“And In Conclusion…”

The Haitus, She Is Over

Daniel Fienberg has put up the last part of his interview with Josh Schwartz, on the coming season of Chuck. The discussion is surprisingly far ranging, and yes indeed, covers issues near and dear to our Chuck-lovin’ hearts.

JS is asked about the structure of each episode, and I’m struck by the complexity that they, the writers, crew and on-screen talent, have to manage.

HitFix: Within that structure, is it sometimes hard to remember you have to service the Buy More characters?

JS: It’s not hard, because we love servicing those characters. The show is a very complicated show to do and we have unbelievable writers who are balancing all of these elements. We’ve gotta service the spy story of the week. We’ve got to service the larger mythology story, the Chuck-Sarah dynamic, Chuck and Casey, there’s the Buy More dynamic, there’s Chuck and his sister, there’s Ellie and Captain Awesome, there’s Chuck and Morgan’s dynamic, there’s Big Mike running the store. We really try to get a lot in every episode and sometimes it is a challenge, because we don’t want to feel like we’re arbitrarily going back to the Buy More, so we try to design the show in a way where even if Chuck can’t intersect, no pun intended, with the Buy More world in that episode, thematically, what he’s going through is similar to what, say, Morgan is going through. And then sometimes we have episodes where everything converges at the Buy More.

And of course, the interview can’t proceed without asking about Charah.  JS ends by telling his his approach to angst.

HitFix: I hate to tip-toe down this road, but when you think of the priorities that you guys have for the show, how high up is Chuck-Sarah as a love-match on your list?

JS: Oh, it’s very high. We always say Chuck and Ellie’s relationship is the soul of the show and that Chuck and Sarah is, in a lot of ways, the heart of the show. We’ve had episodes that we’ve looked at and we’ve said, “It’s pretty good, but there’s something that seems off” and then we’ll add a Chuck-Ellie scene and suddenly the show feels more complete in a way that might surprise people. But Chuck-Sarah is something we know that a lot of viewers are very invested in. We love watching them together. And at the same time we’re sensitive to how long can we keep them apart? We’ve brought in some obstacles for them, romantic obstacles, in the form of Brandon Routh and Kristin Kreuk. Those stories are going to be more complicated than they originally seem as just romantic obstacles. But at the same time, we don’t want to make people feel exhausted by will-they-or-won’t-they. So I’ll just promise that you will not feel that way. I won’t say how or why or when, but just that we get it and we’re gonna own it this year.

Maybe it’s me, or the mood I’m in. But that doesn’t seem so bad. Mr. Schwartz seems to know all the buzz words used by the (vocal) fans on the boards, and to my eyes, it looks very much like he knows what the fans think.

Doesn’t seem so bad? It seems downright great!

The interview wouldn’t be complete without one big spoiler:

JS: [Avatar‘s James] Cameron’s a huge “Chuck” fan.

It’s worth the time to read the whole thing.

– 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 “And In Conclusion…”

  1. OldDarth says:

    Tell me the Chuck showrunners have not been reading forums and blogs during the off season!

  2. atcdave says:

    I really am glad he’s aware of the main issues (and yes, I’m even including Chuck and Morgan returning to Buy More as a main issue). I hope he delivers. I admit, there’s nothing he could say short of “the outside romantic interests are never real” that would actually make me completely happy, but I am fairly confident this will be a good time. In a little over 30 hours we’ll start getting answers, that I am very excited about (can you tell how hard I’m hitting the keys now?)

    • joe says:

      You hit the keys so hard, one of the pixels hit me in the eyeball!

      Dave, one of the reasons I try to come across as optimistic and confident in the ability of TPTB to deliver, is because of my own concerns that they won’t. It’s my coping mechanism. I always council patience, because I have to work at that myself!

      Just prior to this I saw on interview (it’s on the “Girl on Top” contest page) with Zac, where he pointedly describes Hannah and Shaw as “Love Interests”. No hedging, no “potential” no question about it. I felt a little defeated, actually.

      But this makes me feel much better. It’s not a matter of will there be love interests. There will be. But the way they handle them will be “complicated” (JS’s word) and better (my word). He knows. It’ll be different than Lou and Cole.

      And when I think about it, it has to be different. Chuck and Sarah (and their relationship) are different. What that means for everybody is something that will be immensely entertaining to watch, and rewarding for ‘shippers, I now believe.

      I’ll go further and say it’s going to be a mistake to skip over the Routh episodes, or even to delay them for later viewing, depending on the reaction they receive.

      That’s just my opinion, of course. Got into a tiff on the NBC boards yesterday for saying that!

  3. herder says:

    Although this article did make me feel better about the coming season, one bit did give me pause. He says “…we’re going to own it this year.” Isn’t that the exact same thing he said in the interviews leading up to the Colonel last year? The other problem that I have is JS’s tendancy to over promise and underdeliver in terms of payoff.

    • joe says:

      I’m not up on what JS said last season, Herder, but I believe you. I can imagine him saying that.

      For my money, they did own it last year. There’s strong opinion that they lost it, too, in The Ring, but I sort of forgave them that, because of their need for a strong cliff hanger.

      Had they not been renewed, however…

      I think of it as the difference between Chuck being a great show or just another O.C. Sometimes Schwartz cuts it pretty close to the line!

    • atcdave says:

      That’s exactly what he said last year. And I believe CF called it a “point of no return.” Obviously, neither of them is primarily an English speaker.
      I think underdelivering is a good way of describing the problem. Hopefully they’ve learned a lesson, we will soon see.

  4. Lucian says:

    Thanks for all the work you put into this blog. Hard to believe, but discussing Chuck is almost as much fun as watching Chuck.

    As an aside, getting involved with a PLI in no way can be compared with Frodo in Mordor!

    • joe says:

      Oh, it is almost as much fun.

      You’re right about the PLI’s & Frodo. Jeffster is like Pippen & Merri, and Morgan is certainly like Samwise! I always thought that Frodo needed a good love interest ;>

  5. Gord says:

    It looks like JS is listening to the fans. Although WT/WT is annoying and it doesn’t make sense to introduce new love interests at this point in the Chuck/Sarah relationship, I could live with it for a little while longer because the rest of the show is so great. Judging by the comments of JS, I will only have to live with it a little while longer.

    I think most fans fall in that category with some fans at either extreme (don’t care to no way I will watch another PLI episode).

    I heard an interview with Brandon Routh where he was discussing his role on Chuck. He said that he is prepared to be the most hated person on Chuck because being a Chuck fan himself he knows that anyone coming in between Chuck and Sarah better look out.

    Let all of us fans remember that he doesn’t write the script, he just performs the role written for him. If you end up really hating Shaw, he has probably done his job well, so don’t trash the actor. The same can be said for Kristen Kruek.

    As fans it is ok to hate Shaw and Hannah, but lets remember that the actors playing those parts are real people, and from what I have read and heard very nice people. So let’s give them the respect they deserve.

    • herder says:

      Gord, that comment by Routh is the first by any of the actors that acknowleges that the fans don’t like others comming between Chuck and Sarah. Zach has said that angst is the thing that the fans love to hate which is close. Yvonne has said that the fans love the tension between Chuck and Sarah, I view that as them touting the party line. Routh is the first, that I have heard, that says the fans won’t like me because of this.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m pretty sure they really know better than that, at least they do since Comic-Con. A couple months ago they even started to change their buzz words; the PLIs became “obstacles”, and “the dance will continue” became “the sub-plot will be resolved.” I don’t think they really made many changes to the initial 13 episodes, except maybe how things end up; but I’m pretty sure we’ll all like the back six.

  6. Lucian says:

    A quote from, IMO, the best of all hero’s journeys:

    A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not on this day: on this day, we fight. By all that is right and we hold dear, I bid you to stand. – Tolkien

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