'It's Okay to Not be Okay' Episode 1 'The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares' impresses fans with Tim Burton vibe

The first episode of 'It's Okay to Not be Okay' is titled 'The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares' and that is exactly what many of the fans of the show love so far

                            'It's Okay to Not be Okay' Episode 1 'The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares' impresses fans with Tim Burton vibe
Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji (SBS)

'The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares' is the first episode title of Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji's show 'It's Okay to Not be Okay'. The show centers on children facing domestic abuse, adults living with the trauma of their childhood experience, and if it is really okay to not be okay. The show is centered on portraying the many facets of mental illness and from the first episode, it does so powerfully without binding the illness with the prejudice that the society has more often than not bred over the years. 

In its first episode itself, the show takes on the subject of domestic abuse and sets up author Ko Moon-young's character. As a child, she was strangled by her father and the memories of the same still haunt her. Her difficult experiences have influenced all of her works and that includes the children's tale 'The Boy Who Fed on Nightmares'. It is about a young boy who is haunted by nightmares that are about all the terrifying and traumatizing experiences that he had had so far. He visits a witch to beg to be rid of all the memories that cause his nightmares and instead the witch strikes a deal with him that allows the witch to take his soul after he grows up to become an adult. 

A still from 'It's Okay to Not be Okay' episode 1 retelling of 'The Boy who fed on Nightmares'. (SBS)

Now that his memories are erased, one would think that the young boy would grow up to be a happy man, however, he ends up being an adult who is only an empty shell. So when the witch visits to collect on the promise, he rages at the witch and says that despite all the memories being erased, he was unable to find happiness. So the witch explains that humans are made of all the trials and tribulations that they have experienced in life, and it helps them mature into adults who are capable of finding happiness. He gave up on this chance when he struck a deal with the witch. 

The fact that this is a story for children, only stresses on how the show's premise is something that we haven't seen before. Even the title song is a play on different fairytales including Beauty and the Beast, but there is a dark twist to it all and fans are also impressed by the theme of the show. One fan wrote about this, "The intro song that is both whimsical and fairytale-like with THAT title for the first episode??? Who is responsible I’m in LOVE. The beginning sequence with a Burtonesque/Caroline animation ... this show is so creative and stunning. You can tell that the director and creative staff have poured a lot of affection into the show."

The boy from 'It's Okay to Not be Okay' episode 1 retelling of 'The Boy who fed on Nightmares'. (SBS)

The fan also wrote that it was important to add a trigger warning to the show if possible. "Moon Young is exactly the type of female character in K-dramas I’m drawn to. She’s so similar to the way SHS’s character in 'Angel's Last Mission' was. The careful writing of a woman who is cold to the world, who proclaims herself a ‘pretty witch’ but her underlying trauma is so increasingly palpable as the episode unfolds ... this is my JAM. The scene with the knife quickly becomes apparent, that she uses it as a coping mechanism, she keeps it on her to feel safe. But I wish the show had a trigger warning and I’m wondering if that can be added to the weekly threads? Just a thought."

Another fan commented on the technical aspect of the show, especially the stop motion animation part of it, and wrote, "I'm also a big fan of the stop motion animation and the Tim Burton-like visuals that were used. It's not too often that I see dramas using this level of animation."

Another fan agreed about the trigger warning and said, "I agree with everything you said. The show is shaping up to be a fantastic out of the box K-drama. I am glad Kim Soo-hyun is backing it up. I feel like this show has important things to say and hopefully the messaging lands. I hope that people give it enough space to breathe because often second half of K-dramas succumb to fan pressure and deteriorate. Also, true about the trigger warning."

'It's Okay to Not Be Okay' originally airs on tvN on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 pm KST in South Korea and can be streamed on Netflix.

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