Cleaning with Passion for Now

I recently had some free time on my hands so I sat down to watch a Korean drama after a break of about two months. The drama was Clean with Passion for Now, dealing with psychological illness, powerlessness in the face of poverty, and all the contraptions of a typically makjang Korean drama. However, despite its predictability, I did enjoy watching it.

The drama narrates the story of a young CEO, Jang Seon Gyul (played by Yoon Gyun Sang) with a serious obsessive-compulsive disorder regarding cleanliness. As a child, his mother abandoned him, leaving him in the care of her affluent father, who abused his authority over the little boy. Whenever he would see the child dirty, he would not just scold him but make sure that he gave him a lesson by beating him up. Somewhere down the line, Seon Gyul develops a serious phobia of all filth, mysophobia. It become impossible for him to conduct himself in a normal manner publicly and so he takes it upon himself to make sure he is always in a sterilized environment. This is why he sets up Cleaning Fairies, that go around taking orders from people whose houses require cleaning.

Gil Oh Sol (played by Kim Yoo Jung), is a young girl who has just finished her undergraduate degree and is desperately looking for a job without much success. Having lost her mother about six years ago due to an accident at a construction site, she has been unable to pull her life together. She gave up on her love for hurdling once she hurt herself during the sport and her constant state of untidiness is a cause for concern for her father and brother. Her father works as a public garbage cleaner, and one day when he cannot go to work, he asks Oh Sol to fill in for him. While doing the cleaning, she ends up dumping some of the garbage she is handling on a car. This car ends up belonging to Seon Kyul, and from hereon, their story begins.

As with most Korean dramas, with a romantic arc, there must be the second lead. The second lead over here was Choi Ha In (played by Song Jae Rim), who has rented out the rooftop room in Oh Sol’s house. He appears to be jobless, always roaming around the house in a track suit, while eating food with Oh Sol’s family and reading books all day. While appearing to be aimlessly loitering around, he also has frequent visits from random men and women but it is unclear who he is or what he wants. His true nature is only disclosed gradually as the show progresses but what’s clear is that he loves Oh Sol.

Even though the drama continued to be too predictable, there were a few elements that I must commend. Firstly, that this was my first time watching all of these actors as playing main characters. While Yoon Gyun Sang was generally shown as always agitated and anxious, the occasional smiles were always a pleasure to catch. However, it was uncomfortable seeing him next to Kim Yoo Jung simply because of their twelve-year age gap. She really looked like a child in front of him and made me highly unsettled. Nevertheless, Song Jae Rim’s character arc came to a wonderful conclusion and since I saw him after ages, I believe it was his character that moved me the most.