Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Mental health is no joke. Depression, anxiety and paranoia can get to the best of us at any time. Even those who put on the bravest, happiest faces could be carrying demons few will ever know about. Robin Williams comes to mind.
In recent years there have a been lot more shows starting to tackle this topic, with Korean dramas following suit through Move to Heaven, Navillera and It’s Okay To Not Be Okay. Mad For Each Other is the next in this line-up, bringing three very real and debilitating conditions to the foreground – anger, depression and anxiety.
At the center of this bubbling conflict are two polar opposite characters who happen to be our main protagonists. Hwi-Oh is a former police officer who was suspended after a botched investigation and assault a customer. He currently attends therapy for anger management.
By comparison, Min-Kyung suffers from anxiety and paranoia, brought on thanks to a nasty incident involving her ex boyfriend. She just so happens to attend the same therapy as Hwi-Oh and the two are next door neighbours. The only trouble is, neither like each other very much.
They say opposites attract that much is especially true when it comes to Mad For Each Other. In fact, the show revels in the juxtapositions between these two characters and has a lot of fun with it early on. There’s an innate desire here to throw these two into as many pressure cooker situations are possible, which certainly makes for some amusing match-ups.
However, the show also doubles up as a thought provoking drama too, with big themes around not judging a book by its cover and accepting others and their differences.
This works surprisingly well across the season, and is helped by a colourful host of supporting characters. You’ve got the Women”s Neighborhood Watch, led by nosy In-Ja and her ladies. There’s also a crossdressing neighbor and a shy but aspirational convenience store assistant too. Considering each episode clocks in at around 30-40 minutes, there’s a good amount of consistency with each of these storylines.
The only gripe here comes from the finale which tends to rapidly wrap everything up as quickly as possible. It’s not a deal breaker, and certainly holds up better to a binge-watch, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you intend to jump into this one.
Where the show really works though is with its themes and ideas around mental health. Unlike hard-hitting melodramas of shows like Navillera and Move to Heaven, Mad For Each Other works like a switch; it bounces between comedy and melodrama at the perfect times. Although you could argue the series dabbles a little too much in the latter, it simply adds more depth to the show.
This charming little Korean drama never outstays its welcome and wraps up a warm and fuzzy romance around some very real and important topics. While it’s unlikely to hit the same prolific heights some of the more popular Korean dramas will hit this year, Mad For Each Other is as mad as it is endearing. This one’s definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already.
Verdict - 8/10