Delorean: “The bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe.”

Is there a bigger lie than a beautiful, successful, world class spy falling for the clumsy, (on the surface) unremarkable, Buy More-working nerd who often has mustard on his tie? Yes, the spy and the nerd pretending it’s just a job.

Enter Jack Burton, a man who lives a life of lies and in turn taught his daughter to do the same.

Jack Burton: “Well you pulled it off kid, you made me a believer.”
Chuck: “Well my German’s a little rusty but…”
Jack Burton: “No, that you two were a couple.”

Perhaps those words were more pointed than intended. Ironic words from a man whose only real gift is reading people, he read this situation perfectly. After saying so, he went on to leave the stolen $10 million to Chuck, a sign of trust and approval if there ever was one. For a man who was arguably not a good father, but was a master con-man he saw through the biggest con of all, one even his daughter have yet to see through, one she wasn’t yet ready to see through–that the fake relationship was at its core always real to both of them. There’s a bond and a love within and its inescapable.

The McGuffin itself was simple, fool Ahmad into buying the building but the truth, so much more complicated. Sarah Walker was a woman who learned the folly of trust early on; one who learned only to rely on herself because her father has let her down too often:

Chuck: “I’m sorry if I pushed you into trusting your father.”
Sarah: “If there’s anything I’ve learned from my father it’s to get ready for a disappointment. And if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine.”
Chuck: “No it’s not. 11 years ago my father left Ellie and me, he’s a…he was an unusual man, I guess that’s generous, an engineer. We used to get Christmas cards and birthday calls and one year it just stopped, I don’t know why but I do know that it wasn’t my fault. Granted it took a significant amount of time and an incredible amount of therapy to come to that realization. You need to know that your father’s sins were his and not yours.”
Sarah: “That’s pretty eloquent for 9 am.”
Chuck: “What can I say, I am an articulate schnook.”

And here comes this guy who is reliable, trustworthy and caring. Not an opposite of her father per say, but one that although has her father’s heart, also has character to go with it. Is it any wonder she fell for Chuck?

Jack Burton: “I gave you $10 million reasons to go.”
Chuck: “And one really good reason to stay.”

Jack Burton could only ever wish for a better man than himself for his daughter, and that man is Chuck. A man who not only turned down 10 million dollars but also rode on his silver Delorean like a white knight and rescued the girl and her father through wit and heart. Although Jack Burton may never be the man she wants him to be, she’s found a man in Chuck that she deserves. And so the lie unravels a bit more and Sarah Walker marches on life’s greatest adventure (love) with “the right schnook” (Chuck).

Speaking of “life’s greatest adventure,” allow me to fast forward to Wedding Details for a bit. An episode that featured the return of Jack Burton, an episode not without its own set of lies and reveals, except this time Chuck and Sarah aren’t lying to themselves, they’re lying to Jack Burton. A twist of its own. When Sarah visited her father, she wasn’t wearing her ring, but she was unconsciously and helplessly looking for it, playing with her ring finger. Jack Burton being a con-man figured out the truth eventually but it’s an interesting twist within the episode’s theme of “Once you know all the cons, you can never be a sucker.”

Wedding Details itself was inspired, but since this is a Delorean re-review I’ll only mention how much one ties into the other. The progression between Chuck and Sarah and thereby Jack and Sarah from Delorean was inspired: “I thought you’d end up more like me.” She didn’t, not really and in one a heartbroken Sarah, abandoned again by her father got comfort from Chuck, in another she sought comfort from Chuck. Inspired.

Other notes:
– Demorgan plates for Delorean, hilarious. Morgan’s step towards maturity and adulthood with Anna was less of a parallel in this one versus other episodes but it was nonetheless entertaining. The very idea of Awesome plucking Morgan from head to toe? Hilarious.
– Chuck trying to get some PDA by pretending it’s the job? Wily. You go Chuckles.
– Jack Burton is boss. They couldn’t have created a role that was more fitting, or casted anyone better in the role than Gary Cole. For the woman we know Sarah Walker to be, it figures that her life and the type of man her father is has led her to the woman she’s become, and in turn led her to Chuck. It’s a fantastic progression, an inspired background for one of Chuck’s finest characters (if not the finest). And plus, it’s always great to learn more about Sarah Walker-Bartowski. Hope we get more of that in the upcoming season.
– Casey’s got the best lines, “That’s sad, you’ve confused me with someone who cares about your life before the intersect.” Hilarious and so very John Casey-ish.
– For mostly a bottle-episode, this was one of Chuck’s strongest. It’s more than just the fact that we get to learn about Sarah (let’s face it, Sarah centered episodes tends to be elevated on that characteristic alone), it’s the entertainment and fun factor. The con was reminiscent of Ocean’s 11, the music inspired and the character development, golden. All in all I consider Delorean one of Chuck’s finest out of all 78 episodes, if not one of 15 best.


About Faith

Eternally faith-ful at least as it relates to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Yes that's where the username comes from. Other than that self-professed Chuckaholic, Laker blogger and part time internet addict. Ok, full time.
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72 Responses to Delorean: “The bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe.”

  1. atcDave says:

    I would ditto your assessment Faith, this really one of Chuck’s very best. And so cool to have Jack Burton back with us in S4, maybe we’ll see him again in S5?!

  2. kg says:

    Faith through yesterday I had watched every episode of the first two seasons again through Colonel.

    The look on Sarah/Yvonne’s face is priceless. She totally gets her father not trusting “cop face,” but although she trusts Chuck (we have known for awhile, but verbally hear it in Tom Sawyer) she is completely dumbfounded that her father may actually trust Chuck for real, and left the 10 million with Bartowski due to that fact and merely because he was anybody but Casey.

    And then of course, Jack continues to flatter Chuck in front of his daughter. “All I know is that kid would never betray you. I made a 10 million dollar bet that he loves you. Turns out I was right.”

    No matter how many times I see that scene, I obviously get the sense she enjoys hearing it, but makes an odd facial expression because she apparently wants to believe that about him but is just not ready yet to embrace it.

    In a totally unrelated event, we see Jill Roberts in First Kill, like Sarah, fearful of the various government agencies changing Chuck, in their eyes, for the worst. Like Sarah, Jill implores Chuck to not allow the government to change him.

    • Faith says:

      KG I totally agree that that facial expression was priceless. Yet another episode in which Yvonne Strahovski’s talent shines. But I disagree that the message behind that facial expression was related to trust…to me it was an expression of shock–shock that someone like Chuck could feel that way about her.

      Sarah hasn’t been around many men that are willing to put her above all, above money, above the con, above the mission and Chuck shows daily that he’s that kind of guy. And more he does so not just because he has feelings for her (she’s aware of it but in denial about that), but that that’s the kind of guy he is. He’s genuinely kind hearted and special. The look on her face had a semblance of sarcasm and sadness to me, a bit of “yeah, right” as well as “I wish/if only…” Somewhat sad commentary on Sarah Walker’s past and yet an encouraging one because her life is changing, because of Chuck.

      • kg says:

        Sure, I don’t think the second look is about trust either.

        It’s frustrating over several views to pin down what she’s feeling or expressing, but I definitely think you’re on to something with the semblance of sarcasm and sadness angle, a bit of “Yeah, right, I wish/if only” themes.

        Great. Thanks.

      • thinkling says:

        Thanks for the lovely read on one of my favorites. I loved your angle of the biggest lie being the one they keep telling themselves. Such a great episode.

        Thanks for your take on the look, too. It has always puzzled me, but I think you’re spot on.

        Interesting, isn’t it, how every single Sarah-centered episode made the ChuckThis list of favorites? (Hey, Schwedak, you listening?!)

  3. joe says:

    Man, I love this episode. And you found exactly the right lines to remind me of why I do, Faith.

    Jack Burton: “I gave you $10 million reasons to go.”
    Chuck: …and one, really good one to stay.

    I always wish Sarah had heard that. Then again, maybe she did, and realized at that moment that for her, Chuck really is a gift.

    Faith, I’m going to point out one thing, but please don’t change it, because it’s perfect. The episode is The Wedding Planner. Really, it is about the wedding details, though, and with that, you (once again!) provided an insight!

  4. jason says:

    Thanks for writing this up, the pilot, delorean, honeymooners, role models, and near half of season 4 are my fav’s in the show. From my POV, delorean could have been a season 3.5 or even early season 4 episode, Chuck and Sarah were written that much as a happy couple.

    The worst thing I can say about delorean, I think the writers crossed a wt/wt line, they got too cute, too committed, too close – the ‘tease’ got too real – and going back to the wt/wt, the PLI’s and LI’s, which was never fun to me, was no longer acceptable after DeLorean. I think many fans reached this point after Lethal Weapon, Best Friends, or the Colonel episode, but for me, it was Delorean.

    I watched and I said to myself, ‘that’s’ the show I want’. It took the writers another season and a half to deliver that show on a near weekly basis, I am glad I hung around for the good stuff, even more glad that NBC stuck with chuck long enough to deliver the goods.

    • thinkling says:

      Amen to your last paragraph, Jason. But for me they crossed that line in Cougars, when they proved that Breakup was a fake breakup of a real relationship.

      They were hopelessly compromised and committed (really) by First Date.

    • atcDave says:

      Apart from not liking Beefcake, I was fine with the pacing for the rest of S2, but Colonel was when time expired to me. But I think a big part of that is based on the episodes you two mention MEANING something to me. Cougars and DeLorean are both building towards the epic moment at the end of the season. They are from the period that was most exciting and promising.

      Sorry, I’m not explaining myself well. I’m both agreeing and disagreeing with you at the same time! But it makes sense to me…

    • Silvercat42 says:

      In reality, once couples pass the wt/wt line, they are still not immune from future love interests. So, I think your reaction was primarily your wanting the relationship to move on faster than it did in the story. Of course, I’m one of the few fans who thought the troubles between C&S in the first 13 of Season 3 were necessary and instrumental in getting the relationship where it is in Season 4.

      • joe says:

        Very true, Silvercat. And I’m with you about the necessity of S3 (which is not to say that the fan’s reactions weren’t justified… they were).

        But I sort of hate the idea that C&S might still not be immune from future LIs. Don’t want to see that. Uh-uh! I still have dreams of a Chuck movie sometime in the near future, and if it goes anywhere near that kind of thing, I will NOT enjoy it, no matter how satisfactory the ending.

        My meager imagination for alternatives fails me, though, and that’s a worry. I’m counting on the fact that the professionals are better at interesting Chuck story-lines than I.

        I haven’t been disappointed yet!

      • atcDave says:

        A huge part of it has more to do with story-telling than any sort of reality. The wt/wt, especially using OLIs, was utterly worn out for most of us at the end of S2. Soap operas and night time “dramas” are always there for those who want a show that focuses on the back and forth of unstable couples; but I know for myself, I’d rather feel like the story/relationships/show are actually telling a story that’s uplifting, going forward, and fun. And I completely don’t get the argument that any of it was “needed” somehow; I know just as many couples who have never experience any form of wt/wt or unfaithfulness, and those couples always do better in the long run.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I should apologize SilverCat if my tone was too belligerent above. I do respond when words like “necessary” or “needed” are thrown out, because I strongly don’t believe that. It was a story telling decision that many of us (I believe a majority but of course cannot prove that) believe was a very bad story telling decision. Sorry, but it is a hot button for me and likely will remain one.

  5. Gord says:

    Faith, I loved your review, and Delorian will always remain one of my favourites too. The night that the wedding planner was in the few hours before the episode aired, I rewatched cougars and Delorian. It really made the Wedding planner episode that much better for me. I plan to do that again sometime, because those episodes complement each other so well.

    One thing you said in your review, I wonder about: “Although Jack Burton may never be the man she wants him to be, she’s found a man in Chuck that she deserves. ” If you are talking from Sarah’s perspective in this episode, I’m not entirely sure that she feels she deserves Chuck at this point. In fact I thought for a great deal of S1 and S2, that both Chuck and Sarah because of their own insecurities didn’t feel worthy of the other one’s affections.

    • Faith says:

      You’re right Gord, back then she didn’t think she deserved him. I would go one over and say that she wasn’t secure about what Chuck feels for her so you’re absolutely correct. I meant the “deserves” part in global terms, as in we (as viewers) perceive she deserves a great guy like Chuck; Jack, Casey, even Chuck (though in his case he doesn’t see himself as that guy, as of yet)…all of us think she deserves a great guy. One with a heart like her father’s but with a character that backs it up. One that would put her above all, the way no one from Jack to Bryce has been able to.

  6. Cenodoxus says:

    I always thought of “Delorean” as a terribly sad episode for all that it implied. Without it, Sarah Walker as a character would have made much less sense.

    Some (very) disjointed thoughts:

    1. There’s a certain amount of polite hostility in the dynamic between Jack and Sarah, but it’s interesting just how quickly it vanishes once an external threat appears. She doesn’t want him to know what she does for a living, Chuck is obviously not a topic of conversation before he crashes the dinner, and that training dummy in Castle seems to take a number of unusually vicious hits that day.

    But Jack doesn’t miss a beat when she “reverts” him to what must be an alias (“Jack Burton”) in front of Chuck, just as she doesn’t hesitate to go after her father with little more than a gun and a bag full of bluffs when the episode’s big ruse falls apart. Jack deserves to be in jail, and Sarah knows it. But she doesn’t have anyone else … or, perhaps more accurately, she doesn’t allow herself the hope of believing that she might have Chuck, at least not permanently (I’d argue that up until “Tooth” at the absolute earliest, she still doesn’t think that whatever she has with Chuck can’t be taken from her. Someone as smart as Sarah can’t believe that running away with him a la “Pink Slip” would have ended any better than it did in “Colonel”).

    It’s a bizarrely psychological version of the old Arab saying, and here it’s: Me against my con man father, my con man father and I against my pseudo-boyfriend, I and my pseudo-boyfriend against the world.

    2. “Delorean” all but confirms that Sarah has never had a functional relationship with a man before meeting Chuck. She’s used by her father, used by Graham, uses countless other men as part of her job, and then seemingly betrayed by Bryce (another one of the show’s great unanswered questions — what was that relationship really like?). It’s happened so much that she fails to realize just how dysfunctional this really is. I agree with Jason’s earlier comment (on the Summer Rewatch 4.14 thread concerning “Seduction”) that she might have been OK with Chuck pushing the boundaries of the fake relationship and was probably shocked that he didn’t.

    3. The latter point bleeds heavily into this one: Even by season four, she hasn’t entirely outgrown the tendency toward manipulating people, and that tendency is still running pretty strong in season two. A woman’s experience with her father is a template for later experience with men, and the precedents with Jack are mostly bad. There are a number of episodes in seasons two and three where, if I’d been Chuck, I’d honestly have been tempted to throw myself in front of a train. He knows he’s being manipulated; to a certain extent you can even argue that he allows it (the Chuck/Sarah relationship can be described as — Chuck’s at the wheel while a confused and fearful Sarah alternates between the gas and the brakes). But that it happens at all is not good.

    “Muuurder” has a nice little characterization point to this end in Sarah’s (accurate) assessment of Josie’s attempts to manipulate Chuck. You can see the wheels start to turn in her head as she sees it for what it is and obviously doesn’t like it, to the point where I wonder if an episode like “Seduction” could ever have happened afterwards.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Excellent observations Cenodoxus. I’m inclined to agree with most everything you say. Of all the things done well this season I think Sarah’s story, both in revisiting the past so we are reminded of where she is coming from, to her finally finding a way forward.

      I think the best part is that it reminds us “it’s complicated” wasn’t just about the job getting in the way. How Chuck and Sarah met and fell in love comes with its own baggage train. That Sarah might have felt that was something she might never be able to overcome with Chuck is a pretty powerful story that wasn’t handled nearly as well in season 3 as Sarah’s “real girl” journey has been in season 4.

      • atcDave says:

        And it always makes me laugh going back to the Pilot; when Sarah said she may come with baggage, she wasn’t kidding!

      • thinkling says:

        Wow, how far she has come from the first baggage remark!

  7. Silvercat42 says:

    Delorean and Wedding Planner are both in my top 5 Chuck episodes, because they are Sarah backstory eps and because Jack Burton is one of the most “complicated” and interesting non-lead characters. I recently saw Gary Cole in the Good Wife, playing a totally different type of character, which showed me what an excellent actor he can be and is. And of chorse, Yvonne’s acting is superb in both, as BTW is Zach’s.

  8. jason says:

    to go full circle back to delorean, my point was in delorean, the writing along with some on screen magic led ME to not wanting LI’s / PLI’s any longer, and immediately wanting CS together as a couple … this reaction is very specific in my case, it is NOT something I feel in other shows, movies, etc.

    I am not saying this passion should hit everyone, but for those it hit, the passion was intense – it took me a while to understand, but I don’t think the creators were hit by this passion, so when the s3 backlash reaction hit, they were dumbfounded, justifiable maybe, with their own reaction ‘we did pretty much what everyone else does, why get mad at us?’

    Since then, they have done OK, but I have a personal opinion that this creative team has never quite caught up with what they invented, they love the way fans feel, yet they also sort of feel trapped by their own creation. In their own way, TPTB have gone two steps forward one step back in telling their own story. Sort of like they set out to invent salt, and they ended up creating a beautiful sonnet – once it happens, then what, do you make salt or write sonnets? I will admit, much as I liked season 4, it has been frustrating to watch them struggle to get ‘Chuck’ right. They get one more shot in season 5, I’ll / we’ll know soon enough how they did.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with a lot of this Jason, I don’t think its JUST you. I think a lot of us read the romance and wrap up of S2 as more definitive than TPTB did. And I do think they only partly (mostly) get it now. But I guess I do think they produced an extraordinary S4 product, they just have a partial understanding of S3. They get the most basic elements about letting the romance develop and that most viewers seem to prefer the lighter tone. But I don’t think they ever understood how damaged many of us felt the main characters were by the S3 story or strength of affection the fan base feels towards Sarah, or the relative disinterest many of us feel towards Morgan. But I think a big difference now is that the areas of disconnect between viewers and TPTB was vast and damaging in S3, it was comparatively quite small in S4; and I think (I hope!) that we will continue to see that fairly small distance in S5.

    • Verkan_Vall says:


      I agree with just about everything you’ve said, and I’ll go a step or two further. I think that the creative team behind Chuck was in touch with the fans about the show’s direction until the end of season 2, and then something happened. Up until then, they were note-perfect in the way they forged emotional connections between the audience and the characters we came to care for so much, and then Season 3 was so opposite to that as to feel like a different show.

      I’d like to state an opinion and make a prediction.

      My opinion is that TPTB broke Chuck with S3. When they did that, they not only damaged a great show and wrecked a great fanbase, they blew holes in the careers of Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak. There were a great many fans of the first two seasons who loved the show but were driven away from it by S3 events, and while the writers come in for some flak, EVERYBODY seems to blame the showrunners. Keep in mind that when people stop watching the show, they don’t fall off the face of the earth and they don’t shut up. In fact, the most passionate fans will often become the vocal critics, and Chuck had a lot of very passionate followers. I’m convinced that part of the problem with the ratings for S4 was Bad Word-of-Mouth, which constantly dragged the ratings down. In marketing, the general rule of thumb for countering bad word-of-mouth is 10 to 1; you need 10 people saying something good about a product or service to counter 1 person saying something bad about it. And there were a heck of alot more than just 1 person unhappy with season 3.

      My prediction is that Schwartz and Fedak have one last chance with S5 to fix the damage done by S3, and if they don’t do that, it will follow them for the rest of their careers. The levels of bitterness and resentment that I’ve seen while trying to get people to watch the show have been alarming. Don’t expect this to all end when Chuck ends; hard-core fans can carry a grudge for a very long time. With this being the last 13 episodes, the pressures from the studio/network/outsiders should be minimal; they take the opportunity to do something about the damage by S3 that has been a sucking chest wound for the show and the fans. Two examples:

      – deal with the issue of the Fake Name reveal and Sarah’s real name. Remember that people who stopped watching in S3 saw none of the clues in S4. So the showrunners shouldn’t leave bread crumbs to be followed or dots to be connected, but should tell and show the audience what happened.

      – deal with the issue of Shaw/Sarah’s relationship. I’m sure that there is a creative team out there that can make a corrusive ambiguity look like an artistic Truth, but the team behind Chuck isn’t it. They should either tell the audience that they were never lovers (which would shed a whole new light on S3) or state that Sarah Walker slept with the murderer who killed Stephen Bartowski in cold blood in front of his children, and deal with the consequences.

      It’s the last season, what exactly do they have to lose?

      Now, both Dave and I have found that if you can get someone who has left Chuck to sit down and watch one or two episodes from S4, you can get them back. To get the word out about what happens in S5, TPTB should not ignore YouTube. Look at what those 2 marines have been able to do with their invitations to Ms. Kunis and Mr. Timberlake, on what had to have been a shoe-string budget. Also, there are still some people (critics and a show or two) who might be happy to help push a viral Chuck video campaign.

      I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong about a great many things in my life, but I’ve been selling things to people for almost 40 years, and I don’t think I’m wrong about this.

      If Schwartz and Fedak don’t do SOMETHING to remedy the ill feeling that is widespread among past and current fans of Chuck, it will be a millstone around their necks for the rest of their professional careers.

      Thanks for your time.

      • ArmySFC says:

        VV, good points about the angered viewers. they tried selling season 4 and didn’t do it well, i suppose since they lost a bunch of viewers. question is, even if they show the points you brought up, how do you get those that left to watch? even if done on youtube im pretty sure those folks aren’t searching for chuck videos to watch.

        you say you’ve been selling things for a long time. let me ask you this. whatever product you’re marketing do you try to build your sales foundation around the least liked products or the most popular ones? this goes with how they are trying to sell season 5 and morgan. i truly believe that they do not have a firm grasp on the fan base. i think they believe the fan base feels the same as they do, that or having survived season 3 the fans that are left will stay no matter what they put out in season 5.

        don’t get me wrong, i think TPTB have every right to put out their product as they see fit. the feeling i get is it’s not very popular with the fans.

      • jason says:

        VV – I am hard on TPTB (I may be the meanest reg blogger on this site, I honestly don’t like them, esp schwartz), but I don’t think what you wrote is fair, again, you will see the words I think in what I write, so this is my opinion.

        I think schwartz helped his career with chuck, schwartz’s thing was to create great romance, tease it beyond the limit, then literally kill it …. I think for his part, chuck & sarah is a plus on his resume, he may even have learned a thing or two that he can speak to in the interview process, something along the lines, see I can both create it and make it last, when it is the right thing to do!

        For Fedak, I think (not sure if I am in the majority) that the quirky nature of the chuck show and characters is due to fedak (Chuck, morgan, jeffster, beckman, casey, orion, volkov, etc). If that is the case, his next project should be fascinating, or at least could be fascinating. Given the number of new show fails, I would think he will be a hot commodity in the show creator business once chuck ends.

        Since he now knows chuck is done, who knows, he may be getting a pilot ready for the spring, my vote is Yvonne starring in something with Sarah Lancaster as her side kick, I’d take big mike and jeff along for the ride too, throw in 2 or 3 of the minions of plastic (or should I say ‘wooden’) pretty boys that grow out of ‘trees’ (haha now that is terrible writing on my part), and I’d say fedak would have the makings of an ‘awesome’ (it never ends) show – it would be ‘epic’ (ok – it ended)!!!!!

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason, i agree with you on most points. i don’t think it’s as much JS proving he can “create great romance, tease it beyond the limit, then literally kill it” it’s more continue doing what he has done already. he did the same on the OC and Gossip Girl. it’s what he does. FYI he already has a new series coming out in sept mondays at 9 pm on the CW called Heart of Dixie. the problem i see with his style is it appeals to a much younger audience. this is just my opinion but the major networks get an older audience. i don’t think older viewers are into the teen angst thing. more proof is i remember reading a while back he had a pilot accepted by NBC but it was then later shelved when comcast took over.

      • atcDave says:

        I think army is exactly right on this. Schwartz has an established niche in appealing to young/teen audiences. Chuck, as his attempt at a crossover, may not be considered a complete success, as his “signature style” was met with hostility. Fedak may fare better with adult audiences. I know I will at least give a look at whatever he tries next. But as one who has reservations about his style I will hesitate to really commit. If he has really learned lessons from his Chuck experience he may become a favorite of mine.

      • jason says:

        dave / army – I agree about schwartz – what you wrote is what I meant, the only thing I tried to add, is in contrast to what VV wrote, is if anything, chuck should help schwartz’s career.,

        For schwartz, chuck is an example of his powerful ability to create and seperate as u said, but also and unlike most schwartz couples, the CS couple story did pretty well once together & even married, if indeed chuck and sarah are sort of schwartz’s creations, lets face it, they are a powerful example of breaking the moonlight curse, since put together, one could argue chuck has been the luckiest show on tv, having close to Cat squad like 9 lives.

      • ArmySFC says:

        jason, very true about what he does with couples. thing is they have only been a couple for a while 1.5 seasons and its not been smooth sailing. the events of season 3 damaged the fan base so bad that even after they got together the show continued to lose viewers. even in recent interviews they say that just because they are together it won’t be smooth sailing.

        my point was the opposite of yours i guess. it does give him that name that he can do relationships, the problem as i said is the major networks may not want to air that type of show. they are looking to get a large audience to watch a show, not a small amount. the teen angst bit may play out well on CW/WB but IMHO not on the majors. he does it well and that may be why his next show is on the CW vs NBC. his style so far may have type cast, like an actor that only does drama then suddenly tries for a comedic role. it just doesn’t get accepted that easily. with him you have the preconceived notion that his show’s will end up in emotional turmoil for the lead couple. WT/WT is fine for the big networks but im not sure about the angst he tosses out.

      • JC says:

        Its funny I still hold a grudge against Schwartz for what happened on the OC but I really believe him stepping back in his role on Chuck has lead to the questionable decisions during S3 & 4. I’m not saying his hands were clean, there’s no doubt his style relies on angst and OLI but for the most part those stories have been strong with a couple of exceptions. Sarah and Marissa Cooper of S3 say hello. He had three semi successful shows on TV and the upcoming one with Rachel Bilson (swoon)will probably be the same.

        I have nothing to back this up but I believe the darker story of S3, the attempts at the season long spy arcs and the sidelining of characters to make Chuck a hero were part of the show Fedak originally pitched. It just didn’t fit into the world and show that had
        been on the air for two seasons. It would’ve been like sticking Jeffster into S3 of Alias. This isn’t me bashing him by any means. I think his hands were tied in certain regards to how they could go with the darkness, budget, time constraints. But there seems to be a disconnect with about certain issues on the show and he comes off somewhat tone deaf about the story and characters sometimes. That’s the major difference between him and Schwartz IMO.

      • Faith says:

        Fair point. Afterall it was Schwartz that infused the comedic aspect to Chuck. If left to Fedak, from pilot on it would have been more drama than action, spy dramedy.

      • thinkling says:

        Hmm. I didn’t know that, Faith. Interesting discussion. I really had no idea who contributed what to the Chuck soup.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @ArmySFC: Let me answer your points one at a time.

        “how do you get those that left to watch? even if done on youtube im pretty sure those folks aren’t searching for chuck videos to watch”

        Ideally, the video(s) made wouldn’t end up on the the YouTube Chuck list, they would be the start of something that might reach a lot more than just current Chuck fans. For example: that marine who invited Mila Kunis to the Marine Corp Ball, I doubt he ever thought that video would provoke a chain reaction of events that would lead to Linda Hamilton having her own answering video posted on a site that talks about a show like Chuck. Once you start a ball rolling on the Internet, you never know where it will end up. Also, there are a couple of shows on G4 that show interesting videos from the Net; the people at G4 are big Chuck fans and might help push any Chuck videos.

        In any case, why not try? How could it HURT?

        “whatever product you’re marketing do you try to build your sales foundation around the least liked products or the most popular ones?”

        It depends. Are you trying to move old stock out in order to make room for newer merchandise? Are you trying to sell a seasonal or specialty product that might not be a sales leader, but might sell well to a particular type of customer or at a specific time of year? Are you trying to penetrate a market? Or are you trying to maintain a foothold in a market that you don’t lead? (yet). Or are you doing damage control of some kind? All of these are possible depending on what you are dealing with.

        I don’t want to comment on the Morgansect, but I agree with you about the showrunners not having a firm grip on what the fans want or value the most.

        @Jason: I’m not sure I understand your use of the word “fair”. I really have no idea how the people in charge of the studios and networks think; I gave up trying after the way Firefly was handled. What I’m talking about are the viewers (or potential viewers) and also the sponsors who pay the networks for advertising time during shows like Chuck. Many of the viewers are going to be seeing anything Schwartz and Fedak make through a lens tinted by their feelings about what happened to Chuck, and they are not going to shut up about it.

        The sponsors are going to see the showrunners as the guys who took a resurgent cult favorite with good buzz and a fair amount of advertising time, and who then augered the viewer ratings into the ground in the space of 3 months. They are going to be hesitant, to say the least, to sign on with either Schwartz or Fedak based on their record with Chuck.

        Although, I must say that a show that starred Yvonne AND Sarah would be FANTASTIC! Then maybe throw in Mercedes, Mini, and Mekenna as recurring guest stars and…and…

        Why do I keep losing time on this blog?

  9. BigKev67 says:

    Respectfully I have to say I completely disagree with your contention that they have one more chance to “fix” Season 3 – in fact I’m going to pose a different question to you. Exactly what does Fedak (because it’s his show now) have to do to get a certain section of this fandom to move on?
    I say that because the majority of those who were most displeased with S3 are the same people, by and large, who are happiest with S4 and have said that this is now the show they want. But despite all that, there’s still talk of “fixing” S3, “fixing” Fake Name and “fixing” Shaw. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude that there are just some people who are impossible to please, whatever you do. Besides which, as distasteful as Sham was, I’d rather they didn’t compound a poor story choice with a retcon that will either insult my intelligence by pretending that what I know happened didn’t happen, or will admit that it happened and open a completely unnecessary can of worms. I haven’t worked in advertising but it seems counter-intuitive to me to go back to a product that you launched 2 years ago that no one liked, even if the intent is to say you’ve fixed the mistakes. Better surely to learn your lessons in private and make sure that your next product is much better – and judging by shipper reactions to S4 they’ve surely done that?
    I think Fedak will have plenty of takers for whatever he does next. He’s created a cult show that has generated enormous buzz. He’s found two people who are potentially going to be superstars and he’s kept his show on air for 5 years. I’ll admit I don’t think Chuck is the show it used to be and mistakes have been made but I am an unapologetic Fedak fan. This is his first go at this. He’ll get better. I’ll be fascinated to see what he does next!

    • thinkling says:

      I’d rather they didn’t compound a poor story choice with a retcon that will either insult my intelligence by pretending that what I know happened didn’t happen, or will admit that it happened and open a completely unnecessary can of worms.

      I am clearly no fan of S3. As I’ve said, the core story could have been really good, but OLI’s derailed it. That said, I agree with Big Kev. I really don’t want them to try to fix any of it, partly because a lot of it can’t be fixed. They created some pretty unfixable things in S3, so no use wasting any of our remaining 546 minutes trying to fix what I’d be happy to forget, at this point. You can’t fix the past. If you don’t let it go, it ruins the present. Chuck (and life) are too short for that.

      They can’t fix S3, but they did learn from it … and make up for it. S4 is the show I want. I’d like Chuck to continue in the same vein and move on to a great CS against the world S5 … H2H meets A-Team. I’d like to see a great conspiracy plot that will tie up the mythology and all the great elements of Chuck for 13 straight episodes.

      • jason says:

        kev / think / vv – I really only have two BIG hopes for s5,

        #1 -I hope they do not play any CS angst, kidnapping Sarah, Sarah betrays Chuck (even if fake), amnesia, break up, etc

        #2 – I hope the big spy plot does not insult MY intelligence.

        As far as 2 or 3 throw away lines to retcon sarah’s passionate love affair with shaw, I’d love it, any more than a few lines, I’d probably hate it, same with fake name, 2 or 3 lines ok, more not ok. How about this: ‘chuck, you really think I’d tell that wooden fool my real name, that wouldn’t happen in this universe any more than me sleeping with him”, heck one line, fixed both things & poked a little fun at Shaw, the fans, & Fedak, then on to bigger and better.

        Still, retconning either is very, very low on my priority list, CS together ALL SEASON and a clever spy story are my main two goals.

      • thinkling says:

        Jason, I’m totally with you on your #1 & #2. Sounds great.

      • atcDave says:

        I think I’ll mostly side with Jason on this one. Although I don’t believe any more damage control for S3 is actually needed at this point (I’m fine with just ignoring it and enjoying the show as it stands now); I think a simple line like Jason suggests about both the name reveal and Sham in general, would make me very happy. Realistically it’s not likely to happen; and with the clock ticking down on how much new Chuck we’re ever going to see I’m fine with that. But it would be a simple fix and it would make me a very happy boy. I think it would also raise my opinion of Schwedak about four-fold.

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      Wait, I thought I was the only one on the Fix Chuck Soapbox? What have I missed?


      From our past posts, I think that we disagree on a great deal, but I think I’m not getting some things across very well. The fans they need to communicate with are the ones who left during S3. Anyone who watched S4 has, in one way or another, gotten past S3. The fans I’m talking about have never seen a S4 episode and likely have not read any FanFic; the attitude they have towards the showrunners now is very much that same as when they stopped watching: angry and bitter. It is very possible that these ex-fans will not only never watch anything that Schwartz & Fedak make, but will constantly generate bad word-of-mouth whenever their names come up. It will be like fighting a headwind of resentment no matter what they do.

      So it won’t matter what lessons they learned in private, or how good their next product is; their next efforts are going to start at a disadvantage because there is going to be a very vocal segment of the market that will NOT buy what they’re selling. Keep in mind that Chuck as a project was not launched 2 years ago; most of these fans had 2 years of a great show that they loved before S3 drove them away. Losing something they enjoyed that much generates a great deal of resentment in most people, and that kind of reaction can become a habit over time. The disadvantage could become permanent.

      @Thinkling and Big Kev: Is S3 fixable? We disagree, but in my opinion, the can of worms has already been opened. Based on my experience, it is counterintuitive to NOT deal with damage. If something is broken, you need to fix or replace it, and let your customers know you did it. You cannot assume that they will read your mind, and you never want them to think that you’re ignoring them. They can always go somewhere else.

      In regards to retcons: I don’t like them, but Chuck jumped that shark a while ago. When you bring 2 people back from the dead, you’ve pretty much stated that normal rules don’t apply; fixing damage is a good a reason as any I’ve heard for doing a retcon. Empty the can of worms and clean up the mess.

      @Jason and atcDave: Agreed. Any fix doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, I think that Yvonne Strahovski and Zachary Levi could handle either one of these fixes in 60 seconds or less of air time.

      So, 2 fixes @60 seconds each = 2 minutes out of 540+ minutes for S5. Sounds doable, but quite frankly, I doubt it will happen. It seems to me that the showrunners still don’t quite have a handle on their audience, so I doubt very much this is even on their radar.

      Everything I know about business tells me that there is a price to be paid for alienating part of your audience, your customer base. The window of opportunity to fix or minimize this problem will pretty much close with the end of S5.

      And then we’ll see.

      • atcDave says:

        I have been able to bring back some disaffected fans just by showing them S4 product. Wedding Planner was awesome for that (too late in the season, but I did have one former fan very excited again).

      • BigKev67 says:

        You may be right as far as some people leaving Chuck and carrying on their resentment with Schwedak. I’d probably make a lousy businessman because my thinking would be that it’s better for them to go out and get new customers rather than to continually obsess about the ones who are gone. You can’t please everyone, after all, and if a customer is really that desperate to bear a grudge for 2 years, I’d be inclined to write them off and leave them to it! Lousy businessman, as I said…. 🙂
        As for Chuck, I think the ship has sailed. The fan numbers are what they are, and it doesn’t actually matter that much any more. They should just write the best season they can and move on. What’s done is done.

      • atcDave says:

        They may well enter this season with the attitude of it not mattering anymore. But I think it is pretty basic to any business to figure out why customers left. You may simply dismiss a few of them as not relevant or impossible to please, but you HAVE to know. And certainly if Schwartz and Fedak intend to continue in this business they will want to know why some fans were disappointed.
        I do agree they would be wise to disregard some of it, there is no pleasing some people. But where a message is strong and consistent they disregard at their peril.

      • BigKev67 says:

        It’s a fair point and one I’m happy to concede. I would ask whether you also think whether the viewers who left in S4 (a very significant number) are also worth consulting? Because if you ask them, you might get a completely contradictory message about what needs “fixing”. The assumption on this blog is always that it’s only S3 that alienated or disappointed viewers – but that’s just not the case. Based on viewer numbers, S1 and S2 did too. Do we ask those people, even though we all loved the show that they left? I agree with you and VV that you have to understand your customers, so I’m playing Devil’s Advocate to some extent but it’s also a genuine question – who, exactly, are you asking?
        And on that note I’m sure I’ve beaten this particular drum to death… 🙂

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, here are some lines from an article i linked to a few months back. its a study done by major networks on why viewers leave shows. with input from U of P media psychology dept.

        “It’s not you, it’s me.”
        “We’ve just drifted apart.”
        “It’s like I don’t know you anymore.”
        Stereotypical excuses given for a breakup? Sure. But these are often the same reasons once-devoted fans give for dumping their longtime favorite TV shows.

        CBS research shows “regular viewers” watch just one out of three or four episodes — but there’s a devoted subset of dedicated TV fans who watch with greater regularity, and some who are completists.

        “A character may change over time and a viewer may come to dislike a character or simply decide [the character] no longer meets their needs,” Klein said.

        “I feel like with serialized shows what’s really tough about them is it’s like buying a new car: It will never be as valuable as when you drive it off the lot,” Brownfield said. “If you don’t open [to big ratings] with a serialized show, the odds of picking people up are slimmer.”

        if you look at the 3rd one i posted, it could be what happened to chuck. for all the praise given to the show for character growth, it may have been the thing that cause most viewers to leave. just my opinion though. there are other studies done that say most viewers don’t like when a character changes to much.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Kev, i agree with you on season 4. the trouble with asking that here is, this blog loved season 4 which is a good thing for those here. in most cases its hard for someone that loves this show as much as they do to believe that it could have shed viewers because of the direction or content. there was a huge thread on this a while ago and the best example i can give is dave something along the lines of “i loved this season and i can’t see why anyone wouldn’t”. dave sorry if i misquoted its the best i can remember. as you said it comes down to personal taste.

        someone posted a link today to a forum where a poll was conducted to see what the favorite season was. it was 2, 3, 4 and 1. SWFangirls mostly has season 4 3rd or 4th. so your right, season 3 lost so did 4 and the reasons vary, but as the numbers say less are watching as you go along. that can’t be argued, just the reasons can.

      • atcDave says:

        It is true every season lost viewers, and I don’t have a great answer. But I do have a couple of observations; first, as army observed, serialized shows do shed viewers, so some loss is expected. But I do believe the proportional loss of S3 was the largest, which makes it the logical starting point for any study. I’d also add, among the casual viewers I know, none of them were unhappy with S4. Admittedly, there’s going to be some built in bias there, like the fact my friends are more likely to share my taste. But from what I saw, the only negative comments I heard during S4 were all residual from S3; like “it just hasn’t been fun since Chuck became a spy.”
        Some of that could be, again as army mentioned, simply by showing character growth some viewers will be left behind because they preferred the original version. I know some viewers just never trusted the writers after S3 and were waiting to have the rug pulled out from under them. And of course, I know of one couple who strongly felt Chuck and Sarah had exposed themselves as total flakes in S3, and continued watching but always considered the leads to be damaged or lesser characters than they once had been.

        I have no doubt there are also viewers who loved S3 and felt S4 was too light and fluffy. But of course for me and most of my friends, that was the whole appeal of the show at the start. In a world where most “entertainment” has embraced darker themes, conflicted heroes, and ambiguous morality; it was nice to have a show with main characters who were mostly decent and a show that was mostly fun. With just enough tension thrown in to keep it exciting.
        It doesn’t surprise me that S3 would have scared off many viewers with similar taste to mine but were less invested emotionally. It also doesn’t surprise me that those who actually embraced S3 would be turned off by S4. That may account for much of the loss. It was difficult to reach many of those who left in S3 and convince them to come back, even if I’m sure many would have been pleased. I do wish there was an easier way to reach those departed viewers.
        I think TPTB shot themselves in the foot a couple of ways. The first being a failure to trumpet the change in tone for S4 (or S3.5 for that matter); sure those of us who were following things closely knew what was coming, but most viewers don’t track all the news related to shows they’ve given up on, so some broader saturation campaign may have been in order. But I do believe NBC had mostly given up promoting Chuck at that point. I also believe they should have promoted the heck out of both the engagement and wedding. I think that would have been a great way to bring back viewers who had given up at some point during the wt/wt. But at every step, TPTB were determined to keep the tension up in the story in such a way that it undermined any promotional potential. The payoff for keeping us guessing on when and how an engagement would occur; or even if a wedding would occur, was small compared to the potential value of free publicity if they had celebrated these events ahead of time.

        I would add too that I don’t think the difference between those who left in S3 or S4 is as stark as some suggest. I believe very few viewers have actually suggested a return to the wt/wt story, and that is likely the only subject where I would be COMPLETELY at odds with another viewer. Much of the discontent I heard with S4 had to do with dropped threads and sloppy spy stories. While I might dispute if S3 was actually any better, I would NOT have objected to better continuity and tighter main story lines at all. I rarely brought the subject up because it wasn’t hugely important to me, but I’m not opposed to it!

        Sorry, long post. I’m done for now… until someone gets me going again…

  10. BigKev67 says:

    Hmmm……I honestly don’t think I’m going to get what I really want from Season 5 and I’m (mostly) resigned to that. So what I’d like is mostly standalones that are funny, warm, with snappy dialogue, plenty of ass-kicking and just enough twists to keep me interested, Coup d’Etat, Seduction Impossible and First Fight style. Throw in a couple of Sarah-backstory episodes and a holiday episode and we’re off to the races. Consign whiny Chuck forever to the cutting room floor, try and cut back a little on the plotless fluff (Suitcase, Balcony) and give me a Conspiracy plot that at least doesn’t make me cringe, and I think I’d be delighted, in spite of my first sentence!

    • Wilf says:

      Funny, I quite liked the “plotless fluff”, and Suitcase is actually one of my favourite episode in S4 … I must just be a hopeless romantic 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        I agree Wilf, Suitcase may even be my favorite episode between Honeymooners and Phase 3.

      • BigKev67 says:

        I don’t mind the fluff so much but the plotless part drives me nuts. If the story’s not up to scratch it doesn’t matter how cute your characters are.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve never seen an episode without a plot Kev. I’ve seen a few where I didn’t care for the plot, or where the plot was clearly secondary to some character issue; but there always is one.

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      Actually, that kind of season sounds good to me. I don’t how they could work around the Morgansect if it lasts more than an episode or two, but that would make for a good S5.

  11. Sam Carter says:

    Fun blog… I still love season 3, it’s my favorite. Seems many others feel the same way. Just look at this poll from the chuck forum at the

    To each their own.

    • Wilf says:

      Well, although I’m not a great fan of season 3, it wasn’t all bad and Honeymooners, at least, was a great episode, IMO, even if it didn’t wholly make up for episodes 5-12. I wouldn’t write off S3 altogether. However, it did take a loooong time for the promise inherent in DeLorean to come to fruition.

      • joe says:

        I agree with you, Wilf. It’s those middle episodes that leave a bad taste in the mouth, and I fear sometimes that people extend their distaste a bit on either end of that.

        I sorta like 3.12, myself, if only because I know that the last few minutes are the beginning of C&S solidly together. It took me a while to get past 3.11, though.

      • atcDave says:

        I think its been part of the refrain for a long time that most of the dislike for S3 comes just a few seconds of screen time in a couple episodes. But the emotional impact o those few seconds was huge. To me, the only wholly unsatisfactory episode was Pink Slip; and that one clunker would have easily been forgiven if say Three Words had promptly delivered on the promise at the end. But drawing things out to the end dragged the whole season through the mud. Even Angel of Death and Operation Awesome, which I typically rank as “good episodes”, are somewhat painful to re-watch now because of where they sit in the timeline.

    • joe says:

      Hi Sam.

      Heh! It’s almost weird to see someone say they love season 3, but I can’t say I entirely disagree. 😉

      The hard part is getting over the first 11 or 12 to get to the last 6 or 7. Mitigating factor: the music in all of S3 is understated and amazing. The more I hear it, the more I love it. For me, S2 is like that too, but the trough is no where near as deep and the payoff is at least equal (and some estimate it’s higher) in S2.

      Okay, I come very close to loving S3, but I do recognize its flaws (and it won’t take much reading here to find complete discussions about them)! S2 is a different bird, and a fragile one, I think. Opinions will differ (and I’m in a minority), but S2’s greatness hinges a bit on the fact that it’s incomplete. It depends on a resolution that was wanted, desired, demanded (!) and probably premature. We’ll never know if it could be otherwise, but that’s what I’m thinking.

      • atcDave says:

        Good point about S2 being incomplete Joe. Perhaps part of the problem with being incomplete is that many of us drew our own conclusions about what’s next, and when we wound up being completely out of sync with TPTB the result was extreme dissatisfaction. (I’m not saying I would liked what came next regardless! only that the emotional drawing of conclusions exacerbated the problem).

      • jason says:

        joe – your analysis is on a hot streak today, s2 fragile and somewhat incomplete, yep, that is how I saw it too

      • Sam Carter says:

        “Heh! It’s almost weird to see someone say they love season 3, but I can’t say I entirely disagree.”

        Funny, I know quite a few people who love S3. Of course they don’t post here, lol. No Chuck season is perfect in my opinion, but I find S3 and S2 the most enjoyable by far, but I still prefer S3 because I felt it had the most depth. And it helps that I like Routh as Daniel Shaw. I know he’s not popular here and that’s ok.

  12. jason says:

    we did all this discussin about schwartz’s next job – it starts spet 26th, right after gossip girl, heart of dixie, racheal bilson as a nyc doctor who moves to alabama, one of the co star’s is from friday night lights, scott porter. Anyone going to watch?

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