Mel’s Survey

The Results Are In

Last month, Mel from ChuckTV and vs. the Podcast organized an interesting poll. It’s hard for me, (Me <- Not a Statistician) to truly vouch either for either the accuracy of meaningfulness of the poll, and I don’t thing even Mel claims that it’s “scientific” (so don’t bet the rent of the veracity of the results). But it is interesting.

This is not the only information to be gleaned, but I think question #1 is the heart of the matter.

41% of respondents chose Chuck and Sarah’s “journey toward coupledom” as the main reason they watch. While this is not the “majority of fans” some have claimed during debates, it is indeed significant. Also of note is the gender and age breakdown for this preference: 42% of men and 45% of women named this the main reason they watch the show. Meanwhile, 42.5% of respondents 24 and under selected this option; 36.5% of those ages 25-35 chose it; and a whopping 50.4% of fans ages 36-70 marked Chuck and Sarah as their primary reason for watching the show.

That last number was interesting to me. Does it mean we get more romantically inclined as we get older? That would be cool!

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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35 Responses to Mel’s Survey

  1. OldDarth says:

    No surprise with that one.

    The revealing one was question 3- only 18% of the respondents said they would quit the show if things did not go their way.

    The boy who cried wolf too often comes to mind.

  2. ReadySet says:

    Old Darth-
    Eighteen percent of the respondents say they’d quit the show if the amorphous “not going my way” doesn’t happen and you don’t think it is a significant number?

    ANY television show that could lose a sixth of it audience based on a plot development IS in substantial trouble. For a show like Chuck, which is hanging on by its fingernails, possibly losing a sixth of the audience would be a disaster.

    In fact, if just half of the people who say they’d walk actually did, Chuck would be toast…

    Another thing to remember: You’re talking about hard-core fans who took that poll. If 18 percent of THEM now have conditional loyalty, well, that is not a good sign at all…

    • Gord says:

      Somehow, I think out of those 18% only a handful would actually follow through if what they don’t like actually happens. Besides these internet polls aren’t exactly scientific. If I recall the sample size was just a little over 1000. All we can say for sure is that roughly 180 to 200 people said they would leave the show if things don’t go their way.

      Last season if I’m not mistaken there was on average over 6 million viewers per episode. Many who probably watched the show week after week, enjoyed it, but did not invest emotionally in it. For most of S1 and S2 I fit into that category.
      I only became rabid about it, when I found out that they were thinking of cancelling the show, which for me was just before the season finale. Up until then I really did not follow entertainment news. I could still care less about any entertainment news that isn’t Chuck related.

      Getting involved with these blogs and the Chuck boards, has had me think a lot more about the reasons why I like the show so much. However at the same time, I was quite happy enjoying the show just the way it was. Angst included. Chuck is an enjoyable show, that is in a class of its own. Even with the occassional upsetting scene, it has never failed to entertain me. Sure there have been some episodes that have not been as great as most, but I still found something entertaining about them.
      I think for the majority of the 6 million plus regular viewers of Chuck, that is what it is all about to them. An enjoyable show with a unique blend of action, comedy, romance and drama. For some episodes that blend works better than others, but on the whole we love it.
      So I have to agree with Old Darth, that 18% result is insiginficant.

  3. OldDarth says:

    Nope. If you read the forums at all you would think over 75% of them would quit.

    The fans lost were be easily replaced by the new ones that come on board due to Chuck being front and center in the action.

    • ReadySet says:

      Nothing has ever come “easily” to this show, especially finding viewers. So assuming new viewers will be found “easily” to replace some percentage of hard-core fans who walk away is ludicrous.

    • ReadySet says:

      By the way, it’s probably a bad idea to invent statistics when we’re talking about a poll that, regardless of any flaws it might have, asked people specific questions. Barring any other numbers, you should probably accept that 18 percent of this fan base said something.

  4. OldDarth says:

    Ludicrous is dismissing something out of hand that has not occurred yet.

    Quite confident that action quotient being shown in the new promos will attract new fans.

    As for the 18%, the show, the forums, and the fans were be better served if they left right now.

    • ReadySet says:

      And who appointed you the keeper of the right and correct way to talk and think about Chuck?

      • OldDarth says:

        No one. Who appointed you?

        Or is free speech not part of your lexicon?

      • ReadySet says:

        Free speech is what this is all about. YOU are the one who is wishing 18 percent of the audience goes away because you apparently don’t agree with them.

        You’re welcome to flap your trap as long as Joe allows you to post on the blog. Most of us, however, would appreciate it if you you’d your free speech rights in a way that doesn’t tell US what we are allowed to think or do.

      • OldDarth says:

        As a newcomer here, throwing the first insult with your ludicrous statement, you have a lot of nerve walking in and telling others how to behave.

        And if I feel that getting rid of 18% is for the better of the show, you should respect that.

        Disagree with it? Fine. Telling someone else what they can or can not say is not. Neither is being insulting about it.

    • atcdave says:

      You can’t honestly mean that, we need all the viewers we can get. It is true some forum posters are more “maintenance intensive” than others. A very small number were alarmist, and probably better off being less involved; but we still need the viewers. Especially since Chuck has been reviewed as a “romance” from the first review I read in 9/2007; you can’t just dismiss those viewers who find it the primary draw for the show.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Careful there ReadySet or he’ll tell you he finds your lack of faith disturbing as you feel your throat constricting… 😉

      • OldDarth says:

        I actually do Dave.

      • ReadySet says:

        Hey, maybe Old Darth is actually an NBC programmer. After all, NBC has been pretty effective at driving huge chunks of its audience away.

      • joe says:

        Um, You both have opinions that are valued here, ReadySet.

      • OldDarth says:

        Sometime for the good of the body, a diseased part has to go.

      • ReadySet says:

        Joe, with all due respect to the wonderful effort you’ve put into this blog, I think I will stop posting. Whoever this fellow Old Darth is, s/he apparently decides who is a “newcomer” and who is or should be allowed to post or have opinions–or have the temerity to challenge his received word.

        This I don’t need in my life. Good luck to everyone. I have the greatest hopes for Chuck. It may even survive the self-important rantings of someone who wishes away 18 percent of a show’s fanbase

      • OldDarth says:

        Hmmm, methinks the lady does protest too much. Sure not willing to apologize for firing the first volley.

        Unless,,,,, they are part of the 18%? 😉

      • atcdave says:

        I really can’t agree about writing off 18% of the fan base. I try to sympathize and encourage; admittedly, I find it easy since I do share many of their fears to a lesser degree. And MOST of them do lighten up after a while. A few have crashed and burned, and if they’re that stressed its probably for their own good that they disconnect. But I’m happy to engage anyone who will listen.
        I actually suspect the situation is worse than just 18%, most of the more casual fans I know are looking for a light-hearted good time, if the show becomes too much of a soap opera many will just tune out without ever saying a word. I DON’T believe that will happen, but that is what many fear.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Dang. I’m sensing too much testosterone flying around on this thread.

        We need to get some WOMEN posting their views!! (Unless someone out there is of the female persuasion and I’m not seeing it. If that’s the case – sorry. My bad.

      • joe says:

        I’m sorry that tempers flew some this evening. Sometimes there’s too fine a line between having your ideas challenged and being insulted. No one should feel insulted when they express themselves honestly.

        Having said that, I also realize that there are many people who are more sensitive than others, and will take words personally when others wouldn’t.

        Somehow we’ve collected a number of people who write exceptionally well, and are outspoken. This is a good thing. But words are very powerful things. We’re involved with a lot more than just our heads, and sometimes feelings will get hurt.

        It’s Christmas time. Keep cheery thoughts tonight, everyone.

  5. Rick Holy says:

    Joe – I think as “we get older,” we’ve either (a) experienced enough of life’s hard knocks and sorrows, or (b) seen people we love experience them, or (c) both.

    Perhaps that’s the older folks are more into seeing the Chuck and Sarah “together (in some fashion) and happy” part of the show. As the great Bluesman Johnny Winter sang, “Life is hard and then you die!” There’s some truth to that. That’s why we get more “softie and wanting to see our TV show characters happy” as we get older – at least IMHO!

    I’ll watch the show through thick and thin – and if that means at times I’ll be gnashing my teeth (even AFTER having eaten my Subway footlong) than so be it. But I’d be a lot happier in my viewing if you-know-who experienced a little more happiness (and growth) and a little less angst (and retardation) of their relationship.

    As much as I love so many of the different aspects of the show, on thing I could do without is the “pining” (did I spell that correctly) for each other. You know what I mean. Those tearful (Sarah) or “I’ve blown it and I’m going to lose her (Chuck) looks that pop ever 2 or 3 episodes. ENOUGH.

    If I wanted “pining” I’d resurrect Euell Gibbons and “eat a pine tree” along with him.

    Just sayin’.

    Regardless, let’s get Jan 10th/11th here and start off the season with some good ratings numbers.

    BRING ON THE CHUCK!!

    • joe says:

      Oh yeah – and didn’t M. Scott Peck begin his book that way, too?

      The other thing is, I think, what I’m going to call the roller-coaster effect. There was a great ‘coaster at Crystal Beach, Canada, that I used to frequent in my youth (ah – the stories I could tell!). It made the Guinness Book of World’s Records then at the fastest all-wood construction ‘coaster, which aficionados will tell you is the best kind. Loved it, road it more times than I can count. Wouldn’t think of riding one today. Satisfying as it’s been, I’ve had maybe enough adventure, and too many chills and spills in my life already, thank you very much. I’ll take what’s behind curtain #3, Monte, and hope it’s romance.

    • atcdave says:

      I do think people tend to get more romantic and sentimental as they age. Romance is one area where I never cared for ups and downs much, but the older I get the harder the downs seem get. Life is too short, and wasting it on pettiness and game playing just isn’t appealing to me.

      My other major interest is military history, and I’d have to say it is fascinating, how older veterans tear up when talking about their martial past. Things they would have either dismissed or downplayed (or even bragged about) in their “prime”, reduce them to tears in their seniority.

    • Gord says:

      Rick,
      I think we want to see everyone we care about happy.
      It is a true testiment to the creative team and the actors in this show, that they have made us all care about these characters.
      Seeing Chuck and Sarah happy (also Ellie and Awesome), makes us feel all warm and mushy inside.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Make that warm and FUZZY!!

        Bottom line, there’s enough UNhappiness in life. I deal with it frequently. TV certainly doesn’t need to up the unhappiness quotient anymore than the evening news already does!

        For me, anyway, TV is about fun! It’s no fun seeing people enduring angst, and you can’t say that there hasn’t been sufficient angst.

        All I think myself (and a significant number of others) are asking for is a LITTLE LESS!! And that’s not asking too much, IMHO.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think one thing about the Charah romance that stands out is that these two are relatively mature people who really care about each other and who are overwhelmingly supportive of each other and their goals for the most part. This is the big reason I think that the angst doesn’t play well with a lot of fans. It doesn’t ring true to the characters.

      The will they/won’t (hereafter WTWT) they stories are usually two basic types. Opposites that attract (often the love/hate variety) and unrequited love. For the first think Moonlighting as the archetype. The back and forth banter, two equals locked in combat, neither willing to give an inch, even though it is clear they are both hoping to make something happen. The other was the Ross and Rachel theme. One party is or has been in love from afar, the other is clueless. Once the clueless party realizes there is love the other has decided it’s time to give up on the fantasy and move on.

      Charah is neither of those. Even if it wasn’t love these two like each other and enjoy being together. They don’t engage in the banter and put downs or strive for dominance at the others expense. They are, unconsummated love aside, a good solid real couple. As said over on the NBC boards they haven’t been shy about letting each other know that either. There is no doubt to themselves or each other as to their feelings, yet TPTB are constantly trying to make it seem as if there is. I think that is both the reason so many people love Charah and feel so strongly about it, and the source of the angst.

      As far as getting sentimental as we age, I agree. We tend to look to the precious and happy things in our lives and turn more inward in my opinion.

      A few other things about the survey. I was one who put Charah as 10 and said I’d quit the show if that aspect didn’t go as I hoped. I am in the infamous, rebellious, heretical 18%. But I think I should explain before I am banished. When I say I’m ready to quit the show if it doesn’t go the way I want, I mean it. What is key to that statement is not the part about quitting the show, because face it, we are all to some degree ready to go if they ruin it, it is how broadly or narrowly I define what I want.

      What I want is more of the same, but not in the way it seems they think. The ONLY element that unites season 1 and 2 as an ongoing story arc is Chuck and Sarah. Chuck’s entry into the spy world is because of Sarah intervening and keeping him unbunkered. Chuck’s continued willingness to lie to and hurt those he loves and remain in that world is largely due to his loyalty to Sarah. The ongoing emotional growth we’ve all seen in Sarah, and remarked on at such length over at the NBC board is because she is with Chuck. Throughout two seasons there has been one ongoing story that has united and helped drive the show, and that one element is… say it with me shippers, Charah. I don’t want to see a season 2 rerun with different petite brunettes and different beefcake because the story has passed that point.

      We’ve all the read and been part of all the talk about how lame trotting out trite pre-packaged Hollywood themes and conventions cheapens the show. And much of the angst has been due to the fact that JS acts and speaks like a one trick pony. Yeah, maybe as a teenager with no responsibilities its fun to be in love with a different partner every week. It doesn’t play in the real world. And it doesn’t play with an older audience. So, yes, if they ruin that central unifying aspect of the story I’ll quickly lose interest. It won’t be the first or last time I’ve given up on a show I’ve really loved, but it’ll probably be the most disappointing.

      Chuck is not the greatest spy show, or comedy, or drama, or romance, or action thriller on TV. But put them together and I can’t think of any other show I’d rather watch. From the essential humanity of Chuck to the evolution of Sarah, to the tough guy with the soft spot that is Casey, right down to even Jeff and Lester having each other, there is a core of warmth and friendship in this show that infuses everything and makes it all possible. Casey’s put downs, Sarah’s kick the puppy moments, Ellie’s obsessive wedding craziness, Morgan’s willingness to take the blame for Chuck, all these things work because you have an extremely talented cast with great chemistry convincing you this is real and this matters. And at the core of that is THE relationship. The one that makes Chuck’s journey possible, and the one that gives his journey meaning. So no, I don’t want them to ruin my show. Its one of those things that makes me happy that I cherish.

      • atcdave says:

        Another great post Ernie. I would just say ditto all to your first couple paragraphs about the relationship.

        But you really surprised me in admitted you were in the dreaded 18%. Would it shock you that I’m not? And yet I think we’re coming from pretty much the same place. I won’t quite say I will quit the show if things don’t go as I want, because I know they could surprise me with situations I haven’t foreseen, where a number of unpleasant twists might be OK by me. But I do agree, if they do significant damage to the characters, or anything else that seriously reduces my ability to have fun with the show, I will quit it. For different reasons I stopped watching Alias, 24, and Battlestar Galactica; and I would do it again. Quitting Chuck would be hard, but anything that reduces the appeal of Chuck or Sarah as characters, could make it my best option. From here that means, the characters, and their relationship must progress in the expected way. If certain barriers come up that are reasonable, and surmountable, I can live with that (for a while). But total deal breakers, like too much involvement with PLIs, will be game over.
        The thing that makes me sad is how I have to assume the show’s creator is full of hot air; because if he is speaking the whole truth, I will no longer like his show. I’m not sure what it says about all involved, including me, that I simply don’t believe him.
        Yeah I know, hard to believe I’m not in the 18%, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. I will see how things play out, for now.

        I especially like your last paragraph, it is the sum of the parts that make this show what it is. Charah is the single biggest issue in if it all works or not, and the only one that could make or break the show by itself; but all together the show is delightful, if impossible to categorize.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, you know I always respect your opinion. Often because it matches mine so closely, proving you are obviously a very intelligent person with excellent taste. 😉

        I think what you have to understand is that in a poll like this there can be a lot of ambiguity in the questions. That’s why people with PhD sin sociology design the ones that matter. The question in question, well if you answered as written it seems it would have to be yes. At some level they could take one element of the show, whatever that was, and so completely screw it up that the show would become unwatchable. I agree that it isn’t very likely that Charahs direction will change enough to do that, but here is an example. Moonlighting. The reality, not the myth. If they would send Chuck and Sarah to different parts of the world for some substantial part of the season so that the characters didn’t interact anymore, I’d lose interest. The core of the show is the chemistry between Zach and Yvonne. If they kill that, they kill the show.

        So I gave what I thought was an honest answer. I’m not one of the hotheads screaming that I’ll jump ship at the first beefcake moment that involves Shaw, but yes, they could screw things up enough that I’d lose interest.

        Did you ever watch Veronica Mars? I’d be interested if you think there was a point where you became less interested. I think I can probably guess when you stopped watching Battlestar Galactica. Probably around the end of S3 like me. I think you get the point. If this is Chuck’s last season I just want them to tie it up nicely in a neat little bow so that when I can buy the S3 DVD I’ll have a beginning, middle and end that I can watch for years to come. With Battlestar Galactica I started buying DVDs because I really thought they were doing first class drama. So now I have a story that just kind of loses where it is going then stops.

      • atcdave says:

        If I remember, I just took the question a little differently as in; if any particular issue had to be treated exactly my way, so I said no. But as I said, I think we’re actually in the same the spot. While I don’t believe they need to handle Chuck and Sarah exactly the way I want, there are certainly things they could do wrong that would drive me away. Might have just been how I read it on the day I did it! (I guess my own filter was set on “likely or expected” things)
        I know there are a lot of potential errors in a poll of this sort. For starters, its actually a very small sample set; next, only people interested enough to be visiting a Chuck website six months after an episode aired (and 2 months before another) even knew about it [internet and time both being variables]; and only those interested in the survey would follow through. I have no idea if people who participate are either more likely to be very committed to a view or less likely to give up on the show. Those are just the variables that jump out at me, I’m by no means a professional at this. I think the bottom line is, the survey was just a blurry snap shot of us, the lunatic fringe, at a particular point in time.

        I actually gave up Battlestar Galactica at the S1 finale, I thought “too dark, no fun.” I’d been feeling that way for a while, but figured I’d give it to the season finale to see if it hooked me or not; it didn’t. I never saw Veronica Mars, I don’t remember why. I typically only add a show or two a season, and for whatever reason, it didn’t make my cut. Once I miss the start of a show, it becomes increasingly less likely that I will pick it up later. Which is of course, why I got hooked on Firefly a couple years after it was over.

        I do hope, whenever Chuck ends, that we get a proper ending. Of course that means a happily ever after of some sort. I am concerned, based on the S2 finale, that this crew will not make any concessions to ratings; which means I hope they finish their primary outline.

        I hope I’m not one of the screaming hotheads either. There have been a couple times I thought I might be (like right after Comic-Con), but yeah, I won’t jump ship at the first scene (or even episode) I don’t like (with certain key exceptions).

      • Rick Holy says:

        I’m with you all the way, Ernie. Great post. Thank you for articulating so well what many Chuckaholics feel about the show – and what they fear (based on some of the things that have been intimated re: S3). As I’ve stated previously, I hope, Hope, HOPE that those things are either deliberately misleading “teasers” or “plays on words.”

        Peace, all!

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