Most, if not all of us, have become germophobes these days because of COVID-19. For 8 months now since lockdown has started last March, my regular quarantine day starts with this morning ritual: wiping our doorknobs, light switches, and kitchen surfaces using wet wipes with alcohol before doing anything. And how many times in a day do I wash my hands with soap or spray them with alcohol? I actually lost count. In our “new normal,” these activities are generally accepted as a way to prevent getting infected with the dreaded corona virus. But not so in the K-drama Clean with Passion for Now that I recently finished watching.
Jang Sun-gyeol (Yoon Kyun-sang) suffers from mysophobia or germophobia, the fear of dirt, germs and contamination, which was brought about by an early childhood trauma. He owns a cleaning company that strictly adheres to his rigid standards.
Gil Oh-sol (Kim Yoo-jung) is a girl with a cheery personality who does not mind being untidy. Her circumstance does not allow her to fuss over being clean and neat as she is always busy doing multiple part-time jobs while constantly looking for a full-time employment.
Gil Oh-sol eventually becomes an employee of Jang Sun-gyeol’s cleaning company. While Jang Sun-gyeol feels nothing but disgust towards Gil Oh-sol’s unkempt ways in the beginning, he soon finds himself falling in love with her.
But there are many obstacles in their relationship. First, Jang Sun-gyeol’s family does not approve of Gil Oh-sol. Gil Oh Sol also finds out that Jang Sun-gyeol is the grandson of a man who was responsible for her mom’s death. Will their love survive these storms, or will they eventually fall apart?
I didn’t think I’d like this K-drama at first, but to be honest, I enjoyed it immensely. Initially, I thought the lead actor and actress were an unlikely pair primarily because of the height disparity and also because the lead actress is so baby-faced compared to the lead actor. But boy was I wrong! The more I watched them together in this K-drama, the more I saw the undeniable chemistry between them. Both were equally good-looking, too!
Kim Yoo-jung is perfect for her role as Gil Oh-sol. I watched her in The Moon Embracing the Sun and Love in the Moonlight, and one thing I can say is that she always delivers. She’s really a good actress with a very pretty face to boot! This is the first time I have seen Yoon Kyun-sang in a lead role, and I must say his towering figure and serious demeanor suit his CEO image in this K-drama.
Story-wise, this K-drama is an eye-opener. It makes viewers aware of a mental condition (mysophobia/germophobia) that has a psychological cause, in this case, the trauma experienced by Jang Sun-gyeol when he was young. That part was clearly explained in this K-drama.
I laughed a lot and shed some tears, too, while watching Clean with Passion for Now. It’s a good mix of happy and sad. And just when you think things are going so well for the lead actor and actress, an unexpected conflict arises, which makes your heart ache for the love that seems doomed from the start. The plot was simple but realistic and relatable.
Key Takeaways from this K-drama
1. Cleaning is therapeutic. While cleaning one’s place can be a tedious task, it also produces beneficial results. For one, seeing a neat and organized place elicits a feeling of calmness. It also makes you happy that the clutter and mess are all gone. In my case, it helps me think better if my surrounding is A-OK.
2. Your job does not define you. There is dignity in every individual’s job, so there’s no need to be ashamed whatever it is you do for a living for as long as it is decent. No matter how menial or lowly you deem your job to be, that does not give other people the right to step all over you.
3. There is a reason behind a person’s action. In today’s society, people who exhibit strange or unique behaviors like Jang Sun-gyeol are usually branded as “weird” or “crazy.” But if we really think about it, there’s really a reason why these people do what they do. Instead of throwing insults at them or making fun of their peculiar habits, we should try to understand them instead and be more considerate of their feelings.
4. Love heals. Love is like magic, a potion that can heal our heart, mind and body. It makes you want to become a better person for your significant other. In this K-drama, Jang Sun-gyeol wants to be cured of his germophobia for the sake of Gil Oh-sol. That’s because his disorder makes it hard for them to do the things that couples usually do like going to the movies, walking in the park, and riding a bus together. He wants to see Gil Oh-sol happy, and having his disorder treated is how he can make it happen.
5. It takes time to forgive. Forgiveness is not easily handed out to someone who has deeply hurt another. That’s what Gil Oh-sol said to Jang Sun-gyeol’s father when he finally accepted that he was in the wrong and found the courage to humbly and sincerely ask for forgiveness from Gil Oh-sol’s family for the grave mistake he committed against the family’s matriarch. It feels good to let go of the pain and the hurt, though, like what Gil Oh-sol’s father did in the end.
Care to share your thoughts about this K-drama?