There are a number of ways to approach this show: as a modern adaptation of the novel by Louisa May Alcott; as a mystery-thriller; as a dark commentary on socio-economic inequality.
However, I find it most effective to approach this one as a stylish makjang, because I feel that that’s the lens that gives me the most enjoyment, of this show.
Show is darkly atmospheric and consistently intriguing and twisty – and it’s all pretty engaging and satisfying, when viewed with a makjang lens.
Our cast is strong across the board, with our primary cast putting in great performances, but I have to confess to being most fascinated by the deliveries of Uhm Ki Joon and Uhm Ji Won, and to being most dazzled by Wi Ha Joon’s very handsome face. 🤩😁
Overall, adjustment of expectations is a must – and very worthwhile.
At its heart, Show wants to be a heartwarming, feel-good sort of story, in a Disney-Hallmark sort of way, but ultimately, it feels that Show was never confident enough, in its own skin, to just do what it most wanted to do.
Instead, Show attempts to spice up its story with feints towards darkness, and even makes an attempt at makjang, in its later stretch. These were not my favorite things, by far.
However, Show’s characters and relationships are just warm enough, that I was persuaded to stick with them until the very end, even when I was most underwhelmed by Show’s uneven tone.
It’s a pity, though, because Show could have been so much better, if it’d just stuck to the heartwarming stuff, because that’s what it does best.
When I saw that Oh Jung Se and Kim Seul Gi were headlining this little drama special from 2014, I couldn’t not check it out. I mean, they are both so talented, and I’d love to see more of them on my screen.
Now that I’ve emerged on the other side, I do think that some specific lens adjustments would help to make this one more uniformly enjoyable for the average viewer, which I’ll talk about shortly.
Overall, I think this one’s definitely worth a look, if only for our leads.
You guys. I really think it’d be worth your while to clear some room in your schedule to watch this movie.
Yes, it’s an older movie from 2012, and yes, it’s about table tennis, which you may or may not have a strong interest in, and yes, it does take a little while to actually get good. BUT. It’s ultimately so moving, so inspiring and altogether affecting, that I think it’s more than worthwhile.
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.
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.
Let me get what I think are the two biggest questions out of the way: No, you don’t need to know a thing about baseball, in order to enjoy this show. And no, you don’t even have to like baseball, in order to like this show.
Would you get more enjoyment out of this show if you actually already love baseball? I’m not sure, to be honest.
Sometimes knowing too much can be a bad thing (if you’re a doctor you probably roll your eyes at the details in medical kdramas, and so on), but I’m guessing that understanding how baseball works would probably help you appreciate the nuances that I missed.
I went into this show without much knowledge or interest in baseball, and I’m coming away with only marginally more knowledge about and interest in the sport.
And yet, I found myself enjoying this show very well, and wholeheartedly rooting for our characters, often without actually truly understanding the full details of what was happening on my screen. That’s quite an accomplishment on Show’s part, I’d say.
Also, for the record, I’ve felt rather neutral about Nam Goong Min for a while, even as everyone else has grown hearts in their eyes for him, and here, I finally actually really like him.
Y’know, I’d gotten to the point where I was so tired of serial killers and murders being mixed with romance (what is up with that, Dramaland?), that I was ready to give this show a hard, blind pass, just for having the audacity to mix murder with romance, again.
But, the overwhelming positive buzz around this show piqued my interest, as did the high ratings, and the glowing, persuasive comments that a number of you left me, which is how I ended up checking out this show, in spite of myself.
With 20/20 hindsight, now that I’ve emerged on the other side, do I still think Show didn’t need a serial killer murder arc? BIG YES. Did I manage to enjoy this one, despite my by-now-very-firm serial killer drama allergy? Also, yes. I guess that means Show wins, overall?
Plus Nine Boys is a lovely little drama that’s cute without being cutesy; emotionally engaging without being overwrought or sappy; funny without being OTT campy.
Its plot points are everyday and unremarkable, but therein lies its slice-of-life, I-can-really-relate-to-that appeal. In just 14 episodes, I grew to really enjoy these characters. And after 14 episodes, I didn’t want to say goodbye.
These characters had started to believably feel like the folks next door; folks whom I watched through their living room window as they lived their lives and I lived mine; folks who felt like real people, and with whom I wouldn’t have minded spending another 10, 20, or even 40 episodes with.