THE SHORT VERDICT:
Breezy, light, and just a little bit quirky, Dating Agency Cyrano is a fun little show for when you’re in the mood for a bit of mindless fluff.
Plot logic regularly requires some suspension of disbelief, but there are enough plus points in this show to still make it an enjoyable watch.
More than the overarching story, and more than the cases of the day, it’s the characters and their warmth that wormed their way into my heart, then resonated and lingered with me.
Far from cracktastic, but still a good dose of fun.
THE LONG VERDICT:
To be honest, this drama had been languishing on my watch list for a long time, mainly because dramaland kept rolling out newer and shinier dramas, and also partly because I knew that Gong Yoo’s cameo in it is super blink-and-you-miss-it brief.
Which means I have my recently acquired soft spot for Hong Jong Hyun to thank, for motivating me to finally check out this drama.
And I’m glad that I took the time to check it out, coz in spite of its flaws, this show turned out to be a fun little watch with more pluses than minuses.
QUICK LIST OF FLAWS
For the record, here’s a quick list of the main beefs that I had with this drama. While not huge, they did dampen the show somewhat, and I could’ve done with a lot less – or none – of these issues.
1. Plausibility and believability
..is definitely a Thing that you’d need to get past, in order to enjoy this show. Viewers of this show need to suspend disbelief on a regular basis over the elaborate dating set-ups, flawless timing over things that are out of our characters’ control, and even character motivations.
Thinking of this as a manhwa-esque sort of world helps, though.
2. Uneven pacing
..is also an issue. The balance between the Case of the Day and the overarching story of our characters isn’t always well handled. On top of that, some cases drag for too long, &/or aren’t as interesting as others.
3. Contrived plot devices
..are sometimes employed, with the biggest offender being [SPOILER ALERT] the kidnapping arc at the end of the drama, which doesn’t make a whole lot of narrative sense, yet conveniently pushes our OTP together. [END SPOILER]
4. Uneven acting.
With an ensemble cast, it’s always hard to achieve a cohesive tone across everyone’s varying degrees of acting prowess, and in this ensemble cast, that unevenness definitely shows.
THINGS THAT BROUGHT THE HAPPY
1. Sooyoung is quite the revelation in this drama.
She made Gong Min Young earnest, warm and likable, and was all-around a wonderful ray of sunshine in this drama. She managed the more emotional scenes with as much dexterity as the cheerful sunny scenes, and I was impressed.
Being the kpop noob that I am, I didn’t even realize she’s an idol actor, until I stumbled on the information by accident. Sooyoung’s definitely got potential to do well as an actress, I think.
2. Lee Jong Hyuk is pitch perfect as the grumbly, gruff Seo Byung Hoon, owner of Agency Cyrano, and as expected, imbues his character with very nice flashes of nuance and depth to balance out the grumpy.
3. Lee Chun Hee is quite lovely as the mysterious Master next door. Master had relatively less screen time, but Lee Chun Hee made every scene count.
He gave Master dimension and depth with the minor shifts in his expressions and the inflections of his gaze, and was basically a pleasure to watch.
I’ve consistently liked Lee Chun Hee in pretty much every role that I’ve seen him in, and I totally think he should do more dramas. The fact that I think he’s eye candy too is mere coincidence, I swears!
The set-up allows for lots of cameos, and Show doesn’t stinge on them at all. I found several of the cameos particularly entertaining, so here’s a quick shout-out to some of my favorites.
I found it highly amusing to see Ji Jin Hee as a dorky loser, Lee Yoon Ji as a neurotic librarian, and Lee Kwang Soo as a dorky baker. And then of course, there’s Gong Yoo, for whom I have an enduring fangirl love.
5. Hong Jong Hyun brings the broody handsome.
To be sure, Hong Jong Hyun is pretty stiff in this role, and there is definitely room for him to have done more with the character of Moo Jin. There were definitely times when I felt that he was too stiff, despite the fact that Moo Jin is supposed to be a wooden type of character.
Still, Hong Jong Hyun fulfilled the need for robotic, mysterious, hot hacker guy quite nicely. I was highly amused that in Episode 1, he basically only needed to say, “Stahp” a couple of times. I also found his loveline with Ha Yun Joo rather cute.
THOUGHTS ON THE OTP
While some viewers might have found the age gap (both reel and real) between Min Young and Byung Hoon on the large side, I actually found myself coming around to their pairing.
To the show’s credit, the romance isn’t shoved to front and center of the narrative. Instead, the show spends most of its time dealing with the cases of the day, along with the overarching mystery of Byung Hoon’s and Master’s backstories.
The romance is introduced very slowly, as Min Young and Byung Hoon gradually develop feelings for each other and wrestle with those feelings.
In that sense, I found the treatment of the romance quite organic and believable. By the time both of our characters had come around to those romantic feelings, so had I.
By series’ end, I was properly on board with the OTP, and found the kiss that Byung Hoon planted on Min Young in the final scene of the drama, quite swoony indeed.
To be honest, I was never fully invested in the overarching backstories of Byung Hoon and Master and everything else that went with it. My interest levels with the cases of the day also varied; I liked some arcs more than others.
So in a pretty big way, it was the characters themselves – along with their personalities and quirks – that eventually captured my heart enough for me to want to stay through to the end.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Light and harmless, and with a spot of heart, despite its flaws.
FINAL GRADE: B-
Haven’t seen it yet. But I like this article for Gong Yoo and Sooyoung.
In fact….Gong Yoo is how I found this blog in the first place. Sorry for commenting on things late.
Hey there diploctor! Yay that you found the blog coz of GY love – he’s awesome <3 He appears very fleetingly in this show, so if you're watching for him it's not exactly really worth it. But Sooyoung's very good in it. I found her natural and likable in the role 🙂
I loved this drama. I marathoned it and it was just fantastic. I loved the OTP and took notice of Sooyoung and she definitely didn’t fall me as she was wonderful in My Spring Days.
LJH is also one of my hot ahjussis. I really like him.
Overall,I recommend this drama for anyone wanting a light fun watch
You’re right Panda, this one is definitely more of a light, fun watch. Not a show that warrants a lot of analysis, and neither does it need it. 🙂 Y’know, I didn’t realize until quite recently, that Sooyoung was in My Spring Days (what is this with her an older male co-stars?). I’ve heard some good things about My Spring Days, along the lines of good for a classic-style melo. If that’s correct, it means I’m gonna need a very specific mood to enjoy it, but if Sooyoung’s in it and did well, that’s definitely a plus point. 🙂
Yeah, everything you said! It was a great night-cap sort of drama where you enjoy it in the moment, then promptly forget about.
EXACTLY. In fact, I totally watched Cyrano as a nightcap drama. Depending on how sleepy I was, sometimes it’d take me 3-4 attempts before I’d finish an episode! XD But it’s the kind of show where that fractured viewing style doesn’t matter. I still caught on to the cute quite nicely, and managed to enjoy it for what it was. 🙂
Another great review. I second just about everything you wrote. She was a revelation and I forsee a very successful acting career for her. Master is eye candy for sure. I had NO problem with the age gap and felt the romance worked. Loved the MV you posted BTW. All in all a fun, mindless watch.
Aw, I’m so glad we agree on all the main things about this show, Amy! 🙂 I was quite floored, really, when I realized that Sooyoung’s an idol. She delivered her role with nuance and warmth, and that’s head and shoulders above some actor-actors, even! I’d love for her to take on more acting roles and grow as an actress. 🙂 And Lee Chun Hee is SO easy on the eyes, truly. I’d love to see him act more, maybe take on a lead role. He has the charisma and screen presence for it – more so than some of the younger actors who are landing lead roles now.
Ah, isn’t the MV really cute?? I’ve watched it several times now, and it always has this happy, boppy effect on me. I just wanna bop along to it, amid all the OTP cuteness. ^^
I enjoyed this show and I agree pretty much with your review. I watched because I loved the quirky idea (still need to see the actual movie) and I totally Fangirl Lee Jong Hyuk and Lee Chun Hee. That was a great kiss at the end, but I felt as usual the guy did all the work. LJH certainly has kissable lips! The age gap didn’t bother me too much, because although as fresh as a sprite, Min Young was mature. A win. Great flash review. 🙂
Your positive recommendation – and your comment about Hong Jong Hyun being a cutie in this – was the catalyst that got me to watch this sooner than later, actually! 🙂 And while I prefer Lee Chun Hee to Lee Jong Hyuk, I do like ’em both, so no complaints there whatsoever. As for the movie, I learned from snow’s comment that there isn’t a loveline in the movie. Uhm Tae Woong and Daniel Choi are in it, and I like ’em both.. should be interesting to check out, if only to see how they align & differ 🙂
That’s right, I did push for this drama. I enjoyed it all around. And Hong Jong Hyun certainly caught my eye, despite having 2 lines. He has that great look to him.
That’s odd, a movie about a dating agency with no real love line. Too busy helping their clients. lol. Ooh Daniel Choi! I’ll gladly watch it at some point.
I LOVED this show….I started it late while it was still airing and before I knew it, I marathoned all the available eps…mainly because I fell in love with the OTP’s gradually developing romance…right from their first hug at the station, I was on board and found the chemistry really hot between LJH and Sooyoung….all their eye contacts and romantic accidents made me feel giddy and I swooned and waited for their moments. So yeah, they were the main draw. It was also more special because it was unexpected for me…as the movie on which the show is based doesn’t have a love line between these 2 characters and hence, it was a very pleasant surprise!
Additionally, I loved the whole group of the agency….the robotic HJH and adorable Ahrang…plus, all the cases were really interesting and I didn’t feel bored in any of them…my favourite was the high school one….by the way, that story has another cameo by Taemin of Kpop group SHINee…lol…nowadays, my knowledge about KPop has increased!
Sooyoung was a revelation and I absolutely loved here here…and LJH was HOT!
And lastly, I LOVED that song “A Certain Heart Fluttering”…so soothing and romantic!
Aw. The element of unexpectedness definitely has a part to play in one’s response to a show, and I definitely see that it was a very happy surprise for you, snow! 🙂 Funny that you liked the high school arc the most (major points for recognizing an idol cameo, snow! I’m still a total kpop noob), I wasn’t as interested in the high school arc. I liked the baking one more, I think. Lee Kwang Soo was great as the dorky chef. I thought the nurse/fireman one was a little too draggy. Still, a fun watch overall, so these are just minor grouses, no biggie 🙂