Not Tic-Tacky at All

One Man’s Opinion

Wow! Great episode. And I have absolutely no idea how I feel about it.

Levi was incredible throughout, not only being “Mr. Nice-guy”, best friend to Morgan, Devon and to Casey, best brother to Ellie and best “Chuck” to Sarah, he was also “The Spy”. Beyond Charles Carmichael, Zac Levi showed us a Chuck who’s become frighteningly effective, the perfect spy. And frightening is the right word. That wasn’t concern Sarah had for him; that was fear about what she saw he could do. For a moment, Chuck was out of control, and only Sarah could have – would have – pulled him back from the brink.


The fight scenes were tremendous. I did the martial arts some time ago. I don’t train these days, but it’s hard to forget that stuff. The kinaesthetics, the body motion, becomes so second nature it becomes part of you. Seldom have I seen “the arts” so well portrayed on television, and (I’ll get some debate on this) you have to go to Bruce Lee to see better in the movies. No, not one person lifting another single-handedly by the neck; that’s not realistic, just fearsome. But the fight choreography. That was excellent.

Watching Sarah question Chuck’s willingness to risk prison to save Casey’s butt was absolutely enjoyable. “It this what you want?”. When he says yes, her look of satisfaction (“I was hoping you’d say that.”) was as heart warming a moment as any I’ve seen in season 3. Watching Chuck partner with Sarah has been as satisfying as hearing them have a real conversations in previous seasons. Recall how much Sarah was a “fantasy girl” in Operation Awesome, as she partnered with Chuck as a nurse with a knockout punch? Tell me. How far was that, really, from Chuck’s terror at the beginning of Lethal Weapon, when Sarah is sleeping next to him, but the alarm wakes them to Blitzen Trapper’s God and Suicide? The only difference is that Chuck didn’t pull the blanket up to his chin. But this time they are fully equals.

To Partner. That’s a new verb, (I partner, you partner, he/she/it partners) and it’s an increasingly important part of the C&S relationship. Now, after more than half of season 3 has been aired, that part has become as important as the experiences they’ve shared, because it’s expressed in actions, not words. For Chuck and Sarah, it’s almost always about what they do, more than what they say.

And Agent Walker the effective spy is back. Maybe because she was not under the influence of Shaw in this episode, Sarah was ready, and for the first time in a long time able to tactically support Casey when he needed it. And speaking of kicking butt, her fight scene against 5 Ring agents was also superb. Watching Sarah being effective (and also, being comical) was a joy. The scenes of Sarah and Chuck handling the diminutive CIA security expert were hilarious, and certainly an effective hook for newbies, if there are any left to hook. There’s one difference, though, and it’s a big one. Sarah is not stone cold the way she was when we met her; it’s no longer her default setting, and she doesn’t revert to that when she’s under stress any longer. In every scene she shows her emotions – for Shaw, for Casey, for Devon, for Morgan and for Chuck. The only person getting none of her concern is the security expert who stands in their way.

General Beckman has not always been kind to Team Bartowski, but I love her. If she’s a baddie, she’s the best one around. Let’s call Diane the poster-child for matronly tough love.

Casey’s story in Tic Tac took the most air time, but I don’t think it was exactly central. What was more important was the decision he made at the end, like he did 20 or so years earlier, to choose duty over his first love, the rest was exposition. As important as that decision was to Chuck, it carried only equal weight to Ellie’s decision to choose her love for Devon over her “childhood” dream (and by the way, has any child in recorded history really wanted to join Médecins Sans Frontières? I think that’s an aspiration reserved for somewhat more mature people). Their two decisions were meant to emphasize the one that Chuck is facing. We can only guess which he will choose; we are not permitted to know from the story-line. We can’t even tell which way he is leaning at the moment.

What I don’t know, is if Chuck will even get the chance to choose to be with Sarah. She may not let him, or at least, we’re not supposed to know in the story-line if she will. And that is why I can’t say how I feel about this episode. After all that’s happened, Sarah is still unclear about her own feelings about Chuck? For the first time, I felt myself seriously losing patience with her dithering; it’s gone on too long (yes, yes, I know. “Welcome to the dark side, Joe.”) Maybe those who have not watched the first two years have a different reaction (actually, they must). But those of us who watched Sarah tell Chuck dozens of times that he can have anything he want (“It’s yours.”) and who watched her rise to his defence against Ellie, Casey, Generals, Pita Girls, Fem Fatales and baddies of all stripes again and again, those of us who saw her reactions to his near-death-experiences, victories and defeats, this has hit the point of frustration for even the most patient fan. For the first time even I (Mr. “Glass-is-half-full”) saw that there are more great stories to be told with Chuck and Sarah comfortably together than there are left with them still in this “Will They?/Won’t They?” mode. And make no mistake, despite my confidence that they’ll get out of that, WT/WT was precisely where I saw them at the end of Tic Tac.

[Joe taps his foot in frustration.] I trust that this is a last, dying gasp of that. Right, Josh? Right, Chris?

Okay. That’s as audacious and demanding as I get. The Powers That Be gave us great entertainment last night, and the more hours pass, the more fun the episode seems. I’m looking forward to finding 43 minutes to watch it again.

– joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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179 Responses to Not Tic-Tacky at All

  1. OldDarth says:

    “I trust that this is a last, dying gasp of that. Right, Josh? Right, Chris?”

    Say it ain’t so Joe! With 3 episodes to the believed big climax you don’t really believe that do you? 😉

  2. herder says:

    Joe, I had almost the same reaction as you, I liked almost everything (one guess as to the part that wasn’t liked) but for some reason I don’t know how I feel.

    In previous years the small moments of Chuck and Sarah seemed to put an extra shine on all the other parts of the show. This year the lack of those moments seems to tarnish all the rest. So I end out not feeling as good about what I liked as I should.

    Oh yes, as to OldDarth’s point, I think we have one last moment of Sarah breaking Chuck’s heart again to come before the resolution.

    • joe says:

      So I end out not feeling as good about what I liked as I should.

      Well put, herder.

      Actually, I’ll disagree with you and Lou a bit. Although they could have yet another moment of heartbreak, the pace of S2 at the end was such that TPTB could make this a long coming together – no more heartbreak; Just resolution. It would be analogous to the romantic climax of S2 coming in 2.21, not 2.22.

  3. Matt says:

    OD, I think you’re right. Its too early for them to turn things around. These last two episodes have really helped redeem this season. Before “Beard” and “Tic-Tac” this season only had “Angel de la Muerta” and “Operation Awesome” in the win column. The rest of the episodes either ended up in a toss-up or loss column. The writers need to be able to put together more than two solid episodes in a row. I think we are heading into one last bad episode before the two-episode epiphany where everything seems to come together. The stars align, Team Bartowski is reunited and hot on the trail of the bad guys, and all is right and good with the world.

    With any luck we can get the people back on board and can get the ratings back into the 2.3-2.5 range. The whole 1.9 seemed like a really bad dream, considering it was one of the best, if not “the” best episodes of he season. I can’t wait for iTunes to get it downloaded so I can catch it again tonight.

    • joe says:

      Hum… 1.9 is rather awful. Not to minimize it, but it feels like a prolonged hangover after The Fake Name. As good as it was, you could tell even by the general mood of the posts here that The Beard wasn’t enough to counteract that.

      You’re right that it’s going to take more than just these two to bring us back to the heights of S2, Matt.

      I’m having an odd reaction, though. The final scene with Sarah saying she’s “thinking about it” left me with that frustration that I tried to express. But by this afternoon (and one playing of Band of Horses later) I had nothing but good feelings and smiles about Tic-Tac.

      I’ve seen some negative reactions to the way Chuck and Sarah have changed. But you know, I think I like it. A lot.

      • JC says:

        Joe I don’t think its all about the characters changing as is it how it was handled. Since the Mask I haven’t seen a lot of cohesion in how that part of story is being told. So hopefully in the next couple of episodes I get something that makes sense to me. Maybe then I’ll start caring about that part of the show again.

      • joe says:

        I have the same hopes, JC.

  4. JLR says:

    I’m only curious about one thing these days when it comes to C/S: will they regain the chemistry from S2? See, IMO, the dynamic has changed so much, I just no longer feel that chemistry. Yeah, I get the drama & angst angles, but at a raw level, I just don’t feel it any more. I know I am in the very tiny minority when it comes to this. Other than that? Meh; C/S has become an abomination to me. I can understand people wanting to see the resolution, but actually caring? I guess some of you are just more loyal &/or are more willing to put up w/ b.s. than I am.

    • JC says:

      I’m right there with you.

      Casey summed it up perfectly

      “Whats dead is dead, too late now.”

    • sd says:

      I agree JLR…there comes a tipping point in any story…and I worry that tipping point happened, oh, I don’t know, maybe five or six episodes ago…maybe more.

      Can a C/S r’ship be redemed beyond anything more than work-friends? And if so…how will that “look”.

      It’s too bad, really.

    • OldDarth says:

      The chemistry was there in 3.10.

      Loving this season.

      Go back and watch S1 & S2. Yeah the episodes are lighter and funny but look at the three leads back then and compare them to now.

      They are all way more complex and fleshed out. Love a show that evolves characters unlike comedies and procedurals which keep characters vacuum sealed in stasis.

      • AngelTwo says:

        EVERY episode of Season 2 is better than ANY episode of Season 3, in my opinion.

        The shows were better crafted, better populated and the stories more deftly told. The villians were better, the guest stars snappier, and the situations fresher. The plot holes were smaller and the emotions more genuine. The episodes were not so ponderously determined to undercut and bilittle the character and believability of the leads.

        In my opinion, you finished your hour of Chuck last season and couldn’t wait to see the episode again. There is not a single episode this season I particular wish to view again. (On the other hand, Levi and Strahovski have triumphed over shoddy material this season and deserve Emmy nominations.)

        Meanwhile, Old Darth, if I may: Before the season started, you said you hoped about 16 percent of the fan base would go away if they really were unhappy with the storytelling and didn’t get what they wished. And so they have gone.

        Could you tell us all now, please, where are all of the thousands of new viewers you promised to replace them? Is Chuck’s performance on CityTV more than ourweighing the incredible erosion of viewership down here in the Lower 48?

      • Zsjaer says:

        OD you call it evolution i call it destruction, this isn t complexity its lack of creativity. Chuck was perfect because all the 3 elements Romance, Comedy and Spy story worked perfectly with harmony.
        In this season Chuck has been a mess cuz the harmony between the 3 elements is lost.Chuck was suppose to be light..not this sad try of Drama.
        I`m hating this Season as i ve said since the begin with the exception of some episodes and i am convinced that this storyline will be the reason for Chuck to be canceled. I m certain we will not have a 4 Season. To me Chuck was a big disillusion. But i know you all know that already 🙂

      • atcdave says:

        Zsjaer, I agree. Chuck was nearly perfect through its first two seasons; I’ve never been more sucked into a show. A mess is exactly how I see this season. I do think we’re coming out from under it. But, so far, we’ve had only four good episodes out of 10 aired; and I too fear the damage has already been done in the ratings department. Even if the show is awesome from here on out, getting our viewers back won’t be easy.

      • joe says:

        When I look at the way Chuck’s character has evolved, I love it. I love what I’ve seen in Sarah’s evolution, but I realized that she’s only part way there yet. I love how Morgan’s character has evolved. I really like that Casey is essentially unchanged. He’s a rock, as is Ellie. Devon is slowly returning to Awesome.

        Every one of the principals is a more fully drawn character and I simply do not want to go back to Chuck the spy who runs across rooftops in his underwear, and Sarah the girl who can do either a seduction or an assassination without a second thought about the consequences. They both are beyond that, and returning solely to the light-hearted feel goods of S1 and S2 won’t cut it for very long.

        At the same time, they need anchors, don’t they? Otherwise they are just ships tossed endlessly on stormy seas. We know they are each other’s anchors.

      • OldDarth says:

        What Joe said. Chuck – The Teenage Years. It is tumultuous – as it should be.

        Come 3.14 – the best is yet to be.

      • John says:

        Hey OD I will keep watching, I love all these characters enough to keep going for awhile…if it gets better by 3.14 then so much the better.

        Mostly I just want the episodes to make sense when put together again. I am so tired of plots that go nowhere or are forgotten and never brought up again.

      • weaselone says:

        Tumultuous is good, but sometimes I think the writers take the concept of Chuck being in his teenage years a little too literally.

      • atcdave says:

        I still watch TV to be entertained. This teen phase hasn’t worked for me. Actually I thought the buzz phrase for this season was “the man becomes the spy.” Or as one of my co-workers recently put it, “spy Chuck isn’t much fun.” But then, she quit watching at Mask.

      • atcdave says:

        Oh, and not to spill the beans or anything but; another Nielson viewer bites the dust.

      • sniderman says:

        Old Darth: “Come 3.14 – the best is yet to be.”

        So you’re saying the show gets better AFTER the original 13-episode arc that was planned? Soooo, the original season finale of 3.13 is not as good as the first episode of the originally-unplanned-for-six-episode-season-extension mini-arc?

        Wow. If I’m understanding you correctly, this is not high praise at all for the original ending to season 3.

      • JLR says:

        Yeah, being told that “it gets good” several episodes hence (a couple times already this season) strangely makes me feel like I’m being subjected to a pyramid scheme of sorts. I can’t articulate it any better than that at this point. I understand Chuck isn’t a procedural, but making more than 3/4 of your episodes mediocre merely to have some grand finale doesn’t seem like the right way to go about things. Just my humble opinion…

  5. BDP says:

    I thought it was a great episode… kinda helps not caring about that light at the end of the tunnel, that being said i hear the ratings were a traversty, and JS wants a rallying call from the fans…

    im not hearing a lot of call backs though…

    • Faith says:

      ok call me crazy but as one of the most fervent detractors here, I will fight for a 4th season. Why? Because even though this is no longer the Chuck I fell in love with, it still beats 80% of all that’s out there. I mean what am I going to watch now? DWTS? I’d rather drown myself in my own vomit.

      • herder says:

        No you’re not crazy, I want a season 4 too, if only for the satisfaction of having JS and CF have to explain the mystery of season 3. Let’s face it we all check this site and others because we love the show, despite it’s flaws. We post because we love the characters despite what they have done and we care, well because we care.

      • Zsjaer says:

        Not me..i stop caring about Chuck, the only support i ll give is watching until the end. But i hope this Blog can find another shows because this site is great. I just wish this Season could have so much quality as this blog has.

      • JLR says:

        Nope Faith, you’re not crazy or stupid or any of that. You’re a very thoughtful person from what I’ve seen here. I can understand people wanting a season 4 (I’m not really one of them). Even if I don’t care to watch more of this, I won’t begrudge anyone else’s right to do so. As for myself, I’ve got 3 more episodes to watch in order to keep the promise I made to myself pre-season. I don’t watch as it airs any more, so I can’t complain about having to re-shuffle my schedule to see this mediocrity.

      • joe says:

        I’ll be fighting for S4 too, Faith.

        I tried to watch Parenthood (I like Ron Howard’s stuff, generally). But I couldn’t get myself to watch the 2nd episode. They just piled too much on stereotypical characters.

        I’m getting picky in my old age!

  6. atcdave says:

    Guess what Joe, you and I agree almost exactly. Except as the day past the angsty ending irks me more not less. I also think you have it wrong about joining the dark side; its more like “step into the light!”

    I do think we have one more low point left; my guess is we get some pretty good Chuck and Sarah stuff in 3.11. But in the end, she announces she’s leaving, possibly leaving federal service (“my work is done here.”) 3.12 then is about Chuck and his stooges convincing Sarah he wants and needs her to stay. Just a guess, but I’m pretty sure, I would bet as much as $1.83.

    • joe says:

      Probably a good bet, Dave! 😉
      Can JS & CF resist having Sarah leave the service as a cliff hanger?

      As the day wears on I keep thinking of little ways in which Sarah has changed. Did you notice how she interrupted Chuck in this episode? I did. It’s a little thing, but they’re adding up quickly.

      We’ll have a discussion on if that’s good or bad (or something else entirely) I’m sure.

    • Gord says:

      How about 1000 Costa Gravas Peso’s?
      If your wrong you will owe me 15 Ameican cents.
      Heck the way the Canadian dollar is right now, I will except 15 Canadian cents.

      Throw in a box of Costa Gravas cigars rolled on the thighs of virgins. I don’t smoke, but what the heck.

    • HenryH says:

      If I may, a couple of points:
      1) Chuck and Sarah are discussing her going to Washington over a meal. That indicates the move-to-DC thing is announced early in the episode. So I don’t think it is a cliffhanger in the classic sense of it being dropped with 2 minutes to go in the episode.

      2) This episode is the functional equivalent of First Kill. Just as Chuck and Sarah ran away in First Kill, which set up the beginning of Colonel, the story resolver of season 2. So whatever happens at the end of Final Exam is likely to bleed into the beginning of American Hero. So the question is do they repeat the season 2 format–Chuck and Sarah together in the BIG episode–or keep them apart?

      • atcdave says:

        The biggest problem with that parallel is the description of 3.12 indicates Casey, Morgan, and Devon helping Chuck win Sarah back. Which indicates he doesn’t yet “have” her at the end of 3.11. I’m trying to be optimistic and think we’ll know its not about Shaw at that point. But she seems to have a strange idea about “being in his way”; its like through some bizarre mental defect she thinks Chuck is better off without her.

    • herder says:

      I think Sarah will announce that she is leaving the CIA at the end of 3.11, my guess is not with Shaw, but if JS and CF wanted to up the angst then it will be with Shaw. I like the idea that Casey does the kill that gets him through the exam (he suspects a kill order id he fails), but Chuck passing is what makes Sarah leave.

      I realize the following has very little chance of happening but I would love to have Casey sit her down in 3.12 and give her the facts of life. That the governement knew about her wanting to run with Chuck in Pink Slip, that she has caused a lot of the things she was concerned about with Chuck by not being a friend, that she was kept as
      chuck’s handler as she is the only one who can keep him balanced and that Shaw is a psyco whose goal was to drive them apart. Most of all that Shaw was tasked with killing Chuck if he failed his final exam (my money is on this plot bit) and he knows this because he had been told to kill him in First Date and in Pink Slip if Chuck wasn’t made able to flash which he delayed to give Chuck a last chance (which he helped by bringing him into the club that night).

      Everything that she has had doubts about Chuck has in fact been Chuck’s only way of keeping himself alive and the both of them free. As he is now no longer an Agent he feels that he can break secrecy on these facts. As I said, unlikely to happen but I wish it would.

      I realize this is breaking both Ernie’s and LizJames’s rule about not creating your own scenerios and later being disapointed, but I love wild speculation.

      • atcdave says:

        I love your scenario herder. It does seem to address all the major issues; you can call yourself a genius if its even close!

      • weaselone says:

        If what you suggest is correct, it might indicate the General had ulterior motives in dismissing Casey.

        I doubt that Sarah leaves the CIA as there would be no way to force her to leave DC and come to Burbank. She would need to be ordered to do so. She’s too much of a coward, erm I mean emotional train wreck to do it on her own.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        there are indications we’ll find out Shaw’s state of mind in the coming episodes. Is that spoilery? Sorry 😦

    • kg says:

      It is fairly obvious that Beckman is pleased that Chuck is almost completely non dependent upon Sarah, and the general praised Sarah for her work in that area. It’s as if that was the plan all along. It would awkwardly explain Shaw’s role and Sarah’s detachment for his own good seemingly.

      That is pretty much what Ernie surmised after the first weekend of this third season.

      Chuck’s going to have to step up and make a huge decision as to what he really wants. Maybe he can have it all. He certainly as plenty of allies who not only care about him, but care about he and Sarah. And that is no accident.

    • JC says:

      I don’t know how many spoilers you read Dave, but it seems like they’re going for one major dose of angst at the end of 3.11. The Sarah rule.
      It seems like it could be a tipping point for people.

      • SWnerd says:

        Breaking the Sarah rule at this point could be pretty bad since a lot of people seem to be pretty fed up with her character right now. They’ll probably leave it ambiguous enough to believe what we want to believe, but still…it’s a dangerous path. I’m almost to the not caring point. If I take this season as a completely different show (which it seems to be), I’ve really seen nothing to indicate Chuck and Sarah should be together anyway.

      • SWnerd says:

        Oh and I don’t really approve of the double standard that Chuck can hook up with other people but Sarah can’t (although Hannah was way better than creepy Shaw). But that’s a whole other argument.

      • Jason says:

        the implication is shaw and sarah in bed, either to start 3.11 or to end it, magnus may just be messing with people, I sort of thought the in bed may be chuck and sarah as part of the spy test, very uncomfortable part rather than nice, but magnus really makes it sound (although he is so arrogant and coy it is hard to know) like sham

      • JC says:

        I don’t care if it happens myself that part of show doesn’t interest me anymore. I’m just worried how its going to be perceived by people. Even if its them lying on a bed talking. With the ratings this week and ending next week’s episode on that note seems like a bomb waiting to go off.

      • Jason says:

        ali adler also says 3.11 is her fav, although she wrote 3.8? also, mo ryan did not seem to freak out over 3.11, she sort of grouped 3.10 & 3.11 together as growth for cs or something like that, I think jace also sort of looked at 10 & 11 that way if I recall. probably won’t be the sarah rule, probably more like messin with the crazy shippers again

  7. Jason says:

    joe, you ever play fools bluff poker? You get a new guy in the game, and keep making rules up so he loses, once he realizes 2’s are wild, he proudly lays down 3 aces, 2 twos, 5 of a kind, but you inform him 2’s aren’t wild when you opponent has j – 9 – 7 – 5 in his hand, then j’s are wild, continue that until he figures it out. That is how chuck should feel about sarah, chuck can’t carry a gun, yet sarah shot 3 people in 3.10, chuck is a terrible person for taking a risky pill and saving casey’s ex, shaw orders langley to blow chuck up, chuck is a terrible guy for choking a guy, yet casey did it was ok, shaw pummels defenseless chuck sarah watches, to me, it is getting past tolerable, almost seem intentional mocking by TPTB???

    • Lucian says:

      Chuck said he wanted to be her emotional baggage handler – she is checking to see how many bags he is able to handle. This used to be a story of “nerd gets the girl”; now it is “caring super-spy gets the emotionally crippled, but very hot flakey woman”.

      • Gord says:

        I had an epiphany. Since Sarah wants a normal guy, I have figured out her next love interest – Morgan. He already knows she’s a spy. We can all be Samor shippers or would that be MorSam or Morah?

        I could see the line now. Morgan “Why me”? Sarah: “You’re kind of cutish, besides I like to get what Carina wants and I like short brunettes”.

      • atcdave says:

        That is just so wrong Gord.

      • Matt says:

        You forgot Saman.

      • Faith says:

        Why stop there, the security guy was pretty normal 😉

    • joe says:

      I haven’t played Fools Bluff poker, Jason. But I don’t think Sarah’s playing Chuck. I don’t think TPTB are putting one over on me, either. At least, not more than I’m willing to let them.

      Maybe I’m kidding myself. I’d hate to think that with all the hours I’ve spent listening to, watching, reading and thinking about stories over the years that I’m just being played here. But you never know.

  8. Gord says:

    Funny you should mention that you are finding the whole relationship drama getting tiresome. I really enjoyed this episode, as I have most of the S3 episodes, but now I can’t help but wonder how much better the season would have been if they did not have so much relationship drama.

    I’m not sure I would care if Chuck and Sarah were together as a couple, but I am getting tired of them not being together as friends.

    They have taken two actors that have such great chemistry together (even when not a couple) and kept there scenes to a minimum in favour of giving too many Sarah/Shaw scenes even though Yvonne and BR clearly have no chemistry at all. I also hate the fact that up until this episode, Casey has been team Bartowski’s fat kid since Shaw showed up.

    So far, we have had two episodes with a truly happy ending this season – Operation Awesome and The Beard. Every other episode has ended on a negative. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I hated the rest of the episodes, some I even count amongst my Chuck favourites but I just think they have been putting way to much drama into this and fans are starting to get shipper fatigue.

    I can understand Sarah feeling conflicted, I could accept a few episodes with PLI’s, but the way they have handled this aspect of the show has really detracted from all the good things that have happened in many of the episodes. They are taxing the patience of even the most devoted fans.

  9. bsp says:

    I for one do not need anymore “spin-doctoring” from the likes of Old Darth. He has become like the cop in Naked Gun, fans keep complaining and ratings continue to plummet, he keeps screaming, “Nothing to see here…keep moving along.”
    People like Old Darth are not one bit better than the “crazy” shippers. How do he and his ilk think telling much needed fans to quit the show, is going to help a bubble show survive past this season.
    Can they not get off their self-appointed “high horse” long enough to see who 99% of these people, who they treat with such disdain, really are.
    I think almost all (there will always be a few trolls who just like to fight) the Chuck fans who have posted negatively this season, have done so for the same reason! That reason is not that we want to quit the show,but, we are sitting here watching our favourite show go down in flames and feel we have to say something.
    All of the “suck-ups” in the Chuck world telling TPTB what a great job they are doing is a weekly smokescreen that the weekly ratings are blowing away.

    • atcdave says:

      Let’s at least be nice to each other bsp. We all get excited sometimes and even get frustrated with each other; but everyone here wants the show to continue, and ratings to improve. You know I identify with ‘shippers on almost every count; and I’m sure no one is telling any fans to just go away now.

      I seriously hope we serve a function here by letting opinions be stated. If TPTB ever look at this site, it should be obvious quickly that 70+% of us are unhappy with the direction of the show right now. It hurts no one to see a well reasoned explanation or defense of the writer’s intent. If you’re still not convinced, speak your grievences; you can even hit reply to the specific post you disagree with, chances are you’re not the only one who feels like you do. But we really don’t need to make enemies of each other. If TPTB can convince us they deserve another season, we will soon all be working together to make it happen.

      • bsp says:

        It was a couple of years ago when I first started lurking at ChuckTv. While there, I noticed two posters who’s well-written and intelligent thoughts always stood out and they went by the names of Old Darth and Darth Razorback. While not everything that OD and DR (Lou and Magnus as we have come to know them) said may have exactly mirrored my thoughts, their well thought out input and series info was ALWAYS appreciated by me.

        I am so frustrated with how TPTB decided to begin this vitally important season. As BigKev posted earlier, this season should have been a slamdunk. We had huge momentum coming into this season and 2 lead actors who, when together, can electrify the screen. Instead of chemistry, Buymore laughs and a dose of Awesomeness, on SOME weeks, it seems to me, we are being shown a remake of the old Kung Fu series. If I wanted to see this much ass-kicking, I would watch the MMA not Zachary Levi.

        I realize that Old Darth is not the only poster on the boards who CLAIMS to “love” the way the show is going this year. I used him as my “poster child” because he is so well-known and RESPECTED. He is someone that I find to be intelligent, extremely well-written and on Magnus’ podcast, quiet but very articulate.

        That being said, in this time of need I am very disillusioned that 2 people (OD & DR) that helped build this fanbase, are at times, now so dismissive of them. I mean after Episode 7, Old Darth wrote a sprawling article detailing how upset he was about the OOC actions in the last 8 minutes of that episode. On Darth Razorback’s podcast after Episode 9, he admitted he was ready to quit the series after Episode 8, but, the “epicness” of vs. the Beard had brought him back.

        Guys, it is more than a little hypocritical to announce your own displeasure and then constantly diminish the thoughts of those “crazy” shippers.
        In my opinion, we the struggling fans need someone like Old Darth to help explain to us why we should be loving the direction the series is going. I am afraid if this train isn’t turned around quickly, Old Darth and the others who love this season’s “epicness”, are going to have to mutter in their sleep about the shippers killing their show.

        Personally, I want to thank all of the shippers for keeping this show alive as long as we have.

      • JLR says:

        DR even admitted in the Beard podcast that he became more wrapped-up in the “success” of the show than whether he liked it anymore… Kinda telling admission, if you ask me.

    • herder says:

      Although I’m not thrilled with the way that this season has gone, I don’t in any way begrudge those who do like it. Disagree as much as you like with what someone has posted but please don’t impinge the motives or sincerity of those who feel otherwise.

    • Paul says:

      So what you are implying is that to be a true fan of Chuck, you have to be pissed off and angry that S3 is not going the way “it should be”??? And if you are not, then you are just a TPTB mothpiece? I don’t buy it for one second. I happen to like this season a lot. Do I like every decision made or every episdode equally? No, but I like the big picture. Each to his own I guess. But then again, since the overall tone of this blog is currently negative, I guess I’m going to be outnumbered here.

      • BigCheese says:

        The question is: say what you feel Paul. Positive or negative.

        8 episodes with Shaw;
        5 episodes of C/S apart from each other;

        8 + 5 = 13 (original season)

        I’m negative? Maybe. The season is negative? In my POV, above, yes, it’s.

      • Paul says:

        Say what I feel? Okay.

        About the show:

        I do not equate the quality of the episode OR the season by how much interaction between Chuck and Sarah there is. IMHO that is a VERY narrow POV. I don’t feel that the simple math you plotted out really gives credit to what is going on overall. I like S3 because I like the overall story and am enjoying seeing the characters grow beyond what they were(and yes sometimes growth is PAINFUL for everyone involved). I enjoy finding out new things about them, learning how they are much deeper and thus different people than we knew them to be in the previous 2 seasons. I think that is a positive. You can call that “character assassination” if you want. That’s fine if you feel that way. But excuse me if I disagree.

        About this blogsite:

        I think this is turning into the “I Hate S3 and Everything About It Club”. Quite honestly, I don’t get the feeling that anyone with anything positive to say about the show right now is welcome. And that makes me sad because I first started reading this blog because it had some very good insight and thoughts on the show. Recently, however, the only thing I’m getting from this site is bitterness and negativity. Sorry if that is coming off as harsh, but you asked me to say what I felt.

      • amyabn says:

        Paul, this is just my opinion, but I think what you are taking as a “I Hate S3 and Everything About It Club” is the micro opinions most of share about ASPECTS of the show.
        I love Chuck, I love talking about Chuck. This blog was born from not being able to do that over on the NBC boards. I have certain opinions about how TPTB have delivered this season and think it could be much, much better than what we are getting. I tend to focus on those micro aspects of the things I didn’t like. I also enjoy speculating (always with an optimistic outlook) on what I hope comes out of the rest of the season. I want a season 4.
        You are certainly entitled to your opinions. I hope you take another look at what a lot of folks are saying about aspects of the show with a fresh perspective (micro vs. macro). And please continue to share yours!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Paul, I’ve done my best to write positive things about the season or particular episodes, and failing that to try to understand and explain the story they are trying to tell. There are actually two problems that affect large portions of the fanbase, especially here. 1) A lot of us don’t like the new story compared to the old. We see it as formulaic and tired, and compared to past seasons it just doesn’t hold that much appeal. To those people we hear defenders of TPTB say essentially, it’s all about the destination and like TPTB tell us we’re expected to hang in for the season regardless of how much we enjoy an individual episode or even a block of them. 2) TPTB don’t seem to be telling this season’s story particularly well. We’ve seen Chuck undergo the revelation that he loves Sarah about 4 times so far, and we’ve seen Sarah longingly stare at Chuck mourning her loss in just about every episode. When we’re told by TPTB and their defenders that it’s all about the journey and this season’s drama is upping the stakes a lot of us are saying “not really”, because we find ourselves less interested in what we find to be a tedious and repetitive story with seemingly no payoff in sight. With a story that seems to be making us care less about the characters and where they are going a big payoff crammed into a few episodes isn’t going to keep us happy, especially if after making the journey so long and tedious they give us whiplash in the last few episodes.

        I think a lot of the negativity here comes about in reaction to a sense that we’re being lectured to by TPTB and their defenders. They seem to switch between “it’s the journey” or “it’s the destination” depending on the episode or plotline in question. Our dissatisfaction, concerns, or complaints are often met with a rather condescending at times “you just don’t understand” meme.

        This leads a lot of us, me included, to get very specific and go on at some length about exactly what it is we don’t like and why, even though there is still a lot to like about Chuck, even while we don’t feel this season is being handled particularly well. We’re told that there is great character development this season, so we point out that in our view they’ve actually damaged the characters we love unnecessarily for dubious reasons. We’re told the story is so much deeper and layered, so we point out plot holes, inconsistencies, retcon and lazy overused devices in the storytelling. And then we’re told we’re too negative. It’s kind of a no win for a lot of us. We want to discuss Chuck, we’re not normal fans, but on a lot of the other boards, as I understand it, concerns and criticisms are shouted down, as if our pointing out the problems somehow is responsible for creating them. It may be why this board leans heavily negative at the moment. This is one place where the negatives get a respectful hearing and some sympathy rather than a “shut up”.

      • Jason says:

        ernie – I feel chuck is getting the same treatment from sarah about his ‘changing’ – are TPTB really telling me that if he did not take the pill, and had left casey’s ex die & lets assume chuck beaten near death (which might be preferable to dealing with sarah at this point) that sarah would have been ‘happy’ or ‘proud’ – the whole gun thing just ‘slays’ me sarah shot 3 men in 3.10, she looked on cloud 9 when chuck slid the gun to her no 20 minutes earlier – this is not the characters, it is the writing – the story

      • Merve says:

        I’m slightly inclined to agree with Paul. I appreciate constructive criticism. In fact, I enjoy reading different perspectives, especially when they’re as well-written as they generally are on this blog. However, I’ve seen a lot of comments accusing TPTB of being “arrogant,” being “stupid,” “insulting the fan base,” or showing “hubris.” I don’t want to cause any uproar, but in my opinion, these sorts comments are puerile at worst and not well-founded at best. (And that’s a shame, because they’re often mixed in with excellent analysis…sometimes within the same comment!)

      • eaglemmoomin says:

        Exactly. I really like this season. I have one or two minor issues but I’ve really enjoyed seeing Chuck and Sarah both changing. Having an entire season about identity and its true meaning on a show that has been a bit light and fluffy and in season one one note has been mostly well executed. SS could probably not have happened but I’m not particularly fussed about it one way or the other. But somehow because I haven’t decided to excoriate the writers of the show on the internet I and other fans that are enjoying the season are shills. Thats a pathetic statement for a fellow fan to make. I agree with Paul this site as become a sink hole of negativity with a few notable exceptions, theres no balance to a lot of posts at the moment. I’m not sure anything is going to please some sections of the fanbase now and thats a true true shame.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think the strength of this board is that, a few of what I consider ill advised characterizations aside, both sides do get a respectful hearing. My discussions of a lecturing tone experienced by some are not characteristic of this board in my experience. I think typically that is what drives people to this board.

        As for being dismissed as a shill for expressing satisfaction with the show, that’s about as silly as dismissing anyone expressing dissatisfaction with aspects of the story and execution as a stupid shipper only interested in one thing. The later has a much longer history on most boards in my experience, but neither is much in evidence here thankfully, a few posts aside.

        If the tone is somewhat negative at the moment it is because that is a general reflection of the opinions of the posters, and that is the reality of it. Many of us are worried we’re losing the show we loved and want to talk about it with like minded people.

      • JLR says:

        The difference between commentary lauding TPTB & that decrying it is that the latter is more apt to get dismissed, ridiculed as the rantings of crazy shippers on forums/blog sites run by “friends of the show.” Just take a look at the discussions for the few weeks after the Mask over on NBC for example. Any post bordering on “negative” was met by a chorus of “if you don’t like it, quit watching.” I am just not seeing the opposite: those who disappointed w/ S3 openly confronting those who like S3… There are plenty of havens for people who seriously like what TPTB have done. There are few such places for those of us who are unhappy (for various reasons I remind you) w/ what they have done. That’s the difference.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think another dynamic we may be seeing played out is that as I mentioned and JLR has highlighted there is a history of dismissive comments such as “If you don’t like it stop watching.” being used to attempt to silence criticism. Many of us have responded repeatedly that while we will keep watching not everybody will, and problems with the show that we are highlighting (and hoping TPTB will fix) could eventually lead to just that, people not caring and walking away. Now, with the worst ratings in the show’s history following what many consider a VERY ill advised arc it appears people are doing just that, and it appears the critics and TPTB and their defenders wish to lay the blame on the “crazy shippers” who they told to shut up or to stop watching rather than the people actually responsible for creating an entertaining and quality TV show. Telling the “crazy shippers” to now get on board and save the show doesn’t help much either.

        So far it’s a one week blip, and I hope that is all it is, but should the ratings continue to tank, look for this to get a lot uglier. Just hopefully not here.

      • atcdave says:

        I know when people start talking about the negativity of this board I am at least partly at fault. I also recognize Merve making comments leveled directly at me (there was some good and bad in that, I accept it all). That is fine. I intentially state my opinions strongly. I try not to make attacks personal, but in a few cases where I think an individual is clearly responsible for something I do try to call them out. But my intent is not insult, I want TPTB to know my concerns and know what I feel strongly about.
        I think many of us have been enthusiastic about better episodes the last couple weeks. I do expect to get more enthusiastic as we approach the conclusion. I will always dislike the path they took us on, and have tried to explain why as we have gone along. Some of the payoff in the next few weeks may explain the less pleasent aspects of what came before. I hope so. And if I’m suddenly able to laugh at all my earlier concerns so much the better. But I EXPECT, to enjoy the next few weeks, and try to forget at least five episodes from earlier in the season.

        This is a bad time to start turning on each other here. For many of us, this season has been like a favorite sports team having a lousy season. We aren’t really looking to abandon our team, we just aren’t happy with what’s going on now. But now things really are getting better on the show, this is a good time to enjoy it together.

      • Merve says:

        Sorry, Dave. It wasn’t my intention to point fingers. And to be perfectly honest, sometimes I’m guilty of criticizing without explaining my reasoning, or attributing intentions to people that I’ve never met before. But I try to keep a level head here, and I appreciate that most of the other commenters try to do the same.

      • atcdave says:

        Merve I really do appreciate your perspective. I know we rarely see eye to eye on much, but I do enjoy honest debate. I especially appreciate when I’m all fired up about something, if you (or anyone) can give me a better way of thinking about something. That doesn’t mean you’ll always (um, or even often!) win me over on much, but I enjoy reading a well written rebuttal. All four of us who host this site value the idea of open discussion. Most of us were kicked off the NBC boards for an odd variety of reasons, and we don’t want anyone else to feel dishonored in that way. I’m a little sad to be known as a downer, or have this known as a downer site; but if ‘shippers or critics of any stripe are feeling marginalized at other sites I am pleased to give folks a place to express a well reasoned thought.

      • Faith says:

        It really just comes down to one basic fact:

        The people in this blog are intelligent.

        What do I mean by that? I mean we as Chuckies tend to scrutinize every single flicker and every single expression. We invest in the show so much that the slightest disservice to those that we loved is tantamount to an insult. We express our displeasure vocally but often not without an open mind. The problem is like all things people tend to focus on the last thing said rather than the full statement. If you noticed even in my guest posts there are often positive aspects I liked or really found endearing but they’re often overlooked for those that I felt strongly negative towards. Such is life, as people we are predisposed to paying attention to the last negative thing than the 4 other positive statements. The people in this blog aren’t a drag, they’re intelligent. And those that don’t see where they’re coming from and where their heads are at need to take a closer look.

      • Faith says:

        To sum: we complain because we care.

      • atcdave says:

        Remind me to bring up putting Faith on the payroll at our next quarterly meeting.

      • joe says:

        Paul, you instigated a fantastic discussion, you know. I’m sorry I couldn’t respond earlier.

        Have you noticed, like I did, that people on both sides of this continuing debate have felt aggrieved? Both sides feel like the other is shouting them down and neither feels the other isn’t quite legitimate?

        Naw. Me neither. Of course, that’s pretty much because I can say what I want here! I have admin. rights 😉

        Okay, we’ve both felt internally, you and I, like we’ve held out tongues too long, even as “they” feel no such constraints. Sometimes *we* are the “they”. It’s been hard for me to realize that people actually read my words and are affected by them a little. If I write something less than positive, well, people can take it as really, really negative if I’m not careful.

        Yes, there is a negative tone, even here. I thank God and everyone here for the civility I’ve seen though, and the high level of discourse. It’s a tribute to the show and it’s fans, and I have it on good authority that TPTB realize this.

        As for me, I’ve decided to not try to change anybody’s opinion about what they’re seeing. I’ve been trying to merely write honestly and clearly what I see and feel when I watch the show. My goal is to not so much say that I love the show outright as to let it come through regardless.

    • Jason says:

      maybe the biggest disservice this season’s storyline has done is to splinter the fanbase – I also think TPTB misunderstood where the average fan (the one who will turn the channel) stood on the WTWT C/S angst issue – so while the intellectual literary types are laughing at the emotional angry shippers, the avg fan just turned off – seems like now the intellectual types are blaming the angry shippers for complaining too much about the show causing the avg fan to turn off – not sure if both aren’t a little right, but the net affect has not been positive

      • Big Kev says:

        Completely agree Jason. The angst has been probably the single most disappointing thing for me about the season. I’m not sure this blog (or any blog for that matter) can be classified as representative of the “average” fan base, but I’m equally sure that Chuck’s average fan is not expecting a rerun of the OC or Gossip Girl.
        I’ll be seriously interested to see if Schwartz and Fedak address any of their creative decisions in the media after the season. If the worst case scenario happens, and this is the last season, then Schwatrz in particular is going to have some questions to answer as to why his shows all seem to go the same way in season 3, and how he managed to squander one of the most passionate and active fan bases in TV land, while getting a show cancelled on a network where at the moment, you really only have to show up to get renewed. I’m guessing, for his future prospects, he’s going to have to come up with some pretty convincing answers – I’ll be interested to see whether he addresses any of it publicly.

  10. Rick Holy says:

    If this show gets a fourth season, it will be a miracle. Luckily, I do believe in miracles.

    I think the best possible scenario is another 13 episode order for a mid-season replacement. They’ll give a new series a chance and see if it catches on before the put CHUCK in the fall line up. If the new show crashes, they can always replace it with CHUCK.

    At some point NBC has got to say, “It’s been three years, and it’s not catching on. Let’s try something else and see how it does.”

    I’ve been a defender of the show (even though I haven’t been wild about this season). I’ve argued that nothing else that NBC has put in that time slot has done any better. But the way things are going, I just don’t see how much longer NBC is going to hang with this – and I can’t say that I’d blame them for saying “bye bye.”

  11. herder says:

    On a slightly lighter note, I recall a spoiler, I think from Chucktv that one of the characters would find solace at Subway. What is the likelihood that Casey’s daughter works at Subway and he starts hanging out there to see how she is doing? I think that Casey is a basic sub man, no meatball marinra or chicken teriaki for him, a simple manly sandwich is his likely choice.

  12. amyabn says:

    I just posted this over at Chucktv.net but thought it was worth sharing here.

    The ratings have me worried. I love Chuck, but am not happy with how this season has played out. I am an optimist, but I’ve been hanging on by my fingernails all season to the point where my fingers hurt! Characters have been out of character all season long. Mask was an awesome episode-until the last 10 minutes. Beard was great and I thought we were through the angst and could see light at the end of the tunnel. Tic Tac was really good-until the last 10 minutes. Why? Chuck said he was still “that guy.” Then he ends up taking the pill. Fearless does NOT equate to murderous. That wasn’t Chuck. With a few quick changes (edits), they could have had Chuck taking the pill, cut to Sarah telling Casey Chuck is losing himself, then cut back to Chuck having beat the bad guys down and duct taped them or something very Chuck like, and commenting that he doesn’t like how the pill makes him feel. That would have left Sarah with the decision of whether or not Chuck has really changed, even if she went to DC. But that would have been potentially positive, so we dip the pen in angst once again and keep the leads apart.
    Whether you are a shipper or not, the dragged on wt/wt has gotten beyond stale. The Shaw character is not engaging and has done little to advance anything. The dynamic between the leads has been off all season and that is what people tune in to see, imho, whether Chuck and Sarah are dating or not. The ratings are reflecting that. Yeah, I get that Chuck has a tough night of competition, but as others have stated, I’m not enjoying the ride to get to this “epic” destination, and from the sounds of the clicks of others changing the channel, neither are they.

    • Fake Empire says:

      Well-stated Amy. I couldn’t agree more. My hopes are that the back 6 will be the polar opposite of the front 13, and a return to the show we all fell in love with: a charming spy story with great action and comedy that is rooted in and a reflection of the characters’ connection to each other. I don’t mean just C&S, though that’s important, but also Chuck with his family, Morgan, Casey, etc. And the secondary characters’ connections to each other is hopefully solid again too, especially with Anna’s return. To me, it’s the relationships and character inter-connectivity that has taken the biggest blow in the front 13.

      Here’s hoping to a reversal of that in the back 6; a climb out of the ratings cellar; and to, what I think (hope?), will be a 13-ep renewal order for S4.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree withg both of you; so much of the appeal of this show is all the relationships, its really been great the last couple weeks to see things finally getting better instead of worse. Hopefully this trend will continue, and we’ll see Chuck and Sarah finish in a very good place.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      You’re cheating on us with another site? :O lol.

      I’m zeroed in on your ending badly statement. I can’t help but feel like more often than not last year things ended better rather than worse. And those that ended bad were never really all that bad. But here I go again comparing. Liz told me to stop thinking of these with past blinders lol.

      As for the ratings, while worrisome I’m hoping for/counting on a rebound. Fred Willard, Swoosie Kurtz, Scott Bakula now these are guest stars to look forward to!

      • amyabn says:

        LOL! I have to pop back over because on that site, I expect to be flamed! I may have to send up an SOS on our site for re-enforcements!

  13. BeCoolBoy says:

    May I propose something here? After episode 13 airs on April 5, it looks like Chuck will be off the air or in repeats for two successive Mondays. In other words, episode 14 doesn’t air until April 26.

    That’s the period where we, as a fan base, should decide whether we should step up to fight for a Season 4 unconditionally, try to make “terms” with TPTB for our support, or just give up.

    I am sure that those who like Season 3 are already in unconditionally and that’s fine. But the sizable chunk of us who are unhappy with Season 3 will have seen the entire arc, seen where TBTB have left the characters (and I mean ALL of the characters, not just Chuck and Sarah) and been able to decide.

    If we can all (or most of us) agree that Chuck deserves (and we want) a fourth season, then we can organize to support the back six, start talking about things we could do and what we want from TPTB vis a vis what a season 4 should be and how they should communicate with us.

    I accept that commentators like Old Darth, Merve, Paul and some others love this season. That’s cool. But you “happy” folks should recognize that many of us love the show, but have found season 3 to be middling-to-awful. We’re less convinced about the desirability of Season 4. And a lot of our number (where are lizjames, NoWayOut and many others?) have simply disappeared because they stopped watching.

    Last year was unique. The fans went to the wall to support a show that TPTB dramatically changed in the season we helped them win. They have clearly made it plain that any Season 4 will be dramatically different, too. That’s their right as creative people.

    But I, for one, won’t be fooled again. I’ll go to the wall again, but only if I know WHAT the show I’m supporting is going to be about next year. That is not too much to ask: You want me to buy more DVDs (I’ve bought and distributed 50)? You want me to buy Subway sandwiches (let’s just say I’m gaining on Jared)?

    Tell me what I’m doing it for. I’ll support a season 4 and work for it if I know what type of show TPTB are planning.

    I won’t buy a pig in a sub a second time. TPTB are going to have to tell us what type of show they plan for season 4 before I risk time and money (and calories) to support it.

    TPTB have said they are exercising their creative rights to change the show again in Season 4. I am exercising my right to reserve judgment on support until I get some idea of what they plan to do.

    That, to me, seems fair: Tell us what you want our support FOR and I’ll tell you whether I will give it.

    You don’t owe me a right to creative control. But I don’t owe you money, time and commitment blindly.

    • amyabn says:

      BeCoolBoy, I really like your post. I just can’t fathom why TPTB have stretched out the first 13 the way they have. The back 6 were a gift and they said they had already programmed the 13 episode arc and weren’t going to change it. So with that in mind, we have 3 episodes left of what was supposed to be Season 3.
      I’ve been an optimist up and down to boards (optimistic that the turn around was near) only to be baffled. I thought Beard was the turn around. Tic Tac had great content-until the last few minutes. So now, we have 3 episodes left to get to this epic promised land. How do we get there? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be glued to my seat watching to see, but that doesn’t mean I will give TPTB a pass on OOC behavior to signal this miracle turn around.

    • atcdave says:

      Great post BCB. I do agree, how 3.13 ends will likely be a key decision point for many of us. I would like some word from TPTB about what kind of show we’ll be getting in S4. I realize no storyteller wants to reveal the ending ahead of time. But this is a business too. And if they want my recommendation to friends and family, I need to know what I’m recommending. Resetting the show every season makes that difficult. If we’re getting a spy themed action-comedy centered around our favorite spy couple, I’ll push and promote hard to all who will listen. If we’re getting an angst-filled spy drama about a spy and his sometimes girlfriend; well, I’m less enthused.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      Around April they’ll, by they I mean JS, CF, Abaldwin will be doing the wondercon. I’m assuming it’ll be filled with the pandering few but there should be legitimate push for real answers as well. Prime opportunity to get what you and most of us want BCB.

      My brother lives in SF. Depending on my schedule I might attempt to go but it’s doubtful I can 😦 Still it’s only an 8 hr drive.

      • amyabn says:

        My question is if that leaves us enough time. I keep waiting for this “epic,” “game changing” turn of events. The original 13 will be over with a break before the back 6. If the fans have bailed, will even the fervent ones like us who are left be enough to convince NBC? I haven’t seen many spoiler previews for upcoming episodes and NBC historically has sucked in promoting the show. How do we get viewers back if we don’t have the bill of goods being sold?

      • Lauren says:

        Wondercon is in SF? I live half an hour away. I should totally go…

  14. CountryJoe says:

    Well, come on all of you, big strong fans,
    Uncle Josh needs your help again.
    He’s got himself in a terrible jam
    Way down yonder in Ratings Land
    So put down your lives and pick up a sub,
    We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Season Four;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the Subway gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all Footlong fans.

    Come on Warners, don’t be slow,
    Why man, this show is au-go-go
    There’s plenty good money to be made
    By supplying NBC with the tools of its trade,
    But just hope and pray that if they drop the show,
    Repeats will air on TVLand.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Season Four;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the Subway gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all Footlong fans.

    Come on shippers throughout the land,
    Pack your hearts off to Schwedak land.
    Come on Chuckers, and don’t hesitate
    To show your support before it’s too late.
    And you can be the first ones in your block
    To bury Charah in a Shaw-made box.

    And it’s one, two, three,
    What are we fighting for?
    Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
    Next stop is Season Four;
    And it’s five, six, seven,
    Open up the Subway gates,
    Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
    Whoopee! we’re all Footlong fans.

  15. AngelTwo says:

    I don’t know if I can follow Country Joe up there–nice to have you back, man, do you know Jeffster?–or compete with BeCoolBoy’s uber-rational thinking, but…

    1) About the insults. Well, I would suggest they go both ways. It was Fedak who suggested we couldn’t possibly be so silly as to stop reading a book after Chapter 7. It was Schwartz who dismissed us all with “we’re further along in the story than you.” And it was Ali Adler who put the comments of the fans in the mouths of a burn-out drunk (Jeff) and the meanest bad guy of the TV century (Paulie Walnuts). So the fans are reacting in kind.

    2) Awful creative decisions were made in Season 3. That is FINANCIALLY undeniable. Subway built its whole Chuck campaign around pictures of a sultry Chuck and Sarah TOGETHER. Yet the show hasn’t given us that. The show’s best asset, the on-screen chemistry of Zac Levi and Yvonne Strahovski, has not been on screen for most of the first 9 episodes. No matter how much you love Season 3, you have to try to explain why TPTB made such bizarre, counter-financial decisions.

    3) What Merve, Paul and the others seems to misunderstand (as TPTB misunderstand) is that the entire nature of the relationship between fans and creative products has changed FOREVER. The days of “we create, you consume” are OVER. Fans have voices and vehicles now to vent their rage or express their support and all stripes in between. If the creative people want to tap into that fan energy–and Schwartz’s tweet yesterday is undeniable evidence that they do in the case of Chuck–the creative people are going to have to realize that the support won’t come “free.”

    Invested fans can and do organize now. They have FINANCIAL power and PUBLIC-RELATIONS power. If the creators what to sit in a shack in New Hampshire and write without ever engaging (a la Salinger) that is their right. If they want to sit on the Hollywood backlots and create without ever engaging fans, that is their right. And NO ONE has the right to challenge that decision.

    But if creative people want the support of fans, want to tap the fans’ networks and financial support and emotional commitment, well, fans have the right to exact a price for that support.

    That’s business, folks. If you want to create like they did in the 20th Century, that’s your right. But if you want to create in the 21st Century, be prepared to engage the fans.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Between you and Ernie (and others as well), very excellent summations on why the overwhelming majority of fan posts on this site are “negative.”

      When you see something you care about – and I KNOW IT’S ONLY A TV SHOW – seemingly falling apart, you speak out. Let’s be honest. With all the promotion prior to S3, with all the free pub from the “Save the Show” campaign, with having a MAJOR corporation like Subway climb on board, the table was set for this show to GROW it’s fanbase. That hasn’t happened. Recent numbers indicate the opposite.

      What did General Beckman say to Casey at the end of “Tic Tac?” Something like a second chance at a second chance? Well in the world of television, you generally don’t get a second chance at a second chance. CHUCK got it’s second chance this season beginning in January. Unless there’s a turnaround in the numbers (and I hope there will be – because even though I may not be happy with this season, I still want to see the show continue in the hopes that something better is in store), CHUCK isn’t going to get a “second chance at a second chance,” it’s going to get the AXE.

      That’s why fans who love the show (despite our disappointments) are going to speak out.

      Funny, isn’t it. Our voices were being hailed and praised when we were fighting (and spending our money) to SAVE this show last season, but this season when our voices are being raised not to praise but to question, then somehow those voices aren’t worth much anymore. Hmm.

    • Paul says:

      So are we back to that again, huh? There is a difference between entitlement and investment. What you are describing is IMHO the former and not the latter. They are not the same thing. And, again, IMHO, the former is a bad thing. There are times and places to do things by committee. I don’t think the creative process is one of them.

      If you want to support the show, please do so. If you don’t really care anymore, that’s fine too. But to essentially extort (and let’s be frank, that is essentially what you are suggesting) what you want out of show writers is IMHO not good for anyone: the show, the producers NOR the fans.

      I’ve put on my asbestos suit. Let the flaming begin.

      • HenryH says:

        Wow, Paul, you SOOOOO don’t get it. Who ever told you the creative process in television is just the show writers. They have a zillion counter-vailing pressures to balance even if the fans are never involved. There is no ivory tower in television. There are no Salingers in television.

        So what you are suggesting is that everyone has a say in the creative process EXCEPT the fans. They are to sit dumbly by and watch, then rush out and purchase DVDs and sandwiches and Hondas and not be allowed to vent or to be a part of the action.

        Uh, I believe the direction you’re looking for is called the 19th Century. As AngelTwo so persuasively stated, in the 21st Century, if you call on the fans energy, networks and finances, you’ll have to be engaged with the fans. How TPTB engage is yet to be determined. We are (oh, my god, another Star Trek reference) in an Undiscovered Country.

        That’s actually what makes Chuck so interesting as a franchise. it’s on the cutting edge of what’s next in the commercial arts like TV.

        If it’s okay for Chuck characters to love Subway sandwiches because Subway is a sponsor, well then, throwing a bone to the fans (in the form, of, say, a promise of a stable central relationship with no Tweener Romantic Angst) in exchange for help getting the show renewed, what’s the difference?

        If, on the other hand, Schwartz and Fedak fancy themselves J.D. Salinger, well, I am sure there are production companies and networks that can’t wait to give them money without strings to produce EXACTLY the show their respective muses dictate. (I think that was sarcasm. I’m not sure, though. Anything is possible in TV.)

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        Sorry, Paul, I do think you are wrong. The fans aren’t entitled to anything if TPTB do their show, take their ratings lumps and move on.

        But when they come to fans (and sponsors) looking for support, both fans and sponsors are making an investment. They have a right to a return on that investment. And guess what: TPTB don’t get to decide if they have paid off. Each sponsor and each fan get to decide whether the payoff was worth it for them.

        And this isn’t even a new concept. Artists used to have patrons and patrons used to dictate the content of the art. (Father Rick, anytime you want to give us a guided tour of The Church and art, we’ll be the ones smoking in the boys room… 🙂 )

        I’m okay with TPTB doing EXACTLY what they want without us. They will then have to be okay if we turn the dial and watch something else.

        But Schwartz yesterday asked Chuck fans to get organized. My answer, like many others, is: for what?

        Personally, I gave them my UNBLINKERED support last year. I didn’t like the results I’ve seen.

        If you ask me to saddle up again for a Season 4 and put my time and my money on the line, I have the right to ask what for?

        If you don’t want to ask, that’s okay, too, Paul. Honest. You get to decide for yourself whether you blindly trust the show runners. I do not question your choice. It’s your time and your money and your emotional commitment.

        But for me, I have questions and I’m not interested in blindly following again. And you shouldn’t question my desire to control my time, my money and my emotional commitment.

      • atcdave says:

        Paul, the main thing most of us want is just to know what show we will be getting. As I said above; I want to know if next season will be a spy-themed action-comedy about a spy couple; or an angst-filled spy drama featuring an on and off couple. One of those I will go to any lengths to support; the other I may not even watch. If they are asking for our support, they need to be more forthcoming. They expended their goodwill with me last year. They may regain it with a great home stretch now; but by then it may be too late. I may be all in by the end of 3.13, we’ll see; but if they want me pushing now, I need information.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Paul, if I follow that logic, then all the little kids who come ringing my doorbell every October 31st are “extortionists” by “threatening” to pull a trick on me if I don’t GIVE them what they want (a treat).

        I don’t feel ENTITLED to anything, but I DO have expectations on a return on my investment in this show – and let’s be clear about this – TPTB behind the show ASKED the fans to invest themselves and their money in the “SAVE CHUCK” campaign last season.

        And I’ve invested PLENTY – I would actually be embarrased to admit how much $$ I’ve spent on DVDs, Tee Shirts, Coffee Mugs, Subway gift cards and so many other things “Chuck.” But just like any kind of investment, there’s a risk involved. I can “lose” or I can “gain” from the investment I’ve made. So far this season, most of what I’ve experienced is “loss.”

        So is it “extortion” for me to say that if things continue to “go south” (in regard to my expectations/return on my investment) that I’ll “sell” my stock in CHUCK and instead perhaps purchase shares in HOUSE, HIMYM or HOUSE? No. It’s business. Entertainment business, but business nonetheless.

        As a shareholder I DO have a voice – and making it heard when I’m both happy (as I did PLENTY last season) and when I’m unhappy (as, unfortunately, I’ve – under the circumstances – found it necessary to do this season) is my right as a shareholder in this thing called “CHUCK.” That’s NOT the same as ENTITLEMENT! Not even close.

    • Merve says:

      1. I don’t think that if you feel insulted by TPTB, then the mature thing to do is to hurl insults back at them. That just perpetuates a cycle of bad blood.

      3. I don’t misunderstand that. I have commented several times on this blog that nobody should feel compelled to help save a show that they don’t like. Right now, I like Chuck, so I would fight to save it. It’s as simple as that.

      • atcdave says:

        I think what’s tricky about a “save the show campaign” right now for me is I loved this show so much in the first two seasons, but right now I don’t very much. So do I

        1) support the show anyway because the spoilers indicate the show will be more to my liking in the near future, and I suspect a potential S4 will be more to my liking also.

        or

        2) withold support because there is a strong possibility they will continue to trend dark and play angsty games of the sort I don’t enjoy.

        I would really appreciate more information.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Hi Merve! Regarding your point no. 3. I want to make a couple of rather nuanced points, because although they may SEEM contradictory, they’re not. So here goes.

        Can you LOVE a show, yet be dissatisfied with the direction it’s going and/or the manner in which the story is being told and thus be critical of it? I believe the answer is yes (perhaps you do, too).

        For example, I may LOVE The Allman Brothers Band, but think their last album/CD didn’t measure up to the high standards which I normally expect from the band. It doesn’t mean I no longer love the ABB. Rather, it means that I’m just disappointend/displeased with their latest effort.

        I think it’s the same with many of the commentors here on this blog. Honestly, if the peeps who post didn’t LOVE the show, they wouldn’t spend the time expressing their opinions. I think we’d just say, “Heck with it!” We love the show, but believe that the latest season (just like a rock band’s latest album or CD) isn’t measuring up to what we think TPTB have the capabilities of creating.

        What is frustrating is (what others have expressed much more eloquently than I can or will in this post) how there have been so many flaws this season – and how certain elements (such as the WTWT aspect of Chuck/Sarah, the “outside love interests,” etc.) have not given us anything new and BETTER than last season (which we were expecting), but instead have re-used the same elements as last year.

        If I’m wrong on this, then forgive me, but I think it was atcdave who many months ago – before the season started – basically predicted (based on the little tidbits that were leaked from TPTB) as to how the season would pan out. Chuck and Sarah perhaps “together” in some way – or at least at the same level of their relationship as in S2 – at the beginning of S3 (for maybe an episode or two). Then about 8 or 9 episodes of “ways to keep them apart” being employed. And then the season coming to a close with them somehow coming “together” (in SOME way, shape or form) over the last couple of episodes. So far, he seems to be pretty accurate in his assessment/prediction.

        So where does that leave us? Pretty much with a repeat of the story line from last year with a “Shaw” thrown into the mix. That’s one reason why the episodes haven’t been so enjoyable for many of us. Not because they’re necessarily “darker,” but because a lot of what we’ve been given this season is “stuff” we’ve seen before. I don’t think that’s what so many people fought for in trying to save the show.

        So, to bring this excessively wordy post to an end – what you’re seeing in the majority of these posts ARE people who love CHUCK, but who are disappointed with where this season has gone – and are fearful that even if we are lucky enough to get another season – we may wind up with much of the same kind of “repeat” story telling.

        So the “love” for the show may still be there, but the willingness to “fight” for the show (AGAIN) has kind of been deflated. Like someone previously posted regarding Josh Schwartz’s post for Chuck fans to mobilize: “Mobilize for WHAT?”

        Bottom line. Still love the show. Still want to see it survive in the hopes that it will be “better.” But the gas in the tank for fighting for it’s survival is near, at or below the “E” level.

        Despite my many words, “it’s as simple as that!”

      • Merve says:

        Rick, that makes a lot of sense. I guess that the best thing that you can do is to wait it out and see if it gets better. Or, you can do as Dave suggests and wait for some info from the show’s creators about what to expect in the next season. I just hope that by then it isn’t too late.

      • HenryH says:

        I would suggest, sadly, that we already know the pattern for this next “save Chuck” campaign.

        Twenty-four hours after Schwartz tweets for support, nothing from him about what HE’S willing to do. Not even a non-spoilery tweet saying, “Watch for great Chuck-Sarah interaction on Monday” or “Really great action scene coming on Monday.”

        TPTB have a one-way attitude: We’ll call you when we need you, otherwise sit and watch what we dish out and pay no attention to the fact that you may not actually be entertained on a week to week basis.

        Sorry, Merve, to me that IS arrogant. The shippers are hanging on by their fingernails and many of the rest of us are looking for signs of intelligent life at Chuck.

        Schwartz tweets what we’re supposed to do, but not WHY we should do it. Not a smart opening gambit for a fan base that includes a very large, very dispirited and very disheartened component.

      • John says:

        Was it really a risk? It seems to me reseting the show and running angsty plots allows them to reuse similar plot devices from past seasons. It is just that before they did it well and kept it fun and allowed it complement the rest of the show.

        Now they are doing it very poorly. What changed I am not sure. Surely there are precedents for doing a long WT/WT thing and actually doing it well or shows wouldn’t keep putting that nonsense in their shows.

      • John says:

        Whoops I responded to the wrong post by accident. Please ignore my previous post.

    • joe says:

      Angel, just to add my 2 cents, since all this began last summer Schwartz and Fedak just haven’t come across the same way to my ears.

      I realize that you’re in the majority on this (without doubt), but never could find that much arrogance or – pomposity? – in what they said. And to me, the fan venting you talk about is now, thanks to Al Gore’s internet, much more than a cacophony. There are thousands of us with megaphones blasting 24/4 at people like Adi Adler. She has no choice but to engage us. Josh Schwartz has no choice but to engage us. And they have, to a surprising extent. Ignoring the shouts is simply not possible any more.

      But someone’s judgement has got to reign supreme (and I’m still glad it’s not mine, btw). With all due respect to Glenn Reynolds, this Army of Davids is not going to put a tv show, good or bad, on the airwaves still owned by the network Goliaths. That’s just a fact of life. You’re right that the relationship between fan and PTBs are changing, and I don’t think you (or anyone) is saying that the fans should be in the drivers seat.

      But don’t you see that we are having some influence?

      Great post, btw.

      • I do agree with you joe and yes fans do have an influence when it comes to thier favorate shows but fans are not in the drivers seat no matter if you bought subway sanwhiches,coffee mugs or whatever.the writers and the producers of Chuck told us there was going to be changes in season 3 not only for c/s but for Morgan,Casey,Eliie,and Devon as charactors there evolving progressing and somtimes regressing as well and if these characters stay the same during the first 3 seasons and beyond it will be boring and these same fans would still be complaing. You can’t please everybody Not realizing that c/s Ellie, Casey,Morgan and Devon were changing since or after the pilot episode.

      • atcdave says:

        I don’t think anyone has said no growth or no change. Chuck is a character driven show, and as such growth is manditory. But for most of the first two seasons the show was upbeat and fun (and funny). Now, it mostly isn’t. There’s no doubt a large number of us wanted to see Chuck and Sarah together this season, and I fail to see why any and all growth issues for both characters couldn’t have been handled in the context of an adult, committed relationship. Most of us grow most when we have someone encouraging and assisting in the process. It would have been far more satisfying to see our favorite screen characters go through that process in a way we would find more fun and more relateable.

        No one has ever said no change, no growth.

      • Faith says:

        These characters grew leaps and bounds from S1 to S2 and yet I for one really enjoyed that journey.

      • weaselone says:

        Not me. Like all shippers, I want stagnation, banality and excessive schmalz. I want 43 minutes worth of the Colonel motel scene with no interruptions in every episode for the entire season. I give the writers, directors and producers permission to change only the clothing, hairstyles, props and setting. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        HAH! yes weaselone, you’ve uncovered my true feelings exactly!

      • John says:

        Wait where did this thing about people not wanting the characters to grow come from? I have never heard that before…from anybody.

      • weaselone says:

        Shippers of course. You know that shippers lack the mental capacity and discernment necessary to appreciate the story being told this season. They only appreciate the destination, or the journey depending which is unimportant on that particular day. Fortunately, shippers aren’t real fans so you don’t need to give any credence to what they write. Plus, they only complain because they think Chuck and Sarah should be doing the horizontal mambo in every episode and that feeble belief can be thoroughly deconstructed and demolished by a two year old with ADD.

      • John says:

        Even if you were not a shipper before, and I did not consider myself such, you pretty much have to be that way after what have seen so far this season. The Chuck-Sarah relationship now dominates and permeates everything and every major moment in the show mainly serves to sort-of advance that story along. Even if Chuck and Sarah have some sort of bizarre sort of amnesia and never seem to remember what they felt or said or heard the previous episode.

        Alot of the individual episodes are great but the end result seems less than the sum of its parts.

      • Faith says:

        Sarcasm and Weaselone, they go hand and hand like Casey and his guns 🙂

        In the NBC boards we have a “I blame Shaw” thread, I think we need a “I blame the shippers” thread here 😉

      • AngelTwo says:

        Joe, I would say this in reply, with all due respect:
        1) Ali Adler does engage the fans, then puts their fondest wishes and most-voiced complaints in the mouths of the show’s burn-out drunk and and the most famous TV baddie of the decade. So I think we should not consider Ali Adler an ally anymore.
        2) Schwartz? His ratings tanked to a series-low 1.9 and he has since then issued two tweets–both of which demand action from us. His contribution to the dialogue: Nothing. Just orders. Not even a spoiler or something to energize the disaffected fans. Just orders to do his bidding and save HIS show. (Remember, we’re told it’s not OUR show, but HIS.)

        I have ALWAYS thought Season 3 would be Chuck’s last because no show “saved” by the fans (and I am not even sure that is the case with Chuck, btw) survived past one additional season.

        That said, TPTB delivered the one and only storyline (Chuck and Sarah not together in any form for a majority of episodes) guaranteed to split the fan base. That also buried their best asset–the Strahovski-Levi on-screen chemistry–screwed Subway (which built its entire Chuck campaign around a couple) and sucked what even they call “the heart” out of the show.

        I think it’s interesting what the last 48 hours has brought forth from the fans: NOTHING.

        Schwartz issued marching orders and the fan based has shrugged. They have only themselves to blame.

      • John says:

        I was a little surprised they referred to the Chuck/Sarah thing as the “heart of the show”. I thought the heart of the show was Team Bartowski working together to defeat evil and have hilarity ensue. If they really thought we all watched just to see if Chuck and Sarah got together then I guess the general direction of the season makes more sense…even if the actions of the characters doesn’t and the lack of continuity between episodes doesn’t.

      • herder says:

        In one of the articles that I had read (before the start of this season) there was a quote from Sepinwall “What makes Chuck so special…is that there is a fundemental warmth and humanity under the jokes”. I have seen precious little of that fundemental warmth and humanity, it seems to have been sacrificed to present an extended estrangement between Chuck and Sarah in order to tell the story of, well I’m not certain what.

        There was almost none of it in the first two episodes, it was there in the next two, but with the arrival of Shaw it disappeared again. We saw a hint of it last monday. They seem to have tried to make up for it by showing it from Morgan and Casey over the last two episodes. But it seems a tremendous risk from TPTB to remove this from the show in the interests of, again I’m not sure what.

        The question that I have is was this necessary to telling the stories of Sarah’s concerns about what Chuck may become and Chuck’s dealing with the darker aspects of the life he has chosen. Along the way was it necessary for Chuck to be such a jerk to Hannah and for Sarah to share intimacies with Shaw that she has denied Chuck for the last two years, even Shaw was suprised that she hadn’t told Chuck her real name.

        Then to top it off was it necessary to intoduce what essentially is a new leading man, especially one that so spectacularly does not fit with the tone and feel of the show. They had a great entrance for Shaw and a not so bad second episode then….nothing. Seriously how has he added to the show since First Class?

        Honestly for me writing about the show has become more enjoyable than watching the show as I wait in hope for the return of something that resembles the show that I loved. Growth is good, change is not necessarily bad but change for changes’ sake is often disaterous.

        One final thing, I think that it was OD (and I’m not picking on him) who said it gets really good at 3.14. What I have noticed is that we have all season long said that at episode 3.x it starts to get good. Initially we thought it would be in 3.08 (in Ali we trust), didn’t happen, then it was 3.09 (he’s in danger, Sarah will rush back to him), then 3.10 (on a mission together, they’ll have to sort things out). Now we hear that it won’t be 3.11 because he’ll have to win her again in 3.12 and finally OD (still not picking on you) says it gets good in 3.14.
        My point is that as the season goes on we continually push back the point where things start to get good, how can that be good story telling and at what point do people start to say “meh, I’m done”. Again this has been a tremendous risk by TPTB and one that may have backfired on them.

      • atcdave says:

        Really great post herder. I agree entirely, even the part about enjoying writing about it more than the show itself right now. The last couple episodes have been better; but the dark “shaw” cloud remains. I’ll be out of town most of next week, I’m not currently sure how much effort I’ll make to watch 3.11 while I’m gone. It just doesn’t seem as important to me now as I would have expected.

      • John says:

        Was it really a risk? It seems to me reseting the show and running angsty plots allows them to reuse similar plot devices from past seasons. It is just that before they did it well and kept it fun and allowed it complement the rest of the show.

        Now they are doing it very poorly. What changed I am not sure. Surely there are precedents for doing a long WT/WT thing and actually doing it well or shows wouldn’t keep putting that nonsense in their shows.

        There that is where this post should go.

      • herder says:

        It was a risk, that very question was put to them in an interview by Mo Ryan after Comic-con and CF said that they knew there was a limited number of times that they could reset the Chuck/Sarah relationship. They knew that there was a risk, they simply judged that the fans of the show would accept it at least one more time. Perhaps they were right, perhaps they were wrong, the ratings will tell and renewal or cancelation will be the judgement.

      • John says:

        Well if they realized it was a risky move and if they questioned whether or not viewers would accept it then why did they do it? I have enjoyed some of the episodes but the overall arc seems to be repetitive and seems to be going nowhere fast. What here was so compelling that they felt it justified going against their own instincts?

      • herder says:

        I think that is the point, they discounted the risks to follow their own instincts of a super angsty WTWT story.

  16. JLR says:

    Wow, nicely done AngelTwo…

  17. HenryH says:

    I don’t have an issue with anyone’s point of view. It seems to me the people who created this blog aren’t of any one view, either. That is all to the good.

    Mark me down as a fan VERY concerned about what I see as the very low quality of season 3. That’s my bias.

    So that said, may I make this observation without criticising or ostracizing? I don’t know Old Darth. But I did, in real time, watch him talk himself into liking Nacho Sampler when he was moderating the boards over at ChuckTV.net. He started out negative and then as the comments came in, he started changing his mind until he convinced himself he loved the episode. (The commentary is still all there, so look at it yourself.) That’s certainly his right, of course.

    And then there is this Darth Razorback fellow. I don’t know him, either. But he’s spent the entire season telling us to stop criticizing the “show we love.” But in his podcast about Beard, he said something like: “Finally, an episode that reminded me what I loved about Chuck.” Again, his right to say it.

    See where I’m headed? I truly do think the folks who tell us they are in love with Season 3 are trying to convince themselves as much as they are trying to convince us skeptics.

    Love Season 3 if you want. That’s cool. Talk yourself into loving Season 3 if you want. That’s cool, too.

    But for those us who are less convinced, I resent being told that expressing that concern is somehow disloyal or that there is no pleasing us. And I’m not even a shipper. My favorite episode ever is “Suburbs” and nothing was more ultimately downbeat than that episode.

    Right now, in its parlous ratings state, Chuck needs every fan. Happy, unhappy, see-no-evil, see-no-good.

    But if the Chuck fandom devolves into a love-it-or-leave-it thing, which Old Darth espoused several months ago, the ratings show that people are leaving it. And that isn’t good for anyone who cares about Chuck.

    • joe says:

      Oh yeah. Four of us, four POVs and four different takes!

      You have a good point about trying to convince ourselves, Henry. I know that when I first watch an episode it’s been very hard to NOT think about what the reactions are going to be.

      Usually I have to stew on it for a bit before I even start to understand some of what I saw. That’s no different from what I had to do in S1 and S2, really. And usually my opinions evolve over a couple of days.

      I don’t think I’m capable of really convincing someone that they liked something they didn’t. I’m not that good a salesman. All I can do is be honest about what felt about a given episode or aspect of the show. If I liked it, people will get that and still be able to make up their own minds.

      • herder says:

        Joe, I’m a bit suprised that you think about what others’ reaction to an episode will be when you first watch an episode. Personally I don’t let that enter into my considerations, mostly this year I have been having a hard enough time figuring out my own reaction. Strangely enough, despite my agreement with a lot of the disapointment being expressed, I have found my own reactions at odds with a lot of the reactions on the board.

        On the good episodes that most of us like, Angel del Muerte, Operation Awesome and the Beard there is little disagreement. On the more controversial episodes like Natcho Sampler I liked although others felt different. The Mask I felt was a dud but not the terrible episode that many others did.

        I figured that Tolstoy (douchy comment comming up) had it right All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in it’s own way. The happy episodes are generally liked for the same reasons by most of us, the unhappy episodes are disliked for many different individual reasons. Please excuse the pretensiousness, but it struck me and I had to put it down.

      • JLR says:

        @herder: Man, you hit the nail on the head w/ the Tolstoy reference!! I’ve been searching for a way to articulate the difference in opinion amongst those of us w/ “issues” regarding S3, and individual episodes… I totally blanked on Tolstoy!

      • JLR says:

        Forgot to add that Anna Karenina is amongst my favorites..

      • joe says:

        Yeah, herder. I struggle with that. It looks like my final reactions come out to be very nearly like yours, though.

        Heh! Tolstoy! Only here could you find equally trenchant references to both Tolstoy and South Park. 😉

  18. PeterOinNj says:

    Joe, I consider myself a patient man. I’m mature enough to know that time can be as much of an ally as an enemy. I’ve given this show a lot of time over the last couple of years. I was amazed at how fast it flew by in seasons 1 & 2. The journey moved along at a good clip and I could not wait for the time to pass till the next Monday came around. This season, I knew the journey would be tougher – the stakes are higher we were told time and again. A lot of growth was necessary in the main characters for them to be true partners. So I would be patient, listen to the call to enjoy the ride knowing that time would be an ally.

    But it was different. Time moved very slowly this season. It was turning into a painful journey and instead of looking forward to the next Monday, I sometimes found myself dreading what was coming next. Things began to look up after Beard and I found myself looking forward to the next installment of the series. And then I watched Tic Tac. I loved the episode – my favorite of the year – maybe of the entire series. I saw character growth, partners working together and a chemistry that I really haven’t seen this season. It was a great episode! And it left me with a pit in my stomach, an emptiness that I have never felt watching this show. I realized how much time has been lost. What was worst was that I came away believing that we would probably waste a little more over the next couple of weeks.

    Jerry Kramer, in his book Instant Replay, his diary about the Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers, said that the team always believed they would win any game. They never lost, they just ran out of time. I am worried that we are running out of time. I’m not talking about renewal for a season 4 – I’m talking about arriving at a destination worthy of this arduous journey. Each week this gets stretched out makes it more difficult for me to see a satisfying end to the journey. If they needed so much time to show us how conflicted Sarah is, to completely separate Chuck & Sarah, to have them hit rock bottom, for Chuck to realize that he loves Sarah with all his heart and all his soul – shouldn’t we have an appropriate amount of time devoted to Sarah’s epiphany? If it’s started, I didn’t see it last episode. The final images were of Sarah seeing Chuck under the influence of Laudinol being the effective emotionless spy she is afraid he will become – a terrifying sight. I could easily see that one moment wiping away any and all progress the partnership made during the episode. And from all accounts, the epiphany won’t happen next week either. So that leaves me worrying – will Sarah choose Chuck or will circumstances dictate her decision? – will the two of them meet in the middle or will Chuck have to win her back again (and again and again)? In the end, will I believe it because if I don’t, I will look back at the journey as the highway to hell. This is the single most important thing to me – without this, the Shaw plot device was a waste of time.

    I still love this show. I plan on watching every episode. But the clock is ticking – we are running out of time – and I am loosing patience.

    • HenryH says:

      Peter: I’ve been trying to think why Sarah thinks it’s okay to gun down and/or batter five people yet Chuck can’t snap one person’s neck?

      I’m okay with “Sarah loves the guy, not the spy.” The problem is they have created a Sarah who judges Chuck by what he does, not what she herself does.

      If she doesn’t want Chuck to lose his soul, are we to assume Sarah has NO soul because she does things she doesn’t want Chuck to do?

      That’s part of the problem of Season 3. We see Chuck’s painful journey. Sarah’s reactions to that journey are beyond baffling and can’t be explained (as lizjames so artfully explained about season 2 Sarah) the “crazy in love” Sarah.

      • PeterOinNj says:

        Henry, your comment leaves me thinking about an ex-smoker or someone who has just discovered religion. It is hard to find anyone more righteous in their beliefs. Sarah is rediscovering her soul – I might even say she is on the road to redemption. And no doubt in my mind she is being righteous about it and holding Chuck up to impossibly high standards. And that is why I say we are running out of time. She is still at the opposite end of the pendulum and if they are to meet in the middle, she has a long way to go. Time is not on our side.

      • HenryH says:

        Peter-
        Points well taken. I suspect that it will have to be Chuck who “saves” her, thus the Charles in Charles meme lizjames laid out so well. Chuck saves Shaw, gets Casey his rank back, saves Sarah’s soul and gets her love, thus giving us a happy ending in episode 12.

        But that still leaves a real problem. In Seasons 1 and 2, Chuck wanted the Intersect out of his head so he could live a real life. And Sarah, unbeknownst to Chuck and just barely known to us, wanted out and a real life, too.

        What are the “ethics” of this Season 3 spy world that Chuck and Sarah can live in together?

      • Lauren says:

        I agree with Peter. I can see why Sarah STILL freaks out about Chuck changing and doesn’t apply the same criticism to her own actions. Heart of gold or not, Sarah has been involved in cons/darker things for most of her life. She sees herself as someone good at her job but not capable of living like “everyone else.” Shaw is safe because he is like her in that respect. They’re both damaged and possibly “irredeemable” personalities. Chuck on the other hands is well, Chuck. Sarah put him on a pedestal(I think we all did too). To her, he was as admirable and heroic as a person could be. It’s more than difficult, maybe tantamount to someone attempting to destroy your religious faith, for her to see him perform these actions that are so in line with what she views as irredeemable. She’s afraid that he will turn in to her and she doesn’t want that because she knows he’s better than that. Of course, Shaw is a piece of wood and she needs to learn that he can be that same man and a spy at the same time.

        Also, it’s always easier to point out someone else’s flaws than to see possible hypocrisy in your own actions. Hope that made sense…

    • joe says:

      Well said, Peter. I wrote something way up near the top that speaks to this. I know I’m anxious for C&S to get to where we’d like them to be and it seems like it’s taking forever. We know the arguments about the necessities of the storylines and the network needs and the sponsor requirements and the ratings pressures. Don’t care. It’s been long enough. And yes, I recognize it’s selfish.

      But at the same time, I’m not capable of imagining any faster, more dramatic way to that point. Good thing I’m not writing the scripts.

  19. Lucian says:

    In support of TPTB, let me say this: they have been, for the most part, pretty honest with fans regarding the direction they were going with the show this season. They said it at comic-con and virtually all the spoilers have been accurate (with the possible exception of “3-D chess”, which may still actually mean something). They started the season with maximum angst, just so there would be no confusion. So, even though I think they could have produced a far more entertaining show, based on my own definition of entertainment, I can’t fault them for being deceptive. Most of the hard-core fans just didn’t want to believe or accept what they said. Based on the last couple of episodes, I am pretty hopeful they will again be making a show I find really entertaining. Based on what they have done this season, however, I wouldn’t be jumping on any “save Chuck” bandwagon any time soon. I hope they make it to season four, but if they don’t, I won’t be too upset. It might even be a good thing for the leads so they can move on in their careers.

    • JLR says:

      I agree with this… I actually understood early on we’d be getting a lot of angst. I saw many posts on various forums indicating some sort of denial about that. That’s why I entered the season w/ merely a vow to watch the original 13 order. Had I not made that pre-season vow, I would’ve quit watching entirely (I no longer watch as it airs).

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think that is an important point to make. Schwartz and Fedak have been pretty up front about the direction they saw as entertaining and how they felt the need for darker episodes. I’ll also note that we should remember TPTB does not begin and end with them. Many other decisions, the suicide time slot, the reduced budget, the late start of season 3, the initial limited order, all out of their hands have contributed to the show’s success or lack of it.

      Many of our complaints here however are more limited to our dissatisfaction with the execution as opposed to the new direction. Those are also legitimate criticisms IMHO.

      • Lucian says:

        I don’t have a problem with “dark”. My issues have a lot more to do with storytelling, character development, and over-use of juvenille plot devices (Chuck and Sarah don’t talk; it takes PLIs to move the relationship forward).

    • AngelTwo says:

      I don’t disagree with any of this. Schwartz and Fedak were very clear at Comi-Con–but that was AFTER the effort to save the show by the fans had happened. The fans had already done the heavy lifting.

      This time, if TPTB want the fans’ support for a season 4, I think they’ll have to explain WHERE a season 4 would be headed before there’s a blind bandwagon. And there’s plenty of time for it. Shooting wraps episode 3.19 on Friday, I believe. We don’t even see 3.13 until April 5. As BeCoolBoy so wisely stated, there’s a two-week gap between the airing of 3.14.

      I would think if Chuck has a chance for a season 4, TPTB would be well served in that two-week gap to outline where they would be taking the show for season 4.

  20. IHateInsurgents says:

    Joe, I’m not sure if others have iterated the point I am about to make. Because, lets face it, reading 82 comments of the length and caliber that are typically found at this site will take a long time. However, I always enjoy reading your thoughts/recaps because I’m a ‘glass-half-full’ type of fan as well, and really watch the show to enjoy the whole story, which I usually do.

    I just wanted to comment RE: your issues with Sarah’s thoughts about Chuck or as you referenced here “unclear feelings… dithering” about Chuck.

    We’ve always taken the point that this show is about Chuck for granted. The writers have given us pretty major insights to other characters without Chuck around, but for the most part, the point of view of the show as a whole is through Chuck. That is why you, and I’m sure other people are very frustrated with the perceived unclear feelings Sarah has for Chuck. I don’t think that’s the case. I think her feelings are clear, but she’s hiding them.

    I don’t want to go through all of the backstory about Sarah that we know, but I do want to say, remember what she’s gone through in the last 3 seasons. She doesn’t trust people, not really. She expects and knows the people she works with, etc. will do their job, but she doesn’t trust them beyond that. That’s what she’s lived her whole life. How can you expect her to trust anyone with her heart? And that is what she worked toward at the end of season 2. For her, that’s a huge step, probably the most frightening thing she’s ever done.

    Giving her heart to Chuck is the biggest risk to her, and he goes and breaks it, unintentionally, but he did. This is pretty powerful. He made that decision, albeit, not as drastically as Casey, but he made it. She’s hurt and moving past all that, Chuck is trying to become what “he gave up everything for” – and yes, he has tried to talk to Sarah, but she’s honoring his decision. Chuck had the ability to slip into the bathrobe wearing Lebowski when his life fell apart, but Sarah hasn’t had that option because she wasn’t supposed to fall in love with her asset in the first place. Shaw – as annoying as he is – is safe, he mentioned it once in an episode, but it’s true. He can’t hurt her heart, it isn’t his. This is Sarah taking her time to move beyond the hurt. I think in all the episodes we still see her very much in love with Chuck with her support and her decisions, especially helping him be the best spy he can be, which is what he wants. Yes he loves her, which she knows from the video from Carina, but he also gives her a very compelling reason why he chose to be a spy, and so, selflessly, she’s helping him do just that. She’s stepping aside to let him be the agent that he wants to be.

    I would say Chuck has a lot to make up for, even though he didn’t mean to hurt her, it still happened, and Sarah Walker wouldn’t be Sarah Walker if she just flew into his arms after a declaration of love. That’s completely unrealistic with everything they’ve gone through.

    So, after my rant, which was supposed to give you a reassuring view of Sarah (I hope it did), I just wanted to say, stick with Sarah, even thought you can’t read her yet. I think she’s keeping a lot of everything bottled inside, but you can still see how much she cares in every episode. It tends to sneak out. Don’t lose the faith!

    Can’t wait for next week and your next recap.

    • Jason says:

      nicely written – i do not like this season for the reasons you articulate even though I agree with your POV’s logic, clearly, sarah was hurt, and shaw is meaningless to sarah, other than he is not chuck and he is seemingly breathing and willing and able (might even be that he is in chuck’s line of sight makes him a great choice for sarah, some combo of revenge and chuck motivation) … you layed out a very compelling case for the plot – but probably given two season of lite hearted WT/WT, throwing a dark 11 1/2 drama one after an emotional renewal battle was probably not a great plan in retrospect – was it?

    • Jason says:

      I meant dark 11 1/2 episode drama story

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, a big part of the issue is that season is so different from what came before, I often feel like I’m not even watching the same show. Its kind of a bait and switch situation; this current show isn’t quite what I signed up for.

      • Fake Empire says:

        Dave, my friend, that’s because it hasn’t been the same show – and time will tell if it begins to resemble its old self. I say “resemble” because it frankly will not be the same show again. This may not be a bad thing in the long haul, but it’s been difficult to adjust to during these first 11 epi’s (counting the Ring reboot).

        It became clear to me that the “old Chuck” show was gone in First Class when Chuck said something to this effect when discussing Shaw’s evaluation with Casey: “I’ll never get away from this stupid cover if Shaw thinks I was only some moron who happened to get a computer downloaded into his head.” Well, if I remember correctly, that was the whole premise of the show: an everyday man, via serendipity, becomes the possessor of the nation’s secrets; is assigned protectors; accomplishes extraordinary things; and becomes a hero along the way. (whoops: can’t forget about finding love along the way with an awesome girl!). When Chuck made that statement, it felt to me like the whole identity of the show was just rewritten or ret-conned.

        Yes, characters need to grow, evolve, mature, etc. I understand and support that; heck, I want to see it! Just not in this style.

        I’m hoping and believing something good will come out of this eventually, even as soon as the back 6. But, IMHO, this is no longer the same show and hasn’t been for a long time.

      • BeCoolBoy says:

        I think both Ernie Davis and lizjames have pointed out that the way to make sense out of any of this is to assume Chuck ended with Colonel.

        This feels like a different show becuase it IS a different show. Not nearly as good, either.

      • JLR says:

        Yep; I’ve found the only way to make S3 watchable (for me) is to forget about the first two seasons. I don’t think that will be acceptable to me going forward.

      • Stef62 says:

        Fedak has said recently that when Chuck was picked up for a 3rd season, it gave them the oportunity to build a new show within the skin of an existing show, with an existing fanbase

      • Jason says:

        I think routh was brought in as a significant LI to try and bolster the 18-49 female fan base, probably assumed the male fan base would stay in tack due to yvonne worship, as well as the sci fi techy stuff, just misread the situation as well as routh’s ability, then added to the woe with a poorly conceived arc with yvonne largely isolated from the rest of the cast

      • Faith says:

        visions of silence of the lambs in my head with that Stef

      • Faith says:

        Jason: fail. I find him about as attractive as a piece of wood. But different people have different tastes, I will admit.

      • atcdave says:

        Like Oak vs. Maple?

    • joe says:

      Hi, IHI. You’re right – the number of quality comments here is tremendous.
      And it’s good to see another optimist here!

      You have a good point about Sarah. If she seems hard to understand, a lot of that is because Chuck does not understand, and we see her mostly through his eyes.

      One thing. When you said that Chuck broke her heart you reminded me of Chuck’s speech to Carina at the end of The Three Words, the one at the fountain with Sarah present. He opened her heart. That’s painful and she’s been bleeding but that’s how you become open to love too.

      I’ve been convinced for a year now that they will get together – it’s only a matter of when. And I was trying to express in the post that it’s time.

      Luckily, I don’t write the scripts! 😉

      Thank’s for the compliments, IHI.

    • I’ll agree with you 100% Ihateinsurgents. Sarah does not trust people and for her to put her heart out there to chuck was the most frightings things she have ever done and yes Chuck hurt her in Prague. Not on pupose but he did and Chuck is got alot of making up tp to do on that part. for Sarah, Shaw is the safe choice for her to get past the that Chuck caused. I believe in ep.11 Sarah and Chuck will have a heart to heart about Prage and her real name. and it’s about time.

      About chuck becoming a spy,ill never forget toward the end of the episode 10 when Ellie told Chuck that her and Devon were heading to Africa with the DOCTORS FOR BORDERS PROGRAM than going to USC Neroology on a fellowship program that she eying on since she was a kid but Ellie told Chuck dreams change.That is a powerful message.

      As for Chuck his dreams has changed as well working at buymore a place he did not want to be at all now becoming a spy and he wants it all. The spy life and Sarah and he is going to have them both by any means necessary.

  21. Lucian says:

    I find it interesting that, if one were to look back at the discussion some of us were having back in the fall, the general consensus was PLIs would not be signficant this season because:
    1) it was repetitive
    2) it would be a ratings killer, given where the characters were at.

    We pretty much agreed that TPTB probably wanted to have a fourth season, so they wouldn’t screw up the best element in the show, which is the chemistry between the leads. We didn’t think they would be that short-sighted, even if it seemed that plis were their one-trick pony / angst generator.

    Given that, it is hard to respond positively to any requests to save the show (again).

    • atcdave says:

      Funny how we could be right and wrong at the same time.

    • JLR says:

      I also find it interesting that so many people told many of us to not worry before the season started. That TPTB “deserve our trust.” All criticisms were dismissed as premature; yet they’re still dismissed now as supposedly only crazy shippers have issues. Who still trusts TPTB?

  22. Waverly says:

    Something just occurred to me.

    I have thought that each of the episodes this season has been mostly enjoyable and well done. I’m talking about the acting and cinematography and writing and other things that go into a single episode of a TV program. Except for Pink Slip I’ve enjoyed re-watching each episode. I haven’t noticed any cost savings in the product.

    But the collection of episodes as a series really hasn’t been enjoyable. That’s when you notice the inconsistencies and dropped plot threads and inexplicable behavior of the main characters. Problems that can be overlooked in an individual episode can’t be so easily ignored over the course of several episodes.

    I’m a relative newcomer to Chuck. I did see an episode or two in the first season, but it just didn’t catch my attention. But when I saw them strung together, that’s when I really started getting involved. Maybe there were some plot problems over multiple episodes, but I didn’t notice them. Perhaps that was the fun-factor masking it, but I think there just weren’t as many serious arc-long problems.

    So I’m wondering if the producers/writers intentionally changed the nature of the story (complexity and seriousness and tone) but didn’t adapt it well to the continued disjoint nature of the weekly hour format.

    Maybe they wanted to hook more casual viewers and were willing to live with the less satisfactory story for the dedicated viewer.

  23. Jason says:

    if sarah just breaks down mid 3.12, with the most gut wrenching admission of endless love, tears, words, actions, the whole 9 yards, with some choice admissions of how she felt during various parts of the season – would anyone forgive her on the spot? how about TPTB?

    • Fake Empire says:

      If Sarah were to do that, I would cheer . . . after coming back to consciousness from passing out due to shock. 😉

    • John says:

      Probably and no.

    • JLR says:

      I know this will sound petty, but no, not really. A scene or scenes won’t make up for the lost time. Perhaps I’m just not sufficiently insightful. I need more than a couple longing looks to keep me on the hook. I’d see it as another case of unbelievable whiplash. And I think that’s more or less what we’re gonna get; insufficient set-up. Or worse: one of my biggest concerns has always been HOW C/S come together. The way things stand, I’m starting to see Chuck as some sort of second choice for Sarah. I’ve tried to play it out how (realistically) it could come down to Sarah making a unforced choice, but I think they’ve run out of time. Yeah, we’re gonna get whiplash….assuming we even get that. I just want it to be over quickly so the infestation of the rest of the show will stop. I’ll have to decide then whether I can reconcile myself to watching a show with leading characters who have been diminished (in my eyes). I like Casey (& Morgan too of all characters), but will that be enough for me?

    • JC says:

      I would accept her apology and then buy her a nice going away present. Maybe a Redskins hat or a pair of tweezers for the splinter problem. 😉

      But honestly they’ve done a lot of damage to her character IMO. So I find it hard to believe Chuck wants anything to do with her beyond being partners.

  24. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Tic Tac (3.10) | Chuck This

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