“Ocean Like Me” First Impressions (Ep.1 & 2)

Food, music, and the ocean are all healing for the soul, soothing the mind and body when needed. And the new Korean BL Ocean Likes Me aims to do just that.

Starring Han Gi Chan as struggling entrepreneur Han Ba Da and real-life musician Holland as failed musician Tommy, Ocean Likes Me opens with a fateful meeting that sets these two men on a restorative journey.

There’s certainly no better way to meet someone than to literally run them over.

I admit, I’ve been anticipating this drama. As an openly bisexual writer who spent the first part of my career closeted, I looked forward to a gay romance led by an openly gay actor. Being out and successful in a predominantly heteronormative industry is brave and inspiring. Therefore, knowing that gay musician Holland was leading this drama was primarily why it interested me so much.

But it’s also why I am terrified to review it.

As someone who has spent time inside the entertainment industry on many film sets, I’ve seen actors from all walks of life playing a variety of characters. An actor doesn’t have to be gay to play a gay character, and an actor doesn’t have to be straight to play a straight one. But representation matters. It matters a lot. And when a gay artist is cast in a gay role, it sets the stage not only for the drama itself but for those looking for a role model they can relate to on and off-screen.

That’s a lot of pressure for an artist, and I admire Holland for embracing who he is both in the real world and a fictional one.

This admiration brings me back to the drama itself.

While I found the first two episodes awkward, there’s no denying the direction the writers behind it have in mind. Although it’s a gay romance with a gay actor playing one of the leads, what this drama is really aiming for is healing.

Ocean Likes Me gives me the inspirational, soothing feeling that Hallmark movies tend to provide. Hallmark movies don’t scream masterpiece to me, but they do tend to be healingly addictive. Ocean Likes Me is attempting that same vibe, and by the end of episode two, it’s getting closer to achieving it. Every time aspiring chef Han Ba Da (Han Gi Chan) offers someone food, it’s like accepting Udon for the soul.

I won’t pretend I loved the first two episodes, but I do admire what the drama is trying to achieve. I hope to see a rise of gay actors and artists portraying gay leads in BLs.

For a wholesome show that feels therapeutic, give Ocean Likes Me a try. Check it out on Viki and Gagaoolala.

Rating- 3.5 out of 5

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