Why Chuck & Sarah Still Matter

About a year ago, Liz James, an excellent writer, critic and Chuck fan, wrote a seminal post for us that appears on her blog entitled Why Chuck and Sarah Matter. I encourage you to (re)read it. It’s been brought up again recently, and that led me to the question: Do Chuck and Sarah *still* matter?


Now, if I may be permitted to paraphrase, Liz James proposed they matter because Chuck and Sarah are characters beloved, not for who they were, but for who we thought they could become. They matter because they are us.

They are our best hope for what we claim makes America great. Depending on your age, they should be who you want to grow up to be, who you hope you are now or who you want your children to become.

There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. In large part, Sarah and especially Chuck have already become exactly who we hoped. For some of the fans, this may mean that they are bored with the story, or that the characters have changed enough that they don’t feel relevant. I don’t begrudge that.

But consider this: they weren’t such hot stuff before. Oh, they were “nice”, certainly. But that term carries with it just a touch of disdain. Chuck and Sarah are far stronger now.

You may recall the lyric. Chuck was “merely a vapor” when we met him. Oh, that was telling. He was a lanky, bungling kid, unsure of himself and essentially unmotivated.

Now Chuck is a man of consequence and gravitas, able to make a threat believed by Alexei Volkoff; I certainly believed him. At the same time, Chuck is still the man who cares about what he’s done to a relative stranger, Vivian McArthur for instance.

Chuck always did find a way to trust people and he’s always wanted to do the right thing. But he used to do that out of simple naïveté. When he held a gun to Alexei’s head and when he told Vivian his story about all the changes he’s gone through, I saw no trace of naïveté. Not one. He is, in fact, a character worth admiring. I believe he is the man Orion wanted him to be.

As for Sarah Walker, we learned early on that she could kill without being touched by it. Chuck flashed on her ring and saw two things; the gun firing and the look on her face. With good reason, she was glad she killed the French assassins and would do it again if she had to.

For all her talents, Agent Walker never seemed to understand how the incident with Mauser affected Chuck. It – she – gave him nightmares. We raled that they never quite finished their conversation when Chuck pressed her about it in 3-D.

That was before. Agent Walker is no longer accomplishing her missions as if her actions had no consequences. Now, those consequences are real to her and the people she affects (both the good guys and the bad guys) are very real to her too. In her own words she was nothing, merely a spy and as I see it, merely a vapor. She is no longer “nothing but a spy”, but a human being capable of experiencing feelings.

Things have changed. About the time that Sarah Walker felt uneasy about her pre-nup, about the time she told Casey that she was seeing things from Chuck’s point of view, Sarah was feeling the things she should have felt in 3-D. Casey might tell her that she used to be able to hide those feelings from herself.

It’s no longer right to think of the agent and the woman as if they are two separate beings. Sarah Walker isn’t capable of hiding behind the agent any more like she’s wearing armor, not since The Gobbler when she refused Chuck’s call for the last time.

The Chuck and Sarah we met were not great people, but we loved those characters.

Chuck: Okay, sure. So today I helped take down a major international arms dealer. But tomorrow, tomorrow I – I still gotta go clock in at the Buy More. I mean, what good is it to be a hero if nobody knows about it?
Sarah: You know. And so do I.

That was a pretend world populated with cartoon characters. For me, only the love was real, and that was enough. Chuck and Sarah are bigger now; Chuck is not going back to the Nerd Herd desk, and Sarah is not the only one who knows he’s a hero now. They are more admirable characters.

It starts to feel complete, and fans wonder out loud if if there is more story to tell. But is their story finished? Do we need to care any longer?

Chuck and Sarah mattered to me in the fall of 2008 (that’s when I had my first inkling that I was enthralled with the story) because in them, I recognized something of the person I was, not the person I am. I would watch an episode and all the while encourage Chuck by shouting “Don’t be a fool! Pay attention to that! KISS HER NOW!” at the TV set, like I had personal stake in the outcome.

Well, I did, because I had done the foolish thing in the past, missed the important moment and failed to make the right move. Of course, later I learned to not be so foolish and I learned to pay more attention and I even got the girl. So Chuck mattered to me like he was my younger self or a son.

But hey, I ain’t dead yet, and things keep happening, like, more responsibilities. The second time around, Chuck will not only have to be the expert spy (like he was accidentally the first time), he’ll have to demonstrate that he believes it and make others believe it. He’ll have to demonstrate that it was no accident, just like me.

Chuck still matters exactly because he’s grown in a way I understand, and in a way I’ve experienced. Sarah still matters to me because people and the rest of the world have become more, not less, real as I get older. It’s still about family and trust and duty and responsibility, and keeping each other safe. Those things remain important.

Ultimately, just like Liz James posited in her original article, Chuck and Sarah matter because of who we thought they could become. I want to add that the process of becoming doesn’t end when Chuck and Sarah get married. What has changed is us. What’s not changed, is that It’s still a story about us.

– 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.
This entry was posted in Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, No Spoilers, Observations, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Why Chuck & Sarah Still Matter

  1. anieli says:

    I agree with you, because Chuck and Sarah are much better now and after they married body will have several other things to show us and teach us so I’m sure there must be a new season

    • joe says:

      Hi, Anieli. Glad to have you in the discussion. Welcome!

      I corrected my typo and added a line or two to my original after you read the post early this morning! I was up early, but you beat me to it! Nothing substantial was changed, but I wanted to make one point a bit more clear.

      Hope you don’t mind.

  2. ArmySFC says:

    nice write up, so thanks. i matters to me in a negative way. i’m not one to care about the relationship. i’m glad they are done with the gaga eyes and not doing anything about it. that’s be a plus for me. watching a full season so far of almost everything directly affecting the bartowski clan got boring. the volkoff arc was paled for me because the sole motivation for bringing him down was poor chucky was scared and wanted his mommy back. not he could kill millions ect. this is just my opinion but the relationship drove the spy plot not the other way around.

    for folks vested in character growth and the want or need to see them together and happy, this season delivered in spades. even though i didn’t like that part it was well done. they gave those folks almost everything they wanted and more. if they get hitched it will be the cherry on top. to them chuck and sarah do matter. it just doesn’t do it for me. if we get a next season maybe i’ll get what i want, but then again maybe not. either way i’ll tune in to see how it goes and what they have in store for us!

    • joe says:

      Army, you just know that I was addressing your thoughts, in large part, when I wrote this.

      I have a growing feeling that Schwedak has been listening and responding to fans with your POV. Their job, of course, is to keep as many fans as possible happy with the product, and compromise is a killer for everyone. Chuck fans have always been a bunch nervous nellies that way, I think. – Always examining every nuance and detail in a microscope, looking for clues and direction, like their afraid to lose what they’ve already gained. I’m one of those.

      But Schwedak has to answer to many bosses. ‘Taint easy, their job.

      • ArmySFC says:

        joe, here is something i just recently learned. fedak is the head writer and controls whats written and how. schwartz puts the direction, fedak makes it happen on paper. my anger has faded towards JS in light of this. JS may have wanted relationship angst, CF gave the way and amount it happened. as head writer it was his call.

  3. Olddarth says:

    Sarah’s growth has been as expected though not too enamored with the means used to gain that growth.

    Chuck’s growth – or lack thereof – is far more problematic. The first 13 episodes were not kind, to put it kindly, to the Chuck character. Turn around is fair play because the exact same thing happened to Sarah last season.

    Chuck was, note the tense usage, my favorite character. This season has really diminished his stature in my eyes. It started last season with The Beard. With that annoying Robin Hood writing style the show took Chuck’s best qualities and gave them to Morgan yet gave Chuck no replacement for those lost positive and endearing qualities. I am all for Morgan being part of the spy world but not at the expense of the Chuck character.

    As for Chuck and Sarah mattering still – they would have mattered much more to me at this point if – here I go again – if the spy stories possessed a smidgin of storytelling logic. Not asking for anything grandiose just some basic, logically connected story points.

    Chuck & Sarah are together but the poor story telling makes it too obvious that they were maneuvered there rather than honestly arriving to where they are now.

    • Crumby says:

      Chuck’s growth – or lack thereof – is far more problematic.

      I completely agree with that, and I wouldn’t restrict that problem to the first 13 episodes. My problem with Chuck didn’t go away with Push Mix.

    • joe says:

      There’s a large sense in which I agree too, Lou. Young is a wonderful place to be. Innocence is beautiful and more than most I really, really like to reminisce and get nostalgic for simpler times. Great fun and very entertaining.

      There’s no way the seriousness of adult responsibilities can ever strike those same chords. I really don’t expect TPTB to even try.

      That’s not to say I won’t find pleasures in seeing the next phase, assuming it’s executed as well. It’ll still speak to me.

      • Crumby says:

        I don’t think it has anything to do with youth and responsibilities Joe.

        What part of adulthood teach you to lie to your sister because you’re too afraid to tell her who you really are and what you are proud to do because you’re afraid of her reaction and too selfish to face it?

        Is making everybody in your life, including your brother in law, lie to your sister in order to cover up your cowardice really responsible?

        Same thing with taking this ‘cool attitude’ right when your closed up fiancé is trying to open up to you!

        If that’s adulthood, I don’t want to grow up! 😉

      • joe says:

        There’s actually an answer to that, Crumby!

        The part of adulthood that teaches you to lie to your sister is the same part that tells you to withhold the truth about, say, sex, from a six year old, and the same part that tells you to withhold news of impending death to a parent. It’s a hard choice that really isn’t done out of fear, but hopefully out of discretion and kindness.

        There’s always a case to be made that Chuck *is* acting out of fear, but I tend to think that he got past that a while ago (although, yes, we still see vestiges).

        I’m cutting him some slack ’cause I’m pretty sure Chuck is going to get there, and that he’s on the right track. Temporary setbacks are usually resolved pretty quickly in the Chuckverse. Right? 😉

      • Crumby says:

        Temporary setback that last 20 episodes? I’ve accepted the argument that he didn’t want to tell her at first to protect her. It doesn’t work anymore. They found their mom, and Volkoff has been arrested.

        I’m just quoting Chuck:

        No. Mom, we’ve been down that road before… okay?… and if she gets the truth now, she could end up resenting me for all the lies I’ve told, and it’ll tear us apart.

        I don’t see what’s admirable in this, especially since 1/ he knows she’s been working on this and it’s dangerous, 2/ yes, they’ve been down that road before! That’s exactly why he should tell her! Who’s better than Chuck to explain her the danger she’s getting into? Except he can’t do that as long as he’s lying. 3/ Ellie has the right do pursue the mission her father left to her, just like Chuck did when he went after his mother.

        I would think that being a good brother would be to get over yourself and really think of what’s best for your sister. That’s not what he’s giving her, and there isn’t much excuse for it since the end of Push Mix.

      • joe says:

        Well, you definitely make a good case, Crumby. But just like you wanted, Chuck was headed right to Ellie to tell her (finally) everything.

        Yeah, we got the “Abort! Abort!” sirens going off, and it didn’t. Quite. Happen.

        But what if (just play along now), what if in the very first scene come Monday he marches back and tells her anyway?

        Wouldn’t be the first time that happened. All I’m saying is that just as much as Chuck’s been immature and in the wrong about keeping that particular secret from Ellie (and I still contend that he wasn’t all that immature and all that wrong about it – just somewhat), he does appear to be headed in the right direction!

      • Crumby says:

        That would certainly be great Joe. I’m hoping for it. 🙂

        My problem is not so much about the lying anymore, but about his reasons for it and the way he’s been handling it.

        Telling Awesome is one thing, but asking him to cover up for him? Can’t he do is dirty work himself? And he’s not even apologetic about it.

        Is mother is also lying on his behalf, just like pretty much everybody in Ellie’s life. Remember that cute scene at the beginning of Seduction Impossible with the whole family around Clara? Isn’t it sad that Clara is the only person in that family that isn’t lying to Ellie?

        And why did he abort anyway? I could have told her when Ellie lied to him. It’s gotten so bad that for a second, when she lied to him, I thought “take that Chuck, you had it coming!” Which is also really sad.

        I just want this to be over with. It should have ended so many episodes ago.

      • ArmySFC says:

        crumby…you are correct chuck needs to man up and tell his sister. in fact he should have done that by now. he is 30 not 15. he is not doing anything wrong, but something he enjoys. he has mommy back now, its time to shed the mommy image he has of ellie. TPTB have a history of reducing one character to lift another. why they keep doing it is beyond me. you say sarah was reduced for chuck, i saw chuck reduced for morgan and casey reduced for sarah (after they get together casey reduced on missions hence the bentely arc).

        joe…while he indeed may get there, it has been a frustrating situation for far to long. to me this has been far worse for most fans than the WT/WT. its worse than WT/WT because more folks can identify with it. it strikes home to almost all viewers, the affects of lying to a loved one.

        chuck continues to abuse certain plot lines. this is just one. you have the extended period of no intersect or a broke one, the entire family deal of season 4. there have been 5 count downs to death since 4.08, there were several before that.

        it’s my hope that if they get a season 5 they can find the balance they so sorely need. chuck is a good show (for me) with a few minor changes and original ideas it could be great.

    • Rick Holy says:

      You’ve got some really good points there.

  4. Crumby says:

    Joe nice write up. Interesting thoughts. I disagree with some of it though.

    I hate the idea that Sarah was a cold ruthless spy that suddenly grew a conscience when she met Chuck. You don’t change that much over a ballerina and a Mexican dinner, as nice as they were. She was already like this, only nobody told her and showed her as well as Chuck did, that it was a good thing.

    Take the Mauser incident for example. Why would you think that Sarah didn’t care of what she did? Look at what she said about it:

    Chuck, I have to protect you. […] I did what I had to. He knew who you really were. Your whole family was in danger. And I’m sorry. Sometimes I forget that you never asked for all of this.

    It’s a lot similar to what Chuck said about killing Shaw:

    I couldn’t let him hurt you, Sarah. Trust me, I did what I had to do.

    They don’t feel good about it, but they both did what they had to do, and they accept that. The fact that Sarah accepts that her job may lead her to take lives and that she’s more okay with that than Chuck don’t indicate in anyway that she doesn’t feel bad about it. Her red test was the worse day of her life, but she accepted it because “she thought she was a good spy” and did what she had to do.

    She also did unlike spy things like doing whatever it was she did to save Carina in Pakistan. When he comes to it she does right by the people she cares about, and the greater good. Doing the right thing always mattered to her too, but the only model she received came from the spy world and we know it’s flawed.

    In large part, Sarah and especially Chuck have already become exactly who we hoped.

    I don’t feel that way. I have loved Sarah’s growth regarding the relationship, but as a spy (Phase 3 aside), she’s become so often useless and sometimes looks like an amateur. Is this really the kick ass spy that was saving Chuck’s life on a daily basis back in S1&2?

    And Chuck has become my sore point honestly. He’s so annoying sometimes, it ruins the humor.

    • joe says:

      You said it better than I, Crumby. I didn’t really mean to imply that Sarah was cold and dead before she met Chuck. That smile at the herder desk before she left her card told me she wasn’t.

      But instead, what I saw was that she was very able to put on that infamous Agent Walker armor (reg. US. Pat. Off.) and she donned it waaaayyyy too easily. She was on a hair trigger until – when? the final 6 of S3 and beyond, perhaps. That hard shell was a reflex and a tic.

      Clearly, Sarah broke herself of that habit and found that Agent personna painful to put it on again, as we saw in The Gobbler. I’m satisfied that’s over with.

      As for her worth as a spy, I think I know what you mean. Certainly, she seemed to stumble under the weight of new outlook. It was like she was working with one hand tied behind her back. I would have been surprised and maybe even disappointed if it came easy!

      But for all of S4 we’ve seen that Sarah *still* an effective spy, even a great one. She got Mary’s admiration!

    • Crumby says:

      I would say that Chuck made it not only okay for her, but basically the only way, to embrace that ‘better part’ of herself.

      As for the spy thing, it doesn’t have anything to do with her being more open or comfortable with her feelings. They make her useless or an amateur to make Chuck look like a great spy, it’s very annoying.

      • Tatu says:

        Which was already a case in season 1 and 2, remember how many times she was captured or incapacitated back then.

        And while a problem in season 3, i don’t think it was a problem this season, as i don’t remember all that many cases of that this season….yeah there were some episodes where Sarah took a backseat so other characters get to shine, but that does not equal useless or amateuriash …and again there were plenty of cases of that in first two seasons as well.

      • joe says:

        Good point, Tatu.

        In Helicopter (Epi 1.2, IIRC) Sarah not only acted a bit impetuously and got herself kidnapped, but was a little peevish that she had to rely on Chuck to rescue her.

        Well, she wouldn’t have admitted it then, and all Chuck did was hand her a paper clip. But she looked pretty helpless to me.

        Back then I chalked up her petulant attitude to the fact that Sarah was a brand new character, still a work in progress. I wouldn’t normally scrutinize early episode versions of characters so closely and expect to not find a lot of changes.

        But she did maintain that attitude through, the attitude of uber self-reliance that began with “I can FIX this!”.

        I’m sort of glad that she sometimes admits she can’t, now.

      • Crumby says:

        The fact that it was already the case in S1&2 doesn’t make it less annoying.

        I’m not saying Sarah is a super hero, and there is no way she would get kidnapped or incapacitated or need help. They are a team, of course they need to work together.

        I’m referring to scenes like in Push Mix, where Morgan is fighting lasers and all Sarah and Mary are doing is waiting around hands in their pockets… I mean, really? Or in A-Team, what was her value as a spy in that episode besides being the Intersect’s fiancé?

        I guess I just miss Phase Three Sarah sometimes. It is especially true, when there are trying to make Chuck look good. It’s like Phase Three Sarah and Push Mix Chuck can’t co-exist.

      • Tatu says:

        Frankly i find those examples extremly nitpicky and frankly especially in A-Team case kind of a miss.

        Her value as a spy in A-Team episode was that she was pushing to find out what is happening with Casey more than Chuck, she took care of Morgan and she took it as an afront to her abilities that they were treated as a b-team. Yes in the final scene, it’s Chuck that gets to shine, but before that his role wasn’t any more prominent than hers. They were spy partners working very well together. And you say you miss Phase Three badass Sarah, but frankly that episode was biggest showcase of her character in 4 years, we didn’t have anything like that before.

      • Crumby says:

        I’m just feeling a trend since Masquerade.

        Sarah was one of the best agent the CIA had 4 years ago. She has the experience Chuck has and more. She was supposed to be in charge of the Intersect project in Ring I. She was supposed to lead the Ring task force with S#@# in DC.

        She knows exactly why Chuck can handle the Intersect. That’s the reason she thinks he’s great. It doesn’t have anything to do with pop culture knowledge. It’s his sense of right and wrong that makes the difference. Which she by the way shares with him.

        So why suddenly am I supposed to think Chuck should be in charge, and Sarah should just be supportive, watch his back and sometime maybe bring him coffee, while he goes and save the world. (This sentence is not to be taken literally. ;))

        Makes no sense and that’s not what I want to see honestly. I want a strong, kick ass and competent Sarah with bad ass Chuck from Anniversary or Push Mix. I don’t want Sarah to become ONLY the supportive wife.

        Surely Chuck isn’t the only one that knows how to plan something, and most of the missions don’t rely on Intersect knowledge anymore. Yet he’s been doing pretty much everything since Masquerade (I know Casey had his moments and Sarah robbed the bank with Chuck but that’s pretty much it), while Casey and Sarah are just waiting around watching his back and doing nothing except being supportive.

        Is that the new Team B? Cause we’ve talked about how Chuck wasn’t treated as an equal before and all that stuff, but let’s not get carried away in giving him all spy activity possible now that everyone has recognized his importance and skills.

        I’m exaggerating everything, I know that. It doesn’t help that Chuck has become very annoying to me. I understand that not everybody feel that way.

        I’m also overreacting because of what’s coming. The show has a history of giving Chuck his hero moment while everybody else just fades in the background. He had is hero moment when he killed S#@# in Other Guy. Then he took him down pretty much by himself in Ring II to avenge his father. Then he arrested Volkoff and avenge his entire family, saving his mother and finishing his father’s life mission.

        Other Guy doesn’t count since the purpose was for Chuck to save Sarah. But Ring II and Push Mix? She had a pretty minor role in both, and Chuck taking over the whole operation in Push Mix really made her undercover mission not all that relevant.

        I know the show is called Chuck and blah blah blah, and I’m not asking for the show to be called Sarah, I just think the show is at its best when they are both at their best.

        If you don’t want Sarah to save the day, just keep her busy with something, don’t make her look like an idiot. That’s all I’m saying. They did it with Casey perfectly in Other Guy, Ring II and Push Mix.

        I want Chuck and Sarah from Honeymooners. Kicking ass and taking names TOGETHER. Much like when they robbed that bank in FBoE. How awesome was that?

      • Crumby says:

        Tatu I’m biased about A-Team because I really didn’t like the episode.

        What I saw was Sarah acting like she did because someone took her missions away from her and she was jealous.

        I guess you’re right, the episode eventually proved that they were a great team. I shouldn’t forget that.

      • Mess says:

        I have to agree that now a days, Chuck can be a bit annoying. His behaviour has really become hit or miss since the push mix. Take the CAT-Squad, he was acting like a needy four year old. Just the whining and the look I shot them all comment when he fell through the roof, I hated that episode from that moment on(not that Sarah’s reactions were any better might I add, that was just a pathetic episode in my opinion, I’d almost rather watch vs The Mask). Same goes with vs The A-Team. I was fine with the way they handled the roles in that one, but really Chuck? Do you really have to constantly remind your incredible Fiancé that you are the intersect and then kinda make a point of it that, that is the reason why you are the A-Team. Ever stopped to think that perhaps your Fiancé is like the most kick ass spy in the world? Or the whole cool guy thing, really Chuck your Fiancé wants to talk about something, perhaps you should give her a chance, else you will need that prenup. Seriously I prefer the old screaming like a girl Chuck over this one, or the one in The Ring II that had confidence in himself and in the team.

      • Crumby says:

        But really Chuck? Do you really have to constantly remind your incredible Fiancé that you are the intersect and then kinda make a point of it that, that is the reason why you are the A-Team. Ever stopped to think that perhaps your Fiancé is like the most kick ass spy in the world?

        Thank You! That was SO annoying.

      • treecrab says:

        @Mess – I’m sorry, but if generating a prenup is the only way that Sarah knows how to get Chuck to ask her about what’s bothering her, then she is simply too broken to function in society.

        “Hey, something is bothering me and I want you to ask me about it but I don’t want to actually bring up what’s bothering me, so I’m going to go to a lawyer and have him create a legal document to protect my assets from you, and then I’m just going to give you the prenup and TELL you to sign it without asking any questions, while the whole time secretly hoping that you will read my mind and bring up the obvious yourself and ask me what’s wrong even though I’ve stated multiple times I hate it when you pry into my past and oh by the way, I’m never going to actually tell you what was bothering me in the first place even if we do talk about this whole prenup.” That’s got to be one of the most ridiculous acts of passive aggression I’ve ever seen anybody pull, not to mention incredibly stupid.

  5. Rick Holy says:

    Yes, they still matter because THEY – and their relationship and development as individuals who find each other, and despite coming from such different backgrounds still manage to become a couple – IS the key to the show. Although some suggest the “hero’s journey” and all that drivel (the showrunners have even talked themselves into that angle – or at least they’ve tried to talk US into it) as the key to the show, it isn’t. It’s about characters and relationships – two (C&S) in particular. “Hero’s journey” is only background stuff. Not to say it’s insignificant, but still background when compared to the Chuck & Sarah story.

    Let’s be honest, if you took a survey of very passionate CHUCK fans, especially during the first two seasons, as to what was it that attracted them to the show and held their interest, either (a) Chuck’s “Hero’s Journey” or (b) Chuck and Sarah’s relationship, I think the majority would answer (b). A “Hero’s Journey might interest me if I was in 5th grade, but I’m not, and neither is most of the CHUCK audience.

    The reason we lost so many viewers is because they started to do, quite frankly, a crappy job of telling or exploring or whatever word you want to use, the Chuck and Sarah story. We’ve had some really golden episodes over the past four seasons that explored that WELL, and those will forever be keepers, but unfortunately, there haven’t been enough of them.

    Now, if by some miracle the show was to survive into a 5th season, then for God’s sake producers and writers, do a better job at exploring the Chuck and Sarah story as a married couple – married spies, married whatever.

    CHUCK is a relationship-based show at its heart, with the key relationship obviously being C & S. Once that became sidetracked or was no longer told “well,” the ratings slipped. People watch relationship shows FOR THE RELATIONSHIP. Look back at TV history and see why so many long running shows maintained their popularity. It was because the relationship between at least one or more sets of characters continued to be interesting and well written. Can’t say that has always been the case for CHUCK, and that’s why it’s suffered.

    It would also be interesting to take a survey of FORMER Chuck viewers and ask them what it was that turned them away from the show. I know I’m simplifying this, but if you said either (a) The way CHUCK’s “Hero’s Journey” was playing out wasn’t satisfying, or (b) The Chuck-Sarah relationship really got screwed up or began to be written poorly, I think the answer would be (b) for most people.

    Again, I could be wrong, but if I am, why is the “pay off” at the end of the season (or series) going to be a Chuck and Sarah Wedding and not a Chuck the Triumphant and “journey complete” Hero?

    The “heoro’s journey” isn’t the primary thing that has people watching (or should I say STILL watching – as the viewership continues to decline) – it’s a side bar, that’s it. It’s their (C & S’s) development as PEOPLE – whole and complete – that generated (imho) the fan interest especially in the first two seasons. Yes, the Intersect and Sarah’s assignment as the protector of “The Asset” played a BIG part in that, but those things only “set the scene” for the REAL heart of the “CHUCK” story – the Chuck and Sarah relationship.

    And THAT’S why they still matter! And it’s the only damn reason I’m still watching the show.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with every bit of that Rick!

    • ArmySFC says:

      rick ill just say one thing. last year they dropped 1.1 this year so far .9. this year was nothing but family and the relationship. based on what you said ratings should have soared not dropped. in both cases they went to HEAVY to one side rather than as joe said to me split the middle ground. i hard thing to do, and both times it seemed they failed.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Army – here is a critical part of what I wrote in my post that I’d like to reiterate:

        “CHUCK is a relationship-based show at its heart, with the key relationship obviously being C & S. Once that became sidetracked or was no longer told “well,” the ratings slipped.”

        In Season 3 it became side-tracked, and the ratings plummeted. In Season 4 it became the central focus (as I believe it was in S1 and S2), but there were too many episodes were it wasn’t told (or written) “well,” and thus the ratings plummeted again.

        Have I preferred S4 to S3? Yes. But primarily because S3 was such a disaster. But S4, although it has had its golden moments, hasn’t exactly been “great” in “how well” (and this is obviously just my opinion) it focused on/told the story of the Chuck and Sarah relationship (as compared to S1 and S2).

        Perhaps we’re agreeing in point if not in degree, and that in S1/2 they did a better job of integrating the C & S relationship aspect with the show as a whole – and thus did a better job of telling the C&S story. Someone else can do the math, but how many “Intersectless” episodes did we have in S4 that got tiresome after awhile? How many “whiny Chuck” episodes did we have in S4 that also got tiresome after awhile?

        So I don’t think having the focus of S4 be the C&S relationship was the cause of the ratings drop this season, it was the fact that the C&S relationship wasn’t “told as well” as it could have been (i.e., as compared to S1 and S2). Nothing against the new writers, but I think the writing was the problem. We lost so many folks from S1 and S2 – people who were part of this show from the beginning – and when you lose that continuity from a writing perspective, how well you “tell the story” (whatever the focus of the story may be) suffers.

      • ArmySFC says:

        rick i know what you said. let me explain my point. i don’t think most male viewers tune into a relationship based shows. by heading that heavy into the relationship/family type show you chased some away. your correct in that the stuff from last year chased away some relationship fans. this year the heavy dose of relationship has chased away those that don’t care as much about it. had it been done more subtlety the results may have been different.

        we can agree to disagree if you want but i still think most males (especially young ones) don’t care about relationships all that much.

  6. atcDave says:

    There’s a lot of things I could complain about in Chuck and Sarah character growth, but for the most part I do like where they are now. But I really liked where they started at too. Chuck was stagnant and underachieving, but he was moral and decent. His growth has mainly been along the lines of his ability to impact and control the world around him. I don’t like his deception of his sister, and I wish he talked more about duty and mission; and didn’t have to personalize his mission so much. But I see those complaints as smaller issues than the greater growth.
    After a disastrous S3, Sarah’s growth is more completely acceptable. Her feelings and desire for relationship now seem pretty smoothly integrated with her professional persona. Again, she started as a very strong and likable character; for the the most part they’ve added to her character without damaging what made her great at the start.

    Some of what’s been lost is simply unavoidable. By definition, if Chuck is assuming more leadership on missions, it means Sarah is more of a follower. I really liked the old dynamic of Chuck as the amateur, but outside the box thinker who occasionally saves the day; while Sarah was the more traditional heroic sort. Chuck becoming a more traditional hero has taken away some of Sarah’s previous function. But again this strikes me as a minor problem, and I’ll say I’m 80% pleased with the characters growth.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I don’t think Sarah really started out as the hero model. She was Graham’s enforcer. She’d spent her childhood being used by her manipulative father and when he was arrested Graham was there to give her another gig immediately. Though he probably left her to twist and think about it for a few years (remember Sarah was known as the jailbird’s daughter in late high school) so that she’d be desperate to do what he wanted. If he hadn’t made her the offer , maybe she would have found her own way to a life of her own.

      Then Bryce (who she trusted because he was like her father) betrayed her and the CIA and made her look like she was either in cahoots or a fool for not catching on that he was up to something (it wouldn’t hurt to have Sarah go through therapy for not catching on with Bryce and Shaw and why she didn’t) . Bryce threatened her source of instable stability by risking her job like that. When told about Chuck she was gung ho to catch him and was expecting another bad guy. He snuck past her defenses and got her to think outside of what the CIA told her by being so different from what she was expecting. He further got to her on thier date and awakening her protective instincts (which seemed to only exist for him and disappeared around Shaw) .

      We saw as late as Coup d’etat that Sarah thought change was bad. Her childhood was contantly in flux except for her father who was her source of stability. In the CIA, her sources of stability were Graham , his orders and Bryce as her partner.

      I hope this is clearish and not rambling.

      • atcDave says:

        Well, I disagree about Sarah not being a hero from the start, quite strongly actually. The Sarah we got in S1 was devoted to duty and mission and determined to make wrongs right. We know she saw herself in a different light than Casey, but Carina is the strongest voice for that; when Chuck confronts her that Sarah is not careerist and is dedicated to the well being of her partners Carina concedes the point. We also know she had a reputation as the agency’s best. When the whole “criminal’s daughter” angle was introduced it really only elevates her further, she came from a bad background yet still chooses to go above and beyond in her service of the greater good. She not only is dedicated to mission and duty, but she treats Chuck with decency and respect; and is willing to do what’s right even when it goes against orders. That combination of dedication and morality makes for a complex and satisfying hero.

        To me, that is the very definition of a traditional heroic character. In fact, I think she may be the best traditional heroic character we’ve seen on network TV in many years.
        TPTB muddied the waters a great deal in S3; adding such grotesque concepts as the Red Test and giving us a confused lost child Sarah Walker that was almost unrecognizable from those first two seasons. The hero was severely undermined, which is among the reasons I despise that season.
        I don’t see her response the “change” issue as having any bearing on her hero qualities at all. In fact, the reason I often preface her character type with “traditional” is exactly because creativity and outside-the-box thinking are never requirements for that description. Its all about dedication, duty, mission, ethics, and capability. What’s more, we saw right from the Pilot that she was willing to go against her superiors when she didn’t like her orders. While complex morality is not a defining requirement for her archetype, she still shows some capability of determining right from wrong on her own (Pilot and Marlin stand out).
        Chuck is a far more complex character type; what I would classify a “moral hero”. He was also severely damaged during the misery arc. In many ways even more so than Sarah because his very archetype requires that he do the right thing.
        Going into S4 I think its safe to say both characters have developed beyond their original concepts. But I think Casey’s judgement of the old Sarah Walker just being Graham’s “wild card enforcer” is Casey’s judgement alone. It may play on some of Sarah’s worst fears about herself, but it is clearly not consistent with the character we saw in early S1 or the details we do have about her early career. She likely had a reputation as being capable and dangerous that Casey translated into something else, but I completely don’t buy it.

      • joe says:

        I think I grok what you’re saying here, Tamara. But you’re also using some of your inner-language. (Instable stability? I LIKE it!)

        What you described is exactly the reason that I have for Sarah being so ready, willing and able to be that cold ice-queen assassin. Used to be she could do that if she feet it’s necessary or if she was told it’s necessary.

        Chuck sort of wrecked that for her. Now she’s always asking, like does, if what she’s doing is right, and Beckman’s word on it may or may not be good enough. You’re right that she paid a price for listening to Shaw one too many times.

        Oh, what am I saying? She should not have listened to him at all, ever. But like fog, evil comes in on little cat’s paws.

        But you’re right. Her method of coping was at best, meta-stable. Chuck toppled it over. When I think of it that way, it would be sort of hard for Sarah to carry on as an agent at all, much less a world-class agent. It would be a lot to absorb, after all.

        I think I too would blanch at all the change. Oh! Tamara, she really didn’t say that change was bad, did she? That sounds like a Casey line, actually. I’ll have to check, but I think she said it was hard for her, and she has to take it slowly. That’s a little different.

      • First Timer says:

        With all due respect to Joe (and honored as I am that my referencing Why Chuck and Sarah Matters generated a post), I think atcdave has it right. Sarah was a superspy hero from the start. Chuck was an everyday hero (the ballerina moment) and together they were meant to do great things.

        And that, I think, is why Chuck and Sarah DON’T matter much anymore, much as we love them. From their first adventure together (when they cause the death of two Interpol agents in Honeymooners), the partnership hasn’t been glorious from the sense of doing great things. Yes, they saved several branches of government in Ring II, but only as a byproduct of defeating Shaw, who was out to kill them. The uber-dangerous Volkoff? Chuck and Sarah only seemed interested in taking him down as a way to sate Chuck’s desire to find his mother.

        Chuck seems obsessed with spying now (hence his Fear of Death’s insanity) just so he can go on adventures with Sarah. Sarah is obsessed with her relationship with Chuck (hence her Phase Three’s know-no-moral-boundaries actions). These aren’t the heroes we had hoped for when they were finally together as a couple.

        So do we love Chuck and Sarah as lovers and a soon-to-be-married couple? Sure. But I think Liz James was talking about the greater mythology of things. In Season 1 and 2 they were saving the world together. In Season 3 and 4, all they seem to care about anymore are themselves.

        What’s heroic about two self-involved 20-somethings?

        My two cents, anyway.

      • ArmySFC says:

        FT, much as i like S4 you hit the nail on the head. most everything done this season was for self centered reasons. thus my earlier post on the relationship driving the spy plot. chuck needs to prove to sarah he’s a spy because she said he wasn’t = FoD mess. chuck is worried about his mom and is scared = volkoff arc. tomake the relationship/ growth they made the mythology fit the needs of the couple.

      • joe says:

        Yes, FT. It was you. No secrets here!

        Clearly, I’m in a minority. S’ok. That’s where I started! 😉

        It’s true that Sarah was a super-spy. There’s no denying that. She was a rather mediocre human being, though. One smile for a kindness done for a child ain’t going overboard. The rest, well, she was a professional liar and seducer, and Chuck had the good sense to know that what’s too good to be true probably was.

        The wonderful twist – it *was* true, and Sarah didn’t even know it. The beta-dweeb in me still likes that.

        But we’re past that now.

        In Season 1 and 2 they were saving the world together. In Season 3 and 4, all they seem to care about anymore are themselves.

        Huh? My minority view would be that pretty much the opposite is true. The world was an incidental intrusion in S1 & S2 as they marched to find out what they wanted, and to find each other. Each only had the other in their sights, and Chuck had to insist (vociferously!) Sarah raise her sights to also see Morgan and Ellie.

        For them now in S4, the rest of the world is all too real, and all too big. They’re not caring only about themselves is S4 so much as trying to protect themselves from the tsunami, looking for cover where they can find it. That’s why they dither about staying or running. Tell Ellie, or shield Ellie.

        Always in the minority! 😉

      • ArmySFC says:

        Joe… i like this line from your post, “They’re not caring only about themselves is S4 so much as trying to protect themselves from the tsunami, looking for cover where they can find it. That’s why they dither about staying or running. Tell Ellie, or shield Ellie.” you just showed me you are with me in this not the minority. they are trying to protect each other at the cost of other things. it’s been the one of the driving forces of early season 4. so based on what you said, welcome to the majority!

        you watch much more than i do. i bet if you watch them again and see how many episodes the plot is drive by the desire to protect themselves it will far out weigh those that aren’t. now keep in mind i’m including any episode that deals with the volkoff arc in any way because he is the focal point of chucks hunt for his mother and to keep chuck safe.

      • First Timer says:

        @joe:
        You know, I don’t think you’re in the minority. I actually don’t think there IS a majority view now. The fandom is fractured on what they want and even what they see on any given Monday.

        But I think a lot of this stuff is eye-of-the-beholder. Since I recently read almost all of this blog (yeah, crazy, I know…), it is amazing to see the logic of everyone’s view. You, for example, always wanted the characters to connect with you emotionally. Atcdave always wanted a happy tale. Ernie Davis is obsessed with putting everything into the hero’s journey context. Liz James stressed logical storytelling and Chuck and Sarah vs. the enemy. Faith, well, squuee covers her view, bless her. Amy connects via the music. Old Darth values the spy aspect over anything else. And no one’s view has changed much over the years or the episodes. I mean, I think other than the fact that everyone loves Colonel, there’s very little common ground.

        So I think we’re all minorities.

        As for the real world then (Season 1/2) and now (Season 3/4), I think you missed my point. I liked the idea (as I think Liz James did) that Chuck and Sarah fought villians because they were bad. That was enough. Chuck and Sarah fought bad guys because they were bad guys. Now, though, they focus on bad guys only because they happen to impact their personal lives. What worked once for the showrunners (Chuck looking for his Dad “intersects” Chuck fighting Fulcrum) has become Chuck and Sarah only caring about bad guys for their own reason.

        For me, that detracts from their greatness. I may not be as obsessed with the spy tales as Old Darth, but I don’t want every villain to be intertwined with the family tale. It strikes me as making the characters smaller.

      • armysfc says:

        FT, i agree the fandom being splintered. Joe i agree its a tight line they need to walk. i like the spy mythology my self. it doesn’t mean the rest have to suffer. just speaking for myself one or two changes could have made a huge difference in how i see this season. say in 4.01 they never tied volkoff to mary. chuck humts for his mom with help. i they leave out volkoff was with mary in coupe. now the CIA wants volkoff taken down because of the nukes. chuck and sarah work as a team and infiltrate volkoff industries where he meets his mom for the first time. then the three of them take him down. the hunt is still there but they go after the bad guy for the right reason and the family comes together because of it, not they get the bad guy because of family. same basic story told different.

      • atcDave says:

        First Timer I do agree with your point about the nature of the threats on this show to an extent. But I don’t think its really changed so much since the beginning.
        Okay, I know that doesn’t make much sense. But going back to S1 they tended to write stand alone episodes as “missions” against some baddie or another; while the major arc episodes were more personal in nature. In S1, the only real arc issues were Bryce, Lou, and Fulcrum (which was all about the Intersect). In S2 the major arc episodes were Fulcrum, Orion, and Jill.
        But in S1 and S2 we had far more stand alone episodes than we saw in S3 and S4. In particular, S1 started with SEVEN episodes that were mainly establishing the world and characters, and the first real arc started in 1.08. Those first seven episodes always have a special place to me. I love introductions and origins stories. And as stand alones those are easy to watch by themselves, or paired with thematically similar S4 episodes anytime.
        I do think the last two seasons feel smaller in some ways. To me, that is often the consequence of more serialized story-telling. We loose some of the weekly variety, and the sense of exploring more tangential corners of the show’s universe. The show just dives into the heart of the matter each week and doesn’t show us as much of how the rest of the world is affected by our story.
        Chuck is hardly the first show I’ve observed this phenomena on. I remember strongly how the last two seasons of Magnum PI he never took cases anymore, the whole show was about helping his friends. That isn’t all a bad thing, but it does change the feel of the show some.
        I’ve expressed my desire for more stand alone episodes before. But I know I’m just spitting in the wind. “Good” writers prefer not to do things that way. Zach was just expressing his opinion this last week that he would prefer a shorter season with fewer filler episodes.
        Sigh… I wish they’d spend more time stopping to smell the roses…

      • armysfc says:

        dave zac may have a point. sometimes filler can get in the way. i know this may sound off but its a thought. leave out seduction 2 and cat squad. (they were good just go with it for now). move the bently arc up. run seduction 2 and cat squad then run the rest.

        heres my theory. chuck just brought down volkoff, and you have someone questioning him. i think it would have had more impact then. now toss in the 2 as kind of a break, then run the vivian arc straight through.

        i gave thought to the time line of the wedding bit set up but wheb has that mattered to chuck anyway? they have a near sixty year old partner played by a guy in his 40’s

      • atcDave says:

        In this case army I just accept that I have more of a minority opinion. I love the stand alone filler episodes. I love the idea of a glimpse of normal at a particular point in a show’s history. And I love seeing secondary stories with less on the line. This is directly contrary to what most viewers seem to prefer and contrary to what writers want to deliver. Its just me.
        Among the things I like about those episodes is we see more of what the heroes “normally” do. Which to me says more about what’s important to the characters sometimes than how they act when the fate of all their loved ones, or even the entire world is hanging in the balance.
        Its sort of like the old saying “character is who you are when no one is watching.” Well, I like seeing the heart of the hero when their family is home safe in bed. What do they do when duty calls but they have nothing personal on the line?

        I don’t want to loose my original point in all of this. Typically the stand alone episodes are more about anonymous missions, while the major arcs have more of personal consequence going on. Which I suppose is fine. But as the show has become more serialized, with more episodes devoted to the major arcs; it leaves us with less of a sense of what the characters NORMALLY do, and most of what we see anymore is deeply personal in nature.
        This is more of an observation than a complaint (okay, its a LITTLE complaint, but only because I like seeing normal).

      • armysfc says:

        dave then we are in the minority together. i love stand alone episodes way more. they seem better written ad more intense. either comedy or spy wise. the problem i see on chuck with the long arcs/story lines is things get lost. my thinking on that is the same writers don’t do the entire thing. its get passed off to another writer for the next episode. its only natural things get dropped. its like that thing you do in school where everyone stands in a circle. the first person is whispered something and passes it on. when it gets back it’s no where near close. details the originator knows about and wants in are not known by the next person and so on.

        you and i have talked this over before and i still say the long story lines and arcs have hurt this show and the ratings support that, as does history on serialized shows. longevity is not conducive to serialized shows.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh yeah, good point army; the multiple authors pose extra difficulties on longer arcs.

      • Crumby says:

        I think part of the problem also comes from the motivations of the characters.

        Chuck began S3 saying he wanted to become an agent because of the greater good and all that. Then the greater good wasn’t enough without Sarah. At the end of S3, he quits. Then he rejoined because of his mother, which wasn’t stated as a reason to be a spy in FoD. Instead, it was about doing great things, doing them with Sarah. The Sarah part seemingly being more important than the ‘doing great things’. Sometimes it appears that the only reason for Chuck to be a spy is because Sarah is one. The day she’s out, he’s out. And now in S4.5, we’ve got two episodes where the reason C&S requested a mission was because they needed the distraction.

        Are they spies because their in love adrenaline junkies that happened to come across a lot of bad guys because of family and past history?

        We know that’s not why but they should show it sometimes.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Obviously I meant unstable stability. Darn typos and inabilty to edit.

        But think about it. As a child the only constant was her father . Everything else was in flux. Her and his names, places, thier history that they told people . Even the cons would probably rotate except for the ones that required a certain timing (like the Christmas con) .

        Her life in the CIA wasn’t much different.

      • First Timer says:

        @atcdave:
        I actually don’t think it is standalone vs. arc. Honestly, I don’t.

        Tonight’s episode, in fact, may be a perfect example of how far the showrunners have fallen in the sense of having Chuck and Sarah fight for something beyond themselves. Both episodes will essentially be standalones. Both feature Gary Cole as Sarah’s dad and will give us some backstory.

        But the enemy in DeLorean? A bad guy that had nothing to do with Chuck and Sarah. He was a bad guy. Taking him down was for the greater good. The enemy in Wedding Planner? Apparently, someone who cons Chuck and Sarah out of their money. (Obviously, this is a guess based on what we’ve been told…)

        See the difference? Same set up, two seasons apart. Season 2 has a “plausible” villain who shows you why Chuck and Sarah are spies. Season 4 gives us an inbred story.

        Chuck and Sarah can’t be great if all they do is stuff for themselves. They have to fight a good fight for the greater good. That, I think, was what Liz James meant about Chuck and Sarah mattering. That was the call in Helicopter: Are you willing to be a hero because the world needs a hero?

        The canvas is so small now (as you pointed out about Magnum PI). As much as we love Chuck and Sarah as characters (and I still do), I just don’t want a show about two 20-somethings who do nothing but do stuff for themselves. Then it becomes Friends and you’re wondering why these six people, all with allegedy jobs, are sitting around a coffee shop at 2 in the afternoon…

        I want Chuck and Sarah to fight bad guys. Honest to goodness bad guys who threaten the world, not the wedding…

      • jason says:

        @ft – me too – maybe season 5 will be more Chuck versus the world

      • Crumby says:

        I think that problem is more a S4 problem than a S3 problem. They were already walking a fine line with lines like “what the point of being a spy without Sarah?” but there was still the idea that Chuck was special and that because of that he could help people. That’s how he explained his “call” to his father.

        But then Chuck quit, and suddenly, the fact that he’s the Intersect and has a unique possibility to help people doesn’t matter to him as much. And C&S have treated their spy career like simple exciting jobs or ways to gain/rectify something for themselves and their family.

        And ‘filler’ episodes have been treated that way too. The only bad guys I can think of that didn’t have personal entanglement with them is Pierre from Balcony and Fatima from Seduction Impossible.

        Just look at this Orion computer thing. Did Chuck ever wonder what it was really about, why he’s father let that to Ellie and if maybe it could help people? All that seem to interest him was that it gave him the Intersect back so he could go back on missions with his girlfriend, and when the government use of the technology threatened to take those mission away from him, he wasn’t happy.
        Why is the government so desperate to figure what it’s about, and want Ellie involve? It must be huge. Chuck is so caught up in his personal interests and wants, he seems to have forget why he became an agent in the first place.

      • armysfc says:

        crumby the last part is easy to answer. part of the problem spies have is getting information to them and confirming their suspicions about something or someone they have seen. if a spy is deep undercover he see someone that he knows is bad. having all the information on hand instantly is better than having to report back and say i identified so/so what do we have on him. add to the that the ability to flash on medical procedures if a partner is hurt. those benefits alone would make it a big deal. i’ll use an example. a person buys a new phone. all they have to do is look at it and bang they can now use all the apps with out ever looking at the manual.

        don’t get me wrong a whole army of gretas we saw in a-team would be horrible, but a whole army of gretas with just the good parts of the intersect would be a good thing. that’s why its so important to the government.

      • atcDave says:

        First Timer you are right that even some of the stand alones this season have gone for the family themes. But I think my theory still holds at least as far as saying the few independent villains we have seen have shown up in the stand alone episodes. Fatima in Seduction Impossible comes quickly to mind, along with the bomb maker in A-Team and what’s-his-name in CAT Squad. But unfortunately only Seduction Impossible involved a mission that didn’t really have any personal connections.

        So I guess its not so much that all the stand alone episodes are “greater good” themed; but it at least seems when they do actually do the job for its own reasons its usually in a stand alone episode.
        I do hope in a potential S5 we would see more of TeamB doing their job as agents BECAUSE its their job.
        Incidently, this is part of why I don’t buy into arguments that the show must end after one more season. I would like to see the show be about government agents who happen to be family and close friends as opposed to just being “all about family” that we’ve seen so much of this season. If they would make the show a little more about the missions, it suddenly has NO expiration date.
        Which does lead to my usual disclaimer. I am a huge fan of S4 and am enjoying the show enormously. My complaints are fairly minor and do not really undermine the high regard I have for the show.

      • Crumby says:

        I know why the government would want more Intersects, Army.

        My point was: what is Chuck thinking about all that?

        All we’ve seen is: it re-intersected him and allowed him to go back on the field with he’s girlfriend. He apparently gave the computer to the government thinking they wouldn’t do anything of it. When they wanted to use the technology, he was against it until he was in on it. And he doesn’t seem interested in knowing why Ellie finds it so fascinating, why the government would want/need Ellie to keep working on it, or even why did his dad left the computer in the first place.

        So has Chuck become so self-centered that 1/ the Intersect project has to serve him and 2/ he doesn’t even care to wonder if his dad’s research could help people?

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave i agree with you on the point that the show could go on for a long time if they move to a mission centric show. those calling for it to end are mostly vested in the relationship/family aspect. from that point of view they are right. if they get married this year what is left? kids? there is almost no where to go past next year. all the relationships on the show would have played out. for you and i there is so much more to get into. all the names in the basement is one just thing. they need to get away from the F/R angle. mind you they are still there but in the back ground not the main focus like this year.

        going that route i can many exciting missions and bad guys. if you leave out the R/F that frees up more time for the mission part of the show, which leads to better missions because they can devote more time to them.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah army, and the thing is it doesn’t even have to be THAT big of a change. I mean the interaction of friends and family will always be a huge part of the charm of the show, I wouldn’t even want that to change. But by making the missions a little more independent, the show can stay relevant as long as the world is a dangerous place.

  7. anieli says:

    love the show and the chuck Will always love the show is perfect not think anything bad so I’m doing everything, and Asking For NBC renews it

  8. thinkling says:

    Wow, Joe. Your post generated quite a discussion. Bottom line. Chuck and Sarah still matter or I wouldn’t still be watching. I love the bold character growth portrayed on Chuck in all its characters.

  9. Jen says:

    ” What has changed is us. What’s not changed, is that It’s still a story about us.”

    Excellent post Joe! Thanks for this piece that brings out focus back to analyze the progress our favorite spies have made. This article is about what attracts me the most of the show… it IS a show about us, each one of use that finds a bit of ourselves in both Chuck and Sarah. I feel that we can also grow as the characters learn life lessons and change themselves. I actually now find myself more in tune with situations around me that affect me and change me.
    They have a ways to go, as most likely we do too, we are all works in progress… and i wanna stick for the ride and see the Chuck and Sarah story continue unfolding.
    🙂

    • joe says:

      Why, thank you for that, Jen. It’s so nice to see you commenting regular again. Missed your input!

      You got my meaning. We are all works in progress and more than most, this show isn’t afraid to tackle change.

  10. jason says:

    @joe – one CS relational thing – they are near opposites – oil and water, that is some of what generates the mad chemistry (even in live josh, yvonne and zach interviews, the boys are so goofy and mouthy, she quietly sits and listens to zach and josh like she is josh’s younger sister loving the banter). Some compare castle to chuck, the problem is kate and rick are the same people, they seemingly complete each other’s thoughts and sentences, hence they need the wt/wt to create some tension, sarah and chuck could seemingly figure out a way to create some sort of angst or misunderstanding while saying I do or having a baby, hence coupling them up has not reduced the fun, and yep, they still matter – was there ever any doubt

    • joe says:

      It’s weird, Jason. I get what you mean about C&S being opposites. And yet…
      It’s like Chuck had this inner life, the hero, that was covered up by the nerd cowering from his own birthday party. And Sarah was this kick@ss spy, but she couldn’t hide her glow in a suburban kitchen as she fixed Chuck’s breakfast.

      They are opposites, yet inside both have natures that intertwine (yeah, like the ying/yang symbols).

  11. Faith says:

    LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this piece Joe. All due accolades for it.

    It’s amazing to me sometimes looking back how far Chuck and Sarah have come. Even better in hindsight, I see things happening the way they’re supposed to happen, the right way and I fall back in love with the show all over again. They’ve gone through their ups and downs, and like you said, “we” have too, but in the end, they still matter. At least to me.

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