Yes, this one is for the ‘shippers, and I’m making no apologies for that! After all, I R 1.
Well, that should be no secret. I just hope that my attempts to keep a balanced perspective about the various important aspects of this-show-of-ours (aka, Chuck) have been successful enough that it wasn’t all that obvious.
So why do I highlight this now? Simply, because I just saw the repeat of Chuck vs. The Honeymooners. That’s why!
Despite the humor, the classic cultural references, the adventure and even the drama stirring our imagination, Chuck has always been primarily about “The Relationship” ™, in my opinion. Every week, Chuck&Sarah (what we used to routinely call Charah) was the biggest, if not the only, thing. The ride has been heartwarming, heartbreaking, heartstirring and, if you’re at all like me, it’s had a knack for showing the wondrous opportunities of life. Made me think I might have missed a few too, and that’s been a sweet sadness.
Honeymooners, that favorite of large parts of the fandom, brought it home to me. This episode is not so much about the drama – if you like spy mysteries on a train, you can find hours of entertainment on that topic (starting with Murder on the Orient Express, or better, some classic Hitchcock!) that are more dramatic. If it’s humor you’re looking for, the funniest part of this episode is Yvonne’s Texas accent and the Charleseseses. Indeed, the show’s funny-men, Jeff and Lester, are actually seriously wonderful in their turtle-neck, Simon and Garfunkel-inspired rendition of John Denver’s Leaving On A Jet Plane. Wonderful and not at all funny at that moment.
And as for the spy mission, one only has to remember that the Basque Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) agent’s cover is to play a Canadian national. With apologies to my Canadian friends, how fearsome can that be, eh??? 😉
So the humor, drama and spy-adventure are not what make me want to re-visit this episode again and again. No, we squeeed with exuberance because in Honeymooners Chuck&Sarah seemed to remove the space between them. It was long in coming.
Now I’d like to admit that until I saw the episode again Monday, I’ve harbored fears and doubts that they were truly inseparable.
Fears and Doubts
What? Me? In doubt?
I don’t think I was at all conscience of it, and really, they were small fears. Think knee-jerk, autonomic reflex to having been burned once or twice before. Something in me has persisted in expecting the worst; it was like I heard Chuck&Sarah’s mental dialog still questioning “Is it possible that I/we’ve found love and can make this happen? I. Don’t. Know!”
Was it them, or was it me?
So I put myself on the analyst’s couch. Although you probably know this by now, I enjoyed the tentative, shy beginnings of Chuck’s story, and was as anxious as anybody when the overriding emotion portrayed was – fear; fear of rejection at first, then fear of the dangers around Chuck&Sarah, fear of what others would do, fear of the uncertain future and the bad precedents of the past, fear of failure…
And of course, there was even a point at which Chuck&Sarah feared that they might succeed! I liked that too. For some, that phase, the one where they (and I) agonized over every detail of their relationship looking for flaws that weren’t there (and show-stoppers that weren’t anything of the sort), seemed to last forever. Yes, it did for me too.
[That phase has a name, BTW. We call it, – Season 3 😉 ]
But you know, if someone in charge had chosen to use Bob Seeger’s You’ll Accompany Me as background music in the scene when Chuck told Sarah that he loved her (and again, because it felt so good to say the words), I would have understood the angst, as we had known it, was over. If they had used Dylan’s Lay Lady, Lay when C&S had their “stakedate”, I would have known that Chuck was no longer “just” a nerd and that Sarah had heard her dead heart beating. These are songs that admit the possibility of failure, but also the possibility of success, and it was the latter I had missed.
At the same time, I saw that fans didn’t share Chuck&Sarah’s fear of success. From Season 2 on lots of us knew exactly where we wanted Chuck&Sarah to be. We were screaming “Oh yeah, you betchya. Go for it, foolish human! Get to the next phase!” The wait was frustrating.
Well, even if the fans were talking about white picket fences and seeing Chuck&Sarah’s self-doubt instead, that new phase happened. It got here.
The Death of Fear
Sometime when I wasn’t looking (or looking at other things, perhaps), something changed and I saw it this time in Honeymooners.
Admission: The fear I was talking about disappeared long before I realized. In large ways and in small, Chuck&Sarah have gotten beyond worries about their relationship enduring. In fact, from what I can remember, they have been happily working to make it mature and progress (both together and separately) ever since Sarah freed Morgan from the bonds of Chuck’s game controllers.
I’m not saying that there haven’t been problems to overcome, and I know both Chuck and Sarah have been asking questions (like, “Are we ready for the next step?” “I’m I standing in the way of our happiness?” “Am I up to this task, or am I faking it?” and “Where can I compromise, and where can I not?”). But whatever the questions have been, they’ve been working on the answers together even when they’ve been apart. They are no longer staring into the darkness of a relationship abyss.
And neither are the fans.
You want examples? I have examples! Now, when C&S see an obstacle, say, a prenupual agreement, from the moment Sarah told Chuck that it “wasn’t the end of our marriage”, we saw no angst at all. And when Sarah told Casey that she worried it was “over before it began,” It wasn’t. As proof, Chuck’s produced his counter prenup.
And there was one more big one. Chuck used the Internet to vouch for a wedding planner, and Sarah put out $26,320 up front like she’s the biggest mark in the hemisphere. Oops. Not what your normal couple would do.
You and I both know that in the real world that would be a little beyond devastating, even before they lost their jobs trying to con the CIA, NSA and your friendly neighborhood General. Yet they didn’t point fingers or proffer recriminations or even wonder if the other would start to feel resentment.
Hey! Is this the self-doubting, second-guessing and painfully cautious Chuck&Sarah we know and love? Well, yes it is. This is not how they might have reacted three years, two or even one year ago. This is where they are now, this is where they’ve been ever since Honeymooners and the nice thing about it is, it’s right where they should be. They got there when I was looking at other things.