Chuck vs. The Buy More

Keep It Or Blow It Up?

Burn it Down? Burn it Down!

After three and nearly a half seasons I shouldn’t be surprised that TPTB who control Chuck‘s fate chose to do both. That place, that location and that set, has become a symbol of the frivolous and silly things that remain in the show. Things happen there that often do nothing for the story, like Mitt (Michael Strahan) and the Mighty Jocks threatening Lester and Morgan or the Buy Morons throwing a kegger to make-up for Lester’s last scheme to boost sales. Things happen there that are just plain dumb, like “creepy” Jeff serenading (solo!) some random female customer after arguing with his partner. It takes time away from a jam-packed episode when we’d rather see Sarah talking to Ellie or Greta being a real spy or face it, Chuck kissing Sarah.

But I’ll tell ya right up front – if the Buy More went “boom” permanently, I’d miss it.


If we go on listing the meaningless moments that occurred in the store, it would be unfair to forget or ignore such things as “Vic – Vic – Vicky Vale!”. I really don’t want to forget what happened at Christmas, when a random car chase proceeded through the front doors and, in a direct line, led to a silver charm bracelet and the assassination of Mauser. It was in the Buy More where Chuck made Morgan sit up and understand that Anna should not be put to the test.

I mean, honestly, buddy, you know that I love ya, but you’re lucky to have a girl in your life who loves you, for you, even though you are, in fact, you.

We heard his words and just knew it meant that Chuck would stop testing Sarah, right? – and after that he’d say “okay” to moving in with her despite the fact that Cole kept making him look like an idiot. (Wow – were we wrong! But I digress…)

Those are scenes that were important or my imagination says will become pivotal before we’re done. Although they might have happened in some other venue, you can’t say they would feel the same. At least, I can’t.

You don’t understand. I quit. No more Buy More. No more you.


Oh-way-oh-a-whoa

We were born in the desert,
We were reared in a cave…
We conquered in the sun,
But we lived in the shade
Yeah baby we were savage…
We existed to kill…
Our history is damaged,
At least it was a thrill!

But now we can see!
Now We Can See – The Thermals

The Buy More has been the nesting grounds for three dearly departed characters; Harry Tang, Anna Wu and Emmett Milbarge. These characters were never indispensable. Indeed, I see their footprints fading in time. But each of them changed the colors of what we saw, and each left something indelible in a place that’s harder to see than a set – on Chuck’s heart. Yes? Honestly, by making me laugh the way they did, their mark is on me too.

The Buy More is not the center our attention. It has very little to do with the spy-story (except that it physically sits above Castle) and it has nothing to do with Chuck & Sarah’s romance. Every time a bad-guy appears there, the CIA clean-up crew has to come in and sweep away another plot hole that leaves a few of the sharp-eyed fans a little more annoyed.

Every argument I make to get rid of the Buy More makes me think of reasons to keep it. I continue to sit firmly on the fence about its future because of the Buy More’s past. It’s been more than Chuck’s incubator. The bright but unmotivated and nerdy guy we were introduced to was more than just “at home” there. In some real sense he was the Buy More. Small wonder then; the store seems smaller now that Chuck is more than a “mere” spy (Sarah’s adjective) and now that Chuck has grown in his abilities as a human being. An incubator becomes useless and even a hindrance pretty quickly. Discarding it would be a pretty good idea if that’s all it was.

But it’s never been just a box around him. When Sarah says that she doesn’t want to lose her Chuck, she’s talking about those very qualities that were nurtured there and make him special to her. If Chuck loses sight of them, if we lose sight of the Buy More, something essential is gone, and I don’t mean a nice venue for product placement either.

It’s like the small town I was raised in. I’ve lived in suburban D.C. for over 30 years now, so I’m officially a city boy. By contrast, the Norman Rockwell town of my youth has only 3000 people, one stop light, dairy farms and a train that blows its whistle when it passes through at midnight. I love to go back there, I’m just glad to not live there. As they say, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the Buy More out of the boy.”

And that’s probably the best reason of all to bomb the Buy More. Chuck should leave that store. He has to, in fact, or he’s not grown at all. It’s only a question of when and how sad we’ll be when it’s gone.

Perhaps you can see why my emotions are so conflicted on the idea of losing the Buy More. I think it’s needs to happen, and I think it’ll actually be better when it does. It’ll hurt. Now tell me – how will you feel about it?

– 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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136 Responses to Chuck vs. The Buy More

  1. OldDarth says:

    The BuyMore should have been dumped the moment Chuck decided to become a spy.

    • joe says:

      Oh my! No love for the little bearded store, OD? No nostalgia or good memories?

      Well, at this point, I can understand that. But at the same time, I’ve got this soft spot for the place, you see… 😉

      • OldDarth says:

        Morgan could have moved to Chuck’s new cover job location.

        The BuyMore is Chuck’s past. Nostalgia is nice but not when it becomes a creative encumbrance.

        In most cases it takes away much needed story time from the main story. Plus the show needs to trim its cast. Not increase like it has each year.

      • JC says:

        I have to agree with OD. As much as I love Big Mike and used to Jeffster they take away time that should be devoted to the spy stories and other characters especially Ellie.

        The BuyMorians should be made recurring characters while Alex is made a regular.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        TPTB have touted this season as all about family- all the more reason to have more Ellie and by extension Devon. Host of could have-been-interesting Ellie/Sarah, Ellie/Chuck scenes sacrificed.

      • JC says:

        Exactly, I know a lot of people don’t like Ellie but if she got more screen time I think that would change.

        Its strange that the two most important people in Chuck’s life Sarah and Ellie are the least developed.

    • armySFC says:

      well i agree with OD and you. it’s like watching the sports stadiums you grew up watching you favorite teams play in, or the arenas you watched concerts in be torn down. they hold many fond memories for you. but when the time comes they need to be replaced with something better.

      the buy more in the beginning served a purpose. it gave us character development and insight into them. we no longer need the buy more for that. it’s time for the show to grow along with the characters. the two idiots have lost their appeal to many. the out right theft of property was in no way funny.

      it’s time to use the wasted time in the buy more to add to the plot or strengthen the relationship even more. like many good things in life the time has passed for the buy more.

      • joe says:

        Great analogy, Army. When the old “War Memorial Auditorium” was torn down in Buffalo to make way for Sabres’ new venue, the bricks where coveted and sought after like prizes.

      • armySFC says:

        in Philly i had the same feeling with the Vet and now the Spectrum.

      • atcdave says:

        Of course we Bears fans know it is possible to reinvent a classic!

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        it’s time to use the wasted time in the buy more to add to the plot or strengthen the relationship even more. like many good things in life the time has passed for the buy more.

        Strengthen the relationship even more – me likey, very much.

      • kg says:

        Army, in terms of the new stadiums and arenas you allude to, they’re certainly brand new and cleaner, but not necessarily better. Just my opinion.

        In a lot of cases football, hockey, and basketball teams don’t enjoy the same home field, ice or court advantages they used to. And the reason is all these stadium and buildings are built to conformity now with spacious, comfortable locker rooms. Road teams are literally more comfortable. More seats mean sight lines further away from the action. Part of the charm for the fan and the home team was that the visitor “hated” coming to the stadium or arena far more than the host.

        For whatever reason, they’ve done a better job with the new baseball stadiums, I guess combining new amenities with old-style archetecture and charm. And it has been proven that the “cookie cutter”, all-purpose, round stadiums of the late 60’s, early 70’s were a disaster for baseball aestetics.

  2. Tynianrex says:

    I agreed with you Joe when you posted your views of the Season 3 finale. At that time, I thought that the buy more was gone, and while I enjoyed most of the stories generated there, I was ready to let it go then. I think that bringing it back was, perhaps, the biggest mistake of this season. That, and keeping Ellie in the dark again, which is basically the same thing, as it is an attempt to take things back to the status quo of the first seasons.

    • joe says:

      Gee – I think I said in print (in the NBC boards) that I was ready for the Buy More to go at the end of S2, actually. But at the same time I feared that it might be premature (and said so, too).

      As it turned out, the Buy More barely justified itself (IMHO) as a locus for the comedy (I still love the raising of the B-M flag like at Iwo Jima) and for Casey. I was even more ready to see it go at the end of S3.

      In hindsight, I’m really surprised they kept the Buy More and dropped the Orion Cave. The OC was oddly claustrophobic, though.

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  4. atcdave says:

    I would agree Joe that I’m conflicted about the Buy More. For myself I’m over it. The “A” plots are simply far more compelling to me. I would prefer the show spent more time on the spy stories, Chuck and Sarah private moments, and even extended Bartowski family scenes. And if I had to guess, I would say the majority of serious fans feel the same way. My usual bellwether on such things is looking at what is represented in fan fiction. It is a no brainer to say the vast majority of fictions focus on missions and Charah; Bartowski family stuff is a distant third, with Morgan and Buy More taking up minuscule portions of fan attention.

    But numerically we are not the most important part of the viewership. What we call casual viewers outnumber us by quite a bit. In my experience talking to friends, family, and co-workers who follow the show, but would consider me a mutant for writing on a blog about it, the Buy More is the first thing they normally bring up. Some of that may be in the nature of “guy talk”, you know my buddies aren’t going to want to talk about how sweet the latest Chuck and Sarah moment was. But they could talk first about the latest stupid villain, or another clever and awesome fight/action sequence. But no, it’s Buy More or Jeffster that come up first.

    I think that means we’re stuck with Buy More. It’s a signature part of the show and inseparable from what people think of when they think Chuck. It’s easy to promote and merchandise, it’s funny and dumb and easy reduce to a 5 second snippet. The set is complete and fertile ground for product placement, especially popular consumer electronics. I hope to see less of the store as the show continues, but I think we’ll never be done with it.

    • joe says:

      Wow – You just blew me away with that thought, Dave. (Forehead slap time!) I never realized that the B-M would be a big thing for the coveted casual viewer. OF COURSE IT IS! It’s memorable and immediately recognizable.

  5. JC says:

    I tolerated it in S3 but the show and in particular Chuck has out grown it. He rarely interacts with anyone there outside Morgan and Casey. Its already limiting the spy stories and now its doing that to Chuck himself. He needs a new cover job.

    If they used it once or twice a season I’d be OK but almost every scene this season has felt forced.

    • joe says:

      Maybe the only exception to that “forced” feel that I can think of is the Gretas. So far, when they’ve been on camera in the store it works quite well. Problem is that they’ve never been connected to the rest of the story (one exception – Hugo Panzer punching out Greta’s lights. Total time, 1.25 seconds).

      Well, okay, I’ll give a pass to Summer Glau and how she was used. That was okay. But the rest really were wasted when they could have been used to integrate the B-M more.

      • JC says:

        Strange enough the Greta in Cubic Z I didn’t mind. She was actually there went things went bad. I just wonder where the Greta and the rest of the CIA agents disappear to when villains attack the BuyMore.

      • atcdave says:

        I would second the judgement that the Greta idea has failed. It was funny to hear about before the season, but I think in order for the idea to work they’d have to devote more time to the story than any of us want to see.

      • Sarge_87 says:

        The Greta character was supposed to be Olivia Munn’s as a reoccurring role, but was scrapped last minute due to NBC signing her to do the “Perfect Couples” pilot. Then out of necessity, it looked like the role had evolved into a showcase of cameos for up and coming NBC talent. (Munn, Mustafa, and Glau, with Keibler being the exception who’s a personal friend of Zac’s)

        However, as I have stated previously, the “Greta” role had literally “Jumped the Nerd Herder” after the Subway porn B-plot with Glau.

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

    Bringing back the Buy More was OK.

    Moving Beckman from Big Mike’s office to behind the monitor again was a sin.

  7. alladinsgenie4u says:

    As you mention Joe there have been a lot of heartwarming and awesome scenes involving the Buy More – but IMHO it is now time to move on. Even the Orange Orange had to go once Sarah stopped needing a cover job – it had some great memories, but it was time to let go. Although seeing that TPTB have now made it as a front for a CIA station, I don’t think it is ever going to go anywhere.

    But you bring up an interesting point about the Buy More being the place that nurtured the good qualities of Chuck. Do you think that the Buy More instilled those qualities in Chuck which Sarah has now pronounced as great several times? Or is it that Chuck has always been an inherently good guy – that’s my take anyway. After Stanford and Jill his confidence and self worth were shattered. The Buy More provided worked as an outlet to heal and recover from those events. And as for his good qualities – they were always there from the beginning – his stint at the Buy More gave him an opportunity to display those qualities on a daily basis.

    • joe says:

      I think Chuck and the B-M are very intertwined, Genie. Chuck working at some other job is a different character in many ways. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that a statement to that effect appears in some secret character description that was given to the writers when they began work on the show!

      • thinkling says:

        Uh oh, Joe, I’m going to risk this weeks portion of gruel and say that I think the Buymore was a paycheck.

        Chuck is a good guy who wants to help people, and he always has been. His dad was. His mom was more mom-like until she disappeared (Rice Krispie treats, lemon bars, bedtime stories). She was probably a nurturer. Even from the shadow world she lives in she is still a protector of her family. It’s not hard to see where Chuck got his qualities.

        After MamaB left, Chuck and Ellie made a life and learned to take care of each other. The qualities that Sarah loves about Chuck were sown in a loving family (Ellie’s photo album depicts it) and matured through adversity.

        Besides all that, Chuck is a genius. He was full of ambition (Charles Carmichael — the non-spy version — was a very real part of Chuck) … until his friend betrayed him, and his girl dumped him.

        Confidence destroyed and ambition lost, he took a job at the Buymore b/c of his computer skills. He was already “that guy” long before he got to the Buymore. And he would have been “that guy” anywhere.

        So, what’s the value of the Buymore? It was a showcase of Chuck’s character. It also mirrored his loss of ambition, lack of confidence, and lack of forward movement in life. Then he got an email.

        Then the Buymore was where Sarah found him and began to restore his confidence and ignite his ambition. For a while the Buymore was an eddy for both of them … a place to get out of the current and regroup. During that time, there were some heartwarming moments and hilarious times. We watched Chuck grow until the Buymore was no longer a mirror of Chuck’s life but a sharp contrast to it.

        The Buymore was Chuck’s life and his job. It isn’t either any more. So, the Buymore needs to grow up and change drastically or disappear.

      • joe says:

        Oh Thinkling! You just wrote here exactly what I would like to write! Except my first line would be something like “… I think the Buy More was so much more than a paycheck!” 😉

        I think we’ve taken the same path to different destinations! As someone who fancies himself a bit of a cosmologist, I know that you can do that in 10-dimensional space using superstring theory, but to see that done in the 1-dimensional blog-o-sphere is amazing!

        (Ernie, stop laughing!!!)

        Really, it’s exactly those values Chuck has in characters that are mirrored the store (??? yes, an inanimate object having a character. Go figure!) that I wanted to point out. You’re exactly right that it has to grow and change or die.

  8. herder says:

    Joe, I used to be part of the “blow it up real good” frame of mind, until I tried to watch Undercovers this year, and to my shock the thing I felt it missed the most is the pause from serious that the Buy More brings.

    With Chuck being the silly show that it is, too much spy stuff can tip the balance of the show. The Buy More, as grating as it can be is a part of that balance, they’ll never go back to saving the world at $11 an hour again but it does have a role, I’m just not sure if they have found it yet.

    So put me in the “keep the Buy More, in some form” (yes an unweildy slogan) camp. As a premise, the whole notion of having a spy station located underneath a consumer electronic store is almost as far fetched as the Hero having a computer program down loaded into his head repeatedly. So the objections shouldn’t be about the premise but the execution, sharpen the execution, don’t get rid of the store.

    • atcdave says:

      I agree Herder. I would be happy with less Buy More. Possibly none in more light hearted episodes (like Honeymooners), but I think it does serve a function as a surreal normal.

    • joe says:

      Ooohhhh! I actually meant to get that point across in my post, Herder, and it got away from me!

      You said it much better than I could have anyway!
      Thanks.

    • jason says:

      One aspect of this show I have found interesting is the notion they only know of 13 eps for sure when the season starts. So, doing something really creative, like a superspy charles’s team, or meaty spy mythology, or no more buy morons, would be really risky, since there is very litte time to really shift gears.

      This season’s 13 episode arc seemed to be meant more as a victory lap than anything, in fairness, jeffster, big mike, and buy more had every right to be in the 13 ep curtain call with everyone else.

      Now with 11 more eps on the books, I guess anything is possible, but my guess is we will more or less see more of the same, including buymore, but I would also place better than even money if a S5 were to come into play, that some big changes might occur, good or bad as they might be for some individual fans.

  9. BDaddyDL says:

    I think the main reason the buymore is still there is because of money. The revenue from the product placement helps keep the show in thew air.

  10. Merve says:

    New compromise: keep it, and then blow it up at the end of each season. 😀

    Honestly, I like the Buy More as a presence. It’s a good place for setting scenes between the various characters, and nobody needs a contrived excuse to be there. But I don’t think that it should be the focus of too many subplots, unless they’re really good, like Lester becoming the assistant manager. I’m perfectly happy with Jeff and Lester showing up every couple of episodes to make some ridiculous remarks, and that’s it.

    Alternatively, if they want to make me care about the Buy More again, they could bring in Moses Finkelstein… (or Mr. Mercer. The world needs more Mr. Mercer.)

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      One more thing that I believe is making the Buy More plot seem too much in an episode – previously most of the Morgan scenes were centered around the Buy More sub plot. Now Morgan is getting a lot of scenes involving the spy game and he brings the comic relief along with it. Tagging the Buy More plot (without Morgan) along with separate Morgan scenes (spy game) is like adding dead weight.

      • atcdave says:

        I do agree with that Genie. By taking Morgan out of the Buy More the store becomes more pointless than ever. Less of both would be my first choice.

        And I like Merve’s idea, make an annual tradition out of blowing up the store.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Dave Less of both would be my first choice.

        This^^. Couldn’t agree more.

  11. Rick Holy says:

    My preference is to be rid of the thing – and the characters (other than obviously Morgan and Casey) that go along with it. The only disadvantage is that it wouldn’t offer WB or NBC or whoever it is that makes the decision the “product placement” stuff. At the same time, it would be one less “big” set, which would save money – and fewer cast members.

    I think if the show does come back for a 5th season, the direction is somehow going to change – dumping the BuyMore wouldn’t be a bad part of that change. And at what point do these people STILL have to have “cover” jobs. Look at some of the other spy shows on the tube. Do they have cover jobs that tie them down to a specific place of business? Burn Notice doesn’t. Covert affairs did – the Smithsonian thing – but you could completely do without that because in the episodes I watched (I didn’t see them all), I don’t remember her ever being at the Smithsonian.

    Bottom line. The BuyMore is getting old. Most of the characters are waaay past old – Jeff and Lester included. Make this about “Operation Bartowski” and Chuck’s immediate and extended family. Creative writers should be able to find a way to do that – HOPEFULLY – if we get a fifth season.

  12. kg says:

    By her own admission Sarah is nothing without Chuck, just a spy. Chuck is also her home. Joe’s right. The Buy More represents the cultivation of the qualities that Sarah finds unique and special in Chuck. The Buy More, in a way, is his home away from home. Without it, perhaps he’s just another spy.

    It was in the Buy More that Sarah first met Chuck. First saw him in action “saving” a little ballerina girl and her dad. Where she conceivably began to fall in love with him.

    The Buy More is where Chuck gave her the bracelet, said “yeah ya do,” held her hand, saved her life for the first time and kicked Shaw’s ass for good.

    The Buy More stays.

    • thinkling says:

      My husband and I met in college. He stood out from all the others to me. It was there that I saw his qualities and fell in love with him. It was the context of our first date and subsequent long hours of conversation that began to knit us together. It was the starting point of our journey together.

      Should we have stayed there? I shudder to think.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Exactly! At some point you’re grateful for the experience and the memories, but then you move on. It’s time to “move on” from the Buy More.

      • kg says:

        Thinkling, of course you don’t have to stay in your college town forever, but you and your husband can always revisit. Can’t do it if you blow it up.

        Therefore, Sarah and Chuck can still go to Italy and run missions out of ther villa Chuck was promised by Beckman.

        It’s funny. Chuck and Sarah remind me a little bit of George Bailey and Mary Hatch from It’s a Wonderful Life fame. Like Jimmy Stewart, Chuck is always trying to get out of Burbank (Buy More) and begin an exciting, career/life anywhere else, and Sarah, who’s been all over the world can’t seem to wait to get back to Burbank, a place she has admitted is the only place that feels like home. Donna Reed wasn’t a spy, but she never wanted to leave Bedford Falls and worked feverishly to turn that old, creepy house into a home.

      • thinkling says:

        Fair enough, KG. But if it’s reduced to revisiting, it still loses its relevance. Nostalgia isn’t a good enough reason to hang on to it.

        If it stays, make it relevant but don’t over-use it. Make it serve the story and not distract from it.

      • kg says:

        Thinkling, in all seriousness I’m OK either way. Like I’ve said in the past, this show has been on the bubble from day one practically and here we are season four, episode 10.

        I’m just very appreciative we’ve gotten this far and I’m going to enjoy, embrace and relish all we get out of it. You know as well as me it can end in a snap of a finger.

        My somewhat tongue-in-cheek musings were from the perspective that the show and characters are in fact “real.” So, I guess I’m nostalgic. And frankly, I leave story advancement and all that technical stuff to the Old Darths of the world.

        Keep up the great work.

      • thinkling says:

        Sorry KG, I didn’t mean to rain on your nostalgia. I’m not opposed to nostalgia; I just want more than that. We do look at the characters more like real people, sometimes — a real credit to the cast. So we care how they are portrayed and want the show to be the best it can be.

        But for all of that, we’re still just having fun musing. Our musings won’t change stuff. Like you, I will enjoy every episode we get, especially if they keep up the GENIUS of s4. 😉

  13. Crumby says:

    If they want to keep it they should use it for the spy story like in Leftovers, a prolongation of the Castle. The Buy Morons story there didn’t bother me as it was integrated in the main story.

    As much as I loved S2, there are some episodes where the Buy More story didn’t interest me at all. I thought it was better in Season 3, less short-circuiting.

    But with the Buy More being taken over by the CIA in S4, they should have gone even farer. I’m especially disappointed by the Gretas and Beckman going away. Morgan didn’t need that Buy More manager screen time. And couldn’t they find some funny stuff to do with Beckman there?

    The Buy More needs to serve the spy story to be relevant.

    Also, I agree that the Buy Morons are taking screen time from Ellie. That’s a shame.

    • thinkling says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Crumby. I commented on a different post, but basically here’s the direction I’d like to see for the Buymore, if they keep it.

      #1) Bye-bye Jeffster. Let them get a record deal, and let them sing at their own going away party. They could do periodic guest spots each year. #2) Go back to 4.1 Buymore status. Bring back Beckman. Let Buymore be an inconspicuous, albeit state-of-the-art, front office for Castle. Bring in a “Q” type character who works with Chuck on spy-nerd stuff, (and could be a PLI for MEB). Replace Jeffster with a couple of interesting, funny, CIA/Nerd-Herd underlings. Some of the green shirts would be clueless civilians. The Nerd Herders we see would be CIA. That way you could do episodes like Leftovers or Santa Claus that bring danger into the Buymore, and it would be fun. The Buymore would be mainly a CIA base but would still be an occasional humorous or dangerous convergence of the spy-world and civilian world.

      In s1 the Buymore connected with and reflected Chuck’s real life. It represented stagnation. Then his part-time spy-life awakened him to the fact that the Buymore was not where he wanted to spend his life. In s2, he wanted a normal life anywhere but the Buymore. Even after he decided he wanted a spy-life, he was still stuck at the Buymore. Poor guy.

      The Buymore is still stagnate, something Chuck and “Chuck” are not. If it stays, it needs to connect with Chuck’s real life again … which is a spy-life, not a stagnate life. When Chuck had no purpose, the Buymore reflected and perpetuated that. Now that Chuck has purpose, let the Buymore actually serve that purpose.

      • Crumby says:

        I would’t go as far as saying goodbye to the Buy Morons and introduced new characters.

        I don’t want new people I want more Ellie, recurring cast that are relevant every time we see them like Alex (her scenes never feel off to me or out of the place) and guest stars that serve the story as well. The first Gretas were fine but there is more to do here.

        Chuck can be is own Q. They hinted at it when he made his gloves in Suitcase. Morgan could be of some help with that. And the Gretas could use their spy skills to help Team B now and then…

      • thinkling says:

        I say replace Jeffster, b/c they just are NOT funny any more … at all … to me. Granted I never loved them. But I’m ready for some fresh humor, and Jeffster will never be anything but stale humor. The well is dry. So a couple of new goof-balls, preferably less crass, would be a breath of fresh air. And I definitely don’t want Buymore to take away from family/Ellie. Quite the contrary, I want less Buymore and more family/Ellie.

      • thinkling says:

        Ah, I agree about relevance of the cast. But that would be one of my arguments for replacing Jeffster. They are increasingly irrelevant.

        The Gretas were an intriguing but underdeveloped idea. (A) useful Greta(s) for making the Buymore more spy-like and Jeffster replacements that would provide humor and relevance would work for me to make the Buymore serve the story rather than detract from it.

        I concede the “Q” point, but if Chuck is on missions how much R&D time does he have? I guess it would just be off screen, like the tranque gloves. Or Chuck could design things, and the two new goof-balls could make them, with mixed results. Could be a new line of humor.

        Basically these are just random ideas to make the Buymore fresh and relevant again. Anything that would do that would be welcome.

    • sniderman says:

      “But with the Buy More being taken over by the CIA in S4, they should have gone even [further]. I’m especially disappointed by the Gretas and Beckman going away…The Buy More needs to serve the spy story to be relevant.”

      Exactly, and this is one of my biggest issues with this season. The Buy More has been slipping into uselessness ever since Chuck decided to embrace his destiny and become a real spy. The moment he did, the Buy More as his “HQ” (which is what it was during S1 and S2) just isn’t necessary.

      When TPTB blew it to hell, I thought that was that, and that The Orion Cave was gonna be his new “HQ.” But when the new Buy More was revealed to be a CIA substation and GenBeck was ON SITE, I thought, “Oh, THIS is how they’re gonna keep the Buy More’s importance as a location. It IS the new Team Bartowski HQ. Clever!”

      However, as this season has waned on, GenBeck has disappeared as onsite Store Manager, the hypertalented, hyper-pretty CIA agents who were always in the background have disappeared and the entire staff of BuyMorons are back, and the Buy More seems to be just the same as it was in S2/S3, only with a lot of hidden guns, ductwork, and a Defcon 1 Button.

      As a fulltime spy, Chuck needed to be headquartered in a CIA location, and turning the Buy More into that HQ was genius. But TPTB seem to have gotten bored with that concept as it has devolved to the same ol’, same ol’ wacky hijinks that have no bearing on Chuck (who no longer needs a cover ID as “Nerd Herder — when was he last in uniform?) or the spy tales.

      • Crumby says:

        I knew “farer” didn’t sound right! Thank you for correcting.

        I also thought that making the BM CIA was a GREAT idea. I was super excited about this and the Gretas. Like Ernie said it’s a missed opportunity.

        It still can be though.

        I think the problem is more with the Buy Morons than the Buy More itself. We loved them but what’s the point know? We’d rather have Ellie and Beckman, and even Alex more. I mean one entire episode with the Buy Morons fixing Orion’s computer and Ellie is doing her neurology thing off screen? Screen time isn’t balanced well between characters IMO.

  14. amyabn says:

    I think they need to use the Buy Morons more sparingly. I’m fine with them keeping it if it fits the story, but lately it has felt tacked on with some really creepy Jeffster stuff. I would like more Beckman appearances (she could don her BM garb and do inspections as an excuse to be in the store). I want more Ellie and Mary and Alex.
    I like the idea of Chuck being more Q like. Maybe Chuck uses Jeffster to assemble some of his ideas as Thinkling points out. Could be hillarious!

    • thinkling says:

      Agreed on the sparingly point, and I would very much like more of the 3 Bartowski women and Alex.

      If they absolutely must keep Jeffster (I’m cringing as I type … they make me cringe), I would prefer that they be remade … preferably a less creepy version of themselves. I think they’ve run out of ideas for them, so they just keep pushing the creepy.

      Giving them the job of assembling Chuck’s spy inventions could work, not every episode, but it would be a good occasional use for them. Make them think they are working on a new product line — Spymore, since they fancy themselves such great spies, a job they think Chuck is so not suited for. So, Chuck would incorporate them into the spy team, but they would be totally clueless. I could live with that.

    • atcdave says:

      Amy I like this suggestion a lot. I do think the Buy More has to stay, but in a smaller role. I don’t like when it distracts from the “A” plot, or even more interesting Ellie moments, but as occasional comic relief I think its acceptable.

  15. sd says:

    I think the Buy More came back for one reason–and one reason alone–budget.

    The Buy More set was build with “Pilot” episode dollars…I remember the actors raving about how realistic it was–it’s an expensive set with a lot of “looks”

    I think the Buy More is now a location option the writers/producers can’t give up b/c they have no where else to go–the budget has been squeezed so much.

    I mean, we all have seen the awful CGI.

    Granted, I would love to see more scenes in the home and around the fountain but they can’t do everything there..they need another location…and I think the Buy More will have to do.

  16. thinkling says:

    Makes sense. That would mean the updated Buymore was their compromise. They just didn’t follow through, story-wise.

  17. Ernie Davis says:

    If there is one dissapointment this season of GENIUS! (sorry…) it’s the missed opportunity that is the new Buy More. When I heard about the Gretas and how Beckman would be running the Buy More I saw it as comic gold and a way to keep the Buy More involved and fresh. Imagine the interactions between Beckman and Jeffster. Imagine Beckman learning just exactly why Chuck has been so eager to get out of his cover job. I thought and hoped that the new setup was a way to use Beckman as the new Buy More straight man in the B plots and let Morgan return to comic relief in both the spy and Buy More worlds. Sadly as some have said that idea seems to have died on the vine. Bonita Friedericy, funny and frightening as she is, is even better when she interacts directly with the cast. I thought making her a regular and putting her on site was recognition of that. So instead of what I’d hoped for we now have Morgan as the Buy More straight man when comedy is his strength, Chuck not even interacting with any of the Buy Morons for the most part when he made a great straight man, and Jeffster reaching new heights of self parody, and not always in a good way, to try to bring the comedy. Plus there’s all that Duck sexual tension they’re just tossing away.

    As it stands I wouldn’t mourn the loss of the Buy More much more than the loss of the O-O. But then I do miss the O-O sometimes, and Sarah having a cover job still makes sense even if only to help Chuck’s cover. Casey still has a cover after all. So aside from the opportunities missed and the potential to get Sarah back into the Nerd Herd outfit, the Buy More has become a bit “meh” as far as I’m concerned. I think there is still time and potential to make it work again, but I think their best chance, outlined above, is now in the past.

    • jason says:

      ernie – I could fix the buy more with 30 seconds of film every other ep – just add sarah walker in some different, but hot outfit, maybe as a manager there with her shaw whore outfits she wore most of 3×7 thru 3×12. Note now she mostly wears black pants and looks comfortable in the castle vs last year? I like her more looking comfortable this season, but let her parade around the buy more for 30 seconds, let jeffster lust at her, have her lust for chuck, have morgan confused over the whole thing, have chuck oblivious to it all, it would work.

    • herder says:

      And Buy More slide, we need more of the Buy More slide from Anniversary. Greta is growling at Jeff and Lester, they look away and the trap door under her opens and she is gone, we need more of that. Volkov is threatening Chuck, suddenly Chuck has him as a hostage, threat resolved. We need more Buy More slide.

    • Crumby says:

      Casey still having a cover and not Sarah is kind of weird I think. Especially, since he was back with that cover before the Buy Morons returned, right?

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Herder, you must be spending a lot of time over at CI listening to Frea.

      Jason, early on in the show they dropped one of the funnier possibilities for Sarah Walker when they basically started ignoring the fact that she had a boss and a job at the Weinerliscious. Sarah, at that point, having to interact with normal people without killing them was funny. Sarah could get some of that back with a toned down Jeffster, thus replicating the Gretta dynamic on a regular basis. But as I said, I think Sarah at the Buy More is now a missed opportunity.

    • thinkling says:

      When Chuck became a real spy, she didn’t need to surveil him any more. Ellie, Devon, and Morgan all know she’s a spy. The others can think she got another unnamed job. No big deal. She no longer needs to come drag him over to the O-O for missions, b/c the whole Buymore is his base.

      I can only guess that Casey is at the Buymore to give him a place to interact with the rest of the crew, whereas Chuck & Sarah don’t need the Buymore to interact. Plus Casey in the Buymore is still funny. It also allows him to have free reign of the entire CIA base, which came in handy in FOD. Sarah could be quite funny there, too, but she’s not a nerd, and she wouldn’t look that good in one of those green shirts, neither the color nor the style, yuck. And we all know how important her wardrobe is.

      I did love her entrance in FOD, though. A little more Sarah interaction in the Buymore would be fun.

      • Crumby says:

        But how did Chuck explain to Ellie and Awesome that Casey still works at the BM? Doesn’t make sense.

      • thinkling says:

        Good question, Crumby. In Suitcase, Sarah told Devon “You know that Casey and I are still spies and the Buymore is still a cover.” Devon had figured out that the Buymore was full of spies, so I guess he bought that it was a logical cover/work place for Casey. Maybe he bought that Sarah didn’t need one; she could just be a free agent. That’s my best guess, but I admit it’s still a little lame. At some point I just shrug my shoulders and go with the flow, bumps and all.

        What makes even less sense to me is that Devon and Ellie don’t wonder where Chuck & Sarah disappear to all the time.

      • Crumby says:

        Yeah. It makes no sense to me why Casey would need a cover and not Sarah but hey, I’ll do the same as you do, shrugg my shoulders and go with the flow.

  18. jason says:

    This is written by someone who is not a chuck fanboy, but appears to be an honest broker of reviewing, he addresses the Buy More in season 4 very well, and in general describes the show’s past, present, and future fairly lucidity.

    http://www.tuftsdaily.com/arts/nbc-s-pain-is-chuck-fans-gain-1.2422670

  19. JC says:

    Leftovers was a perfect example of how not to write the BuyMore. It was so blatant that Jeffster’s sole purpose in the episode was to let Volkoff’s henchmen/hottie into the store and nothing more. Then you have to ask where all those CIA agents disappear to whenever problems arise. It’d be funny if they had someone point it out like they did with the Greta.

    The same goes with the bit at the beginning with Chuck and Morgan at the stripper class, a whole CIA base full of agents and nobody can train them.

    Why not save Summer Glau for an episode like this? Show her training Chuck and Morgan. Then have her trying to defend the BuyMore alongside Team B.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      JC, well the store was closed, so I was OK with all the CIA and regular BuyMorons being gone and with Jeffster hanging around for nefarious purposes, even if it is a little strained that the leads just happen to be the only ones manning the base on a regular basis.

      You also point out something about the Morgan character. As he’s become more competent as the manager and the Buy More straight man it makes things that would have played easier with the old Morgan, like signing them up for a strip kick class, a bit more strained.

      I think they would have been better served making the real spies the Buy More straight men and letting Morgan do comedy in both worlds.

      • JC says:

        The only reason it bothered me is that all the CIA agents seem to be absent whenever something bad happens in the store. It wasn’t just this episode. That’s why even though it was super short I appreciated the Greta in Cubic Z. At least she was around and tried to help.

        And the stripper bit bothered me because of how Sarah was in Phase Three. The woman who rampaged across Thailand isn’t going to make sure Chuck can protect himself? That stuff shouldn’t be played for laughs.

      • First Timer says:

        Well, what they are doing with Morgan is literally the same thing they did with Chuck in seasons 1/2. He was the screw up in the spy world, but the sane one at the BuyMore. Now it’s Morgan holding down those tasks. Same exact M.O.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s true, FT, and with Chuck that was fine, but since this is “Chuck” not “Morgan,” it expands the Morgan character a little too much, IMO.

  20. Rick Holy says:

    I’m hearing, though not confirmed, that we LOST the TV Guide Cover contest. MAJOR BUMMER! Can anyone confirm this? I just saw it as someone’s post on another blog. If it’s SUPERNATURAL we lost to, then I’ll be bummed even more. Popular shows like HIMYM or CASTLE? That I could understand. But I would think that SMALLVILLE would win before SUPERNATURAL would.

    Somebody PLEASE tell me that what I’m hearing/seeing about us losing is WRONG. PLEASE!!!

    • jason says:

      supernatch was what I saw on twitter this am, on the reader’s guide twitter account, don’t have the link, but it looked legit.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Sorry, we lost. I feel like we failed our beloved cast.

    • joe says:

      Sadly, I’ll confirm that too, Fr. Rick.

      But my sadness isn’t for losing a contest. I have great misgivings about the whole sexy-vampire thing that’s been going on. Buffy was one thing. But it’s really gotten out of control with the Twilight phenomenon, and involves a much younger set of viewers/readers too.

      Sigh. I suppose there are bigger things in the universe to worry about…

      • Rick Holy says:

        Oh well, I know what mag I won’t be purchasing. I’ll stick with Entertainment Weekly. It’s pretty fair – and usually very favorable – in it’s coverage of CHUCK.

        Contest aside, you have to wonder about what “inspires” TV Guide editors to choose what to put on the cover. I picked up last week’s episode just to see if it mentioned what would be coming next (this week). On the cover were two people representing some cooking show that I never even heard of. THAT’S going to sell issues of your mag???

        Honestly, I was very surprised to see that some of the shows in the contest had apparently never been on the cover. HIMYM has been popular for some time and Neil Patrick Harris is pretty well known – been on SNL, hosted awards shows, came out of the closet, etc. All the things you would think would land you on the cover of TV Guide.

        Smallville was another one I thought they would cover at some point. Superman is an icon – and this show – even before this season, had been on the air for a loooong time. You’d think that somewhere along the line it would have made it on TV Guide’s cover.

        Oh, well. There are bigger fish to fry. Need to gear up for our “back 14” and hope for an uptick in the ratings that carries over through the summer.

        I don’t know if Supernatural is airing new episodes right now or is on hiatus – but it will be interesting to see if making the cover this week will result in higher ratings this Friday night. I’ll be watching – or at least taping – Smallville (it’s the episode where Clark proposes to Lois). If Supernatural gets higher ratings (and personally I have nothing against the show), I would think it might be from a stronger lead-in episode of Smallville than from TV Guide – but that’s all pure conjecture.

        Anyway, if the win is legit, and we have to assume it is, congrats to the Supernatural fans. A job well done.

      • timlay says:

        hay everyone

        I am off visiting family for Xmas soon so will be pretty much be off line most of the time. I wanted to wish you all merry xmas and happy new year. Hope you have a great time, me i am going skiing as well -cool.

        I am really not surprised the show lost the magazine cover i did vote at first but gave up when i heard the angsty spoilers coming out. Which put me off voting so i gave up. Shame really as the 3.9 was great but evidently the lead up put viewers off.

        I am hearing from various websites that chuck and sarah split up or at least sarah leaves chuck for another guy on face value that could be something else like she goes off after volkov which could be cool or looking for her dad. Sadly i have no faith in TPTB so fear the worst sadly my optomistic view has gone completely now and i will likely skip the next few episodes and see how they turn out. I do not feel like sitting through more season 3 soap opera angst courtsey of TPTB .. and after she said she loved him really they are going down that road. I hope its not what i fear but only time will tell oh well if it is i guess it will make it very easy not to watch any more and no doudt i will not be the only one, given the recent viewing figures. Sarah leaving chuck or vice versa is bound to kill the show mid season. Oh well guess i will see you in a few months. Which sorta brings me back to the magazine cover if you want fans to be excited and support the show give them cool stuff to be excited about .. or guess what we will not bother watching.

        I like the buy more best when it was just the spies and beckman was in charge please .. please get rid of the morons.

      • joe says:

        @Fr. Rick – I think that’s not quite right. The cover isn’t chosen to sell the magazine. Their revenue comes from elsewhere. It’s chosen to sell the show, which could explain why HIMYM has never been on the cover.

        @Timlay – Merry Christmas!

    • JC says:

      Can’t really knock Supernatural winning. While I wish Chuck had won if any other show was going to I’m it’s Supernatural

      When the show is on its game it’s fantastic.

      • OldDarth says:

        Agree JC. When SuperNatural is on it is a very fine show. And they have a very rabid fan base with the attendant pluses and minuses.

      • JC says:

        Its nice to see fans of both shows. I was a little disappointed in some of comments I saw from Chuck fans during voting. I wanted to remind them that small segments don’t represent the fanbase as a whole. After the Mask fiasco Chuck fans should know better than anyone.

  21. Crumby says:

    One thing is sure: if there hadn’t been any back order, I would be “pissed” that we’ve seen basically as much Buy Morons as we’ve seen Ellie. What happen to those exciting stuff they had in store for her?

    I hope they make something way more in the future with Ellie than what they’ve done.

    • armySFC says:

      does it bother anyone as much as me that they are about 11 weeks from that episode airing and they haven’t even filmed it? i could be just me, and i understand the blah blah blah about late timing for the new episodes. it just cements my opinion that TPTB have no idea where they want the season to go. i just hope they have a better feel for what the average viewer and shipper want from the show. if they continue to go with the scripts from the first part of this season, i see a bad time ahead for the ratings.

      • JC says:

        Yes and No.

        On one hand it’s always bothered me that most seasons seem written on the fly and the whole five year plan was total BS. But after three plus seasons I know its not going to change.

      • Kisku says:

        What the hell is that rant about? Every series now is at about the same point in filming. Chuck is currently filming episode 14 and will continue filming remaining ten after new year….and will do so until april. This episode seems to be a fun romp a bit in feel like Role Models last year, you know light romp after few heavy episodes and at least a chance to see Carina back (you know they have brunette and blond, so now redhead). And what can you know what avg viewer may want from the show, this site is certainly not representative in any way.

    • jason says:

      i thought the fact only 2 ‘angels’ were cast may mean this is the sarah back story, she is the 3rd angel (I’d like to think the farrah fawcett role – LOL), just like casey in ep couch lock where his A team came back.

      For sure they have to make stuff up though, since they know what the end is in 4×24, but they probably only thought they would get 6 more eps, not 11?

    • atcdave says:

      I like this, it sounds like something totally random and silly. Hopefully we’ll get a fun “Honeymooners” sort of feel.

      I’m never sure how seriously to take “5-year plan” sort of talk. But clearly only “main arc” episodes really figure into it. Every season we’ve seen a few episodes that are mostly stand alone. They may fill in a specific bit of backstory or tell us something about what “normal” is supposed to be at a certain point in time; but clearly, not every episode is meant to advance the main storyline.

    • JC says:

      My comment came off worse than I intended. What I was getting at is this. Was the MEB as a spy always planned out, maybe not the details but the idea itself? Will we get some kind of payoff with the Bartowski familiy/ mythology?

      With the back eleven, if it’s a new arc how well thought out will it be. Will it suffer from the rushed feel of last season. If it’s an extension of MEB/Volkoff is there enough story to tell or will we get a lot of filler?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @JC

        After Season 3, I am a bit hesitant when it comes to trusting TPTB on satisfying payoffs. I really hope we will get to know more about the Bartowski family’s spy legacy, but I am not holding my breath.

        As for the Mama B/Volkoff arc – IMHO, the max they can stretch out that arc in the back 11 would be for 4 episodes. The rest may be stand alone – but I will be happy with some stand alone episodes. I miss them already.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        And judging by the titles and little info on the back 11, 4×14 and 4×15 already look as the stand alone type.

      • JC says:

        Yeah payoffs aren’t really their thing. Lots of great setups and pieces to make one but they seem to have probelms tying them together.

        If we don’t get something connect to the Bartowski spy history and mythology I’ll be very disappointed. Its all there Orion, MEB and the Alpha Intersect but after the Laptop letdown I’m not holding my breath.

        I don’t mind standalone episodes I just worry they’ll tact something on at the end that tries to connect it. Like the ending of Coup.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Aha! That was the one thing that bothered me a little in 4×04. Apparently TPTB could take a few lessons from Burn Notice on how to continue the story for an arc without tacking it with the mission of the week.

      • atcdave says:

        My bet would be they intended mamaB as a spy all along, and they likely even imagined she was trapped by a mission she couldn’t escape from. But I bet they hadn’t considered any specifics.

  22. PeterOinNJ says:

    After reading your article Joe, I basically skimmed through the thread because I’ve long had my own opinion of the Buy More. It has given us some great moments – a bracelet and a promise that no one will ever hurt you in Santa Claus; a new appreciation of a Huey Lewis gem Do You Believe in Love and a swing from the roof in Seduction; the final battleground between Chuck & Shaw in The Ring Part II (it HAD to be there). I like that it’s there for the contrast it provides and often the parallels – Morgan dealing with his budding relationship with Alex while giving questionable advise to Chuck.
    What I don’t like is when it becomes a parody of itself and sadly, Jeff & Lester have become the face of the Buy More Parody. Insecure, posturing Lester has become more smug, almost arrogant at times. Jeff is just a little too creepy right now for my tastes – I needed mind bleach after that comment to Ellie about room in there for one more.
    So- for what it’s worth – I hope they keep the Buy More and all that is good about it – and tone down the Jeffster, well maybe at least make them likable again.

  23. herder says:

    I’ve read on other sites that NBC will be airing Chuck vs the Santa Claus on December 20th at 9pm. Haven’t been able to confirm that, but if so a Christmas Chuck and a Buy More heavy one at that. One of my favorite episodes with all kinds of great moments; the heartwarmed speech at the begining, the call to his loved one, the gift of the braclet and Sarah’s “I’ll never let anyone hurt you”, a goofy bad guy and a great twist.

    If this is true, then they should be airing another episode on the 27th at the same time, any guesses as to which one it will be? Chuck repeats are a rarity and it’s not a bad idea to put them on in a down time to keep the shows profile above drowning level.

    • atcdave says:

      Ratings for reruns are often abysmal, so everyone of us should watch. I also love Santa Claus, really a great episode in spite of a melodramatic ending.

    • armySFC says:

      it may be true that reruns are not viewed well but i question the choice of the episode. maybe they picked it because its a Christmas one. but as dave says it has a melodramatic ending. why not pick episodes that will entice viewers to want to watch it again? not leave people wondering why they tuned in. they should pick episodes that show what the show is about now, not what it was.

      think about it this way. forget you are die hard shippers for a few minutes. if you were tuning in for the first time or just to see what happened after you left. what episodes would make you come back for a second glance or more? for me it would be an episode that is fairly neutral. one that shows the relationship is solid and has action. not one that’s over the top either way. just my opinion but i don’t think TPTB has a clue how to market the show to attract new or returning viewers.

      • thinkling says:

        It was probably picked for the seasonal aspect. There are only 2 Christmas episodes, and Santa Claus beats Crown Vic.

        Hopefully they can have a more upbeat Christmas episode in s5.

      • atcdave says:

        we’ve heard they are airing two re-runs in December. Hopefully they show Honeymooners next.

    • herder says:

      Sorry, not 9pm, 10pm (Chase’s slot), kind of like the time they aired Marlin on Thursday at 10pm. Thinkling, I have all sorts of ideas pro and con for either of them. One thing I would like to see is for Jack Burton to express the idea that Chuck isn’t good enough for his angel close enough for Mama B to hear, let the take down begin. On the other hand Casey’s comments while waiting for a wedding to start would be priceless.

      • thinkling says:

        Except Jack already said she met the right schnook (bet 10 mil on it) and told Chuck to take care of her. He could try to pick up MamaB. That would have the same results. Or he could out the family biz to the Woodcombs, “My daughter and her fiancé are some kind of cops. You should see ’em work together.”

        A Chuck & Sarah wedding with the family mix would be too hilarious for words. Honey, Woody, Mary, Jack, and Dianne … a less likely extended wedding party never existed. Throw in our usual family/TeamB and some Buymorons … and whatever bad guy wreckage TPTB can come up with.

        And the all-important questions: Will Casey wear his dress blues? Will Jeff wear his? Will the bride be packing? Will Chuck have a lapel knife? Will he slice his fingers on Sarah’s knives while going for the garter?

      • joe says:

        Talk about your “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune!”

        Knives and bullets of soldiers of fortune is more like it.

      • thinkling says:

        Outrageous certainly applies, Joe.

      • atcdave says:

        I think Jack is all on board with Chuck and his daughter. I just would love to see the character interaction of him and the rest of the gang. Especially if the General and Casey do show up in uniform. Add in a couple doctors and the Buy Morons, what a hoot!

      • First Timer says:

        This repeat of Santa Claus is significant because NBC does not own the rights to air any Season 2 episodes. They would have had to buy it again from Warner. That means NBC likes Chuck (at the price) over anything else they could air.

        That’s a good sign for a Season 5. If the ratings for the rest of Season 4 stay north of 2 (and the Sing-Off isn’t a blockbuster that would show NBC it could do better at 8pm mondays), it’s a sign that NBC is more than open to a Season 5.

        And from a personal standpoint, I don’t think Santa Claus is intrisically melodramatic at the end. It seems that way because they didn’t pay off the ending in Third Dimension. A 30-second blow off was inappropriate for such an important issue. So in retrospect, it reads as melodrama when it should have played much better.

        One more thought: The episode 11s of each season were sort of downers: Santa Claus, the awful Final Exam and even Crown Vic ends with chuck and sarah as “friends” rather than anything more.

        So if the creators HAD expected S4E11 to be the last episode of the year, maybe we’re lucky 11 didn’t air before a seven-week break. If Balcony is unhappy (and, oddly, I don’t think it will be) at least we only have to wait a week for 12…

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting analysis, FT. Thanks.

      • jason says:

        FT – there sure is a possible spec out there where the status of CS 4×11 thru 4×13 almost follows 3×11 thru 3×13,

        It could end with an engagement replacing ‘Paris’, start with sarah leaving chuck for another man replacing the red test, whatever that means in some universe to end 4×11 on a bad note.

        then volkov / mama B’s arc reveals itself slowly in 4×11 / 4×12 / 4×13 just as shaw’s misery arc played itself out in season 3, with Cs defeating Volkov in an epic showdown, just prior to the heartwarming conclusion?

        Just sayin … could be?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @FT – Nice comparison about episode 11 of each season being a C/S downer. But, IMHO Season 4 will not following that pattern. – case in point – there was a dance scene in the third episode of each of the past seasons, which sadly didn’t occur in 4×03. Flimsy example, I know, but I am just staying positive.

        @jason – Chill. Don’t take those teasers literally. Fretting over them only leaves one with a headache . And as for things getting serious from 4.11 through 4.13 – I am confident that it is heavily related to the spy mythos and not any relationship troubles.

      • jason says:

        genie – why do you assume I need chilling? I have no (or at least little) angst about the teaser – I was simply fitting the teaser to the timeline, which I think is accurate – or do you you have a better place for it?

        You don’t think there is going to be any problems for CS in 11 thru 13, I think CS are always going to have problems.

        I actually don’t care as much about the CS thing anymore, my hopes for the show are over in that way – CS are not going to be in a joyful arc ever, joyful moments sure, joyful arc, nope, CS are in a permanent 2 step back 1 step forward loop, if they get married, it still will continue

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        @jason

        I only used ‘chill’ as an expression. My intention was not to insinuate that you required chilling.

        As for C/S not always being in a happy place – I agree with you there. In fact, I fully endorse JC’s view that TPTB will always use C/S relationship as a means to whip up drama. I used the word ‘confident’ when I wrote that 4×11 through 4×13 will be all about the spy stuff, when in originality I should have used the words ‘cautiously optimistic’. 🙂

      • jason says:

        genie – I have followed that teaser site since I started blogging, I actually find it entertaining and like it

        An odd thing, I think the originator loves the show, he just feels so much rage toward that one type of fan, that he can’t help himself, he wants to hurt them as much as he can. The problem is regular shippers make up a large part of the fan base, and when he jacks up those he targets, he makes many others nervous, sort of sapping the momentum from the show, often at key times.

        Genie – if they engage at 4×13 or sooner, do you think a wedding will be 4×24???? I honestly do not think schwedak is capable of that, wish they could prove me wrong.

      • atcdave says:

        Great info First Timer, thanks for that. I think many of us regard the end of Santa Claus as melodramatic because we don’t get what Chuck was so shocked by. He knew clearly since the first two episodes of the series Sarah was capable of being as hard and cold as the circumstances demanded. And as well as he’s known her for over a year at this point it seems he should have trusted her moral and professional judgement on the issue. When the episode first aired, I was not such an active Internet poster, and most of my discussions about the episode was with live people we all would consider casual viewers. But the overwhelming judgement of those viewers was “what was Chuck all freaked out about?”. He knows what Sarah’s capable of, he knows she’s totally on his side, he knows she’s a professional in a dangerous field. Chuck’s acting like a weanie. This was not the reaction of one stray viewer, this sentiment was expressed by the vast majority of people I know who watched the episode. The resolution in 3-D strikes me as more appropriate than the initial reaction.

        Jason, Genie, I don’t get it. How can you say Chuck and Sarah are not in a happy place? This whole season has been a pretty happy ride for them as a couple. I am positive we will see an engagement in the next three episodes, with 4.11 being the most likely. I’m not as completely sure about a wedding this season, but I do think 4.24 is most likely.

      • First Timer says:

        @atcdave:
        Well, I think time has perhaps clouded views on Santa Claus’ end. If you watch it from Chuck’s perspective in the momemt, as it was broadcast, Sarah is killing an unarmed, beaten man who has surrendered. Moreover, she then lies to him about what she’s done with Mauser.

        I find that pretty dramatic stuff. For all Chuck trusted and believed in Sarah at that point, it was based on her always making the honorable (i.e., non-robotic Casey) decision. The Mauser situation is horrific from his standpoint and, of course, that’s why it is GREAT drama because Sarah made the only decision she could make to protect Chuck.

        Really, that’s not melodrama. That’s the stuff of great TV. IMHO…

      • jason says:

        dave – every episode there is something, chuck lies in ep 1, sarah gone for 90 days, then 31 days later on, sarah embarrasses chuck in 4×8, rick rickles (had to thru that in), chuck goes rogue, sarah goes rogue, sarah arrests chuck’s mom without telling him, sarah won’t unpack, chuck acts like he is a 14 year old when preparing for a mission involving a super model, yada, yada, yada, …. that is the show chuck … everything is cool, yea I agree, it is just that the show …. is sort of dumb

      • First Timer says:

        BTW, about that “spoiler” site.

        For whatever reason, the person who runs it seems to delight in annoying a segment of the fan base, which I don’t find helpful for the show. And, oddly, it’s the segment of the fan base that would most willingly donate to his site now that he is soliciting donations. So he’s actually hoist on his own petard.

        That said, HE is not the problem. His ability to stir up overwrought reactions is a symptom of the problem: A huge segment of the Chuck fanbase still doesn’t trust the showrunners after the creative failure of Season 3.

        I solve all this for myself by not paying much attention to him. So-called spoilers with no context, which is his stock in trade, isn’t particularly interesting to me as a viewer.

        Or, think about that site this way: Should they wish to, ChuckTV.net and this blog will continue long after Chuck goes off the air. Who’s going to go to a supposed “spoiler” site when there isn’t any supposedly inside information to report? The day the last episode of Chuck airs is the last day of that site’s importance or relevance.

        But, hey, it’s a free world. Within the obvious bounds of taste and decency, he can do whatever he wishes. You get to decide if you pay attention to him or give his noncontextual data any credence.

      • atcdave says:

        First Timer I do remember the episode quite well and I remember feelings at the time quite well. I loved the episode. But I felt at the time, and the majority of friends I have who watch felt exactly the same way AT THE TIME, that the end scene was way overplayed. To me, Chuck’s professional trust of Sarah, well established over the course of a year and half; made the reaction overdone. The lie could possibly be more bothersome than her extreme measures; but even that was within character and context of protection. I’m not saying Chuck shouldn’t have been upset or annoyed. But his “end of the world” reaction at the end simply seemed out of place.

        Jason I do get that there have been issues, but only the arrest and insult were played for anything other than laughs. I’ve just been so happy with the mood of the relationship this season. I would prefer if we had a few more episodes like Honeymooners, in a perfect world I’d say 2/3s of the season should play like that. But I’m okay with where we are.

      • atcdave says:

        First Timer, in spite of our “spat” over Santa Claus, I agree entirely with your take on the provocative spoiler site. The tension there is in the fan base derives almost entirely from the S3 fiasco, TPTB seem to have mostly learned their lesson, but it is quite easy to get us all excited now because of the damaged trust.

      • armySFC says:

        actdave i know your holding out hope that 4.11 is the engagement ep. i don’t think it will be. several places have the ep as sarah centric. where they got the information i don’t know. but i still don’t trust TPTB to do this right. not now that they got the extra episodes and have said they pushed things to the right so they could expand on some things from the first part. i will say this however. if they take us another ride like last year, during the first couple of episodes of next year it will end badly for the show.

        the problem with the show is Schwartz. he seems incapable of learning from his mistakes. not only from chuck but his other shows both lasted 4 seasons (GG may go longer) but in both cases the ratings steadily declined. he continually puts a priority on relationship angst in one form or another. either internal or external. i don’t share the same faith as many of you about the up coming episodes. i lean towards jasons theory on this. there will be something dramatic come up in ep 4.11 and cary over to 4.12 maybe even 4.13. it will put pressure on the c/s relationship under the guise that it will be better after its over. my thoughts are how can it get better. there are normal issues to work out sure but i bet there is a big test coming up in 4.11 or 4.12.

        the problem with that is unlike the passionate fans here that will take it and continue watching no matter what happens. there are almost as many that will leave. i still think that’s what happened to the rating during the 4.07-4.09 arc. you can use DWTS if you want, but the ratings took a .5 hit and only bounced back by .3 after it was over. that’s a net loss of .2

        like gossip girl and the oc if the trend continues, like jason believes it will (so do i) you can start planning to buy the DVD’s of season’s 1-4 because there won’t be a season 5.
        the fans like the ones here are passionate and love the show despite its flaws, emotional upheaval that is present in many episodes, and massive plot holes. it’s the fans that are not as passionate that will leave the show and cause it’s cancellation.

        will there be the big turmoil i suspect in 4.11? maybe, maybe not. i hope its not there for the sake of the show. i doubt any new viewers will stick around if it opens on that kind of note, nor will the returning middle of the road or getting ready to leave fans. the emotional nonsense is getting old and very tiring for me. and if i had to guess many fans like me. schwartz needs to leave his comfort zone and make the show what it should be about, a strong relationship and the way the team does during its missions. like the buy more the time has long past to keep manufacturing ways to emotionally stunt the growth of the relationship. if he can do that, but i doubt he will, the show will thrive and i think draw in more viewers. if he goes by his past ideas of what a show should be like, chuck will become another failure for schwartz. just my thoughts.

      • Big Kev says:

        Army,
        I’m not going to rehash my views on the place of angst in the show, but I do think your judgement of Josh Schwartz is harsh. I share the view of most that the OC started strong and lost it’s way, and Gossip Girl isnt aimed at me and isn’t my thing – but to characterise those shows and Chuck as representative of “failure” is just harsh. Three prime time shows that each made it to 4 seasons is a pretty decent record in this fragmented, ADD-attention-span TV culture. Sure, none of his shows are ratings juggernauts, but if you look at their premises and target markets, none of them were ever going to be. In Chuck’s case, as much as we’d all love to see higher ratings, I don’t think we would have seen nearly as much character development and plot movement if the show had been more successful.
        I agree that Josh has a style, and I don’t always like where that takes the show, but in terms of TV production, 4 seasons of any show is a good record. 4 seasons of 3 shows is exceptional.

      • armySFC says:

        2@ big kev. i would agree with you assessment of schwartz if the 3 shows in question were on the big 3 networks. 2 weren’t they were on minor networks that draw a smaller crowd any way. lets say your right. that 4 seasons is good. why should he settle for that? why not improve his product so it stays on the air longer? there are many shows on the big 3 now that have had very successful long term runs. why shouldn’t he shoot for that instead of trotting out the same stuff that doesn’t work well over the long haul?

        that’s the point i was trying to make. there are currently 11 shows on the big 3 that have been around 5 years or more. maybe its me but when you trot out the same thing and get the same results i lose faith.

        i agree chuck is a niche show and will always have a limited number of viewers. but when you can’t see where you made the mistakes and learn from them is where i have the problem. maybe his goal is to have a show that runs for only 4-5 years then he is on point with that.
        i have a saying i like to go by and i think it applies here. if you set your sights on mediocrity and you reach you goal you get mediocrity. if you don’t you get something worse. if you set your goal on greatness and you get there you have achieved greatness, but if you fail to get there, you are better off than if you set the bar lower.

        is it so wrong for a viewer to want the best effort of TPTB put into a show? or should they just sit back and accept a mediocre product. i for one want to see TPTB give us the best possible show they can. and right now i don’t see that as the case. i’m not saying chucks a bad show, but look at the posts on this blog. there are so many ideas on how people think the show could be made better for them. this whole page addresses the issue with the question of whether the buy more still had a function on the show.

        maybe the use of failure was a harsh term to use. but when a show get canceled because of lack of viewers can i really call it a success? i did not mention shows that networks decided to end while they still had the viewers to continue but decided to end the shows because of contractual issues or the show just played itself out. if not a failure what would you call a show that continually loses viewers over the course of its run?

      • atcdave says:

        Army I actually agree in almost all the details of what you say, and have said very similar things myself over the course of the last year. The burning question now is just if any lessons have been learned by TPTB. I remain cautiously optimistic. I’m very pleased with the front part of S4, Fedak has said C/S are together for the season, and I think Fedak is actually calling more of the shots this season (I also don’t believe he’s as hooked on relationship silliness as Schwartz is). I think all involved know they are on a short leash this season. I also think a Sarah centric episode would be an excellent place to have an engagement; after all, we’re more likely to experience Sarah’s surprise if the story is following her than if its following Chuck. I also think as heavily as they’ve been teasing engagement since 4.03 they have to know they’re wearing out the audience and they need to deliver. I would also point out I’ve only said I’m reasonably sure of an engagement by 4.13, 4.11 is just my best guess.
        As you said, its hard to imagine Chuck and Sarah’s relationship being any stronger than it currently is. We all know they are both ready and want it, the only question is how will Chuck arrange it.
        I think they will keep most serious drama focused on the Frost/Volkoff story, and Chuck and Sarah will be in a position of strength for most episodes this season; just as they have been so far. If I’m wrong by much; then I agree with you, the ratings will slip quickly and people will start giving up on the show.

  24. OldDarth says:

    I agree with you First Timer. Santa Claus had a fantastic ending. Chuck knew Sarah killed. He just never knew to what lengths she would go to – ie performing an execution.

    It set up a great scenario where Chuck’s feelings for Sarah’s should have directly clashed with his moral code. It was the followup episode where the Mauser incident was swept under the rug that was melodramatic. And false.

    And a watershed moment for the series. It set the precedent for the show raising important story points but not having the fortitude to properly explore them.

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