Change and The Fear

Okay – This Is Ridiculous!

Bleeeech!

I’ve been sitting and stewing in a blue funk all day long. This has been the longest Sunday EVER! My food has no taste, my cat is ignoring me, I’m having a very bad hair day and the fact that the Washington DC metropolitan area is suffering under the most dreary rain since Noah has little to do with it.

THERE’S NO CHUCK THIS WEEK! Screeeeeetch! I want my Agent Walker… grumble grumble.

But I do want to ask you all about something that she once said to Chuck. What do you think Sarah meant when, in a dingy motel room in Barstow,

at the moment when everything seemed – uncertain –
and Chuck asks “what happens next”,
and she whispers an answer

“One mission at a time, Chuck.”

What did Sarah mean?


I’ve been wondering for a long time. Agent Walker (it’s the agent who does one mission at a time, right?) seemed unusually resigned at that moment, unwilling to think further ahead than – that evening. Tomorrow was too far away.

Up until then, her job was to protect the asset, just like she said she would on the beach in the pilot. But you see, I got confused about the time Fat Lady aired, when Sarah told Jill that it was her job to protect him “… from anything.” That didn’t seem like Agent Sarah Walker talking. That was a girlfriend being more than a little possessive, yet, no one was even close to that.

Sarah was never good at admitting such venial emotions as possessiveness to herself. But maybe, later, she just forgot that she had once felt this way. Or maybe she knew from the beginning that some emotions were not going to be contained; they were going to blow up in her face and change everything.

I love you. It shouldn’t have taken me this long to say it, but I’ve never felt this way. Before you, the only future I could think about was my next mission. And now, all I can think about is a future with you. I love you, Chuck.

What a drastic change.

And hey! What about Chuck. Didn’t he go around FOREVER! saying that he wanted to have a normal life?

I want to be able to call you at the end of a bad day and tell you about some funny thing that Morgan did, and not find out that I can’t because you’re off, somewhere in Paraguay, quelling a revolution with a fork. I’m a normal guy, who wants a normal life. And as amazing as you are, Sarah Walker, we both know that you will never be normal.

Chuck, you’re an idiot. Did you even think that you could be quelling revolutions (or robbing banks) along side Sarah? And when that wasn’t possible, you could still phone? 7-G smart phones are all the rage now, you know.

You belong out there, saving the world. I’m just – I’m just not that guy.

Of course not. Oh, how our words come back to haunt us. Chuck indeed turns out to be “that guy”. Sarah turns out to be “that girl”, the one we glimpsed in a suburban kitchen, fixing breakfast. And through all the turmoil it took to get us there, not once was there ever a need for them to deny what they once were.

I mean that in the Biblical sense. We know (or, we should know, by now) that Chuck is still that normal guy. Sarah tells him so and reminds him that this guy is the one she fell in love with. Sarah has had her bride moment and wears her engagement ring as often as she can.

Heh! I can tell you from experience that you do not want to punch somebody while wearing a ring. It can hurt! She takes it off to tear through the occasional southeast Asian country, or to go work undercover at the factory of her local atomic bomb merchant. No, Agent Walker is diminished not one bit by being able to make a souffle without the help of the CIA. She can still do anything. Chuck can be a smug, bank robber in cool shades for the CIA and *still* be doing the right thing. His mother would be proud.

I’m struck by how Sarah is not constrained at all by the idea of being married forever to Chuck. He’s not her ball and chain; in fact, it was the glamorous, exciting job that somehow circumscribed her existence before. That chain is gone. Likewise, Chuck is not hampered by a lack of ambition or a desire for normalcy. (I daresay, that’s still what he wants most for Clara.) Using the gifts he’s been given, he actively makes normal happen.

Not to get too preachy on you, but we should all do something like that. In fact, I see no reason not to.

Those lives Chuck and Sarah used to lead – didn’t they acquiesce out of fear? I heard it in Chuck’s voice when he told Vivian his story; they’re not afraid any longer. They are happy with the changes – more than satisfied to be living the life they’re living. It is not at all what they thought it would be like just a short few years ago, but when are any of us privy to that information?

Oh, it’s Monday now, and the sun has been shining all day.

[Thanks to Mel at ChuckTV.net for the information and link to Sarah’s engagement ring.]

– 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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108 Responses to Change and The Fear

  1. Joeeph (can't be Joe) says:

    Nice post Joe.

    I fear what the thread may look like.

    But nice post.

  2. thinkling says:

    Thank you for the post, Joe.

    They are happy with the changes – more than satisfied to be living the life they’re living.

    Me too. I’ve enjoyed getting here (mostly), but I never want to go back. This is the “Chuck” I’ve been wanting.

  3. atcDave says:

    Great post Joe, but I think it was one of the fascinating things about Sarah Walker that she was fearless in all ways, except about her own emotions. So while she would happily kill or die for Chuck from quite early on, she couldn’t quite admit to anything that might be outside of her professional comfort zone. The dialog in Barstow was kind of funny and sad; even after abandoning her mission to run away with Chuck, she latched on to Chuck’s search for his dad and turned it into her excuse for maintaining the illusion of professionalism. Even though we all knew she hopelessly compromised; actually by definition she’s compromised, not just having feelings that might make it harder to do her job anymore; no, she’s actually abandoned her duty because she couldn’t betray Chuck. Sarah has now redefined her duty to simply protecting Chuck and helping with Chuck’s agenda, regardless of her official duty and mission. She even seems to be coming to terms with that fact with “it is real” and finally deciding to remain in Burbank.

    This all what makes Sarah such a special and lovable character to me, and why what come next felt like such a betrayal, but I don’t mean to open that can of worms…

    • Tamara Burks says:

      You pegged it right. Sarah was always brave with the physical but a coward with the emotional. Casey has the same ptoblem , that’s why he denies Lady feelings so often. They scare him.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s also what makes the “new and improved” Sarah so appealing this season; she’s been confronting those fears head on and doing quite well. Chuck certainly doesn’t have cause to be insecure about how she really feels anymore!

      • thinkling says:

        The best part is she hasn’t been confronting them alone. She has been letting Chuck help her … and Ellie, too. It’s a wonder to behold. It’s like watching your kid mature … nothing better.

    • joe says:

      I second Tamara – you pegged it right.

      Hum… I wasn’t thinking in those terms, but it’s true! Fearless Sarah *never* faced up to her emotions before. I suspect she never faced up to anyone’s.

      This is going to play into her relationship with her mother, I’m sure.

      • rac2873 says:

        I will be depressed if they don’t approach the mom story line this year. No telling if S5 can happen and Sarah deserves to be complete.

    • joe says:

      Thinkling – that’s my overwhelming notion about watching Chuck&Sarah, too. I keep seeing things through Stephen’s eyes and just feel pride.

      It goes a little beyond just letting myself be emotionally manipulated by fictional creations, though.

      Let me put it this way. I’m not terribly impressed by the impressions I get by “Snookie”. I can ignore that, though; I prefer to see more Chuck&Sarah in my nephews and nieces. I take a lot of comfort in that depiction of the young.

  4. Tamara Burks says:

    Anybody else seee the new promo? It definitely explains part of the synopsis for this ep.

    • joe says:

      I put the promo on the spoiler page, Tamara. What do you think?

      I’m not sure I really grok what’s going on, but it looks like the Gretas think that they can replace Chuck, even if it takes two or three of them. Is that what you have in mind?

      What I still don’t know is Casey’s reaction. Did Old Spice Greta say what he said with a (large) hint of malevolence? And if so, it that sanctioned by Casey?

      No? Really? Not even in the deep recesses of his id? Casey doesn’t like to be one-up’d (especially by pansies like Chuck & Bryce) but he prides himself on his loyalty. This should be interesting.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Old Spice guy strikes me as an arrogant prick. I’m half expecting someone to ask if he dated Sarah (since that is her type and Chuck is against her type) .

        Before he struck me as a cartoon of a man.

        One thing I would love to be brought up is that types like the Gretas and all the Stepford spies really would get made in a minute as a spy by a bad guy looking for one (like the way they thought Awesome was a spy) but Chuck and especially Morgan would be able to get farther without being made.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I meant the character played by the old spice guy. For all I know the actor could be a real sweetheart.

  5. Faith says:

    Looks like Sarah got the real 5 C’s after all! Tacori… Take that Jill!

    3 carats 😮

  6. Rick Holy says:

    With homage paid to “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” and now for something completely different. We’re in ROUND 2 of the voting on Hulu.com for “best show.” How ironic that in this round we’re up against SUPERNATURAL! (The show we LOST the TV guide cover to).

    Anyway, right now it’s “neck and neck,” with CHUCK at 50% and Supernatural at 49%. That’s too close for comfort. Will something like this make a difference in getting renewed or not. Probably not. But let’s not lose to Supernatural AGAIN.

    Here’s the link where you can vote. Scroll down to CHUCK and vote, vote, vote!
    http://www.hulu.com/bestinshow

    Take care, all! (Will be interesting to see how “The Event” did in its return last night -especially in the hour that it was in CHUCK’s timeslot!).

    • jason says:

      @joe – I, like several of the blog authors, have enjoyed season 4’s growth. If the show continues, I think the challenge is to write a story where the grown up chuck and sarah have to solve something as grown ups or even are allowed to save the day because they are grown up, not save the day while growing up.

      @rick – I watched the event last night, I don’t think the retooled event will give chuck too much trouble. Interestingly, the event did just what I would have recommended, they saved the little girl after ten episodes of kidnapping and torture (serialized violence and misery toward women and children is not a winning formula – see the cape for another example) & they revealed most of the big picture parts of the story last night which gave context to all the painful fragments of the last ten eps. But at the end of the day, I still don’t care about the characters in the event, without that, not sure any of it matters.

      I kept watching Chuck even when I disliked nearly a complete season of the show and still with season 4’s love, I typically dislike 5 or 10 minutes of every episode. The reason I stick with chuck – the two lead characters, sarah walker and charles bartkowski – how they are together & how everyone else is with chuck or sarah while CS are a couple.

      • Rick Holy says:

        According to TVBTN, “The Event,” scored a 1.4 demo rating in both its 2 broadcast hours. But that’s hardly a surprise. Off the air for months and months – people “forget” about it. Personally, I think it’s doomed. If CHUCK get’s canceled after this season, it won’t be on account of “The Event” beig chosen over CHUCK – it will be some other existing show (or new series) that is chosen over CHUCK.

        Again, CHUCK’s 1.7 isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s STILL better than 1.4.!!

        Now WE need to “remind” people that CHUCK will be back this coming Monday. Let’s at least keep that 1.7!

      • jason says:

        beat me to it, yea – gotta wonder if NBC on Monday’s has any hope?

      • joe says:

        Jason – that’s a really good point. Schwartz in particular is known for adolescent drama, and that’s okay for a diversion. For a bit. But it’s not going to keep me engaged for long.

        Chuck did have some of that, but quickly (in my estimation) got past that, and did so at the moment it incorporated larger themes – trust, loyalty, the difficulties inherent in “trying to do the right thing…” Then it touched me personally with themes about family and fidelity and growth.

        But you’re right. These are not exactly adult themes. These are much more about coming of age and becoming. BTDT. My wife is allowed to think I’m childish sometimes. Not Schwedak. Give me meat on occasion.

        I think I see it. I constantly refrain from pointing out the Christian themes in the show, but that’s only because they seem so obvious to me it seems redundant. The notions of hopelessness and despair as part of the human condition, but salvation being possible, is as Christian as it gets.

        The idea of being afraid to let go of those things that are no longer useful to us *is* an adult theme. It’s not one faced by children at all, and I see my elderly (but not old) parents facing it daily.

        It’s a little deep for something that’s supposed to be attractive to an 18-49 demographic. But I don’t think I’m imagining this. I’m surprised to see this kind of theme on television at all.

      • armysfc says:

        joe, no offense but i never saw chuck as having christian themes. i can honestly say that if i did i would have bailed at the episode it became obvious.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Jason, Joe
        I agree they’ve gone through most of the phases of growth to adulthood, in terms of Chuck becoming a confident (sometimes), capable spy and Sarah becoming a real, emotionally empowered woman … and of course a committed couple in love.

        This is where I want them to be. This is what it’s about. It should not be the end, but the beginning of greater things … just like life. There seems to be a divide between shows that are coming-of-age type shows, where once the main growth is done you role the credits and shows that elaborate more adult themes. Chuck has an opportunity to bridge the gap.

        I crave a s5. I want to see Chuck and Sarah, the married spy couple (passionate, committed, and empowered in both realms) saving the day, as you say Jason, because they are grown up.

      • thinkling says:

        Sorry, that anonymous is me. The internet fairy signed me out behind my back.

      • joe says:

        Army, yeah. This is definitely one of those “in the eye of the beholder” kind of things. It’s nearly as easily said that what I see are the major themes of Western Civ.

        Casey is an interesting collision of Enlightenment Philosopher meets Frederick Nietzsche in an atom smasher. I think. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Army, Judeo-Christian may be the better adjective. I believe Josh Schwartz is Jewish, but the principles of forgiveness and redemption are shared by both faiths and are central to western civilization. It is clearly not Christian in some of the issues of lifestyle morality, and some of that certainly plays into the extreme dissatisfaction some of us felt with S3 (it is only “among” the issues! Not everyone who disliked S3 responded to the same sets of issues).
        But just be advised before you get too down on Christian ethos or philosophy that a significant number of us who post here every day are strongly committed to that world-view and it will always impact our writing here.

      • atcDave says:

        Funny, I was about strongly agree with “anonymous” above and then saw it was actually Thinkling! Does that make my agreement redundant?

      • joe says:

        I’ve got that same craving, Thinkling. But I have my worries about that.

        The shows commonly used as references for that are Hart to Hart and Get Smart. Those were pretty good shows, but I consider them light-weight. I would love for Chuck to be more than that.

        Something like The Thin Man movies is closer to what I’d hope for. Adult relationships, humor, adventure and idiotic friends for contrast. That with a touch of Bogey/Bacall (or perhaps Tracey/Hepburn) intensity would make it epic for me.

      • armysfc says:

        dave yeah i figured that out early on. i’m not in anyway down on it. nor will i put it down. i haven’t yet and won’t in the future. i just don’t understand what prompted you to say that to me? i can understand it if i put it down. by simply saying i would turn if off if i saw christian themes, why would you find that offensive? i would turn off shows that were racist in nature or put down gays and lesbians. i don’t want to watch a show that pushes a particular agenda my way.

        joe i do agree with what you just said, eye of the beholder type of thing. that can be said for most of the show or any show for that matter. i said it many times before and you just confirmed it. each viewer of any show will see what he or she wants to see, and gets out of the show what they want to get out of the show.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed, Joe. I would expect it to be more than H2H or GS. Dave and I and some others have mentioned elements of Thin Man and Undercover Blues. I have no doubt they can pull it off … maybe even for more seasons. It will just be a bit of a paradigm shift for them.

        They have already done a few episodes that have that feel.

      • Rick Holy says:

        The Judeo-Christian themes that may or may not be present in the show (depending on whose eyes are doin’ the beholdin’) are really “in the bigger picture” LIFE-THEMES. Now much of “life” as we presently experience it has been formed (or informed – if there’s actually a difference between the two) by the Judeo-Christian ethic. For those like me and others on the blog for whom that ethic is a big part of our lives, we see it very clearly. For others – and PLEASE, this is not a put down in any way – for whom the Judeo-Christian ethic is not an every day important part of their lives – these themes would definitely NOT be present.

        To put it another way, let’s say there was some Hindu (and I know Lester is a “Hin-Jew”) or Confusionist (sp??) ethic going on, I wouldn’t recognize it, because I just don’t know enough about those faiths, however much I might respect them.

        I guess to sum it up, themes like “conversion,” “redemption,” “forgiveness,” etc., aren’t uniquely Judeo-Christian, but for those who see through those lenses (again, that would obviously include me), that colors our perception of those themes in the show.

        Actually apart from – I seem to recall (correctly or incorrectly) seeing a “collared-individual” standing over Bryce Larkin’s [empty] casket at the cemetery, there hasn’t been anything overtly “faith-y” or “religious” on CHUCK. There have been a few, that I can recall, “Thank you God” utterances, and a few “Oh my Gods” as well, but nothing else. Even Ellies wedding which started out in a church, ended up on a beach.

        I remember one time THINKING I saw a cross hanging on the wall of Ellie & Awesome’s apartment (which Chuck and Morgan and then Sarah eventually moved into). It turned out to be the decorative “end” of the curtain rod! 🙂

        I guess – to bring this to a close – you COULD legitimately say there are some underlying Judeo-Christian themes present in Chuck. But again, HOW underlying (or not) depends on your perspective or background. Truthfully, I like it that way. Believe it or not, I don’t like to see “religion” artifically forced down peoples’ throats. (Although I did thoroughly enjoy shows like “Touched by an Angel” and the one that Michael Landon was in – forget the name – before he died). At the same time, I don’t like to see “anti-religion” shoved down peoples’ throats, either! 🙂

        As stated before – beauty, and religious themes, are in the eye/mind of the beholder! No “correct” or “incorrect” perceptions here – EVEN IF the showrunners CONSCIOUSLY PUT religious themes in the show (which I would doubt they have).

        One last thing (sorry) – If we do actually SEE a wedding by season’s end, it will be interesting to see how/where it takes place.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, it was a test. An agreement by any other name …

      • joe says:

        @Fr. Rick Believe it or not, I don’t like to see “religion” artifically forced down peoples’ throats.

        Me neither. It’s not very effective, either, I come to think. I consider it to be subtle enough in the show, which is all to the good.

      • jason says:

        Since we are getting all phycho analytical, I don’t recall the source, but I read a philosopher in college who said human life is divided into 7 year cycles – 0-7, 7-14, 14-21, 21-28, 28-35, etc. as a 55 year old, I must admit, makes more sense to me now than when I read it the first time. What seems unique about chuck, tv, and maybe a spy show, is chuck and sarah’s story is about the transition from the post college / first job / 21-28 cycle to the get married / start a family / settle down / 28-35 cycle. I don’t think very many shows on tv have the leads in this particular age bracket, generally tv shows focus on either younger or older.

        So it isn’t so much that they stop growing, but the growth transitions into new areas …. seems like fedak and schwartz might be onboard for such growth, sure would be nice!

      • thinkling says:

        Good post, Fr Rick. I agree with your assessment.

        As Dave indicated, Chuck would be a mixed bag in terms of underlying world view. I see Chuck as pretty faith neutral (or even faith absent). That said, perhaps because I’m particularly sensitive to them, I do see themes of redemption and forgiveness. Like you said, these themes (strongly associated with and uniquely dealt with in the Jewish and Christian faiths) are life themes. They are drawn from the human condition and find expression in much of art and literature … and TV and movies. Sometimes such themes are intentional; sometimes they seep in because they are, well, life themes.

        Good call on the collar at the Bryce’s fake funeral. Of course, when he really died, his ashes were scattered in Lisbon. I’ve wondered about the upcoming wedding, too. Right now Sarah wants to book a private island. 🙂

        Well, thanks for your analysis, Rick.

      • thinkling says:

        @Jason
        You hit the nail on the head with the 7 year thing. That’s exactly what they’ve shown and where they are. The next phase would be so much fun to explore.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Padre , it was Highway to Heaven that Micheal Landon was in.

    • jason says:

      @rick – googled TVBTN:

      http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/03/08/tv-ratings-monday-non-event-the-event-slides-26-the-chicago-code-steady/84940

      I would have never thought it would be that bad – 1.4M, Harry’s Law – 1.8M

      Gotta love this quote:

      “Fans of The Event will cue the “what did they expect! It was off the air for over 3 months and they hardly promoted the return” music in the comments, while Chuck fans try to restrain themselves from smirking.”

      • Rick Holy says:

        And Harry’s Law at 1.8 is nothing to “shout” about. It was against REPEATS of Castle and H50. So it – like CHUCK and it seems everything else on NBC on Monday nights – doesn’t fare much better even if it’s going against repeasts of its competitors.

        Yes, Harry’s Law gets a lot more TOTAL viewers, but my understanding is it’s the DEMO rating that’s vital. And it isn’t much different than CHUCK (maybe 0.1 or at the most 0.2).

        Still leads me to believe that CHUCK isn’t yet a “hopeless cause.” But we DO need to not drop below 1.7. And with DWTS and DST around the corner, it’s going to be a challenge.

        Still think the fact (or should I say the guess) that CHUCK is LESS to produce than either Harry’s Law or The Event works in our favor. And again, the “product placement” stuff on CHUCK HAS to be helping. Have you seen all the comments from CHUCK fans on “Sleep Sheeps” Facebook page (Cloud B)?

        They have got to be thrilled with the response – and happy advertisers let the studios and the networks know it.

        We’ll see. Truthfully, at this point I still think it’s a toss-up. If NBC decides to go with a MAJORITY of new programs, then we’re probably more in danger. But Monday night is ALWAYS going to be difficult for NBC, at least in the forseeable future. There are just too many shows on ABC, CBS and FOX that fans are already “hooked on.” And it seems like nothing NBC has tried over the last several years – be they new shows or returning shows – have been able to draw fans away from those shows.

        So if CHUCK remains a “cheap deal” from WB as a result of product placement or whatever, then it might be enough to salvage another season. As we’ve discussed previously on this blog, WB pretty much demanded that the Buy More remain if the show was to remain. “Product Placement” was definitely key. And let’s be honest – they do it wherever and whenever they can. Even Casey’s “I’m going to get a HOT POCKET” down in Castle. Why say that (as opposed to a more generic, I’m going to get something to eat) unless it’s a “product placement” for which WB is at least being compensated SOMETHING.

        As much as some of us tire of the BuyMore, it may actually be what HAS kept the show on four seasons – and may be a key factor in getting it a possible 5th.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        With something as convulated as the Event you really can’t take that big of a break. Imagine if you’d done the same thing with Lost , people would have forgotten about the plot threads . As it is they were lucky the writer strike happened after people hat plenty of time to get well and truly hooked.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        The word you are looking for is schadenfreude. 😀

    • joe says:

      I understand that if your login gets dropped, you can leave your log-in handle under your pillow at night and the internet fairae will leave a quarter for you in the morning.

      😉

      • thinkling says:

        Ooh, cash back bonus. I’m glad it’s coin and not gruel, since it’s under my pillow. 😀

  7. Robert H says:

    Liked your article Joe but not everybody likes change or embraces it. For most people it’s just another source of stress and worry, not usually for the better but probably for the worse. Most people cope with it not because they want to but because they have to. Change, like it or not is a fact of life that applies to everything but I’m not telling you
    anything you don’t already know.

    Like what happened to the the show I used to really like and watched faithfully every
    week. It was a wonderful diversion from the “changes” that hit this country so hard
    since 2008 economically that so negatively affected the lives of millions of people that will never be the same again. It was something you looked forward to. It’s charm and uniqueness was irresistable.

    But of course like all things it “changed” but not for the better, mostly for the worse.
    The fact that the major portion of the shows original viewer base is gone attests to that, due to “changes ” in the motivation of the central character and budget cuts. The
    stupidity of the producers and NBC not knowing or even worse not caring about the viewers did the rest. The “changes” inflicted severe damage which the show has not recovered from and most likely never will. This will probably be its last season.

    The sad thing is that these “changes” didn’t need to happen they way that they did.
    Yes, I know that all things evolve but the viewers were not brought along in a way that
    could have accomodated “change” in such a manner that did not damage the fan base. That sadly did not happen and is why the show is in such dire straits now.

    I know most of the people on this site will not agree with this and my comment will be mostly ignored like it usually is but that’s all right, it’s the way I feel about it. I may have to live with the “changes” made on this show but that doesn’t mean I have to like
    or accept them. I guess the many viewers who left the fan base didn’t like the “changes” either. They simply stopped watching the show.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Robert. Do you think the loss of the portion of the fan-base that HASN’T returned in S4 was due to “the changes” (or perhaps the bad writing/story arc/or PROLONGED presence of a character that most fans didn’t care for for any number of reasons) in S3 [sorry, hate to keep bringing that up agian] are/were the primary cause for the drop off??

      I think we’re in agreement that Seasons 1 and 2 were – however you want to put it – the “best,” or the “most enjoyable,” etc. But at some point, things had to move BEYOND what Seasons 1 and 2 laid the groundwork for. At some point it would seem that CHUCK would become somewhat more adept (although definitely not in the same way as Sarah and/or Casey) at being a spy. After all, going beack to Season 1, the CIA DID want him as a recruit when he was at Sanford – until Bryce got him kicked out. So there was something there “in him” in regard to the “spy life” even back then (even if it WAS only memory recall).

      So where do you go with a fourth season. The characters change/develop in ways in which they can or need to. Now we can say that there were some bumps in the road during this season – yes, the Intersectless and often “whiny” CHUCK got old – but in one way or another this show has always (at least in my right or wrong opinion) been abot the two primary characters – Chuck and Sarah – coming from “opposite worlds” and having those worlds merge – and then seeing what “growth” effects that merging has on each of them.

      I may be misreading the point of your post – if I am, sorry. I guess what I’m trying to say is that as much as I acknowlege a greater fondness for Seasons 1 and 2 over 3 (most definitely) and 4 (somewhat), I admit for the show to “go forward,” there had to be SOME changes. Have they all been executed as well as they could have been. Probably not. But I still don’t belive that the bleeding of fans was a result of changes in season 4. I still think whatever decline we had this season (and the demo numbers were pretty consistent, even with the drop down to 1.7), was still mostly do to an exodus which took place during Season 3. The smaller exodus in S4 may have been a result of a few episodes during S4 which brought back some “angsty” memories of S3. Those fans said, “Not this AGAIN,” and bolted. (Can’t say I blame them. I – like you – “stuck it out,” however).

      Anyway, I’ll bring this long post to an end – and get my butt back to work. Early lunch break is over!!

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Being extremely gunshy may be the reason for the season 4 drop in numbers since it really wouldn’t take that many people with Neilsen boxes stopping watching to affect the numbers. Of course the number could be equally effected by students leaving thier Neilsen box homes for college. Like with the ones who stopped watching , it wouldn’t take many to affect things. Or it could be a combo of the two.

        Maybe the overall drop in NBC watching is because people are even more gunshy about NBC because they are afraid of another Leno/O’Brien debacle affecting the budget and causing shows to be canceled because of budget problems .

    • armysfc says:

      robert i don’t think you comment will be ignored. fact is its true, but not because of this season. bottom line is last year killed the ratings for the show. that fact can’t be denied. its been talked to death about what went wrong. that will be the reason it gets ignored. there really is no reason to keep going over it.

      this year has been very well received by all accounts. i think certain arcs and episodes went to far one way or another and that affected the ratings. bottom line is you can’t make everyone like what you put out. the key is to make what you put out at least tolerable to all. they have done that this year. i won’t get into the reasons i think hurt because they are just mine and may be different than others.

    • atcDave says:

      Robert we really have talked this to death. Most viewers I encounter are pretty pleased with S4, and aren’t even troubled as much by the issues we hard core fans end up discussing. The precipitous viewership loss occurred in S3, and our numbers have wallowed in the 1.7-2.1 range ever since episode 3.11. The big issues at this point would be regaining viewers who left in S3 (I’ve had a lot of success, they just need to see a newer episode that is “fun” again and they are normally happy to come back; sadly, “Watch Chuck, it doesn’t suck this year” isn’t exactly a compelling advertising slogan); second issue would be just the difficulty in finding new viewers for a show in it’s fourth season. Even with a fairly simple show like Chuck, most TV viewers assume there will be a large learning curve and they won’t bother unless they are exposed to earlier episodes first.
      Sorry as always to hear you don’t like the show much; but I seriously encounter very few casual viewers who share your disdain.

    • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

      A post about “change”. Hmm. Kinda ironic when you think about it.

      Yes both Chuck and Sarah have changed, like it or not (you know what I mean). Do I like S4 – yes, of course. Do I like where the characters are now – OK, sure. But to me some “je ne sais quoi” is still missing that was there in at the end of S2. (personally I think it’s the “epicness” of the relationship, but that’s just me) The ship has not been fully righted yet, but it is certainly not listing as it was.

      So when the discussion circulates around character “change”, we ironically find the show trying valiantly to “unchange” by returning to its S1 / S2 roots (which is a good thing) but IMO not quite being able to get there.

      The cold hard truth is that the characters, like the fans, can’t go back (as much as we’d like to). Therefore we can only go forward – and enjoy.

      (I never mentioned S3 once above (although I thought about it), so please don’t)

  8. Robert H says:

    1.4 for The Event? Well I hate to say to NBC “I told you so” but I just can’t resist so I’ll say it anyway “I told you so”. I did watch it out of curiosity. I had heard they were supposed to do a recap but that didn’t happen either. They just jumped right into the episodes and if you had not been watching before it would not be easy to follow and the 1.4 demo attests to that. The fact NBC kept it off the air for 3 months once again demonstrating massive incompetence in the knowing their viewers (the customers, remember?). Ring any bells here, like the 2 hour fiasco in the opening of Season 3 for Chuck? Some things never change except this may accelerate the firings at NBC by Comcast mgt.

    Wonder how this will affect Chuck? Help or hurt? Hard to say. On the one hand it may help make a case for keeping the show 1 more year while they develop new shows. On the other hand it may be decided things are at rock bottom so why not just get rid of every low rated show and start fresh, especially with new mgt coming in. Too early to
    tell but will be interesting to watch. I think The Event is finished. If all they got is a 1.4
    after keeping it off the air for 3 months, given the show’s complexity, it’s not going to get any better, especially with DST coming and DWTS coming back. Might be better to cut the losses now rather than later but maybe NBC has too much money invested in the show to do that right away. So Chuck, if it holds steady, and does not sink
    any further might fall through the cracks and survive for 1 more year but I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  9. luckygirl says:

    Have they given a date for the season 4 Blu-Ray/DVD release? Do they usually come out in the fall?

  10. rac2873 says:

    This comment thread went off the rails somewhere. It started out about Chuck and Sarah and then went into all kinds of tangents. This place is a very polarizing blog. I wish people could just move on from S3. lol

    • joe says:

      Actually, Rac, I didn’t really give much direction for comments in my post. It was merely a piece of conjecturing on my part about how much C&S have changed in ways I didn’t recognize before. It’s trite in that I’ve said that before. But it’s a bit new to me, because I’m still finding places in old episodes where I have to re-interpret because of what I know now.

      One scene that prompted this post never even got mentioned. Remember in Truth, where Sarah tells Chuck point blank and under the influence of truth serum that nothing is going to happen between them? I was wondering about it in light of Sarah’s statement later that she fell for him sometime after he fixed her phone and before he disarmed a bomb with a computer virus.

      It turns out that Chuck didn’t really ask her the question I always thought he asked. It was about “the their thing underneath the cover.” Sarah was quite right to tell him that she didn’t think they were going anywhere. She actually believed that.

      Sarah never lied to him. And Chuck really did take forever to ask the right questions directly.

      Despite the fact that I didn’t say it directly, it was really about S3, and how so many of the things we said we wanted actually came about. Much of the stuff we disliked actually was planted right smack dab in the middle of some of our favorite moments of S2. One mission at a time, Chuck..

      And by “we”, I mean, me.

      So I’m not surprised that the comments seem all over the place, Rac.

  11. rac2873 says:

    I would love one site where there is a moratorium on S3 discussion.

    I swear when this show gets cancelled a lot of people’s BP will go down. Some people just cannot let it go. It has gotten to the point when people start harping on S3 I tune it out and move on.

    • atcDave says:

      A quick look over the thread shows every single season being mentioned at some point. Anytime one discusses growth or development that is a completely reasonable response. The vast majority of us seemed to have liked the first two seasons, S3 has a few defenders but is generally not well thought of, S4 is generally liked but the the extremes seem to swing from rabid enthusiasm (guilty!) to disappointment. So it’s not surprising when any kind of dispute comes up it is most likely to involve S3 and/or S4.
      I think it would be impossible to impose an artificial restriction on what seasons can and cannot be discussed. I would rather discuss S4 and have a good time doing it. But I think S3 will always be important to our understanding of the show.

      • rac2873 says:

        Dave I am not saying that. I am saying that some people cannot get over it.

        Here is my analogy of people crying over season 3 still. It would be like me still harping on Bill Buckner letting the ball roll through his legs in 1986. I could sigh and say what could have been. But a funny thing happened the Sox won not one but two world Series in 2004 and 2007. 1986 is a distant memory.
        It would be foolish of me to complain about 1986 when obviously the Sox gave me what I wanted.

        S4 both the engagement and the wedding is equivalent to the Sox winning the world Series in 2004 and 2007. I think back to 1986 and I don’t let it ruin my love for the team and I was rewarded for it. But why can’t Chuck fans get over S3. I heard people say the epic romance is gone etc. In the grand scheme of things we had 11 horrible episodes out of 70+ yet the same people can’t get over it because the show hurt their feelings.

        I agree I was hard on the show last year but I learned to accept S3 and embrace the greatness of S4. However some will go down with the ship cursing Shaw and the destruction of Sarah’s cahracter. That is why I only come here sporadically, every thread even if it’s about Itunes S3 gets brought up. I agree we should be able to discuss all seasons but S3 brings out the venom. Hopefully one day some people will be able to move on and live a happier life. lol

      • JC says:

        @Rac

        Maybe S3 did ruin the show for some while others don’t think this season is as good as you think. In general this blog has been very happy about S4 but other places not so much. When S3 gets brought up here it’s usually because of a theme being revisited and I hardly call the discussion venomous by any means. Beaten to death sure but that’s natural when you dislike something.

        Honestly I find your comments funny considering you were blowing up earlier in the season about any hint of angst or relationship problems.

    • Big Kev says:

      Rac,
      I think the blog reflects the show at the moment, to a large extent. Just as the focus of the show has narrowed to become almost totally about Chuck and Sarah, so this blog is now very shipper-centric. Shippers pretty much have no time for S3, and that is well and truly reflected here.
      Just to be clear, I don’t think for a minute that the blog doesn’t welcome non-shipper views – I just think that non-shippers have gradually drifted away, as I suspect they’re also drifting away from the show.

      • luckygirl says:

        I have to agree Big Kev. The show is basically a romantic comedy at this point. Not exactly a big draw for the male 18-24 crowd. I have to practically force my bf to watch at this point. All the other guys in his dorm that watched quit a few eps into the season.

    • uplink2 says:

      @Rac unfortunately that is a big part of the legacy of season 3. It will always be a lightening rod and always will bring out some of the strongest discussions. That is one reason I am really hoping we get a season 5. I think some of us and I will admit to being one still need some distance from season 3 to finally let it go. And with ratings and renewal discussions coming up it just lends itself to a lot of discussions that ultimately lead to the some very passionate discussions.

      I’m hoping that 22 more episodes of season 4 greatness in season 5 will help heal what I’ll admit is still an open wound with me. I’d love to see the pendulum swing back to a more balanced show and I think that is what they are trying to do but no matter what we may want to happen but like it or not Season 3 is the Yoko Ono of Chuck and always will be. But at this point we are still on McCartney and John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band. Band on The Run and Imagine still haven’t come out yet. I’m just hoping that they are season 5 to put an end to all of what is still a sore spot with me.

      • Big Kev says:

        @Uplink,
        I think a “more balanced show” is essential to hold my interest – and I do see some encouraging signs. I’ve appreciated the fact that they’ve taken time to set up Vivian’s character over the last couple of episodes, and that I’m still not sure which side she’ll ultimately end up on. I’m also intrigued by the Casey/Bentley/A Team storyline, and Chuck being a competent spy in the last episode was a huge step in the right direction – and BTW, made the Chuck/Sarah scenes so much more rewarding and fun.
        So those are all good things. More Chuck introspection about his usefulness is definitely NOT a good thing, however, and I hope they deal with that quickly.
        I’m using the remaining episodes as a guage to see whether I want a S5. This season has proved to me that Chuck/Sarah together isn’t enough for me if there’s not a compelling story linking it all together – and I’m really hoping that the remainder of the season proves that the show still knows how to tell a broader story. If it doesn’t, I’ll probably hope for a S5 for the sake of everyone on the show, and everyone here – but I’m not sure I’ll be watching it.

      • uplink2 says:

        Kev, I think we are seeing that quite clearly and I think that is one of the great things about getting a back 11 instead of 6 or nine. They can take the time to develop her and the Casey story better.

        I’m hoping for a Mr and Mrs Smith kind of season 5 like we saw in Bank of Evil. plus the Bentley story stuff. all in all I think this back 11 is going to be a great lead in to a season 5 especially seeing one of my favs is coming back in Gary Cole.

      • armysfc says:

        big kev, i agree. i need more than chuck and sarah to hold my interest. 3 of the last four are in my top 5 of the year. cat squad is firmly nestled near the bottom. i really have like how they have brought vivian along slowly keeping us on edge. unlike the mama b arc where you knew she had to be good. if she was bad it would have been another shaw all over. so the suspense for me was nill.

        the idea of a smith type couple would be great. give me a firm relationship, lessen the role of morgan as an all knowing sage and some missions that have a bite to them. sprinkle with humor and im all over it. keep going with the development aspect and i’m gone. for me at least the family angle has been beat to death with everything revolving around it.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I do agree this season so far has done an excellent job of washing away the S3. I’ve been rewatching on my lunch-breaks with a co-worker and even a fairly weak episode like Fear of Death is easy to just laugh and have a good time with. The mistakes of the past seem less of a big deal all the time. They will never be gone, but I can easily imagine getting into an S5 they will take less of our time. I am so excited about A-team, already less than a week away. And that’s how I’ve felt all season.

      • uplink2 says:

        Army, I can see both your and Kev’s point about needing more than just Chuck and Sarah to keep you interest. For me without Chuck and Sarah the show would have little interest to me. The other parts can’t carry it for me. What made season 1 and 2 and 3.5 so great was that it did have that balance. The first 13 of season 4 were shipper heavy and for me that’s fine but I prefer a balanced show as well. 4.5 has been much more balanced. Confident Chuck, a strong solid relationship, interesting spy stories developing and better casting has made it really good 4 eps in. They are not trying to do too much in too little time but letting things grow in a reasonable amount of screen time.

        I know that Rac may not like this being brought up but it is valid in this discussion. I’ve been thinking about what made Sham work better as a villain in 3.5 than he did in 3.0 and I believe a big part of it is the character was strictly defined as one thing, villain. They didn’t try to throw 5 or 10 different roles of mentor, teacher, boss, sad victim (well we were supposed to think that lol) and LI all into one character and have him play different roles each episode. In 3.5 he was just one thing, a villain trying to destroy them. In that strictly defined role even a weak actor like Routh can give a reasonably solid performance. In season 4 I think they have focused the characters better as well. Each new character was more clearly defined even if you talk about the ambiguity of them at first. It gives the show a more solid footing to have that balance on.

      • Big Kev says:

        @Uplink,
        I was a shipper for the first 2 seasons funnily enough. It wasn’t the only thing I liked about the show, but it was certainly the main thing. Then S3 turned the relationship into Gossip Girl, and I lost interest. I started watching (and enjoying) the show for other reasons, and it’s been that way since. This season, they’ve just beaten me over the head with the relationship so much that I’ve now got a serious case of “relationship fatigue”.

        I think you’re exactly right about Shaw. He was a decent villain. To be fair to Routh, I thought his entrance in “Operation Awesome” had promise too – but clearly a limited actor wasn’t up to displaying the range that he was asked to.

      • JC says:

        The stronger the spy stories and mythology is when the character moments have more impact. I’ll use a S4 example. The ending of Gobbler, there was zero setup about why Sarah had to go undercover. They never established what she would be doing different than Mary, so the distant cliffhanger had zero impact. Throw in the fact that it was completely ignored in Push Mix and the whole Sarah being undercover arc fell flat. What was the point? Compare that to First Kill/ Colonel and Ring. We had build up to that arc throughout the season and when it finally came to a head it was completely satisfying. These last two seasons they’ve rushed through way too much story.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      This site (even with season 3 discussions) actually make my blood pressure go down. If I want it to go up I can get into an argument about Buffy season 8 where people will disagree with me that Buffy behaved badly.

  12. OldDarth says:

    Bang On Kev and Army.

    The show needs balance. In story telling and character handling. It has to get away diminishing one to service the other. This season the hero journey and Chuck have both paid the price for the relationships.

    The show is designed with the spy genre as the series engine. There is more emotional investment for the viewers if the stories have consistency, clarity, and obstacles to create payoff for the characters and the relationships that feel hard worked and earned instead of contrived and handed out.

    • armysfc says:

      OD, well put. there are plenty of ways to amp up the show with out making it trouble between the leads. these last 2 have gone that way. this next one looks like it could be headed that way as well. i just hope it happens soon.

    • uplink2 says:

      I agree. Thought I loved the first 13 I get where OD is coming from. I was happy so it didn’t bother me that much but now here in the back 11 they are getting back to the season 2 formula that worked so well. If we can add that to a great return of Dalton and Hamilton we just might have another great end of season arc like season 2 did.

      • Big Kev says:

        I hope so Uplink, I really do. At its peak, this show was one of my favourite TV shows ever (and it’s the only one I’ve ever blogged about) but I really need it to tell me an engaging and convincing story again. I just don’t think it’s done that this season, as good as some of the individual scenes and performances have undoubtedly been.
        I’m not used to feeling ambivalent about this show (in S3 I cared enough to at least be frustrated!) – and I don’t like it. I’m really hoping the final 7 banish that feeling, and send us into S5 on a roll.

      • OldDarth says:

        Same here Kev. This season I have had to step back and ignore the season arc and watch the show from a 50,000 foot level decreasing my emotional investment in the process.

        It is very much a season of panning for gold looking for small moments. Moments brought by the acting chops of the cast and not the stories.

        Chuck and Sarah are together but because of how I have had to recalibrate my viewing pattern this season the impact of their status, and all the other characters and their journeys, carry little payoff because of diminished investment.

      • Big Kev says:

        OD,
        And the thing is – the show can still do it! When the writing is sharp and funny, the characterisations well drawn, and you match that with the talent and chemistry of cast and guests – you get episodes like First Fight and Phase Three, which are as good as anything the show has ever done. And Couch Lock and Masquerade, which are damn fine second tier episodes. That’s what they’re capable of even with budget cuts and compressed shooting schedules, and that’s the standard I’m holding them to.
        To me it’s about the writing. The actors have the chops, we know that (esp now that Routh has gone) – to me the limitations of the season have all been in the writing. I’m happy to see Phil Klemmer back (hopefully at Nick Wootton’s expense) and I’d love to see Fedak write more in the final 7. He may be partly responsible for the weak overall arcs, but I think his individual episodes are always strong.

      • OldDarth says:

        It always come down to the writing.

        Great actors can make bad writing passable.

        Great writing gives the actors chances to create magic.

      • jason says:

        guys – still – for the balance you crave, so many of the cast regulars are not in the spy plot – awesome – ellie – mike – jeff – lester, while beckman doesn’t go on missions, and morgan has not often been on missions or part of serious spy work (he goes along and cracks jokes or epic revelations, but he has never been in danger – i.e. with stakes and consequences), that leaves any and all spy stakes to be either sarah, chuck, or casey – you wonder why casey gets shot / pushed out of a window so often?

        For the show you want, the cast needs to be expanded or the buymore would have to be scrapped , maybe for a A team from a different agency – interesting given the next ep? Think of Fringe, if the Massive Dynamics lab (kind of a B/C plot?) were to switch with buymore, both shows would change significantly – wouldn’t they.

        I am not really disagreeing, but whenever I ask the ?, where and who, it usually boils down to chuck, sarah, and casey …. and like it or not, at this point seems sarah is near as much THE star as chuck so she is sort of exempt as chuck has been all 4 seasons …. so to get what you want, either morgan, ellie, awesome need to ramp up their game (the story has to, not the actors) or we get new actors or we simply repeat what has already been tried.

        One more thing, so many calls for returning to season 2, is that really interesting to you guys, I want in the worst way to keep rocketing forward!

      • jason says:

        I was trying to think of guest stars we loved to see if they are the drama answer, in lots of ways, they have not really been dramatic in nature either, more funny, or parody, gary cole, the general from costa gravis, chevy chase, carina, even dalton was hamming it up near all the time –

        Of the more serious guest stars – chamberlain, bakula, routh and hamilton come to mind only Bakula would be considered great from that list.

        I am sure there are exceptions, but again, seems even with the guest stars, the majority of the fans enjoy the parody, funny approach rather than menacing and serious????

      • First Timer says:

        @everyone:
        I don’t think the problem is the spy story arcs per se, but that they are TELLING you up front what is going to happen. There was NO drama at all in the Mama B arc because you KNEW (or everyone who understood how storytelling goes knew) that Mama B was good. Worse, the big bad, Volkoff, was being hunted not because he was the big bad, but because he happened to get in the way of Chuck’s search for his mom.

        That’s incestuous stuff. The exact same story would have played better had we NOT known from the get-go that Frost was Chuck’s mom. The arc would have played better if the spy story of the season was Chuck and Sarah being tasked to take down Volkoff and retrieve an apparently rogue agent named Frost. The mother/good guy reveal could have come much later in the arc.

        After all, would the Fulcrum/Orion arc been as much fun had they told us up front that Orion was Chuck’s dad?

        The other big issue I see is that they have bungled the “opposites attract” part of the Chuck / Sarah relationship. The fun (from a storytelling point of few) relationship stuff shouldn’t be about Chuck learning about Sarah’s boundaries of her past or Sarah the “real girl” learning how to unpack her clothes and her emotions. It should be about a now-coupled spy team who essentially look at the world differently.

        Oddly, this goes back to Joe’s thoughts in this thread about “one mission at a time.” That SHOULD be how a spy like Sarah operates, compartmentalizing her spy and personal life. And it should be contrasted with Chuck, who always assumes spies are just “real” people who never got the chance to be “real.”

        The interpersonal relationship should be about when each’s essential worldview is best used…

      • JC says:

        I still think part of the problem is they’re trying to tell too much story. They don’t spend enough time exploring one theme or arc and instead jump to something else without a satisfying conclusion. What was the point of the Intersectless arc or Sarah undercover? We got no payoff on any of those. The same goes for Mary, why did she have to go undercover? While they made Volkoff a great villain his threat never went beyond the Bartowski family.

        That’s why I loved getting two setup episodes with Vivian she’s already more sympathetic than Mary or another certain guest star. Hopefully whatever Casey is working on with the Greta’s and Bentley will be given the same effort but please no insecure Chuck.

      • uplink2 says:

        @JC

        But that is the consequence of the 13 episode orders these last 2 seasons. Season 2 was done so well because they knew they had 22 episodes to work the story. In both season 3 and 4 they tried to pack too much in because it could have been their last. But can you imagine the outrage from the fans if Other Guy had in fact been the finale? That they made us endure the misery arc just to get less than 5 total minutes of Chuck and Sarah together finally? Now season 4 they learned from that and we got a great possible series finale in Push Mix. Sure much was rushed and some things left dangling but this show has always done that and the important aspects of the episode were resolved well at least for me.

        In this back eleven they are telling only 2 stories really with the wedding mixed in and therefore we are getting the necessary setup of both Vivian and the Casey/Bentley arc. Plus a couple of great solo episodes and some Sarah Walker back story coming. All good things. But I do believe that much of this feeling of being rushed would have been different if they had known about a 24 episode order from the beginning or even better had a 3 year renewal like TBBT has.

      • OldDarth says:

        Not buying that.

        Other series have 13 episode orders and construct coherent and structured story arcs. The problems with the first 13 episodes of the last two seasons was not the amount of story that was being told but how the story in those episodes was told.

      • JC says:

        @Uplink

        I understand they had shortened seasons at the start the last two years. All I’m saying is they tried to cram too much into those seasons and that’s hurt the show. Push Mix was a great payoff for the relationship but nothing else. If they were going to have so many things going on they needed to tie them together like S2 or not do so much and flesh it out more. Neither the Intersectless arc or Sarah undercover added anything to the overall arc. There were great moments in those episodes but they didn’t mean anything in the grand scheme and IMO aren’t as satisfying.

      • uplink2 says:

        OD you have a point to some degree but the story in season 3 was a mess because of the LI part in particular. It unnecessarily complicated the story with no benefit to it in the least. If you eliminate Hannah and remove the LI aspect of Shaw and have him as just the mentor driving Chuck instead of Sarah and Casey protecting him then you have a much more engaging story. Keep Chuck and Sarah apart but maintain their friendship and helping each other grow along their respective journeys. As Ernie has said Chuck failed spy training because he didn’t have Sarah. And Sarah failed at a real life because she didn’t have Chuck. Have them follow a path where they come to realize that Chuck needs Sarah to be the best spy he can be and Sarah needs Chuck to be the best person she can be. But realize that from what they always had done in the past, from their friendship and love for each other. This aspect of the show had always been what worked the best with the audience. They didn’t have to be together as lovers to do that but they needed to face it together. But don’t do it the easy LI way. That ship had sailed the season before.
        With season 4 they have decided in the first half to try and make amends for that at the expense of Chuck the spy therefore cramming too much relationship into the first 13. We needed 1 more episode between Phase Three and Leftovers. We also needed one more episode between Gobbler and Push mix. So I can see some of your point but to change that they needed more time so they needed to eliminate what was taking up too much screen time and that was Hannah and Shaw and the LI path they mistakenly went down all a consequences that followed.

      • armysfc says:

        @jason, as for the guest stars. all season long i have heard almost everywhere that Dalton was the best villain ever. did he have funny moments? yes he did and they were in the same venue as many of sarahs funny moments. someone out of their element trying to fit in. other than a few of those he was a mean ruthless dude.

        the spy issue you brought up with all missions being done by the big three. that’s how seasons 1&2 went all the time. if they could do it then they could do it now as well. think back to the those seasons as well. sarah, chuck, ellie and casey all got injured at one point because of the spy world. even the buymore customers got affected. this year its been just casey and chuck.

        you don’t need couple angst to add drama to a show. i’m not saying change it that much. FT and i both said it. the frost arc fell flat because you knew from the start mama b was good. not knowing would have made it better.

        in the end we got a very nice family story with c/s getting engaged, mama b back and a baby. all good happy stuff that i was glad to see. i just wanted a bit more.

      • uplink2 says:

        @JC

        I think my post above this one says I pretty much agree with you. The only thing for me that’s different is that I am a shipper and as long as that was front and center the rest of it becomes less of an issue. I’m happy that the “distance” thing was eliminated in the first scene of Push Mix and there was no Chuck not trusting Sarah angst but the angst elimination could also have been done at the beginning of another episode in between that went more into the motivations and consequences of Sarah going undercover and why she needed distance. Have Chuck trust that she had her reasons without any angst. But season 3 always puts the angst question in play going forward and is another consequence of that arc.

      • jason says:

        army – i agree with dalton being a great villain,

        but in the chuck mythology terms the problem is probably with me, I don’t respect the chuck show as drama, I view it as get smart. Hence when I watch dalton, I see a great actor knowing he is playing a ridiculous role on an even more ridiculous show. Hence he relishes the charades game, or the tell your mother to come visit me line after he was captured. Maybe you see Marlin Brando doing the godfather, I see marlin brando doing get smart when I see dalton on chuck. From my POV, he is screwing around, hamming it up, getting serious for a moment, then eating an ice cream cone or talking to frost like a love sick puppy about throwing a trusted employee over the ledge of a building. I view this as parody, and I view this as Chuck at its best. If Dalton slashed Ellie’s throat at the hospital, that would be evil, chuck is not that type of show, other that season $#@#%(&*

      • OldDarth says:

        Story complexity is irrelevant when you know how many episodes a given arc has.

        If the assumption you postulate about the showrunners trying to make amends is taken as fact, then the first 13 episodes of this season provide proof why giving SOME of the fans what they think they want, instead of giving ALL the fans something better is a bad decision.

      • JC says:

        @Uplink

        I saw that, I was just explaining myself a little better since some of comments have been misunderstood.

        See I have no problem with the C/S relationship being front and center as it should be. Those two’s journey are the show no doubt about that. I enjoy that aspect of show but not when it’s at the expense of everything else. At least for me when the spy story and mythology are strong it makes the moments between characters even better. Like it’s been said before it all comes down to balance. If we had an arc heavy on spy and mythology with little character moments I’d be just as disappointed. If the show hadn’t achieved this before I wouldn’t be as hard on them but I’ve seen it in S2. And to be honest with LeJudkins and Newman I think they have the writers to surpass that.

      • armysfc says:

        @jason i agree to a point it is a parody but it is also a drama. to use ernie we have a couple of hero’s journeys going on. watching the growth of sarah from season one till now has been crazy good. same with chuck. you don’t find that kind of stuff in a parody. both of them have fought their inner demons from their past to get where they are today. for me that adds up to a drama.

        again its just how a person sees a show. i see it as a comedic drama, you see it as a parody. there is nothing wrong with either way.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree to some degree OD but you can’t put 10 pounds of sugar into a 5 pound bag. Something has to get eliminated or it doesn’t fit. Also the story from what I have read was that Routh was extended twice, once for the front 13 and for the back 6. So they were obviously changing the story plan as it was being written because, and this does make me throw up in my mouth a little bit, “they liked what they were seeing from him”.

        DR recently stated that the plan always was to get them together by 3.13 even as far back as season 2. He even said they were supposed to go on a real date in 3.11 that ended up being the Stake date. So for some reason their plans changed and not for the better. Now was the LI thing forced on them like the Buy More? We will never know for sure but if you eliminate that you end up with a much better season that doesn’t require them to try and make amends this year.

        They put themselves so close to the edge as far as viewers goes that they decided to do something to satisfy the largest segment of their audience that they had pissed off the year before. Maybe not a great decision for your POV but it is better than taking the risk they did the year before and then not executing it well. We have talked about this before but if TPTB are going to take a big risk with their core audience and central characters and relationships, they need to do it well for the risk to pay off. In the case of last season they took that risk and at least one element of it failed miserably. Now because of that failure they have now played it a bit too safe. For me I’m ok with that because of the reasons I watch this show but I can see how some like you wouldn’t appreciate it.

        Is it too late to bring back that balance? I don’t think so and they look to be doing just that but for many the show will never be the magical show it once was. The decisions made in season 3 took away the epicness and special quality of the relationship at the core of the show and the attempt to bring it back has for some taken away the special greatness of the spy story. So for many it has become just good entertainment and no longer how we saw it at the end of season 2.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with almost all of that Uplink. The only thing I see wrong with S4 is that we had to suffer through S3 to get to it. Both of the last two seasons have seen some problems associated with the budget cuts, but they often manage to make a virtue of necessity (laughably bad green screen effects for one); and S3 added some darkness to both main characters that hadn’t previously been such an issue. But on its own merits I think S4 is simply the most appealing television I’ve seen. I always prefer light and fun action adventure (I would take SG-1 over BSG any day of the week) anyway; and I’ve been tickled pink to have sweet romantic comedy replace the heavy handed angst we’ve had in seasons past. That is the only substantive difference I see between S2 and S4 and to me it’s just all good. I see Volkoff’s story as parallel to Roarke’s; and I think Volkoff was a bit more with both fun and menace. Frost versus Orion is more of a direct parallel; I love both characters and really wouldn’t change much in how they were handled. Hopefully Frost will be around longer and we’ll see her return as doting grandma and deadly super spy many times in the season(s) ahead.

      • OldDarth says:

        “I agree to some degree OD but you can’t put 10 pounds of sugar into a 5 pound bag.”

        You are restating my point. If you have x amount of storytelling room then tell x amount of story.

        There is no enforced measurment of story that has to be told each season. The showrunners et al do this for a living. It is incumbent upon them to determine the right amount of story to fit a 6,13, or 22 episode order.

        If they want to be able to tell more story than the initial order then structure the story accordingly. The last two seasons show that the first 13 episodes were treated separately from the extra episodes.

        Concrete proof that the show did not have too much story to tell in the first 13 episodes for the last two seasons.

  13. Robert H says:

    Fr. Rick to answer your question on my first comment, yes, in my opinion season 3 caused the mass exodus of viewers. No need to review it again in detail.

    Was the show going to evolve after Season 2 regardless? Of course it was and would have no matter what, no issue there. The grievous error that was made the fans were
    not brought along in the evolution of the show. The error was made many times worse
    because it was the fans that saved it, no one else after Season 2. Because the fans saved it many people thought they had a personal stake in the show because of the sacrifices in time and money spent on doing it. Season 3 was disastrous not only because the fans were not brought along with the changes but many people thought it
    was a betrayal of all of the effort that was put in to save it. They had to wait 10 months
    and got a show they did not want or recognize. The producers and NBC had plenty of warning but they simply ignored what the viewers were wanting and expecting after a
    10 month wait. When that happened a great deal of anger was generated because people felt
    betrayed. That generated the ratings slide the show has never recovered from. The budget cuts didn’t help. The cuts destroyed the balance and much of the charm the show had in its first 2 seasons. NBC can be blamed for that and the fact the network
    accepted the previews shown when there was still enough time to change things. We all
    know what happened after that.

    Season 4 while admittedly much better than Season 3 on the whole has made the original Chuck much less appealing than in seasons 1 and 2. More budget cuts further
    damaged the shows balance. While of course the “Charah” characters drive the show
    a lot of the fans who left watched the show for different reasons are not watching any more beause that balance has been destroyed mainly because of the budget cuts. If there is a 5th season there will probably be more budget cuts with more characters gone and if that happens why watch it at all?That balance which was a vital part of the
    success of the show in seasons 1 and 2 is gone and it’s not coming back, 5th season or no 5th season.

    Well that’s my take on it and I’ve tried to answer your question as best I can within a
    limited amount of space. I fully realize others will undoubtedly disagree but that’s the way I see it, thanks.

    • BDaddyDL says:

      There is no doubt that we have lost non charah fans. TPTB had a bad choice of their own making after season 3. They decided to try and keep the hardcore fans with lots of Charah, as opposed to tying to get the fans that left.

      I am not sure if those were the only choices, but it seems that way.

      • jason says:

        @kev – you keep making a flat acsertion that a relevant number of non charah fans have left, it is just as likely as fans sick of the angst pulled the plug in the 8th thru 12th eps, since NOBODY left in the first 7 eps, when the non charah fans on this site were disgusted.

        I am not saying I am right, or you or wrong, other than you don’t really know and are saying your opinion as if it is fact – aren’t you?

      • jason says:

        by the way – I coach over 30 boys aged 16-18, and have a son with 3 roommates aged 21. I can pretty much guarantee you, mythology and tween girl angst does not appeal to them, comedy and skin do – in case I forgot, did I mention skin?

        I simply add an alternative theory that the dramatic moments in 4×8 and 4×11 /12 killed this season … as an alternative to too much chuck and sarah …. simply an alternative, not claiming I know for sure by any means

      • Rick Holy says:

        I hate to keep bringing up HEROES as an example (as I’ve done in the past on this and other blogs), but I’ll do it again. Heroes was excellent – or at least very good – by most fans’ standards during the first two seasons. Then Season 3 came along and a good number of fans (myself included) said, “This is b**l s**t!” and turned off the show for good.

        We can analyze the hell out of it, but basically what happened during S3 is that for about 1/3 of the fans (we started around a 3.0 demo and ended with I think a 1.7/1.8) responded to the story that was being told by saying what the fans of HEROES said (see above).

        Truthfully, I have two seasons of HEROES DVDs on my bookshelf – and they’re what I considered really good story telling and entertainment. But after the third season, I’ve never gone back and watched a single episode – because I knew what it lead up to. I’d throw them out, but that would be wasteful, so for now they just take up space.

        With CHUCK I held on – for better or worse. Season 4 turned out to be better (than S3). Better than S1 & S2, no, I don’t think so. But “better enough” for me to be entertained by most every episode. Unfortunately, too many people took my “Heroes approach” to CHUCK. And believe me, they’re NOT coming back.

        I’ve been “the optimist” in the past, but I would be shocked if CHUCK ever got back to demos in the 2.5 range consistently. Not after four seasons. Now, that’s not saying that we still can’t eek out a 5th season – it’s possible. I’ll still be looking at the ratings for the remainder of S4 to see how much of a detrimental effect DWTS and DST have on us. IF by some chance we GET a S5 – and I’m half hoping just to rub it in the face of the Chuck-haters/Nay-sayers at TVBTN (not the blog hosts, just some of the posters) who have been predicting CHUCK’s “death” now the past 3 seasons – and alwyas celebrating when we fall in the ratings- I’ll be happy. But I won’t be paying attention to the ratings during that 5th season because (1) we’re not going to “recover” those who have left, and (2) it won’t really matter anymore.

        And yes, it’s STILL me. I haven’t been overtaken by some “evil spirit!” 😉

      • armysfc says:

        jason i agree with you. i don’t think the amount of chuck and sarah hurt the season. far from it. the episodes you mentioned fit dead on with what i have been saying for a while. they are the key components in the two arc’s i found meaningless. 4.08 i have as the worst of the year just behind 09 11 and 13. 12 is in the middle.

        had it not been for the strong c/s stuff in them i would have chucked the season before we got to 11. i believe the reason we did not lose as many viewers as we could have was because of the light provided by c/s getting together. that part has been well done and helped stave off the bad parts of those episodes you listed as well as the bad arc’s. for many folks that’s really all that matters.

        we will never know why viewers left during the season, but i doubt it was because of to much chuck and sarah. some may have found it grating at times but not enough to make them leave.

      • Big Kev says:

        Jason,
        My working theory (and it is only just a guess) is that the 25-34 male demo (which is where the fall has come) left because the show became, essentially, a Chuck/Sarah romantic comedy, and all else became secondary. Your assertion that they could have left because of the angsty ending of AoT and Gobbler actually fits in with my premise – it was Chuck/Sarah angst, and RomComs have plenty of angst after all.
        But you’re right – I’m guessing, and guessing why people stop watching a show is always a fools errand.
        What I can say is that a romantic comedy isn’t necessarily what I signed up for, and my opinion of the merits of S4 is reflected in that judgement. It’s not bad (far from it) – it’s just not as engaging for me as previous seasons have been.

  14. BDaddyDL says:

    I have a question about the video ideas Jen, since there was no S%$@ does that mean bacon was used in the making of the video?

    (Sorry to highjack the thread for a bit but I could not resist)

  15. rac2873 says:

    I think we are about to get heavy mythology base episodes with some wedding stuff thrown in.

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