Joon is pretty great at playing a dorky guy in love, which is a treat to watch in itself.

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Dear kfangurl: Who are your favorite supporting actors – and will they ever get to play lead??

Beez writes:

Dear Kfangurl, Are supporting actors too funny to ever cast as leads? I keep waiting for my favorites – Park Jin Joo, Kim Seul Gi and my all time favorite, Kim Sung Oh to be part of an OTP or at least a single lead in their own dramas. I’ve seen all of them give snippets of really moving scenes so their acting talent is not in question. What gives?

And phl1rxd writes:

I would love to see an article on your favorite supporting actors|actresses. There are so many that pop up in our drama world all the time, and while they are not the leads, their work is great none-the-less.

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Review: Mystic Pop-up Bar

THE SHORT VERDICT:

A warm, heartfelt little show, Mystic is sometimes a little (or a lot) sillier than I usually like, but is, on the whole, so sincere and full of heart, that I can’t quibble with it too much.

Hwang Jung Eum is quite wonderful as our protagonist Wol Joo, and importantly, displays zero screechy tendencies in this role. Choi Won Young and Yook Sung Jae round out the little Mystic team really nicely, and these three make a surprisingly endearing trio, as they strive to help their customers resolve their grudges – for heavenly credit, of course.

The overarching backstory is bittersweet and poignant, and Show does a nice job tying it in with our grudges of the day, with an impressive degree of consistency. Importantly, Show starts strong and manages to end strong as well, making for a solid and satisfying watch, overall.

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Dear kfangurl: What are some dramas that would make my day better?

Make! My! Day! ❤️

Confession: this Dear kfangurl post wasn’t actually triggered by a Dear kfangurl question. It just made sense to group it with the other Dear kfangurl posts, coz that’s where the other lists on the blog live, heh.

BUT! This post was triggered by a conversation with my friend Jan on Twitter.

Basically, yesterday, Jan had remarked that she was looking for a Kim Ji Suk fix, and I’d suggested 20th Century Boy and Girl, in which he is the sweet, perfect boyfriend. Less than 24 hours later, Jan’s super happy with the drama suggestion, and her tweets are filled with happy spazz, and she’s also said that this was the rom-com she’d been looking for.

..Which got me thinking. With all the darker &/or heavier shows that Dramaland’s been serving up of late (like World of the Married, Graceful Friends, Flower of Evil and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay), as solid as these shows are, maybe some  – or many? – of you guys might be looking for something lighter to make these dark pandemic days a little brighter.

That’s why I’m here to help. 😀

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Review: A Couple’s World [World Of The Married]

THE SHORT VERDICT:

Betrayal, revenge and dysfunction are the key words that this show seems to be live by; all the characters in this drama world are painted in suspicious shades of gray, as they seek to outwit and outdo one another, for their own purposes.

This is definitely not the show for you, if you’re looking for sweet romance. But, if you find yourself in the mood for hyperbolic animosity, or, if you’re willing to take a walk on the dark side to see the fantastic performances of the actors – especially Kim Hee Ae, who is magnificent in this – then this show is a wild rollercoaster of a ride that should keep you on the edge of your seat.

Definitely not suitable as a drama nightcap, hur.

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