Sunday, June 28, 2020

Kwak Dong-yeon is Such an Underrated Oppa

I follow a lot of people on social media who are fans of Korean dramas. However, not once have I read anyone rave about Kwak Dong-yeon.

Back when I was still a closet K-Drama fan, I first saw Dong-yeon in 'My ID is Gangnam Beauty' and while most people that I know swooned over Cha Eun-woo (he is admittedly a very beautiful man), my heart in that series solely belongs to Dong-yeon. I loved his simple character in the show: the unassuming and kind teacher's assistant with a smile that lit up my entire life. My heart broke when he admitted why he actually liked Kang Mi-rae in the show, and that's the only time I started rooting for Eun-woo.

Dong-yeon is actually the reason why I watched 'Fight for My Way', not Park Seo-joon. And I absolutely ADORED him with long hair in 'Moonlight'. In fact, Kim Byung-yeon was my phone's wallpaper for months; I loved him so much!

I started watching 'It's Okay to Not be Okay' last week when it started streaming on Netflix (read my review of the first two episodes here), but the only things I knew about the show were the things that I had heard about it from Kim Soo-hyun and Yeo Se-ji at a recent online press conference that I was a part of. I had no idea Dong-yeon would be in it.

So when he appeared in Episode 3 this past weekend as Kwon Ki-do, I literally squealed! Ki-do is one of the patients at OK Psychiatric Hospital, where Soo-hyun's character Moon Kang-tae currently works. He is also the son of a member of the National Assembly and suffers from manic episodes.

One of the main reasons why 'It's Okay to Not be Okay' has captured my heart is because they shine the light on people who suffer from mental health issues. Living with mild schizophrenia myself, it makes me so happy and proud that a K-Drama is showing people what living with mental health disorders is like. And Dong-yeon did such a fantastic job portraying his role. I love him even more now.

Manic episodes are characterized by intense bouts of energy, racing thoughts, and other extreme behaviors - all of which Dong-yeon incorporated in his performance. People who suffer from manic episodes may also experience psychosis in the form of hallucinations and delusions, which the show beautifully showcased at the end of the third episode.

The energetic bouts aside, Ki-do also touches our hearts with the backstory of his family and how he really feels having to live with these manic episodes. And while he may have brought us a few laughs in the beginning of the episode with him whipping out his "teeny weeny wiener" every chance he gets, he brings us back to the reality of the situation by the end of his special appearance.

The role was definitely a difficult one and it was important to be able to bring so many emotions and actions to the table - but Dong-yeon did it perfectly. When talking about the role, Dong-yeon excitedly shared that this was one project that he wanted to be a part of, no matter what. (My heart is melting!) I am so happy that they brought him into the show for this, and so far, he has been the highlight for me.

What did you think of Dong-yeon's performance in 'It's Okay to Not be Okay'? :)