Joe vs. Pessimism

And Boy, Am I Overusing that VS. Paradigm!

Magnus Anton Lekay (better known as Darth Razorback) posted today what is sure to be known as the most controversial column of the summer – Detonating CHUCK – Quitting Before the Cancellation. It begins:

I have had several conversations over this summer with various people from insiders, to industry people, to journalists and most said the same thing: the CHUCK show-runners should announce that season 4 is the final season no matter what happens with the ratings. End it now before NBC cancels the show. Construct a series finale and request that NBC pick up 3 or more new episodes for the season to finish out the story.

I understand the impulse. Most shows go out in ignominy, leaving the air with a whimper, not a bang. A few, the great ones, end the story the way any good novel ends; cleanly, definitively, and in a manner that allows them to put the audience in exactly the place dictated by the story. The ending is not determined by schedules, network politics, corporate financials or any extraneous influence. I hope I understand Magnus correctly when I say that he’s advocating Chuck‘s show runners elect to go out on their own terms. And based on the conversations he’s had, he’s advocating they do that now.


The claim, and I’m not disputing it, is that those on the inside are pretty certain that Chuck will not be back for season 5, and that even the award of a back 9 or 6 episodes is a long shot. The completion of the 5 or 7 season arc that fans have heard existed is not going to happen, except in some form that will be less satisfactory than it could have been. I’m sure Magnus would tell you straight up that it is not pessimism but realism that drives him to that conclusion. I don’t think that Magnus means for them (TPTB) to make the announcement as a bluff, either (“Buy this magazine or we shoot this dog!”) He means, bring the story to an end, and do it the right way.

A lot about this sounds pessimistic to the ears.

You know me – the eternal optimist. Is it certain that this is the last season of Chuck? With all due respect to Darth Razorback and the people he’s talked to, of course it isn’t. But no one saying it’s certain; only that it’s likely. That’s an important difference and I think that it’s the amount of uncertainty that makes a preemptive decision to end the show premature.

Comcast is still in negotiations with GE about the final details of their proposed merger with NBC-Universal and lawmakers are still discussing the ramifications of the merger on the telecommunications industry. So it seems a bit above the pay-grade of anybody involved directly with the show, and may indeed be above the pay-grade of nearly everybody at NBC-U to say that it’s fate is sealed with any confidence.

That’s the politics. From a business standpoint, we as fans are quite capable (positive, definite) of demonstrating to even the most blinkered businessman in Hollywood that we command enough dollars to make a difference to the advertisers. We already have. We don’t do it with sheer numbers; we do it with dedication, loyalty, smarts and not a little maturity; those are the demonstrated qualities of Chuck‘s audience. It’s true that, as businesses, NBC-U and GE have not covered themselves with glory with the coming of the internet era. It’s worth noting that NBC News – and most especially MSNBC – is in far greater straits than the entertainment division, and are much more important considerations when they think about changes. It seems that Chuck is far healthier financially than NBC as a whole, and in a rational world should be shopping for a new outlet (not the other way around.) Sadly, Hollywood is by no means a rational world, and worse, those advertisers appear to be after fickleness, malleability and immaturity more than the qualities we offer.

So the best I can say is that there’s no reason to be downcast yet. Too much can happen between now and next May when final decisions will be made – too much that is out of anyone’s control. Personally, I see miracles every day that would make the go-ahead of Chuck‘s 5th season seem like an ordinary occurrence – not a biggie. And as Ernie was kind enough to point out to me, Yvonne setting up a kissing booth for Season 5 would guarantee the deal anyway, no matter what.

[YouTube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sYJ7lsEUdQ&hd=1″%5D

There’s a final consideration, though – the artistic one. If the show is going to come to an end – and it will, someday – isn’t it still better to choose that end-date and write the scripts accordingly? Well, generally yes. But there are several assumptions being made when you speak of Chuck ending in 13 more episodes. And not all of them apply. I’d like to point out to you one of the comments made by OldDarth, who I’m sure you recognize as one of our regular commenters. He correctly notes that it’s not so simple as making the choice to “not fade away”. You have to consider where the creators might take the show, and that end-point is not clear at all.

What is Chuck’s end game? Is it Chuck and Sarah getting married? Is it Chuck becoming a full fledged super hero? Is it both? Or is it something else? Is consensus on this even possible? I rather doubt it.

Without consensus the question cannot be answered properly.

That’s quite right. One of the assumptions made is that the show must be centered around Chuck and Sarah getting together. Now that they are, can the show survive? Isn’t that a good place to end it?

Honestly, I will be happy (enough) when Chuck and Sarah have the fairytale ending. Truly. But then again, I have a tendency to jump that fence and wonder if I wouldn’t like to see them a year later, still being the spy couple but well on the path of starting their “normal life.” You know – the life that Chuck *always* said he wanted before he wanted to also be a spy, and the one that Sarah now wants. I wonder what that would look like. Is Chuck the head of Orion Corp, and is Orion Corp a high-tech firm battling Roark Industries, or is it just posing as one but really doing the things that governments won’t? Is Sarah helping him deal with those governments as an independent consultant, or is Chuck helping her at the CIA? And are Jeff and Lester finally on tour???

Or how about a very dark story-line, where-in Chuck and Sarah been “burned” and are on the run again (this time for real)? Would you love to see that? Will the fans ever really be satisfied with never knowing anything about Sarah’s mother? Ack! Two and a half seasons worth of stories in those last six or seven sentences! No, those aren’t story suggestions. It’s my way of saying that Chuck hardly seems exhausted for stories yet. Rather than take this as a reason to address all these possibilities in S4, it can be taken as a reason to continue. The show can easily position itself – sell itself – in any number of ways to satisfy the business needs, and do that without ruining what it has; characters we love. Whether or not the story continues past S4, I’m not sure I have the need to see all the story-lines tied up now that Chuck and Sarah are together. I’d like ’em to be. I don’t need to have that much artistic integrity if that means a preemptive cancellation.

I can think of one valid reason for the creative talent of any show to bring it to an end. That’s creative exhaustion. I see no signs that Chuck is anywhere near that. In fact, for a show that’s already been on for 3 seasons and 54 episodes, it seems to have barely begun. It feels like only the second season has been completed, which makes sense when you consider how many of us came in after season 2 was already well underway. But much of the creative talent has left the show, you say? Much has come in, too. It’s only my opinion, but it hardly seems that burnout is going to be a problem in the near future.

Chuck is not The Simpsons. The nature of the beast is that the end will come, and probably before I’m ready for it. When it’s clear that they’re out of stories (or out of juice), then yes, I’ll agree with Magnus’ prescription and say TPTB should force the issue and end the show as they see fit. I see other (still popular!) shows that have reached that point, and should pull the plug. I don’t think Chuck‘s there yet.

– 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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229 Responses to Joe vs. Pessimism

  1. andyt says:

    Hey Joe, Keep the tagline it fits.

    First, I understand the impulse that Magnus has. Some shows get the ability to script the end while many do not. As someone who loved Buffy, Joss Whedon got to wrap up the show in the way that he wanted because he knew that the S7 would be the last; whereas Angel did not get that closure because the WB did not renew it. Instead, Joss ended the show with a semi-cliffhanger that had to resovled in the comic book series. It can be frustrating to viewers if the show finishes with no closure or many threads left dangling.

    It does help the TPTB if they know when the final end of the show will be, since they can prepare for it. Smallville goes into the season knowning this will be it and can finish the story in the place that they want(Although Smallville is a good example of a show that meandered for several seasons before finding traction again last year).

    As a final thought, Magnus’s sources might not be the most reliable. I clearly remember that last spring he virtually guaranteed that the back 6 would be the last Chuck episodes ever and that we should enjoy them. He was more suprised by the S4 order than most people, so it makes his insiders suspect methinks and his pessimism less credible.
    Keep being positive, and recommending Chuck to others who knows what will happen.

  2. ChuckNewbie8 says:

    With all due respect Joe, by responding in this post I feel like I’m acknowledging NYT’s coverage of TMZ. Unworthy doesn’t even begin to convey it…

    But respond I will. Who knows what the future brings. No one. Not the creators, the network and no not even the TMZ/national enquirer of the chuck blogosphere. Unless someone can definitively show me the time machine they rode on I choose to believe facts. Facts such as the fact that NBC renewed Chuck for a season 4. Why throw good money over bad if you expect it to fail? This isn’t a case of a fledging business = tax write-off. These are millions of dollars spent on a show that has shown a loyal fanbase, a solid ratings share on a tough time slot and an encouraging backstory.

    I would buy this mindset had Chuck been moved to Fridays. FYI another WB show was all but given a curtain call by a network: moved to Fridays, low but not without expectations. That show has now progressed to solid/renewable ratings and is heading for it’s final (announced) season. The show is Smallville. Now how did this come to pass? The network had faith on the show and it’s direction and frankly it’s last (moved to death Friday) was it’s best yet. So lesson to be learned? People talk but the product dictates fate. If Chuck is as good as we anticipate it to be no one not even TMZ can argue against it’s future.

    Oh and by the way there are certain shows that flourished after 3 seasons, like a show called Seinfeld for example.

    One final point. In the tv industry season 4s are usually a good indication of a season 5 because of syndication.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Faith. But if it means anything, I’m not really trying to address Magnus. I’m trying to address the pessimism I saw in his post. Truly, it was well stated and pretty effective. He made his argument well, and even if he hadn’t others would, sooner or later.

      But ultimately I didn’t agree and wanted to say why.

      And I absolutely agree – by far the #1 indicator that a 5th season is coming is (you guessed it!) a 4th season.

  3. Herder says:

    I’m on vacation posting from the evil empire (Starbucks) to say don’t plan to end after 13. While there is a good chance that this thirteen will be it, it is not a certainty, I beleive that there are other factors that kept Chuck on the air for a fourth season, age, gender and income demographics as well as intangibles such as how much attention the viewers pay to the advertising that we don’t understand.

    That along with Joe’s point about the story not being done mean that if the season and story end with an incompelete telling, so be it. I’d rather that than a throwing in the towel. Chuck lives! at least for now.

  4. atcdave says:

    There is really only one good reason I can think of to do a proper wrap-up of a series; that is, the story is exhausted and the audience needs a conclusion. Whether the castaways need to get off the island or Dr. Kimball needs to find the one-armed man, at some point the manipulations become tiresome and a conclusion is needed.
    We got a taste of that on Chuck this season. One particular story element, the wt/wt of Chuck and Sarah, had played out way past what much of the audience could stomach (in spite of TPTB thinking we “needed” at least one more round of it). So in a clear case of “better late than never”, the particular theme was finally closed off. That needed to be done, or the show really was over.
    But Chuck is not Gilligan’s Island (what, was there another show about castaways?) or The Fugitive. Its theme of an everyman spy and the goddess who loves him is truly open ended. The structure has been a mix of stand alone episodes and fairly short arcs. There is no overarching plot or mystery that must be resolved by series end.
    While I can’t begin to know what Chuck’s long-term prospects are, I don’t see any reason to wrap things up more than one plot at a time. Chuck finding mom does not have to end anything, nor does Chuck and Sarah getting married, nor a growing number of baby Bartowskis, nor even removing the intersect (he has a growing number of real spy skills now). Chuck can logically continue as long as long as the ratings allow. Joe mentioned creative exhaustion, I sort of agree (Its a VERY good thing Smalleville is calling it quits this year!), but Chuck has always used a writing staff anyway; Simpsons (and Gunsmoke, ER, and others) have shown that by bringing in new writing talent from time to time, shows with an open format can continue a VERY long time (um… not that I really think Chuck can last 21 seasons!)

    The only thing I can think of that needs to saved for a series grand finale would be a major character death. So as far as that goes, I hope we never see one!

  5. MediaSavant says:

    “So the best I can say is that there’s no reason to be downcast yet. Too much can happen between now and next May when final decisions will be made –”

    You are mistaken about May being when the final decisions are made. The majority of cancellations do not happen in May. Many a show is canceled long before that. (TVbytheNumbers.com kept track of this all season) This past season, only a few shows–Chuck being one of them–had not been decided on when May came around.

    If the show doesn’t get an episode order beyond the 13, it probably will pretty much done and that will be long before May.

  6. kg says:

    nbc IS a strugg-a-ling network and its news department is a disaster. I’m only one man, but if not for CHUCK and NFL football, I have no other reason to watch what they’re bringing. Just sayin…

    • atcdave says:

      ditto that! Might try Undercovers, but NBC doesn’t have much for me.

      • Mel says:

        You should definitely try Undercovers. I’ll have a full review posted on ChuckTV.net in a couple of weeks, but in a nutshell: Chuck fans should check out the pilot at the very least.

      • BDaddyDL says:

        Ya know Mel I have similar feelings about the undercovers, that I do about covert affairs. We are fighting to keep Chuck on the air, and yet their are clones popping up everywhere.

      • atcdave says:

        Just hope its better than Covert Affairs. Sorry, pretty good show but I can’t stand the “agency politics” angle of it. Boring.

      • amyabn says:

        I will check it out as well. It seems that NBC would be wise to do a “spy block” of Chuck then Undercovers. Maybe that idea is too premature and they wouldn’t be a good fit, based on tone. I just remember the good old days of “must see tv.”

      • kg says:

        Agreed Dave. A fan of genre I guess. The previews look interesting.

  7. JC says:

    My hope is they write the ending like the first five seasons of Buffy. They served as season and series finales but left the door open for more. Ellie having her baby and C/S getting married as a season finale doesn’t mean the end of the adventure.

    We as viewers know because of the world they live in that its never over. But we as viewers do deserve some closure.

    I’m not being negative but realistic. Twice the show has been renewed when it probably shouldn’t have because of ratings. I don’t want the show gone but I don’t want some cliff hanger that will never be resolved.

    Do they have a end game on where they want to take the show? I would guess yes but I think its very fluid. It seems like they have no problem changing story lines because of outside factors so I don’t see why they can’t do it again.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      JC, I don’t mean this to be a direct response/shot at you. I apologize beforehand if it seems like it.

      But if I may just take exception to the idea of “realism.” I think there’s something to be said for that…god knows we’ve been on borrowed time since, I don’t even know since when. But at the same time I firmly believe that realistic thinking would have had Chuck cancelled long before now. Realism didn’t hatch buy a subway, support Chuck. Granted that wasn’t the only reason Chuck got renewed, I think the drastic budget cuts had a lot to do with it, but it did its job…it captured the imagination of the fans (not to mention optimism) and it put Chuck at the forefront of financial backing and network attention.

      Now there is some aspect of realism with the very idea that one must act and not just hope. Supporting and saving Chuck by eating Subway going viral–this is a mentality that is on the level but it’s first and foremost optimistic.

      I guess my point is this…often times realism gets used as a front for pessimism. The save Chuck campaign was realistic in its action but optimistic on its goal. If we were to think “realistically” like Magnus does…well then there would be nothing to talk about because Chuck would have been canceled. After all we’re just tv watching drones without power.

      • JC says:

        No worries I know it wasn’t a shot at me.

        Don’t get me wrong, I want the show back for a couple of more seasons. And I’ll keep forcing my DVDs on to anyone who will take them.

        But at this point other than word of mouth what can we do? Ratings matter, yes I know they sucked last season. But unless most of NBC’s pilots tank or they have another Leno like disaster is Chuck worth keeping from a business standpoint.

    • atcdave says:

      JC, I do agree. I always prefer when a show wraps its major story arcs by season’s end. They’ve done a pretty good job with Chuck so far, resolving stories while making it clear there could be more ahead. I’d like to see that trend continue.

      What I don’t want to see is an epic finale wrap-up that makes it difficult or impossible to continue the story (killing Chuck or Sarah; as I’ve indicated before, my watching of the show is contingent on Sarah’s well being as much as Chuck’s)

      • JC says:

        I agree with most of that. Chuck does wrap up most the season’s story lines pretty good. My issue is ending it with some major revelation like the “I know Kung Fu” and MEB. If Chuck wasn’t always on the verge of cancellation I wouldn’t mind but it is and to have no resolution would be maddening.

        That’s why I brought up Buffy and the way Whedon handled his season finales.

      • andyt says:

        Agree completely with your Whedon comparison JC. Each Buffy season was its own story which was wrapped up on the season finale. He really only had one cliffhanger which was S2 when Buffy fled town after killing Angel, and he did that because they knew going into it that the show was returning. You are correct that S5 finale both perfectly wrapped up that season and the show overall, but there were the two extra seasons on UPN. That is why Angel was so frustrating because Whedon did not get to wrap up the storylines the way he wanted with that show.

      • andyt says:

        Also, Chuck really only has had two season finales for S2 and 3. The one was a clear cliffhanger, Ring I. However, I would be satisfied if Ring II was it. They wrapped the S3 storyline, but left enough there for more stories, just WTF moment that “I know Kung Fu.” was at the end of S2.

      • atcdave says:

        I always like to count Marlin as the perfect accidental season finale. It was a strong episode that ended on a positive emotional note (sweet for Ellie/Devon, sort of an emotional bombshell for Chuck/Sarah) and only a hint of a cliffhanger (possibility of bunker/kill order against chuck)

      • Merve says:

        Until I was informed otherwise, I never would have guessed that “Marlin” wasn’t supposed to be the season finale.

      • JC says:

        @ andyt

        Its weird I loved the way S2 of Buffy ended and I could’ve accepted that as a series finale. The only season that had a clear cliff hanger to me was S6 with Spike and their relationship. And I loved the way Angel ended, the show always had a hopelessness about it and them facing down a demon army worked for me.

        But getting back to Chuck. Unless they end the season with C/S quitting the CIA and moving to the Valley they don’t need a twist at the end. We know the spy world is dangerous and there always will be another big bad for Team B to fight.

  8. Merve says:

    I subscribe to a simple philosophy: if it’s good, keep it; if it’s crap, cancel it. Chuck is good.

    Sure, renewing Chuck probably was and will be a bad business decision. But NBC is known for making bad business decisions. (Remember the Leno debacle?) Who’s to say that they won’t make the same bad business decision again?

  9. John says:

    Chuck’s quality is declining. Budget cuts, low production values.

    Its ratings are declining. Time is ticking. There is little hope. Season 3 was heavily promoted whereas this fourth season will not be. The small viewership will be cut down again. The ‘Greta’ ploy will not draw in millions and millions of people.

    Our sleepy little friend will be shot to death after this short thirteen episode season.

    Even the runners of the show don’t know where to go from here. The season 3 finale took everything we knew about Chuck and twisted it. Everything. Now he is deemed “special.” Now it was planned all along that he would become the Intersect. The final six episodes were rushed horribly, attempting to tell a dense story in very little time. Honeymooners was completely laid back, too, so only five episodes played a part in attempting to make a story. It was sloppy storytelling, quite frankly. Chuck’s Intersect problems and the Governor came out of nowhere. Chuck’s dad’s life was tributed with a simple toast. A toast? What?

    The show isn’t as critically acclaimed as it was during season 2. It’s a very childish show. The word “spy” is thrown around perhaps a dozen times each episode. Sarah says, “I’m a good spy. I’m a spy. Spies don’t fall in love. I’m a spy.” Good grief. We saved the show so that it could become a joke. Fulcrum, a real threat, turned into The Ring, which didn’t do a thing. The Elders were acted by five random people taken off the streets who just wanted to be on TV.

    The connection between Chuck and Sarah, which remains questionable, isn’t enough to keep the show interesting.

    The Intersect is what makes this show, and we won’t even know how that plays a part this upcoming season. Intersect 2.0 added nothing valuable to the show, I should add.

    ‘Chuck’ now lacks an identity. This show cannot be described to newcomers. It’s about a guy looking for his mother now? The humor is gone. The romance cannot grow. The action is minimal due the reduced budget.

    It’s over.

    There can’t be a happy ending when even the creators don’t know where to take this messed-up show.

    It’s over.

    • atcdave says:

      Well John, we know in the “Joe vs. Pessimism” question which side you favor!

    • joe says:

      John, you just know I disagree with pretty much all of that.

      Thanks for keeping it civil, though.

    • JC says:

      While I don’t agree with everything, he does bring up some valid concerns.

      The budget is a real issue a lot of the episodes last season looked really cheap. I’m not blaming anyone connected to show for that but it could be a real problem.

      And I do think he’s right about the back six. Way too much story for five episodes. That’s a worry going into S4 if they get additional episodes. Will they stretch out their original story or it will it be another arc depending on the pickup?

      • joe says:

        You hit on the two points that stopped me from saying I disagreed with *everything* John said, JC.

        The budget a real factor, and yes, I agree it did show. Considering what the final results were, though, I’m not going to complain that the B2 strike didn’t look real (as if I’ve actually seen a B2 strike! 🙂 )

        I’m not sure about the last 6 being rushed, though. I can see the point, but then again, when I think about Roll Models or The Tooth, I can’t say that the pace seemed rushed or the story seemed rushed. Even more, I’ve never seen more “show” packed into 60 minutes than I did at the end of S2. The pace was incredible, and of course, I enjoyed every minute of it.

        So I’m not sure what to make of the idea that there was “too much” in the last 6 of S3.

        At the same time, there was a lot to absorb, so there’s something to the notion.

      • JC says:

        The lack of budget really showed in a few episodes, Mask, Am Hero and Ring Pt2. It wasn’t the special effects like the bomber but the human element. Compare those to the shoot out in First Kill or the attack on Ellie’s wedding. The lack of canon fodder for Team B kinda takes you out of the moment.

        I don’t know if rushed is the right word but it felt like a lot of wasted potential with the stories they introduced. Maybe if there had been more foreshadowing in the front thirteen it wouldn’t have bothered me. But I admit I wanted more out of the spy stuff so if that isn’t a concern it probably doesn’t bother you.

      • John says:

        It got messy fast. Out of nowhere came the issue of Chuck’s mental deterioration. Chuck lying about his mental deterioration despite his love for Sarah. The Governor acting as an instant solution. The Ring already having knowledge of the Governor and trying to track down Orion. Then you have to question what position/role Shaw had in The Ring. Ellie and Awesome going back and forth about Africa felt out of place, and the scene when they were finally there is included with that. It was hard to connect with them in that environment.

        Simply put, it was messy and could’ve worked better if there was more time and episodes.
        —–

        In terms of budget, CGI is something I can forgive. I actually got a kick out of the Buy More exploding. The sign falling did the trick.

        I think the real issue is holding back on the supporting cast, which happened a couple times during the third season. Also, the fight scenes were not up-to-par with the great ones from the second season. The Ring seemed less hostile because their was less action on-screen. In fact, there were simply less people on screen. In ‘vs. The American Hero,’ Chuck took down two–count ’em, two and only two–guys in a secret Ring base.

        Perhaps we’ll get more out of this next season. All this news about casting guest stars is certainly interesting. Does it mean there is a larger budget? Or does it just mean that the showrunners are spending a lot on these guests in order to make a stand while creating some buzz? Then again, what good does a little buzz do when NBC will not be inclined to promote ‘Chuck’ over its new shows?

    • Merve says:

      Surprisingly, I agree with a lot of that, John. The back 6 were kind of messy. I don’t know if they were rushed, but a story arc that relies on keeping characters off in their own little bubbles is shaky. I don’t think that the show being “childish” is a big problem. Chuck makes no attempt at realism; at least it’s not like Burn Notice, which purports to be realistic but is actually way off the mark. But I see your point about how the silliness can be frustrating.

      I have a couple of nitpicks, though. From watching the season finale, I didn’t get the idea that Stephen had always intended for Chuck to become the Intersect, especially since he had tried to get it out of Chuck’s head and was angry that Chuck had re-Intersected. Also, unless one has inside info, one doesn’t know that the showrunners don’t have a plan. In fact, the show couldn’t have gotten renewed if they hadn’t presented at least an outline of a plan to the network.

  10. Mel says:

    Joe, I appreciate you presenting the optimistic, better supported side of this argument. My own insiders have no idea if Chuck with get a fifth season, what with season 4 not even premiering yet. I can’t imagine anyone remotely connected with the network or the studio would have an inkling about whether or not the show will continue beyond season 4 at this point, let alone want to make a prediction to an outsider.

    As far as the network picking up additional episodes, well, I think the optimists will win the day on that one. It’s still too early for the decision to be made, but based on NBC’s history with the show, I expect an additional episode order before September 20.

    • atcdave says:

      Dang, hard-core optimist! That would really make September a great month. Chuck, more Chuck, and football. I may need to get some Chicago-style pizza and all will be right in the world.

      • hiswings says:

        Mel, I hope and pray you are correct – and thank you for being optimistic about it all. Hopefully with the earlier season premiere in September, the back order will come without a hitch.

        As far as John is concerned – well, perhaps you should just find a good book to read and let those of us who cherish our “fun Spy” story to relish each and every episode TPTB give to us.

        Yes, it would be nice if the story line could be wrapped up by the time the show closes the final episode, and I agree, exhaustion of story lines is the best way to finalize a program. However, I would love to see S5 and S6 and so forth. We the viewers have interceded and helped this little Spy Engine to get over the top of the hill 2 years running and who’s to say it can’t and won’t be done again.

        As for me, I am enjoying watching the interaction between the actors and trying to catch all the references to iconic shows/movies of the past. Sometimes, the episode itself does nothing for me but let me have a release of laughter and enjoyment. I refuse to watch most of the comedy sitcoms on TV because they have no depth, whereas with Chuck, there is enough drama, action and suspense to balance the stooge-like behaviors of Jeff and Lester.

        Thank you to you too Joe for your encouraging words moving forward.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Mel. I really don’t have the kind of access that you or Magnus have, so I’m really only going by history and intuition here. It only makes sense to me that no plans of that sort have been made now for fall shows.

      Business that are in transition (and all of television *is* right now) like to keep their options open, but standing pat (and going with what you know) is the easiest thing to do when conditions are uncertain. All of that actually bodes well for Chuck and any show with a loyal following.

      And I’m as excited as Dave for September!

  11. Ernie Davis says:

    It’s all very interesting to speculate on. And given the ratings I’m not surprised some are calling on TPTB to make an ending we can all be happy with. I recall before S3 started, before the back 6 pickup, a lot of us were assuming the front 13 of S3 was the end of Chuck and imploring TPTB not to waste the last episodes of Chuck with another ambiguous WT/WT semi-resolution and desperation cliffhanger in an attempt to force NBC to pick up one more season. And if Other Guy had been the end, I’m sorry to say that for me 5 minutes in a Paris hotel room would not have made the journey worthwhile. So, I understand some of the sentiments. That said, I think Chuck is one of the shows that could be breaking new ground.

    It seems to me that not only the Neilsens, but the whole model of network TV and advertising revenue is obsolete. There is exactly one show that I’ve watched as broadcast in the last decade. Chuck. And that’s only because that’s the fastest way to get a new episode. If iTunes released the show the same day I’d never bother watching live. Every other show I watch, and frankly there aren’t many, it’s DVR or Netflix. I don’t think I’m a unique case. With the Subway deal and some pretty overt product placement (maybe I just notice it more on Chuck) TPTB have opened up a new revenue stream that doesn’t rely on the network’s ability to sell advertising time. Not that product placement is new, but the way it’s done and the connection and the loyalty of the fans in supporting both the show and the sponsor, that’s something different. The way the cast and crew go out of their way to interact and thank the fans for their loyalty and support, that’s new to me. So I don’t count Chuck out just yet. I think there may be hope for more support, another season, a new major sponsor or more Subway suppport. Some day some show or studio is going to come up with the new paradigm and figure out how to support a show in a new age where broadcast TV seems to be a dying model. Why not Chuck.

    Failing that there’s always Yvonne’s kissing booth.

    • atcdave says:

      Some great points Ernie. I do hope Chuck continues trailblazing new ways of staying on the air, and doesn’t become one of the last victims of the old system.

    • OldDarth says:

      ‘Failing that there’s always Yvonne’s kissing booth.’

      Ryan should be beholden to setting up one as well since it was idea!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I say get the whole cast involved. Dianne Beckman here I come! 😉 And really, what red blooded American woman could resist Scott Krinsky.

      • amyabn says:

        Amy raises her hand! Now, get Zach in that booth and I’m there!

    • StrikerChuck says:

      I’m first in line for Yvonne’s booth.

      • joe says:

        Not if I have anything to say on… Ow! OUCH! STOP…ACK!!!

        [Joe’s wife has *her* say…]

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Joe, tempting though it may be, I think I’m better off keeping my distance. I kind of like when my wife is talking to me.

  12. amyabn says:

    I have to weigh in and say that I am far more optimistic about another season. My assessment of the comments by TPTB at ComicCon is that they have learned their lesson and won’t mess with the chemistry of Zach and Yvonne. Further, I think they generally try to pack as much as they can in the 13 episodes they are told they are getting. In spite of the fact that I had issues with quite a bit of S3 1-13, they did just that.

    Now look at the direction and info we are getting about S4. The concept of the rotating Greta is pretty funny, and the stunt casting looks great so far. My hope is that they continue to “go for broke” and have a great S4 1-13 planned for us. A back 6 is a bonus and could be the mini-season to take us to S5. I read somewhere that they had always intended to have Chuck play out over 5 seasons. I say go for it! Play out the model you designed, with lessons learned firmly in place, and let the chips fall where they may.

    My final thought is that we have the ability to help, hence my Chuck Offensive post. Apathy is the danger. Chuck fans have done the impossible-we saved the show for S3 and got a S4. I don’t think any other show that was saved made it past the saved season (Jericho comes to mind as an example). Writing Chuck off before we’ve even seen Ep 1 of S4 seems ludicrous to me!

  13. joe says:

    @Ernie & @Amy & @Dave, You all have hit on something. I *do* find myself watching TV in a new way because of Chuck, and I’ve been convinced that it’s the harbinger of what’s coming. But the change has been slow and almost still-born.

    I’m a nerd (duh!) but not exactly an early adapter. Still need to get my first flat-panel, hi-def TV, you know. I haven’t the desire to buy TV shows on DVD (much less Blue-Ray), but then there’s Chuck.

    It’s introduced me to watching TV on-line. What am I saying??! I just spent some time learning XML and XSLT for the sole purpose of creating a Chuck database for myself. To do that, I’ve started my 3’rd marathon. I timed it so that the S3 DVD lets me finish with 2-a-days before the season starts. That’s beyond obsession, but it’s also a new mode of watching for me.

    I was convinced a year ago that the promised e-episodes would take us through the long hiatus and show the audience a completely new way to watch TV. That didn’t happen – the show started shooting frantically, got extended, and the on-line stuff was essentially reduced to promo-clips. But Chuck‘s audience was ready for something more. And that’s the point. This audience has been more active, pro-active, inter-active and even more demanding than any I’ve seen before. If the network execs had half a brain between them, they could see that and take advantage.

    That’s a big “if”.

  14. Sam says:

    As an infrequent reader/listener to Magnus, even I know that he relishes in being a plugged-in outsider. He enjoys presenting “secrets” that do not come directly from the network or the showrunners. So who is left? The performers/stars. Here is Magnus’ strength: he is connected with the stars and people who know the show’s stars.

    So this commentary most likely is a way for the performers (my guess Zac and, perhaps, Yvonne) to prepare everyone for the reality that they want more than CHUCK. Another Comic Con editor post (I’ve lost the link, sorry) identified that Zac wants to move to the Big Screen. The whole “Zac as Superman” rumor fueled more speculation on this. Yvonne, obviously, just finished a film with Robert De Niro. Though both committed to long term contracts when the series started, I’m sure commentary such as this plants the seeds of discontent. An impassioned outsider presents his “view” that the best of CHUCK is behind us and it would be better to create a wrap-up series ending that gives the fans everything they want…and gives the “stars” what they want, too: CHUCK ending and the rest of their careers beginning.

    No one is disputing that Zac and Yvonne have the potential for bigger roles and bigger opportunities. After a mostly disappointing front 13 of Season 3, it can also be argued that CHUCK could have peaked in Season 2 (most of the loyal fan base is willing to let Season 4 start before starting to dig the CHUCK grave, though). So Magnus can stir controversy and call for a neatly tied CHUCK ending…plant those seeds…rile up the fanatic shippers (another Magnus hobby)…get his own visibility…all in one post. Public relations genius all around.

    NBC doesn’t care what Magnus posts. The showrunners, I’m sure, will feed him stuff when it suits them, but they have no vested interest in killing the show off before the Season 4 premier. The performers get a voice without actually opening their mouths…and we, the fans, are all left to fume, lament, agree/disagree and perpetuate the commentary well past its 15 minutes of fame (or whatever is the Internet equivalent).

    Personally, I find it fun to watch. And, fun to read the related comments. On the dog days of summer, with over a month left until the Season 4 premier, it’s a great way to get visibility for CHUCK…and considering how poorly NBC supported the show with publicity last year, I’ll take the P.T. Barnum view: CHUCK was spelled correctly and it got people talking about Season 4, even if it’s the final season.

    • joe says:

      There’s probably a lot of truth in that, Sam. I hate to be so cynical, but that kind of thing does happen.

      And you’re right that, at worst, it’s free publicity.

    • Merve says:

      There’s a cynical part of me that believes all of that. The not-so-cynical part of me hopes that Levi and Strahovski wouldn’t be so stupid. They’re super-talented, but they’re not A-list actors. From what I’ve gathered, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and The Canyon weren’t exactly great cinema. Levi and Strahovski should be happy just have a job in the crazy business of Hollywood. They seem happy. (“But they’re good actors,” says the cynical part of my brain.)

    • jason says:

      who really knows – other than the guy telling us he is plugged in and knows what is best for the show. I have read what I feel are some pretty heavyweight bloggers responding with varying degrees of support or lack there of for the ‘turn off the lights on ones own terms’ position written about.

      Sam I have given some thought to Yvonne and Zach’s futures also (I doubt anyone else has a ‘mega movie star’ acting shot) – with Yvonne we will probably know more soon as she is getting some chances. Zach I am less sure about his options moving forward, he seems talented enough, and I know some of the ‘women of chuckthis’ adore him, he does not do much for me, which makes me biased, but I would assume his doors are not getting knocked down at this point? Interesting take, but again, we really don’t know very much.

      Last time I tried to give my opinion someone flamed me big time, but here goes, enjoy the 13 shows, let the heavyweights like schwartz and fedak (as well as any self proclaimed heavyweights) worry about exit strategies, and do your best to enjoy what remains, be that 13 more eps or 13 more seasons. And whenever anyone tries to tell you its over before it is official, remember that great Yogi Berra statement – ‘It ain’t over till its over’

      • joe says:

        That’s real good advice, Jason.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        who would inflame you for that? I think you made valid points 🙂

        My view? We’re not talking Steve Carrell here. These guys are obviously (and rightly so) thankful for the fans. Nothing is ever certain in hollywood and if their desire is to pursue other projects, plenty of people have done so with that steady paycheck.

        What you mean to tell me Jennifer Aniston wanted to leave Friends to pursue a movie career? Last I looked she was able to have her cake and eat it too.

        Conclusion? I’m more inclined to believe Mel and her “sources” than one trying to attain 15 minutes of fame the Paris Hilton way.

      • Merve says:

        We really don’t need to start another Chuck fan fight.

        If anything, we should be waging war against Dancing with the Stars viewers. 😉

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Maybe I need a timeout 😛 This pessimism is really getting to me. I guess I have a problem with quitting before it’s all said and done lol.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        The irony is we who have been most unhappy with S3 and verbal…are the one championing optimism in this case, while those that claimed to not have a problem with S3 are less optimistic in their thinking of S4. Am I the only one that sees the irony in that?

      • atcdave says:

        I haven’t heard any rumbles of discontent. Of course, I’m not really the Hollywood gossip type; but it seems to me Zac and Yvonne have been appreciative of the show they’re on and expressing hopes for a S5. Usually you hear ugly rumors all over the place before someone actually jumps ship. For now I’ll call this a non-issue.

      • JC says:

        Well Zach did have to turn down a role in Thor which has the chance of being the summer blockbuster next year.

        Yvonne’s in The Killer Elite with DeNiro, Clive Owen and Jason Statham.

        Those aren’t small budget movies. So I can see why they’d want to take their chances. A lot of big movies stars started in TV. Of course it has risks for every George Clooney and Tom Hanks there’s an Anthony Edwards or David Caruso.

      • atcdave says:

        I know JC, but a lot of actors also juggle both worlds for several years. Given that neither Zac nor Yvonne are exactly household names (outside of this fandom), I don’t think any success (or even any jobs) are ensured.
        Usually when a TV star is prepared to make the jump everyone knows it and knows why. Zac and Yvonne would be trying to get out of a steady paycheck; because they might have some opportunities? I just think that sounds unlikely. AND, it is contrary to their words and actions. We’re getting into conspiracy theory territory when we assume the worst of them.

      • Merve says:

        CN8, I can only speak for myself, so here goes:

        I’m optimistic about the show’s chances for survival. Chuck has beaten the odds before. It can happen again. Or it might not. I don’t know. I’m not a TV exec. But I will say this: I’ve never encountered another fanbase that actively encourages product placement. That’s something new. Hopefully, TV execs take notice of that.

        Looking at NBC’s upcoming lineup, I can see a whole spectrum of scenarios playing out. Sure, The Event could become the next Lost, Undercovers could become a huge hit, and Chase could become the hottest procedural of the fall, while Chuck’s ratings drop to unprecedented lows. Then again, The Event could become the next FlashForward, Undercovers could end up being as lame as it looks, and Chase could be dismissed as a poor imitation of Justified, while Chuck remains NBC’s strongest and most reliable Monday night performer. Chuck has gotten a lot of good buzz with some recent guest-casting announcements. Fans seem to be pretty happy about Dolph Lundgren, Isaiah Mustafa, and Lou Ferrigno. Let’s not forget that Lundgren is starring in The Expendables, which is being released next week. That’s good buzz.

        As for the direction of the show itself, I stand by what I said a while back: I was slightly disappointed with what I heard out of Comic-Con. It’s not ironic. I liked season 3, and if TPTB are messing around too much with the tone and feel of the show, then to me, that’s fixing what isn’t broken. But that’s just how I see it. Also, I don’t like story arcs constructed around people lying to each other when they really shouldn’t be lying and that rely on keeping characters operating in their own independent bubbles. I don’t think that it worked very well in the back 6 and it definitely won’t work again. What I didn’t say earlier is that those announcements don’t detract much from my general excitement over the fact the storyline about Chuck searching for his mother seems really cool, not to mention my excitement over Chuck actually getting renewed. Overall, I’m still feeling positive about the direction that the show is taking. The show hasn’t screwed up before; the show probably won’t screw up in the future.

      • JC says:

        I wasn’t suggesting they want out of Chuck by any means. I was just saying they do have the potential to be big time stars.

        I remember an interview with Zac where he was disappointed about not being able to do Thor. Can you really blame him? Working with Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman and Kenneth Brannagh.

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Actually Merve, I wasn’t referring to you. If it seemed like it I apologize.

        But there are others (mostly outside of this blog, which if I’m mistaken was once referred to as the crybaby blog) that felt differently as we did and ridiculed our views only to echo the same sentiments and the same concerns as we did…and now the very idea of calling it quits? That’s the irony I’m speaking of.

      • Merve says:

        Sorry for misinterpreting your comments, CN8. I guess that a debate about Chuck’s future just puts me on edge. 🙂

        Again, I really don’t want this to devolve into another Chuck fan fight. Chuck fans are a smart bunch. We’re perfectly capable of having a reasoned debate about this issue (as evidenced by the thought-provoking comments in this thread). If some arrows have been fired, firing arrows back won’t help. A strong, united fanbase is more likely to be able to garner support for a fourth season than a fractured one.

      • atcdave says:

        JC, yeah I’m sure Zach was disappointed to have to withdraw from Thor. Sorry I misunderstood the gist of your comment.

        Faith, that is very funny they were calling us the cry-babies; now we’re the wild-eyed optimists! I love it. Its funny though if we had a “bad” reputation. Wasn’t Ryan just saying in the clip linked above that they “learned their lesson” about messing with Chuck and Sarah. Perhaps this blog is more a reflection of the fan base at large than certain others…

  15. OldDarth says:

    I took that blog not to be about how long Chuck will air but about the show being prepared to make graceful exit.

    THIS season or 20 seasons from now.

  16. OldDarth says:

    Thanks Joe. Don’t forget to your comment! 😉

  17. Robert H says:

    Well I am not surprised by the negative post by Magnus. This was brought about by the disaster of
    Season 3 and the fracturing of the fan base. I know
    there are people out there who don’t agree with that
    and liked Season 3. They are entitled to their opinion of course but the broad consensus seems to be Season 3 was a mess that could have been and should have been avoided. The huge ratings slide would also seem to confirm that consensus.

    I’m not going to review the details here again. It’s
    been talked to death and enough is enough. As I noted before in earlier posts the show was extremely
    lucky just to get renewed and in a normal operating
    environment would probably have been cancelled if
    NBC had not been in such bad shape. The arrogance of
    the producers and NBC’s incompetence, in part, have
    brought things to where they are now. Insofar as
    Season 4 goes people seem to be hoping for the best
    and preparing for the worst. Very few viewers trust
    the showrunners any more. They shot their credibility to hell with a terrible Season 3 along
    with some major bungling by NBC. Enough said. Have
    they “learned” their lesson? We’ll find out in the
    fall. Hopefully it won’t be “too little, too late”.

    Having said all of this back to Magnus. Despite all
    of the negatives mentioned above, I think it’s
    premature to write Chuck off at this point. Why? I’m
    inclined to agree with Chucknewbie8 and others who
    have a similar point of view. If NBC is absolutely
    determined to cancel the show, no matter what, why
    renew the show to begin with? Why throw more money
    and resources down a financial sinkhole if things
    are really that bad? If NBC had lost money on the
    show along with its poor ratings it would have been cancelled for sure. The budget cuts along with the
    retention of major sponsors insured a profit on the
    show last year despite the poor showing of Season 3.
    NBC isn’t that stupid. (Or are they?-dark humor here.)

    As Chucknewbie8 also pointed out a 4th season is a
    very good sign of syndication coming into being if
    a 5th season happens and all of the major players,
    including NBC, have a chance to make a lot of money
    if syndication would occur. Warner Bros. would
    probably offer NBC a very good deal for a 5th season
    if things get that far.

    We’ll have to wait and see how things play out. There are many variables here that are impossible
    to predict at this point. The 4th season hasn’t aired yet. There was no hint in the renewal news
    that this would be the last year and that kind of
    thing usually comes out in the media or gets leaked.
    ( See Smallville as a good example ). The Comcast-GE
    thing won’t be settled probably until next year
    pending government approval. It’s way to early to
    write Chuck off just yet.

    Having said that, is Chuck home free? Of course not.
    The show is still in a bad place. Evidently NBC is
    NOT going to restore the budget cuts that played a
    significant role in hurting the show last year. If
    a back nine or six episodes are not ordered that will be a very bad sign for the show’s fate. If NBC
    does not heavily promote the show that will be another bad indicator of corporate support. The
    showrunners must regain base support and it will be an uphill battle-tough but attainable, maybe.

    Finally there has been no indication from Mel’s
    sources confirming the Magnus post and none of the
    major tv critics (Ausiello, etc) have mentioned any
    of this online,broadcasts, or in print insofar as I
    know. If I’m wrong here on other sources not confirming the post please advise.

    Let’s just wait and see without hitting any panic
    buttons. At any rate, regardless of what happens,
    most of it is going to be beyond our control anyway.
    The producers need to make a much better show in
    Season 4 and enough viewers need to watch it. If that happens then the problems will most likely take
    care of themselves, thanks.

    • amyabn says:

      RobertH, how do we know they haven’t gotten a bigger budget? I’m really asking, not being snarky. The reason is because I have been amazed at the number of guest stars they are bringing in (at least to the first 4 episodes we’ve caught wind of so far). They may still only have rotating cast like Alex, Ellie, and Awesome, Big Mike, Jeff, and Lester.
      I hope they aren’t blowing their budget early with the stunt casting (although most of the folks have nostalgic status rather than being huge stars, with the exception of Linda Hamilton). Hoping for the best!

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        I have no concrete proof merely deductions from what little we’ve learned from last year and the industry/CA in general.

        I assume the agreed upon network budget of S3 remains intact. Most shows before renewal restructured their budgets to accommodate the down economy (2009)…Bones among them.

        Last year the subway sponsorship didn’t get finalized until well into the season and not in full effect until the back 6.

        So I conclude with these measly facts (admittedly little) that we’re still operating under drastically bare financial backing from the network but is keeping our heads above ground with the subway deal. Hence the influx of guest stars (if I’m not mistaken there is a SAG, Guild agreed upon guest star salaries).

    • John says:

      Great poem.

  18. aardvark7734 says:

    So, over the last week or so, I wrote an article on my blog that will not be anywhere close to as controversial as the one that DR’s wrote (see the nice tieback to the topic I did there?). 🙂

    It’s about Chuck and USA Networks and it’s something I’ve been pondering for awhile. Anyway, I had fun with it and some of you might too so I thought I’d mention it.

    I already know that a few of you will want to tear off my mouse arm and beat me to death with it, but hey, that comes with the territory I guess. So, uh, sorry, and remember it’s just an opinion.

    You can get to it here: http://intersectedlightly.wordpress.com/ or just click on my handle below this post.

  19. jason says:

    seems to me the site in ? is simply trying to write anything to recreate his ‘crazy shipper’ feeding frenzy of past seasons, by first saying the show is over, then saying, wait, it won’t be over if TPTB split up chuck and sarah all of the time. He indeed is splitting up something, the fanbase, oh well, whatever. I do think there is an element of the fanbase that does not think ‘bluesky’ (thx for the term aardy) works, and another part that wants it desperately. If I follow aardy’s logic on his blog, I guess that is why I mostly watch USA and Sci Fi shows, instead of network TV, I love the ‘bluesky’ stuff. I don’t mind serialized TV, but I hate serialized angst, which is what went wrong in season 3 chuck, 12 hrs and 55 minutes of angst about one topic.

  20. OldDarth says:

    I just want Chuck – or any show, movie, book etc – to be the best it can be. If that means some dark or grey or stormy skies as well as blue ones then so be it.

    And yes it is a given that many found the skies far too overcast in Season 3. For myself, continual blue skies with the occasional fluffy, innocuous cloud is just as annoying. If not more so.

    The best solution lies somewhere in the middle.

    Variety is the spice of life.

    Vive La Différence!

    • jason says:

      darth – one thing about grey and variety, the only dark skies that has resonated any drama value with the fans are related to chuck and sarah. I submit to you that is because the cast is not dramatic acting, nor even written as dramatic characters other than Chuck and Sarah’s love story. I thought maybe some of season 3 was about making fans get more serious or fall more in like with casey, morgan, awesome, and ellie so some darkness can not only fall on them, but resonate as compelling dramatic story lines. For now, I am bored silly of relationship angst being sold by the chuck drama queens as good tv or diversity, it is bbbboooorrrriiingggg.

      • JC says:

        The problem is they cut the same corners in the story when its dark and dramatic as they do when its light. Those plots holes and idiot ball moments start to look a lot bigger when the show goes serious. If they want to do drama that’s fine but they need to tighten up the story.

    • atcdave says:

      I think its a mistake to look at it as one way or the other. There needs to be a certain amount of tension and conflict to make a story interesting. But the source of that conflict and tension needs to be carefully examined. I think S3 demonstrated that the Chuck audience is not a soap opera audience; very few fans actually WANT the Chuck/Sarah relationship to be the source of tension and conflict. Leave the central relationship as the symbol of what is right, and what Chuck and Sarah are fighting for; and make the externals, you know like the life and death spy world things, the source of conflict and tension. That doesn’t mean that Chuck and Sarah can’t have problems or must agree about everything, but I think there is a significant portion of the audience that has ZERO patience with stupid angst (and I mean STUPID angst, there is appropriate angst for the genre that SHOULD be used). I think its a big mistake to use triangles or lying as a source of tension; because most of us won’t relate to or respect the guilty party(s). Other conflicts could arise; but overall, Chuck and Sarah’s relationship should be the “happy spot” of the show; while terrorists, arms dealers, and assassins provide a majority of the conflict.

      • JC says:

        Someone on DR’s blog mentioned Friday Night Lights as a happy TV couple that still has spark. The conflict on that show comes from their jobs as a football coach and principal. Not from petite brunettes and super spies. The marriage has ups and downs but they talk like actual adults not teenagers.

        If they can create Emmy nominated conflict and drama about football in West Texas. I would hope the Chuck writers could do the same about the espionage world.

      • atcdave says:

        great example JC, thanks.

      • JC says:

        No problem, its a really great show you should watch it Dave. FNL deserves all the praise it gets.

    • Zsjaer says:

      Last Season of Chuck had nothing to do with dark or grey or stormy..it was just bad…bad because they failed in understand what Chuck audience wanted..TPTB choose the easiest way…and the result was a complete disaster from my point of view. Many of the first 13 episodes were bad…very bad. Forced, contrieved..just nothing like most of the two first seasons.
      To me Sarah´s character was destroyed and that hurted what made the show special.

      • atcdave says:

        I partially agree Zsjaer; I think more harm than good was done by the 3.01-3.13. I think its largely a case of totally misreading their audience. But I was very pleased by the last six (well seven really) as far as the romance goes. I do agree serious damage was done to Sarah Walker (as far as likeability) and a lesser amount to Chuck. But as long as the future is better (and I do believe they “get” what they did wrong, Ryan summed it up pretty well on the clip posted elsewhere on this site) I will be an enthusiastic fan again in the future.

        For the record, the romance was only the biggest thing they screwed up in S3. I have other concerns, but most of them are easier for me to live with if they aren’t exactly to my liking.

      • joe says:

        I’m really surprised to see you both (Zsjaer and Dave) put it in those terms. I mean, It seemed to me that TPTB went in knowing from the first that the audience was going to react pretty much the way it did to the (P)LIs, but they went ahead and did it anyway, and in spades. IIRC, there was a good bit of use of the term “arrogance” back then.

        I have a feeling that this was indeed the plan. “Make ’em miserable so that we can really bring them up later.” (with “’em” referring to both C&S *and* the audience). And that’s okay.

        I give them credit for the attempt. They might have fallen a bit short of their goals, relative to S2, though for all the reasons we’ve discussed this year. I’m liable to change my mind on that as time wears on, but still, they came close in that regard.

        Hum… I’ll tell you why I may change my opinion, too. When all is said and done, I’m starting to feel that S3 was actually emotionally deeper than S2, and significantly so. It may not have been as much fun, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it wears better over time.

      • jason says:

        joe (others) – one thing that has not been addressed (I don’t think at least) about season 3 and being miserable vs bringing folks back up – I’ve wondered if most of the conclusion of the misery arc hadn’t been leaked, if maybe the end of 3.13 would have been more satisfying? I understand reasons for leaking the end, but there really was nothing mysterious or dramatic about sarah shaw, it really was more a workplace 20 year older superior harassing the young hottie and eventually getting her on the rebound from her ex, after manipulating situations in his favor, and since everyone knew how it was going to turn out, it was a matter of how long would the audience endure the perversion?

      • atcdave says:

        Joe, I really don’t think TPTB knew what we were thinking. I’ll go back to the arogance. I think they were so sure they were wonderful storytellers we would all be blown away by their brilliance and rivited to the screen. I think they were shocked that so many of us weren’t buying it. I’m sure you’ve seen the infamous Joss Wedon quote about giving the audience what they need, not what they want. I think that sort of arogance is actually taught in school and the artists have become detached from their patrons in a way that leads to such an absurd disconect.
        The direct parallel is Henry Ford wanting to continue producing Model Ts into the late 1920s. He was so sure that he had created the perfect car he was shocked when his market share started dropping. The technology and marketplace had moved on, and he didn’t get it.
        Same way Schwartz wanted to provide a show to his liking even when the audience clearly didn’t want it. I think he was so sure he knew better than us what would work. That is insulting to every fan who is paying attention to what they’re watching.
        As you may have guessed, I disagree strongly about the value of S3 vs. S2. S2 was a sort of TV perfection that simply doesn’t happen often. That may have fueled the ego that led to S3 (such things happen often in TV/movies); but of course, I wouldn’t trade S2 for anything.
        Jason I also disagree about the value revealing the outcome of the main S3 arc. I think they started spilling the beans when it was obvious they had a major problem with fan enthusiasm for the story, so they switched from a “journey” to a “destination” oriented promotion, at least for the hard core. And I think they had to. Although its unlikely most of us writing here would have quit watching, many fans who were interested but not addicted may have. If I were any less invested than I was, its unlikely I would have rode out such a long stretch without knowing it would get better.

  21. Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

    I’m actually torn on this subject but not for the reasons you might think. On the one hand, DR isn’t wrong to say that it would be better for a show to end on its own terms / known timeline. On the other hand, I tend to try and stay optimistic (yes, you may wish to step away from the impeding lightning) about such things as cancellation, until you can’t anymore. Chuck has always had the cards stacked against it but yet prevails.

    As far as being torn, it’s simple.

    In the past few days / weeks we’ve heard of numerous (to put it lightly) guest stars, weekly Gretas and spy pairings, Mama B notwithstanding. Now I understand the reason and necessity to generate buzz around these announcements and hence the show. This is all good, as long as these guest stars don’t suffocate the story but serve it, preferably lightly. Last season one guest star the basically snuffed out story. The large quantity of guest stars this season could just as easily be Shaw in reverse. It almost feels as if they’re overcompensating. If this translates into more episodes or another season, then all the better.

    However, if there are to be no more than 13, then please tell a GOOD, let’s all say it together – GOOD, story with the very capable staff already present and who most of us want to see anyway, with a sprinkling of guest appearances.

    Now a quick off topic comment.

    I have extreme reservations about the impeding Chuck / Morgan pairing, Sarah / Casey pairing, as well as Chuck hiding stuff from Sarah. If these arcs extend over many episodes, these too, could quickly suffocate the show just as easily as Shaw. Having Chuck and Sarah together romantically is nice, but keeping then apart professionally is stupid. S3 didn’t work because Chuck and Sarah were apart in all ways imaginable (professionally, friendship-wise as well as romantically. S1 and S2 worked because they were together professionally first and with romance under the surface. The message TPTB were supposed to get from the fiasco of last season is that, whether you like it or not, Chuck and Sarah ARE the show. This does mean I wish to see them attached at the hip all the time or not having to overcome some hurdles, but Chuck and Sarah’s chemistry, or banter back and forth, or some other intangible, is the engine that makes the show function and when it’s not there to show is dysfunctional.

    So to TPTB, for all that is good and holy, please HURRY UP and put the team back together.

    • jason says:

      one other tidbit – no zach – yvonne out there promoting the show (yet). Their off-screen chemistry at least matches what they have on-screen, those 2 should be appearing on tv shows, giving interviews, doing anything it takes to sell the show, heck, go to a premier together, good things sometimes start off as ‘fake dates’

      • amyabn says:

        I’ve noticed that they aren’t even together at the events they’re both at. At ComicCon they put Josh Gomez between them. WE know they are both extremely extroverted, but why would you do that?
        At the TCAs, Yvonne was with the cast (Ryan, Vic, Scott, Big Mike) and Zach was filmed on his own.
        Granted, this could all come down to editing, but it does strike me funny that they haven’t been pushing those two. Look at this from two years ago http://tinyurl.com/27w46e9
        I haven’t seen anything like that in a long time.

      • atcdave says:

        This does go back to my question from a couple weeks ago; did Yvonne do something to piss someone off? She is badly underutilized in promotional material, and early buzz sounds like she may be underutilized in the show too.

        Really odd, since to so many of us, she is a stronger draw than Zach or anyone else. She should be at least as prominent in all advertizing and promotions. Seriously, if Zach were hosting SNL, I might watch if it were convienient. Yvonne I wouldn’t miss for anything. I really think my opinion is common (maybe not majority, but certainly common).

      • amyabn says:

        Dave, I get the feeling that she and Zach may have hit a bump or something. Everyone Yvonne is with in the clip is happy and having fun. Zach has been doing most of his stuff solo.

        You can see it in the way they kiss on screen too. I’m a girl, I notice these things. 🙂 Compare Chuck and Sarah in Honeymooners to Chuck and Lou, or Chuck and Jill. Then compare all of that to Sarah and Bryce. I’m not an actor and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but it doesn’t seem that they have their own personal line they won’t cross (which would be understandable), they just don’t seem to cross it with each other. The passion really isn’t there. I’m not advocating for a slobberfest or anything, but there does seem to be something “off.” Maybe I’m crazy or the caffeine hasn’t kicked in!

      • jason says:

        amy – zach and sarah seem more restrained on TV than I would have thought too, so I am not sure it is a girl thing on your part, I see it too, might be a shipper thing in my case, me wanting more, but I have not complained about it, as I am just happy they are together.

        it seems to me to be more hesitation on Zach’s part than Yvonne’s – but that really is a guess – I sure don’t know what happens behind the scenes?

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Amy, it’s not just you. And it’s not exactly a recent phenomena either. They’re actually doing better together in public since the start of S3 promotions (the 2009 TCA’s) then they were earlier.

        Whatever happened there happened during the filming of the back half of S2. Up through the production of Cougars they were thick as thieves, appearing on the Nicole Richie interview in fine form (“Back in Black”). But the odd note struck at the L.A. Kings hockey game (wouldn’t sit together) and the subsequent (and unprecedented) distancing at the Wondercon panel later that year (Yvonne’s spoke up only to tell the audience how satisfying it was to slap Levi in Suburbs, no photo ops together, no interviews together) was kind of jarring.

        It’s unseemly to speculate about actors off-screen lives in public forums (so I won’t), but I will say that it’s hard to work the kind of hours those guys work to produce the show and not have friction. Sometimes people just see too much of each other and small annoyances turn into large aggravations.

        Hey, at least they’re on generally friendly terms now! 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Great Aardvark… Now everyone is going to be dissecting the “The love was always there” comment at Comicon. 😉

      • amyabn says:

        I just hope that whatever “it” is, they work it out. All reports from the set say they are having fun at work.

        I know Zach is always pushing for Josh to have a bigger part but outside of Chuck, I don’t know what other projects he has had (during hiatuses). I also see Yvonne being very busy with projects. Zach has done a lot of outside projects (Chimpmunks, Tangled, Shades of Ray) but has devoted himself to promoting the show all over the globe.

        Not really sure where I’m going with this comment. I’ll stop now.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Ooops! Sorry Ernie!

        But now that you mention it… 😉

        That little interplay seemed to carry a lot of subtext, and the “love has always been there” was delivered with a faint trace of question rather than statement. I’d categorize it as a conciliatory gesture of sorts.

        Using the same body language and vocal inflection, he could have said, “Even though we’ve had our rough patches, we’ve always been friends, right?” and it would have felt to me like exactly the same sentiment had been expressed.

        How’s that for armchair analysis? 😉

      • jason says:

        This line of thinking intrigues me, but also confuses me, I thought the comment was simply chuck always loved sarah, even though they were not together, hence ‘the love was always there’ – it seemed perfectly appropriate to the moment describing the tv actors only, without any interpretation or context – what am I missing

      • joe says:

        Ooofff. Feeling really out of the loop about anything personal (good or bad) happening between members of the cast. I never heard or noticed anything!

        Anyway, on promotions, for the past week I’ve seen Zac on, like, every other channel (USA, NBC, local) on a promotion ostensibly for Comcast’s Infinity Thingie. Having his face out there is not a bad thing.

      • atcdave says:

        Don’t worry Joe, none of us know anything; this is just utterly pointless speculation. In the end, what Zach and Yvonne think of each other hardly matters as long as they can work together. I was wondering more if she’d ticked off Schwedak. But that’s the sort of thing we won’t know until the show is over, if ever.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m going to say this once and once only with the proviso it is absolute and total speculation. Given the onscreen chemistry we HAD seen, and the reluctance of TPTB to put Chuck and Sarah together, by their own admission, out of fear, and given that one of the “Moonlighting” problems was that Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd really didn’t get along at all, it isn’t unreasonable to speculate that cast dynamics could have played into production decisions and fears.

        But we are speculating unless someone from the show wants to go on record. We DO NOT KNOW what may or may not have happened, and frankly to an extent, as in interpersonal relations, it isn’t our business. To speculate how it may or may not have affected the show is one thing, but please, let’s NOT go down the road of trying to divine Zach’s or Yvonne’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, state of mind or fault. We simply do not know.

    • atcdave says:

      Joseph, I really agree with your last. In spite of how much energy I expend here as a pure ‘shipper; the show I want to see is a spy/comedy first. And that means Chuck and Sarah as a spy team first and foremost. Chuck and Sarah as a spy team who love each other is what made this show irresistable to me in the first two seasons. I don’t think Chuck and Sarah as lovers who pursue similar but seperate careers is even a fraction as interesting.

      The good news is I think they get that. But apparently, it will take a couple episodes to get there. That sounds like a mistake to me, but as long as those first couple episodes are fun in their own right, it will probably work out fine.

  22. Robert H says:

    I have also heard of this Chuck/Morgan pairing and
    Sarah/Casey pairing. If this is true the TPTB learned nothing from last year and the show will
    definitely be finished regardless if Chuck/Sarah
    are together ” romantically “. If true the final
    nail will be in the coffin, funeral and burial
    pending. It will be another separation albeit a
    “working/professional” one. The Chuck/Morgan pairing, if true will just another PLI- a “bromance”
    which will just kill off most remaining viewers
    leaving no chance to rebuild the fan base, resulting
    in a sure cancellation. If true it will prove the
    producers learned NOTHING from last year and this is
    just a way of getting around the Chuck/Sarah separation issue. They will separate them professiionally while pursuing the “bromance,buddy-
    buddy line” which in effect will be what they did
    last year with the Shaw-PLI arcs. They really think
    they can sneak this in and viewers will accept it?
    If true, they must think the fans are stupid and
    their arrogance knows no boundaries. If this really
    happens the show is DOA, period. They won’t need to
    announce any graceful exit. NBC will cancel them so
    fast they won’t know what hit them. No one will have
    to worry about a back 9 or 6 additional episodes.
    Ratings will plummet to nothing and the show probably would not get through 13 episodes before
    cancellation.

    I agree completely with Joseph’s post above. If they
    are really stupid and arrogant enough to do this,
    then let’s just cancel the show now rather than
    putting everybody through a slow agony while the
    Chuck dies of a thousand small cuts.

    The logical way to approach this is just the opposite. It should be Chuck/Sarah and Casey/Morgan.
    After all Casey was assigned to “train” Morgan and
    the potential for great comedy would be there as
    Morgan tries to court Casey’s daughter, who is
    supposed to appear on a regular basis in Season 4.
    But why should TPTB do the smart, logical thing?
    You would think that they would shy away from ANYTHING that would anger viewers more than they are already. The very notion of such an idea,
    if true, makes me shake my head in wonder. Well. as
    they say, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t force the horse to drink it.

    Of course all of this just might be a red herring
    to stir up the waters and add to the buzz. It might
    not even be true and I sincerely hope this is the
    case. The show needs good buzz, not bad. However as
    I’ve said before I just don’t trust the showrunners
    any more. we’ll have to wait and see.

    • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

      Robert,

      I think they can get away with the Chuck / Morgan, Casey / Sarah and Chuck witholding information from Sarah, for 2 maybe 3 episodes certainly not 12.75 episodes. The faster (and I mean light speed fast) these issues are resolved, the better.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Joseph, that’s what I was getting at above. I still think its a mistake; they ought to use their greatest strength right from the premier. But it may not be a huge mistake if its fixed fairly quickly.

      • Merve says:

        I find it interesting that the Chuck fanbase is so on edge that even the slightest perceived roadblock to harmony in Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, such as the Chuck/Morgan friendship, is labelled a scourge that must be eradicated. Whatever happened to “bros before hoes?” 😉

        In all seriousness, Morgan has been the biggest and most vocal cheerleader for Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. Do you really think he’d let himself come between them? Not only that, he doesn’t want Chuck and Sarah to lie to each other either; in “Tooth” and “Living Dead,” he encouraged Chuck to tell Sarah the truth about Chuck’s dreams.

        Sure, Chuck and Morgan will do some spy stuff together; it’ll probably be played for laughs. But the writers seem to be pretty enamoured of the Casey/Morgan pairing – at least they’re more enamoured of it than I am – so I’d expect that that’s how Morgan will be spending most of his time (which is weird because Morgan is supposed to be Chuck’s best friend, but let’s not get into that).

      • aardvark7734 says:

        C’mon, Merve, you’re too smart not to already know the answer about this. You’re just poking the nest with a stick, right? 😉

        While we’re all expectant of some Chuck and Morgan teaming, and would accept such, we’re all on edge because after S3 we’re hypersensitive to evidence that TPTB have found some new way to screw things up.

        Add to that Zac’s familiar refrain that he’d love to be spending all of his screen time with Morgan and Fedak’s “boy’s only treehouse” style handling of Chuck and Sarah and you have a boogeyman with respectable solidity.

        This wouldn’t be happening if we still had faith in TPTB. But unfortunately, our trust is burbling in the low single digits.

        Your points are quite valid, of course, as most of us will admit after we take our lorazepams. 😉

      • Merve says:

        Honestly, my fear is that this hypersensitivity will snowball into intense, irrational hatred for Chuck and Morgan’s friendship before the season 4 premiere. I mean, if Chuck doesn’t spend any time with his best friend, that kind of defeats the purpose of having a best friend, doesn’t it? (Disclaimer: that doesn’t have to come at the expense of Chuck spending time with Sarah. Chuck and Sarah are separate people, right? Right?…Right? *crickets* ;))

      • atcdave says:

        Kind of funny Merve, I do see my wife as my best friend and partner, more than any guy. I even dragged her to an airshow today because there’s no one I’d rather be with. But I do agree that doesn’t mean old friends should be ignored or forgotten, and Chuck and Morgan should have some time together. S3 was actually handled fairly well in that regard. But I agree with Aardvark’s comments. Its becuse our trust in TPTB is so low after S3 that we worry a little about every comment they make. I understand you were happier with last season than I was, so will logically be less worried about what they may do next.

        I want to see Chuck/Sarah as the primary pairing on the show; the romance matters, but I want the show to be about the fun and adventure first. Which means, I want Chuck and Sarah to be together for the fun and adventure.

      • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

        I don’t have a big worry about people hating Chuck and Morgan prior to the season kicking off. The issue will be after the season has started if Team B (the 4 members)is not reunited. Team B working together is way more fun the separate teams off doing there own thing.

      • luckygirl says:

        I think a little struggle is realistic with anyone who has a really tight best friend and a new serious relationship. Tendencies to go straight to the best friend with things can some times be tough to break. I really wouldn’t mind seeing this addressed because sometimes people don’t even realize it is a problem for their partner if their not called on it.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Uhm, what Dave said, as if you didn’t see that coming!

        As for your fear, Merve, maybe you should be taking the lorazepam. 😀 I mean, for the rest of us there’s no cure for our nervous anxiety other than a slow build back of trust in S4. At this point, no words, no promises, no pleas for forbearance, nothing else is going to work.

        They had the power, they made the choices and now nothing is more just than watching them reap what they sowed. For me, it won’t fix what was so thoroughly disappointing in S3, but I’ll let bygones be bygones if they don’t repeat the same mistakes in S4.

      • Merve says:

        I understand the lack of trust in general. But as applied to this particular situation, there’s no precedent for Morgan seriously coming between Chuck and Sarah, and TPTB have made no indications to that effect. Heck, I’d be more worried about Greta 1.0; she’s a brunette, after all. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        So Aardvark and I will just praise each others brilliance the rest of the day….

        I agree again, I’ll be happy to move on, even expect to move on from my dislike of S3. But I can’t take on faith that all will be well for now; I need to see things work out. Episodes 3.13-3.19 helped me feel MUCH better about the future of the show, but I’m not quite back to blind faith yet.

      • atcdave says:

        I’d meant to reply to Merve too. I’m not really worried about Morgan coming between Chuck and Sarah, I don’t think they’ll make a huge deal out of it; Morgan is Chuck’s friend and should stay that way. Its just that I want to see Chuck and Sarah saving the world together, as the leads in the show’s “A” plot. Morgan is great for comic relief. But so many of us want to see more of Sarah, not Morgan. I would love to see Morgan get in trouble on side jobs and diversions; basically the “B” plot. If I were writing the show, 70% or more of the screen time would have Chuck and Sarah together (not necessarily alone! I’m including missions and family time); feel free to insert thoughts about what a disaster Dave as a writer would be!

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Merve, you’re expecting way too fine a level of discernment from us! We’re more like the gazelles at the watering hole after a lion attack. Sure, we’re probably more at risk from the crocodiles at this point, but it doesn’t mean we flinch less from twigs cracking in the tall grass. 🙂

      • Merve says:

        They’ve been really good with it so far. Chuck and Sarah are clearly the show’s leads (as should be the case). I like how Casey, Morgan, and Devon participate in the A-plot on occasion. I’d like to see Ellie get her chance to shine too. (I also have a special fondness for episodes like “Marlin” and “Subway,” where there’s no clear A-plot or B-plot, but maybe that’s just me.)

      • Merve says:

        Sorry, that lost comment was directed at Dave.

        @aardvark: So in this metaphor, Greta is a crocodile? I have a weird mental image of a crocodile in a Buy More polo shirt. (That might actually work for an episode: get an animal like a llama or a chimpanzee to be a Buy More employee; it would probably be more useful than Jeff or Lester. ;))

      • JC says:

        I with Merve on getting Ellie into more of A plots. Hopefully she is by the end of the season and we get one of dream scenarios. An Ellie versus Beckman showdown.

      • atcdave says:

        Merve I completely agree; both that they have done well with it and I like the episodes that bring the whole cast into the same story. But I’ll go with Aardvark’s frightened gazelles metaphor. I feel a little skittish after S3, and I’ll probably feel better once I see what they really have in mind.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        @Merve: Yes, Greta would be the croc in that metaphor. What’s weirder than that is I suddenly had the image of the Izod Lacoste alligator wearing a green polo shirt with a Morgan face logo.

        Must. Sleep. More.

        Actually, though, you just gave me a great idea for another post!

      • OldDarth says:

        I’m with you Merve. Keep spreading the good word. 😉

        Chuck and Morgan pairing up at the beginning is fine for me. It will allow Chuck and Sarah to explore their domestic side without the added interference from work.

        The building up of the season arc will take 3 episodes to set up Team B being back together after that. Pretty standard story table setting time line.

        As for the skittish – the show gave you Chuck and Sarah together, no? How often does that happen?

        A little leap of faith could make the fourth season a whole lot more enjoyable right out of the gate.

        Team B will NOT be together at the start of the season. Chuck and Sarah WILL be. Seems like a good starting point compared to the other seasons.

  23. Gord says:

    I am the eternal optimist when it comes to Chuck. A few reasons why it would get a S5:

    Regardless of how well/poorly it does in the ratings, whenever NBC has tried anything else in that time slot, the experiment goes badly for them.

    Chuck may not have great ratings, but without it NBC would likely lose Monday nights altogether.

    The second is, I think in spite of the ratings, Chuck is profitable. Maybe not as profitable as some shows, but the money they make from product placement at the Buy More – especially Toyota, and Subway probably means they are operating in the black.

    NBC had enough faith in Chuck to use it as a lead in to two new shows. Based on the promos I’ve seen of the new shows this season on NBC, I don’t expect very many will do well. This will increase Chuck’s chances of outshining the other network shows even more.

    As for those who suggested Zac and Yvonne want the show to end so that they can move on to other projects, it seems to me right now they have the best of both worlds.

    Zac had the Disney Movie, and Yvonne had the killer elite this year. Both seem to be active in other projects during the Chuck hiatus.

    I would also think that they would want enough seasons to at least get the show into syndication. I know they wouldn’t make much off that, but it would give them a little extra money in their pockets.

    More importantly it appears that the whole cast truly enjoys making this show. I know that we the fans for the most part sure are enjoying watching it. With the exception of a few episodes, I enjoyed S3, and based on what I have heard I will enjoy S4.

    From what I have heard the creative juices have not yet dried up, and until that happens I would like to see the show continue as long as it can.

    I read this week that NBC is thinking of giving heroes a mini-series to wrap up the story. If that happens, I think there is a strong possibility that NBC would show the same consideration to Chuck.

    So I say it is premature to plan for this to be the final season – maybe in Season 10 they will want to wrap things up, but not in S4. There is just too much more story to tell.

    • ChuckNewbie8 says:

      You’re too modest Gord. Season 25 is more like it 😉 54 year old ZL and YS FTW!

      hey if the Golden Girls could do it (Betty White! Love her) so can Chuck lol.

  24. Robert H says:

    I agree essentially with the comments made above by
    Joseph,atcdave,aardvark7734, and Gord.

    Joseph, I hope you are right about the Chuck/Morgan
    and lying to Sarah issues are just for a few episodes if they occur at all. I hate to keep saying
    this but I simply don’t trust the producers at all
    any more. If they want to regain trust they will have to earn it. A Chuck/Morgan “bromance” is not the way to do it. As atcdave said they need to lead
    from strength, especially in the first few episodes
    to try to retain and increase viewers. I have a bad
    feeling this may not last for a couple of episodes
    but for an entire arc or most of the season based
    on what happened in Season 3. I hope I’m wrong, way,
    way wrong about this rather than being right. No one
    is saying or suggesting that the Chuck/Morgan friendship be severely altered or terminated. It’s an important part of the show and needs to be retained. As I have posted before there is a great
    potential for the Morgan character via Casey’s daughter. The comedy would be just great to watch and there was a smattering of it in the final Season
    3 episodes. I hope it continues. The Morgan character also has greatly supported the Chuck/Sarah
    relationship and that has been good too. I just don’t trust the producers/writers with this especially since some the writers are brand new to
    the show and will probably take their cue from the
    producers. The Sarah character could be relegated to
    the sidelines again as occurred in Season 3. With
    just 13 episodes announced so far with no promise
    of a back 6 or 9 additional episodes the margin for error here is slim to none. The show is on very,very
    thin ice and cannot afford any more major screw
    ups. Why run that type of risk especially in the type of environment the show is in now? If it goes wrong….They gambled with the viewers last year and
    lost and they’re thinking of doing it again? It’s
    absolutely beyond me. Joseph I really hope you are
    right about this but even just a few episodes of may convince viewers that nothing has really
    changed and they’re seeing more of Season 3 just
    being presented in a more subtle way and turn away
    again, this time for good.

    Am I being hypersensitive? Well maybe but there is a
    good track record of the producers to base it on-last year’s 2009 Comic-Con and Season 3. The producers’ created this atmosphere of distrust, not
    the viewers and it’s up to the producers (and NBC) to fix it, not the other way around. Like it or not,
    as others have pointed out, while the characters in
    the show are important, the Chuck/Sarah relationship
    in all of its facets drives the show. TPTB messed with it in Season 3 and nearly lost their show. If
    they do it again in Season 4, even indirectly, with
    this idea of a “bromance” it will likely acquire a
    momentum of its own that could last an arc or most
    of the season. People do not want to see Sarah pushed to the sidelines again. By all means keep
    the Chuck/Morgan friendship alive and well but NO
    BROMANCE please. The stakes for the show’s survival
    are too high now for any reckless, stupid gambles
    to be taken again, thanks.

  25. Robert H says:

    Amyabn the reason I think the budget has not been
    increased is because the show’s regular cast is being
    rotated again and this really hurt the show last year. That was the major reason why there was so
    little contrast being presented within each episode
    due to the dark road the show took last year.

    If you recall they also brought in “big names” last
    year and we saw the result of that. TPTB might have
    been better off spending more of their budget money
    on the their regular cast in each episode if only
    to present a lighter side to contrast with the dark
    one shown last year. It might have mitigated or
    kept to a minimum viewer defection.

    It appears the same route is being followed this
    year but maybe they don’t have much of a choice
    this time around. Some big names (aka Linda Hamilton) and others need to brought in to hopefully
    win back viewers. It appears the dark road is going
    to be avoided this year (or so we hope) which might also help rebuild the viewer base.

    Chucknewbie8 comment on the budget this year is
    probably correct and makes a great deal of sense.
    I was hoping the better business climate of 2010
    would help with the show’s budget but apparently
    this is not to be as the other networks are having the same problems. I just hope the showrunners use
    their resources better this year than last year.

    • amyabn says:

      I guess we just need to try to sponsor route-getting on their product feedback boards and thanking them for supporting Chuck. The more sponsors see that people are using their products, the more they’ll want to sponsor the show. Well, at least in theory! 🙂

      I’ve noticed that the guest stars aren’t necessarily the big names they used to be, no offense intended, so perhaps they come at a decent rate. I didn’t check the SAG link yet.

    • atcdave says:

      They’ve used a bit of stunt casting since S2. In S2 it generally worked, in S3 it generally didn’t. I think the moral of the story is the story matters more than the casting. If signing B-list celebs draws attention to the show, AND they are well cast for the characters they play, I’m all for it. I think Linda Hamilton will be excellent in that regard; she is known to sci-fi fans and could bring in exactly the viewers we want. None of the other names impress me one way or the other; but then, as an existing Chuck fan, I’m more interested in the cast we’ve got than I am in any guest star.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Actually the casting is an interesting topic. I think it was Alan Sepinwall who first brought it up, but aardvark7734 has a good post that touches on the topic on his site (beat me to the punch dangit). The casting can be a sort of shorthand so they don’t need to develop a character. By taking a Nicole Ritchie or a Robert Patrick whose public or professional persona matches the role we need little back story to see Heather Chandler as the shallow materialistic party-girl (not that Nicole Ritchie is, just she’s associated with that image often) or to place Col. Keller in context from Robert Patrick’s roles. In the case of someone like Dolph Lundgren I could see that working. With Linda Hamilton I could see it working also. It didn’t work with Brandon Routh, he was cast as “Hero” but unfortunately not enough people associated him with Superman and an overall heroic persona for it to work. When it didn’t work I think it kind of left them without a backup plan.

      • atcdave says:

        Routh was certainly their biggest casting failure to date; but as I’ve said before I don’t believe the fault was in the casting. No one could have made that part work. It was hopelessly flawed from the moment of conception. (yeah I know Ernie, my feelings on the matter are not quite the same as yours.)

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well, I agreed with you before the season that it wasn’t the direction I wanted to see them go, so we’re on the same page on that. Especially given how things turned out. I’m still on the fence about wether it was fundamentally flawed. There were certainly many fans for whom Shaw wouldn’t have worked even if executed flawlessly, so that is an argument that they went too far. Still I can see where they might have pulled it off with another actor, or even with Routh if they’d spent some more time developing him as a confidant and friend to Sarah to only later become a LI. In general I agree with Mo Ryan, he was miscast. Sadly that casting decision lasted 11 episodes rather than one or two.

      • JC says:

        It would’ve have worked with Bryce, there would’ve been no need to set up anything.
        Sarah and Chuck both had history with him, so we would understand her running back to Bryce. The time they spent setting up and failing Shaw as a great spy and mentor could’ve been used to make the Ring an actual villain.

        Even bring in Carina as LI for Chuck once Sarah and Bryce got close again. Show Chuck what a relationship with a spy would be like.

      • atcdave says:

        I guess I should have been more specific on the odd chance anyone didn’t get what I meant! The hero/mentor/traitor character would have been fine. Even a friend and peer for Sarah. But I feel confident in speaking for a large chunk of the audience when I say the LI part would not have been accepted in any form; no matter how it was written or cast. Too many of us were simply done with the wt/wt dance after S2 and it was time to get on with things. I will concede, even some of my all time favorite TV shows/movies/books have chapters or sections I didn’t like. So if Chuck runs several more seasons at some point I may be able to completely let it go. But for now its like almost a quarter of the shows entire history was ruined by a flawed concept.

        Sorry, I forget this was started about Routh. I actually feel sort of bad for him. I think he was acceptable for every aspect of the part; except the one aspect I wouldn’t have accepted regardless of actor!

      • atcdave says:

        JC, I do agree Bryce would have worked better; there was at least a credible history there both with Chuck and Sarah (of course Bomer wasn’t available so the point is sort of moot). But again, many viewers (among my friends I would say 70+%, but of course that only proves I hang out with people a lot like me) were done with the wt/wt aspect of the show, and it would not have worked with any actor/character.

      • jason says:

        I am so happy routh was the LI, once the fact that a LI had to be, the worse it turned out the better from my POV – matter of fact, the most epic thing about season 3, was what a gamechanging epic mistake having a LI for Sarah was, if boner or boomer or whatever his name is had done it, maybe the LI would have worked, and we would be starting season 4 wondering if boner was coming back or not, this way we are celebrating klieber, ritchie, the camel guy, the hulk, costa gravas, switzerland, sarah conner – on and on, a far better place – the stupidness has ended.

      • atcdave says:

        Funny point Jason. I do mostly agree, if they’re going to screw up, make it an EPIC screw up. Makes it loud and clear what is to be avoided in the future.

      • Merve says:

        Shaw, miscast? That’s debatable. Inconsistently written? Yes. You can’t have someone go from mourning his dead wife in one appearance to hitting on some other woman in the next. It just doesn’t make sense.

        I disagree about Bryce. “Break-Up” and “Ring” showed that Sarah was done with Bryce in a romantic capacity. Bringing him back as a love interest wouldn’t have made sense.

      • JC says:

        @Dave

        Don’t get me wrong I was tired of the WT/WT myself but if this was the route they were going Bryce made the most sense. It would’ve been believable unlike the Shaw romance. I highly doubt we’d need endless essays about why Sarah was with Bryce. I might have even bought some of Sarah’s actions but with a new character it really damaged her.

        Like you I feel sorry for Routh, he didn’t write the horrible dialogue or story but he takes the blame.

        My worry is that they didn’t see how horrible the romance arc was or were to stubborn to change it. Both of those options make me worried for S4.

      • atcdave says:

        Of course Merve, that partly plays to why I say the whole LI idea was fatally flawed. Sarah had already chosen Chuck multiple times; the third season of waffling made her look like a ditz. The only way to avoid it was to drop the whole idea.

      • jason says:

        had sarah been playing an apparent relationship with shaw to make chuck jealous, very little would have had to change in the actual story – except sarah would have been come off as a much stronger person, rather than a so called ‘ditz’ (a can think of much less nice terms to describe the sarah story)

        shaw appeared to have very little interest in sarah anyhow (either as written, directed or acted, blame who you want) – he probably would have enjoyed making chuck jealous as much as sarah would have

      • atcdave says:

        I know I’m a bit dogmatic about this JC; I just think we grant too much sometimes with our “ifs.” Sarah’s LI could have been handled in a few ways that would have made it more acceptable to a bigger part of the audience; changing the casting (someone other than Routh) or character (Bryce) might have sold the story better to some of the audience. But I always prefer to start the arguement one decision sooner in the process; they should have never done the reset/triangles story. Had they started the season with Chuck in training and Sarah as his girlfriend and confidante, they still could have done some of the hard training episodes (Nacho Sampler could have played with only the smallest of changes) and we would have kept more of the audience all the way to the end. Sorry, you know I could go on about this all day!

      • JC says:

        I understand that but I have this feeling they don’t think long term. Its more of a this is cool type mentality and they don’t realize how something will play two episodes let alone a season down the line.

      • Merve says:

        I kind of agree with Dave, but with a caveat. I might have been fine with Chuck dating Sarah and training under Casey. I definitely wouldn’t have been fine with Chuck dating Sarah and training under Sarah. Teacher/girlfriend? Yuck.

        Here’s where I tend to differ from the popular opinion around here. For whatever reason – pick your favourite – “Ring” split up Chuck and Sarah (or prevented them from getting together when they were oh-so-close). Putting them together in the season premiere wouldn’t have been committing to the bit. Putting them together by episode 7 or 8 would have been perfectly plausible, however. Let me put it this way: after watching “Ring,” I didn’t believe that Chuck and Sarah would be getting together any time soon. Now, if we want to debate about whether “Ring” should have unfolded the way it did, then that’s a different matter. But in that case, I’d go all the way back to “Break-Up” and say that Chuck and Sarah should have been together since then. I really wasn’t impressed with how that was handled.

        Then again, I don’t know why I’m debating the romance, seeing as it’s one of the least interesting or appealing aspects of the show. It’s better when they just shoot bad guys and blow stuff up. 😉

      • atcdave says:

        Wow! Merve mostly agreed with me! I’m marking this on my calender!

        I do agree Ring promised some stormy seas ahead, but nothing that seemed to be a real deal breaker. (never quite got why Chuck deciding to join Sarah in the career she wasn’t ready to leave was a bad thing; I’ll even allow for her serious concerns, but given that we started S3 with Sarah wanting to run off with Chuck, then 13 episodes later they finally do run off together, only to return home after deciding it wasn’t what either of them wanted. So what did we gain from those 13 episodes?)

        I would have been happy with Chuck and Sarah as an actual couple MUCH earlier in the show. I would have liked the “secret relationship” idea so popular on forums and fan fiction even before the end of S1. But in spite of all that I do agree with Merve; keep the show focused on shooting bad guys and blowing stuff up. The relationship is just the “happy spot” to remind us what they’re fighting for; and why they take protecting each other VERY seriously!

      • JC says:

        The reason why they couldn’t be together in Break-Up worked for me and the same in S3. I can see why they couldn’t date while Chuck was training.

        Both seasons had valid reasons its they couldn’t sustain them so they went the easy route and brought in LIs.

      • Merve says:

        I don’t mind love interests if they accomplish something. I was fine with Lou and Cole. Lou gave Chuck confidence and showed him that he couldn’t make it work with a normal woman as long as he was in the spy game. Cole further bolstered Chuck’s confidence and made Sarah realize that she could never turn her back on Chuck. I have mixed feelings about Bryce and Shaw because while I feel that they accomplished something, I feel that it could have been done more elegantly.

        On the flipside, I really didn’t like Jill. She was utterly useless until “First Kill.” Chuck didn’t learn anything from her experience with her except that he shouldn’t trust people, which he already learned in “Sandworm.” Then Sarah told him at the end of “Gravitron” to trust people, which went against what he should have learned. I’m also not a Hannah fan. Hannah accomplished more before she was a love interest – character-wise for Chuck in “First Class” and plot-wise in “Nacho Sampler” – than she did when she became a love interest. Her speech to Chuck at the end of “Fake Name” served mainly to highlight her naïveté and not to underline the negative changes in Chuck’s character.

        As JC rightly points out, there were valid reasons to keep Chuck and Sarah apart in season 3. They were on display from “Angel de la Muerte” to “Nacho Sampler” (which I still contend was the strongest, most purely entertaining run of episodes of season 3). I could have used more of those and less Prague/PLIs.

      • JC says:

        If anything the Jill arc should have been longer. It really never made sense he forgave her so easily and jumped into a relationship. I can buy lingering feelings for her just like I understood Sarah having ones for Bryce. It just was too fast and made Chuck look like an idiot.

        I loved Lou because if Chuck hadn’t moved on after Sarah shot him down he would’ve looked pathetic. My crush on Rachel Bilson helps.

        My only problem with the Cole arc was him falling for Sarah so hard in two episodes. That really didn’t work for me.

        Like I said in S3 they had real reasons to keep them separated. They didn’t need Prague or LIs to make that story work.

        All they did was take away from other aspects of the show. They really could’ve explored the cost of being a spy but I don’t know if they’re capable of angst without third parties.

        The way Chuck treated Hannah never felt like it was because he changing. He played it like a typical rebound. They needed someone to call him a jerk without it being Sarah.

        Once Hannah was gone they needed a reason to keep them apart again and so Shaw was made a LI. It never made sense except as anvil in the way until the finale.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Another day, another “what Dave said” post. 😉 I’m starting to think I should write a script that parses this blog for Dave posts and constructs my own posts as a checkbox list. Then I could just check (or more rarely, uncheck) each of his statements and save myself the typing. For instance:

        [X] Shaw as hero/mentor/traitor was fine

        [X] Nacho Sampler still fits regardless

        [X] Recasting wouldn’t have fixed Shaw

        [X] Shaw & Hannah rebuffed PLI’s vs LI’s

        [X] Chuck & Sarah secret “fanfic” romance

        I’ll stop there. 🙂

        But the real puzzle of today is that, if Dave and Merve agree so much, and Dave and I agree so much, why doesn’t the law of association apply to Merve and I?

        Is Dave simply the overlap of our crazy Venn diagram?

        Inquiring minds want to know.

      • atcdave says:

        Aardvark, you know its just that I’m such an agreeable guy, I agree with everyone…..

        Notice I didn’t address Merve’s caveat when we agreed. I never quite get his reservations about the teacher thing. But it my be a background thing; I believe Merve is an academic where student/teacher relationships are carefully defined and often involve a large age difference. Whereas I’m in a technical trade where mentor/trainee relationships are closer to peer situations and often develop into long standing friendships. Just a guess.

        I think Merve and I mainly disagree on how important we think the romance is to the appeal of the show. We often (not always!) agree on other details.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Oh, and Ernie, thanks for the ref. I wasn’t sure anyone had actually read that post about meta-casting. 🙂

        Sorry about the preemption!

      • atcdave says:

        Sorry I failed to mention Aardvark; I did read your blog, and I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear I agree about the meta-casting. I even think its a good idea to use casting as a shorthand to tell the audience everything they need to know, quickly, about who a character is. And of course, it sets up some of the turnabouts, when we learn someone isn’t what they seem (“Oh my gosh, Shaw is a villian, I’m shocked!”). Um, I guess sometimes it works better than others….

      • Faith says:

        BR just didn’t work for me on any level. I’ve taken a lot of shots at his acting, and honestly he’s not as bad as I portray but he’s not as good either. And I think in the end it’s a murphy’s law kind of combination.

      • Merve says:

        @aardvark: Wait, what are we disagreeing about here?

        @Dave: Maybe it’s my background that gives me reservations about the teacher/lover concept. But I think that it has more to do with how I’ve perceived the romance. It has to do with loving a person vs. loving an idealized version of that person. I think that that topic alone could form the basis for an essay, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll say this: if Sarah were to simultaneously fulfill the roles of lover and sensei, she would have no incentive to break out of her idealized love. In fact, she’d be ideally positioned to guide Chuck’s actions such that he wouldn’t be making his own decisions, but doing what he thought Sarah would want him to do. In other words, she could make Chuck “her Chuck.” What actually happened was different in a key way: Chuck proved that he was “her Chuck” through his own actions and decisions. In that way, the idealization was gone, and we were shown that Sarah loves Chuck, not the idea of Chuck as she would have originally wanted him to be.

        I don’t know if that made much sense. In fact, I’m rereading it and it sounds like a bunch of BS. But that’s how I see it. Again, I don’t know what’s compelling me to discuss something that I don’t find very important, aside from boredom. 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Actually Merve you’ve touched on what I think the best justification for breaking Chuck and Sarah up before putting them together was. If they’d gone straight from Sarah the handler/protector who ran Chuck’s life for two years to Sarah the girlfriend in a limited way it diminishes Chuck choosing her. It became pretty apparent to Chuck that he wasn’t going to have anything with anyone while he was the intersect and she was his cover girlfriend. This is the one reason I accept Chuck wanting to get to know Sarah outside the job in Ring. There was enough to know he loved her, but who was the “her” he loved? It’s also how I buy Chuck, once he’s already downloaded the intersect and made his choice, sticking with it rather than running with Sarah. He’d be staking everything on a woman who by her own admission couldn’t let him get too close or know too much about her. For Sarah’s part, deciding to run was more about what she needed than Chuck. Not a great way to start a relationship.

        I think based on where they were in Colonel that no matter what, for them to choose each other freely in some sense there is a good case to be made that they would need distance and time apart before they could re-connect in a more “real” manner. Still, I think there were better ways to go about it.

      • JC says:

        In a way Chuck still chose Sarah because he had no other options. All three flings he’s had on the show had no chance of going anywhere. I wouldn’t even call what he had relationships. Compare that to Sarah who we know was in one with both Bryce and Shaw.

        If Chuck had been presented with a another option like a female spy that was the opposite of Sarah. Someone who didn’t pull away from him during his training and was somewhat open. Would it have been believable that he chose Sarah over the new woman. I can’t see any reason why he would would especially after the events of S3.

        Chuck doesn’t know Sarah Walker anymore than he did the first day she walked into the BuyMore.

        I can see both sides of the argument about the nature of the relationship after Colonel. But the resolution we got in Other Guy was terrible. What should’ve been epic and romantic fell flat on its face.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        @Merve: We’re not disagreeing on anything specific at this very second; the last thing was yesterday’s difference of opinion on the handler-asset mirror thing. A run of the mill disagreement for us, I think.

        I apologize if I’m making you self conscious when I drop your name as a point of reference in some of my posts. I do it because you’ve been extremely articulate in expressing your viewpoint on the show, and – most importantly – your opinions, in general, tend to be the opposite of my own. You’re like the furthest point away from me on the Chuck fan compass. WAIT, I take that back – Magnus has a lock on that position, my apologies. 😉

        In fact, what catches my attention now is when we don’t disagree. I think we both think “Nacho Sampler” was a strong episode, for instance, something that sets us apart from most of the people on this blog if you believe Ernie’s poll. I’d normally have added another example here but I just scrolled through this topic and couldn’t find one! I guess that kinda reinforces my point. Lol.

        Anyway, if this is making you feel persecuted or something, just say so and I’ll stop.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        3.13 doesn’t work for me either because Chuck and Sarah weren’t given time to reconnect prior to it.

        Believe it or not they needed time to pine for each other similar to S2 prior to 3.13.

      • atcdave says:

        Merve, I know we’ve had this discussion before, sorry for being repetitive. But I really do feel like your concerns reflect an adult/child relationship; whereas I always saw Chuck/Sarah as adults with completely different backgrounds and skill sets. I could have seen Sarah as the professional sensai; while Chuck was the more personal sensai. Of course what we actually got was once Sarah committed to Chuck she turns out to better at relationships than Chuck is too (sort of kidding, she suddenly becomes the honest one?). Anyway, I never see the mentor thing as a big deal; they could have easily used other trainers while Chuck and Sarah were partners.
        JC, as far as Chuck not knowing anything about Sarah, I’m not quite sure where that comes from. He knows everything from her food preferences to the fact she will protect and stand by him even when it goes against orders. He stated clearly in Cougars that the details he was missing were unimportant. Of course they’ve brutalized the mythology since then; but I’ll still accept it as Chuck’s attitude.
        Joseph, I do agree the turnabout from American Hero to Other Guy was too abrupt. Perhaps it would have played better if Sarah had started turning back towards Chuck from when they had the “stay who you are” discussion in Tic Tac, in fact , as I think about it; that would have played much better, remove the s-angst elements from the end of Tic Tac and Final Exam, and reduce the Sham to almost nothing in American Hero; might have worked.
        But you know what I’m going to come back to; they just never should have gone there.

      • Merve says:

        @Ernie: That’s a very good point about Sarah’s actions in “Pink Slip.” I’d go as far as to say that she was trying to preserve Chuck as she wanted him to be.

        You also raise an interesting point about how things would have been proceeded had the separation been addressed in a different way. It makes me wonder what would have happened if Shaw had stayed as an unorthodox spy mentor, Hannah had stayed as an innocent Buy More employee, and “Mask” had honoured the emotional weight with which “Nacho Sampler” ended. There was something interesting there. From Sarah’s perspective, could Chuck become cynical and world-weary without losing his goodness or genuineness? From Chuck’s perspective, what of his past relations with Sarah was fake and what was real? Love interests are wholly unnecessary to explore such questions. We got our answers in “Other Guy” – yes and “it was all real” – but I feel as if the first question was given far more attention than the second.

        To be honest, I don’t even think that the Prague debacle was a necessary step in creating a situation conducive to answering those questions. Some “event” was certainly needed, but I think that it could have been better handled. In fact, I’m not a fan of the “running away” motif that pervaded the entire season, from “Pink Slip” to “Ring: Part II,” but that’s a different issue (and one that we might discuss in more detail if we weren’t all so frustrated over the romance aspect of things). 😉

        @aardvark: Thanks for the clarification. It’s not a worry for now. I just hope that others are wise enough to know not to draw conclusions about my positions.

        @JC: Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I think that Hannah was supposed to represent that Chuck had a choice between a real, fulfilling relationship and a series of transient attachments based on sex. It’s a pretty simple decision for him, which is why it doesn’t seem like a substantial or important choice.

      • atcdave says:

        Good post Merve. While I like the running away theme for Chuck and Sarah (not so much for Chuck and Orion!) I agree they spent too much time with it in S3, because it was always a false choice. Just for practical reasons, it would involve the complete restructure of the show. Many good fanfics have been written on the theme, but we always knew they weren’t about to reduce the whole show to Chuck and Sarah in a different locale every week (like “The Fugitive, Couples Edition”).

      • JC says:

        Dave most of things he knows about her are superficial. Were supposed to believe this is true love and he doesn’t know her b-day, where she was born, etc. He doesn’t even know why she was acting nuts about the Red Test. The worst day of her life because she never told him. Its hard to put in words but the relationship just doesn’t feel genuine to me.

        @Merve

        Maybe that’s what it was. Honestly I don’t know what they were going for with Hannah. I just wish they would’ve given Chuck a real choice other than Sarah.

      • atcdave says:

        I don’t know JC, I would say he actually knows the sustantial stuff like the strength of her character and quality of her love for him; its superficial stuff like birthday and where she was born he doesn’t know. And I would actually expect more of that superficial stuff to come out this season. I do agree about the Red Test; one of my MAJOR complaints about S3 is that golden moments like that were wasted on the Sham.

      • JC says:

        I used the b-day and where she was born because it represents her past. Who she was is still part of she is now. Sarah knows about the worst times of Chuck’s life but he doesn’t know hers.

        I guess instead of genuine I should have said side one sided. It feels like Chuck has to do everything and Sarah gets a free pass. She expects him to be an open book about everything the complete opposite of how she acts. Her loves comes off conditional to me. He has to do all the emotionally heavy lifting for her and himself.

      • atcdave says:

        I can see conditional at the end of American Hero; a great wasted opportunity. I think it would have been beautiful for Sarah to come to Chuck at the end of Final Exam (um, and Nacho Sampler, and Tic Tac, etc….) and discuss her feelings after her Red Test. All part of the great S3 FUBAR.

        I did think Sarah was well handled from Honeymooners on (mostly), especially when she seems to get the lying thing before Chuck does.

      • JC says:

        I’m on the fence about Sarah in the back six. I loved the way she was written in Honeymooners but after that her change into g/f was too quick. It was like she had to be the polar opposite of Chuck just to create tension. We never got any reasoning behind the change. It felt like to me if Chuck had wanted to tell the truth she would’ve told him not to.

      • aardvark7734 says:

        Wow, the tail of this thread is getting pretty far from the root. My finger got tired scrolling the mouse wheel back to the Reply button. 🙂

        Anyway…

        JC, re: Sarah in the back six…

        You know, we don’t talk about this too much, I think because a lot of us find the suddenly girlfriend-ready Sarah kind of adorable, or at least I do. 🙂 But in my heart-of-hearts, I know that her rapid mutation from emotional mime to Ann Landers was mind-blowingly, ridiculously abrupt. It should have taken a whole season (at least) of missteps, retrenchments and bold leaps to get her to where she is now.

        I’m not saying I’d want to suffer a steady string of angst bombs before she had a clue, some of it could be played for comedy – Sarah trying to pull off stuff she used to have CIA do for their cover, without fully grokking the subtleties. Or having to depend more on Chuck as a partner in life, letting him take the lead sometimes even though her instinct is to seize control herself. Or just learning how not to plan out every dinner party like it’s a military operation. Maybe more of that stuff is on tap in S4.

        But I am saying I’d have been okay if they’d both been fumbling forward trying to figure out how they fit together in their new context. At least through the end of S3. As it was, once she moved in she seemed to be perfectly adjusted (in the few seconds we saw her at home, that is). I really wasn’t expecting that until the end of S4.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, the season was just unevenly written all around. We went from Sarah who was lousy at relationships, to Sarah who was actually pretty good at relationships. I can find it funny, its like Sarah Walker super-spy is actually good at anything she puts her mind to. But I think its really just lousy writing from beginning to end.

        Bottom line is I enjoyed 3.13-3.19, problems and all. But they sacrificed much of the pre-existing canon with the terrible story they told getting there. I expect to enjoy the show to come, but I will never know quite what to do with the front part of S3. I certainly can’t accept it, but it can’t quite be rejected without major continuity issues coming up. Many fanfics were vastly better written and conceived than the show itself.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m sure I’ll shock everyone by agreeing with Aardvark. Especially about the length of this thread (Wow!).

        I think TPTB just decided to give us an EPIC season to remember instead of a well crafted character drama. When the epic is fun and well done that’s fine. But when its not fun, and diminishes the characters we love, and sacrifices believable character growth; well, its not awesome!

      • JC says:

        @ Aardvark

        Who couldn’t love sexy spy kitten Sarah.

        Like you I wanted to see her struggle. The change was such a whiplash from those front thirteen. I don’t want an angst fest but I would like to see that growth on screen.

        It felt like they wanted her to be perfect compared to Chuck. It was a total role reversal for some reason. In some ways I think they overcompensated because of she came off earlier in the season.

        Hopefully next season we some middle ground. Sarah trying to be everything for Chuck but hitting some snags along the way. Maybe we can take up a collection and buy Fedak the complete Buffy collection. He might get an idea on how to write a strong, sexy and emotionally complex woman.

    • amyabn says:

      I would submit that I think the whole conversation in the train compartment (favorite band, favorite live show) was supposed to illustrate them truly getting to know one another. While I would like to be privy as a viewer to more of this type of exposition, it may be a quick way to gloss over backstory. They could then just reference things in conversation like they already know them.

      • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

        She hasn’t told Chuck her name yet. Not until I hear it.

        The name reveal is still a very soar point with me and something that desperately needs to be fixed in S4. To me that is the point where the “specialness” of Chuck and Sarah relationship left the show.

        The “spy will” didn’t fix it.

      • joe says:

        It’s funny which things push our buttons, Joe. The name reveal was one of those things for a lot of fans; for me, it was the “Let’s be friends” handshake thing in Angel of Death. For others I imagine it was Sarah telling Carina that the bracelet wasn’t her style. They seemed to have been making a point by hitting them all.

        Amy’s right about how we’ve been getting the backstory. Watching Chuck watching Sarah pick the olives off her pizza is enlightening. It tells us a lot about both of them.

      • atcdave says:

        I mostly see things like Amy here; I’m willing to assume a lot of the “getting to know you” stuff. We’ve had indicators from the beginning that they BOTH pay attention to each other and have learned a lot of personality and taste type issues that are important in being together (discussions in Wookie, Truth, and Cougars all indicate this sort of thing). And of course we gather they are engaging in extensive small talk on the train in Honeymooners (well that and eating, we know there’s nothing else to do on a train!). I really don’t have a problem assuming Chuck and Sarah know each other quite well at this point.

        If anything, that makes their loss of faith in each other for the first part of S3 that much more painful. Sarah giving Shaw key personal information she’d long witheld from Chuck seriously damages the quality of her character to me. To me, the bottom line about 3.01-3.12 is, I don’t care if Sarah’s actions can be rationalized or explained in any way; I completely and utterly hate those episodes. As entertainment they fail me so completely I will not watch most of them ever again. Chuck and Sarah giving up on each other is a betrayal of ME (that is viewers who actually liked these people). So you’ll never hear words of compromise on this topic from me, the closest I’ll come is: let’s leave it in the past and get to what’s next.

      • aardvark7734 says:


        To me, the bottom line about 3.01-3.12 is, I don’t care if Sarah’s actions can be rationalized or explained in any way; I completely and utterly hate those episodes. As entertainment they fail me so completely I will not watch most of them ever again. Chuck and Sarah giving up on each other is a betrayal of ME (that is viewers who actually liked these people).

        Amen, brother Dave, Amen.

      • JC says:

        The name reveal was the single biggest screw up the show has ever done. That scene showed me there was a huge disconnect between the TPTB and the fans. It was a complete waste because other than Shaw’s comment to her it was never mentioned again. I really don’t understand how they thought it was a good idea.

        That scene and her playing Chuck as a mark in Final Exam made me despise Sarah. After both I found it very hard to believe Chuck would want anything to do with her.

      • amyabn says:

        JC,
        I would have to say that what really bothered me, more than treating Chuck like a mark, is that she took the assignment from Shaw in the first place. None of that felt right, period. I can sort of excuse her having to emotionally distance herself (hence treating him like a mark) to get through with the order, but I cant’ believe she followed the order to begin with.

      • Herder says:

        Then followed it with the statement that she didn’t love him – not anymore after he did what she asked.

      • JC says:

        The whole situation was disgusting. She used Chuck’s feelings and trust in her. Then she runs right back to the man who made her do it. Like she told Chuck he had a choice and she made hers.

        And let me add Chuck not getting angry at all during any of this was completely absurd and unbelievable.

      • jason says:

        not a single writer who started season 3 (except for the 2 show runners) is starting season 4, I know all the fanboys and girls will appeal to my sense of ‘writers need to eat too’, but logically the badly written season and the complete overhaul of the writing team seems to be more than a spurious relationship – anyone else think kicking back and spliting a case of beer with ali adler would not be an ‘epic’ evening of fun?

      • I guess I’m a lot more forgiving of Sarah’s actions than most people here.

        Yes, 3.5->3.8 were not as rewatchable as most episodes. If they had been condensed into two episodes (eliminate Hannah and establish Shaw as a confidant for Sarah, not a sleezy womanizer), I wouldn’t have had a problem with them.

        Here’s my take on Season 3:
        Sarah didn’t understand mature relationships and had her heart broken without a full explanation in Prague. That festered for several months before Chuck came back. She was understandably cautious and eased in by starting as friends. Remember, friendship for Sarah is a Really Big Deal. Chuck didn’t follow through with the friendship. Instead, he picks up a girl on a plane to Paris. He started a new relationship before Sarah. This was all Chuck’s fault.

        I don’t have a problem with Sarah’s reaction at the end of Final Exam. She was having a PTSD breakdown from her own Red Test. The I-don’t-live-Chuck-because-he-killed moment is fixed twice: Once at the end of Other Guy and again in Tooth when Sarah explains she didn’t know what love was.

        The name reveal was supposed to be a breaking point for Chuck. In that respect it worked. However the huge side effect was it destroyed Sarah’s credibility more than the writers wanted. I chalk this up as Sarah’s consistent behavior of not understanding relationships.

        Sarah knows Chuck knows her name because Chuck called her ‘Sam’ in Fake Name after he busted into the room. The look on Sarah’s face shows she knows she screwed up.

        “…I want you to think of me as ‘Sarah.’ I now consider ‘Sarah Walker’ to be my real name because that was my name when Chuck and I fell in love with each other.”

        My assumption is most viewers associate themselves with Chuck, so they feel like Sarah cheated on them (even though the show only has a couple kisses, the acceptance of a gift, and one dinner date). Chuck’s actions were worse than Sarah’s, but people give him a pass.

        Overall, I loved the arc and character growth of Season 3, although the execution at times was spotty. Hopefully the new writers can fix that without changing the Chuck-ness of the show.

      • atcdave says:

        A lot of great follow up comments here. I particularly disliked the name reveal, and Sarah playing Chuck in Final Exam, and then returning to Shaw. To me, these are simply inexcusable screw-ups by TPTB. As JC said, a huge disconnect between TPTB and the fans. That’s where I use the term betrayal, they took the show in a direction a sizable number of us never wanted to see, and simply can’t accept.
        I guess the “can’t accept” part is so big to me, I just flush those episodes. To my mind they aren’t canon. I know that makes me delusional (or heretical!), I’m making up my own canon. But what was on screen does not track with what I saw in the first two seasons, so I reject it.

        So within that context, I am forgiving of Sarah. I’m so forgiving I simply won’t believe what TPTB are telling me. In fact, sorry of this causes offense “lostjeff”, but I can’t really accept your explanation of S3; because I don’t actually accept most of S3. And I really don’t think people give Chuck a pass for anything. I was very angry with Chuck several episodes before I was very angry with Sarah. His betrayal started in First Class, when he was flirting with Hannah while Sarah was in full lioness mode trying to protect him. That was the second episode (Pink Slip being the first) of the season that TURNED MY STOMACH. Chuck may seem to be let off easy, because he figured out his mistake sooner; but both main characters behaved in unacceptable ways for most of S3. As I’ve said many times, if S3 had been the start of this show, I never would have watched the whole soap opera. It was not what I call entertainment.

        OK, I’m sorry for loosing it. I really need to cut back on caffeine!

      • JC says:

        And you’re giving Sarah a free pass Lost Jeff.

        Go back to Ring PT1. Chuck asks Sarah to take a trip with him and she rejects him.

        In Three Words he confesses why he chose to be a spy and that he loves her. The next thing he hears is her requesting a transfer.

        She never tried to be friends with him after that. She was a nagging mother who questioned everything he did no matter what.

        Chuck offered Hannah a job he didn’t buy her a plane ticket to Burbank. So what he flirted with her, it must have been nice to meet a woman who didn’t treat him like a child. In Mask he gives Sarah the opportunity to veto him moving on and she doesn’t.

        The whole issue that she wants to be Sarah and not Sam is shot down at the end of Fake Name.. She seemed very happy and eager when he called her Sam.

        Neither of them cheated on each other but Shaw & Sarah were more than a couple of kisses. Dinner dates and couple massages in DC prove that. And her whole plan to there with him.

        I could care less what Sarah and Shaw did physically. My issue is she flat out betrayed Chuck with the name reveal and the Red Test.

      • @atcdave
        No offense taken.

        I like how passionate Chuck fans have learned to hold their beloved show to a higher standard. Despite the higher standard, I still want a full season 4 and a season 5.

      • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

        Jeff – I’m going to need some understanding what you mean by:

        “However the huge side effect was it destroyed Sarah’s credibility more than the writers wanted. I chalk this up as Sarah’s consistent behavior of not understanding relationships.”

        I kinda get the credibilty part but not so much the chalking up part.

      • jason says:

        dave this might cheer you up, a little yvonne and chuck time on the teen choice awards, not a spoiler, but for those who ? chemistry or how they are getting along, they seemed ok here:

      • Merve says:

        I wish that I could muster the will to care about the relationship of two people who acted stupidly and hurt each other for three whole years, but I can’t. I guess that’s why season 3 doesn’t bug me.

        That being said, when Chuck and Sarah directly hurt each other, it does bother me slightly (which is why Sarah’s attitude in “Three Words” is particularly bothersome). But when they do something that hurts their relationship, like pursuing other love interests or revealing a real name to someone else, it barely bothers me. A relationship has little, if any, intrinsic value. What matters is how that relationship affects the characters involved. I can’t bring myself to elevate Chuck and Sarah’s relationship to the same level as Chuck and Sarah as individuals. Like I’ve said before, Chuck isn’t Bones. Thank heavens for that.

      • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

        Oh BTW, I don’t give Chuck a free pass, Chuck was a bonehead (that’s the polite term) also for most of the first 13.

        And yes, he should have goten mad at Sarah at the end of Final Exam.

        Actually near the end of 3.09 where Shaw is getting ready to blow up Castle is where Sarah should have pulled out her gun, put it in the middle of his eyebrow (think about that one) and said, ” Casey was right. You are an idiot”.

      • @JC
        I know I’m guilty of giving Sarah too much of a pass. Ever since Cougars (and Delorean), I’ve seen Sarah as an emotionally damaged person trying to figure out how to act like a normal person. That’s what I like about her as a character. I like to see her occasionally screw up and not realize what she did wrong. Season 3 got out of hand because Chuck wasn’t there to help her fix it. He didn’t even try 3.3->3.9 (Ellie did a little in 3.3)

        While Chuck also has a messed up history, he is supposed to be the good friend with people skills. So I give him less of a pass.

      • @Joesph
        Re: “I chalk this up as Sarah’s consistent behavior of not understanding relationships.”

        Sarah’s “best friend” was willing to leave her to die while turning in a diamond for a promotion. Sarah’s own dad risked her life on cons. She still is learning what love and trust mean. In Fake Name, she was demonstrating how clueless she was about personal relationships.

        Re: “near the end of 3.09 where Shaw is getting ready to blow up Castle is where Sarah should have pulled out her gun”

        I _completely_ agree. Her attitude in that scene is why 3.9 was not one of my favorites. Your “idiot” line would have been fun, but maybe a bit too far. However, I think it would have been completely consistent to have her pull a gun on Shaw in that scene. I think I even yelled at the television, telling Sarah and Casey to pull their guns again.

        Most of Sarah’s screw ups in season 3 were because of her emotional issues. That scene, she screwed up as a partner.

      • SWnerd says:

        I have to somewhat agree with MyNameIsJeff in regards to Chuck’s vs. Sarah’s actions. Don’t get me wrong, they both screwed up royally in season 3, but I have found that more of my anger has shifted in retrospect. I’m not really sure why, because during the season I was all about being disappointed in Sarah but I look back now more disappointed in Chuck.

        Perhaps it’s because with all the talk about Sarah’s role in a lot of season 3 (and the fear of her role in season 4) about mostly just reacting to what Chuck does has made me look back from that perspective. And as the title character, he does drive the storyline. His actions and decisions set us down the path we took in season 3. Do I wish they had given Sarah a bit more backbone in order to be active instead of passive during that journey? Of course. But they didn’t because she’s not the main character (although I wish she was more of one than TPTB allow).

        I don’t really want to defend her pitiful actions regarding the name reveal (which will remain the ultimate betrayal of the fans), or the red test melodrama, but looking back I have noticed something that I was too busy wallowing in my own self pity to notice at the time. Her fears about him changing weren’t unfounded. He was. Not necessarily in all negative ways. The less whining than in season two was nice. More confidence was also positive. But he was cocky and arrogant at times which are qualities I loath (sorry Bryce, Cole, and Shaw, but that’s what really annoyed me about you all). He also turned into a pretty sucky friend and brother. I’m not even going to go into the Hannah debacle which I hated everything about.

        Now, does that mean Sarah should have confided in creepy psycho? No. Should she have allowed herself to be manipulated into the red test crap? No. Should she have acted instead of moping? Yes. But they wrote her as a pretty pathetic character in the first part of the season and those are actions of a pathetic character.

        They both needed to do some growing up this season and I understand that and encourage it as character development is important. I just don’t think that they needed to become unlikeable characters in the process. Empathy is important and we all know that as humans we make mistakes and do stupid things we regret but maintaining a level of sympathy for the characters we love would have been greatly appreciated.

        Wow, and I’m really sorry for this ramble. Bottom line is that I’m still a little frustrated with both of them in early season 3 but the last 7 helped wash it down mostly.

      • JC says:

        No worries Jeff and I hope my comments didn’t come angry or anything.

        Its my own pet peeve on how Chuck is written sometimes. I just hate how Sarah’s past is used to justify when she acts like a jerk but Chuck is supposed to a paragon of virtue and understanding. I think they really gloss over his past and how it affects him.

      • atcdave says:

        Great one Joseph! The Sarah we knew from the first two seasons certainly should have been done with Shaw at the end of Beard (and I mean done with him as a friend and confidante, the LI thing never should have even started), and threatening or striking him with her gun seems very fitting.

        No doubt Lost Jeff I do get excited! I share your enthusiasm for S4 and beyond.

        Merve I know you see the relationship differently, it has mattered to me at least since 1.03.

        I never really saw Sarah as THAT damaged, at least not considering her background. I thought she treated Chuck very well, most of the time, in the first two seasons. Most of the flip flopping seemed to me, to be about the personal/professional conflict. Seriously that seemed enough to me, to justify most of her conflicts. Obviously, TPTB saw things differently, which is why we got the crap that was S3. But I always figure I’m in good company; a large segment of the fan base feels the same way I do.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, I know where you’re coming from, for part of it. First Class didn’t bother me mostly because I didn’t see Chuck as going too far. Sarah wasn’t trying to repair a relationship and neither was Chuck. And as far as Chuck knew Sarah didn’t have much confidence in him as an agent and had said so to Shaw. So for me, a (so far as he knew) one time friendly flirtation, and even the flirtation part is arguable, wasn’t out of character for Chuck. He’s a social butterfly after all.

        As for the red test I really liked Final Exam, and I thought the situation had great Drama, but I didn’t like the way they handled it. Sarah’s choice was explainable, and explained even if opaquely. Chuck was going to be ordered to the restaurant to meet and kill Perry with or without Sarah. That is the first thing to realize. Sarah doesn’t say she’ll stop the red test. She can’t. Her only argument with Shaw is she doesn’t want to be a part of it. As Shaw explains Chuck’s best chance at survival is if she’s there to tell him he needs to do it and to back him up. So Sarah is in a situation where she can’t stop the mission, and hopes it won’t succeed, but it’s failure could mean Chuck’s death, or at the very least the end of Chuck’s dreams to be someone who can make a difference, even if he doesn’t quite understand the cost to him yet. So this is Sarah’s no-win situation, just as the red test is Chuck’s. In Prague Sarah tried to convince Chuck to run away for herself. Putting her desires and her future with Chuck over anything he ever wanted or felt he needed to do. Here she actually doesn’t make that mistake again. But there were two things that bothered me. First, they didn’t support Sarah’s choice to tell him as necessary. I get the whole she’d gone back to being a spy and was back to treating Chuck as a colleague if not a mark, but they never fully explained the hold Shaw had over Sarah professionally. Sarah was the only backup Shaw would allow, and he’d only allow it if she participated in the mission (remember it was a SOLO spy test) that makes her decision to participate easier to take. Also if they’d set up that “back to his old life” was not an attractive alternative then her actions are more understandable. If he’d still be a CIA asset with a handler, or worse, bunkered, then her knowing that Chuck hated that life and wanted out would be enough to explain her giving him the choice.

        Why Chuck should be angry is beyond me. He got cocky and assumed the mission was over. That was his fault. She explained it pretty well, for the duration of the test she was a proctor, not a friend or colleague or partner. At the restaurant she laid it out simply once again. This is your mission, this is what it’s going to cost you to be a spy. He did get moderately angry when she gave him the order, but she made it clear it was up to him.

      • atcdave says:

        Now Ernie, what was I just saying about analyzing S3….

        The thing is, its entertainment. Its fiction. They could have crafted it any way they wanted.

        Its not the characters actions or thoughts or development I object to. I object at a much earlier part of the process. I object to the decision to write the show the way they did. I am not interested in another angst-filled drama. I turn on Chuck to have fun. Poorly handled name reveals and Red Tests utterly destroy the fun of the show. They can write these things however they want; but Sarah telling Shaw her real name or pushing Chuck along in his Red Test, causes as much disconnect with me as if the writers decided it would rain puppys or the rail cars should all be replaced by dinette sets. Its not the show I want to see and I don’t care why they thought it was a good idea.

        And I’m sorry swnerd, but this is one of the rare times I’ll differ with you too. I never saw any burning need to separate Chuck and Sarah to have them “grow up.” By the end of S2 they both pretty likable characters who had taken ownership of a lot of issues in their lives. They could have easily continued their growth together instead of apart. I don’t buy there was any intrinsic value in the way S3 unfolded.

      • luckygirl says:

        I think season 3 ended up being about loving a whole person good and bad. It was easy to love Chuck in season 1&2 for Sarah and for the audience, he was good and sweet and innocent. In season 3 we got to see probably the worst things Chuck is capable of, so now I feel like we have a whole rounded character. They showed that the only thing Sarah can’t accept in Chuck is something Chuck can’t accept in himself.

      • SWnerd says:

        @Dave: Oh I didn’t mean that they should have been separated. I am also of the mind that having them grow together was the better option. But come on where’s the super epic angst in that? Oh yeah, right where I want it to be…nonexistent. 🙂

      • SWnerd says:

        Whoa luckygirl, that was deep and when you look at it that way, it does kinda make me feel a little better about the season. Maybe I should just stop over analyzing and stick with that… If only I could stop over analyzing.

      • JC says:

        @ Ernie

        Correct me if I’m wrong but Shaw told Sarah to use Chuck’s feelings for her to pass the Red Test. The line “He’ll do it if you tell him”. Shaw knew she was the only person who could make him kill, she allowed herself to be played and in turn played Chuck.

        And your right Chuck has no reason to be angry about the Red Test itself but he does in how she lured him to it. After the stakeout and his overtures to her, she used it against him.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        JC, I may expand on this on another post I’m working on, but I did see Shaw as telling Sarah that she had to give the order as more him manipulating Sarah. Sarah was pretty straightforward with Chuck. As for angry Sarah should probably be a bit miffed at Shaw, but then it isn’t about Sarah, it’s about Chuck becoming a spy.

        Dave, yeah, I understand what you are saying about the analysis I was just explaining that while I understand your frustration I don’t necessarily share in it, at least in some instances. For some people I get the distinct feeling that they blame Sarah for the red test at all, I just wanted to break down why I didn’t think Sarah was responsible. Now as for why Sarah couldn’t face Chuck afterward, THAT IS because she holds herself responsible.

        This will be interesting since Final Exam is one of my picks for most dramatic episode, the post we’re working on for this weekend. Don’t come to a conclusion too soon! We can do another 300 comments on it later!

      • MarieM says:

        I may be biased because it was lizjames’ posts that first drew me to this blog, but I think her “Why Sarah and Shaw Should Have Mattered” was pretty much the definitive take on the issue. It’s still here even though the home page is down:
        http://bit.ly/abdapu

        She addressed everything being discussed here and her approach makes sense. If you fight past the bad writing, as she did, you can at least see what TPTB were going for with the arc.

      • JC says:

        Looking forward to the post Ernie. I’ll save my comments for then.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        Marie, I understand your point of view, and yes liz wrote and eloquent article. Respectfully however, it doessn’t matter what “they were going for” or intended. It only matters what the viewers saw. In that respect the first 13 are left wanting.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah Joseph, I think that’s what I was “going for.” Those of us here are the fanatic core of Chuck fans. Its been three months since we had a new episode, and we still have six weeks to go, yet here we are every day rehashing this stuff. And we STILL can’t agree on why or if it mattered. It shouldn’t require a doctorate level essay to figure out a TV action-comedy.

        That’s why I prefer terms like epic-fail and fubar. S3 went off the rails long before it ever aired.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        @ MarieM

        I just reread my last post responding to yours and it seems harsh.

        Please accept my humble apology.

  26. Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

    You know the funny (if you can call it funny) thing about Shaw. He would have been more believable as an LI if the other characters simply talked about him and we never got to meet him.

    I agree with the posts above, both LI were not required. Hannah is essentially forgetable and unfortunately Shaw is unforgetable, but for the wrong reason. They should have stopped at PLI’s.

    • Joesph (can't be Joe) says:

      Oops, replied in the wrong spot.

    • atcdave says:

      Funny thing Joseph, one of my hopes leading into S3 was that the “PLIs” would be exactly that. Imagine if Shaw and Hannah had been throwing themselves at Sarah and Chuck while neither was at all interested. Especially if Chuck and Sarah were pretending to have broken up for some reason (read “Chuck and Sarah vs. Themselves” by Ninjavanish for a very clever take on this idea). That really could have been a fun story. But once they dropped the “P” it was doomed.

      • joe says:

        I think that would be lots of fun. I could see TPTB doing a bit of a fake-out, though, like the return of Lou or Jill to tempt Chuck, or Cole to tempt Sarah. Because of subtle looks, grimaces and grins, for 55 minutes (counting commercials) we’re wondering if they might be. And each thinks the other might be, too! Then at the last minute, it turns out to be just our (and their) unjustified insecurities. Big speech about how they are committed to each other.

        Well, maybe that’s standard TV fare, and you can see why I should never try writing scripts. But you get the idea. It might be a fun episode.

      • atcdave says:

        That might be funny once Joe! I think (hope) its too late to play that game now.

      • JC says:

        Bringing back Cole and Jill would be a great way to show the growth of C/S.

        Have Sarah lay claim on Chuck and not back away like she did before. Jill’s story felt unfinished so I liked to see it wrapped up. Maybe she has info about MEB.

        And say what you want about Cole but he had faith in Chuck. Plus we could have a scene of Cole hitting on Sarah and Chuck says “I know how to use gun now”.

  27. Zsjaer says:

    After what happened during the first 13 episodes of the last Season maybe the cancellation is not a bad thing..as much i still like this show and i do maybe to Chuck still be considered a very good show from my point of view, maybe cancellation at 4 season is a good thing to Chuck.
    I can t forget what those 13 episodes made on me as a fan..i still like and enjoy Chuck but only for the comic side..the romance is now just ok…i completely lost that passion, that special “thing” that touched me in the first two initial seasons.
    My collection of Chuck DVD`s is only made by 2 discs. Maybe i ll buy the fourth..i hope so.

    • John says:

      Liar, liar, liar.

      Two discs? What episodes are on ’em?
      That’s not a collection.

      My Chuck collection consists of ten discs.

      What’s your deal?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well some of the nuances do get lost if English may not be your first language like Zsjaer (who posts from Portugal). But I’m assuming you get the meaning and were just joking.

    • Zsjaer says:

      Yeah two Discs meaning two Seasons…not literally only two discs.
      Thx Ernie 🙂
      Some people don t like different opinions, i am used it is normal.
      I like to read this blog because it is a fair blog..everyone is entitled to their own opinion if it is given with respect.

  28. Robert H says:

    atcdave where do I find this story “Chuck and Sarah
    vs Themselves” by Ninjavanish you referred to in an
    above post? I’d like to read it, thanks.

  29. BDaddyDL asked me to post this from our side conversation about my latest fic:

    “I’ve been worried about the fact that most of the writers left the show. However, considering the first half of season 3, new blood might be a good thing. The new writers who are still around, Judkins and LeFranc, seemed to respect the relationship more . Tic Tac was the first time Sarah explained her concerns to Chuck. Maybe they will rub off on the new writers. I’m hoping all of the relationship angst issues are contained within single episodes. Bickering (Cougars and Role Models) and miscommunication (Honeymooners and Living Dead, both by Judkins and LeFranc) can be funny and entertaining, as long as they don’t drag it out.

    Instead of a relationship arc and a bad guy/mission of the week, it could be a relationship hurdle of the week and a bad guy/mission arc.

    Who knows. Bad Chuck is still better then almost all other shows.”

    Personally, I’d like to see some relationship ups and downs (sans PLIs) because Chuck or Sarah being temporarily banished to the couch could be really funny.

    As for the point of this article, the show’s creators have done a good job of providing nice resolutions after Ring, Other Guy, and Ring II. They’ve avoid painful cliffhangers and have instead relied on interesting twists that hint what the future may hold. I have no problem with that. If they get enough notice about cancellation, I’m confident they would wrap the story nicely. However, there is still way too much that is good about Chuck to jump ship early.

  30. Robert H says:

    Thanks for the info atcdave. Really appreciate it. You
    guys really do a great job at this site, thanks.

    Can someone provide the website for fangirls ( the
    Sarah fangirl site )? Would also like to get the
    womens’ perspective on Chuck/Sarah issues, thanks.

    • amyabn says:

      Robert, you can find the gals at Sarah Walker fangirls. Their site is listed under the blog roll on our page (further up, on the right) and under the podcasts as well. -Amy

  31. Robert H says:

    Thanks also to aardvark7734 for providing above
    info. Didn’t mean to leave you out on my thank you.

    Also enjoy reading your many insightful comments regarding the show.

  32. Ernie Davis says:

    I’ve decided that what we really need to see is a Beckman/Ellie confrontation. The immovable object and the irresistible force.

  33. joe says:

    Truly an amazing number of great comments here, everyone.

    If I can add one more thing in passing, a thing that’s been touched on by more than a few of you, and that’s been making a bigger impression on me as I think on season 3…

    Sarah really wanted Chuck to have his dream. If that dream was to be a spy, so be it. As far as she was concerned, she was ready to sacrifice everything for his dream of being a spy, including her own happiness.

    The amazing grimace we saw on Yvonne’s face at the end of The Three Words, her tacit admissions that she could not make him a spy and her failure with the bo training, her passivity as she watches Shaw succeed when she failed, her submission in letting him take the red test, all these make me think that her sacrifice was as big as his. And every time Sarah might think that his happiness was entwined with hers, Chuck would say that “it wasn’t about [her], it was about making a difference.” Sarah took that to heart.

    Gee. Look at the words I just used. Tacit, failure, passivity, submission… does that sound like Sarah? No, it doesn’t – unless she doing all that through a supreme effort of will for his sake. Then it sounds like Sarah. For the first twelve episodes of S3, Sarah is all twisted up inside, and that’s exactly what we saw.

    When I think of First Class I can see exactly how twisted up inside she’s becoming, and I can see whose doing that. At exactly the time he’s being most heroic and showing the most leadership, Shaw is being the most manipulative.

  34. Pingback: Chuck vs. NBC | Chuck This

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