Chuck vs. The Mid-Life Crisis

I’m a happy guy when I’m jogging. If you knew me years ago you’d think that was a ridiculous statement, but two days ago I ran in the sleet falling in the Metro DC area. I put on my put my tech toy, the modern version of the Walkman that shall remain nameless but starts with i and ends in pod, and played a dozen or so tunes I first heard on Chuck, a few others (like Oasis’ Wonderwall) that I personally associate with the show, and I don’t want the music to end. I just keep running, watching scenes from the show in my head. I’m up to five miles now (8k, easily), a couple or three times a week. Not bad for an old man with a granddaughter. And if you follow me below the fold I’ll get around to explaining what this has to do with Chuck.


Interesting thing happened when I started this, not quite two years ago. I lost some weight; 38 lbs. to be exact (that’s over 17 kilos to the rest of the civilized world). In other words, I pretty much got a whole new body, or at least one I hadn’t seen in a long time. We’ll call it a good, used body. Besides being able to run far longer than I ever thought necessary before, there were some other fringe benefits. Oh, the smiles I got at work – smiles that came from the most interesting people 😉

And seriously, it was a transformation that changed more than just the way others looked at me, if only temporarily. I found it changed the way I looked at others, the way I looked at their particular obstacles and struggles, and it changed my relationship to them. It had to. Achieving a new level or developing a new talent will do that to you, like any change in your circumstances will, and it doesn’t matter if that change is positive or negative. You see things differently.

Chuck tries something different

This was not the first time such a transformation had occurred in my life. When I was about 40 and recently divorced, I bought a Les Paul and got into a rock-band with a few wanna-bes, and had a great time living out a fantasy. Bought a red sports car too. Oh yes, I was ridiculous, and probably annoying. But do you recognize these symptoms, my friends? Trust me on this, you learn a lot from the experience, the hard way. It may be the school of hard knocks when all is said and done, but the first time change is thrust upon you, it does impart a little wisdom for use the next time it happens.

I noticed a built-in contradiction in my experience, though. When you go through these changes or change yourself, the people you are closest to, your family, friends and most especially your spouse, don’t treat you differently at all. They know the “old you” every bit as much as the “new you”, and treat you well, regardless. To them, you haven’t changed in any but the most superficial ways, and true enough, you haven’t.

I start to understand Chuck in terms of a mid-life crises. He’s the same, but he isn’t. Now he’s accomplished and not sure what he wants to do with his new-found abilities. The world is his oyster. If only he liked oysters.

The people around Chuck are treating him differently, and some, like Awesome, even treat him with more respect. But not those who know him best and care the most, like Ellie and Sarah. In fact, their biggest reaction to his change in attitude has been annoyance, and Chuck himself is almost twitchy with impatience. He’s the one who doesn’t understand who he is; not them. Indeed, we understand him better than he understands himself at this juncture.

And if there’s one thing that Chuck needs right now from Sarah, it’s patience. It feels like he needs it from us, too.

– 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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7 Responses to Chuck vs. The Mid-Life Crisis

  1. kg says:

    I believe she has Joe. I’d say since Javier locked them in separate cells in Mexico.

  2. atcdave says:

    So far, I would say Sarah has shown extraordinary patience with Chuck; at least when she’s not steaming mad at him. I think Sarah’s problem is the opposite, she needs to take some initiative, since Chuck is obviously back to thinking she isn’t interested.
    Chuck’s growth, and the inability of Sarah to recognize or accept it is certainly a major theme right now. I imagine that is something that will play out over the rest of the season (or at least the first 13). Chuck needs to prove himself for a variety of personal and professional reasons; but acceptance from Sarah is the emotional core of it all. I’d rather see her come around fast and be the one who believes in him and gives him that extra shot of confidence (um, not that she hasn’t done that a lot for two seasons already!) But if she comes around slow, it would play as Chuck’s final victory in proving his worth; when he finally feels professional and personal success.

    • joe says:

      I was focusing on Chuck state of mind, but you’re right. You’ve crystallized the thought that Sarah might be close to the edge, too. Her patience might run out! Oh-oh!

      I can’t shake the thought, though, that she has come around. What frustrates her is the fact that Chuck doesn’t believe it yet. Besides. Who is he trying to convince that he’s a spy? – Shaw, Sarah or himself? I don’t think he’s even figured that out, yet.

      • atcdave says:

        Maybe that is the real issue. Certainly in First Class, his expectations of Sarah’s appraisal were very different from the reality. Obviously, that says more about his state of mind than hers.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I see what both of you are saying. But one thing bothered me about Chuck’s departure. Whether she meant to or not Sarah’s near tears plea not to go at the last second did the last thing any good coach ever wants to do, put doubt in a players mind that he’s ready.

      • joe says:

        True enough, Ernie. She was a lousy coach. Shaw called her on that, in fact.

        But is she being a good girlfriend? (Hum… face it. That’s what we’re all interested in! 😉 )

        That’s a whole ‘nother discussion in and of itself; Sarah being too protective/motherly/not trusting Chuck’s judgement verses caring for his well-being. Not an easy call – my wife would be “concerned” if I was supposed to tranq an expert in close-quarters combat too! Like, she would have the authorities stop me on my way to the airport!

        Just had another though from Dave’s comment, too. Sarah has been patient with Chuck, but much less so with the situation they’re in (and with Shaw). Hence, the running away. Her father taught her that a good con never has to leave town, but that doesn’t mean a good con doesn’t do that on occasion.

      • atcdave says:

        There is another whole issue of how ready is ready. Sarah’s comments to Shaw showed both respect and confidence in Chuck. But to her, its in the context of being able to help him when he needs it. Shaw wants to throw him in and see if he can swim. Because Sarah loves him, this approach is more horrifying than it otherwise would be. So of course, she’s not completely objective here. I can easily accept Shaw’s function as coming in with a little emotional detachment, and pushing Chuck harder than Sarah (or even Casey) ever would (unless she’s really ticked and holding a bo stick). But I don’t appreciate his games and undermining the group (supposedly Beckman’s “most effective” group).

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