It’s Not Just A Quick Read On The Beach Anymore
As I type this, Ernie has just put up our first S3 Revisited post and there are precisely two comments. That’s okay – it’s only been up for a length of time measured in minutes. What’s striking is that both comments address romance, as did my portion of the post. And we’re guys!
Speaking for myself, I’m a twice-married “flaming!” heterosexual male with a granddaughter, two black belts and a love of football that goes back to Jack Kemp, Vince Lombardi and Cookie Gilcrist. Yet here I am, constantly writing about sweet, fictional moments of hand holding, love discovered, love deferred and love re-found like a teenager. Oops. Almost typed “angst-ridden teenager.” That wouldn’t be too far from the truth, either, except that I haven’t been an angst-ridden teen in decades. That’s not me no more!
Most of our readership is male, as is most of Chuck‘s audience. With Yvonne Strahovski highlighted in each episode, perhaps that’s not surprising.
Shouldn’t we be writing about the spy adventure that’s going on here?
Aren’t there bullets flying and cars blowing up and (bwa-ha-ha) bad-guys to be punched in the back of the head? Sure there are. Good humor, too. Still, those things always comes second. It’s the stick that gently stirs the Chuck drink, and no more than that. ‘Fess up now – you’re as in touch with your “lady feelings” as I am. And if the romance wasn’t so ingrained into the story, you’d be watching reruns of Law and Order, Monk or NCIS. We may have given this show a chance because we saw Chuck ejected sideways from a tricked-out herder in Helicopter and we may have spritzed a soda through our nose when Sarah photographed a gagged and tie-up Casey in Wookie. (“Smile!”) But most of us guys focused on every stolen (and missed) glance between Chuck & Sarah, and heard every errant word. “He’s – my guy.” That ever-so-slight catch in her throat was not lost on us. Not for a minute. We got caught up because for one reason or another, we wanted to see Chuck and Sarah together.
So I have a question. Where is this coming from? Is it the memories of real-life love-lost – or hopefully, love found? Is it about remembering the struggle, or living through it? Is it simply that “nerd-gets-the-girl” is a modern day fairy tale, or is it more personal than that? Is the chord being struck a shared misery, a shared hope or a fond remembrance?
Now that I’ve successfully channeled Carrie Bradshaw, I’ll stop that and offer some of my own answers to those questions.
Ultimately, I have no idea! I don’t like 99.44% of the stuff my wife subjects me to when she ties me up and forces me to watch Lifetime or The Hallmark Channel (and I won’t comment on if I just like being tied up, you insensitive clods… 😉 ). Besides being extraordinarily predictable, I generally bristle at the blatant stereotypes I see on their shows (um, there actually are more than two kinds of men in the world, one of which is emotionally unavailable, the other a “white knight”).
Chuck has not been about those stereotypes. It’s about my stereotype, the nice-guy who’s bright, but full of insecurities. It’s about the unattainable seeming just within your grasp, and hoping beyond hope you haven’t overestimated your reach. It’s not about the sex – it’s about the touch.
It’s not been about being Superman or Peter Parker. It’s about being an everyday hero, and seeing that hero in the people around you sometimes.
Chuck has changed. The show is no longer about that angst and those insecurities he used to have. That ended some time ago, as did mine. Like the character, the show has grown up, and presents a world of increased responsibilities and increased concerns, especially concerns for loved ones. That change, from emotional teen to emotional adult continues to feel familiar. It’s recognizably my own, and I suspect, yours. To hold my attention, Chuck needs to keep this adult posture with the characters, and still, somehow, keep the fun excitement and romance that we’ve always enjoyed. That’s quite a challenge.
My hope for season 4 is that they can pull this off. I think they can, because even though the angst is gone, the romance continues unabated.
With Chuck and Sarah together, what are you hoping to see?