Considering the subject matter of the show, we wondered why it was called Daily Dose of Sunshine. After all, the first thought that comes to our minds when we hear that phrase is something bright and cheery, which is far from the supposedly ‘grim’ topic of mental health. At first glance, we believe that the title may be referring to Jung Da Eun, the protagonist, through whose lens we watch the entire show. However, it takes us a bit more time to understand the objective of the title, and before we get to that, we would like to talk about a few things.
One particular thing that Daily Dose of Sunshine gets right is how it addresses the role of prevalent social systems in an individual’s mental health. We don’t believe that this has been talked about in this particular way in a K-drama or any mainstream content, for that matter. On that note, we also liked how the drama did not pretend to have solutions for that. They spoke about empathy, and most importantly, they asked us to differentiate ourselves from our daily fight for survival. However, they made it a point to show the difficulties of that and how, very often, an individual’s mental health is a result of the community coming together to understand them and give them the space to grow. This is the daily dose of sunshine that is necessary for one’s happiness.
If you think about it, doctors usually recommend that you spend at least twenty minutes a day in the sun, preferably in the mornings, so that you get your daily dose of vitamin D. That is the minimum. If you lose out on that continuously, you will eventually find yourself in terrible health because one nutrient is linked to many others, and they work in tandem to keep you going as a person. Therefore, not getting your daily dose of sunshine would mean that, unknowingly, you are walking towards a collapse of yourself. It is this metaphor that the drama tries to hammer into our brains. We are consumed by taking care of our families, our jobs, and a hundred other things, just so that we can fit into the ideal of a ‘responsible and productive’ citizen of society. But at the end of each day, we can barely answer who we are as a person, and Daily Dose of Sunshine gets this nuance right perfectly.
We may argue that the show simplifies a lot of things. It may be the explanations for certain mental health issues, how they came to be diagnosed, or how, in some instances, it all seemed too simple. Perhaps they are right, and perhaps the show did what it could in the limited time it had. It is entirely possible that this isn’t a perfect show, but it was an extremely important one.
Moving to a different facet of it, we love how well-cast the actors were. We have always liked Park Bo Young, but her micro-expressions of empathy and cluelessness, combined with the occasional mischief, were so perfect for Da Eun. Then, there was Yeon Woo Jin as Dr. Dong Go Geun. His name is a bit of a tongue twister, and his personality is also slightly erratic, though rather ideal. You just know that he is the right amount of exciting for you to want to date, and then he turns into the green flag that you want to keep in your life. His face and hairstyle go so well with the character’s personality. Even the rest of the nurses were so well cast, and it wasn’t because of their acting but because if they weren’t actors, we would have believed that they were born for the medical profession. No other casting has hit this well as the one of this drama has.
The way the narrative of the drama flows is that the initial episodes address a single mental health condition through different people. Then, the episodes move to dealing with Da Eun’s diagnosis and, eventually, her recovery, along with life back at the hospital in her capacity as a nurse treating other patients. Essentially, this was a nice balance, and Daily Dose of Sunshine seemed to cover all the bases properly.
We have heard the joke about therapists needing their own therapists. It sounded like a joke because why wouldn’t they have all the answers to their own conditions? But the drama makes us look at the very human side of them, one that is just as prone to human fallacies as everybody else. From not taking the advice they give to others to denying how they are feeling despite the symptoms being evident, it is a matter of the caretaker hating their own vulnerability despite knowing it isn’t wrong. We had once heard that doctors are the most difficult patients, and we understand why when we watch this drama. The ninth episode of Daily Dose of Sunshine is such an important episode in this regard because of the mindset of a person who believes they know better but actually don’t.
The runtime of the drama may feel like a little too much. But once you start watching, you realize that all of it is highly engaging, not just because of the subject but because of how it is presented. We have also enjoyed the light humor and occasional comedy in the show. It is certainly not on par with Hospital Playlist (which Daily Dose of Sunshine is being compared to) but it is decent enough to handle the overall tone of the show.
We had initially expected the show to be difficult to watch, but it wasn’t as difficult as we had thought. However, we won’t be able to revisit this a second time or even discuss it at length. Daily Dose of Sunshine is one of those stories that has a strong impact, but it leaves you with very few words to discuss or build upon it, considering the severity of the matter. All we can hope for is that this show reaches more people and achieves what it sets out to do.