Chuck Versus The Light

We’ve been deprived of new Chuck for just under 14 days. You weren’t afraid that we’d run out of things to say, now. Were you? With one week plus a few hours left before the next episode airs, we seem to have experienced absolutely no shortage of material!

With our thanks, and for your consideration, a guest post from Liz James.

– joe

Through a Glass, Darkly

I loved a television show once. You might know the one I mean.

It had a handsome star playing a character who’d been tripped up by life and worked at a job far below his station. It had a gorgeous blonde co-star whose character was strong, wise, out of place in the “real” world and a strangely compelling love interest. And there was a cast of misfits interacting in a dysfunctional workplace.


No, I’m not talking about Chuck. Right now, I’m talking about The John Larroquette Show, which ran for parts of four seasons on NBC between 1993 and 1996.

It its brilliant first season, The John Larroquette Show was as dark as Chuck was light in its first two seasons. Larroquette played a recovering alcoholic who worked as the night manager of a St. Louis bus station. His co-star, Gigi Rice, played a prostitute who worked the station’s bar. The bravura cast of supporting players included Liz Torres as the assistant manager; Daryl “Chill” Mitchell as the newsstand operator; Chi McBride as the janitor; and Lenny Clarke and Elizabeth Berridge as cops.

How dark was The John Larroquette Show? Every week was a fight for sobriety. The singer David Crosby was meta-cast as his AA sponsor. Larroquette’s John Hemingway character even hung a sign above his desk that said: It’s a Dark Ride. The show’s supporting cast was much like the Buy Moranians, except the reality of their hopeless situations was made plain. And in case you somehow missed the darkness of it all, they soon killed off Crosby’s Chester, leaving Hemingway morose and anchorless in a world that had passed him by.

In every way you could imagine, The John Larroquette Show was the reverse of Chuck in seasons 1 and 2. It was also brilliant, riveting television. For those few who found it, the dark ride was amazing and you doted on each week’s show much like we waited for new episodes of Chuck in season 2.

Then NBC screwed it up. For the show to continue, the network told TPTB, the show’s tone would have to be lightened. And lighten the tone they did.

Larroquette’s character moved out of a flop house and into a nice apartment. His fight for sobriety was all but forgotten. He got a mainstream girlfriend. Gigi Rice’s hooker went straight. Torres, Mitchell and McBride became comic foils who really, eventually, would come into their own. The reformed bus-station manager and the reformed hooker married in the final episode of the third season.

By then, of course, viewers didn’t care. The show lasted less than a month into its fourth season and was pulled off the schedule with at least a half-dozen episodes still in the can.

The John Larroquette Show has more in common with Chuck than Larroquette, who had a star turn as Roan Montgomery in Chuck Versus the Seduction. It is more than Chuck through a glass, darkly. It is, I think, an object lesson in playing with a show’s DNA.

The John Larroquette Show was meant to be dark, created to be sad, glad to be unhappy. When it was twisted into a standard sitcom because the network decided that is what viewers wanted, it quickly sank. The happy-talk episodes weren’t good enough to find new viewers and those episodes bored and dismayed the fans of the show’s original dark tinge.

No matter what happens during the remainder of season 3 of Chuck, I have a feeling it has become the mirror image of The John Larroquette Show.

Chuck’s first two seasons were brilliant because it was a clever action-adventure comedy with an occasional dramatic twist. Its unconventional leading characters, the emotional man who didn’t want to be the hero and the strong, silent woman who protected him, were refreshing. The hard realities of life in a time of terrorism were played lightly. The dead-end nature of the Buy More and its denizens was played for laughs. Chuck was fun, it was happy and we loved it.

When we get the full exposition after the backward reveals and non-linear storytelling, Chuck season 3 will end with Chuck and Sarah together in Episode 13. But I have news for those folks who say it’s the journey and not the destination: The journey hasn’t been fun. It’s been ponderous and joyless and filled with pain. It’s been dark–and Chuck when its dark isn’t that compelling a television show.

I didn’t need Chuck to tell me how tough the world is out there. I didn’t need the TPTB to tell me that love in the 21st Century isn’t easy. I read the papers. I got that it’s dark out there.

But for two seasons, Chuck was a refuge. It was full of people you rooted for and cared about. We fans didn’t feel “entitled,” a nasty slur invented by a sloppy NPR journalist who didn’t really have a clue about what some (not me, by the way) fans disliked about Chuck Versus the Mask. We were INVESTED in the characters. We wanted Chuck and Sarah together because we thought they’d earned their love already. We wanted love conquering all in these oh-so-perilous days.

Yes, it is a dark ride. Who could argue that? And when one television show tried to tell us that, the network said no one would watch. So then, years later, along comes Chuck and says: It’s a Happy Ride. And now the network says no one will watch unless Chuck becomes a dark ride.

We’ve got the dark ride and, for me, the thrill is gone. Neither the journey nor the destination, I fear, will have been worth the darkness.

— Liz James

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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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133 Responses to Chuck Versus The Light

  1. JC says:

    You hit the nail right on the head.

    If I want to watch a show that deals with the serious consequences of being a spy. And how that affects relationships, family, friends, etc I’ll watch Burn Notice which does it infinitely better than Chuck has.

  2. BigCheese says:

    Hi, you guys should give a oficial spot on your blog for Liz James 😉

    Loved post “Chemistry 101” a shipper dream!

  3. Merve says:

    Honestly, I don’t think that the tone of the show has changed much. In my opinion, episodes 2 through 5 were relatively lighthearted. So was “Mask.” “Nacho Sampler” wasn’t much darker than “Sandworm” or “Dream Job.” (In fact, “Sandworm” was much more discomforting for me to watch because it dealt with someone who was insane instead of just selfish.)

    To me, the only episode of this season that hasn’t felt like Chuck to me is “Pink Slip.” The episode wasn’t particularly dark or anything; it was just pretty devoid of humour. But it was the season premiere; it was the episode that was supposed to set the tone for the season. I know that I’m entering into dangerous territory, playing psychologist here, but I’ll do it anyway. The fans are watching season 3 with the cloud of “Pink Slip” hanging over their heads. Given what happened in that episode, it’s hard not to see Chuck as more of a drama than ever before.

    I’m not going to deny that there’s been a slight change in tone. The stakes are higher. I like it that way. Chuck might have gotten boring if it had stagnated. But I don’t think that there’s been a massive tonal shift (aside from “Pink Slip”). But take “Pink Slip” out of the equation, and to me, Chuck still seems like the same show, except for now, our hero has the ability to beat the crap out of people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Merve-
      But Pink Slip IS the season. Clearly season 3 is meant to revolve around the arc of nothing is real, spying is complicated and dangerous. Those are the themes of Pink Slip. So you MUST view everything through the cloud of Pink Slip. And given how these fellows have been telling the story this year, I think we’re going to see more callbacks to Pink Slip in future episodes.

      IMHO…

      • Merve says:

        I agree that the season premiere can set the tone for a season, but I don’t think that it necessarily sets what themes are going to be explored throughout the season. Thematically, the whole Jill arc had little to do with what happened in “First Date,” for example. “First Date” didn’t really touch on the ideas of whom you can and can’t trust in the spy world. If you watch “Sensei” through the cloud of “First Date,” you might miss out on the fact that a lot of the episode is about the Casey-Sarah partnership.

        “Pink Slip” doesn’t touch on a lot of ideas that have been explored so far this season. It doesn’t look at the consequences of Chuck’s spy life to his family, for example.

        So I think that “Pink Slip” might have set a more dramatic tone initially. But I don’t think that it imposes any sort of restriction on what the audience should be looking for thematically.

      • atcdave says:

        I think it wasn’t just Pink Slip, although I agree it cast a large cloud over everything. I think for many of us, Colonel changed everything. But starting a little with the Ring, and continuing since; we have seen Colonel was the lie. THAT, ticks me off. It might not have been so bad; Three Words could have fixed everything, but so far they’ve made a lie out of the ending there too. Unless we find that something did change then that we just haven’t seen yet, this season will remain a huge disappointment.

        First Class is when the season tanked for me. Chuck staring longingly at the wrong woman tells me Chuck is no longer a character I can respect or relate to. I know it didn’t have that impact on many viewers; but to me it was catastrophically damaging to Chuck.

      • weaselone says:

        I think that’s a little strong. Chuck never stared longingly at Hannah in 3.07. He looked happy to see her when she arrived and seemed to be upset over missing a chance at seeing Paris, but that was the extent of it.

      • atcdave says:

        I know its a strong reaction, but it really is how I felt. My disappointment with this season starts with The Ring, and its gone downhill ever since (Three Words would have been fine if they’d actually built from there, Angel of Death and Operation Awesome were fun episodes, but belong to an early S2 state of affairs). I know I’m not being a “good” fan at this point, I’m just not buying what they’re selling.

        My reaction to the ending of First Class was strong and negative, and its gone from bad to worse. I know I’m in the minority on that. The farther they’ve gone this season, the more aware I am of what a die hard ‘shipper I am. This is the one issue that could drive me from the show. It is currently no fun at all.

      • SWnerd says:

        I didn’t know I’d be such a shipper either. I don’t think I’ve ever been so invested in that aspect of a show. I mean my two all time favorite shows beside Chuck are BSG and Firefly and neither of them even had what I would consider a strong central relationship. Or at least one that pulled me in quite as much as this one did.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I know. I was huge on Firefly, SG-1, Babylon 5; none of which really focused on romance at all. I don’t believe I need to see much; but apparently the idea of “the nerd gets the girl” is hugely important to me. And they’re saying “just kidding, the nerd has to become the hero first.” I would have much prefered the other way around. Not only has it sucked the fun right out of the show, it has undermined the esteem I once held for the characters.

    • joe says:

      Merve, here’s a not-so-secret secret. I feel almost exactly the way you do about S3.

      • lizjames says:

        Merve-
        Forgive me, I’m not near my show notes, but you misunderstand. First Date was NEVER supposed to be the Season 2 opener. The writer’s strike truncated Season 1 at 13 episodes. They had several shows in the can and several more written, which they chose to hold for Season 2. So First Date became the default season opener.

        As for Pink Slip, it is absolutely the tone setter AND story setter for this season. Especially with just 13 episodes as originally planned, there are no drop- in fillers like Tom Sawyer or Sensei. So everything you see this year up to 13 will have been foreshadowed by Pink Slip. Everything already has, falling into two categories: Chuck training to be a spy; and the unreality of the spy world and its affect on people. Every episode has been about those themes in one way or another, just as the Season 1 episodes were all about “trust” in one way or another.

        As for dark, well, you don’t have to listen to me. The shower runners TOLD you this season would be darker.

      • herder says:

        Liz that is an interesting point, I have always wondered which of the episodes 1.14 to 1.22 became part of season two and which were dropped. I always thought that the Jill arc was a season one bit that got moved to season two, but I have never been sure of any of the others.

      • Merve says:

        Liz, that’s a very good point about “First Date.” I’d completely forgotten about that.

        I’m going to have disagree with you a bit about “Pink Slip,” though. Aside from a superficial treatment of the subject in the infamous Prague scene, “Pink Slip” really doesn’t touch on the unreality of the spy world and how it’s going to affect Chuck’s family and friends. What it does deal with is the spy world’s potential effect on Chuck.

        I’d argue that the impact of the spy world on Chuck’s family and friends didn’t become a dominant theme of the season until “Angel de la Muerte.” The only reason I knew that it would become an important theme was because I’d heard about it in interviews prior to the season premiere.

        If anything, that’s my problem with “Pink Slip.” It didn’t do a good job of setting the tone. Every episode since then has been more fun and lighthearted. (Well, “Nacho Sampler” was heavier, but also way more fun.) And weirdly enough, although “First Date” was never really intended to be a part of the second season, it set the season’s tone very well. It showed me that the second season would be about Chuck’s struggle with the Intersect in his head, while becoming more confident in the spy world and facing hidden dangers. “Pink Slip” showed me a spy show where humour and characters were an afterthought. That may be what some have gotten out of this season, but it isn’t what I have felt at all. “Pink Slip” still doesn’t feel like an episode of Chuck to me. The rest of this season does.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah Dave, I agree with Weaselone. That’s a sort of a harsh reaction to Chuck.

        More than once after Hannah showed up at the Buy More, Chuck was “me safe everyone else not.” He wasn’t hitting on her and looking at her longingly. He was just being nice.

        She made the move. I must admit I do understand what you’re saying overall and it does feel a little unseemly that a man who apparently LOVES another woman is playing tonsil hockey, but being a man it’s hard to not welcome an advance from a hot woman especially when the one you do love wants to be friends.

        Again, that is assuming everything we’ve seen is on the level.

      • atcdave says:

        As I said above, I know its harsh; but its also my honest take. I think the writers have just screwed up one thing after another all season; and from the end of First Class it was clear what the next screw up was. I know that makes me a die hard ‘shipper; but I’m not alone, I remember my wife groaning and rolling her eyes at that moment, and another friend’s initial review of the episode to me was “oh, brother.”
        The show I love ended at 2.21; it seems there will never be another episode of it. Even if they right the ship now, they’ve done critical damage to the main characters, and what used to be a beautiful relationship.

      • Stef62 says:

        The way i’m getting round this is just to move from ep20 to ep22. Sure it causes plot holes, but when didn’t this show not have them

    • Waverly says:

      I agree, Merve, that this season has for the most part been pretty good, and that’s it’s only Pink Slip that I find so disagreeable.

      But I did watch it again, finally, and found that it wasn’t too bad after all. It was really only the first third or first half where Chuck was pathetically hopeless, and that kind of behavior will turn me off real quick.

      • kg says:

        Sorry. Anonymous was me accidentally.

        Dave everyone on this site realizes how you are the most frustrated by what has happened since 2-21. It’s not even close.

        Man, you need March 1 more than any of us. This three-week break is killing you.

        I can’t imagine another future episode being any worse than Pink Slip or Mask (my personal worst), so please take them one at a time and watch 3-8 with this in mind. Right?

        No matter what they do in 3-8 it can’t be any worse than what we saw in the aforementioned two.

        I’m not trying to say it solves all the problems you’ve alluded to, but at the very least it might retain what’s left of your sanity. LOL.

      • atcdave says:

        Too late for the sanity! Yeah I know the break is killing me. I’m just not convinced it can’t get worse than Pink Slip or Mask; Things really might not be fun for me until 3.14.

        Just for the record; I don’t live my life angry or depressed, few who know me would every use those words for me. But for now, that’s where I stand with Chuck.

  4. OldDarth says:

    To each their own. Loving this season.

  5. compromisedcover says:

    Just listened to Chuck You Tuesday #22 podcast with TV critic Mo Ryan in the discussions. I’m afraid some people here might be disappointed about S3 if we trust how she thought about the show so far.

    • joe says:

      It’s a great interview!

      “There’s something seismic going on, which is much deeper.” (than S1 and S2). I think she’s right.

      • Jason says:

        joe, its funny, I thought the opposite, dark days ahead for me, here is a pro ‘spinner’ giving about as gloomy of assessment as she possibly could, the words you are going to have to trust the writers when describing 3.8 came out again (straight from TPTB’s interview), and when asked about 3.10 / 3.11 her words were intense. The 13 episodes are sounding more and more like a season of 24, rather than a season of chuck. either mo or someone else said, chuck is not chuck anymore, he has grown up – I might grow to like the show S3 has become, but it is not the show I fell for – if you listen to the podcast, even they say how much fun it is to watch season 1 now that the darker season 3 is out there. Sort of sucks for those who wanted a few more fun seasons – evidently that was too much to ask??????????

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, and I dropped 24 a long time ago.

      • weaselone says:

        I’ve gone from hoping that episode 8 will see Chuck begin to right the ship and address the fraying of the his relationships to hoping it will end up being a reasonable “Chuck” version of Empire. The reversals that came out of nowhere at the end of 3.7 were poorly done, but in 3.08 maybe we’ll see a well written series of defeats and downers for Chuck that culminates in him being sidelined at the beginning of 3.09.

        Unlike both Chuck and Sarah seemingly developing bipolar disorder in 3.07, numerous moments throughout the season have hinted at a painful reckoning for Chuck on multiple fronts. Perhaps many of the threads which appeared to have been left dangling will emerge with a vengeance.

        We know Hannah is somehow pushed out of the picture either by Chuck, or circumstances. We could see the Shaw and Sarah relationship, which to this point is best described as creepy, blossom into something warm and affectionate before Chuck’s eyes while he has nothing. Events could come to a head with Morgan due to the circumstances of Hannah leaving. Everything on the Ellie and Awesome front could disintegrate, possibly with marital problems between Ellie and Awesome to put a cherry in it. To bring it to a huge painful conclusion, either Chuck could blow the mission, or the mission forces him to inflict even further pain on his loved ones and dig himself a deeper hole. Sarah would continue her habit of being unavailable to Chuck, probably

      • weaselone says:

        Sorry, didn’t mean to submit yet.

        What I was going to say was that with things falling apart around him, Chuck wouldn’t even have Sarah to lean on as she would be busy exploring a relationship with Shaw. Chuck’s only possible source of support might be Casey,or perhaps he goes to Shaw looking for support and ends up being given the “you had your choice and you blew it.” comment which causes him to finally snap.

      • Stef62 says:

        On ‘the punch’…has anyone from the show indicated that it actually happens in ep8?

        Or have we just been surmising that it does

      • herder says:

        I get a sense that TPTB are trying to do the same thing with the release of four episodes to reviewers and bloggers that they did with the release of the first five episodes. That release got near univerally positive reviews from those who saw them. I get the impression that this release will not get the same reaction.

        It does show a certain confidence in the product and it is worth noting that the only episodes not so released were Natcho Sampler and the Mask which were not as well recieved by the fans and the last two of the original thirteen which is understandable.

        I worry that the show is in a situation where it has to reassure it’s base rather than reach out to new viewers.

      • SWnerd says:

        And that’s not a good place to be.

      • atcdave says:

        Except most of what we’re hearing is that things will be rough for a while yet. That is hardly re-assuring.

  6. herder says:

    Liz, I liked the John Larroquette Show, and I remember all those changes, especially bringing in the new girlfriend (lazy writing). I don’t see things as ominously as you do with regard to Chuck.

    I did not like Pink Slip and while I thought that Mask was a dud, I didn’t hate it. I did, in varying degrees like the episodes from Angel del Muerte to Natcho Sampler. I will agree that something has been removed from the show and it is not as much fun as it was in previous seasons, but I’m not ready to write it off yet.

    I think a part of the problem is what Merve said above, the season started on a downer with Pink Slip and entered a break on a downer with the Mask. So we have a few weeks to review the season with both the first and last impressions being downers.

    I could be wrong but my impression is that we have not yet reached the end of the depressing episodes, I suspect there is more bad stuff to happen to Chuck before we start the journey back to happier situations. That is the bit that amazes me, that on a 13 episode arc they would have so few hopeful episodes.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m also not quite ready to throw in the towel yet, but I’m getting closer. The long break after Mask is a huge problem. Especially if we have to wait past 3.08 for things to get any better. This is not enjoyable television.

  7. weaselone says:

    Liz, this was an excellent article and honestly I hope you’re wrong. To my eyes, there has still been a fair amount of levity despite the darkness of the show. This give me hope that the show will remain true to its roots over the long haul.

  8. kg says:

    Liz

    Like Weaselone, I hope you’re wrong, and if you’re right I don’t believe you’re the kind of person who’ll be proud and gloat. I don’t think you want to be right.

    You’re just an articulate, passionate person with some extra tine on her hands who obviously feels strongly that two shows you invested in heavily have simply been hijacked.

    No matter how it turns out, it was a well written and well researched piece. Thank you. Enjoyed it throughly.

    • lizjames says:

      KG-
      The one thing I don’t think is that either show was “hijacked.” The shows don’t belong to me or you. They belong to the creators and the owners and the network. We have the right to watch or not watch. That is what we own: our eyeballs.

      That being said, the network guessed wrong on the Larroquette Show and it died a hideous death. And, frankly, there is a lot of whistling past the graveyard with the ratings on Chuck. It’s shed 1.2 million viewers since its premiere on January 10 and, despite the best promotion it could get from NBC, the ratings are now back where they were (2.2) when the show was on the bubble at the end of season 2.

      My point was NOT just about my personal satisfaction with the tone of the show. It was to make the case that it is very difficult to fiddle with a show’s DNA. They made a dark show light and it failed. And they are now making a light show dark and the ratings track record just now is not all that encouraging, either.

  9. Jason says:

    No more Mr Nice Spy – should have probably added – seriously, no more mr nice spy

  10. kg says:

    You’re right again. The ratings have slipped steadily since the season-opening double dip. The good folks over at Chucktv.net always seem to have a handy rationalization, but they’ve declined nonetheless.

    Your use of the Larroquette show was a brilliant example to illustrate in reverse what appears to be happening to Chuck.

    From that context, I’m inclined to agree with you. The show is being changed before our eyes. Eerily the same season as Larro. Perhaps hijacked was a poor word use.

    If you’re right, vs the Fake Name may be bigger than we had originally thought even a few weeks ago. If things don’t improve quickly….

  11. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    It’s a fair assessment to conclude that Chuck needed this change, needed to take this chance to make it more mainstream and thereby escape the clutches of ratings purgatory. A large portion of the shows that most viewers do watch involve something dark and real and depressing. One of my most favorite shows Pushing Daisies dealt with dark but in a light, mystical way and no one ever watched that.

    As for Chuck only time will tell. If they last (and signs say they will, at least to season 4) we won’t know really if it’s the change or the undying dedication the fans impart until it’s all said and done.

    I’m trying very hard to come up with a show that changed mid-run (and flourished) and I’m not coming up with much. Smallville? It used to be this teen angst filled teenage show that is now more mature and focused on heroism compared to what it was once. I know many people (including myself) that didn’t tune into to the earlier years (die Lana die haha) because it wasn’t what I was into but the change called to me. I consider it more serious now than before but it works. Awful example.

    But I guess there’s a difference between an organic change and a reformation. My hope is that TPTB toe that line.

    • atcdave says:

      MASH changed radically during its run, it was actually pretty jarring when Maclean Stevenson left. But the show found new footing after a time.
      I know I’ve been down on dark, but the thing is, I can live with the spy parts of the show being more intense. But I already miss the simpler Chuck, and I am crushed by the fracturing of the warm Chuck/Sarah dynamic. If they get those two things back, all will be well.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Dave it probably doesn’t require posting but you and I are of one mind with this.

        Can live with Dark (in fact I like some aspects of it) but when they are no longer the ones I want to root for then the game changer is a deal breaker. Which is not to say we don’t/I don’t feel a certain nostalgia to what was and what came before. I think Joe’s post more than anything was an awakening to how much Chuck has changed but it’s a change I can thus far live with. Especially considering the grays and like I said hope that they toe the line.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m a little (emphasis “little”) optimistic about the talk of big things coming. Given what we’ve seen so far, good things would be a big change. Not just for Chuck and Sarah, but Chuck fitting into the spy world, and managing his other personal relationships better; would all be big changes at this point. So I HOPE that is the nature of change ahead.

    • Ambaryerno says:

      Agreed. Chuck NEEDED this evolution. Any sort of serialized story just gets DULL if nothing changes. The whole point is to watch the repurcussions of the characters’ choices, good and bad, and how they change.

      The best example I can think of to compare Chuck to is FarScape. Both feature many of the same similarities in the main character arc (Chuck and Crichton both began the series as a regular guy cast into extraordinary circumstances and are forced to become something more). Part of that journey is that the characters ARE going to suffer. Crichton was nearly driven insanse–and probably never COMPLETELY recovered. He was always a little bit crazy after Season 2–and now we’re seeing Chuck beginning to be impacted by his actions as a spy in a way Season 1 and 2 really swung and missed on.

      I didn’t always agree with the direction FarScape followed, particularly after Season 3 when it began getting much darker and main characters began dying, (Zhaan and Crais, not to mention one of the twinned Crichtons) but it’s STILL to my mind one of the greatest television programs ever. What’s happening now with Chuck HAS to happen. Chuck HAS to go through these difficulties. I’d be more disappointed if the show DIDN’T address how Chuck is being affected.

      • joe says:

        Hi, Ambaryerno. Welcome to the discussion.

        You bring something I noticed. And, I sort of hope this comment stays buried, because putting it to words almost makes too much of it. But after watching all of S1 and early parts of S2 again, I suspect that if the characters had not changed from how they were then, I’d be looking at the barest beginnings of the end of my interest. Perhaps I’d hardly notice it for a bit yet. But I’m realizing that the evolution is real, and I really enjoy seeing who they (Chuck in particular) are becoming. Even as I see the more serious and darker nature of S3, I’m also laughing harder.

        Okay, now everyone forget I typed that, and let the show speak for itself so you can make up your own mind!

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        This actually what I meant when I said there’s a difference between organic change and reformation. The reversal of roles? That’s organic. With how much they have affected one another and their desires and dreams you expected that reversal of role and you, as a viewer champion for them to find their way back from the maze. You hope that they heal from the hurts and fall back in love to who they have since become and in turn grow even more both together and individually. You want to see that story told. That’s entertaining. Because even though they’ve changed, and it’s darker, it’s still something that goes on the same vein and is believable. On the other hand just all of a sudden “moving on” (again face value) from just 30 minutes ago where your emotions dominate? Reformation.

      • atcdave says:

        The thing is, even last season we saw linear, positive change taking place. Chuck was taking the role of hero more seriously, and Chuck and Sarah were findinga more complete relationship. When I say I was happy with the first two seasons, that steady growth was a major part of it. This season has undone most of that. The whole team has been denigrated with the arrival of Shaw (went from being “best team” to dysfunctional); and chuck/Sarah have been blown up beyond recognition.
        I would have been happy beyond words with a simple story of a normal guy becomming a spy and winning the heart of his protector. But now the waters have been muddied to the point the show is not the same. Perhaps good news for some, not to me.

      • andpred says:

        I agree heartily. I would be disapointed if Chuck didn’t grow as a result of choosing to be a spy. This is not a safe profession by any means both physically and emotionally. Your mention of Farscape is good; I am more drawn to compare the show to Buffy. Each season the characters grew up and became more mature as they faced challenges and difficulties. I would enjoy the show less if Chuck remained the hapless nerd of the Pilot. He either has to grow or become Jeff. What a horrible thought.

  12. John says:

    Top notch article. Gone from season 3 are the things that got us hooked on Chuck for the first 2 seasons. I seriously hope season 3 will not be Chuck’s undoing.

  13. JC says:

    During seasons 1&2 I overlooked most of the plot holes and cheesy spy plots because the show never took itself too seriously. But now with the more serious nature, I’m finding myself unable and unwilling. I just can’t buy this turn when the villains and spy stuff is straight out of Inspector Gadget. Too many shows handle it much better.

    As for C/S at this point I don’t care. Get together or move on for good. It was cute for awhile but whenever they’re on screen together and feelings are mentioned all enjoyment I had is gone.

  14. herder says:

    It looks like things, at least on the Chuck/Sarah front, are going to go the way that I was begining to think they would. I don’t think there is some great Chuck/Sarah versus the world con going on. It is going to be more like some sort of longer Cole arc. Imagine if Cole had stayed on for three or four extra episodes and instead of the positive ending that Leathal Weapon had you instead have Chuck’s insecurities about what was going on between him and Sarah continue for another two or three episodes.

    Doesn’t mean that the episodes can’t be enjoyable, for many Leathal Weapon was one of their favorites. It mainly depends on how much the writers push that part of the story. It would seem that Fake Name will push that part of it quite a bit, I would suspect that the Beard not so much, no idea about 3.10 or 3.11.

    It is a fine line between enough and too much, I hope the show keeps on the right side of that line. The part that I find incredulous is the idea that the creators and the critics are suprised by the reaction of the fans. They were there at Comic-con, they heard the reaction of the fans and saw the reaction online to their announcements. Brandon Routh himself said he knew the fans would hate his character, so why would people be suprised at the reaction.

    I wonder if when they got the extra six episodes, knowing those would be more light hearted and romantic if the opening thirteen were tweaked in writing (the last few) or editing ( the earlier ones) to make them darker.

    As a fan I will watch the rest of the season, but I do have to say it is not with the same sense of anticipation that I had in January when the show returned.

    • joe says:

      Yeah, Jace definitely overstated it about the alleged boycott. One irate viewer does not a boycott make. (Shakespeare, who saw his share of of irate viewers, btw) I’m not sure he’s got it right that TPTB were taken that much by surprise.

      Both comments seem to overstated.

    • atcdave says:

      Well put herder. Their comments strike me as disingenuous. I’m not sure what they think they gain by making so many fans so unhappy. Its the old “why are you banging your head on the wall?” thing. Its staggering that they think their fans want to be tortured. Its one thing for 24, which has built its signiture on tortured, high angst action and drama. But such a huge part of the Chuck audience was clearly looking to just have fun; they have clearly alienated many of us (OK, me!)

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Well to play devil’s advocate, it’s because it’s their story to tell. Just like it’s our prerogative to turn it off. I would like to think that although they could give a crap about our/my view they would at least keep that in the back of their heads.

        Herder I think they knew it was gonna be unfavorable, largely unfavorable but they had no idea it wad gonna be inflammatory.

      • herder says:

        Why not, after Comic-com you had CF giving interviews saying that they knew that there is a limit to how often they can go to the well of relationship resets and Ali Adler posting the video of how they love the Chuck/Sarah relationship. This was clearly damage control, why would they be suprised when the same thing happens again over the same issue.

      • atcdave says:

        To go back to my “Right to Complain” post, there’s a contract between artist and patron. It may be their story to tell, but they have to sell it to us; or at least enough of us to stay in business. For a movie or novel its a one time deal (of course that can also become a serial, but the installments are normally still sold in small lots); but a weekly TV show has to keep enough people wanting to come back for more to keep them going.
        So while it may be their story to tell, they ignore us at their own peril.

      • Stef62 says:

        You are right it is their show.

        However these are the same people who have already sounded a call to the fans to get behind the show, the same fans who are slowly splitting into 2 camps. You need a cohesive fan base for that, so the chances of that support is considerably reduced if you have a split in that fan base.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Herder, let me put my TPTB cap on lol. I think it’s because they incorrectly assumed that the fan base wouldn’t be as invested in the day to day and thereby knee jerk reactions of the overall arc. Hence inflammatory. They incorrectly assumed that the destination supecedes the journey. Which in itself is a fickle thing considering they use that excuse when convenient.

        And to be fair to them the timing isn’t helping their case. When I first saw Pink slip my first thought was thank god there’s another one. Because if there wasn’t one right after that one the show and its fan base would have closed the door before Chuck even got started. To me 3 words made everything better. They aren’t nearly as lucky this time around.

      • herder says:

        The funny thing is that I don’t necessarily disagree with you, although I would attribute a lot of TPTB’s problems to huberis. They had made it clear that they were going to go in this direction and I think that most fans had accepted that decision, albeit reluctantly.

        What they weren’t willing to accept is a situation where it was done poorly for effect rather than as a necessary part of the story. The other part is that after being told continually this summer and fall that it was the journey, not the destination that suddenly TPTB seem to be hanging their hat on the notion that the destination will justify the journey. Huberis not to see that an important part of the story was poorly done and huberis to suddenly change their rational for doing what they are doing. The timing of it is just bad luck, but they have known about the timing since the end of November, surely they could have done something in editing to make the sudden change more beleivable.

      • rollout says:

        You always hear about ‘moonlighting’ or whatever that show was. I guess that show died after the two main characters finally got together. Supposedly ever since then producers and writers have been scared to put their two main characters together. Many people argue the show was already on it’s way out before this happened. I’m not really sure, it was before my time.

        What I can say is if Chuck gets cancelled after this season, it could be used as an example showcasing why you shouldn’t build too much angst and keep your leads apart when it doesn’t make sense.

        Chuck is a show I will stand by, regardless of what happens. However, it is balancing on the edge of a knife with it’s core audience. Ironically, the small yet very loyal audience it has coveted could be it’s eventual undoing. If this happens it should be a clear warning to other shows not to take it’s fanbase lightly. It can not only save you in dramatic fashion, but can ruin you in an equally dramatic way.

        After saying that, WATCH CHUCK. Things will hopefully get better. I still have faith, but that faith has been constantly tested each week.

      • atcdave says:

        Great post herder, I entirely agree.

        Rollout, I don’t remember seeing you here before; so welcome to the madhouse. Some good insights about the Moonlighting effect and that we may be looking at a new paradigm. Talk about a mixed blessing! I would be happy for many years if studios actually learned a lesson about stupid roadblocks, and honoring their fan base; but I’d hate to loose a show with so much potential to make the point. The best revenge would be, if they put Chuck and Sarah together, ratings go up, and the show exists for several seasons to come.

        We’ve made many comments about the writers hubris; determination to tell the story their way regardless. It is sadly amusing how they say “thank you so much for saving our show, please do it again”; while their actions say “screw you.”

      • BigCheese says:

        Haha nice one atcdave.

        😛

  15. JLR says:

    TBH, prior to season 3, I DID crave more character growth. By that I mean I wanted to see Chuck grow as a spy and man; I wanted to see him learn how to handle his emotions. I likewise wanted to see Sarah learn how to open up more emotionally, at least with Chuck. However, by desiring those things, I also assumed we’d still get humor & feel-good moments. To be sure, we’ve had some of that, just not enough to make me feel good after watching. That’s what has been missing, IME. Yeah, I wanted to have my spycake & eat it too…. All in all, while I’m unhappy w/ the tone tone of the show, I can honestly say that I “got what I asked for.”

    • JC says:

      I just wanted to apologize about my last couple of posts they came off as bitter rants. My feelings about this season have been all over the place, so its been hard for me to put into words.

      I understand the need for character growth and the more serious tone the series has taken. I actually like that we’re seeing the characters grow. And I do like seeing the the ramifications of the spy world is having on Chuck’s personal life. Its just for me the show has lost its balance. With less humor and more emphasis on the spy world and threats I find them less credible. This season feels like two shows, a drama when it comes to the characters and a comedy when it comes to everything else. It’s like I’m watching Daniel Craig’s Bond in the world of Get Smart. Some of aspects of this season have been handled great, others not so much. I’m just hoping the show can find that balance again.

      • atcdave says:

        JC, you know you’re not alone. Good post.

      • joe says:

        I agree with Dave here, JC. Great post.

        I have this ongoing fantasy that one or more of TPTB actually sees these comments. But what if they did? Would you feel like you’ve done some good, or done some damage? That would be a good guidepost, yes?

        I try to read all of the comments, JC, and I hadn’t noticed that you had anything to apologize for. But if you did, this post made up for a whole lot.

      • atcdave says:

        Wow, Joe and I agreed on something this season! I’ve wondered a couple times if TPTB ever see any of this. But I haven’t received any death threats yet so probably not. It is a challenge sometimes to keep it civil and respectful, I struggle with that as much as anyone here (its a given, that it will be a bigger challenge for those of us who are unhappy); but I really haven’t observed any problems here, even in our grumpiness most posters (including you JC) have done a great job.

      • Jason says:

        for the first time, I am rooting against the show’s success, why? the SS arc was supposed to be over in 3.9 originally, it was extended to 3.13, which is a deliberate jab at a % of the fan base – I am numb over the seemingly ever increasing likelihood that SS will remain a couple until 3.13’s end. If so, as quick as the shaw love started for sarah in 3.7 was, we are going to get as equally a quick change from shaw to chuck at the end. I’m sure we will get dozens of angst filled stares from sarah, but it is all BS as far as I am concerned. I sort of think chuck isn’t going to give a rip, at least for a while, I am almost the opposite, for a while, I will probably still care, but if still going on by 3.13, I’m not going to care. Just to repeat, shaw was not scheduled to be around after 3.9, he was added deliberately, and apparently the love interest remains for the next 4 episodes, to me, that is a deliberate attempt to make fans like me upset, and honestly, TPTB got their way.

      • atcdave says:

        Seriously Jason, read some fan fiction (fanfiction.net); especially stuff by billatwork or “Sarah’s Long Flight” by gochuckgo. These are far more uplifting and satisfying than the show has been. While obviously ametuer works; they are fast paced, fun, and show far more respect and affection for the characters than the show currently does.

  16. Gord says:

    There has been a lot about S3 that I have enjoyed, and I can live without Chuck and Sarah being a couple right now. However, I think the last truly happy ending (and possibly the only one) we have seen in this season is at the end of operation awesome (the dinner scene). Some might argue that 3.05 ending was happy as well, I felt for me it was more just neutral.

    The fun is still there in episodes 3 through 7,there were even a few fun moments in 3.01 and 2, but maybe what we are missing is the happy ending.

    Looking back, over the past few seasons, they would never go more than 3 episodes without throwing in a happy ending. In S1 we only had a few episodes that didn’t have happy endings. Alma matter and Nemesis are the only 2 I can think of.

    In S2 there were a few more unhappy endings (first date, seduction, breakup, ex, fat lady, suburbs, beefcake, lethal weapon, dream job, and first kill. However, each of these unhappy ending runs were no more than 3 episodes and we usually had a few happy ending stories between. Eg. after breakup, we got cougars and Tom Sawyer, after Jill we got the end of Gravitron, Sensei and Delorean. After lethal weapon we had broken heart, and after first kill we had colonel.

    I guess the season finale wasn’t really a happy ending – unless you hated Bryce, but it was a cliff hanger and gave us something to look forward to.

    If my theory holds, then 3.08 will have a happy ending again. I just think we could really use a few in a row.

    • joe says:

      Actually, Gord, Seduction ended with the door opening and Chuck getting a face full of Bryce. Heh. I recall issuing an explicative at that point!

      I know what you’re saying, and I really think we could use an “up” ending. We haven’t seen one in a long time. But I know that I’m already remembering the mood of S2 (and the endings) to be a little happier than it seems now, as I review S2 again.

      And I still don’t know how to express the end of Lethal Weapon with that amazing fountain speech. It’s simultaneously hopeful and devastating. But happy? No.

      • herder says:

        It’s strange but I always considered the end of Leathal Weapon as an up ending. Chuck, in effect saying that he wanted a real relationship, not a fake one then the second ending showing that he wasn’t just hopeing for the best but taking an active role in trying to create one with his chart was, I thought, one of the best in the entire series.

    • Faith says:

      hopeful is probably the best word to describe what has been missing thus far in S2 (outside of light-heartedness).

      In s2 we knew that Chuck and Sarah were probably not gonna be together any time soon but you were given hope. You had the belief that all the way through regardless of how and who ends up in their lives their feelings remain just as strong and that the hope lives (not just in us the viewers, but the characters themselves). Outside of maybe three words and Captain Awesome, I haven’t seen that hope, nor experienced it. I continue to “hope” but that’s mostly because I am like my screename proclaims, faithful lol.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree Faith (I know, shocking); I think the hope issue is huge. In S2, even some of the “down” episodes had just enough hope. Even Break-Up struck me as hopeful, the challenge had been laid, but we knew that neither really liked their decision. Lethal Weapon was hopeful, and a relief after what we’d just seen. Fat Lady was a fun episode, and in the end we at least had the hope of knowing Casey and Sarah were on to Jill. Even Beefcake ended with Sarah’s new security arrangement. There were a few downers; Seduction, Ex, Suburbs. But we knew Chuck and Sarah wouldn’t be a real couple most of that season, so every hopeful sign was appreciated. This season, even some of the hope has been bitter; Three Words could have been awesome, except its amounted to NOTHING; Angel of Death was encouraging for Chuck and Sarah (not so much for Devon); Operation Awesome is the only really good ending we’ve had this season (and even that is inadequate post-Colonel)
        Sorry, that’s my verdict on this entire season; completely unacceptable after Colonel. My definition of hopeful changed with that episode.

      • herder says:

        This, I think is my biggest complaint about season 3, the lack of hopeful episodes. Fun leads to a hope that things will work out in the end, so too do real conversations between Chuck and Sarah (and Chuck and others). Maybe the feeling that I had been missing over the first seven episodes was not the fun or lightheartedness of the first two seasons, but rather the sense that despite the problems they faced there was hope that things would work out in the end.

        So far this year by avoiding real conversations and fun between the leads TPTB have lead to a situation where the hope of a better future has been kept from us.

        Perhaps the next few episodes can return that feeling that despite the present problems a better future awaits the characters that we care about.

  17. rollout says:

    The problem with this season is the lack of overall comedy and excess of drama. If this season would have stuck to training Chuck and missions as the primary goal and stuck the Sarah/Chuck relationship at a distant second everything would have been fine. However, I feel that Chuck’s training to be a spy has taken a back seat to his rocky relationship with Sarah. The love rhombus has only compounded this issue and unlike what others have said I really don’t see how it’s maturing the characters. If this was only a 13 episode season I’d most definitely say that after 7 episodes it would have been a flop. That’s very difficult for me to say considering how die hard I am about this show. I’ve said a few times that the show really missed out by not showing Chuck’s training. This would have added alot more comedy to the season thus far. More Casey = more funny. Pretty easy equation.

    • Jason says:

      agree plus more CS time = chemistry

      it hurt them a great deal that routh is falling flat since he is always on the screen with sarah, the shows ‘chemistry’ bread and butter, even if you are not a shipper, he is really struggling

    • Gord says:

      I will definitely see this season through, because there just seems to be some really good stuff coming up.
      But depending on where they go with it, will I care about a S4 – not so sure at this point.

      There still has been a lot of fun stuff in these episodes and some of them quite memorable. I loved 3 and 4. I thought there were some great moments in 5, 6 and 7 as well.

      For drama, I really liked the ending of Nacho Sampler and I list that episode as one of my all time favourites. I know others feel differently, and not worth arguing over, its just the way I feel about it.

      For comedy, Operation Awesome is the best of this season for me.

      But as I said in an earlier comment they need to end a few episodes in a happy place. Not necessarily Chuck and Sarah back as a couple, but at least more or less content.

      I’m sure this is coming, I just hope people hang in long enough.

      • Jason says:

        gord, nacho may have been some of the best work this season, but that ending, not the ending of a warm comedy, actually, the ending was possibly the most dramatic thing ever in chuck – albeit sad – might be ok if 3.5 hadn’t ended with ch and ss together, and 3.7 ended with team b plit, and ch and ss in a LI situation, that is 3 ep’s in a row, of pretty tough endings, I think 3.8 is going to be nearly as bitter, if so, that makes 4 in a row, you would think 10,11,12 might be in pretty tight spots, so it is possible 9 will be the only happy ending episode unti 13, and who even knows about ep 9.

      • rollout says:

        Chuck certainly isn’t as feel good as previous seasons. I understood going into this season that it was going to be dark, but I don’t think anyone understood just how dark it was going to be. I wanted Chuck to grow as a spy and as a man, but to an extent. I never expected him to turn into Bryce or Casey. Most of what we are seeing is him trying to wade his way through it until he dictates what he will and won’t do. Hopefully this happens soon as we are already more than halfway through the original 13 episodes. From what I understand those first 13 weren’t really changed that much after the 6 additional episodes were tacked on. I also understand the it’s about the journey, but they shouldn’t sacrifice the heart of the show just to put these two kids together in episode 13. Even if they give the fans what they want in the end the journey does matter and sacrificing 12 episodes for an overly dramatic effect doesn’t seem to be impressing the masses.

      • atcdave says:

        You’d think it occur to someone too, that they’re killing disc sales. If 3.13 is the only good ending before the back six, I’m not sure if buy the discs at all.

    • lou federico says:

      At least jeffster is coming back in 3.8 on Monday. Comedy will follow

      • Jason says:

        I’m not an expert, but I think jeffster is not in 3.8, but 3.9, the ref guest star is slated for 3.9, mo ryan mentioned no buymore in 8, but lots in 9 in her podcast, plus, with chuck at the castle all of 9, might make more sense, plus it sound like 9 is really well liked by those early reviewers, I am not positive of this, just an opinion????

  18. angy says:

    Ok, I agree with the ones who feel that the show has change, and not so much for good, I mean I started watching the show because of the superficial stuff: spying, action, romance, humor… but then I realize that the show actually had a heart, this little thing or ingredient taht made it almost magical, it was like going somewhere happy but at the same time real.
    And now it’s like there’s only superficial stuff: really really bad spies, a “romance” that has more drama than love, and the humor… well though it’s still good, I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to.
    That’s my personal opinion I know it won’t change other peoples mind, just like theirs probably won’t change mine.
    I want my old chuck back, improved? yes! change? it’s always needed so yes!
    But keep the same essence! (talking about the show chuck, not chuck itself)

    • Gord says:

      Agree, lets just hope that they head back in that direction before the end of the season.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m with you Angy; great to hear from you!

    • BigCheese says:

      Agreed.

      But what is sad this season, if you look only at the original 13 episodes, this for sure is the most depressing “thing” ever, plus the possibility to be last season.

      Well SS will last till 13 I’m sure, and lucky we got 6 more to go, and maybe old times come back.

      • atcdave says:

        I wouldn’t be so sure Sarah and Shaw will be a couple all the way to 3.13; in fact, I would bet by 3.09 we will know she still has strong feelings for Chuck. A week ago I was even more optimistic than that; but I do think a broken intersect at the start of 3.09 indicates Adler isn’t going to do much for Chuck and Sarah in 3.08. I think when Chuck does come out of it Sarah has to play a big part.

      • herder says:

        I think that we will have a situation where we likely know Sarah’s mind by the end of 3.09 or 3.10 (my guess 3.10), but Chuck doesn’t. His insecurities will continue until the point where he and Sarah actually work things out, be that 3.11, 3.12 or 3.13.

      • BigCheese says:

        An interesting comment.

        “Piper // 2/22/2010
        from http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2010/02/spies-like-us-advance-review-of-next.html

        I don’t think it’s a “minority” of fans at all. By MOST accounts episode 7 was not the best we’ve seen. I don’t hear a loud cheering section for the fact that we will spend all of this season, the season we all fought for, with Chuck and Sarah apart yet again. I don’t know about anyone else, but this season of Chuck has left me wanting and without my usual warm and fuzzy feeling. Not at all what I expected when I bought those subways and sent in those receipts. There is so much justification for why this season is playing out like it is–viewers want them to continue the tension, there’s no show without the tension, yet, how limiting to think that’s the only tension that could be played out with C/S. I have no interest to watch the next 4 eps now that Jace has said those of us who don’t like the love quadrangle will have lots more to like–that means we have that to deal with it right up until the final episode of the season. TV shouldn’t be this painful. It should be fun. Chuck was always fun because we saw the light at the end of the tunnel toward the end of season 2 and yet the big payoff with C/S in the finale, didn’t even last for one ep this season. I was so excited for this season of Chuck and it’s been such a let down.”

        Very nice. Look at the last part:
        “Chuck was always fun because we saw the light at the end of the tunnel toward the end of season 2 and yet the big payoff with C/S in the finale, didn’t even last for one ep this season. I was so excited for this season of Chuck and it’s been such a let down.”

        I also agree with herder about the trust (in the other post), and it maybe bring then close at 313.

  19. andpred says:

    Good Article, I liked the John Laroquette Show as well and lost interest as they changed some of the darker humor. I disagree about this season on Chuck though. I just listened to the Chuck You Podcast, and agree with many of their comments that I love the emotionalism in this season. I also love the more mature and adult Chuck. They also stated that each season has its own storyline and tone while keeping the core elements in place. The humor is there but it is mixed with a more dangerous spy story. I feel like Joe that if the show was not changing I might not be as passionate in my interest because Chuck would become a one note character, the perpetual Peter Pan. Also, I rewatched “Pink Slip” with a friend. I noted that we have not come back to the fact that Chuck is more dangerous this year, remember Beckman’s conversation with Sarah about having to protect the world from Chuck. This clearly is waying on Sarah and it is party of the “seismic events” that are going on and coming to a head in the next episodes.

  20. Waverly says:

    “Chuck” needs “The Marriage Ref”.

  21. herder says:

    I’m going to take a stab at a prediction, I think in the end the big thing will be trust. We have had the issue of trust thrown at us for the last two years, but barely a word of it so far this year. It has been slipped in slyly in a couple of occasions, in Three Words Sarah trusted that Chuck could flash to get them away from Javier and with the poison in the Mask Sarah trusted implicitly that Chuck would get the antidote.

    My guess is that when you have the two episodes the Beard and the Tic Tac where you have Sarah on a mission with Shaw but not Chuck then with Chuck but not Shaw she will realize that when the chips are down it is Chuck that she trusts not Shaw. It may take some time for this to play out but trust is her big issue and in the end Chuck has hers and Shaw doesn’t. Before we get there there will be a break down in trust between the two, my guess is as a result of things that happen in Fake Name and the punch.

    I also think there will be a similar realization by Chuck that the one person that he trusts implicitly is Sarah, I just don’t have enough information at this time to predict how, perhaps something with Ellie and Awesome or Morgan.

    This is my marker for future smugness and insufferability, of course if I am wrong I will simply put it down as a WAG.

    • kg says:

      Right on Herder

      Shaw is a borderline fraud. Big shit-talker. I’ll admit he’s brave, shooting himself and all.

      But he choked in the mask. He couldn’t catch a falling screw or two, while Chuck suspended upside down, grabbed a mask. And you would think he would know better than to play around with the real weapon and subsequently poison himself and Sarah.

      You can have this guy. Counting down the days until Chuck pops him.

      • atcdave says:

        Except Chuck will end up looking like the bad guy for it. Shaw will bench Chuck for loosing his cool, and even if Sarah understands, Chuck won’t know until later.

      • kg says:

        Right Dave

        What the hell was I thinking? This is season three. The one we fought for. One step forward, but two backward.

        Shoot. It’s still worth it. Besides, Sarah is a woman of action, and I think still more impressed by actions.

        What impressed Sarah immediately after meeting Chuck? What allowed her to change her mind about Chuck as a mark being “a piece of cake?”

        Simple. Chuck was both thoughtful and resourceful enough to film the dejected girl’s ballarina recital.

  22. Jason says:

    liz, here is an NBC link to chuck’s diary, at first I thought it was a scam, but if true, there is no chuck con going on, matter of fact, everythinig we see from chuck is face value:

    http://www.nbc.com/chuck/exclusives/spy-notes/index.php

    • herder says:

      Actually face value and less, I’m not too fond of the Chuck who fill out these spy notes.

      • JLR says:

        Ehhhh….Who writes that stuff? Makes Chuck sound ultra flakey since we know C/S wind up together….ready to move on, but will still jump at Sarah by season’s end.

    • SWnerd says:

      Yep, looks like what you see is what you get. I think it’s funny that those notes talk about how his spy life almost got Hannah killed…but he’s still going to pursue that relationship which will continue to put her in danger. How sweet of him. I also think it’s ridiculous that he’s so accepting, even gungho, to become a solo agent and lose his team. *sigh*

    • John says:

      Looks like Occam’s Razor prevails again.

    • atcdave says:

      Doesn’t sound promising, but I doubt its considered canon either. I’m wrestling with the idea of skipping until April. Currently this isn’t the show for me.

      • Jason says:

        I think the bottom line is to not allow oneself to get invested in a show to the point the plot line matters, for some reason, this show did it to a bunch of people, first time ever for me, since TPTB and pro ‘spinners’ see hundreds of scripts for doz’s of shows each season – might be hard for them to grasp what happened here in chuck. Would be nice if someone articulant and connected enough to communicate such a message would, simply so TPTB sort of got the message. Bottom line for me, I am watching chuck till it gets canceled, but will never care again any more than in a detached way, much like I really could care less if rick castle hooks up with kate beckett or his movie star ex wife.

      • atcdave says:

        You’re exactly right Jason. I’m not sure how I got so completely invested in this show, but obviously it was a mistake. Funny you’d mention Castle; that’s another show I watch and enjoy, but I’m fine with taking it as it comes. I don’t like triangles there either (personal bias), but they don’t make me spitting mad. There’ve been other shows I went from liking, to not liking; but I’ve never experienced such an extreme reaction before.
        I will also, probably, watch to the bitter end. But right now I’m really asking myself, why?

    • weaselone says:

      Damage control at its most ineffectual. They could have at least have involved someone who cares about the character and show as opposed to the likely intern to write the entries. There’s multiple individuals on this site and dozens of fan fiction authors that could have done a significantly better job.

      • Faith says:

        it’s incomplete as well. It’s missing the emotional component of the show. For example in here he lists his reasons for becoming a spy yet in Three words his reasons were expanded and far more emotional: “Look I Sarah you’re probably very hurt. You’re probably hurt that I didn’t run away with you in Prague. And I did that and I’m sorry. You have to know that you’re everything I’ve ever wanted. But how can I do that, how can I run away with you knowing what I’d turn my back on. You know, knowing what I had in my head could help a lot of people. And you’re the one that taught me that being a spy is about choosing something bigger. It’s putting aside your own personal feelings and that’s what I chose. I chose to be a spy for family and friends and you. I chose to be a spy because Sarah, I, love you.”

    • cholitau says:

      tT sounds “Juvenile” and i blame it on whoever manages the site. It’s poor planning and sounds flakey, taking away from the show we love. This follows the retarded game they had on there on “Who is the best girl for Chuck”. To me it looks to be made for 15 year olds.. or maybe they think only 15 year olds are watching Chuck…

      No offense to any 15yr olds out there though! 😉

      • Faith says:

        we have 15 year olds?!

      • cholitau says:

        I’m pretty sure there are very young Chuck fans out there. They are probalby entertained with stuff like what the site has.

        It doesn’t amuse me, though. Maybe i just like the show to much and take it too seriously.

      • Faith says:

        no I meant on this site lol. If there is 15 year olds on this site, they’re mature 15 year olds so props to you 😀

      • atcdave says:

        One of my co-workers swears her 2-year old is Chuck obsessed. But I don’t think its really the 15 years olds that they need to worry about damage control with. From what I’ve seen, its adults who are disgusted.

    • Faith says:

      Chuck is an idiot. I’m gonna start there.

      First of Hannah is NOT innocent. I think we’ll find out all the details shortly. Two, he really genuinely believed (and I’ve posted this several times) that this is what Sarah needs. To move on, because he is freakin blind and incapable of seeing what is right in front of his eyes. And so in his kind heart he let her go (idiot). He’s trying to put her happiness over his and whatever it is he continues to feel for her.

      Sarah has not moved on Chuck, get a clue! Ugh.

      This adds to really what I believe will happen to 3.8 and the eventual 3.9. Chuck will see Shaw and Hannah and he will be happy but long for her to the point that it breaks him. Because by 3.9 he no longer has Sarah in his mind (idiot!) and all he has is his spy life which he will then suck at. Sarah? Well I don’t blame her, Chuck is an idiot…but the con is on.

      • Faith says:

        typo. That was supposed to be Shaw and Sarah (in 3.8)

      • atcdave says:

        Don’t mince words Faith, what do you really think?! Chuck certainly seems clueless right now, and not in the sweet/innocent way; more like insensitive/self-absorbed.

      • Faith says:

        lol Dave, there probably would have been a few choice words instead of the PG version but really I’m questioning why I care so much. I mean I have a life, a family, a bf, a job, a school. WTF do I care so much.

        I don’t know, maybe it’s stupid but I’m keeping the faith.

      • atcdave says:

        I know my wife thinks I’ve gone ’round the bend. Why do we care so much is certainly the burning question. I think it will get better once the show gets going again, 6 days to go.

      • weaselone says:

        To be fair and balanced, Chuck being an idiotic flake makes him a perfect match for Sarah at this point given that she is apparently also an idiotic flake.

    • Lucian says:

      This was written by a brilliant Stanford grad / articulate schnook? Interesting……

  23. Stef62 says:

    Has anyone thought the whole ‘punch’ incident might not actually happen until ep9

    Or that Chuck might not be in on the name reveal, just Sarah, Shaw, and us.

    • atcdave says:

      I’m actually very worried about that now. If Chuck is “broken” at the start of 3.09, I think 3.08 must end on a pretty dismal note. If Sarah had entrusted him with her real name in 3.08 I don’t think he’d be so distraught. Maybe its only his professional life that is in ruins, and things are looking up for him and Sarah at the end of 3.08, but somehow that seems unlikely.

      • Stef62 says:

        I’m guessing that she’ll be upset that he takes a pop at Shaw, and him telling her not bother about Chuck, as he,(Chuck), doesn’t even know her name. Remember Shaw has stated he knows everything about them all.

    • Mike B says:

      If Chuck is not involved, in a big way, in the name reveal that would be another slap in the face to the loyal fan base. Not to mention total indifference to season 1.

      • atcdave says:

        It is possible even if we learn her real name in 3.08; Sarah would still disclose it to Chuck of her own volition in a later episode. But yeah, its still a slap at the fans.

  24. Faith says:

    Posted by JS on his twitter:

    • Mike B says:

      Faith, who’s better then you!

    • herder says:

      Ha! I just saw this amazing video and was going to suggest that someone put up a link to get us out of the pity party we (myself included) have mostly been on over the past few days. This shows something to look forward to.

    • Stef62 says:

      Is that Chuck fighting Shaw?

      Oh and go Awesome!!!

    • Faith says:

      You are Mike, you are 😉

      It seemed to me that the clip was mostly action packed and fast paced. Incidentally something that most Chuckaholics (not me) have been saying all along: “Enough angst, focus no the spy stuff and Chuck will be fine.”

      Though of course without fail, even with all that I and my brethren (shippers) focuses on “Sarah, do you love me?”

      I feel like a pull toy. Just drag me every which way and I shall follow.

      -ChuckNewbie8 aka Jem keeping the faith.

      • atcdave says:

        Oh I love to see the explosions and stuntwork; to me the difference is, I never doubt they will be there. But the Chuck and Sarah scene from the end looks game changing (again). She didn’t look overjoyed, but of course that proves nothing. If the clip is from 3.13 she likely says “yes”; if its from any earlier she likely says “its complicated” or something else non-committal.

    • SWnerd says:

      The Superman style beginning titles may have been a little much, but the rest looked good. Of course I thought that when they showed all the season 3 promos prior to the premiere so…we shall see. 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        Hah! Yeah I know, I liked what I saw; but my enthusiasm is cautious.

      • JC says:

        I just happy that its looks like we’re getting more action and humor (Jeffster!) to balance out the angst. Maybe the show is finding that perfect mix again.

  25. Jason says:

    Promo looks very good, so hard to know exactly which episodes are which, interesting the ILU ? at the end of it all yet this is a spy story – right – would seem odd to be any time soon, yet sure rallies the shipper crowd I would guess, so does having a gun aimed at shaw, wonder if he shoots him in the exact spot shaw taught him to in ep 3.4,also wonder if he did not have shaws permission this time – LOL

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