July 18, 2020 08:22
Seo Ye-ji has landed the part of a lifetime in tvN's hit series "It's Okay to Not Be Okay." She plays a successful children's book writer with childhood trauma, which has made her aloof and unsympathetic, so now nothing stops her from doing and saying what she wants.
Young women are especially bowled over Seo's character as they can get vicarious pleasure from watching her, with the rating for target viewers between 20 and 50 coming on top among on cable channel shows at the same time slot.
"It's Okay to Not Be Okay" turns the typical Korean soap's Cinderella story upside down -- rather than a bland tycoon with perfect hair, Seo's co-star Kim Soo-hyun plays a guard on a psychiatric ward who could never afford to look after himself because he is the primary carer of his autistic older brother.
He is rescued by Seo's character who has everything –- money and fame. Watching a possessive woman talk bluntly and be honest about her desires is proving cathartic for her audience.
"The show portrays a woman who is independent and proactive, and it gives viewers the impression that women have control in life. It has many elements that young women can relate to," said critic Kong Hee-jeong.
Of course there has been grumbling about the role reversals. Some complained about a scene of Seo touching and holding on to Kim's naked torso, which they say could be viewed as a sexual harassment. Why is it, they ask, that a man's naked body is allowed on TV while a woman's is not?
"There is sympathy for people who couldn't afford to lead an average, normal life, but there is some concern that it gives too much voice to people who act unusually within a society. It is refreshing, yet a bit over the top," said Kong.
Another critic said, "The mainstream media has long held a very male-centric view of strong women as witches or bitches. It remains to be seen how 'It's Okay to Not Be Okay' deals with that in the remaining episodes."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com