USA Interview With J. Schwartz

Oh, Don’t Groan!

If you follow the NBC boards for Chuck you’ve probably seen the news of the interview with Josh Schwartz in USA Weekend.

What I find interesting is his take on the ratings – He notes that they are better than last year (good), NBC will have more hours to fill (good), he takes nothing for granted (good) and he still has an ulcer (uh… BTDT! Wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!).

As for our mysterious, love-him-or-hate-him Daniel Shaw:

Shaw is going to reveal himself to be interwoven into the story in ways we’ve never really attempted before, so it’s a much more ambitious character for us.

The interview is rather up to date, having taken place after the airing of Nacho Sampler. Chuck’s emotional state, and the darker tone of the show is something USA’s interviewer, Brian Truitt, was smart enough to ask about.

We’re seeing Chuck delving more into the spy game and even getting a smidge cold-blooded. Was that always where you wanted to go with the character, dipping into that a little?
We always wanted the character to evolve. We didn’t want him to just be the guy who sits in the car three years later. It’s always been in our minds that he was definitely going to shift and evolve and grow and grow up. Certainly giving him the Intersect download at the end of last season, which gave him all these new powers, we knew that was going to push his character out of the car and into the action. We wanted to measure the emotional consequences.

The emotional consequences to Chuck or to the viewers?  He doesn’t say.

– 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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95 Responses to USA Interview With J. Schwartz

  1. weaselone says:

    Did he suggest that there would be an end of the season reset? I wonder what form that will take. Does Chuck lose his powers? Is someone else Intersected? Does Sarah run away with the rock groupie she meets on the train? Does the Ring succeed in overthrowing the current US intelligence regime? Does Chuck get thrown in a bunker with Manoosh as a cell mate?

    • joe says:

      Yes, that’s exactly what he said. Except the rock-groupie part. Sarah leaves with a greasy, tatooed biker she met at a bar.

      Oooohhh. Sorry. Spoiler!

      • lou federico says:

        How about Sarah running away with a middle age creator of the best Chuck website ever. I sure the wife would not mind.

      • joe says:

        Hummm… There would be no survivors. A wink from Agent Walker would stop his old heart. Then his wife would end Agent Walker, guaranteed! 😉

    • amyabn says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that at season’s end, Sarah will have been intersected. Chuck is becoming a spy, which Sarah has down pat. Sarah has never had to deal with having an intersect, and if the suppositions about Project Omaha are correct (Sarah has a brain compatible with the Intersect like Chuck and Bryce)it could have the couple come full circle-they would be equals going forward.

      • joe says:

        OMG! I had never thought of that possibility. What about temporary intersection, just to show her what it’s like?

        Okay – my first question is what skills could she acquire that she doesn’t already have? But then again, the same question would apply to Bryce, so the idea still works in this story.

      • atcdave says:

        Interesting idea. Could be fun, but I think it would have to be temporary for some reason. Somehow, Chuck has to stay unique.

      • weaselone says:

        I really hope not. One of the thinks that irks me to know end is the rewriting of Chuck’s Intersect abilities from being exceptional to being achievable by any random guy off the street. We go from the experts being amazed that Chuck’s uploaded the whole thing to the CIA and Fulcrum trying to upload people by the truckload.

        I’d prefer something along the lines of the Ring being crippled by the end of the season to the extent that both Chuck and Sarah feel able to put the spy life behind them. Casey’s retired to a life of Buy More management and conservative political activism. The NSA and CIA are going to drive the final nail in the Ring’s coffin by Intersecting all their best agents. It turns out you can’t actually dump the entire database of government secrets and physical skills into the minds of those on the level of Bryce Larkin. In one fell swoop the US intelligence agencies lose their best agents to Intersect created death and insanity. Who do you think Beckman picks up the phone and calls?

      • joe says:

        I sort of like that, Weasel. I never understood, myself, how both the CIA and Fulcrum (who *were* CIA) could lose so many agents in various explosions and firefights and still have recruits.

        Yeah – Hollywood. Go figure.

        As for uniqueness, I’m still amused by the ideas we see above with Sarah getting intersected and married to Chuck. Next step, obviously, is to have a bunch of little flashers toddling around.

        Pity the pre-school they wind up in.

      • herder says:

        Maybe by 3.19, but first Chuck vs the Other Guy, I think the other guy is the governments other intersect. It took them a year from 1.01 to 2.01 to create another intersect that was ready to download into other agents, it went horribly wrong but I don’t think they have given up on the idea.

        I think they create another intersect and it goes horribly wrong again, most are driven insane like the Fulcrum test subjects were but one is intersected, however he can’t deal with the sudden powers and goes rogue. That is what the General was talking about when she said “they have to know”. Chuck has to go one on one with someone with the abilities that he has and has to rely on his own inate problem solving skills to win the day.

        Of course I could be wrong and the other guy is Shaw, although Shaw could be jealous enough of Chuck by this point to want to be an intersect himself, go through the process and be “the other guy” of my theory.

      • amyabn says:

        The thing with the Ring (no, I didn’t mean to rhyhm) is that we still don’t know what their agenda is. I never liked the “we’re spies” line at the end of Ring and even the assassin in Angel specifically said it would take too long to go through all that before he killed Casey, so what do we know and how can Team Bartowski take them down? Sounds like an interesting thread to me!

  2. Rick Holy says:

    I think the emotional consequences to BOTH! 😉

  3. sniderman says:

    This quote has me worried:

    As we design the end of this season, much like last year it’s designed to be this massive cliffhanger table-resetter of what the next year could be.

    I don’t want Season 3 to end on a game-changing cliffhanger like Season 2 did. We got lucky – VERY lucky – that Season 3 was greenlit. Chuck’s “I know kung fu” moment would have been unresolved torture if we hadn’t gotten a Season 3.

    Ending a season with TO BE CONTINUED is dangerous and wrenching for the viewers if it’s not picked up – especially if it changes the very fabric of the show and its characters. I suggest hinting at “what could be” rather than dropping a bombshell question that may never be answered.

    • joe says:

      Yeah. But as uncertain as the future is, my gut still says the odds for renewal are better than last year’s odds. It’s the fan reaction to another big cliff hanger that worries me.

      But it was the long break that made last season’s ending doubly hard. At least, it won’t be any worse than that. I think.

      Seems like every show I like is doing that kind of season ender now – White Collar, Burn Notice, Royal Pains… even House couldn’t resist that ploy.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I doubt very much NBC can afford to cancel any show with half decent ratings, let alone one with a loyal following and a committed fanbase willing to support sponsors, but it is sad that we’re relying on NBC’s problems for the next season.

      • joe says:

        I know what you mean, Ernie. But what’s cool is that *we* are NBCs solution. How’s that for “The glass is half full” thinkin’? 🙂

  4. OldDarth says:

    My favourite quote from this recent USA interview:

    ‘Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz says that when the show returns from its break on March 1, it will continue to build on the emotional cost and the toll of Chuck becoming a spy, in terms of how it affects Sarah, his family and his own soul.’

    Which is most awesome. By pushing Chuck hard this way it is going to force Chuck to grow up quickly in the spy world.

    The true measure of a man’s character can be found by how he acts when things are at their darkest.

    Can’t wait to see Chuck rise to the occasion. 8)

    • joe says:

      I like it for two reasons, Lou. They’ve set a clear direction and they’re getting there effectively. Chuck’s crisis is not a trivial story.

      I think we both see that much of the dedicated fan base is hoping for some relief from the intensity. Right? Our perspective must be a little different, but I understand that. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen C&S comfortable and happy, and seeing that for more than a moment would be nice.

      What’s odd to me is that newcomers to the show (the one’s I’m aware of, at least) aren’t bothered by the intensity. To them, it’s not quite existential. They’re getting their laughs from Jeff & Lester. It’s yet another perspective.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, I think with the newcomers they aren’t bothered by some of the things we dwell on because they see a darn good show. Like it or not we’re comparing this season with the best of last season. It does OK for the most part.

        My only worry is that some of the things they want to do will be rushed and look forced, but I’m hoping they’ll hit their stride.

      • Faith says:

        we are definitely more impatient…rightly so in a way because we’ve been through the ups and downs WITH Chuck and Sarah, etc.

        In a way I’m really happy he’s embracing the spy life/heroism…because that was one of the downs for me in S2 particularly. I got so tired of hearing “normal life” I felt a little bit of a crick in my neck everytime I heard it lol.

      • atcdave says:

        More impatient, and we’ve already seen all the “cheap angst tricks”; so there’s no real novelty there. Just a tired, “let’s get on with it already!”

    • lou federico says:

      Amen Lou

      That is it why Shaw is important to the plot as he pushing Chuck instead of protecting him much like Cole and Roan did. Cole with his wait 20 seconds and start taking guy out and Roan with his Thiland story.

      Sometimes the best path is the steepest, rockiest and the most difficult to transverse. Hence people forget that sometimes the most important aspect of a journey is not the conclusion of the trip but path one takes to reach it.

      • Faith says:

        you’re probably right, but I can’t help but think we can get to that destination…we can get to the whole Chuck going to the dark side only to be rescued by Sarah/Casey and company without Shaw’s manipulations and the angst. But hey I’m not a writer lol.

  5. lou federico says:

    Here are some of my off the wall guesses. Shotgun approach maybe I will hit one,

    1. Casey is the one that killed Shaw’s wife. Shaw goes over to the ring to get vengence
    2. Season three will end with some rescue mission after a kidnapping (his father or Sarah) and Chuck with have multiple flashes at once kind of like a powerup in video games..
    3. Chuck and Sarah will finally get their train ride to escape all.
    4. Somebody will be expecting at the close of season 3.
    5. Casey gets fired and enters the church to become a “man of the cloth”. If you have a chance slow motion inside Casey’s apartment and you will find a lot of religious books.
    6. Chuck’s mother will appear in the last episode
    7. Sarah and Chuck will have “their moment” together.
    8. Joe is elected to the Chuck Hall of Fame and takes over the writting of the show.
    9. The other Lou will overtake Casey and become the Shipper of the year.
    10. Ernie will create a post less than 1000 words. (I always love every word)

    Some are more likely that others but it is fun to guess

    • joe says:

      Awwww – This sounded good until #8 (then you lost allllllll credibility! 😉 )

      Have you noticed the extreme lack of any mention of mothers this season? That’s a dead giveaway that you may be onto something with #6.

      I’m guessing that this season starts and ends with Prague.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think #10 is a stretch. 😉

      But remember, they said they were sticking with the original 13 episode arc and doing a mini season, so we potentially have two season finale epics.

      • joe says:

        I’d love to be a fly on the wall during the board meeting of TPTB when Fedak finally says “Guys, NBC just ordered 20 new episodes, and I’m out of ideas. I don’t have any more road blocks in my bag of tricks. How do we end the season?”

        Ali sheepishly speaks up “Oh, can’t we just marry them off already???”

        “Gee… never thought of that…” says Fedak.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Actually Joe they did say that the Chuck and Sarah romantic subplot would be resolved this season. That pretty much means they have to be together, because if he thinks he can break them up on some kind of permanent basis or kill one off he’s nuts. As long as they are both on the show there’d always be the tension if they weren’t together. So get them together, it’s just a distraction and it’s time to explore a new dynamic between them next season.

        Although watching the angry mom of shippers gather the torches and pitchforks would be epic.

      • joe says:

        Yeah – they did say that. At the time I wondered what “resolved” means, but that was “splitting hairs”.

        Although watching the angry mom of shippers gather the torches and pitchforks would be epic.

        Oh, what a mental image that conjures!

      • atcdave says:

        I’m guessing he meant “mob.”

        My money is on a proposal as the 3.19 cliffhanger. An elopement, pregnancy, or something spy related being other possibilities in diminishing order of likelihood!

      • joe says:

        How about the cliff hanger isn’t a proposal, but we see Chuck buying an engagement ring? You know – almost, close enuf’ to generate ‘squeees’, with just a tiny bit of wiggle room for the sceptics?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Nope, even shippers moms will be angry and gathering torches and pitchforks too. 😉

        Of course I can’t edit it NOW.

      • Faith says:

        Engagement? Sweet.

        Although for my money a positive pregnancy test would be more cliff-hangery. Pum, pum, purum!

      • joe says:

        Ernie, Re: editing, always remember…

        “To err is human. To really screw things up takes a computer.”

      • joe says:

        Faith, Dave – I just had a thought.

        One day, maybe this season, an episode is going to begin one morning with Sarah in Chuck’s apartment as he’s waking up. The spy story and Buy More story begins.

        Then we all look at each other (virtually) and wonder “Did Sarah spend the night?” They make no mention of it, and we all think “That’s preposterous.” But at the end of the episode we realize that she’s returning to his place with him, and the answer to our question is “Yes, yes she did.”

        Very quietly, very thoroughly, the wall between them has been destroyed. And all while we weren’t looking.

      • weaselone says:

        Weren’t looking, weren’t being shown. I guess it’s all the same.

        I suppose Schwartz and Fedak could make an announcement at the end of the season that although all we saw was angst, Chuck and Sarah were secretly going at it like rabbits on a combo of Viagra and speed off screen.

  6. Mike B says:

    His comments that “Shaw is going to reveal himself to be interwoven into the story in ways we’ve never really attempted before, so it’s a much more ambitious character for us.” Not to be mean or anything, but if this character is so complex and so ambitious, why Brandon Routh? He just doesn’t have the same emotional acting chops as the rest of the cast. IMHO

    • joe says:

      That’s legit. Routh’s character has been intriguing, but that only goes so far before it starts to look wooden. Since I know nothing about the craft of acting, I really can’t say if the actor has the chops for it. But assuming he does, it’s just about time now for that complexity to come out big time. Isn’t it?

      They’ve had some great supporting actors. Maybe we could expect Scott Bakula and Bruce Boxleitner to be great because of their credits and connections to the fans, but Chevy Chase, Morgan Fairchild and even Jenny McCarthy were absolute surprises to me. Routh could turn out to be like that. So far I think he’s been pretty good in the role, especially given that he’s supposed to carry the weight and gravitas of authority – that’s hard for a young guy.

      • Mike B says:

        I agree the guest stars that they have brought in to date have been great.

        I don’t know maybe I’m tainted by BR’s portrayal of Superman. It just seems more of the same, very bland, very boring. Maybe that’s the way TPTB want Shaw to be postrayed.

      • weaselone says:

        I’m not tainted by Superman and I still find Routh rather flat and stale. I’d almost rather he be some sort of dashing, slightly older guy, although not so old as Roan. Someone who would appeal to Sarah on a physical level as well as play sort of a surrogate father role that explores her daddy issues.

  7. Rick Holy says:

    Hi, all! Interesting conversation. I wanted to share something – and I know this is just “one person,” but I thought it was telling.

    We’ve been talking on this and other threads about the “reset,” the different or “darker/more serious” tone of the show, etc.

    Today I was talking to one of the teachers at my parish over lunch. They all know I’m a Chuck-a-holic. The teacher told me she thought she would tune into the show and give it a try. (So this is one of those precious NEW viewers that we were hoping to cultivate with the “re-launch”). She told me that she didn’t like it. So – I went into “defend the show” mode and explained to her that this season is taking on a more serious tone, etc., etc.

    Now, compare this – on the other hand – to someone in the parish that doesn’t “watch” the show when it’s on the air, but gets it on DVD and then just watches it “in bunches.” He’s about half way through season 2 and is enjoying it thoroughly.

    I’m almost wishing that all of the hype/promotion that we had in preparation for Season 3 was done for Season 2, which in retrospect is the more light-hearted silliness and fun that we’ve come to expect from CHUCK.

    I’m curious. Has anyone had an encounter with anyone else who just started watching the show THIS season (S3) and has said they’ve really enjoyed it or are sticking with it?? I know some of us die-hards out there have stated that this has been a great season, but again – die-hards don’t count!! It’s the new people that we were trying to pick up that count more (if you catch my drift).

    Just curious if anyone has gotten feedback from a “new viewer” and what that feedback has been – positive or negative? I think that will tell the story of the relative “success” of this season’s direction.

    Thanks, all.

    Bring on Monday – and BRING ON THE CHUCK!!!

    • joe says:

      Great question! My wife is only a newcomer in the sense that she hasn’t seen every episode a dozen times like a particular addict she’s living with…

      But she’s seen plenty of episodes and is quite familiar with the characters and storyline. The perspective from a “Chuck virgin” would be interesting.

    • Waverly says:

      Actually, I’m a relatively new viewer. I did watch a few episodes live over the first two seasons, but never found it worth scheduling my time.

      I think what changed is the ability to watch all of the episodes, from the beginning of season 1. It’s a lot more rewarding when one can see several episodes at a time, and when one can rewind to catch little nuances.

      It also helps to have a web site where intelligent people post well written and well reasoned commentary. I’ve read a lot of interesting ideas that has helped me enjoy re-watching the episodes more thoroughly, even if I don’t always agree with the thoughts.

      Also, my wife has suddenly decided she likes the series. So we have been watching all of the episodes together. We’re almost at the end of season 2.

      If she has the same reaction as I did, she won’t like 3.01. But I think she’ll be OK with the rest of season 3.

      • joe says:

        Why, thank you, Waverly.

        And yes, you’ve got a valuable perspective! What you said about watching several episodes in a bunch – I saw that a lot on the NBC boards last year too. Seemed like everyone had seen some episodes, put it aside, and then caught two or three in a row only to realize they were hooked.

        Babylon 5 did the same thing to me. I found it impossible to get newcomers interested once season 3 had started, but those who tuned in earlier just HAD to watch.

        Me, I’m still waiting to order my Firefly DVD, when the bank account allows. I saw one episode and said to myself “Self? I wish you had started at the beginning.”

      • weaselone says:

        Actually, this mimics my own experience with becoming a fan. I caught maybe a couple of episodes from the first season, but wasn’t ecstatic. I work a receptionist desk job at a on Saturdays that doesn’t really require constant focus. I watched pretty much the last half of season 1 over the course of a couple weekends. Then I was hooked.

      • Waverly says:

        OK, we just finished watching season 2. My wife thought it was a terrific way to end the season, resolving the problem of how to continue the series when everything seemed to be “finished”.

        Now she’s looking forward to season 3. Should I warn her that this season is darker?

      • joe says:

        That’s a tough one, Waverly. I think I lean towards yes, tell her it’s darker. Tell her that you’ve heard the stakes get a lot higher for both Chuck and Sarah, and so far fans are fretting about their favorite couple. That, and we’ve seen less than half of the 13 episodes that were first completed for Season 3.

        Between you and me, some fans say that there’s less charm because of that, the fun is harder to find, and that any payoff will come too late. They may be right, but some of us think that same thing that has caused us to care so deeply about these fictional characters can give us exactly that reward, the one we want them to find. It feels touch-and-go right now. I’m betting it’s supposed to.

    • lou federico says:

      Father Rick

      I think they have one more chance to make a first impression after “The Games” if they promote Chuck during the break. Just like the superbowl however they decided to come out with 3-D which i thought was a terrible episode for new viewers. I wish they would run a “clips” epidsode that covers the first two seasons so new people can catch up. If played right “the Games” should give a boost to Chuck hopefully at least a 3.0 and draw new viewers and lock up Season 4.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I’m hopin’ too, buddy. But how many chances at this are we going to get?

        Still have to face DWTS when it returns – hopefully that will take more people from HOUSE and HIMYM than it will CHUCK.

        Give us a 2.4 demo the rest of the season and that HAS to give us a S4!

        I just hope the episodes start “looking up” after the Olympics. Not to say that the episodes have been bad – but a little too focused on the “downer” aspect than I’d prefer. There are enough downer things in life – and enough downer things on TV. I want my CHUCK to be an UPPER (at least most of the time!!).

      • weaselone says:

        Well, we can hope this season is like Empire and after everything wraps up will be remembered as the best of the series.

      • atcdave says:

        There’s still that possibility, that’s why I don’t throw in the towel. But they’ve set a record this season for number of episodes with little replay value. I’d say, so far, more than the rest of the series combined.

      • amyabn says:

        My only concern is that they are going to go into the break on a “downer” episode. We are pretty much speculating that this is the bottom of the trough in our original 13 episode arc, so unless they hype the show with scoop from the last part of the season (what is coming up) I think we could stand to lose more viewers. I’m not trying to be negative-just realistic. I went through the fight with all of you to get a Season 3 and I’m not sure I could take the drama and stuff that goes with having to do that again.

      • atcdave says:

        Amy, that is my biggest concern too. A downer episode now, and then if they hype it with endless clips of Sarah and Shaw kissing; that should be enough to scare off a large chunk of casual viewers. We know it can be well promoted, I mean the S3 previews actually managed to make the season look good, so anything is possible.

        Obviously I’m overstating my displeasure; but given that the mood isn’t likely to change until the end of 3.08 at the soonest, they will have show more than just a few 3.08 promos.

      • Kevin says:

        Hello to everyone. I’m new here to the blogosphere of Chuck. I usually spend my time on the NBC boards.

        Pacem et bene Padre.

        Now why I’m responding. Everyone is upset that the season is going into hiatus on a “downer”. Remember, the season wasn’t suppose to begin until after the Olympics and Schwartz has said something to that effect. On the NBC boards people are saying that they expect 3.7-3.9 to be the “low points” of season with recovery beginning until the end of the season.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I know Kevin. I think things may even pick up towards the end of 3.08 (not sure, but if Sarah name is revealed by her telling Chuck, which seems most likely to me, that episode could end with a big upbeat for them). So I do think things will look up quickly, but I’m concerned about going into the Olympics on a down note. We’ve already seen the Shaw/Sarah kiss in one preview. I don’t want to watch kit for two weeks; and several of the more casual viewers I know had been so pleased with Colonel last season; now they’re close to giving up on the show. I wonder how many fans we may lose if the break and publicity aren’t handled carefully.

        By the way, welcome to our blog. We always love new participants, new posters, and new ideas!

  8. Michael says:

    I’m a new fan of Chuck, in that I didn’t discover it until this past September (I don’t watch a lot of TV) when I started downloading them from iTunes. Consequently, we watched all of Season 1 and Season 2 in a very compressed time period, three or four new episodes a week, plus rerunning them.

    I’ve found season 3 less likeable on first viewing, but I’m sure at least part of this is because we’ve never experienced broadcasted Chuck – with 20-some minutes of commercials breaking up the flow. And, of course, with a week between episodes, it leaves me with a greater sense of disquiet.

    • joe says:

      Welcome to our discussion, Michael.

      I know what you mean. I got really hooked on watching Chuck via Hulu on my PC this summer. They have commercials, but usually they’re just one 20 or 30 second spot. Much easier to take.

      The downside is not having the trailer for the next episode at the end!

      My compromise is to DVR every broadcast. I can’t resist watching Monday at 8, so I see the commercials, but they get zapped otherwise.

      Except for those great Honda/Olympic spots with McPartlin, Lancaster and Gomez. Those are part of the show as far as I’m concerned! 😉

      As for waiting a week for the next episode; I don’t know if you saw the NBC Chuck board last season, but the watchword there was always “Is it Monday yet??!” It’s hard to wait.

  9. jason says:

    I watched my first episode in january on the sci fi channel, I then watched the first two seasons in january, during season 3’s start. I disliked 3.1 a great deal, even as a new comer (i’d seen a part of season one by then & loved CS together). Season 3 is about chuck coming to grips with the real sarah (not the hot blond babe, which requires about .001 seconds to fall in love with) & sarah coming to grips with the emerging chuck (she not only has to forgive him for lisbon, but actually see he was right). It is a long time to waste on developement of the story, but if 13 episodes leads to consumation of said relationship, that is not jumping the shark, that is real story telling. After that, I hope they keep them coupled up forever, honest and open with one another, and let their sadistic angst’d themed writing ruin any other character they choose. Reset in season 4 bothers me too, I just don’t think they have anything else to reset other than CS, and like the little boy who cried wolf, fans will only give JS’s team so many chances.

  10. jason says:

    couple of other guesses – i think the vs fake name will be shaws, and sarah (and maybe the viewers) will be exposed to shaw’s backstory – this will make the SS more understandable, I am guessing no romance for them, but a sincere friendship that even shippers will get (but it is going to pi$$ chuck off as he will not know the backstory) – i think the vs final exam will be to shoot someone (gun theme, chuck already has failed to shoot twice (shaw when they met and angie harmon) – and finally vs the other guy will be charles carmicheal

  11. OldDarth says:

    The Final Exam has to be in relation to one of the regular cast members – so I would say Chuck. Maybe Sarah too – if there is a parallel storyline going on just like in Nacho Sampler.

  12. jason says:

    my guess is chuck’s final exam will be a set up by shaw, chuck will make an arrest with a gun, the villain will say, ‘go ahead and arrest me, one call and by morning that pretty cia agent girlfriend and doctor sister of yours will be dead’ – which is probably a total replay of the santa claus scene for sarah, I have no idea what chuck would do, or what sarah would want chuck 3.11 to do, or for that matter what I would want him to do

  13. Gord says:

    I am really enjoying S3, and unlike some on these boards I have found the episodes very replayable. I have rewatched all of them at least 3 times.

    One thing I have noticed in rewatching is some of the subtle and not so subtle references to season 1.
    We have had the return of the spastic colon excuse from Sizzling Shrimp and Crown Vic.
    We have had the “friends” handshake like in Crown Vic.
    We have had the family dinner and a look on Sarah’s face that I recall seeing at the end of tango “forced to kiss you” scene.
    We have had Chuck saving Sarah with a plate, like Sarah did for Chuck in Wookie, and we have had a promo for the next episode that has me fondly thinking about the car trunk scene in Hard Salami.

    I think the writers are trying to tell us something with these. The are trying to tell us that no matter how far Chuck progresses as a spy, and no matter how dark the show gets; the real Chuck and what we love about this show is just under the surface and is ready to emerge.

    This being said, I am concerned that they need to start pulling Chuck away from the abyss soon, or only the real die hard fans will hang on to see that butterfly emerge from the cocoon.

    I noticed in some of the posts, they were talking about new viewers and their reactions to this season.
    I know two new viewers that are enjoying this season.
    One guy at work, a wrestling fan, who I finally got to watch the show because Stone Cold Steve Austin was on. He loved it and now can’t stop talking about the show.
    Another lady who I know, that watched for the first time this season, and is also enjoying it.

    I sometimes wonder if it is because we are so invested in the characters that we sometimes fail to see all the good things in these episodes.
    Even though 3.06 had a very powerful impact at the end, a good portion of the show was the fun we all have enjoyed in Chuck.

    There is a screen capture that somebody posted in the episode thread of the NBC board that really highlights the fun. It is a shot taken after Casey is so enthusiastic about being able to write off this year’s Wepcon as a business expense. The smiles on Chuck and Sarah’s faces are infectious. I rewatched the episode again last night just to see that scene again.

    • joe says:

      You caught some season 1 references that I missed, Gord! Thanks!

      Heh! In hindsight, I’m surprised that so few have mentioned Casey and Weap-Con (even me!). That was an uproariously funny bit. I got a feeling that Adam Baldwin really got a kick out of doing it, too.

      • Gord says:

        Some of those references didn’t hit me until I was replaying the episodes.
        I think a lot of the Chuck fun is still there, it is just being overpowered by the powerful drama that is being played out.

        I truly hope they start toning down the drama a bit and ramp up the fun a little more.

      • Anonymous says:

        I hope they keep up the drama AND increase the fun.

        I thought Devon’s “had to cut off its head” line was the funniest of the whole series.

      • atcdave says:

        Toning down the drama and ramping up the fun is exactly what I’m talking about. They have had some funny moments in every episode, and 3.03 and 3.04 are among the best episodes I’ve ever seen. I do understand new viewers are less invested in the characters and their relationships, but that is almost the very definition of such things. Unless they intend to replace their audience every season, people should come to care about the development of the characters over a period of time in a character driven show.

        And Casey at Weap-Con (actually, Weap-Con in general) was a very funny bit. But I think for many of us, it was somewhat undone by a dark and depressing episode.

  14. herder says:

    I’m beging to get a feeling of how things may play out over the next few episodes based on what people are saying, both those involved in the show and those commenting on it. I think that Shaw is somewhat interested in Sarah, as a result of the events of the Mask, there is some interest on Sarah’s part but that ends with Shaw’s manipulation leading to the punch.

    After that the interest on Sarah’s part is over, but she and Shaw become friends, they spend time together a reflection of the comment “what do friends do” in Angel del Muerte. Chuck perceives this as being more than it is and spends the next few episodes jealous, but feels he can’t do anything about it as he was interested in Hannah, so instead he snipes at Shaw. Not that he does anything over the line with Hannah but he seems to have an overdeveloped sense of guilt when it comes to his actions about Sarah.

    Perhaps he becomes distant from Sarah and she has to persue him, but in an ambivalent way as she still isn’t certain how she feels about him becoming a spy. I think this state of affairs continues until at least 3.11. I think Shaw does become seriously interested in Sarah and seeing her attatchment to Chuck becomes jealous of Chuck, putting him more at risk than necessary. I had figured that the romantic angst would be over by the Fake Name, but I begining to think I’m wrong about that.

    I think that we have the same misunderstandings that have become standard for the show until at least 3.12. The only positive that I can draw from this is that it at least puts an end to the Sarah always falls for the guys she works for idea. That and the fact that the main focus of the show will be the spy aspect rather than the romance part.

    Interestingly or not I was reading a book today and a bit of it struck as particularly appropriate:

    “Do you enjoy Thomas Hardy, Serjeant?

    As a poet more than as a novelist.

    I agree. I find it depressing his determination to make his characters suffer even when a little common sense on both his part and theirs could avoid it. Tess is one of the most irritating young women in Victoian fiction.”

    For some reason I immediately thought of our show and it’s writers.

    • joe says:

      Oh boy. When I was 14 or 15, I read Far From The Madding Crowd. I remember almost nothing of it now, but I do remember how I felt about it then. I had never experienced characters that seemed so real to me before. They were passionate. It was a new experience.

      Thanks, Herder. I would never have made the connection.

    • atcdave says:

      If you’re right, what a tragic decision; to restrict the interaction of the two leads who defined the story for the first two seasons. I hope things lighten up by 3.08; but I admit, based on interviews, I have no real reason to hope that.

      • herder says:

        I expect things to lighten up after 3.08, the point that I was trying to make is that we would know that from Sarah’s perspective there was nothing going on with Shaw but that chuck wouldn’t know that, sort of angst light. Imagine if Bryce was leading the team, he and Sarah would have a lot in common and spend time together, not necessarily of a romantic nature yet Chuck would clearly be jealous. This is to drag out the resolution after the end of the so called love trapezoid is over. I may be wrong but decisions made but not communicated and misunderstandings about what to draw from situations seem to be stockin trade for these writers.

      • atcdave says:

        I understand what you’re saying. It would be consistant with the way they like to tell their story. Of course, Nacho Sampler wasn’t just about messing with Chuck and Sarah. We saw relationships with Devon, Ellie, and Morgan all malfunctioning. I expect most of those will be corrected some this week. But things with Sarah will be dragged out; I want to say “to the breaking point”, but in my estimation we’re already past that. They are now causing fundamental damage to the characters we’ve rooted for for two seasons; mainly Chuck last week, and Sarah in Pink Slip, and it looks like worse is to come.

        I re-watched several S2 episodes recently (enjoying Blu-Rays on a new 1080p TV, what a blast!); and it makes me a little sad seeing the change in mood of the show. It used to be sweet and fun. I’m just not getting much of that in S3, its more bitter and down.

  15. jason says:

    you hear the cast and staff talk about not wanting to ‘jump the shark’ by letting CS consumate their relationship, truth is, splitting them apart is probably more ‘jumping the shark’ than simply letting what they started in the first two seasons run its course, I will say, either way, some of this meeting half way in terms of the spy world reality and choices that sarah had to make would have had to occur, the writers chose to have them make this journy apart, rather than together, unfortunately, there is nothing funny about such a journy, apart or together, but apart is worse for the fans, I am hoping at least sarah comes around to a CS point of view pretty soon, like say 3.8

    • Rick Holy says:

      I’m with ya brotha! At some point, enough is enough – and not only have we passed that point, but we’re belaboring the hell out of it.

      We’re not stupid! We understand that there would be some new difficulties/obstacles with the change in Chuck in S3 – but to have it absolutely DOMINATE more that half of the 13 episode arc is a little much.

      The overall sweetness and fun that atcdave mentions from season 2 is basically gone and has been lacking from the beginning of this season – and this season is basically half over (with the exception of the back 6 pickup which is separate from the original 13 episode order).

      There’s a way to tell this part of Chuck’s story – a BETTER way. I’m just hoping that they get to going about telling it.

      But I’ll – like always – remain hopeful regarding what is in store for us.

  16. Stef62 says:

    Excuse the interruption of an outsider on your blog.

    I know a few of you guys have mentioned the possibility of the show ‘jumping the shark’, but to my mind the writers did just that when they produced the ‘Ring’.

    Since the unexpected pick up of S3, we’ve seen the writers scrabbling to realign the show to JS’s tunnel vision of them not being a couple

    • atcdave says:

      I think many of us here agree with you entirely. One definition of “jumping the shark” I saw was having characters act in ways designed for effect, or shock; not faithfulness to their character or story logic. By that standard, I would agree The Ring is where they jumped the shark. That makes this entire season a mistake. I do believe they can still get the show back to a fun place; but sadly, we will always have this damaging chapter in the history of the show.

      And Stef, there are no outsiders here. If you love the show and want to contribute, you are always welcome.

      • Stef62 says:

        Thanks.

        My has only who’s not a big fan of the show has only watched the 1st ep of S3, and thought it was badly written, the station scene was totally out of character for Chuck. The music used was too intrusive, and she wouldn’t be back for anymore, and left me to watch ep2.

        As for me, the charm of the first 2 seasons has gone, and they seem to be painting themselves into corner with the leads at the moment.

      • Stef62 says:

        That should read *my wife* even

  17. Lucian says:

    I was hopeful for a more positive turn starting in 8. I’m now thinking that is not likely to be the case. Hang on to your hats – this roller coaster has some fun ahead! 😉

  18. herder says:

    Does anybody find it odd that we are almost half way through what was supposed to be the season and we still know precious little about the ring? Fulcrum was supposed to be a cabal of disaffected government agents who disagreed with the direction that the US was taking. The Ring is supposed to be bigger and presumably older, but in none of the episodes this far do we have any idea of why they are buying weapons, why they want Shaw dead or why they want to destabilize Costa Graves.

    Are they some sort of elite society ie Skull & Bones, some sort of alternative government (the UN to the black helicopter crowd) or just some sort of greedy group of individuals ie the Trilateral Commission (The Queen, the Rothchildes and Colonel Saunders).

    It just seems odd that they are the big bad guys and we know nothing about them.

    • joe says:

      And throw in “The Knights Templar” for good measure, too!

      It feels like we know nothing about Shaw, either. So what have we learned in six episodes? Mostly, we’ve learned what it will mean to Chuck to really become a spy, the price he will pay, and also what it will cost Devon, Ellie and possibly Morgan. We’ve also seen what Sarah thinks of Chuck paying that price.

      I’ll jump on the bandwagon here and say that issue is fully explored now. Strictly from a story-telling point of view, it’s time to move on to the next chapter.

      Will anybody be surprised to see that happen in The Mask?

      • jason says:

        I hope the dark episodes will conclude with 3.7 followed by a very well done ali adler romance episode in 3.8. If the show continues thru episode 13 dark, the best chuck fans will be ok, but those who came on later, will be long gone. I would hope adler is stepping in to reel the shippers back in, followed by some lighter stuff in 3.9 (morgan) and 3.10 (casey) – CS together would make for some good olympic promo material – I can think of several CS promo’s which should bring the chuck fans out of the woodwork to watch 3.8

      • atcdave says:

        Yes, I think the theme this season is pure soap opera. Actual plot and story need not apply.

        OK, actually I’m hopeful we’ll get to some good stuff this week; but not really confident it will happen until 3.09 or later. You’ve been reading my posts a long time Joe; you know I was crazy excited about the story in the later part of S2. I am not naturally a pessimist. But I am VERY discouraged right now.

      • atcdave says:

        I hope you’re right Jason. I certainly agree 3.09 is likely to be lighter fair. I just hope it isn’t a temporary break from the bleak.

      • joe says:

        I know, Dave. I’m hoping your patience will be rewarded soon. All I can say is that strictly from a mechanical standpoint, the story seems “where it should be” if it’s going in the direction I think you want. Always a bit more tension that you’d imagine at first, and more satisfaction at the end.

        It may be a foolish optimism on my part.

        And maybe it isn’t! 🙂

      • herder says:

        Based on what they are saying about the Beard being very important to the story, I’m guessing that it is going to be much like Dream Job. Which suits me fine, Dream Job is one episode that I liked when I first watched it but over time I grew to think of it as one of my favorites, definitely top 5.

      • atcdave says:

        I wouldn’t quite call Dream Job a top 5; but it was good episode, important without being dreary or self-important, and added key elements to the epic story that was late S2. I can watch any of those episodes over and over.

        If Beard is epic in the same way, it will be good news indead!

    • joe says:

      Ohhh – And speaking of “The Knights Templar”, I saw The DeVinci Code for the first time yesterday. There was a scene where Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) is driving backwards with Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) in the passenger seat through the streets of Paris at a high rate of speed in a half-size European automobile that looks suspiciously like a nerd-herder as they’re being chased. [Joe pauses for breath after that run-on sentence.]

      Just like The Pilot. Ah! I found a movie reference!

    • amyabn says:

      I had mentioned something similiar earlier, so on top of your comments (you inspired me, Herder), I started a new entry. Looking forward to more thoughts on the enemy!

  19. JC says:

    I’ve been lurking for a few days and just wanted to add my two cents. Seems like everyone is more relaxed here than other Chuck boards.Sorry if this is the wrong place.

    I understand this season has been about the growth of Chuck and Sarah as people private and professionally. And in the end I’m sure they’ll end up together. My concern isn’t whether the PLIs will keep them apart but will it be believable when they finally do become a couple. Or honestly will I even care by the time they do. I’ve found myself not liking both Chuck and Sarah this season at all. It just seems to me the characters really don’t have real feelings for each other. That the situation they’re both in just leaves them as the only option for romance and that’s why they’re both so willing to jump any PLI that comes into the picture.

    It worries me because of J.Schwartz history when it comes to writing a sustained romance. He seems to be going down the same path as he did with the OC and in the end thats what killed the show. I hope he proves me wrong.

    • joe says:

      Hi, JC. Welcome to the group.

      I hear what you’re saying (especially about Josh Schwartz’s history and The OC). You’ve got plenty of company here who share that point of view.

      Mine is a little more optimistic in that I always thought what we see now is where C&S had to be to get them where the fans wanted. More or less. I also believe that, like we saw with Lethal Weapon in S2, they like to change things dramatically and quickly once the low point is reached. It’s just about the right time for that.

      I understand that it hasn’t been as much fun for the dedicated fans who loved seasons 1 and 2. But it’s okay with me that “fun” hasn’t been the main purpose of S3 so far.

      I do expect it later, though.

  20. JC says:

    Thanks for the welcome.

    I do agree with you that what we’re seeing now was always going to happen with C/S relationship. They had to see what the other suffered through during the previous two seasons. I’m just wondering if you think the new PLIs were necessary to achieve it? IMO everything could have been achieved without the romantic angle. I just hate the fact that anytime the show needs tension or drama they have to fall back on romantic foils. Its shame because these storylines seem to overshadow everything else.

    In end I feel like everyone on the show has matured and grown except when it comes to the romance. Then it becomes a teenage soap opera.

    • joe says:

      Hum… I only have a second here, but in brief, I’m not sure I’ve even seen PLIs yet! I mean up to now, Chuck hasn’t really shown more interest in Hannah than as a friend. Morgan – now he’s interested. And so far, Shaw and Sarah have been more antagonistic than sympathetic to each other’s position.

      Everyone’s expecting that to change ’cause of what JS said this summer, and because of the promo showing Chuck’s punch. Maybe it will starting with The Mask. But so far it hasn’t been worth all the attention it got on the boards.

      The bit of jealousy we see in the promo for The Mask was juvenile, but I’ve seen worse IRL from supposedly more mature people. So long as the context makes up for it, and so long as it’s quick, then it’s just a cute way of showing they care. We’ll see.

      So far the most mature thing I’ve seen, actually, was the fountain scene at the end of Lethal Weapon (the one where Signs is played); they’re both giving up what they want knowing it may be for nothing. There’s no plan, there’s every reason to think it’s futile. It’s a painful and powerful scene, and it’s also no fun at all.

      And it’s great.

    • atcdave says:

      If you’ve been lurking here a few days you know I agree 100%. JS history has always concerned me. I HOPE, he wants to write something more adult and sophisticated than his previous efforts, but it is too early to be sure. I think the PLIs are not only unnecessary, but harmful to the characters and tone of the show. I think (hope) things will get better late in 3.08 or in 3.09; so really pretty soon story wise. The concern is how bad will it get in 3.07, and what will the Olympic break (and promotion) be like?

      We are always happy to have another poster, welcome aboard!

      • JC says:

        First off I just wanted to say I’m not as down on this show as my posts seem. Its just nobody I know watches Chuck and its nice to have somewhere to vent.

        I know spoilers, promos,etc are meant to throw off the viewer, especially since there’s no context to anything. Its just my views are quite skewed since I have a disdain for J/S when it comes to romance. And honestly I think everything we’ve seen or read for future episodes isn’t what it seems and things will work out how fans want. Its just I can’t shake this doubt that the S/S kiss might be real which would kill the Sarah character IMO. Just my OC paranoia I guess.

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