Some (REALLY UNEDITED) thoughts on episodes 1-4 of It’s Okay to Not be Okay.

PART 1 of 3
It’s interesting that the English title differs from the literal translation of the Korean title. “I’m a Psycho, But That’s Okay” vs. “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay.” They offer completely different expectations. In the English interpretation of the title, it seems to be all about empathy. About healing. It sounds like a counselor speaking to a patient, or a concerned friend speaking to someone in distress. There’s a texture to the phrase – light but heavy at the same time, but overused, not imparting anything new, maybe alluding to depression as a mental illness.

In the Korean version of the title, on the other hand, there is this sense of manic craze, that maybe what we’re about to watch, the people whose stories we’ll hear, these are not things we can relate to. It’s especially interesting in the context of Korean society; many Koreans openly admit that their society runs not on individualism like its Western counterpart, but on trends, on everyone doing what everyone else does. If you’re different from the rest, you’re the odd one out, you do not belong. There is an element of healing in it as well.

After watching the first episode, I appreciate the original title so much more, and wish Netflix went with the literal translation. This isn’t a normal story about healing – although that exists. This is a story about the different. In this world, everything is upside down. As a viewer, do you find yourself empathizing with the “normal” people or the “psychos”? Who even are the “psychos” then?

Everything about this production is true to that notion of “different.” From the writing to the directing to the cinematography—there is an edginess, a different approach. Already at the end of its first episode, there’s a promise of so much potential. It’s off to a slow start, but the characters are already different by the end of the second episode. What genre is this? It seems confused at first—romantic comedy? Horror? Fantasy? And I think that’s the charm to it. At some points, some characters seem so real it feels like a slice of life show. And then at others, you see comical, completely off the cuff cinematography, like the female protagonist reaching Godzilla-like heights and stepping into the city. It seems insane and makes you think, “what the hell is even going on”—and that’s why it’s brilliant. This drama makes you question what’s normal and it blurs the line between reality and its opposite so much that you can’t fully understand what’s going on. This drama has set out to achieve something I personally have not seen before: actually EMPATHIZING (not sympathizing) with those who have mental illnesses OTHER THAN DEPRESSION. It puts you directly into the shoes of those people, and doesn’t tell you the story from a “normal” person’s perspective. In fact, it tells you the story from the perspective of a person who is trying so hard to fit that mold of “normal” but is confronted by his worst nightmare: someone who can see right through him and pushes all his buttons.

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