Summertime Top Ten: Chuck Versus the Intersect

Stop the presses!

Here we go, the first Monday night on our trip through the best of Chuck as chosen by you, our readers.  It’s only natural that the pilot, usually referred to now as Chuck Versus the Intersect, would be among them.  With bigger budgets and more time to script, shoot and edit it is the job of any pilot to not only show networks the possibilities for a show, but to, if the show is picked up, hopefully capture an audience, so the pilot has its work cut out for it.  Introduce us to the characters and the world they inhabit, make us care about their story, and set them off on a journey that can last from a single season to (thank goodness) five years, no problem.

Chuck Versus the Intersect was truly the best of Chuck in addition to the beginning of Chuck.  The action, the humor, that hint of a budding romance, along with the uncertainty and the danger lurking just below the surface, it’s all there right from the beginning.  Join us for our thoughts and memories of our introduction to Chuck.


Still can’t figure out why TCTB13TTENABRITCTBB14oS4R didn’t catch on.

Back in the mists of time, August 2009, I was working my way through The Wire on Netflix when I decided I needed something a bit lighter, something  a bit more fun.  In my recommendations there was this show called Chuck.  I’d heard about it, and seen it in passing while channel surfing.  My only thought at that point was why was the hot blonde wearing  dirndl? I could guess the two guys were posing as employees at some sort of electronics store, but the Octoberfest angle was lost on me.  Oh well, surf on. Picking it up in the middle would just ruin it for me.  So when I saw that Chuck was liked by people who liked Firefly and Veronica Mars and Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls and had both Adam Baldwin (Firefly) and Sarah Lancaster (What About Brian), I decided to give it a shot.

I would say that the pilot totally hooked me on Chuck, but that wouldn’t quite be true.  The pilot however did it’s job.  It made me want to see what happened next, until I was hooked.  The first night I watched that first DVD I was planning on the pilot, and then an early bedtime.  That turned into pilot through Wookie, a late bedtime, and buying the DVD (at a BestBuy no less) on the way home from work the next day so I wouldn’t have to wait a whole two days for Netflix to send the next disk.  I haven’t stopped watching Chuck since.

So what is it about the pilot, and by proxy Chuck, that has so many of us in love with this episode and this show?  If I had to summarize in one word, fun.  Chuck is fun to watch.  Why?  To say that all the elements of Chuck are there, as above the fold is almost a cheat; that’s, as alluded to, kind of the point of a pilot so let me break that part off.  The pilot did it’s job in the first 6:15, just about the time the opening credits are ending.  This is Schwedak at the top of their creative game.  In that first 6:15 we are given the tone of the show, seemingly dark and foreboding instantly switching to farcical, then, the musical cue, Cobrastyle by The Teddybears, setting the mood and letting us all in on the whimsical and just plain fun nature of it all.  We are introduced to Chuck an underachieving nerd, and his world, Echo Park where he lives with his overachieving sister.  Almost immediately we change again back to the dark and foreboding (with a topping of humor to boot).  Bryce is not an accountant, and the world he inhabits is a very different one.  His world is one where super-spies go on suicide missions and carve their way through dozens of hapless guards to make good their escape.  It is also one where (in a marvellous tweak at the spy-genre) the bullet comes from nowhere because guys like Casey shoot first, and then say freeze.

And then we’re back to Chuck and his sister, and our introduction is complete.  Six minutes and fifteen seconds, and we’ve seen it all.  Humor, amazingly choreographed fights, the family drama, Chuck’s nostalgia and longing for something lost… It is all there.  Well almost.  At the end of the first act, Chuck downloads the intersect, and the prologue is complete for the episode, but not quite yet for the series.

The second act.  He has stepped to the threshold and now starts to see two worlds.  He fully inhabits neither, yet lives in both.  And there is someone important Chuck has yet to meet.

At this point Chuck sees computer stealing ninjas in his living room and Serbian demolitions experts in the LargeMart, but he doesn’t yet know what it means.  He sees flashes, but without context he just knows that he knows something, not what it means.  The demolitions experts and suburbans full of agents were always there, he just wasn’t aware.  At this point Chuck is aware, but not awake.  It is Sarah who really introduces Chuck to the spy world, with a bang.

Thinkling’s thoughts:

I stumbled onto Chuck, kind of like Ernie did, only much later, like just a year ago. I started with the pilot and never stopped watching. The story was intriguing, and the mixed genre of comedy and action and spy stuff was appealing. What really hooked me though were the characters, the nerd thrown into the deep end of the spy pool and the spy who is taken with him, in spite of herself. She jumps in to save him, and they end up saving each other.

I really like Ernie’s insights about the window into two worlds. Though I didn’t really see it before, it’s obvious to me now that the episode is a continual contrast of Chuck’s (and “Chuck’s”) two worlds: the tame, almost boring, world that Chuck inhabits but doesn’t belong in … and the dangerous, invisible world that he doesn’t even know exists but was destined to be a part of.

The Intersect opened the portal between these two worlds, and the spy world invaded Chuck’s real world. Part of the invading force was one Sarah Walker. From the moment she walks into the Buymore, his world turns upside down, and his life will never be the same again.

Nowhere is the contrast of worlds more evident than in the characters themselves. Casey (who gives himself stars for killing CIA agents) is the spy world, the world Sarah inhabits, but doesn’t fully belong to. Chuck is the real world, the world she hasn’t inhabited in a very long time. In point of fact, she has never inhabited a world quite like Chuck’s.

Sarah is like Chuck, navigating two worlds, only in reverse. She inhabits the spy world, but we know from the beginning that part of her doesn’t belong there. The moment she walks into the Buymore, she is plunged into Chuck’s world, a world she’s barely aware of any more, but is drawn to. Her life will never be the same again.

As Casey talks with Graham and GB’s predecessor in the darkened ruin of the Intersect room in DC, Sarah walks into the Buymore in sunny Burbank with a predatory spy-gleam in her eye. She is unexpectedly captivated by our lanky nerd who fixes her phone without pretense and passes on her flirtations to help a ballerina. He is not what she expected … at all. He’s not even a spy, let alone a threat to national security. Her face says it all … charmed by the nerd and heart-warmed by the ballerina.

Their date preparations continue to draw the sharp contrast between their worlds. As Chuck decides how many buttons to button, Sarah selects her body armor, knives, and poison hair thingies. The spy answers the door with a gun at the small of her back and is captured — again — by the nerd with flowers and a goofy grin.

This spy is good … subtle in how she controls her evening with the would-be threat to national security. No doubt at all that she’s doing her job, but her mark is guileless and funny and … unlike anyone she’s ever met. In the end, he is a danger only to her own defenses, and she is charmed — again.

Their worlds continue to dance all around each other, appropriately, at the disco. While Chuck marvels at Sarah’s dance moves, the musically clueless spy eliminates 4 threats. With the addition of Casey and the bomb Chuck and Sarah’s worlds (and lives) become inextricably entwined.

In the end Chuck emerges as the unlikely hero, who runs toward the bomb, diffuses it with his wits, and stands up to Casey to protect his family and friends.

That was it for me. I loved these characters from the beginning: the awkward nerd and beautiful spy … both with an unwavering sense of doing the right thing. Despite his nerdish exterior, Chuck possesses uncommon character and a hero’s heart. Sarah recognizes his innocence and hidden qualities and steps up to protect him and fight for him. They hooked me then and continue to hold me now. For me, Chuck is all about them.


Oh, I remember what it was like, the first time I saw Chuck vs. The Intersect. Didn’t know the name of the episode, though. What I did know, then, was that I had seen something a little special. Funny? Yes, very. With action-packed sequences? Certainly. Good looking actresses? Um, how many ways can you say “They pegged the needle on the beauty meter?”

But that wasn’t it. It’s taken me a while to understand what was so special. It was Ellie’s gentle concern for her brother and his apparent lack of self-confidence. We’d find out more about that later. What was special, was Morgan, ever the buddy, jumping all over Chuck to pick up a phone and call “that girl”, the girl who left her card. Heh! He also jumped all over Chuck to celebrate the announcement of a mere date.

What was special, was the smile on Sarah’s face when Chuck found a clever way to save a ballerina’s day. It’s the same smile we saw in the Mexican restaurant when she said “I like you, Chuck.” And all he did was tell her a joke. Much later, he’d call it a stupid joke, and it was, but it was also special.

Everything I remember enjoying then in that pilot episode, and what I enjoy now, is gentle. Wasn’t this a show about spies? For all the trauma of a weird, mind-altering accident, a dead former room-mate and being trapped between two armed factions of the federal government warring over something Chuck didn’t understand, what impresses me most is the love we see between all the characters from the first. It seems so odd to call them characters, because they seem so much like family.

We got hints very early of something far deeper and darker than what was on the screen; the mysterious Bryce, connected to Chuck and apparently to Sarah. We think Sarah is capable of love, and maybe she loved Bryce. Then we see her coldly killing someone – we don’t know who – before she takes out the camera. We saw her angry, determined face telling Graham “I can fix it.” and saw Sarah very angry at the idea that Bryce may have become a rogue agent. We see important people, Graham and Beckman, plotting to use their new “asset”, and if they can’t do that, to kill him.

That’s not what we remember, though. What return to time and time again is a group hug, a smile, and Sarah saying “Talk to me, Chuck.”

Then she gently asked him to do one more thing. “I need you to trust me, Chuck.”


I remember catching the original previews for this new show during Sunday Night Football, and it looked like something I had to check out. Spy-themed, funny action/adventure; that’s a perfect start for a show for me.  And this Pilot did not disappoint.  I was laughing hard right from the start (“Morgan, you stay here…”), perfect stuff.  And I completely get escaping from your own birthday party.  This show, this episode was pitch perfect for me.  I could relate to Chuck almost perfectly; as a self-professed nerd, I really LIKED this nerd portrayal.  He was awkward, but intelligent, moral, and self-aware.  Things that more typical TV nerds often are not.  And I think I was as smitten with Sarah as Chuck was. As Chuck’s fearless defender and champion she was instantly one of the most appealing heroic characters I’d ever seen.

So I suppose my first revelation on re-watch was that I still love those episodes most that honor the feel and tone of the Pilot; and strongly dislike those episodes that violate one of those key elements of fun and humor, or my perception of the character of Chuck or Sarah.

My other major realization was that all three leads looked soooo young (was it really only four years ago?!).  It also seems they’ve all gained a bit of weight, although for Chuck and Sarah that is purely good news.

Annnnd,  that’s about it.  I’ve watched this episode far more often than any other, that alone is testimony to its quality.  And we’ve analyzed and discussed this so many times, and those who wrote above did such a good job; I think I’ll leave my contribution at this.


Ah the pilot, where it all begins. If you think about it (and think hard) Chuck is a fairytale much like Cinderella but instead of Cinderella, it’s really more Chuckrella. (Pardon the analogy manly men). Chuck is just going along in his life, an unfulfilling, almost suffocating existence waiting to find the font for his 10 year plan and in comes “something that changed [his] life” (Masquerade). That thing, more than the intersect, is Sarah. Though the golden slipper was something else altogether, Chuck from that moment on was never the same and we’re better for it.

Though to really get the essence of the episode, all one needs is to listen to the dialogue:

Chuck: Hi, phone trouble again?
Sarah: Yeah I’m not sure I’m able to receive calls because I never got one from you.
Ellie: Aces Charles, pure aces.
Chuck: A dad quote, I’m impressed.
Sarah: I did just come out of a long relationship so I may come with baggage.
Chuck: Well I could be your very own baggage handler.
(Awkward silence)
Sarah: I like you Chuck. (And like her, we’re goners.)
Casey: That’s not an xbox and you’re not an x-man.
 Sarah: I need you to do one more thing for me.
Chuck: (Chuck looks at Sarah) Yeah?
Sarah: Trust me, Chuck.

And so it begins, and with it our hearts. Though Truth was the first episode I ever saw, and Break Up was the one that hooked me, I have a special place for the pilot in my heart. A fine beginning for an epic journey.


About Ernie Davis

I was born in 1998, the illegitimate brain child and pen name of a surly and reclusive misanthrope with a penchant for anonymity. My offline alter ego is a convicted bibliophile and causes rampant pognophobia whenever he goes out in public. He wants to be James Lileks when he grows up or Dave Barry if he doesn’t.  His hobbies are mopery, curling and watching and writing about Chuck.  Obsessively.  Really, the dude needs serious help.
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87 Responses to Summertime Top Ten: Chuck Versus the Intersect

  1. Rick Holy says:

    As much as I enjoy the Pilot, it WASN’T my introduction to CHUCK. THAT happened when I was channel surfing and came on a scene where Chuck is in the Wienerlicious telling Sarah that they have to break up (when she is actually expecting that he’s going to kiss her) because “the person I keep fooling the most is ME.” Just the facial expressions of Yvonne inside the Wienerlicious during that conversation – then followed by her expression of disappointment/hurt when she “spies” Chuck with Lou. As much as I love Zach Levi and think he is AWESOME as “Chuck,” it was Yvonne as Sarah that “hooked me” into watching the show. The rest, as they say, is history.

    But getting back to “The Pilot,” I DID love when Sarah admitted to Chuck that she loved him (episode 3.13, I believe), without actually using those words – that she fell for him after he fixed her phone and before he started defusing bombs with computer viruses……. ALL THAT happened within the pilot. She fell for the “regular guy” right from the start. I think the sweet scene between Chuck and the little girl ballerina “sealed the deal.” But Pilot was a GREAT episode. It introduced not only the “quite different” concept of the show, but also SO many characters – and something of their relationships – within ONE 1-hour long episode. That’s quite an accomplishment for ANY pilot. So KUDOS to the show runners and the writers and everyone associated with the pilot. JOB WELL DONE!

    • Faith says:

      It’s funny, we caught the same first episode. Didn’t hook me though, but it just goes to show, stunt casting sometimes works (at least it did for me).

      So Fr. Rick, when do you think that exact moment is? If there is an actual exact moment, could be a combination of moments. IMO it was the Ballerina scene.

      • Rick Holy says:

        Agreed. Started with the “glance” while he was fixing her phone – then took off from their with the sweetness of the ballerina scene. I think part of this is seeing that Chuck would “leave her,” this beautiful woman, to “come to the aid” of a little kid. And the way he talked to the kid – I wouldn’t say that “sealed the deal,” but at least it “licked the envelope!”

      • atcDave says:

        “Licked the envelope?!” I love it!

      • Faith says:

        Of course there is the actual date itself before she goes, “I like you Chuck.” By then I think she was a gonner! 😀

      • thinkling says:

        Just to point out that the reason we know all this is because of Yvonne’s face.

        Actually I especially noticed this time how much the facial expressions from both Zac and Yvonne told the story. So glad we get S5.

  2. AgentInWaiting says:

    Like others I came to Chuck well after it premiered, almost at the end of season 2. The promos NBC had airing didn’t do it any favours – Chuck seemed to yet another show about a smart, beautiful woman paired up with a dumb but lovable guy. However I kept hearing good things about it from the critics (Mo Ryan especially) so I decided to check it out. The premiere was an eye-opener. Chuck *wasn’t* an idiot but a good, intelligent guy and Sarah was as deadly as she was beautiful. Right off the bat the characters reminded me of my (now second) favourite show, Farscape. Chuck was Crichton (capable but a fish out of water), Sarah was Aeryn, and Casey was D’argo. The premiere also nailed the Chuck-Ellie relationship. Too often, shows emphasize the rivalry/jealousy between siblings. There was none of that here – just support and love. Such an awesome start to the series.

    • atcDave says:

      Good Farscape comparison! Of course I rarely laughed so hard at Farscape…

      So many of the relationships on Chuck are really well portrayed, the show seriously has heart.

      • Rick Holy says:


      • thinkling says:

        Good word, Dave. Heart. I was thinking about AiW’s comment that Sarah was beautiful and deadly. Then I thought … and noble (she did the right thing toward Chuck) and human (she was touched by him and the ballerina). So … Heart. That sums it up nicely. Yvonne sold all those things so well, through what we often refer to as her amazing face. Not many people can pull that off … deadly and beautiful and full of heart.

        Sarah is sort of a blend of Casey and Chuck. She has Chuck’s heart, though she’s always fighting it, and she is a deadly agent, like Casey. That’s why she’s ends up in the middle so often.

  3. lappers84 says:

    I remember stumbling upon Chuck between season 1 and 2 (but thought it best to start from the beginning). Kind of random how I stumbled upon it, during university I used to watch Less Than Perfect on ABC (I had Sky). A couple of years later I noticed Sara Rue on The Big Bang Theory, then out of curiosity I went to browse on Wikipedia to see what the other cast of LTP were up to and so clicking on Zac Levis name I saw Chuck, clicking on the link to see what it was about and seeing the description I knew I had to watch. Once I found a site to view the Pilot, I sat back and watched and well the rest as they say is history. Sorry just randomly reminiscing there.

  4. andyt says:

    I watched the pilot on the night that it premiered in Sept. 2007 which seems like a long time ago. I was attracted to the show by the storyline which I had seen in season previews on geek websites. I really liked the show. It was funny, action filled, romantic and had an appealing lead charachter in Chuck Bartowski who much like Dave to whom I felt that I could relate. I continued to watch from there. Much like Dave I have probably watched the pilot more than almost any other episode, except Ring I. It is such a warm, funny and joyful episode. Having been with Chuck from the very beginning a might just put in the pilot and watch it tonight, only once I watch it I must then watch Helicopter, Tango, etc. Good thing school is over for the year and I have a few weeks off.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Happens to me every time. Put in that first disk, I watch at least through Tango. Speaking of which…

      • joe says:

        Yeah, me too. Just yesterday, in fact.
        I’m halfway through S1 (again) now. I figure I’ll be onto S2 Wed. or Thurs. at the latest. 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        One thing I haven’t done in far too long is a complete beginning to end re-watch in order. Once Chuck is over (sob) I think that would make a fun final project for the blog. Of course with 91 episodes even at one per week we’re looking at nearly two years!

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with both you guys, that opening run through Tango is addictive!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        The only thing worse is the season 2 opening. I put in First Date and I’m pretty much stuck through at least Fat Lady if not Gravitron.

      • atcDave says:

        I can usually let up on S2 at Tom Sawyer; and of course S2 finished really strong too.

  5. Amron says:

    So one day, I was zapping the TV when I suddenly heard “Cielito Lindo”, so I left there, because it’s a song that is almost implanted in my DNA. It was about two people talking about baggage and stuff. “Oh, hell, another drama…” I thought, and then, when I less expected it, a car chase, an explosion, a secret, and that poor guy that screamed like a little girl… what the hell was happening? In less than ten minutes, I was completely hooked. I think at that point I was as confused as Chuck. And then, he goes and disarm a bomb with Internet porn! What sold it to me was his facial expression: really, the guy seemed so confused, so relieved… And then, the beach scene: I consider every show has a manifest -kind of- and I believe Chuck’s is exactly that one, or at least, the manifest of the first seasons: the secret, the trapped sensation, the choose to trust in Sarah… as atc Dave said, it let me saw that the show had a heart. I particularly loved the shoot of Chuck hugging his family, because it show me how important would be family and friendship to the story, something in what I believe as well.
    Resumed: I loved it since that episode and I still love it.

    • joe says:

      Heh! That music does it to me too, Amron. Right now, there are several promos and commercials running that are using music I first heard on Chuck. Picks me right up.

      Actually, the only one that drives me nutz is the Weight Watchers commercial that’s using a gospel version of Feeling Good as a jingle. Makes me want to put on Nina Simone every time I hear it, just to get back to the song’s proper (jazz) interpretation.

      • Amron says:

        Heh! I have my iTunes full of Chuck music. The people on charge of that department are amazing, I don’t know how, but they had the right song for the right moment, I mean, look at “vs. the Colonel”. That Motel scene wouldn’t be the same without “Creature Fear”, Orion’s death wouldn’t felt as terrible as it was without “One October Song”, and what can I say about “Feeling Good”? And as well as I believe the beach scene is Chuck’s manifest to season 1 & 2, I believe the same with Mr. Roboto.
        “Cielito Lindo” was just the beginning, and it was just because I recognized it as my second national hymn…

    • atcDave says:

      Sounds like you joined the Pilot at a perfect time Amron! That trapped sensation was an interesting part of those first two seasons; don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’ve moved past it, but it was such a strong and intriguing part especially of S1.

      • Amron says:

        I couldn’t agree more. In fact, when I saw the season finale of S2 I was shocked and relieved at the same time: it was like the end of an era… but of course, I loved the fact of the character growing up, another reason of why I love this show…

    • Faith says:

      Well said!

      To me one of Chuck’s main draws is exactly that, that heart. From scenes of Ellie and Chuck discussing his date, to the date itself, to Casey being, well Casey it just all painted a picture of a show with heart and character. Something different, something I wanted to get to know more, something I could fall for. Then that beach scene, what can I say, I agree wholeheartedly (pun intended), manifest scene.

  6. Amron says:

    And that heart isn’t just a couple thing, is also about a family and what friendship means. The Bartowski Charm, as somebody said. In fact, one of the things I really want for next season is Chuck and Ellie rebounding, because “vs Agent X” wasn’t enough. I feel there is a lot of potential on that relationship, because if we recall how close they were each other, the few minutes they expended talking about felt too cheap. Oh, and I want to see Chuck as an uncle, for God’s sake! I think is very out of character that we didn’t watch Chuck holding Clara even once!

    • joe says:

      That is a great point, Amron. MORE BABY CLARA! I’m hoping they use her as a prod for Chuck&Sarah to start their own family, and I’m hoping they do it in a very “Chuck-y” way.

      The Ellie-Chuck relationship really is special. She started to come off as such a mother-hen in the pilot, and that was heightened by Chuck’s lethargic immaturity. He was busy playing spy-games with Morgan when Ellie was trying to set him up at his own birthday party – Sheesh! But by the end of the pilot we get our first fountain scene with the two of them. Ellie is giving him exactly the push away from his old life he needs, even as Sarah is drawing him to a new.

    • lappers84 says:

      I’d love to see a babysitting scene in season 5

  7. jason says:

    I first watched the pilot a day or two after I saw my first chuck ep on jan 7th, 2010 on the sy fy channel, an 8 hr marathon of some s2 eps, not sure which ones, probably saw 2 1/2 of the 8, maybe. Then I watched pink slip live on jan 10th, just 3 days after I saw my first ep of chuck.

    The pilot continues to be a top 5 episode for me, I like near all the chuck scenes in the ep. I especially love those scenes with chuck and sarah, the ballerina, the my phone must still be broken, the date, the chase, the bomb diffuse. Sarah seemed pretty open about real stuff on the date, considering how walled off she was toward chuck, even in season 4. Probably more the need to introduce some sarah backstory for the writers than anything else, but I liked it.

    • jason says:

      oh – and the beach – how could I forget the best scene! Yea – the pilot was a great shipper ep – probably set the table for the series being a passionate one for some segment of the audience, if one has those tendancies, the pilot sure has the ability to lure a person in!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jason, the Pilot sure reeled in us ‘shippers! The first seven episodes established a friendship and potential romance at a pretty fast pace. That may be part of why later triangles rubbed me so wrong (much more so than on something like Castle); they were adding a distraction and new element to the mix that struck me as inconsistent with the show I already loved.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed, Dave. The triangles seemed contrived for the sole purpose of keeping two people apart who were already essentially together.

  8. kristine c. says:

    I can’t help but keep on sighing while reading this post. Like what you guys said, it still seem surreal since that first episode and I can’t believe that we are finally on the last and final season (which I am trying not to think for now).

    I’m not in the U.S. so obviously I haven’t seen the pilot episode live. It was my friend who kept on pushing me to watch this show. Too pushy that she lend me her DVDs with out me asking. I watched it with not much expectations but like Dave, it got me all laughing since that “Morgan, you stay here”. I watched the first season in less than a day. And I rushed the next day to a video shop to get my own copy.

    A show that has little bit of everything: comedy, action, drama and of course Romance. It’s more than I can ask from a T.V. show. 🙂 And yes, it sounds so unreal if I’d just call them characters of a TV show. Like what Joe said, they seem so much like family.

    • joe says:

      I can’t help but keep on sighing while reading this post.

      Exactly what we were trying to do to you! “Our job here is done.” 😉

      Like what Joe said, they seem so much like family.

      Awww – Group hug!

  9. jason says:

    I don’t think anyone has posted this season 5 comment from Zac to eonline – not sure where to post it, also not sure how Zac would exactly know, but seems like great news:

    jemjoven: Anything Chuck related pretty please! What’s next for our favorite spy couple?
    Since this will be the final season for Chuck, Zachary Levi told us to prepare for some awesome send-off moments, especially between Chuck and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski). “It’ll be our swan song and we all kind of ride off into the sunset together,” he says. “It’s great; we get closure.” Can that closure include little spy babies for Mr. and Mrs. Bartowski?

  10. Herder says:

    Started watching with the pilot when it first aired back in 2007, that was when they would repeat the episodes on Saturday nights, I’d watch mondays and then again on Saturdays. The amazing thing about the pilot is how much of the plot for the first two years was there: Bryce, Jill, Papa B as well as the general idea of saving the world at $11 bucks an hour. I know the idea is that the pilot should set the table but look how long the table was set with the ideas from this pilot..

  11. Rick Holy says:

    Watch (and LISTEN TO) the Pilot. Then watch (and LISTEN TO) “vs. The Cliffhanger.” Does anyone – besides me (and I’m NOT anal-retentive!) – notice the subtle change in Yvonne’s voice? I think the years of doing the “American Accent” (and being “Sarah”) have grown on her and it’s become more natural. There’s just a different “sound” to her voice (not a BIG difference, but a difference) from that first episode to the most recent. Still amazes me how actors can pull off those accents and you’d never know their true origin. People who I force to watch the show when they come over [ 🙂 ] and who aren’t so “in the know” of “things CHUCK” – when I tell them that Sarah/Yvonnne is Australian and that the American accent is just part of the acting, they are surprised – since she does it so well.

    Side note: It’s never too late to “recruit” CHUCK fans. One of my coworkers from my pre-seminary days FINALLY gave in after all of my FACEBOOK plugs and went out and bought the first three seasons on DVD. He said he and his wife have made it through the first four episodes of Season 1 and LOVE IT !! (He’s an ex Navy Seal, so I’m sure he’s a big Casey fan). I always tell people who I – through persistence – get hooked on the show, “Would I ever lead you astray?” 😉

    Even after the final episode of the final season, CHUCK will live on through DVD and contiue to attract fans who knew little or nothing about the show while it was on the air. And THAT, amidst our sadness at the show’s end, is cause for celebration!!!

    Keep on Chuckin’, everybody. One more glorious season to go. BRING IT ON!!

    • atcDave says:

      The accent thing always does amaze me, its almost jarring sometimes to see interviews with Yvonne and hear what she naturally sounds like.
      I do agree about her voice changing. It especially got quite shrill on the rooftop scene in the Pilot, and again in the scolding she gave Chuck in Helicopter. I think since then, she’s acquired more control or something over the range of emotion and accent; while early on maybe she was thrown off doing too many things at once. But her range in accents and languages is truly amazing.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        The funny thing about the accent, I originally pegged as a regional American one, generally midwestern. In other words as an American from Pittsburgh, I thought she had a midwestern accent even before I found out she was Australian. I think her ability to peg the regional accents is probably a byproduct of English being her second language. She already learned to speak the language once, so modifying the way she speaks it was easier for her. But to the point, yes, I did notice Sarah’s “voice” has evolved over the course of the show. Yvonne doesn’t slip or have to slow down and overpronounce words as often as she used to, but out of curiosity, did anyone else notice that early in season 3 it seemed to take her a bit to recover the Sarah voice? Also you could hear a slip or two in Other Guy, which if I’m not mistaken was the first one produced after they took a month long production break and she went home to Australia.

      • thinkling says:

        I envy her gift for accents. Interesting theory, Ernie, about the second language bit. But more likely, I think, is that she grew up with two [first] languages. That gives her voice a broader range of sounds to imitate natively. My son is like that. That plus she obviously has a gift for it.

      • joe says:

        She has a gift and I suspect some training, too! When you also consider the way she lightened her voice in Wookie (briefly playing on the infamous blonde stereotype), did “professorial” in The Ex (to go along with her Aussie accent) and showed us tipsy in Balcony, the accents themselves seem like only part of it. She’s convincing!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Don’t forget Ms Applebottom in DeLorean

      • atcDave says:

        I’m pretty sure it was Applebaum; perhaps a Freudian slip Ernie?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Nah… Probably just conflated it with Winterbottom. 😀

      • Faith says:

        I think I said this once before but she’s so good, I thought her Australian accent was awful! 😀 That is when I didn’t know she was Australian.

        She was asked once what was with the emergence of Australian talent stateside and she mentioned it’s because they come prepared and are professionals, this is just one aspect of it I suppose. I’m really more floored with the fact that a mere facial expression from her can convey so much.

  12. Rick Holy says:

    Don’t know if any of ya’ll have seen this on YouTube, but it’s really good. They spliced in a couple of shots of Yvonne from one of her movies, but it still “fits” with the Chuck and Sarah theme.

    Here’s the link:


    • joe says:

      Every bit as good as you say, and then some, Fr. Rick! Wow!

      If Chuck is “Everyman” for this era, then Sarah is Everyman’s Woman for the 21st century. Remember the line in Nemesis, when Sarah tries (unsuccessfully) to get Chuck to run from the bomb? He tells her that she brings out the worst in him, and she retorts that he brings out the worst in her.

      Liars! 😉

  13. Herder says:

    Saw on that Ali Adler is joining the Glee staff as a writer and co-executive producer, so I guess no return to Chuck. As well that may indicate that the season for writers moving from show to show is opening, we should know shortly if we are losing or gaining any writing staff for our final season.

    • atcDave says:

      Chuck seemed to pick up a few strays late last season! I know they claimed to be short most of last season, so yeah, it will be interesting to see if they can keep the larger staff.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Didn’t Fedak announce that he was able to keep this season’s writing team intact and would go pretty much with them?

      • atcDave says:

        I hope so Ernie! I think they put together a dynamite team for S4, and I would love to see them finish out.

      • joe says:

        I recall that he did! Well, my memory’s not to trusted that much, but that’s certainly my impression.

    • jason says:

      herder / ernie / dave – I watched all of no ordinary family – I would recommend it if you ever get a chance & or maybe are looking for a summer watch project, is certainly in the same genre as chuck, family, comedy, superhero / powers, several nerds, couple of medium sized semi recurring baddies, etc. Not as good by any means, but I found it to be mildly entertaining. I am happy adler found a place – Glee seems like a GREAT fit for her. I am relieved she did not come back to chuck, if indeed the entire season 4 team is back and there are no more season 3 writers getting rehired, IMO that is perfect as I liked season 4’s writing much more than season 3’s writing.

      • atcDave says:

        I tried Ordinary Family when it started, but four episodes in I found it boring and depressing and took it off the “to do” list. The “ordinary” family was WAY too dysfunctional for my taste.

        I agree entirely about the writers Jason; although Adler did much good work on Chuck, I still see Fake Name as such a gross betrayal I’m not eager to have her back. I am a forgiving sort, and if she apologized with some indication she understood why many of us were so outraged by that episode, I’m sure I could get over it. After all, I’ve mostly forgiven Schwedak and they were the main architects of the misery arc; but I think Adler’s role in the season of our discontent is unique (from the crass manipulation of the “love writer” video to subverting the name reveal she herself had set up way back in Wookie) and want to hear something specific from her.

      • AgentInWaiting says:

        “Love writer” video – is that the video of Chuck in Three Words? It’s hard to believe the same writer was responsible for both Fake Name and Honeymooners.(along with LeJudkins).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, I was looking for a summer re-watch of some sort, then we decided to do 2 re-watches of Chuck, so the time just isn’t there. (I’ve wanted to do Wonderfalls for the longest time, but it just isn’t readilly available enough for us to get a decent sized audience. I wonder how many copies Netflix has?) I keep watching for series like it however, 10-13 episodes that never quite found an audience that quickly becomes available on something like OnDemand or Hulu where we could get a good re-watch going. I’ll maybe check it out, unlike Dave I have a high tollerance for angst and dysfunction. 😉 But like Dave if a show hasn’t grabbed me by about the 4th or 5th episode I’m likely to tune out.

      • atcDave says:

        AiW the video I mentioned was a bit of “damage control” put out by Ali Adler (certainly with the involvement of Schwedak) shortly after ComicCon, summer 2009. That was when we all first heard about the “love quadrangle” and “one step forward, two steps back”. It was clearly meant to calm down us ‘shippers; but all she really said was “trust us, we’ll get there someday.” Basically, she promised to deliver the train wreck we saw but said we should all sit back and enjoy it.
        Sorry about my tone, but it is still a bitter memory. Some fans were actually calmed by it, but I found it cynical and manipulative from day one.
        Adler is clearly a good writer and capable of writing a broad range of material. But Fake Name is just an abomination that destroys the characters, the fun, and everything I ever found special about the show. If I were even a little less invested I would have called it quits right there. I’m also not convinced Adler played such a big role in Honeymooners; she was credited with concept not dialogue.

        Ernie you are completely right I have a thin skin about such things. Friends and family not treating each other right will set me off every time. I don’t enjoy it, and just can’t watch it. Now it is funny, my wife and I recently started watching “The Middle”; which is the very definition of a dysfunctional family. But for whatever reason, I find the dysfunction rooted in affection and I actually really enjoy that show (in the context of being a dumb, mostly pointless sit-com) It feels a lot like “Malcom In The Middle” to me, and I’m SURE the similarity of the name is PURE coincidence!

        I also must apologize for surely making Ernie cringe with the above comments. Its funny how much we can all love the same show yet have such radically different sensitivities sometimes. Ernie has gone to great pains to show how S3 can be appreciated, and been quite clear that he finds it inappropriate when we are harsh with the professional writers for the show. While I agree there is some value in understanding what they were trying to do; I NEVER want that understanding to be misconstrued as approval or acceptance. It was total fubar and I can not discuss it in any other terms.

      • Herder says:

        Ernie, a recent entry for rewatch would be Better off Ted, and the always popular Freaks and Geeks or SportsNight. Personally I’m rewatching Ken Burn’s Civil War. AgentInWaiting Ali Adler’s “love writer” was a short video put out in respose to the uproar over the “love trapezoid” comments of JS & CF where she said stuff to the effect that she was the love writer on the staff and that they loved Chuck and Sarah together and that (looking at the wedding photos from Suburbs) “who knows”. It was damage control and as it turned out not particularly honest damage control which is why many are upset about the way in which she wrote Fake Name. But that is water under the bridge now, but it does explain comments like Dave’s.

      • atcDave says:

        Herder you are completely right it is (mostly) water under the bridge now. S4 was wonderful and delivered in every way I could have hoped for. As I said, I’m very happy with the writers right now!

      • Herder says:

        Dave, the funny thing is that I was refering to your earlier comment not the one posted while I was typing mine, the point however is the same.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, No Problem, I’m quickly building an immunity to the writers being trashed in public by name due to increased exposure. My only objection is that, as far as I know, not one of us has read word one of any script or whiteboard. Yes, it starts with the writing, but everyone from the director to the network has their input. For all we know NBC demanded that Schwedak keep Chuck and Sarah apart for the entire season 3 original run to avoid the dreaded “Moonlighting Effect” that everyone is so knowledgable about and to preserve that WT/WT that everyone loved so much.

        We see only and end product. Some day, some of the decisions, where they were made and what they cost the show may come out, but by that time I doubt anyone will think to apologize to those whose skills and dedication they trashed. And while I understand you seeing Ali’s video as cynical, and I see your point given that she probably generally knew the direction the season would take, well my only defense would be that at the time it came out the episode probably wasn’t written yet, and the backorder was definitely not known.

        I’ll also note that while I do often make the case that a lot of season 3 can be appreciated and enjoyed, it very much depends on your personal tastes and level of tollerance for some things. I don’t think I’d ever make the case that you or Faith would or should enjoy season 3.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Herder, if I’d known we had a longer than normal wait for Chuck I might have gone for Freaks and Geeks, but as is, two Chuck re-watches is enough for me this summer. BTW Better Off Ted was absolutely hillarious, so I want to thank you for that recomendation. (At least I think it was you…)

      • Faith says:

        *cough*Pushing Daisies*cough*

        Hey did I mention, Pushing Daisies? ;).

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie that is always a valid point about the collaborative process. That is one good reason for the acronym “TPTB” that we so often use. It is often difficult to know exactly how to allocate credit (or blame!) for what we see on screen. Even if we see a statement in an interview it can be hard to determine when someone is speaking for themselves or just explaining what they must do. I also have some measure of sympathy for anyone who gets “called out” for something that isn’t entirely their fault. And I certainly never want to make it personal, and yeah I do understand a criticism of one’s professional work can FEEL awfully personal (I HATE when my judgement error inconveniences or delays a pilot!). But I do think it’s fair to assign credit and blame (and you know Ernie I’ve been pretty effusive with praise this season) as best we can. I mean their names are attached to the product via union mandated CREDITS! It is often satisfying to be able to recognize aspects of their work from episode to episode, or even series to series. I also think our praise is more meaningful if it includes criticism. We all know viewers who have nothing bad to say about anything; to me that always calls to question their discernment (how can I make anything of a reviewer who likes everything?). I also find it satisfying when our complaints achieve results. And while I must admit some disappointment with how much criticism some leveled at a show I had very few complaints with in S4; I am very pleased that show really became everything I ever wanted it to be. I do see that as a result of viewer input; I think S3.5 was simply what TPTB THOUGHT a pay-off arc ought to be after forcing S3 on us. To me, Honeymooners was the only completely acceptable episode in that regard; while S4 was written after our comments had been processed, and generated over a dozen episodes I would consider outstanding (and I have very few complaints with the remaining episodes either!).

        Sorry if that was too much of a rant. I do have to acknowledge I employ a different standard when I write fan fiction reviews. But apart from the hobbyist angle, there is also such a huge variety of material, I find it easier to just pick the pieces I have mostly praise for. That way I don’t have to hurt any feelings of someone who is writing just because they love Chuck and want to do something about it. Of course, some may still find an implied criticism, “gee, he didn’t mention my story, he must have hated it…”. This is not always true, for starters, even my own favorites list has far more stories on it than I’ve ever recommended in writing here. Secondly, there’s a significant number of stories that just miss the cut. That is, tales that were mostly good, but I felt were lacking in some small way; or stories that were clearly well written but weren’t to my taste.
        So sometimes, even a non-criticism by omission could be hurtful. I never intend personal affront in either case. I mostly want to celebrate the show I have loved for most of four seasons. Part of that will always be picking out the good and the bad. With Chuck the good outweighs the bad by quite a lot. But some of the bad has been bad enough to make me downright angry. So there can be a lot of passion at both extremes.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh and for the record, I’m having a blast today. Even if much of this is repetitive, I’ve enjoyed some good discussion here today!

      • joe says:

        @ATCDave I HATE when my judgement error inconveniences or delays a pilot!

        Ah! You and Allie Adler have something in common, then. Oh, wait… 😉

        This is a great discussion on the nature of criticisms, as in, critiquing. It’s not a trivial thing. We’re actually called on to give our judgement, and at the same time, reveal our own biases. Not always easy. I’ve learned to have a lot of respect for those who do it for a living.

        But we’re amateurs at that game, and it’s not really the game I’ve been playing. I just wanna express how much I enjoyed something about the show, and if I can, explain why. Usually I find the reasons are deeply personal and often have little, if any, meaning to others.

        Still, there’s much about what we’ve seen that’s part of the human experience. We write about it and enjoy it precisely because it is more universal than we dared hope at first. If I can point to one single thing that has given me more happiness than anything else over these past two years, it’s discovering that some of my thoughts, the ones I thought most private, are shared by others.

      • BigKev67 says:

        The whole question of fan input and how it affects a show is an interesting one. Like most things it comes down to personal taste – ie if the input matches your opinion and sends the show in a direction that you like then being “responsive” is self-evidently a good thing. It’s also possible to take a view that TPTB were so scarred by the reactions to the Chuckpocalypse that they ran scared and produced a very safe, cautious S4 designed to protect what they had and not upset anyone. If you have that view, then the fan input, and the response to it is not a good thing at all – and judging by the ratings it doesn’t seem to have worked. To me the obvious solution is to pitch S5 half way between the drama and angst of S3 and the fluff of S4. That’s where I think S2 was, broadly, and look how that turned out.
        Whatever I think though, I’m just a fan at the end of the day. I may have an opinion, but I’ve never written a script and I’d struggle to write 2 minutes of watchable TV if my life depended on it. So even if I don’t like something, I hope I never get into criticizing the integrity, motivation or talent of writers or producers. Honestly, I would rather they didn’t read my opinions, because they know a lot more about this stuff than I do. They’re the professionals after all, I’m just the guy who has the luxury of expressing an opinion while in possession of probably only 10% of the facts or required knowledge. I don’t need them to listen to me, I need them to trust their own judgment and produce the best show they can.

      • atcDave says:

        Kev I do agree with some of your comment, specifically none of us have any real technical knowledge of how to write, direct, or produce a TV show. I also have no desire to personally insult anyone involved in the process. But I disagree about wanting to just sit back and let them feed me. I know far more about being a TV viewer than most of them do, and I’ve never seen it as a passive process. I certainly don’t want the professionals making erroneous assumptions about what I want. In fact, more than anything, what started my outspokenness about all things Chuck was specific comments from TPTB about “what the fans really love” that I found myself radically in disagreement with. To the point where, I was quite certain I would hate the show they made with those assumptions. And when S3 played out exactly to my worst fears it made me even more outspoken.
        I do have a fair amount of writing experience, in the very different arena of gaming; which is course a far more interactive form of storytelling. So that may bias me towards exaggerating the influence of the audience; at least with my stories, I could always look across a game table and see if my audience was pleased, excited, bored, or angry. And I can’t imagine how one really tells a story without that feedback. That does leave me with the attitude the audience is a central player in the creative process. Obviously television allows for significantly less adaptability; but I’d say that makes those early warning signs, like writer’s making wrong assumptions about what their audience wants, that much more important to jump on. While we were too late (and largely ignored) to make a difference for S3; I can think a few key differences we might have made for S4, starting with doing away with lying Chuck. At least with Sarah, that was put to rest in 4.01 and we never saw it again.

        Now as far as the “safer story” argument goes I really don’t think that was true. They still played on many fears during the course of the season, and still upset ‘shippers a time or two. I would also say I only know of one casual viewer who reported any dissatisfaction with the show, and I believe that was a case of not being over that viewer’s dislike of S3. I think we probably lost more viewers from various forms of S3 fatigue than we did from anything wrong with S4 (that is, the handful of “here we go again” moments that did come up in S4, like the end of Aisle of Terror or Balcony. I am NOT criticizing those episodes by the way, only commenting on some of the reaction they did generate).
        Now that said, I do agree S2 was a pinnacle of sorts. Many elements came together perfectly in a way that may be impossible to reproduce. I always see that as the season most of us fell in love with the show. I don’t know what can be done to get that sort of “magic” back. Trying to add romantic tension/frustration was likely the start of what went wrong with S3. S4 villains certainly had the same sort of comic menace we saw in S2 (I see Rourke/Volkoff as being very similar characters). Perhaps they will succeed by adding some tension and menace from Decker, or the government in general. That should be a scary situation. But I do know I am more excited, and have fewer reservations about what the future the holds than I have been at any other time in the show’s history.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe one thought you gave me is about the role of our bias. Obviously, most of what I write would be classified as opinion. Its the one thing I’m always qualified to write without checking my references. I have never tried or claimed to be a professional critic. I am writing about my own likes, dislikes, and taste. But I do believe the best professional critics always have some measure of their own tastes in their writing. After all, while the technical merits, writing, and performances may all be issues of objective quality; in the end, my question always is “did you enjoy the film/book/album/game?” And over time, the track record and taste of the individual critic becomes as important to me as the technical abilities of their analysis. I have honestly read critics where I just know “if he hated it I’ll love it!”

        So I try to be honest in opinions. And especially when I recommend fan fiction I want readers to know its ME who’s making the recommendation. That way they can know, “if Dave loved it, I will probably hate it…” (obviously, I hope MANY readers feel the other way around and think “if Dave loved it, I probably will too!”)

      • joe says:

        Clearly, that’s a good way to go, Dave. Pretty much may tact too.

        I always hope to find something that connects with me. I guess, I’m really hoping for an insight, perhaps born of my own experience, that I can describe. It probably comes off as obvious to others, but for me, it’s sort of exciting to say “Hey look at that! I *understand* what the character meant here!”

        I’m like a child looking at the night sky sometimes, shouting “Look at the moon! Look at the moon!” 😉

    • Faith says:

      I am saddened by this news, and the reaction to the news but to each his/her own on that one :D. Mostly, just sad about the news.

    • Amron says:

      I’m with you BigKev. I really believe S4 was a safe bet, and it kind of disappointed me: I loved S1 and S2, but to be honest, at one point I said to myself “Oh, no, they’re stick with Chuck in the car”, so when I reached the season finale, I practically screamed of pure joy, because they were doing something out of the comfort zone. And I know a lot of people will kill me know, but I enjoyed S3. Yes, Sarah falling for Shaw make me puke, but at the end I believe it was all part of telling the story, because when they finally came clear with each other in the Guitar Hero scene, they were somehow equals: Chuck as an agent that understood the spy world and could appreciate the sacrifices and choices of Agent Walker (and Casey, by the way); and Sarah, who could feel what it means to be a person with a lot of emotions flowing with no control, making mistakes, looking how the people who you love changed in front of her eyes (just like the mixed signals she sent to Chuck on S1 and S2).
      Now, in S4 they just give us pure fluff. And I like fluff, yes, but at controlled doses: I believe a fluff scene in the correct spot could be awesome, but if you did a whole fluff chapter week after week… well, it starts to lose their magic.

      Sorry for the bad english, by the way. I tried, but here I don’t have beta, so…

      • atcDave says:

        Its those “make me puke” moments that are never worth it to me. I watch TV to have a good time, and trashing a respected character will never work for me. That is an immutable rule. I will reject any story that makes the focal characters look so bad. In the case of S3 that meant both Chuck and Sarah.

        And no I’m not narrow enough to say there is no room for other sorts of storytelling, only that I won’t watch it. So S3 was the sort of brutal change of tone that WILL cause me to re-evaluate if I even want to continue watching a show. If Chuck were a new show starting with an episode like Pink Slip I would have never watched it again. And that’s yet another part of what really ticked me off about S3, I was too invested and couldn’t just delete it.
        S4 did completely make amends. I don’t see it as fluff. But the only casual viewer I know who was unhappy with S4 is still carrying a grudge from S3.

      • joe says:

        Yeah. Dave, you sort of describe it like an emotional roller coaster dip that was just too much of a fall. Is that right? The ones willing/able to ride it out got the thrilling part of the ride, but some just up-chucked?

        Ack. Bad analogy, but you see what I mean. The pay-off for that emotional fall has got to be pretty big, and it’s clear it wasn’t enough for a number of fans. My own reaction (which is liable to change as I continue my summer Chuck marathon) is that I appreciate the risk they took. There’s a lot I really, really enjoy in S3 (especially the music, which was often exceptional).

        I have two very rough patches, two places where I just don’t understand why Sarah does what she does. Both are either brilliant (and are meant to be incredibly subtle), or terrible (and much more confusing than anything). We’ve all discussed this to death, but they won’t go away. The votes are in.

        Fortunately, it’s not a one-time ballot we cast. For me, the episodes from The Other Guy to the The Cliffhanger are worth every moment spent watching.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m almost there Joe. I certainly got over the rough patch to the point where I can enjoy the show again. But I doubt I’ll ever find any appreciation for much of what transpired in S3.

      • herder says:

        I agree with Big Kev too in many ways, although I liked season four tremendously it did lack a bit of the oomph of seasons one and too, three had too much oomph. I’m just starting my summer rewatch and tonight saw Wookie for the first time in a while, the real name was so big an issue and to toss it away in the manner that they did still sticks in my craw.

        The best way that I can explain my view of what Kev is saying is that in seasons one and two they weren’t afraid to make the characters harsh or unlikeable on occasion if it served the dramatic purpose, season three went overboard and season four they lost their nerve for that part of the story. None of the major characters were allowed to be unlikeable in any circumstance. The other parts of the story in season four were great, but in most cases not even the bad guys were allowed to be that bad.

        Many people really liked Helecopter, both Sarah and Casey did things that were not particularly nice, for me the show really started to come together in Wookie where Sarah flat out lied to Chuck and while she felt bad about it, she didn’t feel bad enough to apologize.

      • jason says:

        I don’t agree at all, I like season 4’s way much more than season 2’s way, more than season 1’s way, and when I watched sarah fell in love with shaw in 2 minutes of mask, watched the fake name scene, then shaw pummel defenseless chuck, then wathced sarah make love to shaw in the castle minutes later, stood by while shaw was in the middle of executing chuck in beard, then like all bad tv, final exam and hero were so illogical and bad that it was numbingly stupid, so much so that even the shills that write “fluff’ for TPTB turned on them – sorry – there is nothing brilliant about how the 3d chess match love affair between sarah and shaw was written – season 3’s misery arc was mishandled.

        One ? I keep asking – WHO do all you guys want to dislike? – Now that morgan has emasculated casey as a dramatic character – casey is as much comic relief as anyone and the same folks wanting misery love morgan and casey. it is a cast of comdians other than sarah – in 4×6 and 4×12, TPTB tried to make sarah hurt chuck, it did not sell that well, then in 4×23/24 TPTB tried to hurt chuck by hurting sarah – I don’t know that anyone was that enthralled with that either. 4/23 was a simple repeat of the other guy’s theme, and even in season 3’s finale, shaw has sarah chained to a rail to set up the finale shaw – chuck scene. So when you say you want to dislike a character and / or put some teeth into the show, pretty much it is have sarah do something to harm chuck or hurt sarah. Is that what you guys really want? If not her, WHO?

      • atcDave says:

        I’m glad they’ve moved past the point of the main characters being unlikable, or doing bad things to each other. I was fine with that element of tension in the first season; especially since in the case of Chuck and Sarah it was always very understated, and I would say non-existent after Helicopter except for the unresolved romantic issue. Casey was obviously a little darker character, but even that was changed during the course of S2; remember Colonel ended with Casey basically saying he just felt left out of the rogue mission, and in Ring he was downright warm and fuzzy.
        And the thing is, regressing from those growth points is a betrayal of the audience. Casey became Chuck’s biggest supporter and friend DURING the misery arc, and I believe most viewers have enjoyed seeing that growth from him. Does anyone really want to see Casey revert to the thug who’s just waiting for orders to kill Chuck? I doubt it, because we’ve seen real growth of his character. And even if it robs the show of an element of tension, undoing that growth to generate a little angst is fundamentally dishonest story-telling, And (you knew I had to get to this) that is exactly what went wrong with Sarah in S3. After clearly putting Chuck and Sarah together in Colonel (casual viewers I know were all convinced the big event was a FACT after Colonel); TPTB choose to UNDO the good thing they had done in S3. That is the first fundamental flaw in their story telling. I guess they thought putting Chuck and Sarah together was so awesome they had to do it more than once. But that’s one of those things that really is only magic the first time. So most of the season became a colossal waste of time waiting for the central relationship to get back to where it was. I often joke about how Honeymooners should have been 3,01; but it really isn’t that much of a joke, apart from getting Morgan into the spy world, NOTHING else happened in those first 13 episodes that has ever mattered since.
        What’s my point in bringing up S3 again? Twofold; the more menacing aspects of Casey’s character were removed by the end of S2 and that CANNOT be undone. and S3 clearly showed the foolishness in undoing something in its handling of the Chuck/Sarah relationship. Its not a matter of playing it safe with those characters in S4, its a matter of staying true to the growth they’ve shown. Regressing on those characters again is the territory of soap operas. I would also add Chuck himself has grown out of the “fish out of water” phase of the story. That is a story that could have had legs through his spy training in S3, but the opportunity was largely squandered due to the Charah malfunction taking center stage. At this point, there’s no real going back on that growth issue either. Chuck has made his peace with it means to be “a good guy” in the spy world, he has formed his friendships and alliances, and he is now a competent professional.
        With teamB’s new (non)-status with the government it does open up some new avenues of conflict and tension, and I really hope they make some good use of that. But I will be very disappointed if they choose character/relationship backsliding as a major theme for S5. And I never want to see Chuck or Sarah portrayed in an “unlikable” way. Liking those two characters is the hook of the entire series for me; and loosing that is what ruiined S3. I’m not really worried about it. I think TPTB have learned their lessons. And I sure hope Chuck never turns into “24” or “Alias” and heaps misery upon misery to the main characters. I love having a show that leaves me feelling good about the main characters after most episodes. THAT is radical and creative story-telling in this day and age.

      • thinkling says:

        What Dave said! Wow, I agree with almost all of that, Dave. I do think some important things happened in S3, but in far too damaging ways. The damage outweighed progress made on other fronts.

      • Faith says:

        “The best way that I can explain my view of what Kev is saying is that in seasons one and two they weren’t afraid to make the characters harsh or unlikeable on occasion if it served the dramatic purpose, season three went overboard and season four they lost their nerve for that part of the story. None of the major characters were allowed to be unlikeable in any circumstance. The other parts of the story in season four were great, but in most cases not even the bad guys were allowed to be that bad.”

        That’s a good way to put it. Good summary as well.

        And it’s not so much a “dislike” as it is conflict. What season 4 lacked in comparison to all the other seasons are these undercurrents of tension and stronger conflict. It’s not that you hated Casey, it’s that you honestly feared that Chuck would be taken away from Sarah and put in a bunker. Or that Ellie would be put in danger, even Morgan and his friends.

        Although they went for Sarah in peril in season 4, even that lacked previous levels of anxiety and tension that previous conflicts had, or at least it did to me. And that’s not a bad thing, after the tone and the reception to season 3, we needed a season 4 that was the way it was.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Oh, Faith, you are hitting so close to a post I’ve wanted to write for months… About season 3…

      • Faith says:



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  15. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Intersect (1.01) | Chuck This

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