Dating Agency: Cyrano is based on the webtoon prequel of Cyrano Agency, the 2010 romantic comedy starring Uhm Tae-woong, Lee Min-jung, and Park Shin-hye. Dating Agency is the fourth series in the “Oh Boy” project aka Flower Boy series on tvN. This Flower Boy business started with Flower Boy Ramen Shop, Shut Up Flower Boy Band, and Flower Boy Next Door. I’m not a crazy fan of the series but I enjoyed the first half of Ramen Shop and only stopped watching because I couldn’t root for the main couple. In addition, Flower Boy Next Door was fun and light-hearted but seemed to lack the nicotine addiction factor, so pinkblossom and I stopped writing about it. But enough reminiscing about the past, I’m pretty stoked for Dating Agency: Cyrano since, as far as I remember, the movie was super cute! And I love romantic comedies involving arranged dating. It always make for hilarious awkward scenes but cute love grows eventually between unintended couples.
Cyrano Agency is composed of a team of love experts (ok more like dramatic actors) who stage beautiful settings for their clients to win over the object of their affections. Seo Byung-Hoon (Lee Jong-Hyuk) was once a successful theatrical director. He loses his best friend in an accident. Feeling immensely guilty, Seo Byung-Hoon decides to save his late friend’s theatre troupe and assumes leadership of the newly formed “Cyrano Agency”. Kong Min-young (Soo-young) is a hard-core romanticist but often clashes with Seo Byung-hoon. Cha Seung-Pyo (Lee Chun-Hee) is the ever-present mystery 2nd lead man. He is owner and chef of the restaurant next to the Cyrano Agency office.
1st Episode Mini-cap
We open with a spectacular failure of Min-young’s set up. As Min-young watches from afar in the restaurant, the guy Min-young is helping tells his date he will be brave and confesses his love, the girl suddenly decides to be brave as well and grabs the arm of the waiter in the restaurant and confesses her love for the waiter. Yes, at this point, I am confused as well. The story restarts to explain the incident. Min-young works at a busy dating agency where people are set up based on background and achievement in life. We quickly realize Min-young doesn’t believe in this BS as she sets up a guy who scored an F on his credentials with the girl who got an A. Yes and A-girl is a cameo by Lee Chung-ah, the main girl in Flower Boy Ramen Shop. Clever, tvN!
Back at the restaurant, we see how the awkward date began. Byung-hoon is actually surveying the date as well. There are hidden microphones and cameras everywhere and even a man in a van at an undisclosed location monitoring all the electronic devices. These guys are high tech! We see the date go wrong again as A-girl professes her love to the waiter, who is actually taking directions from an earpiece from Byung-hoon. So Byung-hoon is helping
A-girl turn down F-guy waiter win over A girl? Waiter is apparently wine guy and A girl is into wine. Interesting.
Min-young has a sad and touching moment with F-guy. He accepts the rejection and thanks her for her help. Min-young walks off while talking to her boss who is angry at the bad set-up. Min-young accidentally walks into the secret aforementioned surveillance van and freaks out when she sees A-girl on the screen in the van. She manages to knock herself out as Moo-jin (Hong Jong-hyeon), the van-operator of the Byung-hoon team, comes back.
Min-young wakes up at the theater, dazed and confused. She meets Moo-jin and Ah-rang (Jo Yoon-woo) but freaks out and falls down causing the stage to collapse. She gets up only to see Byung-hoon and all the notes/spying business/information Cyrano Agency has used to destroy the set up she planned. She angrily argues with Byung-hoon, but he dismisses all her points and offers her a job with the agency. Although she has just lost her job, she rejects the new offer and stalks off.
The next day Min-young regrets her decision, re-quits her job, and marches over to the Cyrano Agency. She waits but is embarrassed to go in and beg for the job and ducks into the restaurant next door, where she meets Seung-pyo. He urges her to go in. Min-young is still hesistant but finds her excuse to proceed when a client asks to go in. The Cyrano Agency has expected her return, but Byung-hoon quickly changes the subject and asks to hear the client’s story. Byung-hoon seems to have Sherlock Holmes’ abilities as he spies through the details and deduces that the client is a vet. The vet describes his one-sided love for the local librarian. Byung-hoon cuts him off and makes Min-young drive so they can go observe their “target” aka librarian.
Turns out, the librarian (Lee Yoon-ji) isn’t as much of an angel as described. She’s pretty OCD and seems to have anger management issues. She’s currently looking for the “book terrorist” who is ripping out random pages in books. Byung-hoon forces some interaction between Min-young and scary librarian to observe the target. Byung-hoon gathers that the librarian is bored with her job and needs an exciting mysterious lover to keep her interested. He wants to turn down the job because the vet is way too boring and ordinary. However, Byung-hoon’s debtors come asking for money and threaten his life, so he is forced to take the project. Thus begins project “Hard World Dr. Jade.” I’m not sure if this is a translation glitch or the title is really just this weird.
Cyrano Agency stages an elaborate scene at the train station where “thugs” discuss grabbing the vet who wears a mysterious detective outfit. The librarian is intrigued and her love for mystery and justice leads her to approach vet herself to try to save him. Of course, vet valiantly puts the librarian on the train first and leaves her alone on a note of suspense. Hook, line, and sinker.
The team gathers at the platform happily to talk about the progress but suddenly realize the librarian has unexpectedly taken the train back to the station. They scatter to hide from her view. Byung-hoon grabs Min-young to his chest to hide from the librarian’s searching eyes. You can tell Min-young’s heart is racing, because your heart is too! Ok, at least mine is. Byung-hoon you suddenly got exponentially hotter.
Cute, cute, cute! I can’t believe I actually recapped the whole episode. I’m terribly bad at recaps but this episode really drew me in! I can’t think right now. I’ll add more thoughts later.
Any show that can appreciate Humphrey Bogart? Mhmm knows what it’s doin’. I was a fan of the 2010 film and still remember it quite fondly. But this? I think it just might top the movie by a fair margin, and part of it has to do with the episodic format. While watching Episode 1, I could clearly envision the various characters we would meet, and how giving us several hours – rather than several minutes – for each of the couples would actually work better. And it was then that the lightbulb went off. This is totes like the medical or procedural dramas littering the American television landscape, just lotsa loootsa cuter and… Korean. LOL. Don’t you see it? We get a series of separate ‘cases’ the Agency takes on, but connecting it all is the team, the core characters who aren’t subbed in and out. It’s familiar yet brilliantly works Every. Single. Time.
I am absitively posolutely LOVING the cameos, and the setup of the show allows for many maaany more cameos. Which makes even more hearts pop out of my eyes. You can’t go wrong with Ji Jin-hee opening the show. *bitterly: Well, except the madness that was The Great Seer, but that was TOTALLY the writer’s and director’s fault. Grrr* Lee Jong-hyuk – aka Joon-soo’s dad heh heh heh – is gonna be all kinds of awesome, I can already feel it. Soo-young was a cut above the average idol, and I’m looking forward to seeing her grow. Lee Chun-hee looks ready to be adorkable, and the rest of the crew seem comfortable. So. Please don’t jinx anything. I beg of you.