How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Angst
I apologize for every nasty thing I ever said about Chuck, the producers of Chuck, the writers of Chuck or anyone in Hollywood associated with Chuck. It’s not you, it’s me. I wasn’t paying attention, I was taking you for granted, I see that now, and I’m so sorry. I know we can work it out, you just need to give me some time, and we need to work on our communication skills. We can make this work, I know we can, but we really need to talk.
…OK, I’ll go first. After the jump.
We Really Made a Mess of Things, Didn’t We.
All those months apart, longing for you to come back, not understanding how you could be so callous, first missing you, then resenting you, and finally wondering if we were fooling ourselves. Did we ever really have something together? Was it all just a big misunderstanding? Had we given you too much credit, misjudged your feelings? Then you were back in our lives, and all those familiar feelings came flooding back. Yes, it was real, now we remember. At last we have a chance to work things out, together. If we learn from this we can move forward and build something far more mature, real, and lasting. But we have to clear up some of those misunderstandings first.
OK, so I’m laying it on a little thick. But a curious thing happened the other day. I had a longer than normal commute due to some serious backups on the DC Metro area roads, so after a while I got tired of the radio and slipped in my Chuck Music CD. I started to think about this blog and some of the comments on my most recent post and to plan my next one…It’s a hobby, OK, I can quit any time I want, really. One that I was thinking about was someone had said something about Sarah not getting on the train. I kind of scoffed. Of course she got on the train, Chuck just dumped her, what is Sarah Walker going to do, beg? She’s not Chuck, constantly wanting to talk more and more. Man Chuck was annoying in three words, that was going to be a tough one to explain too. Chuck knows better than to interrupt a mission with his feelings, or at least he should by now, and making him go on and on like that, you just want the dude to man up a bit, or shut up. Of Course Carina didn’t help, telling Chuck Sarah still loved him. He inexplicably pissed that away, so why is it so critical now that he talk to her, but he couldn’t say more than “I’m sorry, I can’t” on the platform with the woman he loved and who loves him wanting to run away together forever? Now he gets himself trapped in a vault and while Sarah is trying to save him he’s emoting all over the place like he… Wait a minute… Chuck didn’t know Sarah was in love with him. How would he?
And that my friends was the beginning of the Epiphany post. I realized in the car on the way to work, listening to Frightened Rabbit’s Backwards Walk, that I was so busy looking for what I thought should happen and getting angry at what I felt shouldn’t that I’d forgot one important thing, I wasn’t telling the story. And as episode 3 reminded me, the producers, writers, and actors of Chuck were damn good at telling an entertaining story, when I wasn’t preventing them with pre-conceived ideas. I spent a slightly distracted day at work, constantly re-running Chuck episodes and scenes in my head, convinced that I really did remember things right, but had been so wrapped up what I thought I should be seeing that I missed the significance of what I did see. And there was my answer. It was on the screen. They did tell me why Chuck couldn’t speak, and why he could dump Sarah to be a spy, and of course Sarah got on the train, and Chuck thought she was leaving forever. And it also told me why they ran two episodes back to back. Vital questions in episode 1 weren’t answered until episode 2, and if we’ve seen anything in the last few months it’s that unanswered questions can’t go unanswered for too long. We’ll find our own answers, good or bad, but we’ll find our answers whether TPTB provide them or not. Once our answers are lodged in our heads the writers are going to have a tough time replacing ours with theirs.
So here it is, lessons learned, hopefully on both sides, of what we owe the artists, and what they owe us. For brevity sake limited to Chuck.
OK, I’ll Let You Go First.
I’ll admit it. Based on spoilers, leaks, promos, previews, discussions and all the rest I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. I don’t think I realized just how much I’d “written” in my head. Too much probably. It is a lot of fun to look for the clues and speculate (like when Morgan wishes for a flying DeLorean at the end of Gravitron and then we get, Chuck vs. the DeLorean). And be honest, you, yes you TPTB have invited us to do this. There are too many scenes where we see Chuck tossing another passport in a shoebox, or walking into his bedroom in a rappelling harness and body armor as if it’s just another day in the life for us to not try to fill in the blanks, where we see blanks. I’ll give it a few weeks and keep in mind that you might be aware and wanting to fill in the blanks. It’s a big payoff when we see one of those, so it’s worth the wait.
I’ll Learn to Trust You More.
So I’m supposed to believe nothing happened at the rehearsal dinner? Nothing? Are you kidding me? Am I supposed to swallow that Chuck still is uncertain about Sarah’s feelings for him? Oh, I am? … OK. You’re pushing the limits sometimes, but I’ll make this promise. I’ll show a little more trust. If you tell me all the really important stuff is on the screen, if I’m willing to look, I’ll believe you. Just don’t abuse that trust.
I Won’t Take You For Granted (but we already knew that).
I promise I am going to watch every episode of Chuck with a Subway footlong. I’m going to buy season 3 on iTunes and DVD. I’m going to talk you up every chance I get, to friends and family and co-workers; maybe even to random strangers on the Metro if they start looking over my shoulder while I’m watching Chuck on my iPhone. Because we almost lost you, and we want you to be a part of our lives for as long as you can. But then you already know you have the best fans in the world.
Don’t Take Us for Granted.
But then you don’t. When I look at twitter and see the things the cast does for the fans, I’m guessing you already know that. The cast and crew of Chuck are some special people. Don’t ever lose that, you’ll have fans for life. It’s just that sometimes you seem to be more interested in no spoilers, or not thinking about tying up story-lines at the end of a season, just in case, god forbid, you don’t get another. You owe us a story. Beginning, middle, end. Adam Baldwin knows that. Serenity showed just how powerful that connection between you and your fans can be.
If the Journey is the Point, Don’t Go In Circles.
I think you get this one. Bryce was getting old the second time he came back to break up Chuck and Sarah. When I saw him in the Ring all I could see was Fonzie wearing a leather jacket and water skis. You managed to dodge that one, but really, come on. And the whole Chuck is unsure of Sarah’s feelings and so looks for something real? Uhm, OK, you really seem to have Fonzie speeding toward the ramp with Hannah. Please tell me you have something more. Please?
I’ve said this before, but it seems to be appropriate. Chuck is not the best comedy, the best drama, or spy series or action drama or love story on TV. But Chuck has all those elements, and a group of immensely talented writers and a wonderfully talented cast with indescribable chemistry who can take those elements and add something more. The connection, the feeling that this is real, though we know it isn’t, and the feeling that this is important, and these people care, and this matters. It makes me care, and it makes it matter. It makes it the best damn show on TV.
I want to thank both Joe and ATCDave for helping me get my head around this topic with some background and great encouragement and suggestions. I also want to thank Rick Holy for an awesome comment on over analyzing that helped me find a new direction for a floundering, overly long post.
Lastly I want to apologize for my butchering of the english language through constant mixing of the singular and plural, but it’s late and I want to move on.