Why Do Fools Fall In Love.

Back in the mists of time, when I first started posting on the NBC Chuck boards (last October) I posed a question.  Do the show runners see the same show we see?  Another question has come up recently.  Do the show runners hate us?  Which inevitably leads to the third question, why do so many fans seem determined to hate them?  I’m probably making a big mistake, but here I go opening a can of worms, after the jump.

I love to write.  My participation here is as much about the chance to write about something I’m passionate about as it is about Chuck.  But much as I love to write I don’t consider myself a writer.  I hope to be some day, once I’ve retired from my day job and have a decent pension to fall back on, but I can’t imagine depending on putting words on a page for someone else’s approval for my livelihood.  Many of you have been very generous complimenting me for my writing, and I thank you all.  I admit it’s a nice little ego boost to hear I’ve expressed something someone has felt or clarified what confused them.  Thankfully we are a very mature and polite group, because were I to write something someone felt insulting or idiotic I can imagine the opposite of the ego boost would be tough.  So far my writing has been confined to essays like this and scientific manuals and papers, with the occasional letter to the editor tossed in for fun.  I haven’t seriously tried my hand at fiction since my college days some 25 years ago, and find the thought of relying on writing fiction for a living to awful to comprehend.  However I think I can still be an honest and fair critic about how some of the writing is done.  I’m a scientist, and I know it is possible to understand methodology and the thinking without understanding the particulars or being skilled in carrying them out.  I’m not a chemist, but if someone laid out the premise, method, and conclusion of an experiment I could tell you if that is valid, scientifically speaking.  But because I don’t work in the field of writing fiction I don’t like to say someone has done something wrong to loudly.  Though I know I’ve crossed that line a few times.  I try to remember to characterize decisions on the basis of my preferences or enjoyment and how it affects the things I and others care about, story and characters.  I’m bringing this up for a simple reason, we don’t know who reads this board but I recall an interview with one of the actors or show runners that said very directly they try to read everything out there, so please, let’s be civil while eviscerating each other.  I don’t want to censor anyone or sound like a scold but I’d prefer we not characterize other peoples motivations or feelings.  That said, I’m going to do some theorizing in the abstract on the creative temperament.  Along with some generous reproduction of parts of my ancient NBC post.

In many areas of the arts the expression of a single artist is clear and unambiguous.  This isn’t the case for most of the performing arts.  I like to think one of the best examples for how the performing arts work as a collaborative effort is an orchestral performance.  Start with a musical score. The composer comes up with an idea, a theme if you will. He writes down the notes, the parts, some instructions such as fortissimo or crescendo and you have a score, but not music. The score goes to the conductor and each of the musicians gets their part of the sheet music. Each musician will interpret their part for their instrument and the conductor will (hopefully) unify the interpretations and add his own. When after many rehearsals it all comes together you finally get music. But that music may or may not sound the way the composer thought it would or intended.

I think that the producers and writers may not see what we see since they have their own ideas and interpretations of the characters and the story lines. When they watch the show they see what they wrote. We however see the input of the directors, the actors, the editors, costumers, stunt coordinators, cameramen and even hair stylists and makeup artists.  All of these things can add to an overall impression that may be a slightly different story than they thought. We concentrate not just on the words, but on those subtle changes in expression Yvonne is famous for, or the obvious chemistry she and Zach have on the screen. Even something as simple as Yvonne’s hairstyle can change how she comes across in a scene.  I often wonder if they (the writers and producers) are watching the same show, or if their pre-conceived (literally) ideas of where the story is going or has been might blind them to an extent.  Once you put your art out there for the world you lose ownership. Sting wrote a song about a creepy obsessive stalker called “Every Breath You Take”. Most people heard a lovely melody, a sense of longing in Sting’s voice and decided it was a love song. So are they wrong? Chuck and Sarah are the creations of the writers, producers, directors and actors, but once the shows are out there they have to respect that to an extent the fans take over ownership. Remember how many fanboys hated (and still do) George Lucas for ruining THEIR movie?

Now comes the conflict, and ego, emotions, pride, ambition, they all get mixed in.  It all starts with a writer.  The original writer creates out of thin air a person, a character.  At first this person may be a bit fuzzy, somewhat undefined in some ways, but crystal clear in others.  As this character moves along the creative chain, while the writer may retain some control other people start to take this person away from it’s only parent.  Producers start casting, adding their interpretation of who they need to sell this character to the public.  Actors take what they see on the page and try to make it real.  Wardrobers, hair stylists, makeup artists all add their little touches.  Finally a director brings an ensemble together and with tweaks and prods and pushes gets everyone going in the same direction, and a show is made.  Then there is the editing.  Any of the people in the creative chain can add to or detract from the project as a whole.  None of them alone can make a masterpiece, but just about any of them can create a disaster.  But who takes the blame for the disaster?  Almost always one of two people, the two with probably the most important inputs, the writer or the actor.  They both OWN that character, in a very real way.  It contains a very real piece of themselves.

We got a request about a week ago to discuss what is a fan.  I dashed off a quick paragraph, I’d been thinking about it a bit so most of my thoughts were there, I just needed to put them out.  But something interesting and instructive happened, Both Joe and Dave had theirs ready to go, and I didn’t want to hold things up, so I wrote it up and sent it.  There was one thing that kept bugging me about it though.  A fan interacts.  It didn’t quite flow to me.  It seemed a clunky way to put it.  Only after we published did it come to me…participates.  A fan participates.  I don’t know if you all think I’m crazy now, but to me that little change made so much difference, and on what I thought was a deadline (no pressure came from Joe or Dave, this was entirely self imposed) I put out something that I thought I could have done better.  I also went crazy on the commas, as I often do, to my detriment.  I really need to brush up on semicolons and dashes.  But I digress.  The point is that while I’m not a writer I think I understand that there are conflicting emotions going on here.  A sense of pride at creating something unique and a sense of disappointment that it wasn’t perfect, because you just didn’t have time.  Add to that something I’ve noticed in both actors and writers, a touch of self loathing and insecurity.

I recounted a few weeks ago how I sat up late one night during the great DC blizzards and listened to Adam Baldwin on a talk show.  One thing he talked about was something I’ve heard a lot from both actors and writers who I respect a great deal, and whose talents are very apparent.  He felt like a fraud for a lot of his career.  There is this insecurity, I’m a fraud, I don’t do anything important, I’m not that good, I’m faking it and I know it, please don’t let everybody find out and take it all away.  I can’t count the number of times that bit of self examination comes up, especially among creative people.  And now we get to us, the fans.

We invest, we participate.  Doesn’t really cover it, does it.  I’ll put it out there.  We fall in love.  OK, not love of your life romantic love or raise your children love, or even love your dog love, but we do fall in love.  We love the characters, we love the story, we make them a part of ourselves and give them a part of us and strong emotions get involved.  We love how they make us feel, and we want more.  We want it to be real and meaningful, and it is to us.  The best shows connect to our humanity through love and hope.  They show us these things and draw us into a new world that’s often better than our own.  And we fall in love with this world.  I’ve written about this before if you’re interested.  When we think that someone is cheapening our beloved, taking our love for granted, or threatening to take it away from us, it is not pleasant.  And because a fan participates and cares, we tend to make our displeasure known — often in less than appealing ways.

We ask a lot of writers and actors, and all the others.  We want truth and beauty and humanity and love and pride and patriotism and justice, and we want it delivered promptly and on a regular basis.  And they try, and often deliver, but as Chuck said, only as good as your last flash.  It must be frustrating, the ownership, the pride, the striving, only to be told you’ve failed to deliver, try again.  As if we could do better.  Almost as frustrating I’d imagine as watching your beloved Sarah Walker being turned into the flakey office slut as opposed to a beautiful strong woman with a wounded soul.

I try to do two things here, and I hope I do both with equal vigor.  I try to understand why I and so many others feel disappointed and betrayed.  I think I occasionally display a bit more vigor there.  I also try to see the story being told, it’s still a good story, and I try to help others see it too and what is good about it.  It may be time to expand on this part.  Hopefully I’ll have a lot more opportunities.  We’re a support group of fanboys and fangirls after all, we need a bit of both.  One thing I don’t want to do is become bitter or personal in my criticism,  I’ve done more than my share of that already.

I came to Chuck pretty late.  Last August was the first time I’d seen an episode.  I missed the campaign to save the show, the angst of Comicon and the summer, I didn’t really take my investment much beyond watching till October.  Now I’m at least knee deep in it.  I understand, some of you are up to your necks.  You bought the subs and wrote letters and signed petitions online and pushed the show to your family and friends.  You invested and participated far more than I have, so when I say this please understand where I’m coming from.  I’ve never felt betrayed, I’ve felt disappointed.  I love Chuck because it isn’t like every other TV show out there.  It has a mix of everything you could ask for, plus something more.  Chuck has a heart and soul, a warmth and humanity that practically radiates from the central characters.  It makes you feel it matters.  Quite a feat for a show about a guy with a supercomputer in his brain.  The central element of that heart and soul was that two very wonderful but wounded people managed to find the person they needed.  They really created something special, and we all saw it.

I re-watched Firefly recently.  At the end I went to the special features and watched all the stuff about the show’s short but glorious run.  I can’t remember who it was, but one of the cast talked about the last days of the show, and what moved him most was something Adam Baldwin said to the cast and crew.  To paraphrase he said I’ve been in this business a long time, and something I learned early on was appreciate what you are doing while you’re doing it.  I was working with Stanley Kubric when I was just a kid, and I was impatient to get things done.  We’re lucky here because we know how special what we’re doing is now, while we’re doing it.  Always appreciate that, it doesn’t come around that often.

I wonder if the cast and crew of Chuck has that feeling.  I can picture Adam Baldwin clueing them in.  It looks like they have a blast on set, and clearly the cast has gone to great lengths to connect with fans and give us a great show for another season.  But I sometimes wonder about others.  Schwartz and Fedak created this show and all the characters who inhabit this universe, but with them not involved with the daily creative aspects of the show, I sometimes wonder if they understood how special what they created was, and hopefully will be again.  I said I’ve never felt bitter, just disappointed.  At the end of season two I saw the direction the show seemed to be taking in Chuck Versus The Ring, and it wasn’t that unique or special, it was predictable.  It was the obvious path.  My disappointment has always been the opportunity they had and missed, and if they’ll get that opportunity again to make something unique, and special to a lot of people.  It seems they either didn’t know or didn’t have the courage to take the path I thought was there, I can’t fault them for that in the end.  But I came to Chuck late, I often wonder, in all our posts and criticisms and venting and flames if we fans ever really took the time to think it out and tell them how wonderful their creation was — and why.

After all, a fan falls in love.  What kind of idiot wouldn’t tell someone that.

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About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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115 Responses to Why Do Fools Fall In Love.

  1. Matt says:

    Ernie-

    I don’t know if you could write for a living or not. I don’t know what sells, I just know what I like. I like the things that you write and am glad people with better literary skills than myself have the same or similar opinions regarding this show as I do. I really look forward to Mondays for the simple fact that a new episode of Chuck is on. A new work week is the penance that must be paid to earn the payoff that is the the new Chuck.

    I still care for the characters for Chuck today as much as I did the first episode when we were introduced to these characters. We complain about the journey the show creators and writers have taken us on because we want the best for these characters and believe there is an easier road to get where we are going. I’m not sure if the easier road would give us the same quality of payoff in the end that we are going to get this year. Either way, I can’t wait until Monday!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Thanks Matt. You’ve hit on something with your reply, and I’ll take the opportunity to expand a bit. As you said, it’s tough to watch people suffer, especially people you care about, I absolutely get that. But I also want to and will work to believe that there is a reason for this. If we’re emotionally invested, that means something. It means that, perhaps the writers can give us, or try, to give us something more. To actually make us a part of the story. We feel low because Chuck and Sarah both feel low. I understand, and I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, because with that investment comes “the payoff”. We want to practically be a part of the show, we want it to matter. For it to matter, just maybe it has to be able to hurt us a bit, just maybe we have to believe it might not all be OK in the end. Maybe we have to be invested enough to care, really care about the outcome. I’m not endorsing, just speculating.

      There is a risk with this path. Chuck has never been “The Wire”. That kind of feeling has never been why people tuned in. Also in fairness it isn’t in any danger of going that far. I think it’s not coming off particularly well, and I’ll keep posting on the reasons why I think that is so.

      I may not agree, I may not enjoy it, and I may have my complaints, but I’ve made a choice to try to let TPTB tell their story, and if I don’t like it, I’ll let them know. But I also decided something else, and this predates Chuck. I will strive, in all cases, to find the least offensive interpretation of something I can. I don’t want to ascribe to vanity and arrogance something that can be explained as simple miscommunication, or not being quite good enough to make your point. I may love the printed word, but she can be a fickle b*tch, especially online.

      And with that, I’ll step off my soapbox and let us all return to our regularly scheduled gabfest.

      • Matt says:

        Ernie this is one of my guilty pleasures. Whenever I get a few minutes to spare between classes, I check out this site and speed read the comments that have popped up since my last visit.

        Its obvious that everyone here cares and identifies with one or more of the characters on this show and the the idea of them suffering and to our best estimates, needlessly makes it hard to watch. I don’t want to equate it to a car wreck and the idea of not being able to look away, because it hurts me to think that the story I loved over the last two years has had an abrupt change in mood and direction. Do the characters in the story have to really go through this? I think that is the underlying question.
        If the show is following the comics, we know that eventually the two leads will come together and Sarah will be a housewife with at least one child. I want the story to get there, but I don’t want it to seem unbelievable (the primary complaint people have had about the OOC things Sarah has done). When Chuck and Sarah finally come together, I want it to seem “real”.

  2. Rick Holy says:

    I don’t think hate has anything to do with it. Hate? Over a TV show. There may be things that some of us hate ABOUT this season, and we may be unhappy with TPTB about it, but hate? Nah! And visa versa. If anything, TPTB probably just get a kick out of yanking our chains!

    • OldDarth says:

      Totally agree.

      People threw the way hate around with careless abandon these days.

      Dislike of a fictional story is understandable. Hate of a fictional story is incomprehensible.

  3. Jason says:

    i think we will see in 3.10 how the bottled show works – big 3 fightin bad guys B plots play off of chuck and sarah, great for me I am sure – for some reason, this was not the direction for season 3. What will be interesting, and none of us really knows, if 3.14 thru 3.19 is a return to the formula, as well as season 4, or if we will get bizarro OC Chuck / Sarah until chuck runs its course? I must admit, I do not understand why 13 or 19 fun episodes with the bottled approach would not work, but then again, I am not paid to run tv shows.

  4. JC says:

    I think I get more insulted by the cheap tactics used this season. Only a few things have really bothered me. The Prague scene, no follow up on the ILY by Chuck, the ending of The Mask and the name reveal. And its not because they happened, its how they were handled. All of those scenes came off as an easy way to move the story along. A large part of the story this season. None of it seemed honest and in a way most people would act.

    I’ve always been a believer that stories no matter how crazy and unbelievable work because the human reactions are true. Take the new BSG, a crazy story but with believable and normal human interactions. That’s been my main problem this season. I just can’t look past how juvenile(maybe thats not the right word) so called adults are acting.

    Honestly I’m giving this show more of chance because of how much I love it. I’ve stopped watching shows before that have taken this path.

  5. atcdave says:

    Its always a fine line between caring enough to get involved (it requires a certain level of investment to make the effort) and staying calm and civil when things go wrong. I think it is critical to be clear and methodical in our approach; as Ernie observes there’s no telling when the subject of your wrath is actually reading what you write; so if we come across as blathering idiots, our opinions are unlikely to be taken very seriously.
    One of the drawbacks to none of us being professional writers is we don’t always know how we sound in writing. I love to laugh, I do it easily and often. My posts often make me laugh; but I do wonder if that comes across. I have been angry with a lot of what we’ve seen this season; I’m sure that comes across, but I don’t always know how its received. I suppose I am a little more bitter than Ernie; not that I’m a bitter person, but my investment in this show goes back to the beginning, so my disappointment is very strong.
    I also remember the gushing enthusiasm so many of us had and felt during the final stretch of S2. I know I was generous with my praise. I still think that is some of the best television I’ve ever seen. Even this season I was loudly happy with Angel of Death and Operation Awesome. But right now I think its more important to be clear about what I don’t like……Just in case anybody’s paying attention.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Dave, well put. I think one of the points I’m making is that we need to be as generous, and specific in our praise of what is good and right as we are in what is wrong. I’m hoping we get that chance and take advantage of it.

  6. JLR says:

    Ernie, once again you convey a sense of things not so easy to explain…

    I come to this blog & Chuck from a seemingly different POV than most of you, it seems. See, I don’t watch much TV. Chuck is the only scripted show I’ve watched (w/ any true regularity) in about 7 years (Firefly was the last show I truly loved; what a shame). I’m just too damn particular, and perhaps jaded. I think 99% of what’s on TV is crap, so I don’t waste my time.

    I stumbled onto Chuck during S2, and you’re right, it was like falling in love. I bought in immediately. Very strange for someone like me who is so usually guarded in his affections. Stranger still for me to join the online fan community. I actually became a bit obsessed for a while.

    TPTB DO deserve credit for what they helped to create, no doubt. And, no, I don’t think they hate us. I just think they misplace our loyalties, and believe we’ll forgive almost anything they do. Like junkies in need of a fix, that we’ll keep coming back for more regardless the cost. I won’t be one of them, as I think the show has largely devolved into what I find “wrong” with the vast majority of TV. In a way, it may be harder on me than others because I don’t have alternatives. Chuck is my one true love; I have no mistress. The withering of the show (obviously, this is my opinion only) has been painful, and I lash out at times w/ my typical cynical comments. I do try at times to be more fair-minded, but it is hard.

    Can the show win back my love? Doubtful. I tend to not repeat what I view to be a mistake. And I’m starting to think the time I’ve devoted to Chuck over the last year has been a mistake. Guess we’ll see what TPTB have in store for us over the remaining episodes of the original 13 ep. order. Will they be able to quell the rotten taste in my mouth?

    • atcdave says:

      JLR, I watch a lot of TV and movies, I love both mediums; but Chuck holds a special place in my heart too. I don’t know why. I does have that particular blend of elements I always enjoy (action/adventure, humor, good characters, strong friend/family relationships). But my reaction seems stronger than a simple formula of the things I like.
      That has made this season feel sour. Its a bigger disappointment than the occasional bad episode; or even when a show I previously like looses its way. This year has been really painful. I really want to like it again, but I am leary of trusting them again after so much disappointment. How this current dreary arc resolves itself; and if the show can regain its footing in the back six will determine if I watch a possible S4 or not. I hope so, I really miss the show I used to love.

  7. joe says:

    Zowie! Now I want to write about 1 post to address each of your paragraphs, Ernie! Forget the writing. I like the insights.

    The title should be “Chuck is a fraud!” Of course. One of the major reasons we connect with the character (I started to write “him” – he’s as real as Frodo!) is precisely because because of this sense that he is not who he says he is. He’s the Intersect? He’s the worlds greatest spy? No, he tells Sarah. He’s just a guy. We understand that.

    And Sarah? Fabulous super-spy. Right. Despite everything, “little girl lost” is more like it. And yet the germ of truth is that Chuck is a spy, with or without the intersect, and Sarah is fabulous. Whether or not we see it, the show lets us realize that about ourselves.

    And I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t do that for me.

    So here I am, deep into middle age, and still doing this “self-discovery” bit? You may ask yourself, rightly, if that isn’t a little adolescent. Of course it is. And I don’t mind Chuck making me feel a little younger, either.

    For a “mere” TV show, that’s not too shabby.

  8. Waverly says:

    Ah, Ernie, as I was reading your post I wondered how much you recognize your ability to analyze Chuck and communicate those ideas with us. And how much you are appreciating this blogging experience.

    I have long suspected that you were a scientist of some kind — it’s good to get confirmation.

    Despite its shortcomings and its shortness of lifetime, I too have always thought Firefly was one of the best series I had seen. Even ignoring this season, I’d say Firefly was better than Chuck.

    The principal concept of fiction is the willing suspension of disbelief. A lot of our disappointments and frustrations come from what we perceive to be unnecessary unbelievable situations or behavior. So that leads us to express our disappointments in fora or blogs in the hope that the show creators can explain.

    The main problem is that I haven’t seen much explanation in any of the interviews that I’ve read/seen. Mostly it’s just generalities about the process or maybe some hints about the future, but very little detail about “why” and “how”. Basically the interviewers aren’t really asking our questions, and the interviewees aren’t proactively addressing our concerns. Maybe neither really wants to acknowledge or admit to them anyway. But I think such avoidance is missing out on the best part of the creative experience, as this post/topic is pointing out.

  9. Jason says:

    the problem wieth s3 is how is split up the 100% united fan base – just read the titles of the moderator’s posts for proof.

    The show will come thru with the goods in terms of episodes from this point on, if we were on who wants to be a millionare and I was your lifeline, I would say I am 99% sure of that! I just need to call the 1% a plot hole and move on.

    I really do think it now is time to unite as a board, as promoters of the show, no more routh / shaw bashing, no more JS bashing, nothing, the show is essentially complete now. we voiced our complaints, I more than most, now is the time to start going positive and get a season 4 locked in.

    • HenryH says:

      jason: Your commentary assumes all of us WANT a season 4 or can now (or should) trust TPTB.

      I personally was okay with the show ending with season 2 because I had a feeling that would be the best that could be done. Season 3 has been so uneven and unpleasant and has so exposed TPTB’s style (angst and more angst), that I’m be OK with the show ending at the end of season 3.

      They don’t owe me the story I wanted. But I don’t owe them my loyalty, either. And I’m not personally on board for another year of this.

      Just my two cents worth and thank you for the opportunity to post on this blog. It’s my first comment, but I wanted to make it.

      • atcdave says:

        HenryH, welcome aboard; although your first post sounds strangely like a last post!
        I do partially agree about S2. It currently seems to be the high point, if the can’t “fix” the character damage they’ve done, and restore the light tone; I will try to scrub this season from my memory, and say the show I loved ended at Colonel.
        But I do believe they intend for this to be the end of this sort of angst. There has been much talk about the back six being a sort of preview season for S4, so I will make any decisions about watching further after 3.19.

      • JC says:

        You know Dave, I think the TPTB have to be very careful in how they handle the C/S reunion. They’ve been pretty loose with the characterization this season. If its not done right I could see it turning a lot of people.

      • atcdave says:

        I know you’re right. I’m happy to just have this garbage over with, but I know many are buying into it and will demand a proper resolution. I just don’t care, they obviously don’t respect their characters so why should I? But if the resolution is too sloppy or rushed, they will simply alienate a different fan group.

        I am exagerating a bit. I do care what they do. I’m actually quite concerned if I’ll ever have respect for Chuck or Sarah again; so a lot is riding on these next few episodes.

      • JC says:

        Let me be one to say if its rushed or its all Chuck doing the chasing. That might be it for me.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        And then of course the anti-shippers will throw up their hands and declare the shippers unappeasable and nuts.

      • Jason says:

        the writers and TPTB created this CS thing 2 1/2 seasons ago – it is their baby too, they also created the SS sham probably more on purpose than I gave them credit for, IMO they will out perform any of our ability to guess how the next 4 ep’s will go – even though I was not fond of 3.1 & 3.7, 3.8, that milk is spilled, I have near 100% faith 3.9 thru 3.13 are going to be wonderful – this is now into the ‘story’, the ‘mythoology’, the ‘epicness’ that TPTB promised – I think they will deliver – sit back and enjoy the ride – when this creative team puts their mind to it, they are really great at this sappy stuff

      • JC says:

        The funny thing is I’m more of a middle of the road fan.

        I just want to see something believable between the two. At this point I can’t see a reason why Chuck is trying to win her back. They really need to show something on the Sarah front.

      • JLR says:

        I’d characterize myself as having anti-shipper leanings, but Ernie, I will howl more loudly than the most fanatical of shippers if the C/S reunion isn’t believable, or entails concerns outlined by myself & others ad nauseum.

        The primary reason I was dreading the C/S angst after the Comic Con news broke was my desire to not dislike the Chuck character. I had issues w/ him in S2 the way it was, when he acted all whiny & needy. Sounds superficial, perhaps, but that’s why I can’t get myself to like Three Words–his incessant whining ON MISSION. As others have stated, Chuck being the whiny-chaser-of-Sarah will make me bang my head against the wall. That’s why I’ve said before (& Dave has replied when I’ve done so) that to me, even a C/S reunion would have ZERO positives for me if it isn’t handled correctly; at least shippers would have the option of forgetting all the contrivances. I already know I’ll latch onto such things, and I won’t forgive them.

      • atcdave says:

        Well JLR, I guess I’ll reply again! I do agree with your objection, even to add; among my concerns when I first heard about this arc was making Chuck and Sarah both unlikeable (one whiny, one cold). Our concerns appear justified. I do agree an good resolution is important; not so much for me, I’m already deleting this season from my memory and DVR; but if the resolution is as sloppy as the execution, they will simply switch from insulting one group of fans, to insulting another.

      • JC says:

        And that brings up something Ernie and I were discussing. Chuck should be running away from Sarah not to her. They really need to have her open up to him and to make some amends of her own.

      • Faith says:

        at this point I’ll take anything I can get.

      • JC says:

        But then whats been the point of this season, if its the same old story between C/S.

      • Jason says:

        in the past, cole and bryce had to win sarah, she chose chuck, largely speaking, chuck cowered like a school girl around those alpha males, in this season, chuck is the alpha male, sarah has chosen shaw, chuck will try to win sarah from shaw, like all alpha males try – girls like that sort of thing

  10. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    For non-professional writers we certainly get our points across with wit and intelligence.

    As you know I also participate in a lakers blog. A “troll” posed a question the other day, “do any of you play basketball or a living? How about just get up off your ass and exercise?” the last statement is obviously why the person is a troll. But the first is valid. My answer, I don’t have to. I don’t have to see atrocities in the world to know it’s an atrocity. Just like I don’t have to be an expert or a critic to know when a TV show is being done wrong. The fact of the matter is we’ve seen enough in our lifetimes (some more than others, most more than me I’m sure) to judge and when you add the emotional component of fandom that is what causes the unrest. The onus is on us however to remain respectful and always keep in mind we’re the patrons not the creator.

  11. kg says:

    It goes without saying Ernie submitted another creative, in-depth, precise, carefully thought-out effort. And he’s apparently modest. Makes you want to vomit, doesn’t it? Just kidding big guy.

    I’m an average writer and yet I used to toil in the newspaper industry before reaching what I termed “the disillusioned phase,” and headed west to Las Vegas from Boston. There existed some painful personal issues and losses, too.

    Anyway, one of my jobs was general assignment in sports at the Boston Herald, which mostly meant hammering out high school and college game stories on deadline and pounding out some feel-good features. Occasionally, I got to cover something with more substance as a last resort or vactation fill-in.

    I was also sports editor/writer/photographer for a prominent suburban weekly. Out there, I was lucky enough to win a few awards from the Massachusetts Press Association in the mid 90’s. I promise you those certificates were presented to me more for the strong general content of my pages, including layouts, headlines, photos, ideas – I never won anything for the writing. Basically, I knew what a good story was and had an eye for it. Generally I thought, people liked me, they trused me and therefore usually opened up to me. I liked most of the people I met so I wanted to convey their stories in the best possible light.

    I just struggled like most folks in how to tell it.

    Perhaps TPTB does know what it has. Perhaps they do know it’s special. A laymen can see the electric and warm on-screen presence and chemistry of the two leads. How can TPTB not?

    Maybe they just aren’t sure how to tell it. And just like the newspaper industry, television is a business. Sure, lots of ideas, lots of hands in the cookie jar, lots of voices. Editing. Re-writes. Behind the scenes folks. A big horde of people attempting to make it all work and come together long before Monday at 8. The finished product is never going to satisfy everyone.

    We’ve all had to suffer through and endure painful realities of life presently or in the past. I’m sure I plainly speak for all of us when I say we’re up to our eyeballs, if you will, in reality.

    Chuck was a feel-good show from the outset no matter when you watched it. A light, feel-good, even comedic escape from the harshness of our realties. Provided, Ernie once alluded, we “suspend our disbeliefs.”

    The underachieving and wrongly accused Stanford nerd accidentally assumed the role of hero after downloading the government’s Intersect computer from an email. Meanwhile, from afar, his father, the compueter’s designer, has gone on the lamb to protect his children from all that it entails.

    The NSA and the CIA dispatch their best agents to kill/burn/protect Chuck. But we see he’s got more skills and savvy beyond the super computer. Chuck is all about people and relationships. He cares. Before you know it, Chuck has formed a unique team dynamic with Sarah and Casey and is contributing to the success of missions.

    The nerd and the super hot CIA agent have feelings for each other. We root for Chuck because A) he’s a great guy and B) guys like Chuck, guys like us (sorry girls) never get the super hot female. Hell, Chuck has had a shot with FOUR hot women.

    What’s not to love? How can you not get emotionally invested?

    It’s no secret to anyone interested in the show that Chuck and Sarah love each other. But you learn in real life that while love can be awesome and certainly special, it never seems to conquer all. Sometimes love, as great as it can be, is merely not enough.

    We fell in love with Chuck and Sarah because they could save the world and break sterotypes and fall in love with each other. They could do so much more if paired together as a romantic couple.

    I believe that’s true, but maybe TPTB felt that was too easy. We wanted to believe that Chuck and Sarah were better than we were in all respects. Maybe they touched us to the point that we aspired to be more like them in our daily routines.

    Although the characters are wonderful, maybe we forgot that they’re still human and beset with flaws. Just like us. It’s not inconceivable that two people who love each other don’t talk. It’s not inconceivable that two people who love one another become crazy and do out of character crazy things, for instance, gravitate to perky, hot brunettes or hunky spy types. And whether we like it or not, Chuck and Sarah’s situation is complicated by their government jobs and serving the greater good.

    Our favorite characters have fallen from grace, but they have the werewithal to pick themselves up and we can still like them and root for them.

    I guess what I’m saying is IF Mask and Fake Name is the worst, then we’re in good shape my friends. I think we can all agree it could have been worse.

    And I’ll also suggest that the angst was worth it for no other reason than it was essential for Chuck to reconnect with Morgan. And I now realize Morgan and Chuck were lost long before the two aforementioned episodes referenced above. When it was obvious Morgan was going to find out Chuck’s secret weeks ago, a question was posed asking if Morgan could handle the truth. It was a never a question for me. I unequivocally knew he would be very cool with it.

    Newspaper personnel are taught to assume everyone is a fraud until proven otherwise. I never liked that idea. But I know Daniel Shaw is one. Big Time.

    The show we fell in love with returned to some extent with The Beard. Chuck and Morgan are truly best friends again. Stonger than ever. It is time for Sarah to bounce back. I believe she will. She may “be with” Shaw at the moment, but for the record, I don’t believe she did anything more than kiss the guy.

    Chuck and Sarah team up to rescue their friend and teammate Casey. People, this is already a good episdoe simply because Shaw IS NOT in it.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      Well said.

      [Sorry Jem. The spam filter seems to cough on “terse”. Apologies! – ed]

    • joe says:

      We fell in love with Chuck and Sarah because they could save the world and break sterotypes and fall in love with each other. They could do so much more if paired together as a romantic couple.

      Wonderful post, kg. You asked if TPTB just felt it was too easy to put Chuck & Sarah together. Maybe they thought it was too expected (yes, despite the TV archtypes that seemingly mandate keeping the obvious couple apart, too expected). I can’t shake the feeling that C&S will be together soon and the show will be on yet another path. S3 was just Schwartz/Fedak’s way of getting to S4. That makes Shaw the desperate last-ditch attempt to keep them apart, btw.

      Yeah, I know. That’s over the line to crazy optimism. It’s not based on fact or on the way OC went, but just on the idea that they can’t go on this way. If the machinations used to keep the lovers apart seem so strained now (and they do), then what choice do TPTB have but to write a radically different part of this continuing saga for next season?

      Next season Chuck could easily be Hart-to-Hart meets Get Smart meets Mr.& Mrs. Smith, if only because the well they’re in is drying up.

      I’m not sure that this is a happy thought, either.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good example from our youth Joe. Wagner and Steph Powers also had wonderful chemistry together.

        You really believed they were a couple. So that connection and ability to communicate often served them well when they fell into trouble.

        I loved all the Get Smart eps I watched in syndication. Buck Henry was a genius.

      • atcdave says:

        I do think you’re right about the future of the show Joe, that’s what makes me willing to get through the current mess. But I will always say, given the weak ratings, it was a foolish chance to take. If S3 is the end, it was mostly a wasted season.

  12. Crumby says:

    I thought about what we do know about Chuck and Sarah in the next episodes. They’re gonna team up in 3.10, there will be the stakate in 3.11, and Chuck is gonna try to “win” Sarah back in 3.12.

    Although, we know all thoses stuff, what I’m really interested in is what we don’t know. I really don’t know how this is all gonna play out. I mean, what the scenes between the two are gonna be like? I have no idea. With this lack of CS scenes, I’m really curious. Especially with Sarah who seems so far away.

    And I have to say it strikes me. Even though, I didn’t agree with what they’ve done, I have to say: they still got me! I sure as hell want find out what’s gonna happen and how it happens.

    • Stef62 says:

      The CityTV trailer has Sarah state the if the mission goes wrong, then he’ll lose everything, and never be a real spy.

      I think his answer will be the turning point in their relationship, and make her realise that ‘her’ Chuck is still there.

    • Waverly says:

      I’m not particularly aware of all the spoilers that people seem to know somehow, but I’d speculate that Morgan and Devon are conspiring to help Chuck. Given how Devon had been acting recently, it didn’t seem likely that he would really want to be so involved with Chuck. But now that Morgan knows, it’s likely that he will meddle, and that might include somehow getting Devon involved, resulting in that through-the-restaurant-window scene.

      • Emily says:

        It just occurred to me that maybe Chuck isn’t trying to win Sarah back in 3×12. Maybe Casey, Morgan and Awesome are trying to win her back for him. We know they are all shippers, and i wouldn’t put it past them to

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah Emily that actually seems funnier taht way!

  13. Emily says:

    whoops, hit submit too early 🙂

    Wouldn’t put it past them to take Chuck’s love life and interests into their own hands, and make him look like a hero so that Sarah will fall for him again.
    Maybe Chuck has nothing to do with it?
    (now that would be epic – not to mention hilarious!)

    • Emily says:

      And the episode is called American Hero after all…

      But, with the way this season has gone, I’m doubting this scenario more and more 😦

  14. Marvin says:

    I actually took a screenwriting class in college. It was during the screenwriters strike in the 80’s, so an actual screenwriter taught the class. One memorable week we compared his ‘final’ script with an actual episode of “The Equalizer”. At first blush, they had little in common. Oh, dialog, scenes, etc, were similar, but the focus of the episode was wildly off from what the screenwriter and producer had originally put forward.

    The biggest modifier? The network people. Next? Budget.

    Josh Schwartz will probably be the first to tell you that what shows up in your living room is a pale shadow of what he might have had in mind, as witness this short missive on why Johnny fell off a cliff in The OC:

    The O.C.” creator Josh Schwartz was in the middle of a storyline last season involving Johnny, an angst-ridden new character, when he got a note from his bosses at Fox.

    “It was fairly indicative of the POV there (at the time): ‘This is Fox, not Fox Searchlight,’ ” he says, referring to the boutique independent film division. “Thus, Johnny was hit by a car.”

    (Later, Johnny fell off a cliff and died.)

    The Johnny memo was just one of many clashes Schwartz had with the network that year. He and the producers had already outlined the season’s first six or seven episodes when they got an order to go back to the beginning and insert a femme fatale character, who was played by Jeri Ryan.

    “It was tonally wrong, and we probably should have been focused on things like not making the Johnny storyline (stink),” he says.

    Does he or his minions hate the fans? Of course not. Does NBC? Again, of course not.

    But they do inhabit another world than we viewers. Like married people who quickly forget what it was like to be single, Hollywood types forget things like 9-5 routines and how much it hurts to lose the girl you love.

    But ‘the memo incident’ also points to something about JS: He loves angst. He thinks everyone loves angst. So that is what he dishes up.

    What we see on TV is a collaboration, kind of like a bill coming out of congress is a collaboration. It’s a collaboration of competitors.

    I’m not sure if I am a ‘fan’ of any TV show. I like it and watch it, or I don’t like it, and so don’t watch it. I like Chuck. My first episode of Chuck was ‘Pink Slip’, and I liked it enough to go on to watch every episode of seasons 1 and 2.

    What I have noticed is that reading this board has made me more critical of the series. To me, that’s not a good thing.

    Network suits, sponsors, executive producers, producers, actors, writers, directors, DP’s, editors…All have a part in molding what shows up on TV. Any TV show is produced by committee. The last thing Chuck needs is a committee of millions telling the above few how to run their show. As any one of the above will tell you, the committee is too big as it is.

    • HenryH says:

      Seems to me if you don’t want to be negative and the boards and this blog make you negative, stop reading it and stop posting on it. See how easy it is to make a “sit down and shut up argument,” which is the gist of your peculiar post.

      • Marvin says:

        Thank you for your kind approach. I think I will.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Negative is an entirely valid reaction to poor quality, and how poor quality or miscommunication, or the separation between fans and TPTB is what this post is about. I was glad to read Marvin’s post.

        But you raise an interesting point, and I’d like you to explain it further if you’re willing. Are you suggesting that I’d be enjoying this season more if I didn’t read blogs or post on them, or are you suggesting that if we argue for, or try to understand the pressures that shape a show we’re making a sit down, shut up argument? My biggest reason for this post was to try to keep the personal out of some criticism. I’m perfectly willing to allow that arrogance, pride, ownership and all the rest shape the show and TPTB reaction to the fans and the fans reactions, but ascribing emotions and motivations to people I don’t know is something I choose not to do.

      • HenryH says:

        Ernie-
        Forgive me, as a newbie here, I don’t know if your query was for me or Marvin. But I’ll answer.

        I have no problem with anyone who says they love this season. I have no problem with anyone who says they hate this season. I have no problem with anyone in between. I enjoy reading all points of view.

        But it strikes me as peculiar when a poster says: All you critics of TPTB shouldn’t criticize–then he hastens to criticize the blog. That attitude strikes me as incredibly self serving because what is to stop you, who runs the blog, from telling HIM to stop criticising…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        HenryH, thanks for your input. I try to read all the comments here, I admit that is getting harder lately. We all try to welcome all the new posters, so welcome, thanks for caring enough to post.

        I think, or perhaps hope is a better word, that what we are doing here is trying to help each other get another perspective. I think I tend to be rather infamous for being on both sides of the shipper fence, but the point is I try to see the merit in both sides of the argument, which is why I found your post interesting.

        Among the bloggers and regular posters here we have a pretty good distribution. I’ll admit that if I looked analytically I’d have to conclude we lean toward the shipper side. Ok, maybe lean is a bit of an understatement. But what we (I) pride ourselves on is being open to listening and learn. This was kind of the point of my post, and why I thought Marvin’s post interesting, how different is what we see from what TPTB intended, and how can we understand and maybe bridge that gap?

        Marvin brought up some interesting points, some that I’ve thought about. How much is budget affecting the show? Why did Subway wait till the Shaw arc was (supposedly) over to start promoting and paying for product placement? All interesting stuff. Perhaps enough for another post (cue evil laugh).

      • Marvin says:

        What I as trying to get across was the likelihood that this season isn’t exactly what TPTB were trying for either, much less what we, the poor viewer, would like to have seen.

        As regards how we viewers might approach our reaction to the show, I can see how blogs and boards are good ways to vent steam over frustrations, disappointments, etc. It’s stuff we used to talk about over the fence or around the water cooler.

        As my wife says, whenever she sees me sitting here typing, I’ve never been so involved in the anticipation of what comes next on a TV show. This and other blogs are a good part of that. The dark side of that is that the emotional investment demands a return. The anticipation turns from “Gee, I wonder what will happen next?” to “This had better be good.(grumble)”

        Cliff hangers are nothing new. But I wonder if the fan reaction to the denouement is changing. I think the tenor of fan discussion does affect how we view future shows. Whether we would we enjoy the show more or less without the boards is a futile speculation: What might have been?

        In the end, the kind of venting that often occurs is equally fruitless. I mean, what use crying over spilt milk, eh? What is more fun (in my mind) is the “what if” kind of speculation that I’ve seen on this blog. To me, it’s far more interesting and enjoyable to speculate than criticize. We can imagine all kinds of ways for Shaw to disappear (his legs curling up under a house that falls on him would be interesting, but it’s been done before) or ways that Chuck and Sarah can actually sit down and talk (I’d like to see another fountain scene) rather than ask what the #$%&! TPTB were thinking bringing him in as a PLI (It could be, like Jerri Ryan, on “The OC” it was a last minute demand on the part of Universal, because Routh needed to make a payment on his Malibu property, and if Warner Bros. was going to keep distributing Chuck, Universal had better get Routh some work, so as not to jeopardize the distribution deal on a future Superman movie.)

        And here’s where the speculation really becomes wild…Imagine a day where the filming of an episode takes place after the last episode has been shown and the polls have educated the sponsors on what the public wants to see next week. With digital special effects, it’s not too far in the future. But frankly, I’m not too sure I’d watch what came of it, simply because of the predictability: Do we really want to watch exactly what the majority imagine should happen next?

        On the other hand, if TPTB do read the fan blogs as is rumored, then we have a great opportunity of providing new, imaginative fodder for years to come. (My personal fav is to put the whole ensemble in a WW2 spy setting, in black and white, because I think Yvonne would look really classy in a beret. I mean, OSS agent Carmichael, led behind enemy lines by the gruff Army Colonel Casey, has to contact the leader of the Polish underground, and sparks fly!)

        See how much fun it is?

        So, I’m in no way saying sit down and shut up (well, maybe a little), and my jab at TPTB being something other than normal human beings was an attempt at humor (though there is some truth to it), but I wonder how we could mutually encourage wonder and imagination?

      • Faith says:

        but see you’re coming from it in another perspective. I would be negative about the show wherever I am. I didn’t become negative after coming here, in fact this place has MADE me like certain events and episodes better than before. This blog allows me to work out my frustrations and see a different perspective than I may not have had before and in turn maybe lift my negativity. That’s what this blog is for, not to make people more negative than they are.

        It doesn’t foster negativity, it allows for free expression.

        I’m not a negative person, hence the username but I’m also not blind to faults and am unwilling to see beyond that is of a rosy picture.

      • atcdave says:

        Marvin, I think the blog serves a few very important and diverse functions. Probably the biggest is just an expanded version of the old “water cooler” chat. In this day of hundreds of channels in most peoples homes, it can be difficult to find people who are interested in a particular show to the extent I am (ditto for other hobbies; scale model building and strategy wargaming, I only find in depth discussion on line). Those discussions with other fanatics are useful for understanding, and just plain fun.
        But feedback is huge. No matter how complex the creative process is, viewers are the end user. It is the JOB of all those you mention to entertain us. I’m not talking talking about the entitled attitude that would insist on getting one’s way in everything. But they do need to know when we’re happy and when we aren’t. I don’t envy the people who look at all these conflicting opinion and decide what’s going well and what isn’t. But our opinions certainly do matter to them, the networks mission in particular is all about building viewership and revenue. Late S2, the overwhelming majority of fans were very happy (they did good, do more like that); currently, the majority (or significantly large minority) of fans are not happy (we have a problem, let’s fix it). That much should be simple to figure out. I know there is a significant delay from production to air date (that’s among the reasons to ride out an unpleasent arc), but the more of us make our opinions known the more likely they won’t repeat this mistake.

        If your perception of these episodes is different, that really is fine. Please tell us your impressions, and what you see that you like. Sometimes that even helps those of us who are unhappy to see things in a better light. But please don’t suggest we stop opining, that really is what most of us are here for.

    • Emily says:

      It’s great to see that the third season hasn’t had such a negative impact on (some) new fans. I also liked Pink Slip, but a lot of long term fans rate it as one of the worst of the season (below Mask, of course).
      I tend to be an offbeat fan though, because I loved Beefcake.
      I agree, this blog has also made me more critical of the series. And maybe that has something to do with some of my disappointment with season 3. I wonder, if i had been surrounded by fans saying negative things when Beefcake aired, whether my opinion would be different. Because everyone brings up such valid points, and it’s not hard to be swayed to ‘the dark side’ 🙂

      But I can’t stop reading this blog now. because it’s so much fun to speculate, read others’ opinions, and have your own discussed.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’d like to think that this blog hasn’t made you more critical, though that is possible, hence the post, but given some focus to what it is that you don’t like about this season. I hope that with that we can figure out, and maybe communicate what it is about the show that DOES work and what we DO like rather than concentrate on all the negatives, hence the post.

      • Emily says:

        I agree. And I think that, after last week’s episode, we will see a definite upswing in the show, and we will be able to focus on the positives.
        I actually haven’t been disappointed with the entire season – just the last couple of episodes, and where TPTB have taken the characters (or, more appropriately, where they have hidden them).
        And I’m not sorry that I’m more critical. Because, in season 1 and 2, it was just a show that i liked, but now that I’m analysing it this season it has become more. My favourite show, if you will.
        And i can justify watching it now. Because I’m honing my critical analysis skills, which will help me with my schoolwork 😉

      • Waverly says:

        Isn’t criticism a good thing in that it helps us understand better and thus enjoy more?

        Each of just has to be careful not to let negative emotions mar our experiences.

    • joe says:

      Marvin, Contra HenryH’s comment, I don’t see what you posted as a “Sit down and shut up.” kind of argument. I was not aware of those comments by JS that you quoted, and I’m constantly surprised by the pressures that the networks put on the producers. The quote points up how bad they are.

      It is a collaborative effort. And sadly, doing almost anything by committee is the worst way of doing things (except for all the others, it seems). I’ve worked on far too many projects where “by committee” was the only way to get the job done.

      I still hate micro-management, though.

      • JC says:

        To be fair Johnny and Oliver deserved far worse fates then they got. 🙂

        But I do think this fan base is hard on TPTB because we’ve seen what they’re capable of. Are we harsh sometimes, sure but that’s a credit to their show and abilities as writers.

  15. Ernie Davis says:

    The oddly appropriate non-sequitur.

  16. Ernie Davis says:

    I’m starting to think I need to rent The OC and Gossip Girl just for research purposes. Damn this blog! 😉

    • Faith says:

      and Firefly! (for me)

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Oh, I’m all over Firefly. You MUST rent Firefly. You will get sucked in, and you’ll wonder why. Almost worse than Chuck, depending on your POV. And you will love Adam Baldwin more than you thought possible.

    • Emily says:

      If you do, you may start to notice a pattern, like I have. First two seasons are fun, good, great even, and then at the third season the quality starts to decline. Sound familiar?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Uhm… You might want to look at my post about great shows that died before their time. I’d say Veronica Mars is a prime example of the third season curse, but the post points out something else, and my two prime examples are Firefly and Wonderfalls. Rent both, trust me on this. If you like Chuck, Wonderfalls is going to be a new favorite.

      • JC says:

        The OC is worth checking out. Season 1 is excellent. But Emily is right you’ll want to bash your head in during season 3. And then you’ll know why people worried they pulled a Marissa with Sarah.

        Plus if you don’t fall in love with Rachel Bilson after watching it. You’re crazy.

      • Emily says:

        My cousin loves Wonderfalls, and she was the one who got me on to Chuck. Looks like I’m going to have to watch it now 🙂

      • Emily says:

        JC – Agreed!!!

    • Faith says:

      I. Love. Bryan. Fuller.

      He’s like my Joss Whedon of yours Ernie!

      Is it dark? I don’t really like dark. And I require my shows to have some sort of romance on it. I know narrow minded but eh, that’s me lol.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Wonderfalls keeps things pretty light. The romance is played relatively slow and low key for the most part. It all ends on a very up note.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        The Wonderfalls pilot episode (never aired) is available online of course.

        Edited to replace embedded player with a link since the player didn’t fit.

      • Jason says:

        downloaded the wonderfalls vid, will watch later, looks like fun. one of my fav’s was everwood, reminds me a great deal of chuck’s wtwt, the nerdy lead and the most pop girl in HS, angst, more angst, then a colonel moment and more (a season really), ripped away in S4 (just like chuck season 3) – the coupled up in the last 5 min of the show – by the end, I was rooting more for the hannah character than the sarah character. Lots of folks were upset when canceled, very much like chuck if S3 sinks the ‘ship’

  17. Waverly says:

    I just noticed this documentary review on NPR, which also sounds relevant.

  18. pandachuckkk says:

    Chuck makes my day.

    • pandachuckkk says:

      I know that no matter what happens before I watch Chuck, whether it be a bad day at school, fight with parents or something, I will feel better than I did before.

    • joe says:

      Now I’m *sure* I haven’t seen your handle before, Panda. Nice to meet you. Special bonus question – I wonder why no one has chosen Pandora yet?

      You made me think. I took up walking (mostly at lunch hour, by myself & my iPOD) this past year, and found it’s really easy to just meditate on things. I meditated mostly on Chuck of course. Nobody said I was normal 😉

      The scenes in the show mostly did “make my day”, most every day. But oddly, I spent a lot of time wondering why the characters did what they did. Even in S1 & S2, every character is full of surprises. We don’t always know what we think we know, and more often then not, every character is either more honest or more selfless or even smarter than I would be, given the fantastical situations. Lots of lessons there, and they weren’t always comfortable.

      One thing that ATCDave and others keep bringing up is that the characters have been damaged this season. In a way, I agree, because they have not been rising automatically to the occasion, especially emotionally. They have not been taking obvious steps forward by the end of an episode, or even by the end of several. In fact, it’s clear that the argument posed earlier that Schwartz wants them to take 2 steps forward and 3 back holds weight now, when it simply didn’t before.

      That doesn’t have to be bad (much less fatal). The “feel good” can be that much better if the first half of S3 is analogous to the loading of a spring before the payload is released. We’ll see. I’m an admitted optimist.

  19. Jason says:

    one bit of good news, in the official write up for 3.12, note the absoluteness of these words, the 3 stooges “team up to help Chuck win her back”, not help chuck try to win her back, but rather to help chuck win her back, which implies if the write up is honest, that he succeeds, not a huge surprise, but yet better that way than the other.

    • herder says:

      Yeah, but I’m willing to bet that there are at least one if not more kick the puppy scenes as Sarah tries to avoid what all the other characters see as inevitable.

      I think TPTB want her to have to make a real choice to be with Chuck, thus far they haven’t made too much of a case for the alternative except that he is there. I expect that they will show Sarah struggling with the choice and along the way reacting as she always does, by shutting down all feeling before finally coming to a decision.

      This is one of my frustrations with the season, Sarah was always an admirable character, she combined judgement with instinct and loyalty. Although the loyalty part has not been extinguished, it has been muted (leaving Chuck alone with the Johnny Walker) but the judgement and instinct seem to have deserted her. I hope they will bring those back, with her realizing that Chuck brings out the best in her regardless of his employment.

      Finally while I would like to see Sarah persue Chuck for a change, I don’t think that it is likely. I think that one of the themes of this season is Chuck stepping up and persuing what he wants in life; to be a spy, to be a person he can respect and that others can respect and finally to get the girl that he loves. If this is so, then it is Chuck that has to be the mover, the persuer and a Roan Montgomery says every woman wants to be rescued, it’s up to Chuck to make that rescue.

      • JC says:

        I’m going to go out on a limb and say Sarah tells Chuck she’s leaving Burbank and the CIA at the end of 3.11. The winning her back will be about having a normal life together even as spies. Sarah might even open up a little to Chuck, nothing crazy like how she feels though.

    • Jason says:

      i have posted this elsewhere, but I think you have it all wrong, sarah has already chosen, shaw, just like in s1 / s2 she chose chuck when pursued by cole / bryce, chuck did the opposite of pursue when confronted by these men, he cowered like a schoolgirl,

      this season, chuck will be like cole / bryce and pursue sarah, and like ryan M and cole told chuck, if you want something bad enough, you don’t take no for an answer, it probably is the whole point behind this mess they call season 3

      sarah (in her own way) has pined for chuck all along, we all see it, we did not want to admit it always, but she to a certain extent pined for bryce and cole too

      probably going to sit thru another illogical sham moment or two, but they are ending soon

      • joe says:

        I’m not sure I understand, Jason.
        Are you saying that Chuck does better with Sarah when he *doesn’t* pursue her (but “cowers like a schoolgirl”)? That seems right, but then I don’t understand why you think Sarah will treat him better than she did Bryce and Cole.

      • Jason says:

        chuck the nerd was safe for sarah, as is shaw the hi level burnt our cia boss – there is nothing safe about cole or bryce or chuck season 3

        and he really has not done all that well so far joe, unless he likes being “mrs walker”, this is not about the nerd getting the girl, this is about chuck (the spy/nerd/sweet guy/intersect/friend/family guy-the whole package) manning up and fighting for what he wants – sarah is going to resist him for a while (as she did cole and bryce), but when she lets loose – look out

      • joe says:

        Okay, I think I understand now. You’re saying it’s all about Chuck making his stand with Sarah. You’re right. He has not done well so far with that.

        Let me expand on that. Chuck has spent most of this season trying to figure out if he *wants* to do what he has to do (that is, he now knows that he can, but he’s not sure he wants to pay the price with Ellie, Morgan and especially Sarah).

        But the thing is Sarah is not a passive observer in this. She changes him, he changes her, and a moving target is hard to hit. Chuck will have to figure out what Sarah wants just as quickly as she does, and do it just as soon as he figures out what he wants.

        The good news is that he may have done at least the latter part as of the end of The Beard. The hard part is that he has to “man-up” with Sarah without breaking her. Lord knows she still seems fragile.

      • Jason says:

        joe – it would be difficult, some have posted here how they won’t buy the reconcilliation if done hastily or poorly, IMO the moment they go on screen together for 4 or 5 scenes per show and are allowed to turn the chemistry back on with NO RESTRICTIONS – it won’t be a hard sell at all, and it will be fun to watch.’

      • Faith says:

        since they’re both changing (though not together sniff) it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that she’ll choose Chuck (Bryce/Cole/Superspy) over the loser this time around.

        Besides I’ve always been in the mindset that it’s not that those guys weren’t great or they weren’t her type, she just loves Chuck that’s it. So superspy or nerd, Chuck will always be her man.

      • joe says:

        Any chance that you see Chuck can be both the loser/nerd (nice guy) and the superspy at the same time, Faith?

        I’m guessing that’s where we’re heading.

      • Faith says:

        Joe, always said “once a nerd, always a nerd” 😉 So Chuck will never lose that. What he did lose is the likability and the genuineness to his character.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Faith, so far he’s only lost the good parts of who he is!

      • JC says:

        I don’t care how much chemistry they have on screen together. If Sarah doesn’t open up somewhat to Chuck and have her own snap out of it moment. Then I won’t buy C/S reunion.

        Chuck is supposedly changing well that would include gaining self-respect. He can love her but unless she shows him something no chasing.

    • HenryH says:

      Since I’m new here, I have the benefit of having all the blog posts fresh in my mind. So allow me to refer you back to lizjames’ post about what TPTB were doing this year. She predicted that it would be “Charles in Charge” and that Chuck would choose Sarah. The full synopsis for episode 12 was released and guess what?

      Chuck CHOOSES Sarah for an undercover mission and, as most everyone here has agreed, the cover is the reality between Chuck and Sarah. So there is your resolution, exactly as lizjames predicted several months ago. Chuck will choose Sarah.

      The “win her back part” is probably him convincing her that they can be spies and have a real life together and be in love.

      • Faith says:

        Hey Henry, first off welcome. Good to have you and your opinions/thoughts here 🙂

        Second I think personally that premise only worked after Prague and all that has happened there. Fake Name, Mask, it changed all that. I don’t like to go for the “shoe is on the other foot” or “ball is on her court” expressions but essentially what was Chuck’s fault in Pink Slip has in turn become both theirs. So in a way yes, he needs to win her back but she also needs to get herself together and meet him in the middle.

      • HenryH says:

        I don’t disagree, Faith. I’ve never quite understood why people blame the Sarah character for what happened this year. Chuck made the choice not to run away with her. Admittedly, she apologized for offering him a bad choice (‘impulsive,’ she said).

        However, I think lizjames was right in that season 3 is about Chuck becoming the superhero. So everything essentially becomes his choice: What his life becomes, who he lives it with, how he lives it. So now, after “rediscovering” (LOL) that he loves Sarah in Beard, he chooses her. He’ll probably have to rescue her, both figuratively and literally in the next few episodes. Then he’ll have to “win” her back to him, to spying, to the idea of real life not being the fantasy of Suburbs.

        But I think you have to accept that Season 3, as lizjames said, is all about Charles in Charge by e13.

        Like you, I would have MUCH preferred that Chuck and Sarah had built on Colonel and gone through whatever they had to go through TOGETHER. But TPTB weren’t that kind or creative.

      • joe says:

        Great thoughts, Henry (and welcome to the discussion, btw).

        Liz and I agreed on quite a bit, but one of those points of agreement really surprised me – that “Charles in Charge” bit.

        I’ve been trying to make sense of this – who’s in charge of the relationship – to no avail. Clearly, at first, Sarah’s the one who decides where they’re going. But Chuck is the one who decides to break up “the cover”. But Sarah tells him (under truth serum) that they have no future, yet she’s in tears when he tells her that he “wants a normal life, and as amazing as you are, Sarah Walker, you will never be normal.” She gives back the wedding ring, Chuck explains to Ellie why he’s giving up on Sarah, yet she’s the conflicted one, more than he.

        I saw less flopping around over “who’s on top” when I wrestled is high school.

        But that’s all S1 and S2. Now it does seem that Sarah has much less say in the matter than Chuck does. You can see it in The Beard in the way she looks at him – “You can talk to us, Chuck.” – and in his response.

        The difficulty I have is that it tells us nothing about what their relationship will be tomorrow.

      • BigCheese says:

        About the “rediscovering”, yeah, it’s a great LOL!

        BUT if you take into account the spy notes, Chuck says he wants her to be happy (even if not with him). In 309 there’s no personal note on Sarah. Then the “discovery” that he loves her, will likely have consequences on the 310. Which leads to the point: she has already picked Shaw.

        I don’t know how his choice, will change something in her choice. I can’t see a happy ending.

      • herder says:

        I think the resolution of the Chuck/Sarah thing that we have been promised will not take place in the first 13. I think we will have “a” resolution, but not a full one, that is for the next 6.

        I think that there is a major kick to the pills yet to come, perhaps a declaration that she has chosen Shaw. That will be modified and they will be together in some form, but I suspect that it will be conditional or contingent on something or something being left up in the air. I suspect that the first 13 was written to leave TPTB with the option of continuing the current WTWT into season 4 but they have decided to resolve it in the extra 6.

        I’m betting on some sort of scenerio similar to the end of the Ring where they desperately want to be together but they hows and whys (or even the ifs) are left to be determined. If it is well done I can live with it, but my faith in the ability of TPTB to deliver is severely compromised at present.

        Sorry for the pessimism, but the fact that he is still trying to win her affections in 3.12 doesn’t bode well for a resolution by the next episode.

      • Faith says:

        I found this recently herder, have a look see.

        “And the way you planned 13 to end wasn’t going to put you in a place where it would have been hard to tell more stories immediately afterwards, correct?

        It was a super-exciting episode, but it’s not as if we have to reinvent the show.

        I imagine that if NBC had somehow tacked an extra six episodes onto season two at a late hour, it would have been tough to suddenly do extra episodes where Chuck knows kung fu.

        That would have been very difficult to do.

        So you hadn’t planned to do something that extreme at the end of 13?

        Hmm… That’s a good question. Hmm… I don’t agree with the presupposition of the question. So I can’t answer that question. But you can quote me saying I can’t answer. Hmm…”

      • JC says:

        Just noticed this from that interview and I couldn’t help but laugh.

        “Episode seven is kind of a good stopping point. It’s a good place to break for the mid-point of the season. It’s kind of cool, I think.”

        Whoops guess they got that one wrong.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, that has to count as an epic screw-up.

      • BigCheese says:

        Reading this interview I’m scared, they would even make such a mess of Shaw in 8 of 13 episodes and only God knows how it will end 313.

        In my POV (shipper) how it’s considered something exciting?

      • atcdave says:

        Big thing to remember is Shaw is gone. So if its easy for them to tack on episodes at that point it probably indicates a complete resolution to the Shaw situation. Plus, in another interview JS clearly said “the romantic sub-plot will be resolved.” Now perhaps he just means the Sham garbage; but it really sounds to me like something will be settled between Chuck and Sarah. And since we know for a fact both characters are in the show for the long haul (Levi/Strahovski both have six year contracts), the ONLY resolution is positive for them. (for both characters to remain on the show, but not have an active romance, means the sub-plot has not been resolved).
        I realize I could be reading too much into the quote, it has happened before; but I do believe Chuck and Sarah will be in a very good place by 3.13 at the latest.

      • JLR says:

        @Dave: Yeah, the one time the word “epic” is really applicable to S3…

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, I’m hoping anyway…

      • herder says:

        I’m not saying that they won’t be in a good place, I’m just saying that things won’t be resolved by the end of 3.13. There will be things to be done before they are at that place and those things will happen in the back six.

        I think that if we expect that things are resolved by 3.13 then we are likely to be disappointed at what happens. I don’t have any inside knowledge, it’s just my guess based upon what has been said and the tendancies of JS and CF, if I am wrong, I will be the first to admit it and quite honestly I hope I am wrong, but I would rather be prepared for the worst and get a pleasant suprise that the alternative of being disapointed again.

      • atcdave says:

        I guess some of it depends on how we’re defining resolved. I don’t expect a sudden marriage, proposal, or vow of eternal love in 3.13. But I do think it will be clear Chuck and Sarah are now “together.” We may get something huge (I really am thinking proposal) in 3.19; perhaps that’s even the next game changer they’ve mentioned.

      • Faith says:

        I was wondering where the reset was…if it’s in 3.13 then they’re most likely settled. If it’s in 3.19 then no on 3.13. But either way they’ll be a good place. For sure.

  20. sd says:

    Unless folks know something I don’t…I have to say by “resolved” I think the showrunners are going to have C/S as friends and co-workers. I really do believe they will never put C/S together as a couple until the last scene of the last show.

    I know I am a skeptic…and if there is info out there to the contrary…would love to hear it…but I think that is there MO.

    • atcdave says:

      I think, by definition, friends and co-workers is not a resolution. That would ensure the silly angst and tension remains. The vast majority of fans and professional critics have weighed in that its time for Chuck and Sarah to get serious. If TPTB continue the game, they will start loosing the support of both groups (fans and critics) quickly. There is a growing body of evidence that the so-called Moonlighting rule of TV romance is not liked by viewers. It may be hard for TV writers who have been brainwashed (I’m sorry, “educated”) in the wisdom of this approach; but thanks to high volume feedback via internet, I think its obvious to everyone these things need to move forward. In fact I’d take it a step further, and say if weren’t for the stagnation of how TV is written, sensible writers would have realized the ideal time to move forward was from Colonel. Oh well, better late than never.
      And there really is a lot of circumstantial evidence that indicates the writers get it; everything from spoilers, to interviews, to extended previews. The only real question is if it will be satisfying, or if too much damage has been done to the characters.

    • Faith says:

      If they don’t get together after this they never will. Not even at the end of the road. And I’m sure it goes without saying that a lot of the fans will leave post haste.

    • JLR says:

      I think Dave & Faith are right…..yet I still have a tinge of doubt myself. “Resolution” could have a different meaning to TPTB. They haven’t exactly proven themselves to be “trustworthy” when it comes to shippers’ desires for C/S. I hope, for the sake of the fandom, no more games are played w/ the central relationship of the show, but who knows…

    • Jason says:

      1 – the reasoning behind 6 or 7 of the 1st 9 episodes with chuck sarah having limited screen time was plain and simple faulty

      ….but

      2 – there are 10 episodes left, it is very likely there will only be 1 or 2 (or maybe even none) like that the rest of the season, or in future seasons – they both have 6 yr contracts. sit back and enoy the story, you already have paid for it (by sitting thru the first half of the season) – based on the official info we have gotten (let alone unofficial) – do an of you really think this is going anywhere other than CS together in some way shape or form?

    • Jason says:

      assuming S4 occurs, any show like this, castle, burn notice, bones, moonlighting, hart to hart, you name it, if you want to have an ‘epic’ reset after each season, the only two characters that will have an epic impact on the audience are the leads you’ve grown to love, 3.19 or 4.1, that is the next real angsty moment for me, because TPTB have proven they are willing to sacrifice a half a season of fun to tell a story – will be interesting if any journalists have the balls to ask them that ? b4 next season gets too far along?

  21. sd says:

    Believe me…every guess I have had on how this season was going to spool out has been wrong…

    However…moving forward…if there are future seasons..I think we will probably see the end of PLIs with the two…they will derive their angst in different ways…Will Sarah or Won’t Sarah leave the CIA… is Chuck okay with his new life…how the two are always in danger…one saving the other etc. and they will stop with the longing looks which fuels WTWT.

    I think it’s part of the reset.

    Of course, there’s that little line in the last ep where C says he loves S out loud—

    So…who knows…bottom line: I don’t think the two as a couple should be a foregone conclusion this or in future seasons (if they get them).

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