One For The ‘Shippers


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.


– joe


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 Analysis, Fan Base, No Spoilers, Observations, Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to One For The ‘Shippers

  1. atcDave says:

    Thanks for this Joe. This episode has held up very well for me. In fact, I’ve mostly enjoyed every episode since; but Honeymooners is where the new Chuck finally begins. I remember my wife commenting Sarah had smiled more before the opening credits than she had all season. Well, me too. This is what I always knew Chuck could be.

    • joe says:

      And it’s not only the Sarah-Smiles, Dave. One of my favorite moments happens when they’re still cuffed together on the Vesper scooter. They see Casey and Morgan through the window, and know that the one thing they can’t do is – nothing.
      Chuck looks at Sarah and Sarah looks at Chuck, they nod to each other slightly and the decision is made to get back in the game, completely.

      Love it!

    • bdaddydl says:

      I have burned my wife out on Chuck, but I was rewatching the episode and Hope smiled and said “oh the Honeymooners.”
      I disagree with OldDarth, this is the episode people will talk about long after Chuck is done with.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree bdaddy, I think Honeymooners is one of the defining episodes, at least for later Chuck. For now its my favorite, a few come close, but Honeymooners is the gold standard.

      • AgentInWaiting says:

        Ditto bdaddydl and atcDave. From the moment Sarah opened her cabin door with that huge smile (I was focused on her face, honest!) and Vampire Weekend’s “Holiday” started playing I started grinning. The snippets of five songs played during the episode were perfectly chosen and everything just meshed together to create my favourite Chuck episode.

      • joe says:

        Heh! I’m a known music freak, AgentW, and about the only fault I can find is that the snippets were too short!

        Holiday has been used lately for an oft’ running commercial. Every time I hear that ad, I see food trays piling up and smiles. I just grin.

      • thinkling says:

        *sigh* … I don’t pick it as my number one, not every time, anyway. Well, I’m not sure I’m capable of picking a #1. But Honeymooners is always near the very top. I consider it in its own class because it was the first … the episode that started my favorite Chuck era.

      • AgentInWaiting says:

        @ Joe, actually Chuck was the show that got me listening to indie music (set up playlists for all four seasons on Spotify). Looking at my scrobbles, my listening habits were quite different before Chuck. And the last four songs in Honeymooners? They’re what I usually fall asleep to (although I substitute Chantal Kreviazuk’s version of “Leaving On A Jet Plane” for Jeffster’s).

      • joe says:

        Oooohhh – good version, AgentW. I like it, but I must be a bit older than you – I’m a old “folkie” from the Peter, Paul & Mary era.

        Heh – Here’s a joke for those who are really deep into today’s stuff – I may be an old folkie, but I’m related to the Buckleys of Every Time I Die. Their father & I used to play those old folk tunes together.

        For me, Chuck was a second musical awakening. Never had a use for play lists before that! It was incredibly important factor in getting me back up to speed on what’s current.

    • AgentInWaiting says:

      Actually I did listen to Peter, Paul, and Mary’s version as well as John Denver’s. Chantal’s version has a slightly slower pace and a wistfulness about it that I felt better matched the scene. And I completely agree with you about playlists. Before Chuck, I listened to whole albums about 90% of the time. Now that number has dropped considerably. It’s always interesting to look at what other fans of Chuck music are listening to.

  2. thinkling says:

    Thank you, Joe. I agree with Dave that Honeymooners holds up watch after rewatch. I keep testing the hypothesis. 😉

    As absolutely wonderful as Honeymooners was, they’ve done a fantastic job of showing the progression. Sarah’s has been the most obvious, but even Chuck has grown in the relationship. I am indeed looking forward to married Chuck and Sarah, passionate couple, unstoppable spy team. It’s where they’ve been headed both as lovers and spies. We need that season 5.

    • joe says:

      Oh, I agree, about the job they’ve done showing the progression.

      That was one of my motivating thoughts – I absolutely love the characters the way they were. But instead of asking myself if I understand the way they are based on Chuck dangling upside down by his ankles and Sarah dressed in her Orange-Orange uniform, I have to recognize the changes they’ve been through.

      It’s a very stochastic process! – fits and starts and sudden shifts, sometimes.

  3. sd says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Joe!
    Knowing what we know now, I did find myself taking a deep breath…the hard work of communicating and understanding what commitment really means was yet to come in this season.
    But the last scene always gets me. It was really real and normal.

  4. jason says:

    No surprise here, but there are probably close to a dozen moments from this ep that I love on rewatch, one that is seldom mentioned is when sarah wass sipping coffee on the edge of the bed with chuck and said ‘what’s the plan’. the wide eyed look she casted in his direction at that moment was as adorable as any I can recall from the show.

    Usually father rick reports TVBTN for mondays, did not see any this time, I am pretty sure it was a .9M in the demo, vs .6M for the repeat from a few weeks ago, can’t even recall which one it was. Never sure what conclusions one should try to make regarding ratings, I could make a case for .9M being great or being not so, but I would have to think it was considered at least OK.

    • joe says:

      That’s a great moment, Jason. It’s their casualness that I like right then.

      Heh. Another one of mine is when Chuck&Sarah have left Casey and Morgan at the Cafe and have decided to run together. Chuck slips off the fake wedding ring and Sarah looks so sad – it’s every bit as telling as the earlier scene when he put it on her finger.

      No dialog necessary in either case.

    • atcDave says:

      Jason I also Saw the 0.9 number. I that’s okay for a rerun. It’s certainly better than the last rerun. Perhaps it was just me; I watched Honeymooners but passed on First Class. At least they SHOULD weight me 300000 times (I am from Chicago…)

    • armysfc says:

      it could be considered ok if it ran against new episodes of it’s competition. it didn’t. it ran against reruns, same as the event and LOLA. those dogs got a .2 up tick in the ratings. when those nags get a boost in ratings there is something wrong in the world of TV. don’t get me wrong it’s a good number just take in all the factors before getting to excited. next week is the big test. will it go up or hit a new low? we will know soon enough.

  5. Tamara Burks says:

    I still think they should have had it where it was clear that Sarah stopped being with Shaw for at least one ep and then took up with Chuck but the Honeymooners is the kind of ep that makes you forget because you just feel so happy watching it.

    Plus I really consider it the beginning of them being together because in it she doesn’t do that majorly wierd stupid thing of going arm in arm with Shaw to Paris after she saw how easily he blew her off in AH for his half baked revenge plan.

    Honeymooners is just pure gold.

    Thier fight scenes while cuffed together far surpass any she had with Bryce.

    • atcDave says:

      I think you’re right Tamara. Other Guy maybe ended with a new beginning of sorts; but it still has too many reminders of everything that went wrong with the season. Honeymooners is a refreshing change in every way.

    • joe says:

      I have a feeling you’re right about that Dave and Tamara.

      My gut says that they tried to pull the ol’ switch-a-roo on our understanding of Shaw’s character one too many times.

      I mean, in The Other Guy Sarah, and therefore the fans, are persuaded to give Shaw one last chance at being the good-guy hero. He isn’t and the extra chance tends to make Sarah and the fans look like chumps.

      It didn’t have to be that way, but I’m guessing it had to do with the early shooting schedule and the extra six episodes, so personally, I’m going to be understanding. I also understand the complaint.

      What if, in American Hero, Shaw had revealed himself to be a traitor and Sarah’s nemesis when they were in the Ring wearhouse watching the video of Eve Shaw. Or what if, when Chuck had rescued Shaw from the bombed building, he was revealed as a bad-guy and Sarah had dropped Shaw then?

      I’d continue with Beckman not believing Shaw’s a traitor, and Chuck&Sarah having to run from the CIA. The Paris trip becomes C&S trying to find evidence and Casey going after them, but converges to the canon pretty quick.

      • AgentInWaiting says:

        >Or what if, when Chuck had rescued Shaw from the bombed building, he was revealed as a bad-guy and Sarah had dropped Shaw then?

        Not as effective IMO. That would have meant Sarah wound up with Chuck by default instead of explicitly choosing him over Shaw.

      • atcDave says:

        Or if they never even started the whole dreadful…

        Oh never mind …

      • joe says:

        Good point, AgentW. That’s something I’ve tended to forget – Sarah chose Chuck before she knew Shaw’s true nature. In fact, she seemed to be begging Chuck to give her a reason to go with him, at the restaurant and at the stakedate.

        But I’ve gotten way off topic. Taking Dave’s advice now… 😉

      • Tamara Burks says:

        AgentinWaiting, one of my pet peeves is that while we know that Sarah chose Chuck over Bryce and Shaw there’s no clear indication that Chuck knew that. Bryce told him that she did but the look on Chuck’s face when she freaked over them taking Bryce’s body was that of of a man who had his hopes crushed.

        And all we saw of Chuck’s side was him waiting for her and getting no phone calls from her to say she was or wasn’t coming . He then finds out she killed Shaw’s wife and goes to the rescue , shows up with a team and finds her in Shaw’s arms and feels like a fool for trying to rescue a woman who looked like she was where she wanted to be (kind of a parallel to Volkoff’s statement about Orion chasing after a woman who didn’t want to be found) , then after everyone knows she killed Shaw’s wife does she seem to be willing to be with him but she still trusted Shaw past the point of self preservation.

        It actually makes it look like (from what info Chuck is working off of) that she chose him by default twice. A little clarity would have been great. For instance have her tell Chuck while dancing she was staying and have her call Chuck after Casey left and say she was packing and don’t leave without her.

        And Sarah doing the arm in arm thing in Paris was bad enough in and of itself but after AH where she sees how little she means to him it just looks so much worse in comparison. Even without that , it was shown that his wife’s death was his driving force to take down the Ring , so it doesn’t make sense.

      • AgentInWaiting says:


        Have her tell Chuck while dancing she was staying -> She was interrupted by Chuck’s father and the major events that came at the end of season 2.

        Have her call Chuck after Casey left and say she was packing and don’t leave without her -> She had no cell signal from Shaw’s car. After her “rescue” they went back to Castle where Shaw and her got their next mission. Immediately after this she went to Chuck’s apartment for the DYLM scene. If Chuck didn’t get that Sarah explicitly chose him after that then a whack to the head would be in order.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah AgentW, Sarah clearly choose Chuck while Shaw was still viable; there’s so many things they should have done to make it better, but they are together now and Sarah has made it pretty clear Chuck is her FIRST choice.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        The cell phone thing always seemed like a really lame thing to me, first she waits until they are out in the middle of the desert and she doesn’t seem suspicious at the lack of cell service( I suspected he had a cell jammer which is why I think she should be suspicious) .

        Second, You’d think that agents with such an important asset would be given a satphone that wouldn’t have to deal with the problem of dropped calls while handling a national emergency.

      • joe says:

        Heh! About three years ago I was working at a job designing the protocols for sat-phones, Tamara. Believe me – they’re not all *that* reliable! 😉

        The cell phone stuff is a bit of a convenient cheat in the story, though. Service is unavailable when you need it to be unavailable and it’s available when you need it to be (more or less like tanks).

        Compared to Shakespeare, they’ve avoided having too many such convenient coincidences, I think.

      • atcDave says:

        A jammer makes the most sense to me. There would have been signal until they were clear of the metro area!

    • patty says:

      I always felt that the arm in arm thing in Paris was supposed to be part of the “cover”. Shaw probably told her *something* to get her to go out that evening. I just always assumed that Sarah thought it was part of the “mission” not a romantic evening for them. Of course we know that Shaw was playing her at that point and whatever he told her was a lie.

      • joe says:

        I sort of like that idea, Patty.

        There was something about the arm-in-arm thing in Paris that made it less jarring and offensive to me (and likewise, her scream “Don’t you touch him!” about Bryce’s body – Sorry, Tamara!). I’m not sure I can put my finger on it, but like Chuck, I sort of understood Sarah in both cases and couldn’t fault her.

        In Paris, you’re right – it *was* part of the cover. But even moreso, it was like a good-bye of sorts, from her to him. I’ve experienced that myself, and it seemed natural at the time.

        With Bryce’s death, it was the shock factor. Chuck was definitely not feeling secure about anything, and I’ll bet he was still wondering himself why he decided to re-intersect. Sarah caring about her ex partner exactly the way she always had seemed almost like a beacon of stability when everything else was changing.

        Well, Sarah had always been an “ice-queen”, but by that time we knew she had passions that were breaking out.

      • thinkling says:

        Right Patty. I always assumed that the Paris arm-in-arm thing was strictly mission cover. He was nothing more than an agent at that point.

        As for Bryce’s murder, the reaction was one of anger, not choked up emotion. We didn’t get the teary face Yvonne does so well. We got the angry Sarah, which was appropriate for the death of a partner she once had feelings for.

        I just remembered, too, that when PapaB said they were going to kill Bryce (when he interrupted her confession), she expressed concern for Casey, not Bryce.

        As for all the other should’ve‘s and you’d think‘s, writers contrive things to tell the story they want to tell, sometimes believably, sometimes not. The cell phone, the interrupted dance, the 30 second rushed conversation in Castle about running away, the lack of time to talk in Prague … all contrived so the show runners could bring us their piece de misery. Of that list, the cell phone seems the most believable and least problematic to me.

  6. Faith says:

    “heartwarming, heartbreaking, heartstirring”


    Who can forget this scene:

    If you listen closely, you’ll see just how far they’ve come (especially if you contrast it to as Joe pointed out in Honeymooners and beyond). “…I fooled myself into thinking that we could but the truth is we can’t because even if we had a real relationship it would never really be real. I’d still never really know anything about you, your real name, your hometown, your first love. Anything. And I want more than that…”

    Oh season 2 Chuck, if you only knew.

    Love the post Joe. Inspired!


    • joe says:

      Three years later, and the fountain scene is still powerful. Isn’t it?

      But there so much that Chuck said that’s wrong, starting with the notion that his life would be normal without the Intersect. The Intersect, I think, has very little to do with that.

      He clings to this Ozzie & Harriet notion of what normal life is, doesn’t he. I have no trouble imagining that now, when he wants to, Chuck is quite able to tell Sarah about some funny little thing that Morgan has done. She’s either right there or is reachable. And when she isn’t, it’s not much more often than for most two-career couples. I’m so glad he’s changed his mind about that being an obstacle.

      Heh – Sarah’s idea is not much better, though. “Someday you’ll forget all about me.” Sheesh! At least Chuck sets her straight about that immediately. 😉

      The whole scene is so memorable and so perfectly bitter-sweet. Having it finally set right was one of the most satisfying things ever! Thanks for bringing it back for is, Faith!

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I think Chuck clung to the idea of normal because it appeared he had normal before everything went so horribly wrong when he was 9 years old. It took him a long time to come to terms with the fact that he isn’t normal and never has been.

      • joe says:

        That works for me, Tamara. When do you think he put that second, behind being with Sarah no matter what?

        I think the first sign was when he re-intersected, but there must have been clues earlier.

    • patty says:

      Oh Faith I love that scene (Feeling Good) I think it is the most romantic scene I have ever seen.

      Thanks for sticking it there! I really have to figure out how y’all do that.

      • Faith says:

        Welcome 🙂

        Just type

        And I agree. It’s in my opinion Chuck and Sarah’s best scene, ever.

      • joe says:

        If you’re referring to the animation itself, Patty, the .gif has to be made that way. It’s just a set of stills. Photoshop and Paintshop and a few other utilities (like Linux’s GIMP) can do that.

        But once you have the animated picture, you just stick it comments like Faith said (and that / is necessary before the angled bracket).

        Oh – Faith has a blackbelt in html and xhtml. 😉

      • Faith says:

        Gimp is open to all OS’ I think Joe. Anyway, if that was the question here’s a how to lol.

      • joe says:

        Faith – that is so cool! My wife has been making those animated sigs. for years, but I’ve never wanted to bug her enuf to show me step by step how to do that.

        GIMP is a monster, but it is open source, and it’s – FREE (don’t you love the word?)!

        Thank you Thank you Thank you!

      • Tamara Burks says:

        Feeling Good is one of those songs you end up singing along with andy time you hear it.And if you’re not in a public place, dancing to it as well.

    • Katsumaro says:

      Oh god, I loved the “Feeling Good” scene so much. And the fountain scene above? Still as powerful when viewing it now as it was when I first originally saw it.

      Stuff like that is what makes me love Chuck *so* much.

  7. Tamara Burks says:

    Another thing about the song Feeling Good is that it said what we were all feeling after the misery arc , we were all finally feeling good.

    Which is why Living Dead honked me off , it pulled off the scab that had finally formed because of honeymoooners and poured salt and vinegar in the wound.

    • atcDave says:

      And notice we’ve seen nothing else like Living Dead in S4. I don’t think they fully understood in S3.5 just how POed many fans were.

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