I went into Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency completely blind, knowing absolutely nothing about it except for the fact that the promotional picture and title of the show made it seem like a historical romance. It took a little over an hour for me to become fully interested but by the time I was half way through episode two, I was hooked, and it just kept getting better and better as it went along.
Twenty-three year old blacksmith Lee Soo has been in love with Gae Ddong as long as he can remember and wants to be with her and care for her the rest of his life. When one of the villagers tells him about Flower Crew, the most prestigious marriage agency in all of Hanyang, he decides his future with the woman he loves is worth the best and is determined to hire them to arrange his marriage. At first Ma Hoon, the Flower Crew’s leader, refuses to work for Soo but finally gives in after he sees the young man’s sincerity, devotion, and determination. Unfortunately, the day of the wedding becomes a nightmare when the groom doesn’t show up. Ma Hoon knows how much Soo loves Gae Ddong and realizes something sinister must have happened to keep him from his own wedding. When broken-hearted Gae Ddong begs Ma Hoon to allow her to work for Flower Crew until they can find her beloved Soo, he agrees but only to a three month apprenticeship. While they are trying to uncover what happened to Soo, the Flower Crew attempts to make Gae Ddong into a proper, refined, lady of high social status.
Flower Crew, which gained popularity three years earlier, is a marriage agency comprised of the most good looking male matchmakers in all of Hanyang. Their motto is “Luck in fortune! Luck in all achievements! Luck in marriage! Luck, Luck, Luck!”
The leader of the Flower Crew is 25 year old Ma Hoon. In describing him, villagers claim he is quiet, way too smart, and an all around outstanding person. Gae Ddong sees him as “prickly” and makes the observation that he is the type of person who chooses to use big words even if he can say it simply. Ma Hoon has a knack of being able to look right through people to understand what they are feeling. He is the youngest son of the Prime Minister but that father/son relationship is extremely estranged.
The cute member of the Flower Crew is Go Young-Soo. Appearance is everything to him – from the clothing he wears to his shoes and accessories, it’s all the best of the best. Yoong-Soo has an amazing talent when it comes to aesthetics and is able to turn anyone into a beauty. He happily boasts, “I’m so cool that people’s livers would fall [out] from shock.”
Do Joon is the Flower Crew member who “only lives for today.” He has a beautiful appearance, a taste for the arts, and can play several instruments. Ma Joon admits Do Joon has a talent for “bewitching women” who tend to flock around the young man like bees to honey. He uses the courtesan house like it’s his home. Do Joon has an incredible talent for gathering information.
At one time, Gae Ddong was a slave but she ran away after burning her slave ownership paper and has been on her own ever since. She does odd jobs and lives day to day. She is stubborn, strong willed, independent, and has a sympathetic heart. Lee Soo means the world to her and when he suddenly disappears she gets a job as the Flower Crew’s apprentice in order to find him. Ma Hoon calls her Rock-head and says she’s so “scary she could make frost in June.” Go Young-Soo refers to her as Three Months in hopes that she won’t stick around any longer than that.
Lee Soo’s mother passed away when he was a little boy so he was raised by his single father whom he dearly loves. He is a blacksmith by trade, following in his father’s footsteps. He wants the best for the girl he loves with all his heart so he hires the Flower Crew to handle his marriage to Gae Ddong. Soo’s personality is kind, compassionate, selfless, understanding, and wise.
We learn detailed things about these characters little bits at a time as the drama unfolds, things that help us understand why they are the way there are. We discover just exactly why Ma Hoon chose to be a matchmaker and why he dislikes his father, we’re told why looking and smelling good is so important to Go Young-Soo, and we find out why Do Joon surrounds himself with women all the time.
You can find information about Kim Min-Jae, the actor who plays the part of the Flower Crew’s leader, Ma Hoon, in my Hit the Top review.
Gong Seung-Yeon plays the part of Gae-Ddong. You can read about her in my Are You Human Too? review.
The part of Go Young-Soo is played by Park Ji-Hoon. He began his entertainment career as a child actor, appearing in musicals and TV dramas. He went to National Middle School of Traditional Arts majoring in musical theater, then majored in broadcasting arts at School of Performing Arts Seoul, and was accepted into the theater department at Chung-Ang University. In 2017 he was on the second season of Produce 101, finishing in second place which earned him a spot as a member of Wanna One. The group disbanded the last day of 2018 and he began his solo career with the album O’Clock. He’s an advertisement model as well as a singer and actor.
Actor and model Byeon Woo-Seok plays the part of Do Joon. He began acting in 2016 with the Kdrama Dear My Friends and has since appeared in Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo, Live Up to Your Name, Welcome to Waikiki 2, and Search: WWW.
A decent chunk of this drama’s story revolves around the Flower Crew refining Gae Ddong’s rough-around-the-edges personality. She is taught everything from how to drink tea, to the proper way for a lady to walk, and everything in between. It smacks a bit of the 1964 American musical movie My Fair Lady. Just as Henry Higgins undertakes turning Eliza Doolittle into a duchess knockoff, so does the Flower Crew tackle the difficult job of turning a runaway slave into a lady fit to be a candidate for the position of the future queen of Joseon.
As we watch the handsome Flower Crew matchmakers do their job, the drama sprinkles information here and there about old Korean marriage customs, which I thought was quite interesting. Things had to be done just right and I was fascinated with the marriage process, especially when a bride is being considered for the king. Sadly, people didn’t always know each other before a match was made. One older lady in the show, who was in favor of a couple being in love before getting married, said, “For women, marriage means that she must enter a strange household and serve it for the rest of her life. On such a lonely road, shouldn’t she have at least one person on her side?” Life was certainly difficult for females back then. I’m glad I was born now.
Each episode is not only numbered and has a name, but is associated with a different flower – such as “Marguerite Daisy, Marigold, Morning Glory, Aster, Bellflower, Wolfsbane, Hibiscus”… and others. At first I wondered why that was the case and then finally realized the show was about a marriage agency called Flower Crew. Clever.
Anyone remember the 1990 Hollywood movie Ghost? Well, there’s a scene in this drama that mimics Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s steamy pottery scene in that old film. I happen to like this one better because the scene in this drama isn’t just romantic, it also has an inspiring message attached to it.
There’s one thing that, I’m sure was put in for the romantic effect but, bothered me nonetheless. The second something significantly romantic happens (such as a girl falling into a guy’s arms) it begins to shower cherry blossom petals. Seriously. It happens several times throughout the show. Nothing in the air and then the second the couple’s eyes meet – bam! Floating petals. I’m sure the petals were added simply to heighten the romance but I just saw it as an “oops.”
The soundtrack is excellent. PIN GURURU, sung by Lee Woo, is a fun, upbeat song I could listen to over and over again. Sonnet Son, sings Solar Eclipse. Her voice starts out whispered, almost like she’s gasping for breath, and then builds to almost a yell. The song is pretty but I wish Tiffany would have performed it instead. With You, sung by Maktub and Leeraon, is probably the song played most often. I didn’t care for it at first but it grew on me. Ha Sung-Woon sings Because of You, hands down the best ballad on the soundtrack. It’s full of longing, pain, and desire. Yesung (of Super Junior) lends his impressive vocals to the ballad Branded in My Heart.
The scenery is absolutely exquisite, as it is in most historical Kdramas. We get to see things like a golden sunset on the beach, a stone bridge over a pond filled with water lilies, and a colorful lantern floating festival. The marriage agency building is the main focus of the story with the palace coming in a close second.
Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency was based on the 2014 novel of the same name written by Kim Yi-Rang who also wrote the screenplay for the drama. I haven’t read the book but the show is great entertainment. My suggestion – put it on your watch list.
Cherry blossom petals that fall miraculously