Great Expectations

What I Want For Chuckmas

As we get closer to January 10th, I find myself struggling with a simple question. What do I hope to see on the season premier and throughout season 3 of Chuck?

Well, those of us who frequent the NBC Chuck boards know that the question has been discussed ad-nauseum since May, when we (finally!) found out that it was going to be renewed. We probably think we know each others’ answers to that question, too.

But the thing is, when I think about what I want to see happen, I DON’T KNOW! Really.

I guess that shouldn’t seem so strange. There’s no other show about which I would even ask that question. Never has been. I never woke up on a Friday morning in 1967 saying “I want to see Captain Kirk go to the Neutral Zone and discover that Spock’s cousin is a Romulan spy.” or anything of the sort. I never walked around in 1975 saying “Gee – I hope Mary Richards finds a date in tonight’s episode.”, or in 1998 saying “Why are Ross and Rachel still squabbling??? They must get together this season!” Frankly, I didn’t care that much if they did or didn’t. And even when I did care about a character, I wouldn’t want to know some things too soon. Not once did I expect to see Adrain find the truth about Trudy’s death until the last episode of Monk aired.

And oh yeah, I couldn’t begin to guess what Rod Serling had in store for us, and the fact that I was only 8 at the time had nothing to do with that. My parents wouldn’t hazard a guess either! That would be dumb.

By that list, you can see that trying to imagine the next season, or even the course of a single episode is pretty futile, and even a little silly. It should be futile – predictability is not a good thing in a television show. And although JS meant it for something else, the attempt can indeed spoil the fun. My problem, of course, is that since I became certifiably addicted to Chuck sometime last winter, I’ve already spent too much time ruminating about the events, and I’m only human. I know some of what I want to see. I have more than a little idea about what will entertain me, and what won’t, and I start to have expectations. I turn into Kurt Cobain – “Here we are now – entertain us.” Sadly, the scenarios I’ve created for Chuck and Sarah are a form of mental “self-gratification” that should in no way substitute for the real experience.

And if you think it’s getting pretty deep in here, then you understood me correctly. ;>

I’m trying my best to go into next month with expectations that are high, but no higher than I had for any episode in season 2. That’s not easy with the rave reviews I’ve seen already! My personal history says that I’ll be blown away, and that not every episode will reach that level. In fact, my personal experience says that most episodes will induce a range of emotions, not all of them good ones. Usually the last emotion is the one I remember about an episode, until I’ve seen it a few times and seen what follows.  Only after repeated viewings will I understand some of the nuances, themes and “big-picture” ideas the creators are trying to convey (Hey! What can I say? I’m slow that way). The right side of my brain watches the show first, then the left sees it later.

My personal history says one more thing.  I’ll think about what I’ve seen for a week or so, trying to understand why the characters have done what they’ve done, and how they’ve interacted. “Oh!” I’ll say. “That’s how you show trust.” or “That’s how you treat a friend or lover honestly, even when honesty hurts.” . Or sometimes I see how it’s not done.  I sometimes even find lessons there, usually in the form of “I wish I had been so kind/forgiving/giving of myself when that happened to me…” (or in the case of Casey, honest and forthright). Chuck, the character, will make you think that way, about your “better angels”, even when he’s not done the right thing.

It’s going to be a flood on the 10th and 11th. First impressions will be huge, and this time, long lasting. But Chuck is a show that successfully (and I contend, intentionally) makes you go back and re-evaluate early episodes in light of what you learn later. First impressions, both good and bad, are not permanent but change over time.

But good storytelling, I find, doesn’t change over time so much as it changes you. Ultimately, that’s what I want from season 3; to be changed, once again, by these characters, and to be left a little better person. No small task, that.

And if I get a laugh out of it too, that’s all gravy.

– 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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14 Responses to Great Expectations

  1. Faith says:

    Whatever you do don’t read the epi 3 synopsis haha. Not what we wanted for Christmas.

    -ChuckNewbie8 aka Jem

    • joe says:

      Uh, Hummm? Okay – I’ll heed your advice and avoid it, Faith! But wow, have you got me curious now!

    • Anonymous says:

      Faith, I sort of mis-read you. I had seen the synopses for 3.01 and 3.02, but not the 3rd.

      As it is, I can see why it would set of some of the ‘shippers, but at the same time, Dave correctly notes that they often times read horribly before you see the episode.

      And if I read the boards correctly, it seems that most everyone is discounting them as much as I am.

      It’s a Good Thing ™ that it takes more than one word or phrase to set people off these days. ;>

  2. OldDarth says:

    Great post Joe. I too, remember those signpost TV moments and would add: always wanting to see the Robinson Family become UnLost In Space, The Man From Uncle put down THRUSH, and Kolchak survive another season to kill more monsters and generally annoy everyone around him.

    For the third season of Chuck, I want to see the characters evolve – especially Chuck and Sarah. To a lessor degree, Casey too.

    I want the show to mature a bit, without sacrificing the comedy. I want Chuck and Sarah and others like Casey and Morgan to grow up more this season.

    I want the BuyMore only made part of an episode when it warrants it.

    I want the Ring to be a kick ass story line.

    I want quiet moments between characters. Not just Chuck and Sarah. Also:Sarah and Morgan, Casey and Sarah, Ellie and Sarah – a biggie! Chuck and Casey. etc

    I want the new characters to push the regular ones in new ways. I want Shaw and Hannah, surprises aside, not to turn out to be bad guys but good guys. Maybe they have skeletons which are pushing them to make bad decisions.

    I really, really, want Shaw to shake up the Team Bartowski.

    I want a tall ship and a star to steer her by….

    Ooops! Sorry drifted off course and franchise.

    Most of all I want to be entertained and engaged emotionally.

    The screener previews have me very hopeful.

  3. atcdave says:

    I mainly expect to laugh and have a good time. The synopsis provided don’t look encouraging at all, but honestly, they rarely do.

    I also expect somewhat improved ratings! We’ve seen a good advertising campaign and lots of great press. Hopefully that will translate into ratings.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re spot on about the synopses, Dave. They’ve never scanned as “encouraging” to my eyes. These last ones particularly so.
      I’ve discounted them.

  4. atcdave says:

    You guys wouldn’t believe what a total moron JD on NBC boards is. I just had a post removed for mentioning both 3.01 and 3.02 in the 3.01 thread! Sorry, I hate to call names, but the woman is simply stupid! I have considered just not posting there anymore, its often not worth the frustration.

    • joe says:

      Oh yeah I would! I didn’t post to the new 3.01 and 3.02 threads today for that very reason. I had an inkling this was coming!

      • atcdave says:

        I’ve noticed those threads have been pretty dead. I wonder if anyone got suspended, or just nasti-grams like I got.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        This is all new to me. I’m a bit of a latecomer to the boards. I know a bit of the history having read Joe’s mission statement for this blog. Sounds like it got pretty bad. Smart of NBC to alienate the most dedicated part of the fan base….

  5. Faith says:

    sorry atcdave. They’re the post nazis!

  6. OldDarth says:

    The NBC board is the showcase for contrarian fan participation.

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