Summertime Top Ten: Chuck Versus The Other Guy.

Sometimes Chuck Talks Too Much

Another week, another one of those episodes.  Chuck Versus The Other Guy is another one of those episodes, originally intended as a season, and frankly series finale, it is chock-full of action and romance and international travel.  And then there’s the tank.  It’s almost too much.

This was the episode that would tie everything up and send Chuck and Sarah off into the sunset together.  And they did. Sort of.  After the jump.

Chuck Versus The American Hero was the end of season cliffhanger.  Everything that has been brewing all season is now up in the air.  Has Shaw turned evil? Will Sarah leave with Chuck?  Will Chuck get the girl?  Will he and Sarah stay as spies?  Or will they choose to leave that life behind for happily ever after?  Well, one cliffhanger at a time.

The end of Chuck Versus The American Hero reminded me of the Chuck Versus The Fat Lady cliffhanger. Unaware of the danger the new LI poses, Sarah, like Chuck heads out-of-town into unknown danger.  But Chuck is on the case.  Beckman, of course, has told him to do nothing, meaning Chuck is about to go for some serious overkill.  After getting some digits from Casey’s mental little black spy book, Chuck is off to defeat the evil Shaw and save Sarah so they can be together.

Sarah meanwhile has been dragged into Shaw’s latest spy mission.  Sorry I’m planning on going AWOL with the intersect being an ill-advised excuse to beg off.  But Sarah is unaware this mission was planned as her last.  Shaw was planning to kill her, until as he approaches Sarah, who is watching her red test, his gun still at the ready and finger on the trigger, a reflection on the monitors alerts him to someone’s presence.  Sarah doesn’t see this, she just sees Shaw lower his gun, and it’s only later that Chuck arrives, startling them both.  Yes, Shaw is evil, but he also apparently has a plan.  Or at least doesn’t want to be blamed for Sarah’s death.  Yet.

One full tactical strike complete with armor later Sarah is safe and Chuck is in hot water.  Again.  They had me at “I appreciated the tank”.  Still, it’s tough, this communication thing.  Especially when you’re planning on running away together, but you can’t quite discuss it in front of the boss, or your “boyfriend” who just found out you killed his wife, and then forgave you.  Just your typical couple communications issues.

So everyone’s back together?  Well not really.  See Shaw was ready to go on a suicide mission, leaving Sarah to return to Chuck, but then Chuck saved Shaw so Sarah wouldn’t lose him and end up “settling” for Chuck, but then he told her he loved her a few times and said they needed to get away from the whole spy-thing and be together, and she was going to go even though she thought he’d changed too much, but he said he didn’t shoot the mole and she should trust him, and she did, but Casey helped her feel a lot better about it when he told her he shot the mole and Chuck wasn’t a killer so she was on her way to meet him when Shaw showed up and she couldn’t call Chuck so he thought she wasn’t coming and all she could say was “Thank you for saving me.  I appreciated the tank.” and then Chuck left and Shaw found the director’s hideout and there was another mission so Sarah went to get Chuck, who had tied Morgan up in a bunch of controllers and was really drunk because he thought he’d lost Sarah to Shaw, and then there he was just asking her flat-out “do you love me?” and then he started rambling about being a fool, and so she said yes.


And that’s all it took.

All the worries about who they were, and assets and handlers and spies and regular guys and real girls and whether to run or stay, but none of that was what really mattered.  Yes.  That’s what mattered.  The rest is details.

Well, about those details.  Chuck is still a bit unsure of Shaw, and Sarah hasn’t quite figured out how to tell the guy whose wife she killed that she’s dumping him, and by the way thanks for forgiving me for killing your wife.  This is complicated by the fact that the same guy just bailed the both of them out of a trap by, well, working out some of those anger issues about his wife.

OK, so Chuck isn’t exactly a master-spy, what with his aversion to guns and trusting nature, but hey, he’s got the girl.  Sarah’s off for one last mission, then she promised it’s gonna happen, the two of them, sealed with a kiss.  Life is good, so what could go wrong?

Oh, except that Beckman doesn’t think he’s field-ready and Morgan quit a managerial position in a down economy to be a spy, Shaw really is a traitor and has managed to get Sarah alone on a mission to Paris with him.  And Beckman isn’t taking his calls anymore.

Time to be a spy.

But before he was a spy he was smart, as Casey points out, and it isn’t the intersect or flashing on Shaw’s every mission that’s going to save Sarah, it’s Chuck.

Sarah trusts Shaw.   Why wouldn’t she.  Shaw had his gun pointed at her as he watched the video of her red test, watched her kill his wife, and he lowered the gun and forgave her and tried to comfort her.  That was why Sarah fell for him in the first place.  He had a Chuck-like streak in him.  He understood.  The life they lived, the pain and broken promises, the lies and manipulation, and the secrets.  And the loss.  He understood it all.  And he was there for her.  After she lost Chuck, it was Shaw who was there for her.  Suddenly it looked like she could have something real after all.  He knew who she was and all about her past, he’d read her file.  And she didn’t have to lie, or hide, or say a word.  There was no baggage between them, and she could start fresh, with no lies.  On paper Shaw really is perfect for Sarah, as written.  As far as it goes.

So Sarah trusts Shaw enough to go to Paris with him.  Clunky as some think that plot point, it is set up.  But we know Shaw has always been evil…Right?

Now that Sarah sees Shaw’s true nature it’s too late.  She’s paralyzed and helpless.  The final scenes are amazing, Sarah’s tears, realizing she’ll never have that life she dreamed of, Shaw’s creepiness (or his usual demeanor now fitting the part as some might say), and Yvonne’s ability to sell and entire emotional scene with just her eyes.

Whatever your opinion of season 3, this was a great episode of Chuck.  Issues previously not resolved, or not resolved to the liking of some notwithstanding we get that closure.  The climactic scene on the bridge with Chuck still hoping to be able to talk Shaw down, then finally pulling the trigger, not for himself, but for Sarah, even as he worries it may once again cost him Sarah.  But then Chuck always does the right thing.

And so we reach the end.  Chuck wouldn’t give up on Sarah, in more ways than one, so he’s saved her, in more ways than one, and Chuck and Sarah are free to be together and ride off into the sunset.

Even after Dianne tries to have the last word.


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.
This entry was posted in Inside Chuck, Inside Sarah, Observations, Season 3. Bookmark the permalink.

265 Responses to Summertime Top Ten: Chuck Versus The Other Guy.

  1. joe says:

    “Do you love me?”
    “Yes.” 4x.

    After all the machinations, twists, harrowing escapes, close calls, missed cues, second guessing and third thoughts, yes indeed, that’s all it took. So well put, Ernie. And looking at it from a distance of 1.5 years (um, sorry. Astronomers tend to interchange time and distance freely, as in, completing the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs… 😉 ) it actually does look that simple.

    It’s that simple and understated in real life too.

    I know I go on and on about my favorite scenes in Chuck, but one I don’t mention enough is the entire sequence in Paris, starting with Shaw being revealed as Sarah’s deadly threat, continuing with Chuck rescuing her. It’s gorgeous to watch – the camera work is top notch as is Yvonne’s silent acting. Don’t underestimate Zac’s performance here too. He somehow portrays Chuck as somehow unsure he can rise to the occasion and Chuck as absolutely determined to save Sarah at the same time. He’s both Bartowski and Carmichael simultaneously.

  2. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    I was hoping Wedding Planner would be next on the list of episodes being reviewed, because I can say nice things about that episode.

    Unlike Phase 3 or Wedding Planner or Colonel or Cougars, I don’t think time will be kind to Other Guy.

    Don’t get me wrong, DYLM is a great scene, but that’s all it is. It was used to “magically” fix the farce that came before it with no explanation. Sarah’s journey to DYLM was required and never happened. . How Chuck got to DYLM was quite well laid out. Sarah got there simply because it was written that way.

    On the subject of Sarah (and I’m a SW fan), MAN was she stupid in the episode. She’s was a prime candidate for a Darwin Award. If you didn’t think SW was just a plot device to keep Sh** around past his welcome, Other Guy removes all doubt. BTW Beckman was no better.

    The episode can be summed up quite simply by saying “the destination wasn’t worth the trip” or “juice wasn’t worth the squeeze”. The only thing this episode does is put Chuck & Sarah together because there were (supposedly) no episodes left, nothing else. In think TPTB overestimated the value of the ending of the woeful arc that came before it.

    Also Sh** should’ve stayed dead. Just like the name reveal ruins the end of Wookie, Shaw returning takes away from Chuck having to kill to save Sarah. Two great dramatic moments in the show belittled in later episodes.

    Unlike most, Other Guy doesn’t make my top 10.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with all of that, although I’d add the confrontation on the bridge and “Shut up and kiss me” to the great scenes/moments to come from this episode. I remember being quite happy when this episode ran, but mainly because it was the end of the misery arc. On its own merits, its a middling episode; a couple of great moments, and some real head scratchers (the whole idea of sending Shaw and Sarah alone together to Paris is staggeringly stupid). At this point, I have little desire to revisit this episode.

      In April of 2010 we ran a poll on the journey vs. destination of the misery arc and found over 80% of respondents were unhappy with the S3 main arc; although most were happy with the ending we reached and about 30% felt they could appreciate the main arc in context of where it finally wound up.
      To me, no matter how much understanding and appreciation we get at a later date, when an overwhelming percentage of viewers are unhappy as the show runs, it can only be considered a failure.
      Other Guy is a success purely for ending it in an acceptable fashion.

    • thinkling says:

      Hang on Shepperd. Wedding Planner and Honeymooners are coming next. 🙂

  3. herder says:

    This is a hard one, there are lots of great bits in this episode as Ernie has pointed out (and even explained some that made no sense to me previously) but the truth is that I’m left with a feeling that the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

    I’ll even agree with Joe that the extended bit from Shaw turning evil to the end is one of the best sequences in the series but for some reason it ended out leaving me less thrilled than I should have been considering what I had just seen. To continue the run of bad similies, it was sort of like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, unexpected and thrilling but no matter how lovable a rabbit it is the idea of the trick is to admire the magician not the bunny. Maybe that was the problem for season three, you were supposed to admire the writers, not the characters.

    In any event I was left with a sense of something over promised but under delivered (Honeymooners on the other hand delivered in spades), this is not an episode that I rewatch a lot.

  4. thinkling says:

    Good job, Ernie. I had never noticed that Shaw was going to kill Sarah but was tipped off by the monitor. That makes so much sense now.

    Love your summary paragraph with no periods. For something as simple as “yes” things sure were complicated. Funny how that one word fixed so many things. 🙂

    I loved the DYLM scene and Chuck’s hero moment … and of course the end, brief as it was. I felt for Chuck in the warehouse and with Beckman. Nice that Morgan got to catch the fake fight, and convince Casey to be a spy again. Liked Chuck’s hero moment. And Sarah’s face. You are absolutely right about Yvonne selling any scene, even with just her eyes. I thought it was a great moment when Shaw told Chuck he should just shoot him, and Chuck looked at Sarah and said he could never do that, knowing that she didn’t want “her Chuck” shooting people. Well, apparently there are some exceptions, and you could see that she knew this wasn’t going to go well. The whole café scene was really great, except for Shaw’s and that’s why I have to kill you speach.

    Beckman and Morgan are always good comedy. Loved their phone call. Really all their scenes together are funny.

    As the episode it turned out to be — a prequel to Honeymooners, I liked it. If it had been the big pay off, end-of-the-series, I would have been disappointed, OK angry. But we got a good back six and S4, so I’m a happy camper … looking forward to S5.

    • atcDave says:

      agree entirely about your last paragraph. I can’t even describe how robbed I would have felt if this had been the end. But as an end to the misery arc, and set-up for good things ahead, it was acceptable.

    • joe says:

      I’ll second that notion too. When I marathon’d it (is that a new verb I just created???) I couldn’t get to Honeymooners fast enough.

      It’s like being able to breathe again.

  5. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    I remember this episode leaving me with an overwhelming sense of “Thank God that’s over”.

    (I guess I can say something nice about it.)

  6. jason says:

    Most of this ep, I probably will never view again. But this ep has 4 or 5 of my favorite 20 or 25 scenes ever in chuck. The ‘I appreciated the tank’ scene was wonderful, and a prequel to the ‘look’ that sarah gives chuck when he has her under the spell of his ‘dancing eyebrows’ – like when she asks him ‘what’s the plan’ in honeymooners, or says ‘happy valentines day’ to him dressed as an angel. The apartment scene was probably the scene everyone was waiting for and in many ways, maybe the best single chuck scene ever. I view a few dribs and drabs from the mission in the elevator – the kiss that sarah plants on chuck with the promise once her mission is complete ‘we can be together’. The elevator scene is a preview of the hart to hart team finally in action as a real couple, I like that too, although I have my finger on the FF to get only see a blur I know as slimy, useless, cowardly, inept daniel shaw. I skip the whole bridge scene, I think it is dreadful tv, daniel shaw’s climatic moment of 7 or 8 eps of ruining my fav tv show. Unfortunately for me, daniel’s moment was not climatic enough, as he comes back and ruins 3 more episodes later in the season. Then my last FF stops for chuck and sarah’s climatic moment in the paris hotel. All and all a good episode, it greatness tarnished by the near constant use of the season 3 albatross that all season long cast a dark shadow over one of the most fun shows on tv.

    • joe says:

      You make me chuckle, Jason! It’s a sign of good writing! I must ask, jokingly, “Hate Shaw much???” 😉

      The idea that Sarah’s “I appreciate the tank.” here is a precursor to the other scenes you mentioned is spot on. Good catch! (and thanks for pointing it out – I would never have caught that!) Dancing eyebrows! I almost forgot that one.

      I think I’ll forever disagree with you about the bridge scene – I thought it was great, mostly because of Zac’s acting right there. But your POV is well taken. Can’t kill Shaw too many times. Right? 😉

      • jason says:

        joe – with some of my blogging, I am intentionally trying to be a smart axe – channelling my inner ali adler I guess – the bridge – I sneak some peaks at it when I ff thru ‘other guy’, but it is hard to watch the cafe and bridge scene if you ff thru all things daniel shaw – it is mostly about him! The notion of how shaw and sarah got to paris is about as irrational a scene as TPTB have even forced on me as a fan, I thought how chuck was interjected into the scene as a waiter was stupid, and I thought how shaw beat the intersect in fighting (first time) was even stupider – might have been the only fight shaw won on the show, cept when he pulled morgan in front of the taser. The final sarah toss, seemed like someone screwed up in the editing, he was hoisting her over, then he wasn’t, I thought the whole thing really, really, was bad, it honestly seemed to me like some members of the creative staff were trying to make shaw look like a complete imbecile.

        Joe – a pair of related serious ? since you brought up levi and acting, with no prejudice on my part, I thought from 3×7’s mask to 3×13’s other guy was Levi’s most dramatic acting arc in the show. He is seldom discussed in this regard – do you agree that it was a challenging dramatic arc for him and secondly, do you think he nailed it? Interestingly, he has gotten little credit for acting well in this stretch from what I recall on the blogs, nor has he gotten blame from those of us who did not like this stretch of eps – yet his part was pretty crucial??

      • joe says:

        Jason, I do agree with you about Levi in 3.7-3.13. As I think about it, I’m convincing myself we’ve slighted him a bit.

        Think of his face when he’s hoisting Keller’s man by the neck in Tic-Tac. He’s transformed. Or when he’s playing drunk on whiskey and mint ice cream here in The Other Guy. What Levi does as Chuck playing Rafe in Fake Name is, to my untrained eye, a great bit of acting. The little things he does (it’s out of the range of episodes here, but I’m thinking of the fight scene in The Living Dead, when he taps the two arms rests from the chair together like a martial arts weapon) has made much of this stuff come alive for me.

        It’s easy for me to watch Yvonne and only Yvonne when both of them are on screen (yeah – I’m human). But really, the way he’s let her shine is awesome.

        Hum. I should add that Josh Gomez has been doing something similar with Mekenna. She’s been wonderful, and he’s been understated just enough when they’re both on scene to let it come through.

      • jason says:

        joe – you know I am not the biggest morgan fan – interestingly – I am a gomez fan – he is pretty decent dramatically & obviously is a great sit com styled physical comic. But I would go further than you, he interacts very well with casey, ellie & sarah too, not just alex. I would think he will get calls when chuck is thru, he is very well suited for a supporting role in a weekly tv comedy.

        You might be surprised, I agree with levi not getting his due, interesting you brought up rafe, that is when I first noticed (when watching live that night) how much levi upped his game. I felt bad for him that night and most of that season, as his good work did not prevent the episodes from bombing. It shows just how powerful the ‘badness’ of the misery arc was, as Levi’s efforts were not enough.

      • thinkling says:

        Zac is often overlooked because of Yvonne, but he is good and I agree about his acting in S3. Likewise, Sarah was saved by Yvonne’s nuanced acting and expressive face. In short I think the great acting by ZL/YS saved the show from some of the poor story choices (wt/w LI’s red test prolonged CRM).

  7. ArmySFC says:

    Ernie, nice job on this. i enjoyed this episode a lot, probably for different reasons than most. i didn’t want to strangle morgan in it. he was actually pretty good, i either didn’t notice or over looked his normal childish behavior. his riling up of casey to get him to go along with the plan was good. so was his figuring out shaw was in a fake fight.

    chuck listening to casey tell him before the intersect he was smart got him motivated to figure out what shaw would do. well done by him. this episode held the pinnacle of chuck for me. he risked losing sarah when he killed shaw. the bridge scene i feel was the most important ever in chuck. it’s one thing to risk your life to save another. face it if yer dead, ya aint feeling anything. it’s another to lose the thing you hold dearest in the world to keep it safe. those scars stay forever. that’s what he did there. tried what he could, used escalating force and killed shaw. his reward, still had sarah. what he risked at that moment was far more important to him than his own life. he’d risked his life before to save her.

  8. Sam Carter says:

    “chuck listening to casey tell him before the intersect he was smart got him motivated to figure out what shaw would do. well done by him. this episode held the pinnacle of chuck for me. he risked losing sarah when he killed shaw.”

    I completely agree with this. Well, this is an absolute superb episode for me. Love everything about it, especially the whole Paris sequence and the music. Great music. Chuck at its finest. A truly ‘epic’ episode! 😉 Very enjoyable read. Thanks Ernie!

    • joe says:

      You know, as much as I like the music from S1 and S2, I’ve collected five (count ’em, 5!) CDs worth of music from S4.

      The “Dance” music (like they used on the runway in Suitcase) isn’t my usual fare, but I’m actually starting to like Flaunt It by TV Rock? and I Like That by Richard Vission.

      I hear it’s one of the first signs. 😉

      But you’re right. This one featured Down River by The Temper Trap. Excellent.

  9. Jonny says:

    If you take the view (i.e. the view of the creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak) that this show is about Chuck because the show is named CHUCK then this episode is an excellent end point for his journey. He has gone from boy to man to spy quite seamlessly over 3 seasons and reached a point of hero. You can argue (which I am sure Dave and Thinkling will 🙂 ) that the romance is the most important part of the series and Fedak and Schwartx should know what the audience wants and this is important and that is important but again….it is down to what is important to 2 men and only 2 men not over 10 million global viewers/fans/critics/etc….When season 3 was announced and at the time what I heard about the required rating CHUCK needed at the time (2.6) to be renewed (remember this was when they wrote and shot the season i.e. before the Leno debarcle) I know that Schwartz and Fedak would view this as the last 13 episodes of the season and I knew when pushed comes to shove they would concentrate what is most important to them and that was Chuck’s hero journey and not his romance with Sarah. Again you can argue with that, but I get the feeling that before season 4 when reading interviews that they would say that we have action, drama, adventure AND romance…it was like a last afterthought. To be fair if that is how they view the series then that is their perogative, it may or may not be right but it is their decision. I think Other guy did very well on delivering the vision of the creators (2 happily married men), on a side note I think this seasonal path was Fedak’s choice not Schwartz’s…I know he gets a lot of hate because of the OC and Gossip Girl but if you read his interview with Dan Fienberg before the season started and Chris Fedak’s interview with Mo Ryan you will realise that Josh understands a lot more why Shippers love the show, he knows and said that the way Sarah looks at Chuck is a look of Love and he understands what appeals to fans….Fedak is clueless and so why Josh takes the brunt of attacks I will never know, lol, poor guy…..

    • Jonny says:

      I forgot to mention that this guy who recapped season 3 but stopped after the season 4 premier will support all the people on this blog pretty well:

      The review explains a lot of the problems in his eyes and probably yours….

    • thinkling says:

      OK, I’ll bite. 🙂

      I know the show is “Chuck.” So this is my mantra. “Chuck” wouldn’t be “Chuck” without Chuck, but Chuck wouldn’t be Chuck without Sarah. There would never have been a journey for either of them without the other. Like Chuck said in American Hero: what’s the point in being a spy without Sarah. Even Schwedak have said that CS are the heart, the center of the show. So, while it is Chuck, it’s nothing without Sarah. That said, I think Sarah’s popularity soared beyond their expectations, and the CS (ZY) chemistry also ran ahead of the original pacing. The smart thing to do would have been to adjust slightly. It wouldn’t have taken much, and the main story would have been left in tact … as well as the viewership.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Thinkling, good points. i’d like to expand on one you mentioned. sarahs popularity soaring. both of these guys are fairly new. despite breaking new ground with chuck, they seemed to stick with the tried and true models many shows use. wt/wt and so on. last summer i read an article on one of the major news web sites. it was about how hollywood is still looking for the first big female action figure to rise up. it pointed out that the female based movies drew less fans than the male based ones. they did several studies to find out why. bottom line was most males in the demographic they want to draw in are still sexist (my word not theirs). they do not like to see a strong female saving the day at the expense of the males around them. most males want to be the ones saving the people. they can’t identify with the character on the screen. my point is i think they played the numbers game here, trying to make chuck and sarah more appealing to the male audience that is important to ratings. they tried to get chuck to man up more and made sarah less relevant. thats just a guess, but we will never know the reason they went the way they did. i’m not defending either side, just taking a guess at what could have made them go the direction they did.

      • jason says:

        army – want a female action figure – watch alias – almost 10 years ago the pilot came on – the show is full of strong heroic and anti heroic women- esp ‘special’ sydney bristow and her mother irina derevko, but there were more, fedak has said some of chuck is copied after alias, I am pretty sure that is one reason that s4 of chuck did not measure up for some, sydney’s mom was an awesome bad guy, chuck’s mom had promise, but sort of fizzled out, a theme with the chuck story tellers

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason, agreed. these are not my thought but people in the know. my point was they found out that a large part of the male demographic does not typically like that type of plot.

      • ArmySFC says:

        jason again hit the button to soon. there is a saying, or one i have read. to prove that not all crows are black you just need to find one white crow. even if you find the one white crow it still doesn’t change the fact that most crows are black. i wasn’t trying to imply that there are no good action shows or movies with strong female leads or baddies. they found out that as i said the number of people going to the action movies was higher for the ones with a male action hero. it was two fold. first to add on to the idea that TPTB underestimate sarah’s fan base. based on the numbers hollywood, has chuck or casey should have been the more popular one. we know it didn’t work out that way. second by using those numbers they tried to appeal to more males by making chuck less like he was. my guess was they tried to draw folks in by making chuck stronger and less dependent on sarah, thus fitting the numbers better. as we know the idea didn’t pan out to well.

      • atcDave says:

        Army if I had to guess I’d say Schwedak are just completely a part of the system as far as that goes. I mean, I think on some level they wanted Chuck to grow into the big bad hero who would eventually put Sarah “in her place”.

        Now please don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe the situation is actually that serious OR deliberate. For the most part, I was satisfied with Chuck and Sarah’s roles as heroes and partners this last season, and I really expect that to continue. But I do think there’s a tendency to make Chuck the primary heroic character for the pivotal episodes. We often see that happen at the end of arcs. Late S3 was probably the most egregious example when Chuck did ALL the work, both as the hero and in the relationship. I think that’s a big part of the extreme discontent some of us have with that season.
        This is place where the common counter is that “the show is called Chuck…” Well, I don’t care. Since I mostly just spout opinion here anyway I’ll add another: I don’t care what the show is called, I like Sarah better as the more traditional heroic character and would rather see her do the butt kicking. I prefer Chuck as a planner and schemer. In short, I like a bit of role reversal; I want to see Chuck as the brains and Sarah as the muscle.

        As far as calling the female action hero situation sexist I don’t think that’s quite the case. Its just demographics. Young males are more likely to watch action-adventure. Young girls are more likely to watch stories about relationships. Both prefer main characters they personally can relate to. So action-adventure is loaded with heroic male characters and coming of age movies are more often loaded with relatable young women.
        For myself, I love variety (well, within the mostly action and comedy genres I love anyway!). So while I love a fun action flick and the daring of Indiana Jones or James Bond; mixing things up a little is always fun too.
        I think a big part of the problem with female heroic characters has been finding an actress who can play the part. Schwedak talked at some length about the difficulties in casting Sarah. Trying to find someone who could be sweet and tough in equal measure was not easy. But I’d say they succeeded wonderfully. If Yvonne wants to continue working in the genre she could easily be a breakthrough performer. But my guess is she’ll want to do more different stuff.

      • atcDave says:

        By the way army, your last comment wasn’t up yet when I started mine. I agree entirely with that. Bottom line is, they didn’t expect Sarah to steal the show.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave, yeah i wasn’t sure about the sexist bit. if you think about it saying that you prefer a male action hero o a female could get you called that. as for sarah stealing the show, lets face it, in the first season casey was just not that likeable, chuck was probably ( can’t find the right word) not masculine enough for many viewers, and sarah was somewhere in between. she was strong, attractive and likeable, so folks gravitated towards her.

    • atcDave says:

      For starters, I’ve never denied the right of Schwedak to make whatever show want, my comments have always focused on the idea that a story-teller needs feedback from the audience if they are going to have a clue about what viewers actually want. And I’ve never said the romance was the most important part of the show; in fact, far from it. Like many viewers I like an exciting action adventure story and the outrageous character based humor. My position on the romance has simply been that Chuck and Sarah together is the strongest emotional hook of the show for me and I will not be happy with ANY episode that puts them in a bad place. Now I do get that sometimes, in a season long story, things will sometimes go wrong; but what I very strongly objected to was a season long arc that kept the leads apart. THAT essentially ruined an erntire season for me.

      Now I do agree with you that Schwedak may not see things that way. You may be exactly right that Fedak is more guilty than Schwartz, I really don’t know (My suspicion has long been that Schwartz loves the triangles and angst, while Fedak just doesn’t care; yet somehow they’ve found a good balance in 3 of 4 seasons). But somehow, they totally ruined what had been my favorite part of the show for one season. I think they still don’t get how important Sarah Walker is to many fans; but at least they seem to understand that many of us want them together and happy. That’s a partial victory that has resulted in a much more fun show.

      • atcDave says:

        Dang! I could have just ditto’d Thinkling instead of doing all that thinking for myself…

      • jason says:

        dave – i think it may be equal parts of not getting how much the fans love sarah & not liking the fact the fans love sarah …..

  10. Jonny says:

    oops hit the submit button a little too early again, to follow up if you read the reviews for the whole season they will conform to your already done analysis of season 3.0. He is very good at picking at why the show has failed and it is mostly due to budget and time…but you already knew that, these reviews are just another source that backs up your past concerns….you had a point and someone backed you up nearly word for word!

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      “the show is called Chuck”

      I’ve read that several times, and it has got to be the lamest excuse (and an excuse is exactly what it is) ever to explain the first 13.

      I complete agree that in the first 13 the Chuck story was told exceedingly well. Unfortunately the Sarah story, if it was even there at all, was told exceedingly bad.

      The Sarah story of S3 MAY have worked without the LI angle, but it was completely thrown off the rails when Sarah had to carry Sh** in every scene he was in. The LI (Hannah as well) stuff saddled an already dramatic storyline with a load it couldn’t bear, especially because it just wasn’t believable in the least. Not to mention that Sarah killing the wife of her current boyfriend reeks of soap opera.

      On most polls I’ve seen SW is the show’s favorite character. I know she’s mine. Unfortunately TPTB failed, or have failed, (I think it still happens) to recognize this. I’m still baffled by TPTB’s shock to the exceedingly positive fan response to Phase 3. I sometimes think YS turned SW into a character TPTB never wanted.

      Not treating or paying enough attention to a fan favorite character (it doesn’t matter that it’s not the titular character), and having the fans fill in the blanks of her story, is why TPTB received an earful. Having Sh** “attached” to her character practically everytime he was on screen didn’t allow for the proper exploration of her story (or maybe even his story).

      For me, the reason a lot of people see Shaw as such a failure of a character (not a “hated” character, a “failure” of a character) is that by having him there SO MUCH, Sarah’s story got lost making her character suffer as well.

      PS – Like I said above the LI stuff really overburdened the story. However, I think Shaw as a boyfriend MAY have work IF we never met him.

      • ArmySFC says:

        well said SLS, but i have a few quibbles. chuck is the main character and it’s his life and journey they were trying to explain. personal favorites aside it’s a path they chose. second, what most people forget was that the season was written and mostly filmed before it even aired. it probably looked good on paper but failed to come across on screen for more than a few reasons. third, the shaw arc was supposed to be the return of bryce but matt was not available due to white collar. the mistake they made was not adjusting when they found that out. by the time the crap hit the fan it was to late to change anything.

        i do believe TPTB never thought SW would be as popular as she is, just look at the reaction to phase 3 from them. when they write a show or and arc they have to appeal to the largest number of fans they can and disappoint as few as they can. it’s a fine line. same as the fans of ellie who complain she doesn’t get enough time.

        i think one of the things that hurts the writing (not meaning its bad) on the show is how much they put into each episode because of the number of actors on the show. it leaves them little room to expand on bigger issues, like filling in bits and pieces about sarah for her fans, by having to make room for big mike, jeff, lester, and so on. for example i would loved to see sarah, chuck and casey talk about his being tossed. instead of jeffsters music scene in push mix. as far as i remember chuck thought the whole time sarah did it on purpose and not that casey suggested it and it was a plan gone pear shape.

      • atcDave says:

        Some excellent points Shepperd, I think I agree with all of that entirely. We’ve all seen shows where the main or central character changed at some point during the series (Simpsons switched from Bart to Homer as the main character quite early on). I’m not even pushing for that; but I sure would prefer to see Sarah as a more equal lead with Chuck instead of as a clear secondary character. Now again, they did MUCH better with that in S4. But their comments after Phase 3 are amusing and a little troubling; like they still don’t quite understand their own creation (okay, the strongly appealing part may have more to do with Yvonne than Schwedak, but still…). For so many of us Phase 3 and Wedding Planner were the highlights of the season; hmmmm, what could be the common thread there???

      • Jonny says:

        All exellent counter points! But they do miss the point a little bit. Fans can and do say that Sarah Walker is the most popular character, that TPTB did not anticipate that or do not want to accept that or do not like that or have treated her badly or did not act kindly to her character or whatever….but what if they do not care? There is only one captain (or in this case two people who form one vision of a single captain) not over 10 million, saying that this show is Chuck is a lame excuse SLS is not a lame excuse if it is the truth or if possibly it is the truth where the show runners only care about Chuck and his journey. I like the Sarah character but I can see why she is pushed to the side and accept that in the narrative. Saying that creators should value fans opinion is a very debatable and contentious subject, firstly who do you listen to? and if you do listen to fans would you choose to want to hear from the loudest and most abnoxious group? I doubt it. Fans can point to Fedak and Schwartz speaking to the fans like for example after the chuckpocolypse on Sepinwall’s old blog, but how honest and sincere were they? could they possibly have been trying to prevent audience loss because the game at NBC changed from when they shot the oringinal episodes and so had a duty to their crew to try and keep them in work since renewal seemed a real possibility rather then remote chance in hell a few months back. Lost, Fringe, Breaking Bad, etc have all run into these walls, all fans have left I suppose is to keep blogging and commentating on the failure until they are blue in the face…obsessing never helped Jack from Lost, being continually told to let go never worked and as much as a hero as he was the fallout and consequences were always transparent and high as well. Just close your eyes and just let it go…what is …is….what is done…is done…ce la vie.

      • atcDave says:

        Jonny we do them a favor by giving our opinion. Television (and story-telling) is not a pure art. It is a business too. So while it may be true that the show runners determine the direction of the show, they are accountable, in a business sense of the word for keeping their audience happy. Obviously there needs to be some artistic integrity; simply pandering to their audience is never satisfying (I think it’s usually called “reality television!”), but they do need some feedback to find out what aspects of the show, story and characters are working.
        So I feel justified in criticizing S3 on two counts; they SHOULD have known a huge part of the audience would reject their planned story (we weren’t exactly shy about our dislike of the planned story before it ever entered production); and once it started airing we provided specific and clear feedback about what we liked and what we didn’t. I posted at length about this in a February of 2010 post called “The Right to Complain”. It’s in our archives accessible from the right hand column of this page. I would agree TPTB can not be expected to cater to every eccentric opinion that pops up; but they have a responsibility to their studio, network, and sponsors to provide a product viewers will like. We are providing indicators here free of charge, it would serve them well to pay attention.

      • thinkling says:

        Ditto that, Dave.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        If they don’t care, why should I?

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Chuck is a primetime show on NBC. Essentially (I know it could be debated WRT NBC) this is the big leagues.

        I didn’t miss the point. IMO they did.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, i agree with the audience voicing their opinion, i also agree that the network doesn’t have to listen and should be cautious if it does. please hear me out. ill use this blog as an example because i have some info on it. this is a great blog and very vocal in its for the most part dislike of season 3 and like of season 4. here is why i kinda side with the networks. during season 3 chuck had over 100 million people watch (total based on the number of viewers each week. granted a certain number were the same each week but there has to a percent that misses some and tunes back in). earlier this year you guys went over a million hits (hope my memory is correct). which is fantastic by the way. now i don’t know how old the blog is so i’ll go with a year. which comes out to 83,333 hits a month. or about 21,000 per week. chuck gets over 4 million viewers a week. just on those numbers alone if every hit was a complaint or compliment that number is infinitesimally small. next you have to figure in the number of those that actually voiced their concerns with a post. were there 21,000 posts per week? were they all different people or were some repeats? i am NOT putting the blog down, just pointing out that even though it’s very vocal the number of people that voice their opinion is small. id bet that if you took all the posts per week of all the chuck blogs you would not break 50,000.

        i agree with TPTB needing to keep the fans happy, it is part of the job. which is to make money. they also need to positively affect as many fans as they can. if not the fans leave. like a restaurant whose food suddenly goes down hill.

        i do understand that a lot of grief came from the press as well, so we can talk about this forever. i think looking at those numbers it’s real hard for the network to take any blog or site to seriously. do they listen to the small but very vocal group or take the silence from the vast majority as a sign they are doing something right? thats one situation i don’t want to be involved in.

      • atcDave says:

        The thing is army, feedback is always measured in tiny fractional doses. In days before the Internet, the conventional wisdom was something like every opinion received counted for a quarter of a million viewers. They can’t discount opinions because they aren’t getting one from everyone! They have to guess how representative those opinions are. I don’t doubt it’s a convoluted science.
        But determining the mood on S3 is not nearly so hard. Forums exploded with angry voices after Comic Con 2009 that continued all the way through the end of the misery arc. The professional media critic who was hosting the Chuck panel at that Comic Con even told them the time for the wt/wt had passed. Internet voices at the time were easily 80+% opposed to the ideas of OLIs and wt/wt extended for yet another season. Such feedback may have been a small portion of total viewership, but it was strong and decisive about what we DIDN’T want to see. Schwedak not only failed in their reponsibility to their viewers; they failed their studio, network and sponsors too.

        But I will forever be glad they got a second chance (hooray for the Leno debacle!). They learned their lessons and produced an excellent show.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave no doubt, that’s why im glad i didn’t have to do it. they could have easily gone with the side that liked it, lol. im more inclined to believe the tanking ratings was more an eye opener than any blogs or sites. when you lose that many viewers it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know you screwd up. its right up there with the way ratings are done now. this next bit is off topic but what do you think of the news that starting this fall, FOX well not put its shows online until after 8 days past its air date? unless you have hulu + or dish network. ABC and others are thinking of doing the same thing. kind lets you know what some networks think of the online market. don’t the hulu numbers and on demand count in the ratings some way?

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah they sure did get the point after Mask ran! It shouldn’t have taken that long, but it is what it is.

        I’ve been trying to follow the news on the on-line viewing stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised if went half the season again before Chuck showed up on iTunes! On-line views do not count towards any ratings advertisers usually care about. I know NBC has been tracking on-line views and uses the numbers for their own internal purposes, but as I understand it, the on-line views generate far less revenue. The iTunes and Amazon unbox stuff, I believe only benefits WB; so NBC doesn’t care about that at all. But I think the whole point to the delay in on-line release is to try to increase broadcast viewing. It makes sense, if the network makes a lot more money for broadcast that they’d rather channel their viewers that way. But I think the whole broadcast model will be in flux for many years to come because I think on-line views will go up regardless of what the network wants to happen. So far I don’t believe NBC is delaying views anyway, but the fall season hasn’t even started yet…

  11. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    Frea posted this a while back. It’s an interesting read. It’s about Buffy – but ……

    I don’t know how to post a link so you’ll have to cut & paste. Sorry.

  12. Sam Carter says:

    So, are you discussing ‘the misery arc’ AGAIN? Personally, I think Jonny is just trolling right now. His first post in this thread was exactly that. We were simply dicussing Other Guy, but things went south real soon. Just ignore the troll… Peace.

    • atcDave says:

      It will never go away completely! But it should get easier to avoid as we move past it with the next couple of re-watches.

    • Amrit says:

      What is trolling? if that means starting arguements for the sake of annoying the fan base then I agree. But on the plus side I checked out the cultural learnings website and the reviews tore apart season 3.0, so Jonny did give you that, lol.

      • ArmySFC says:

        yep pretty much. i checked out the site earlier as well. i’m not sure he tore apart every episode, he did a nice job. i read several reviews from the first 13 and all of the reviews on the last 6. even his one about shippers was good. he quit reviewing after 4.01. its a shame too. i would liked to here his thoughts on season 4. reading them was refreshing because he hit on all aspects of the episode. of course his not being a shipper might have helped, he could examine all the relationships in an unbiased manner. his reviews were more clinical, at least i thought so. i would suggest everyone here take a peek at at.

      • Amrit says:

        Yeah he got upset with the show changing from season two’s fun aspect, but he did say that he respected the path they chose, just they did not have the episode count and budget to pull it off. But he was so spot on about loads of stuff, to be fair to this site even they have some more positive spin on the episodes then him and he is supposed to be objective! lol.

      • jason says:

        the guy is not that much of a fan, and I think quit the show after season 3, but he is pretty positive about the other guy:

        You pro shipper folks want to laugh, here is his review of 3×7, remember, this guy is not a big fan, nor a shipper:

      • ArmySFC says:

        amrit, it always bothers me when someone blames the episode count for the failings of something. they know from when they start pitching what they want to do in the new season. this happens prior to the end of the current season. if i remember correctly f/s made the pitch about a month prior to the end. i would think this happens each year. before the current season ends they have a basic outline of where the new season is headed. then they get a specific number of episodes to fit that outline in. if the idea is that huge they need to refine it or cut out parts not prevalent to that plot. granted i’m not a screen writer but that part just makes sense. you end those episodes like you want, if you get more then you go ahead like its a new season, if not where you ended starts the next season.

        i agree with the budget part, the more money the better the effects and locations, so you get a better product.

      • atcDave says:

        That guy was even harder on most of the misery arc than we even were here! Granted it was for some different reasons, he claims no emotional investment in the romance (which qualifies him as a non-shipper); but he comes down pretty hard on the cynical manipulation used by TPTB to keep Chuck and Sarah apart for 12 episodes. I’d have to say I agree with him there!

        I partly agree with Army about the episode count being a poor excuse, at least in theory. The show runners know how many episodes they have to tell the story in, and many show runners work well with fluctuating episode counts every season. The fubar of S3 did involve the extra 6 episodes ordered while the season was in production. But if the execution of changing the story to allow for more episodes was fumbled, that falls right back on the show runners. It has also been claimed TPTB tried to do too much with the available episodes; but again, that is a problem that falls back entirely on the show runners. Whatever the story was, I don’t think episode count is a good excuse for anyone. Many excellent stories have been told in shorter or longer seasons, this is kind of a non-issue.

        The budget cut/production values issue carries a little more weight. There was some noticeable decline in quality for S3. But given that has still been in effect for S4, and many of us here are perfectly happy with either S3 or S4, I think the production values matter far less than the writing and performances.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave sounds like you more than partly agree with me that’s ok i won’t tell!. you touched on what i meant but i didn’t explain well. they should not have to change anything when the new order comes in. finish what they had in mind with no changes and move on. then start over with the new ones. no chance of fumbling the change over. in season three the change was so dramatic…same goes for season 4. they changed things around when the got more. c/s were supposed to get engaged in the balcony, like you guessed all along, and they were supposed to elope in push mix. (based on rumors from around the web). it worked out well in season 4 for a lot of fans, not me though. i would have preferred the wedding over and done with in push mix. thats just me however.

      • atcDave says:

        Army we really are on the same page on most of this. I actually still don’t like how I wrote it; but with episode counts a changing number shouldn’t be allowed to mess up a story. Nor should a small number ordered.

        I hadn’t heard those rumors about engagement and elopement; but I also would have preferred they just got on with it quicker; the ending of Balcony sort of ticked me off at the time, it is only made good by the fact they “fixed” it pretty quickly. An elopement would have been a fun ending for Push Mix, but I was pretty happy with what we got.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, i remember many discussions here about the engagement being pushed back, its the elopement that’s more the rumor mill type. like you said people were happy with what they got so it’s all good.

  13. luckygirl says:

    For anyone that cares this site……has the run times for the extras on the season 4 DVD. Just click on the Films/DVD’s tab. Seems to be pretty barebones in terms of deleted scenes (Runtime: 10m 20s ) and gag reel (Runtime: 4m 34s). But there is a list of the episodes that have deleted scenes on the site.

  14. Sam Carter says:

    I prefer to read the reviews by the AVClub and IGN. They really liked S3, so that suits me.. but really, they only opinion that really matters is mine, and I enjoyed that season a lot.

    • Amrit says:

      I get that Sam, I was just commentating that Jonny was recommending a site that fits the tone of the Blogs creators/owners/authors. If this site liked the season like you then I would have personally recommended the AV Club, Sepinwall’s old blog, IGN, Fienberg’s posting from Hitfix, etc. The Cultural Learnings reviews just nailed the show and gives credence to the overall mood here….nothing else.

  15. Cenodoxus says:

    The producers probably expected to have Matthew Bomer back, but with White Collar getting picked up, Bomer was out of the picture. So my guess is that the writers were left scrambling to integrate a character who’d been meant to have been Bryce into the narrative without the benefit of Bryce’s pre-established history.


    Season 3 might have turned out very differently if Bomer had been available. Or not. We’ll never know. The one incontrovertible truth is that, with Bryce’s existing back story, it wouldn’t have been necessary to toss Sarah into his arms all over again for Chuck to suffer the requisite sexual jealousy.

    A few thoughts, as always:

    Taken on his own, Shaw wasn’t a bad character.

    The first observation one can make about the Shaw character is how often he was actually right. When he came on board, he made a number of accurate and uncomfortable observations about the dysfunction in Team Bartowski — principally, how Casey and Sarah continued to treat Chuck as an asset to be protected but nonetheless ordered around. They didn’t see him as a fellow agent and only grudgingly cooperated with his training, Sarah least of all.

    In some ways, Shaw was the latter-day version of Cole Barker — a professional who walked in from the outside and was not necessarily charmed by what he saw. Like Cole, he respected Chuck in a manner that Casey and Sarah did not. Unlike Cole, he was in a position to override them.

    The problem of Shaw’s character is ultimately that of two missed opportunities. The first: Shaw is a Chuck who loses his Sarah, or — perhaps more accurately — a Sarah who loses her Chuck.

    To borrow from Carl Sagan’s famous dictum concerning the universe, every other character on this show is a way for Chuck and Sarah to know themselves. Ellie and Awesome are the stable, functional relationship that throws the problems in how they (C&S) relate to each other in sharp relief. Jeff is the lonely guy Chuck might have become after the fallout from Stanford. Carina is a version of Sarah who chose to be a federal agent and clearly lives for it.

    So where does that leave us with Shaw?

    I mostly liked Routh in this role, and this is why; he played Shaw as an unhinged and unpredictable party accountable only to himself. Our first introduction to him is as a guy who cheerfully shoots himself in order to address a sticky situation, and it’s obvious he’s got a bit of a death wish. Less clear at first is why … and then we find out what happened to his wife. You realize: He really doesn’t care about what happens to him personally, and he has a dangerously cavalier approach to what happens to everyone else. A young man who loses his wife has in essence lost a future, and if he’s not able or willing to rebuild it, then — well, you get Shaw, who has simply ceased to care.

    If the writers had allowed Chuck and Sarah to stumble toward each other, however slowly and cautiously, after 2×22, I think the Shaw character could have provided more than a few objective lessons on what happens to people in their circumstances who lose their emotional anchor. It’s an especially compelling question to ask of Sarah, who doesn’t have the social and emotional network that Chuck relies on. As we saw in 3×01 and then 4×01, Chuck without Sarah is lonely, bored, miserable, and unresponsive to life as a whole until prodded by Morgan, Ellie, and Awesome. Sarah without Chuck in 3×09 is a mad dog off a leash. She is — by far — the more obvious parallel to Shaw.

    Shaw could have provided an opportunity, not only to ask whether it was Chuck or Sarah who needed this relationship more, but whether it was a good idea for someone as emotionally unstable as Sarah to pursue a relationship that could have ended with Chuck’s death or capture at the hands of enemy agents.

    The other missed opportunity: asking a hard question about the path of Sarah’s redemption. When she’s denied Shaw the chance to be happy with his wife, why does she deserve to be happy with Chuck?

    The show has generally shied away from the really tough questions related to Sarah’s redemption arc, possibly because the writers are afraid of dwelling on what Sarah’s actually done for fear of losing the audience, and possibly because Chuck is also a comedy. Personally, I think the near-universal acclaim for the pilot and Chuck vs. the Santa Claus would’ve been enough for them to get braver with Sarah’s choices, but I sort of understand their reluctance.

    From the little they’ve shown us, she’s shot, poisoned, knifed, robbed, lied to, seduced, and manipulated hundreds or even thousands of people before that fateful day she walked into the Burbank Buy More. But this was a life that was chosen for her, and there’s a scary element of learned helplessness and hence passivity to Sarah’s character. She doesn’t believe that her choices matter or that she’s in charge of her own fate, but she won’t let Chuck go that same route.

    As Jacob on TWoP observed, you don’t have to go too far to find a theme Chuck returns to a lot — namely, Chuck is the humanity in Sarah. Viewed in this light, Chuck isn’t merely someone to be protected, but something to be protected. Shaw embraces the abyss. Casey tolerates it as part of the job. Sarah’s not sure she wants to be there at all.

    And is that why she deserves a shot at redemption after all, even with all the terrible things she’s done? She’s a monster who doesn’t want to be one anymore?

    Now, all of this rests on a plot point that I still have problems with — that Evelyn Shaw was Sarah’s red test. I thought it was a great idea for them to delve into Sarah’s back story here — to show exactly why she was so afraid of Chuck’s commission as a field agent — but the CIA looks amazingly incompetent here by sticking two agents together when one’s killed the other’s wife. It’s kind of the “Shaw problem” in miniature: Great idea, great potential, illogical execution.

    • atcDave says:

      I think I disagree with nearly every point yet still agree with your major conclusions. The biggest problem with Shaw is that he sucked the fun out of the show. The chemistry of the three leads has been a thing of beauty when they’re allowed to take center stage. So the first major problem with Shaw is he completely disrupted that chemistry; for most of the season we had to watch a guest star most of us didn’t care for drive most of the plots. That and what we were told about him (being a great agent) never seemed to match what we were seeing on screen; the truest words spoken all season may have been Casey’s “proves you’re a moron”. I think Shaw was partly rejected as a Cole-like character because he always wanted to push Chuck in ways that were simply contrary to what we knew of Chuck’s strengths. The show and character of Chuck are more satisfying when Chuck is a key part of a team, not running solo missions. And yet Shaw is pushing Chuck to do things he is ill-suited for all season long; and more to the point, things that are simply less fun to watch.
      Which leads me to… I think your assessment of Casey and Sarah is FAR too harsh. Much of Sarah’s brokeness is exclusively a S3 product, and simply not evident in earlier seasons. In particular, Sarah had previously been the character who DID believe in Chuck, encouraged him to do great things, kept him calm, kept him focused, and praised his efforts. So much of S3 twisted her into an unrecognizable tool that doesn’t gel with the other 3+ seasons we have seen. I think a big part of the S3 malfunction was simply that choice to make Sarah so broken and so pathetic. It would have been easy enough to tell the story of the three main characters growing together as friends and team without the imposition of the Shaw character. Given the great start they had on it in the first two seasons I think the decision to insert Shaw was mostly a mistake from the beginning. If his part had been far smaller, and not been burdened with the grotesque love interest angle it might have been made to work. Certainly we can see where Bryce might have been more effective in that role; but either way I think it was a fundamental mistake to run so many episodes that dealt with darker themes, keeping the romantic leads separated, and presented Chuck and Sarah both in a negative light.

      • Jonny says:

        I am not trolling BTW, to prove so I will agree with both Dave and Cenodoxus. I think Dave is right that in hindsight this show does not have the tools and did not then to take on the necessary material they embarked on. I agree with Cenodoxus that Sarah is a dark character, very dark. I know fans on this site do not like to use shows as a comparison but if you watch the Breaking Bad episode Full Measures you can see when Jesse shoots an unarmed Gale just how sould crushing it is for him to do that. The look on his face is just ….it makes you cry, his eyes are red, tears are running down his face, his hands are trembling, his lip is criviling….it is just the last place in the world he wants to be and he does not want to do that at all. Sarah when she killed Eve did not have any of those things, even when she was recounting them to Shaw she did not have those looks. It says to me that she is not a character that is all that innocent and there is a path to redemption for her in that way. To be fair Chuck did not have that look on his face either….it is a problem with the show, it just cannot go to the places it needs to at times for the proper payoff needed. Now to be pair to both Zac and Yvonne, Aaron Paul is an Emmy winning actor who’s work is getting lauded up and down every critics columns and so rightfully so he is putting in performances that make it seem so real and therefore I can accept the shortcommings of the actors. People were probably right after after season 2 to be worried that changing the dynamic would be a dangerous thing for Chuck, but not for the reasons they thought. The idea behind the season was a good one and I stand by that, just overall not well executed and that is a problem.

      • atcDave says:

        For the record, I never accused you of trolling Jonny; in fact your tone has been more civil than some.
        But I would say I don’t think the difference in tone has to do with the capabilities of the performers. In particular, I’m quite confident Yvonne is up to whatever is asked of her. But Chuck is primarily a comedy, and a show built around family, friendships, and warm fuzzy feelings in general. Even when more intense issues are explored it’s ultimately about good people overcoming bad situations and doing the right thing. I would strongly disagree with calling Sarah a dark character for exactly that reason; she has pointedly always tried to do the right thing, and been clearly upset by hard situations that are not clear (Mauser and Eve come to mind).
        Lastly, I don’t agree with another show or another actor’s performance as a gauge for what is happening here. The fact that another actor on another show emoted more dramatically than someone on Chuck did is an issue of little consequence. Also, I would expect a government professional doing a job they are well trained for and believe to be righteous to be less traumatized by their actions than someone doing something without such preparation or conviction. If a government or law enforcement officer is so severely traumatized by the occasional need for deadly force they are probably in the wrong line of work. And I would never classify such people as dark unless they were engaged in behavior they know to be illegal or unethical.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, just a comment, “Also, I would expect a government professional doing a job they are well trained for and believe to be righteous to be less traumatized by their actions than someone doing something without such preparation or conviction.” trust me when i say this, there is nothing that can prepare you enough for what goes through your mind the first time you kill someone up close. at a distance it’s kinda like a video game, target goes down but you really never know for sure. but up close, you know right away. maybe it was different for you, i don’t know. movies and the like don’t even compare to seeing the real thing. i have dealt with that type of thing before, each person reacts different, some break down, some hide away, some are never the same again.

        as for the last comment, your correct they were not meant for the job, problem is until they actually do the kill, there is no way of knowing if they are right for the job. sarahs reaction to her first kill, proves she is right for the job. i think the red test thing was a crock.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Army I agree with every bit of that. What I was responding to was the suggestion that portrayals on the show are somehow deficient because we aren’t getting an ubber-intense reaction; or perhaps that the character is darker (?) for not being quite so freaked out by it. But I think the simple fact most government/law enforcement officials DO cope with the actions required of them shows that some of those more intense portrayals we’ve seen are probably pretty uncommon for a trained professional. I’d go further and say I know a significant number of government/police/military and none of them would I categorize as “unhinged”. One way or another, they deal with it and live normal lives; and by and large, they are absolutely NOT “dark” individuals. They do a hard job; but are well trained and have the resources, both personal and institutional, to deal with it. In fact, I’d add the only (military) friend I have who was a little off and lacking a moral center was let go by the Army (no I don’t know the whole story; but he was an uninjured officer given a less than honorable discharge in wartime, and he never was very clear on the whole right/wrong thing).

      • mxpw says:

        If a government or law enforcement officer is so severely traumatized by the occasional need for deadly force they are probably in the wrong line of work. And I would never classify such people as dark unless they were engaged in behavior they know to be illegal or unethical.

        Nearly everything Sarah has EVER done on the show has been illegal, and most of it unethical as well. Hell, her very presence is a crime. She is far from a law enforcement officer. At best, she’s a mostly well-intentioned vigilante, which makes sense, as she’s got a lot of a classic vigilante’s baggage.

      • jason says:

        s3 seems to have been a choice to go dark, having casey snap a guy’s neck in ‘tic tac’ and pass chuck’s red test for him in ‘exam’, while sarah spent 6 mos on vacation in a terrorist’s bed in pink slip, then engaged in what appeared to be a loveless union giving into a sleazy office supervisor’s advances in a rather sad manner (I don’t think even the biggest fanboy saw beauty or joy in the shaw sarah love affair?) in eps 7,8,9,10,11, & 12 – the show punctuated this union by ending near each ep with the pair together – in stark contrast to the first two season’s rather famous warm endings. The show treated her with very little dignity in those 13 episodes – but I agree, there have been moments in s1/s2 when she was not treated real well either. Yet, in those first two seasons, she managed to steal most fans hearts in the time where she was treated well. In those first two seasons, those times probably amounted to 90% plus of the show, s3 more than made up for the good, with what felt like near 100% of sarah’s time as ‘miserable’.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      Yes, Sarah needed redemption (IMO, still does, but it’s too late now) and yes they could have explored her dark past. But that angle went straight out the window when Shaw started rubbing her neck. Sarah’s questionable past is great drama and her path to redemption WAS required for DYLM to work. Unfortunately, nobody asked me, and for me this is probably why the show is still missing something. Sarah’s redemprion never came.

      Imagine how great it would have been to have Sarah help Chuck become a spy while Chuck helps her find her humanity. The story could have gone to “dark” or even “darker” places if the CRM early.

      • Jonny says:

        That is a good idea for season 4, but season 3 I do not know. I think the idea behind season 3 is that Chuck is telling Sarah in Prague and at the end of the episodes of pink slip and three words in the vault was that the life Sarah wanted when she asked Chuck to run away with her was a lie. How can it be normal if the are not using their real names? or they have no family or friends? or they are constantly looking over their shoulders? I also think that Chuck makes it clear that he is not the man he wanted to be and he could not be with her living with that knowledge. I think finding the truth about his dad and Bryce and Bryce’s death woke him up, yes he wanted a life with Sarah but the end of the day up until the finale he had been living a life where he blamed those two characters the most for his downfall and his stagnation (he went to therapy to cope) and they were to blame in some aspects but not by their own doing, they were trying to protect him from an imment death by the lives they lead and knew he at the point of standford was unable to lead. I think Chuck realised that it was time to put his destiny firmly into his hands and sort out his life. I think he needed to do that in order to be good enough for Sarah. I am not saying that working at the Buymore did mean he could not be with her or working any job would do that, I think what it boils down to is that he wanted to be a man who was comfortable in his own skin first and he said that in the vault, he needed his friends and family and her to be proud of the man he could be and not the whiner who always complained about how people screwed him over. I think that is an endearing quality for a person to have and also it shows integrity. He could not run away from her and abandon Ellie and live a lie, as sad as it is for me to say this but up until the season 2 finale….he had been fooling himself, he wanted a normal life when in fact he was always destined to do these great things and help people. It is his humanity that stopped him from abandoning what he thought was important. I get that no one on this blog will ever agree with this and I am fine with that, I know people will say it could have been different and it probably could have because the show could have breezed past all the above points and just continued on the journey with Chuck and Sarah togethere with Casey saving the world. But is their not a point where fans stop and ask themeselves is it a story that only makes you happy because you see what you want to see or is it a story that is best for the characters? Fans who only see the good in the characters will never understand, fans who pass off their past transgressions as abberations will say that this is not want they want to see will say no, that is fine, I understand, but for me as a viewer it is fancinating for a character to have this much introspection, it makes them more noble to understand that their own hapiness is not the most paramount conclusion. This series started with Chuck giving up a conversation with a beautiful woman in order to help a little balarina and her dad…was it really a suprise that he would do that to save the world?

      • atcDave says:

        Jonny at this point we all get what they were TRYING to do with S3, that isn’t the point at all. For most of us (over 80% according polls we ran at the time) the story was a failure. It doesn’t matter if you can make sense of it, it was simply no fun. The characters don’t HAVE to go through any particular process, they’re fictional and will deal with things exactly as they are written to. Most of the audience Chuck attracted over its first two seasons (again, 80% according to our poll) simply didn’t enjoy such a prolonged, dark story. Perhaps the Breaking Bad or Fringe audience would have tolerated it better; but for most Chuck fans it was a swing and a miss. I know I would have been far happier if Honeymooners had been 3.01; you know when Chuck and Sarah did try to run away together, and live under aliases, and never see Ellie again, even if it was AFTER Chuck had learned all of those deep life lessons in the front 13…

        Sorry for the snarkiness. But Chuck just isn’t the show for dealing with such dark and weighty issues, and most of us don’t want it to be.

      • atcDave says:

        I probably should mention too though that the triangles were the single most destructive issue. As Shepperd indicated above, if Chuck and Sarah had been an established couple, or even just working on being a real couple, many of the darker themes would have been better tolerated. The “burning an asset” story of Nacho Sampler had some real potential; so did the solo mission of First Class; and impersonating an assassin of Fake Name. But keeping Chuck and Sarah apart ruined the season. Every single one of those episodes could have been redeemed in part by Chuck and Sarah together, talking through the issues that were brought up. Instead the best remembered aspect of the season was the silly and obvious manipulation involved in keeping the leads apart until the end. That was a dreadful decision.

      • Jonny says:

        How do you start a relationship or stay in a relationship with someone you love when you do not even like yourself let alone love yourself? A man who believes he is a loser like Chuck did (even though we never ever see that and would never want to see that) may have had more on his mind then being with Sarah…maybe. A man once poignantly said that people who can see life in black and white terms are more likely to succeed if then the ones who see life in terms of grey, because the are forever trying to be people they are not or who they think people want them to be and will make themselves and the people around them miserable. It is all philisophical and it could be seen as crap, but it interests me, lol. All the points I mentioned above about wanting Chuck learn from his mistakes interest me I suppose. I mean there is no more greater satisfaction then him getting his standford degree or saving the day or resolving his issues with Bryce and Jill…and I know everyone will say that he did that with Sarah….but I still believe he was able to do that with Sarah because at the time he falsly believed (except Jill) that they were the cause of all his problems and he lacked the knowledge of the finale and the actual possiblitity of a life with Sarah was never at stake…it was a dream. I suppose the dream is different from reality, what do you really do when your in touching distance from what you never thought you would get? I get season 3 sucked for people, that it was poorly plotted, paced, etc. That the love triangles were unnecessary and that a show that went this dark was not a show people signed up for….I just like to see that Chuck learns and is comfortable with who he is. For me (and I know Sarah is the fans most popular character) but Chuck’s humanity is what the show will live and die by, he is the most innocent in a corrupt world, we may love sarah and casey, but they are not as innocent and their hands are dirty and testing the bounds or strengths of his humanity facinates me in inspirational way….it is something I feel he has been doing since the very first episode…

      • atcDave says:

        Well for starters, I think you are WAY overselling the self loathing angle. I never saw any evidence of it at all. Chuck was an underachiever who had his issues, but for the most part I’d call him a pretty well adjusted guy. Kind of ditto for Sarah; she had her issues, but on balance was a very admirable character. In fact I’d take it a step further and say the strength, heroism, and overall appeal of both characters is completely what made the show work for me; and I mean that right from the Pilot. Both characters then brought out the best in each other. Sarah gave Chuck purpose and Chuck gave Sarah heart. I really think all this talk about how broken or damaged these characters were is way overstated.
        Now on top of that, I would say most people are better or completed by a mate. I know, dreadfully un-PC. And I’m not denying there are exceptions to that rule. But in my experience; the vast majority of people are happier, stronger, and all around “better” when they are with their spouse. So in spite of the fact “normal” is a loaded term in Chuckiverse, I’d say Chuck and Sarah are completely normal in the way they compliment each other and make each other better.

        Obviously, this means I completely reject the idea that Chuck (or Sarah) needed to find some sort of truth or self-realization before they were “ready” for each other. I would have bought them as a couple any time after Marlin. I mostly enjoyed the travails of S2; but S3 rang false, cynical, and manipulative. The continued separation of leads simply felt like Television Screenplay 101; and I generally dislike stories where I can see the strings being pulled.

      • Jonny says:

        He called himself a loser, I am not saying I thought he was a loser, he did. He admitted that he went to therapy to work out his issues, he said that Jill stole all his mojo, he admitted to sarah many times that his life was not where he wanted it to be…All he did in 2 seasons was say that he did not know what to do with his life and had no 5 year plan and had to have sarah tell him he could do better…He made the point that he thought not very highly of himself to everyone..Sarah, Casey, Ellie…even Awesome though he was a loser in general. It is hard to say that I am overstating it when it is the whole premise in the pilot…a slacker who has potential…actually when the CIA were talking to Sarah in Nacho Sampler did they not call him an underachiever? lol. Even the CIA were calling him in essence a loser….

      • Jonny says:

        In fact I forgot that he told Sarah in the hospital in break up that he could not match up to Bryce and the same thing in Lethal Weapon that Cole was perfect for Sarah, lol.

      • ArmySFC says:

        ok i see both points kind of. i disagree with with the self loathing part, and the under achiever part as well. look at what they showed you. chuck floundered for 5 years at the BM because of what happened at stanford. like it or not he was better than the BM, yet he chose to flounder there for 5 years. he stifled himself because of his need for family and friends. he didn’t under achieve because he never tried. he wallowed in self pity for 5 years. he is still a kid at 27 years old. he has no ambition no goals (as of the pilot). he has an anchor of a friend in morgan who holds him back. maybe thats under achieving im not sure. he needed to grab his shorts and pull up, get on with it already, not sleep in his own mess. he did none of these things. chuck for me during the first seasons was a dud, pansy or loser, your call. bottom line is both chuck and sarah are FUBAR. it will never change. just because they got married, will not change the fact.

      • atcDave says:

        I still don’t call any of that “self loathing” Jonny. I also don’t think other people loathing you counts as self loathing either! I’d say Chuck’s awareness of his failings and limitations was actually a remarkable sign of maturity. Most of us have had moments when we are very down on ourselves and hyper aware of our shortcomings, whereas “self loathing” is a fairly uncommon condition that results in serious depression, cynicism, and bitterness. None of this was evident in Chuck. I’d call him a completely normal underachiever with no sense of direction. I admit, a lot of this is me seeing myself in Chuck. My own “down period” only lasted 18 months after college where I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, had no girlfriend, and worked as a security guard! But I would never characterize that as self loathing either.
        Now I also never said Chuck didn’t have some growing up to do. But I never saw anything in his character or maturity to suggest he was better off accomplishing that growth on his own. I can’t say it strongly enough, we saw a Chuck and Sarah relationship that would have been perfectly legit any time after Marlin. The only reason to keep them apart is a story telling decision; and that decision became invalid to me after Colonel.

      • atcDave says:

        Army I’m amazed you ever watched this show! I loved both Chuck and Sarah from the Pilot, and I completely related to Chuck. Apart from a few bad decisions (namely Jill round 2 and Hannah) I always related to Chuck. I love his gentle nature, moral strength, extreme loyalty to friends and family, and courage in dangerous situations. I see Sarah as probably the best traditional heroic character I’ve seen in many years of television; she is fearless, devoted to duty, and capable; yet still moral and decent.
        To me, Chuck and Sarah are perfect together; two likable and idealized characters who compliment each other perfectly.

      • jason says:

        dave – been reading a bunch of the stuff today, I have sort of run out of s3 juice, the reactions to what was on air are pretty much in the books for the experts and most fans. I suppose a very small subset of bloggers will probably wage some sort of debate over s3 for quite some time, but I pretty much just repeat myself when I contribute, if I really were to discuss s3 seriously, I probably would have to watch it again. One thing that does amaze me about the show’s fan’s on this site, I cannot understand how anyone would find entertainment from chuck, if they did not think chuck and sarah were charming or charmers together, and that the show was meant to be light and funny action. I just can’t imagine why else, what else there is, I know some really smart people on this site do see other stuff, I try to relate, I read what they have to say, I sort of understand even, I just don’t see it, if those sorts of things were my motivation to watch chuck, I would not have made it past the pilot. I think nearly all tv in this genre does serious drama, spy mystery, and wt/wt better than chuck. But chuck does light, warm, romantic, comedy as well as any show I watch, about 75% of the time, the other 25% is dreadful tv, chuck is a really odd tv show for me in that regard.

      • joe says:

        Jonny, I don’t mean to pile on here, but self-loathing really isn’t right.

        At the start, Chuck is undirected, certainly, with nothing ahead of him but the Buy More. And Sarah is – what ? I think cold and un-feeling is what we’re meant to believe. She’ll do anything to complete the mission, including kill. She’s turned off her emotions in order to do her job.

        For the longest time, Chuck just can’t see himself as a hero, even after he’s done several heroic (and quite amazing) things. For just as long, Sarah can’t let herself come out of that shell. Yet all the while, Sarah gently insists that he is someone special, who can do great things. He can have anything he wants, she tells him. He can do anything he wants. Just as persistently, Chuck insists that Sarah is amazing and worthy.

        In her vows, Sarah said that she will show him every day that he’s a gift she deserves. And he said now he dreams of their future. Those are important lines because, like Dave said, it shows how they’ve show each other who they are, and who they always were.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave to be honest it was the idea that hooked me, \not the characters. i wanted to see how the intersect played out. that was the hook to me. take a loser and make him into something important and see how he does. i can’t in any way identify with chuck nor would i want to. i have had many crappy things happen to me in my life, and i never ran home to mommy or big sis because i could not handle what happened. i adapted and over came. as for sarah, she is a dime a dozen these days. look at the movies or tv shows out that have a female kicking butt. there is nothing special about that any more. same with her looks. you see any ugly women in that type of roll? you don’t do you? the intersect got me to watch. it was a unique fresh idea. i tuned in and liked it. then it became a soap, yes a soap. then i tuned out after this year. you can argue against it but here are the traits of a soap, “an emphasis on family life, personal relationships, sexual dramas, emotional and moral conflicts; some coverage of topical issues; set in familiar domestic interiors with only occasional excursions into new locations”. can you honestly tell me that chuck doesn’t fit into that description? that was my complaint of season 4 all along. now i simply don’t care what happens in the future, so i gave up.

        i see things different than you. your thoughts and preferences are yours and mine are mine. our life experiences and what we have seen and done makes us unique. you see the world through the eyes of someone i think is a loser with a capital L. that’s ok by me. you are entitled to that, as am i.

      • thinkling says:

        I loved both Chuck and Sarah from the Pilot … I love his gentle nature, moral strength, extreme loyalty to friends and family, and courage in dangerous situations. I see Sarah as probably the best traditional heroic character I’ve seen in many years of television; she is fearless, devoted to duty, and capable; yet still moral and decent.

        Totally agree Dave!

      • atcDave says:

        Army I wasn’t denying your entitlement to your own opinion! It just amazes me you would continue to watch as long as you did. I’ve never been so interested in a concept I would watch characters I dislike. Battlestar Galactica is about as close as I ever came to that, and I dumped it after one season. Usually if I don’t see anyone I want to relate to I jettison the show much quicker.
        But I actually still miss the S1/S2 Chuck sometimes. To me, early S2 was probably his best heroics; especially First Date, Seduction, and Gravitron. And Sarah is about WAY more than the butt kicking. You’re right there are plenty of women in action shows and movies who are her equal or more. To me its the combination of physical heroics and moral character that make her what she is. Or as Fedak once said, tough and sweet. And I really have never seen an equal for a female hero. Of course the Chuck and Sarah type heroes are a rare commodity these days; its dreadfully uncool to have a hero who still cares about doing the right thing. Maybe that’s why I watch less television than ever. Certainly “Breaking Bad” will never be for me. Even White Collar has been a big disappointment to me this season; the more Neil is tempted by his stolen treasure the less interest I have in his welfare.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks Thinkling and Joe. Its good to know I’m not totally alone here!

      • joe says:

        Oh, you’re not alone here, Dave.

        @Army i wanted to see how the intersect played out. that was the hook to me. take a loser and make him into something important and see how he does.
        Yeah, I’m a little surprised now that you watched the show at all, too, Army. Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion, of course. That’s a given. But in light of this, it’s a hard one to understand.

        I mean, really, the character of Chuck was created to be, more or less, everyman, someone we all relate to. For him to call himself a loser is understandable. Most everyone does that one time or another. But to actually believe you are> a loser, well, that’s more extreme. Not many are going to have that self-image.

        If we relate it’s because we always hope to be more than what people think they see in us. If we can relate, it’s because we sometime see things that are special in others, when ever they are barely aware of it.

        That’s a little more meaty than a “soap opera,” I think.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, you are definitely never alone in the Chuck and Sarah department. I totally agree with you about both characters. You will be quoted in my upcoming post. (perhaps a dubious honor ;))

        We’ve had the Sarah discussion a few times … how absolutely rare she is and Yvonne’s portrayal of her. Heroic and moral. Tough and sweet. Absolutely believable as a warrior and a woman. Both the character and actress are unique in my mind. I think we said at one time about her physicality that she doesn’t throw like a girl or walk like a man. Her character is just as well balanced as the hero/spy with a moral compass. I know Chuck was a mirror and an anchor for her in that, but she was always that. He just gave her anchorage.

      • atcDave says:

        I know I’m not really alone Thinkling. But it does surprise me sometimes that I end up defending the character of Chuck (and Sarah) at a Chuck site!

  16. Ernie Davis says:

    Since the commentary has slowed to a trickle I’ll add a little something. I did an experiment for these two posts on Ring and Other Guy. I took a break from reading comments for a bit, especially when they veered into season 3 issues. It was about a three week break where I’d post the posts I’d agreed to, skim the blog, and other than that just step back for a few weeks. Before my review of Ring I started a re-watch of season 3. There wasn’t a single episode that I didn’t enjoy. Even more so, a lot of what hadn’t made sense suddenly dropped into place.

    I originally had a lot more material on the season 3 journey split between Ring and Other Guy, then I split it off into another post to act as a bridge between them. Then I chickened out and ran out of time. While the time was the main issue, there was a real chickening out component involved. As we’ve seen time and again season 3 is one issue guaranteed to start a bru-ha here. Sarah is another. I had feet firmly planted on both those land mines for a while.

    Jonny, I agree with almost all you said. I can see what they wanted to do with both characters and now think they did a lot better job than most would or ever will give them credit for. There were clearly some major and minor execution problems, getting your budget cut in half and your shooting schedule shortened by one day per-episode will do that, and while Schwedak and the Chuck crew bear primary responsibility for production values it was NBC’s decision to essentially kill Chuck by slashing it’s budget and delaying renewal until some of the staff and actors (Bryce instead of Shaw anyone?) had to move on. And make no mistake, on any network other than NBC it would have killed Chuck. Without the hole they blew in their primetime schedule with the Leno debacle, Chuck was done, if they even bothered to air it.

    In the end I think we are sometimes our own worst enemies when it comes to enjoying the show. If it’s a matter of tone or disliking the story that’s one thing, but expectations really complicate things. In a way they can become a self fulfilling prophesy. I think there was some of that at work within the fandom in the build up to season 3. Certainly the level of Shaw hate seems disproportionate to me, and the weekly anticipation for resolution was really frustrating. In the end I enjoyed season 3 more than most because I let go of those expectations and tried to understand the story they were telling.

    It wasn’t always happy, or well told, I’m not going to argue over that, but there was a lot more there on my re-watch than people will ever give them credit for, and a lot of it was necessary for so much of what we love about season 4.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:


      I’m happy you and others liked S3 and can get more out of it by letting go and seeing the “genius”.

      I watched it when it first aired an other than 3.13 (which I don’t watch anymore), and 3.14 I have never seen it again or have any intent to. For me, and I’ve never said otherwise, the story they told was WAY to subtle, so much so that it doesn’t exist for me, and needed a bigger club (some actual dialogue between adults would have nice) to part the fog and add some clarity.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Ahhhhhhhh! Posted too soon.

        The point I guess I’m trying to make when I say that the story was too subtle was (as I’ve always said) that there were 2 stories told in S3 (it exist in S4, but to a far lesser extent). The one the people like Ernie and Joe and BigKev (and others) saw, and the one that myself and Dave and Uplink (and others) saw. I doubt we ever agree as to who is correct.

        From where I sit, that’s not the fans fault.

    • ArmySFC says:

      Ernie, it’s not often i agree with you, but on this i do. expectations can be a killer, and cause the folks watching to have a skewed view of what is trying to be said. it’s the main reason i won’t watch season 5. as for shaw being hated, that just comes with the territory i think. here’s a line from a voyager site i frequent, “A horny girl that wants to have sex might take the totem pole home and mistake Chakotay for the block of wood.” he gets killed on this site just because he is in the way of the couple they feel should be together. how many time has shaw been referred to as something similar? dislike of a character can skew a persons opinion of an episode to the bad. i will be honest, i hate morgan with a passion. this dislike has caused me to not like some episodes simply because he had a large roll in it. push mix is a good example, had morgan not found yoga godness i would have liked it much better. so agree if we let our personal wants out weigh the story they are trying to sell, we miss the point.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t want to get into a lot of this, Ernie and I have certainly gone around this a few times. Just a couple of quick comments
      I agree the Shaw hate got out of hand at times, I still don’t have the intense reaction to Brandon Routh or the mere mention of Shaw some seem to. But in the end, it is hard to separate Shaw from what we dislike most about the season; specifically the Sham story being carried out way past most of our breaking points. Or even more to the point; I think its a reaction the triangles story happening at all, and Shaw is simply a bigger target for a variety of reasons than Hannah was.
      High expectations are simply a consequence of our excitement. Of course they’re a double edged sword. High expectations are why fans started the save Chuck campaigns after S2. High expectations are why I stood in line for 6 hours when Return of the Jedi first opened. High expectations are why I’m already following news about The Hobbit which won’t even open for 16 months yet. High expectations certainly can lead to big disappointment (Star Trek III or Pearl Harbor (history and aviation buff here!)). But I don’t think our expectations are either good or bad, they simply raise the stakes for everyone.
      I sure don’t agree that any of S3 was necessary; but I do know you and I agree about our love of S4!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Certainly not all expectations are a bad thing or even avoidable. But I am speaking of expectations more along the line of the story they are telling and the pace they are telling it at. A lot of fans expected, and were looking for, a story that wasn’t there, and so declared the story a failure. There was a story within that misery arc worth telling, because at the end of season 2 Sarah as we knew her didn’t need saving. We just saw a Sarah that wanted more out of life than to be a spy.

        Certainly there were hints that her entry into the spy life wasn’t exactly voluntary or made with full informed consent, but we really didn’t see why she’d want to leave other than to settle down, or wouldn’t go on as a spy if she could have Chuck with her as an equal. What we got to see was how fragile Sarah was in some ways, and how ill-equiped she was to deal with some things outside the spy life. In short we got to see why she needed Chuck, as opposed to a Bryce or a Cole or a Shaw.

        While Shaw could try to help Sarah he couldn’t in the end because he didn’t understand her. All he could do was quote the company line. He made a choice, killing saves lives in the end, but all the while he limits Sarah’s options and choices. There’s no redemption with Shaw. With Chuck, difficult as retracing Sarah’s entry into the spy world is for both of them, he retains more of what Sarah lost, and at his core remains unchanged. The Greater Good isn’t served if there is no difference between your group of cruel manipulative killers and theirs, and Chuck understands that. Chuck has that greater good personified in front of him as his friends and family. That’s the greater good you are protecting, and if they become disposable, you’ve lost. Sarah’s dilemma had been to do actual good, protect and preserve what was good about Chuck (and the world at large) without giving in to the kind of cynicism that allowed Casey to consider killing Chuck for convenience sake a reasonable course of action. That’s why Casey was a burnout in the beginning. He was so disconnected from the way of life he was protecting he lost site of it’s value, and so it becomes about nothing more than orders.

        Chuck doesn’t give up on people, himself included. Sarah almost did, like Casey had. There is where I think we see her need for redemption and Chuck’s critical role in it, in the misery arc. I think without some of that, and we have argued to what degree and depth as a matter of taste plenty of times, “you saved me” and a lot of season 4 doesn’t resonate nearly as deeply.

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie the way describe it sounds like a wonderful uplifting story. I think the problem is, it didn’t feel that way on screen, at least not until the very end. They needed to end more stories with the hopeful or uplifting note to make it clear there was a hopeful and uplifting destination. As it was, they simply strung together way too many down beats. And you know I mean primarily on the Charah front. At the very least, we needed to see that functioning Chuck/Sarah friendship that was hinted at in 3.02 & 3.03; then mostly ignored until 3.13. But that is the very least indeed, I don’t believe there is any way S3 could have been satisfying without Chuck and Sarah spending significant time together, especially in episode wrap-ups.
        To me, the central relationship was what made S1 and S2 more than just another show; and ignoring it for most of S3 did more than just lower Chuck to “just another show” status. It was a far lesser show than it previously had been, which translates into a bitterly disappointing viewing experience.

    • Verkan_Vall says:


      Interesting that you think “a lot of it was necessary for so much of what we love about Season 4.”

      I think that the Misery Arc has nothing to do with what I loved about S4. In fact, I have to ignore whole sections of S3 in order to consider S4 and S5 even possible.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Just my POV. I found Sarah’s growth much more impressive and meaningful knowing the depth of the problems she had to overcome.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll ditto that VV (my turn!)

      • atcDave says:

        Ernie, given that I watch to have a good time; I felt there could have been far more effective ways of learning about Sarah’s issues. In particular, any scene where Chuck and Sarah deal with issues together will always be FAR more powerful to me than watching them wrestle with things alone, or worse, with an interloper.

        As I’ve said many times, I could deal with SOME of the darker issues and themes if we hadn’t had to sit through the Hannah and Shaw situations. I basically reject any scene with either character; so I’d actually say the related growth issues are completely wasted on me. In other circumstances I could maybe have been convinced that was just my problem; but given how strong displeasure was with this story across the fandom I think the problem lies in the telling.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Dave, given what you like about the show, your prefered tone and what you invest in I wouldn’t expect you (or VV for that matter) to agree. Certainly if you reject scenes outright you aren’t going to see the same story I do.

        I was just clarifying for VV that my statement that a lot of S3 was necessary represents my and likeminded posters POV, not a statement of fact, just as repeted statements that the front 13 were a failure or unnecessary or need to be forgotten are from a certain POV accurate and true, but not factual.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, Ernie good points both of you. Ernie what you said sounded great and is probably what they had in mind. Dave i agree in the telling bit. it’s often been said here that the fans are a buyer and chuck is the purchase. i believe that is true.

        with any show you need to sell the fans on what you want. unlike other products you need to get them the first time it airs. they have to know exactly what the story is and the reasons for it. if you just lay subtle hints most casual viewers probably don’t see it. i doubt the casual fans put in as much effort into watching a show looking for the subtle things as the diehards do. chucks C3 was (just a guess) 30%. even if that 30% was all second watches, it means that 70% only watched it once. what that 70% sees the first time or doesn’t see is what keeps shows on the air. they need to see what the intent is, not have to dig for it.

        despite the story they wanted to tell in season 3, they didn’t put it out in a way the fans would buy it.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that Army.

  17. OldDarth says:

    Star Trek III is a schizophrenic movie. The parts with the original cast – Awesome. The parts without – embarrassing.

    Some lovely moments though.. ‘Don’t call me tiny,’ stealing the Enterprise, ‘Well did I get it right?’, & ‘Jim. Your name is Jim.’

    • atcDave says:

      And don’t forget blowing up the original Enterprise…

      It did have its moments, but on balance I didn’t think it held together very well. It would be my Star Trek equivalent of Chuck S3!

    • joe says:

      I’ve always heard that the even numbered Trek movies are the better ones. Seems it’s true for the first 6 or 7!

      • OldDarth says:

        The good moments in Star Trek III are very good. Plus it has one of my fav Star Trek music scores! Lovely stuff.

      • Sam Carter says:

        @Joe: Yeah, I’d agree that the even numbered original Trek are the best. I still enjoy all of the movies in some way, I just love those characters so damn much! My fave Trek movie is easily Wrath of Khan. And that score by Horner is truly amazing. I love movie scores!

      • atcDave says:

        I totally agree about Wrath of Kahn! Best Trek ever! (And Chuck can quote every line…)

  18. Sam Carter says:

    @Olddarth: I agree, the only truly good TNG movie was First Contact. The others are very mediocre. I definitely prefer the original movies with the Trek cast. Big Trek fan here, shows and all!

  19. OldDarth says:

    Same here Sam. Literally grew up with the original crew. Kirk, Spock, & McCoy my all time favorite character trio.
    Like I also love movie/TV scores! They are my primary source of music entertainment now.

    Current fav composers – Giacchino & McCreary. Both have written some incredible stuff.

  20. OldDarth says:

    Yes indeedy! His Star Wars, Superman, CE3K, Indiana Jones, Jaws etc scores are imprinted permanently in many minds.

  21. Verkan_Vall says:

    Sheesh, let a simple little hurricane distract you and look how far behind you fall. Some of this deals with posts that are 3 days old, so please bear with me.

    @Thinkling, atcDave, Shepperd: ditto. (have to change my macro now)

    @Jonny: “but what if they do not care?”
    I hope this isn’t true, but if it is, Schwartz and Fedak better hope that the fanbase never starts to believe this. No one likes being taken for a sucker, not after everything fans have done to keep the show on the air, and not after all the times the showrunners said how much they appreciate the fans’ support.

    “so had a duty to their crew to try and keep them in work”
    If the showrunners cared that much about their crew, they should have put more effort into making S3 entertaining, since it would be the last piece of work that a crew person did that a potential employer would look at first.

    “where the show runners only care about Chuck and his journey.”

    No one gets a show at 8pm on NBC on Monday night by saying that they want a platform to showcase their artistic sensibilities. You have to ENTERTAIN people, to get viewers and keep them. That is why sponsors are willing to put up big money for air time and product placement, to sell products and services to those viewers. American TV is a business, and the audience gets to vote; it is not pandering to take their desires into account, it is only common sense.

    Speaking of common sense, TPTB went against that in at least 3 different ways before any lines of script were written.

    1. They took the show dark. Before I ever saw an episode of Chuck, I had heard that it was great escapist TV, lots of action and FUN. Changing a show from light to dark was a big gamble; doing that in a down economy with >9% unemployment raised the odds against the gamble succeeding. People forget how precious laughter and making someone feel good can be in hard times.

    2. They damaged their major characters, with the exception of Morgan, and the most damage was done to the two leads. Yvonne became a big favorite, Zach Levi was quite possibly the most likeable male lead on primetime tv and together they consistently topped on-line polls as a couple. I can see shifting emphasis more to the titular character over the course of a season, but TPTB didn’t just shift emphasis, they deliberately damaged both characters and in doing so, damaged their brand.

    3. The Misery Arc covered the entire season. What had been one of the most fun shows on TV became a grinding marathon of angst, loneliness and frustration. There seemed to be no end to it and the longer it went on, the worse it got: Fake Name was episode 8, Final Exam was episode 11. By chance or design, the TPTB managed to convince a large part of the audience that Chuck had become a different show than the one they had fallen in love with, and many left. Even for those of us who stayed, how many of us felt mainly relief when the Other Guy was over?

    And then we got to the actual writing. Over at ChuckTv, Podcast #90 includes an interview with Robert Duncan McNeill; at one point, he mentions that they had a tightly crafted 13 episode season, but when they got the back 6, they started making changes and everything unravelled. I don’t know how much those changes affected the season as a whole, but I do know that there were problems for some people before the opening credits rolled on Pink Slip. A while back, Mxpw used the term “The Man Behind the Curtain”, which I think refers to the Wizard of Oz. Well, in S3, the Man Behind the Curtain was up front and center stage.

    From the unbelievable break up in 3.1 to the DYLM and bedroom in Paris scenes in 3.13, everything felt contrived and arbitrary. Much of the dialog and interaction felt stilted and artificial, in contrast to the first two seasons. I got the impression that TPTB felt that they could do anything to the show, and as long as Chuck and Sarah were together in the last 2 minutes, everything would be fine. So the DYLM and Paris bedroom scenes come across as bones thrown to the shippers instead of any climax to the story. (no pun intended)

    It could have been so much more.

    @Ernie: I think that you need to see this story of redemption in S3. I understand that, I needed to temporarily escape from something in real life and S4 was my way out. I’m glad that some people can see this intricate tapestry of 2 damaged souls finding redemption; but to me, it was at best a sketchy outline that got stapled over a story that I was watching, and all it did was get in the way. As Shepperd has said, this isn’t the audience’s fault. We can’t read the showrunners’ minds, it is their job to show and tell us the story they want us to watch. Primetime TV on Monday nights is the big time and failure is hard to hide. In many respects, Season 3 of Chuck was a failure.

    inre: Star Trek. Sorry, but I’m with OldDarth and Sam Carter on this one: Star Trek means Kirk, Spock, Bones and Montgomery Scott to me. I never really got into the others.

    Back to bailing and mopping. thanks for your time.

    • atcDave says:

      I’ll ditto your ditto VV, at least as far as your Chuck comments go! (I’ve loved every incarnation of Star Trek). I especially like your point 3.

    • Jonny says:

      Funny vv you did not mention my other posts? lol. the part about a man on the road to self acceptance and comfortable in his own skin. Funny thing is I watched last nights leverage and the culmation scene has sterling tell nate that he chose him to rescue his daughter because he knew nate and his team could get the job done. He never explained why his daughter was with the man she called step father instead and therefore the story becomes less compelling in the process. That is the problem with procedurals, the mythology can at times be a total disconnect from the stand alone process that as an audience makes it feel less rewarding to watch. Now I get the procedural show are higher rated because they tend to just hit the best parts of the show ever episode but there is less stakes involved and therefore less investment for some fans. I sense that this is what some fans on this site want only for CHUCK to hit on all the notes that makes them feel comfortable and happy and when they do not get that they are not happy. The fact is this show in season 3 drew a lot of their story from the 2 seasons that preceded it, the problem for some fans here is that they drew parts of the story that were less appealing to them or less appealing characteristics of the characters. Some fans want to totally ignore the traits that make these characters so compelling and I realise that maybe it is just Ernie and myself who see this in the end of the day. Every post Ernie has done on the characters he recognises the tough choices these characters make and the complexity of their characters that make them appealing to us non-shippers. I now understand why some fans will never ever like that type of storytelling, it is complex, it is a process, it is beautiful but it is a side of a show that no one ever really wants to watch. Look at ratings for Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Justified, CHUCK, etc. The are not many people who appreciated that type of storytelling and their rating suffer the most, there are not many people who appreciate it, only critics and a handfull of fans. That is why for every 1 person who say’s they enjoyed it there are 50 who say they do not and I understand that now. Some people just are not into a work of art, they just want fast and easy, why eat creme brule when you can have jello, why eat escargo when you can eat junk food. And there is the simple answer in and around itself, the more expensive and complex things in life are only ever appreciated by the people who are willing to adventure a new experience and try something new and put themselves out there and the rest is consumed by the masses because simplicity suits them. I realise that what I said may sound pompous and arrogant and I do not meant that to be the case but I guess that is now the case in this world, I read an article that says that few showrunners are interested telling a complex story because it is too much of a risk, because there is a big chance it will fail because viewers unless they are dedicated will drop out and it is hard for people to jump in. I never argued that it is right or wrong to take on this task but I have a lot of respect for Fedak and Schwartz and Vince Gilligan and Grahaem Yost and Matthew Wiener for attempting to do such a thing even if it drives the masses nuts. I understand why they can be pressumed as insensitive and dismissive in their attitude, they are putting something rare on display even though they know there is a chance they would fail, something procedurals will never ever attempt to do…a piece of art…and I suppose if people do not understand that then if their response is the He** with you then I see their point. In the end of the day I suppose myself, critics and very few fans see the there is some poetry in the showrunners and the character Chuck saying you know what? lets throw the dice, spin the wheel and lets see if we can walk away with the jackpot, I am proud that they both did that and in turn made the characters more real and desirable to us few who were willing to watch it. In the end of the day showrunners will stop doing that and we are in the reality tv craze and if a scripted show is to survive it will be a meat and potatoes procedural and we will never see this type of brilliance again…and that is a shame, a real shame. But the upside to all of this? only a few people will miss it and critics of course…long live the big mac meal!

      • Amrit says:

        Mad Men!!!!! That is the funniest comparison, lol. Fans of that show (the non critical mass consumption you refer to) try to ignore history! Actual history! They whine about everything… I do not want to see people smoke or they smoke too much or they are racist or they do not treat women fairly or why is there so much sex in the workplace and and and and I am going to not be happy unless people act the way I want them to act…..Because that sadly is what happened in the begining of the sixties…yes women are treated equally now (and so they should, since they are smarter and more capable then men), racism still exists but not to that extent and smoking has been caught out as a major health issue…but back then it was not the case, they were ignorant of these facts. It is so laughable, lol. People actually trying to re-write historical trends because it makes them feel uncomfortable, only tv fans could do that, lol.

      • jason says:

        johnny – if breaking bad’s next season became a comedy, with warm & fuzzy endings at the end of each episode & and each ep was pulled together by a cute mismatched couple who somehow managed to end the day together, in spite of whatever obstacle confronted them – how would that feel that the showrunners changed a show you obviously enjoy, to something totally different? That might be the best example I can give you at the frustration that chuck fans felt, having their show so significantly changed, from a fun, funny, lighthearted, warm, action, romance to a dark, dreadful, drama? And remember, while, liking s3 shows no inherit weakness in ones mental acuity, neither does disliking the season – and in case you forgot, many critics joined those who protested season 3’s darkness, and even fedak and RDMcNeil (rafe judkens too) gave pretty strong indications that something went wrong with the season

      • Amrit says:

        The show did not change that much between seasons…the same amount of people died roughly in season 3 then in season 2 and 1…the only difference was Sarah was not there to comfort Chuck (and us) and smile and say everything will be ok and fine….

      • Guys! A request please.

        Paragraph breaks works wonders.

        All I see is blobs of text.

        Thanks in advance 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Hmmm. My pet peeve is when preformated text complete with line breaks is pasted in. That and no capitalization or punctuation.

        But I agree with your point, even though I also often post stream of consciousness and forget to go back and edit before hitting post. It makes things easier to read

      • jason says:

        now – now

        just when we agreed to start being nice

        fun topic for me, writing styles, i had a job consolidating several newspapers & offices into one, the guy who hired me was a college roommate of mine, quarterback of the football team and i think near pulitzer prize good as a writer

        i was mba / engineer – little background in writing – some of my current sardonic writing style came from having to exchange memos, emails, etc with newspaper editors – I had to learn to hold my own in the big leagues – exchanging many, many nasty notes, as closing down empires is not nice work – early on when on the receiving end of verbal abuse, my friend told me I had better use my intellect, buck up, and fire back, or they would eat me alive, so I learned, at least a little bit

        but – just to be clear – they never capitalized or punctuated in those exchanges – the kids today don’t either when texting – heck – they don’t even spel out words, abv’iate or just thro a few lettrs out ther – so – you couple of smart guys – liten up on us more normal morons – pleaz

      • thinkling says:

        The whole point of memos and texts and tweets and chats is their abbreviated and quick nature, so the style you elaborate fits. Longer posts, for the sake of people who read them, need a more traditional style, like say, capitalization, punctuation, paragraphs … stuff like that. When I first programmed, we left out all spaces, for the sake of saving digits in uncompiled code. It was a bear to read. Sort of like this:


        Just kidding … as you were. 🙂

      • ArmySFC says:

        interesting topic, lol. i add the periods and comas, no caps however. lets no blame the kiddies for shortening words. we have a long history of doing that, SEC, ACC, UCLA, USC. heck we take whole words and turn them into single letters. the military has been doing it for years. heck back in the day they had a thing called shorthand. us old heads remember that. technology is to blame for it. cell phones came out and had small screens with limited number of characters. so people (kids mostly) shortened words so they could get out more info. look at twitter, limit on the number of characters.

        trouble with all that is we forget to use what we learned. i found this interesting article the other day. several school districts are planning to stop teaching cursive in school. they will just teach kids how to print.

      • jason says:

        Think, can you go back far enough to recall one punch card per computer command & have you at one time or another wrote fortran code? I googled fortran just now, it seems it still exists? I would have thought it would have gone the way of TRS80 home computers by now?

      • thinkling says:

        You, bet, Jason. My first computer course in college was Fortran … with punch cards. What a pain … and don’t drop the stack of cards, either. 😀

        Don’t think the TRS80 ever did Fortran. But I’m kind of surprised it’s still around.

      • joe says:

        Ah, Fortran, my native tongue.

        Don’t you go dis’in my Trash80 now, Jason, or I’ll give you WATFOR (and Watfive). 😉

      • joe says:

        Thinkling? You didn’t enjoy a good game of “500 Card Pick-Up”??? 😉

      • thinkling says:

        OK. First programming job was at Tandy Corp on TRS80’s. And it was the first in a long string of personal computers I’ve owned. Ha. I had an external hard drive with the size (footprint) of New York City and the population (capacity) of Poughkeepsie. My android phone has more of everything than my first 5 or 6 computers did. Amazing.

      • joe says:

        Plot-line for S5.

        There’s a dangerous computer virus on the loose, but because it was developed on a TRS80 computer, only Morgan is capable of understanding it’s inner workings. Worse, the Intersect is helpless because it’s written in Fortran, using a compiler developed specially by Volkoff Ind. and financed by Fulcrum.

      • thinkling says:

        500 card pick up … oh yeah.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jason, funny you should mention punch cards. One of my first jobs at my present position was to convert the punch card library to 9-track tape. I got quite proficient with punch cards, to the point I could read them by the punches as opposed to the text that was supposed to be printed along the top. This was around 1987 mind you, so along with three other guys we were probably the last people to learn to use and repair an IBM-29 punch card terminal and the card sorter and duplicator (those model numbers escape me). Because of that I “inhereted” stacks of blank punch cards that I still have today.

        Now I use them for bookmarks and making notes.

      • thinkling says:

        Don’t forget the triangular discs. hahaha

      • jason says:

        i never had a trs80, although we had a few at work, we quickly switched to mac’s back then for light engineering work, drawings and documentation. I did buy a Commodore 64 (which I am pretty sure came b4 TRS 80, C-64’s really did not do anything). TRS 80’s I doubt would do fortran, not near enough computing power, even if someone wrote a compiler I don’t think the early home computers had the memory or the speed to do that kind of thing. The size (and lack of density) of memory modules back then would amaze the youth of today with their jump drives. I would have never guessed only 30 years later the progress technology has made – from my perspective – it all is somewhere between awesome and frightening???

      • Ernie Davis says:

        As for Fortran, well I knew I was in trouble one day grocery shopping when I caught myself going through my grocery list in my head as an IF-THEN-ELSE embeded in a DO loop.

      • thinkling says:

        Impressive, Ernie … reading the punch cards. Not much need for that any more, just once about every four years. 😉

      • OldDarth says:

        Pretty sure I asked nicely and politely. 😀

        The first rule of communication is know your audience. What works well for one does not for another audience.

        Amazing what journeys a thread can take at times.

      • joe says:

        My TRS80 had a whopping 128k (that’s k, not M) of memory, and a 4 megabyte harddrive that was external to the computer case, because it was larger.

        But it was a darn-sight better than the TI-99 that preceded it in my bedroom, which was better than the Timex-Sinclare thingie that came before that.

        All those machines actually did some form of Basic back then. Now I must ask, who here played “Adventure”? It was a text-based D&D game with fabulous graphics. When it said I came upon a volcano, I *really* saw that volcano! 😉

      • jason says:

        wow – we are all a punch (I mean a bunch) of nerds – my 1st job was running our university’s engineering computer lab. So I would monitor the punch card reader, answer programming ?’s, and generally kind of point people around, who back in that day generally were lost.

        This was 1977, those of us employed there were all students, we knew ‘how’ to enter code on the terminal & execute the file from the terminal, so we never had to use punch cards. Although I knew how to make the punch card reader or some other device, can’t recall, ‘punch’ a set of cards, as some classes required them.

        Wow – that is a blast from the past.

      • thinkling says:

        @Ernie, Makes perfect sense to me.

      • jason says:

        joe – TI99 – me too, I think it might have been required – I did not play the computer game u mentioned, our lab had I am pretty sure ‘Star Trek’ on it, used to play that while wasting time away in the computer lab, so long ago, I can’t even recall much about it, I assume it was near 100% text based, I recall it being quite challenging at the time?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        @Think, well yeah, it was a nice tight program. I found it a little disturbing nonetheless.

      • thinkling says:

        @Ernie, do you know how much of what you do can be put in an IF-Then-Else in a DO loop?

      • ArmySFC says:

        any one else here have to work on and repair systems that used the iron rings on the memory boards? all those little wires running to and from. 64k ran the entire system, punch cards, paper tape you name it. 8k sat on a board about 2 feet by 2 feet.

      • joe says:

        Army, that’s real “core” memory. The term referred to magnetic memory cores!

        Now *that’s* a blast from the past. The world never needed more than 640k of that! 😉

      • joe says:

        Ernie, Thinkling – don’t forget about the “Don’t loops”.

        You know – “Do not do while doing…” 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        @Thinkling do you know how much of what you do can be put in an IF-Then-Else in a DO loop?

        If memory serves nearly everything. 😉 Though I’d toss in a GOTO every so often.

        I’m a little younger than some of you. My first personal (as in owned by me) computer was a Mac IISi that I bought in grad school. I splurged and got the 12″ color monitor. It ran Microsoft (heh) Fortran, and with my 2400 baud modem I was the envy of the department.

        I still have it, and last I checked it still works.

      • ArmySFC says:

        thanks joe, i worked on them, and the systems they got used on but for the life of me could not remember the name.

      • Verkan_Vall says:


        You remind me of a couple of friends of mine, for whom art is not only the most important thing, it is the ONLY thing.

        The problem is american television is a business, and that means that art cannot exist without money. It takes money to make a pilot and it takes money to keep a show running. It is my opinion that because of the mistakes of S3, the showrunners are going to find it more difficult to raise money. Investors are going to think that Schwartz & Fedak are out of touch with the audience, and sponsors are going to think that they are unreliable. This means that they may not get some backing at all, or what funding they do get will come with more strings attached and they’ll lose some of their creative control.

        It didn’t need to be that way.

        I have a question for those of you who liked Season 3. Would it have made any difference to you if Chuck and Sarah had NOT been broken up? I’m not suggesting throwing them into bed in the 3.1 intro; there are any number of things that could have kept them “romantically” separate for a while. But would a Chuck and Sarah who were working out their personal issues together and who consciously worked to forge themselves in a team ruined the season for you?

      • atcDave says:

        VV I’d take the television is business a step further. Most art is business whether the artist will acknowledge it or not. Shakespeare was successful and well known BECAUSE he wrote what the audiences of the time wanted. Ancient Greek and Roman artists typically worked FOR a sponsor and had to produce what their client wanted. Many artists are unable to find a market for their work during their lifetime, which leads directly to the well known term “starving artist.” If they can’t sell their work, they are by definition hobbyists not professionals. That doesn’t mean their work is lesser, but it does mean they are unlikely to be as prolific as an artist who can pursue their passion full time without waiting on tables.
        Bottom line is, art always involves business.

  22. Ernie Davis says:

    Jonny, I agree with a lot of what you say, but I’m sorry to say that your tone borders on condescending toward those who don’t share it. I’ve never told anyone they should enjoy the show, or season 3. I’ve told them why I and perhaps others do. I don’t object to others telling me why they don’t enjoy it or didn’t, I object to them telling me and others we shouldn’t. And yes, sometimes some of them sound pretty condescending too. But as you identified my POV with yours I felt compelled to dissascociate myself from that aspect of your post. I know on this board it often seems there is little air left for those whose views don’t align with the majority or the most vocal, and calls for some self restraint to allow a broader conversation among some of those with different views tend to go un-noticed or ignored, and that can be frustrating at times, but I don’t think the situation is helped by posts that characterize other opinions or tastes, even by implication, as unsophisticated. I mean no personal insult with this, I just ask that you consider the tone of your posts and how it affects the tone of the board, just as I’ve asked others in the past.

    Since we don’t censor on this board other than by asking for some self censorship as a courtesy to others everyone should keep in mind that how others receive and respond to your posts depends largely on you.

    I think a great deal of Chuck’s appeal is that it works on several levels across several genres. It can be enjoyed as just plain escapist comedy, or if you are willing to dig a little deeper, there is some serious drama. There is also sometimes a disconnect when things cross genres or when one aspect is emphasized at the cost of another. How much we each enjoy the show in those instances is a matter of personal taste, not of superior taste.

    • joe says:

      I’ll sign up for this sentiment.

      I’ll take some of the blame, too. When I bring in subtle comparisons to Shakespeare (subtle the way a thrown rock is subtle!) it’s supposed to be an expression of enthusiasm. I can see how it comes across as a claim of superiority, though.

      I generally try to use it to demonstrate the show’s superiority, not my POV’s.

    • Jonny says:

      I do apologise if I came across as arogant and pompous and I should have added condescending, that was not my intention at the least.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Jonny, to your credit you did recognize the potential of your post to give offense and said so explicitly, it’s just that as Joe mentioned, the enthusiasm we have for what we like can occasionally come off as derision for what someone else who doesn’t share it likes, and I’m sure I’ve crossed that line more than once unintentionally. I also don’t want you to think I’m singling you out personally either. I just recall someone calling one of your posts trolling recently (I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it) and I saw your post as potentialy the start of something rather contentious. Occasionally things get a little heated and it’s helpful to remind people before things spin off of our unofficial editorial policy.

        Write gently, read generously.

        And thanks for understanding and taking the time to apologize even though any offense would have been unintentional on your part.

      • atcDave says:

        I would also express appreciation that this was brought down a notch fairly quickly. Superior attitudes go both ways, and taking the gloves off can get ugly fast.

  23. Sam Carter says:

    @Verkan: “inre: Star Trek. Sorry, but I’m with OldDarth and Sam Carter on this one: Star Trek means Kirk, Spock, Bones and Montgomery Scott to me. I never really got into the others.”

    Well I never said that. In fact, I like/love most of the Trek characters from all the shows/movies. I love Data, Picard, Worf, Sisko and others, but yes the big 3 (Kirk, Bones, Spock) are my fave too. Just wanted to clarify that.

    @Amrit: “The show did not change that much between seasons…the same amount of people died roughly in season 3 then in season 2 and 1…the only difference was Sarah was not there to comfort Chuck (and us) and smile and say everything will be ok and fine.. ”

    Agreed. It was still the same show overall, just a little bit darker. I actually feel that the comedy was even better integrated into the main storylines. I found Morgan and Jeffster even more funny. Subway was a darker episode, but it was still full of humor. Same with Other Guy, American Hero, Op Awesome, Fake Name, Pink Slip and especially Beard. The only 2 eps from that season that didn’t have good comedy for me were Final Exam and Role Models. I still liked FE for what it was.

    Let’s remember that some eps on S2 as well as S1 didn’t always ended in a happy note. A good example was Suburbs, Fat Lady, Santa Claus Seduction and others. I guess I just don’t require all the episodes to end in a happy note. I just want to watch an interesting and entertaining story, even if it’s sad sometimes. When I watch a show/movie, I want it to make me FEEL something and to care. Chuck’s first 3 seasons managed to do that. S4 not so much.

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      @Sam Carter

      Sorry, didn’t mean to put words in your mouth.

      It isn’t that I dislike any of the characters from the other Star Trek shows, it’s just that I don’t really feel a connection with any of them. It’s probably a function of time and there being so many characters involved. I am much more connected to the characters of Farscape and the Star Gate shows than I am with the younger Treks.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t think even the most adamant ‘shippers ever required EVERY episode to end on an up note. I’ve loved a number of episodes that ended on a down note; Break-Up and Aisle of Terror come to mind. But S3 stands out as dark on several counts. Starting from Pink Slip, which has a unique place in Chuck history for not generating a single laugh from me; Chuck and Sarah were estranged all the way until 3.13. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. We saw more depressed Chuck, Chuck having to do bad things, and just ugly scenes (one friend of mine almost shut off the show at Emmitt’s death; and another quit for good when Sarah threw her phone in the pool).
      A simple death count has nothing to do with dark. Its more about wallowing in depressing and unpleasant stories. I am sorry if you don’t see it, there’s nothing I can say to MAKE you get it. But it is not made up. I know 5 people who quit watching at Pink Slip (one has never come back). Even those who watched said things like “spy Chuck is just no fun anymore” or “I’m really not enjoying this season much.”
      Our ChuckThis poll in April of 2010 indicated 80% of respondents did not enjoy most of the S3 main arc. That’s 80% of those who loved the first two seasons so much they had fought to save this show. So yes, there was absolutely a change in tone from the first two seasons. I understand some viewers, a fairly small percent, actually liked the change; and I’m fine with that. But you HAVE to realize the show DID categorically change and a majority of viewers did not like it.

  24. Sam Carter says:

    oops sorry for the bad grammar, typos, etc; sometimes I’m in a hurry and don’t have the time to proofread. sorry again. 😛

    • joe says:

      Like all of us! I’m a terrible proof-reader. Yesterday I (inadvertently) typed here for hear in a post. Sigh!

      I must admit, I have a hard time with no-caps and missing punctuation, though. It sorta makes the meaning ambiguous more times than not. “Eats Shoots & Leaves” is a must read!

  25. Verkan_Vall says:

    Magnetic Memory Cores? Punch Cards? Fortran? This sounds like 1975 to me. Anyone else use a line printer that was the size of a printing press and which made the entire building vibrate when it operated?

    I feel like I’ve found the last herd of dinosaurs to survive the comet strike.

    Err…except for Thinkling, of course. No lady is ever much past her 30th birthday.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Yep, dot-matrix printer with 132 column wide, green and white stripe paper with the sprocket holes on the side, prefforated so you could tear that portion off. It was the size of a Washer/Dryer side by side. I frequently did a morning data dump after batch jobs that ran overnight. It made the whole floor vibrate when it ran.

    • joe says:

      I think we have our proof that the average Chuck fan is a bit more – ahem – mature than the so-called “desirable demographic”.

      There’s gotta be a way to show the networks that those of us who remember who Lou Alcindor was (Hi, Faith!) still watch television.

      And oh yes, I remember those 132 character line printers, the size of printing presses. And I remember the disk-drives that were the size of washing machines for the VAX 185s.

    • ArmySFC says:

      how about a printer that wasn’t even dot matrix? more like an electric typewriter on a stand and took about a minute to print a page. when you read it the lines sometimes look like the ripples on a pond, lol. the printer you talk about came later and was a blessing!

    • thinkling says:

      Thank you VV. And yes, I remember the line printer that made the building vibrate. We used to wait in line to use it because it was so much faster than the other dot matrix.

      They both used the fan fold paper with socket holes on the side.

      Joe maybe we should have written the networks on some of Ernie’s punch cards 😀

      • joe says:

        Oh yeah. THAT would have gotten their attention, Thinkling! 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I have a lot of the old punch cards (in several colors!), but I don’t know if I have enough to supply all the Chuck fans who’d want to support the show. Still, clever idea.

  26. Sam Carter says:

    @atcDave: “A simple death count has nothing to do with dark. Its more about wallowing in depressing and unpleasant stories. I am sorry if you don’t see it, there’s nothing I can say to MAKE you get it. But it is not made up. I know 5 people who quit watching at Pink Slip (one has never come back). Even those who watched said things like “spy Chuck is just no fun anymore” or “I’m really not enjoying this season much.””

    Well, where you saw depressing I saw compelling and entertaining. And seriously, to me what the people you know or the majority of posters here have said on that means very little. Why? Because I also know people who liked/loved S3 for several reasons. So we have that. 😉 And yes, I know many here don’t like it, but I also know many out there on other blogs/sites (mostly non-chuck fansites) who also enjoyed it and found it refreshing just like me. So we all due respect, Dave, I think what really counts is our own personal opinion, because anyone can say that they ‘know’ 20 people who didn’t like S3 and stopped watching it after Pink Slip or Fake Name. And ratings? I have learned that ratings are way more complex to explain and to make real sense of. I could easily say that S4 had the worst ratings of the series, and I think that’s true. In fact, the series’ ratings have been on a dive ever since its beginnings. I just think Chuck is a very quirky and different show. It’s not meant for broad audiences. It’s more of a niche show. You need to really get these characters to be able to follow them along the ride. Not MANY out there do. Many with syndication and time things can change and the show can become more popular. Who knows? Just look at Star Trek. Though to be fair ST have bigger and more universal themes.

    “Our ChuckThis poll in April of 2010 indicated 80% of respondents did not enjoy most of the S3 main arc. That’s 80% of those who loved the first two seasons so much they had fought to save this show. So yes, there was absolutely a change in tone from the first two seasons. I understand some viewers, a fairly small percent, actually liked the change; and I’m fine with that. But you HAVE to realize the show DID categorically change and a majority of viewers did not like it.”

    Again, this poll mean very little to me. We need like a much bigger poll (in the thousands at least) to really know how people at large feel. All of those several millions who keep watching the show still watch it for a reason, but only a few of us actually post our comments on the internet. It’d be interesting to know how are the dvds selling.

    • atcDave says:

      The point is that the discontent with S3 was widespread, serious, and well thought out. Its not something we can be talked out of any more than you than you can be talked into disliking it. But even more than that, my main point is that the show absolutely changed; and a large number of fans intensely disliked the change.
      You can like S3 all you want, that is a matter of taste. But it is simply wrong to deny the change in the show; or the legitimacy of many fans dislike of the season.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, this is kind of a theoretical question. does the dislike of season 3 make season 4 great because it’s just better than season 3? i find myself wondering because i never saw much of season 3 1-13. only first class, american hero and other guy. i liked all three a lot. then saw the back end, liked most of them. so when i watched season 4, i guess i compared it to season 2 and the ones i saw from three. so i wonder was season 4 that bad or just below what i was used to seeing from the show and it seemed bad. then when it never reached those heights again i lost interest along the way. i wonder if i had seen season 3 before i saw season, and had the same reaction as many, would then season 4 better, and i would have enjoyed it more?

      • atcDave says:

        Since I did see S3 as it ran its hard for me to be too certain. But my honest impression is that S2 and S4 are roughly equal in quality from a writing perspective (yeah I know, the hate will flow for saying that…). The drop in production values stemming from the big budget cuts is similar between S3 and S4.
        Perhaps to put it another way, if you’re responding to the look and polish of the show; S3/S4 are similar and clearly below S1/S2 in terms of absolute quality. But in terms of writing and story telling I think S4 is more like the earlier seasons and is a more natural follow on to how the show started.
        S3.5 remains a curious hybrid. Much of my enthusiasm for S3.5 IS clearly because it was a relief after S3. Only Honeymooners strikes me as superior episode in its own right. The later S3.5 episodes are marred to me by the “lying Chuck” theme. This is an example of the sort of darker theme that was explored all through S3 that I’m not really nuts about. Its also an example of how I am more accepting of darker episodes if the central relationship is in a good place. Although S4 is clearly more the show I was always hoping for (although it would be nice if they’d been able to keep the budget up!), S3.5 is acceptable and generally a good time.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave interesting. there were 4 episodes in a row in season three i really liked, hero, other guy, honeymooners and role models 9’s on a scale of 1 to 10. tooth and living dead were ok 5’s and subway and ring two between those two groups 7.5.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Actually, IMO S3 & S4 suffer from the same issues.

        Far too much story being told, leaving the arc ending episode overstuffed trying to resolve story points. Waiting far too long to resolve story points Unlikeable characters. Pointless storylines. Untold storylines, leaving the fans to figure it out. Questionable retcons. And generally throwing one lead character under the bus to make the other look good.

        It’s all there in both seasons, it’s a little easier to swallow in S4.

        To me it has to do with the seasonlong arcs which they can’t seem to pull off. Shorter 2, 3 episode arc seem to work better.

      • ArmySFC says:

        SLS, that’s one thing i brought a few times. trying to stuff to much into each episode and clouding the waters so to speak. sometimes the saying less is more is a valid point.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree that the shorter arcs work better on Chuck, except maybe for the end of S2. But then I’ve always suspected that S2 emboldened them to make the longer S3 arc. I see the show so much as a comedy, and character driven at that, it just isn’t suited to more complex stories. I didn’t really have any unlikable character issues with S4. Mary and Vivian were minor disappointments, but they were also less important characters so no biggie. And even then, I loved how Mary was introduced (Aisle of Terror and First Fight remain favorites) I was just underwhelmed by Gobbler and Mary in Push Mix ( a good episode apart from her). There were a couple times either Chuck or Sarah looked bad briefly, but it never seemed like a persistent problem to me; that is, they didn’t stack stupidity on top of stupidity like S3 did. Every bad moment was rectified quickly, usually in the next scene. I think a lot of this had to do with demands of time, or for a laugh. And we do have to remember that casual viewers are generally far more interested in the comedy elements of the show than we are.

        Army, we’re very close on how we rate those episodes you mentioned, only American Hero comes out much lower in my rankings (maybe a 5 on that 10 point scale). Then Other Guy and Role Models just slightly lower (say 7.5), and bump Honeymooners up to a 10(+++). I agree exactly about the rest of S3.5.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Don’t even get me started on things that are done “because they THOUGHT it would be funny”.

      • jason says:

        sheppard – interesting POV – here is something that hit me mid s4 – TPTB simply are not great story tellers, ok ones, but not great. Sure, a few things came together and made s2 pretty good. Plus, I’d be the first to admit s4’s journey on the good ship Charah felt like a xmas a gift to me as a fan who felt let down by s3. So TPTB have positives.

        But, when all is said and done, they don’t tell that great a story, especially the complex season long kind. They struggle with subtle linkage of characters, issues, themes, and symbols to important moments & motivations behind those moments. I think they always have, s1 and s2 also – s3 and s4 simply had more variables involved that they needed to make sense of, plus s3’s love interest journey was a tough story to tell / sell.

        For me, once I realized schwedak are somewhat lacking, SEASON 3 was much easier to accept, they told a bad story. Failure has happenned to better men. S2 of FNL’s many agree sucked. JJAbrahms bombed with Undercovers. So what?

        I hope everything comes together and the best has been reserved for last, so that Chuck goes out with a positive legacy. If not, I am pretty sure for most contributors to this site, Chuck has supplied them with more food for thought than any other show they have watched, what more could one want?

      • OldDarth says:

        S3 at least had a clear story arc – Chuck wanting to be a spy. And was a natural extension of the hero journey.

        S4 is Chuck wants…is trying to… I honestly have no idea where his head was at in S4.

        Beyond proposing to Sarah, and we the audience knew the answer to that waaayy back in episode 2. So we were forced to sit and wait at episode 13 – because we also knew that was when it was going to happen – for the show to catch up before there was even a hope of regaining any forward momentum.

        For myself that did not lend itself to a Season Arc filled with excitement and tension and drama and any sense of stakes or danger.

        Was there fun? Yes in moments. And isolated performances. Beyond that…..

        Can’t a show be fun without throwing all the other good things it did before out the window?

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I strongly agree with your statement about bad stories. It doesn’t help me to see S3 in a better light; but I don’t see the S3 failure as such a big deal either. Perhaps my dislike of it reads as a bigger deal than I intend to S3 apologists. I don’t like S3 and I never will; but that doesn’t interfere with me loving S4 and happily celebrating that success with everyone involved. As you said, a lot of writers have bombed out once or twice in their careers; live and learn. I’m pretty dogmatic on my S3 reaction because I shudder at the thought of the lesson squandered. But everyone has failures; and seriously, my own professional failings carry greater risk than Schwedak’s.

      • Amrit says:

        I do not know if this will be a point that people can use as an excuse but all the best stories and serialised shows are on cable (I think) where showrunners get a year and a bigger budget ( I think mad men and breaking bad get close to 3 million dollars an episode which I think may be a lot more then CHUCK, but I do not know). So they get a year between seasons to work out the story they want to tell and they are told it is only 13 episode long and that is it, no extensions nothing like that. I know from their strong performaces that they will be back so can slow the story process down so they can tell their story in their own pace and make it complete. Chuck lives on half seasons and they are told at the last minute that they have another half season to extend their stories. I have a feeling that if the stories were at the start were allowed to breathe more over either an entire season (an early episode order upfront) or are given more seasons. Either way niether ever happen with Chuck and so the stories feel dragged and the only elements that resonate are the ones that have a throughline through the series, i.e. the chuck and sarah romance or team b. It is a sad reality, I would hate to have only 2 months or 3 months in between seasons. Oh I forgot, Cable shows like the sopranos and breaking bad and mad men have next to no input from either their production companies or the networks, what a lovely place to be for them…Yeah, Network tv maybe the bigger leagues and higher expectations are required, but nothing beats time and money in any profession.

      • atcDave says:

        OD I just don’t see what was thrown out the window. Just like earlier seasons there was a mix of interconnecting, season long arcs (Volkoff, Frost, marriage), short arcs, and stand alones. As far as those go, S3 was just as predictable (Chuck becomes a spy, destroys the Ring, gets the girl). To me, the major difference isn’t about “destination” at all, it goes back to journey. I simply found S4 to be a far more entertaining journey; I was able to enjoy the characters I loved and root for their success along the way. In S3 I saw nothing to enjoy, only endure.

      • jason says:

        OD – the answer to your last ? is yes. Of course, what you said about waiting for ep 4×13, put yourself in daves and my shoes (and quite a few others), we had the same wait in 3×13’s last 5 minutes, interestingly, ep 3×2 pretty much told us what 4×2 told you.

        Again, at some point, to quote Yogi Berra ‘They is what they is and that’s all that they is’ – or was that Popeye? Anyhow, what you describe is sort of what the show is, as sheppard said, both seasons.

        The season 4 some of us loved was surrounded by fun and joy, the season 3 others loved had a tougher tone to it – but neither was written in the ‘tight or complete’ manner that some of the types of shows out there in this genre are. I used to blame it on the fact all the B characters are comics such that drama is hard to tell, but it seems I never had anyone agree with that, so I am moving on the blaming the story itself.

        Either way, for some reason, this show has gotten way deep under the skin of many geeks from the mid 70’s and 80’s according to this am’s exchange – what they are doing can’t be all bad – can it?

      • OldDarth says:

        None of the arcs in Season 4 made sense. MamaB’s 20 year defection – never explained. The PSP-laptop – never explained. Chuck’s motivation in S4 – never explained.

        Call me picky but a sense of direction and purpose is a bare minimum to engaging story telling.

        And the Volkoff Retcon – ruined PapaB’s original and much more sympathetic storyline just to clumsily force a connection between the two families.

        Anyhoo – we’ve been around this block a zillion times and the sense of deja vu that is overwhelming me is a clear indicator its time to back away.



      • ArmySFC says:

        Amrit, you bring up some valid points about cable shows. the other added thing is what they can show and say. that in itself can add a different dimension to the show. it appears they also get 5 more minutes each episode. i still think some of chucks story telling troubles are from to from trying to fit much in to small a space. when they get the new season they got 13 episodes. they should have planned the story they were telling into those 13. when they got 11 more they should have gone right from where the first 13 ended. instead they changed around what they had originally laid out.

      • atcDave says:

        OD I never saw any sense in Chuck the talker suddenly not explaining himself in Prague either. And seriously, don’t try to explain it to me, I’ve heard a hundred explanations just like I’ve tried to explain those S4 deficiencies to you; none of them work for me. I think this is a clear case of being what we make of it. I liked the tone and direction of S4 so a few story telling deficiencies don’t bother me. You obviously liked more of the S3 tone so were less bothered by those shortcomings. Your trying to find a qualitative explanation for something that is really about taste.

        Army I think there’s a lot of truth to what you say, but ultimately it comes down to Chuck just not really being about those stories. Its primarily a character based comedy. Trust me, I spent much of high school and college writing competitive comedy, it is VERY time consuming to do it well. And if that’s what’s consuming your writing budget it WILL result in simplifying other aspects of the story.

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave very true. i don’t think i am saying what i want correctly. if you write a tight story that fits into the parameters of the show it should be liked. as you said it takes time but if you have to add the other bits, like they do, the comedy part you talk about has to suffer because they don’t have the time to do it right. so i think on the same page as you.

      • joe says:

        Competitive comedy? Forgive me, but that sounds a lot like my parent’s “full contact square dancing!”

        I can see the referee now. TAKE DOWN! Two points. 😉

      • jason says:

        Bad TV. YOu want bad TV. You can’t handle bad tv!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        chuck leaving sarah without a word to reconcile at the train station in prague, mr talker walks away from the girl of his dreams

        sarah moves in with and becomes a terrorist’s lover

        sarah ignores chuck’s ILU declaration, that even Karina seemed to respect

        the two agree to work on it, then never work on it

        sarah literally never leaves routh’s side starting in 3×5

        routh releases poison gas in 3×7, after casey has no problem with same thing in 3×6

        chuck gets the cure, routh is hailed as sarah’s hero, even though it was his fault she was sick in the first place

        chuck is ordered by shaw to work alone, never brought up again

        chuck and sarah say goodbye after 2 1/2 years of pursuit, I have had more emotional goodbyes after one night stands

        sarah leaps into shaw’s arms, for the rest of the arc, her and shaw walk around like the high school football star and his bimbette girl friend for the next 6 eps

        shaw leaves chuck unguarded on the castle, he gets kidnapped

        shaw attempts to execute chuck in the castle to protect the nation, after he just abondoned him to go on a honeymoon mission with his bimbo, sarah is slightly more emotional than she was saying goodbye, or was she just in a hurry to get her hair bleached? Casey seemed nearly as dazed as the bimbo.

        sarah won’t let chuck take a gun to protect kathleen, luckily he did have the ladinol, or kathleen and chuck would have been goners

        sorry, the 11th, 12th and 13th eps were even worse and might require double the space, but that is just a rant going off of memory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • luckygirl says:

        I understand hating Shaw, I just don’t understand one of the reasons being he’s a bad spy. No one on the show is a good one, at least not consistently. They are all just plotpoint spies from episode to episode. Their brains and abilities change depending on what the writers want to do on any given week. Its been that way since the beginning.

      • jason says:

        lucky – I was responding to things written incongruently in s3, the notion that ‘shaw is a great spy’ is pretty much the mantra of s3 – yet, he is anything but a great spy, nearly the exact opposite, I have probably not mentioned another half dozen of his lack of valour, ineptitude, or cowardly moments in his time on the show. If your defense of shaw’s greatness as a s3 character centers about nobody is written well on the show, so why should shaw … go for it …I’m glad you are not defending me ….. LOL

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason, i took LG different. i saw her point is why do people complain about him being a bad spy (which he was) when the others are not much better. true it doesn’t take away his being bad, but complain about him, complain about the others as well. that is one point i have said since i watched chuck. if your a great spy nobody should know you are one, yet most of the bad guys know casey and sarah. that has been going on the whole time.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh I have to respond to Joe from WAYYYY up thread. Competitive comedy is in speech tournaments. At least in Illinois most schools had a speech team. My usual event in high school was “Original Comedy” (OC). By my senior year I was pretty good at it, and placed in every tournament I entered (7 or 8 a season, I don’t remember exactly). Moving on to college they didn’t have Original Comedy; the closest equivalent was “After Dinner Speaking”; which was required to be a speech, no acting. Bummer, AD was no where near as much fun as OC and I was never as good at it. Speech tournaments do have judges; when I was in college I would often end up back with the high school team on weekends to help with coaching and judging.

        And yeah, speech team was one of those things where you could compete for 3 months, be “congratulated” every Monday morning in the school announcements for your latest medal; and still hear things like “our school has a speech team? what’s a speech team? is that like debate???” uggh. No respect!

      • luckygirl says:

        I’m not defending him. I really have no strong feelings for him either way. I just can’t judge him as a spy any different than I do anyone else. They all do stupid stuff and they are all called great spies. Chuck has done countless stupid things and yet he’s the second beat spy Casey has ever worked with, which says everything you need to know about the depiction of spies on this show.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:


      You forgot that really poignant moment when Sh** “gave” Sarah back to Chuck.

      And yes, that is snarky sarcasm.

      But coming back to your earlier point about drama, I actually think (in general) the show does drama well, when it doesn’t turn it into melodrama. Unfortunately what it doesn’t do, IMO, is payoff it’s drama well, or worse, play it off for a laugh.

      • jason says:

        shep – we talked about star trek earlier today, one of my fav scenes (of many) is in the court martial ep when Samuel T. Cogley places Kirk on the stand, and the computer starts reading off his service record and numerous awards, the def is willing to concede his long record, but Cogley makes the computer continue so not to sell Kirk short. Then Cogley stops the computer some time later.

        Well, I stopped my rant after 3×10, the give sarah back scene in 3×12 got cut off from my testimony, but somehow I felt compelled to reel off some of the sins of season 3’s incomprehensible and reprehensible misery in response to some of the pitter patter jabs thrown at trying to defend season 3 today. Just trying to state my case, I do so with no malice towards those who see otherwise!

  27. Jonny says:

    “Let’s also say that change is neither good or bad. It simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy: a tantrum that says, ‘I want it the way it was,’ or a dance that says, ‘Look, it’s something new.'” -Don Draper

    I love that man.

  28. Sam Carter says:

    @atcDave: ‘And we do have to remember that casual viewers are generally far more interested in the comedy elements of the show than we are.”

    How do you know that? Have you talked to all of them? You just generalize too much, imo, Dave. None of us can be so sure of what it is exactly what the casual fan prefer. Maybe they just like the whole package.

    @Olddarth: “S3 at least had a clear story arc – Chuck wanting to be a spy. And was a natural extension of the hero journey.”

    Agreed. I also liked how focused S3 was. Sure it was rushed a bit, but it didn’t really bother me. The storyline feels more cohesive, focused and interconnected than ever before. The plotting was actually pretty good, imo. For instance, what happens in earlier episodes is brought up later, like when Chuck didn’t want to kill Shaw in Op Awesome. Later in Other Guy Chuck has no choice but to kill him. It was a recurring theme. Also, Shaw saved Sarah in Mask and said he was the safest man in the world. Later he wants to kill her! Lots of foreshadowing. Also, ‘Sam’ in FN and Subway. There are more examples but these are some of the bigger ones.

    S4, like Olddarth said, the plot was all over the place, and the pay off to most storylines wasn’t there. Oh yeah, they got married and Dalton stole the limelight. Even the wedding was underwhelming according to many fans it seems.

    So yeah, I’m definitely No S3 apologist. I genuinely liked the story they were telling and how they told it. No, it wasn’t flawless, but few things are. But yeah, to each their own. It’s actually kinda fun arguing about things you like, but sometimes it gets really tiring to repeat the same thing over and over. haha.

    The comedy is also more connected with the main storylines.

    • Sam Carter says:

      LOL, the last sentence was supposed to be part of another paragraph. sorry.

    • atcDave says:

      Seriously, look up apologist, it’s what you just did!

      • atcDave says:

        And yes I generalize often; but I talk to a lot of casual viewers about the show and my confidence level is quite high for that one.

      • Sam Carter says:

        1. a person who makes a defense in speech or writing of a belief, idea, etc.

        Didn’t know exactly what it meant, lol. Always felt apologist was someone who apologized for liking something, which I don’t. I’m a proud Chuck S3 fan. 😀 So, we all here are apologists then? 😉

      • atcDave says:

        In a way, we do a lot of apologetics here! Obviously apology is a related word, and an apology is also best if sincere! But yeah, since we all spend time defending and explaining what we like best we’re all doing it to some extent. I’m a proud ‘shipper apologist!

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      @Sam Carter

      “How do you know that? Have you talked to all of them? You just generalize too much, imo, Dave. None of us can be so sure of what it is exactly what the casual fan prefer. Maybe they just like the whole package.”

      Interesting. You seem to think Dave just makes this stuff up. I don’t think he does, and I’ll tell you why. I’m 55, and have been selling things since I was 16. I have an MBA, and while I was earning that degree, I worked as a grad assistant to Marketing and Accounting professors doing survey work. I’ve been dealing with people, going door to door, telephone sales, presentations and so forth for a very long time. So what, you might ask.

      I never saw Chuck during S1 and 2. I heard about it from two groups of people: 6 co-workers and a bunch of good, close friends. I still work with those 6 people; we teach at night. They would record the show Monday night, watch it the next day and then talk about it in work. None of them identify as shippers, they said they watched Chuck because it was FUN. They all stopped watching Chuck by episode 3.6, because it had stopped being fun. To the best of my knowledge, they’ve never come back to the show.

      My close friends were all shippers, dyed-in-the-wool fans right from the first episodes of S1. Two of them bought me the first two seasons on dvd as gifts and I watched them in marathon just before S3 started. My friends’ enthusiasm for Chuck was infectious, until S3 beat it out of them, one episode at a time. They lasted longer than my co-workers, but every single one of my friends had stopped watching the show by the end of episode 3.17.
      I watched the entire season, in part because it had the same fascination as watching a train wreck. The way the marketing was handled for S3 could be used as a textbook example of what NOT to do. The other reasons why I continued to watch have the initials YS and SL. (yeah, I’m a guy, sue me.)

      So, by the end of S3, all 13 of the people that I knew to be Chuck fans had stopped watching the show. That had to be an aberration, right? So, I started asking around. Between May of 2010 and this August, I’ve been to more than a dozen gaming and science fiction conventions across the eastern US (and yes, I have no life), and I found Chuck fans at each one. Some were fans who liked the show just fine, others were fans of S3 and who complained about the poor writing and lack of action of S4, some were fans of S4 who hated S3. So my personal experience WAS an aberration. But every single group included at least 1 person who had stopped watching during S3 and who resented it. Even as late as Historicon in Valley Forge this summer, I encountered people who couldn’t talk about S3 Chuck without using profanity and who haven’t come back to the show.

      Based on my training and experience, when you get those kinds of reactions from so many different people across so many different age groups and cities, and after a year of time, it means that you have indications of a significant change in your market. They can’t all be outliers.

      Now, using the number of viewers is an imperfect means of measuring popularity, but it is a major (perhaps THE major) yardstick used by the networks and by Chuck’s showrunners. On more than one occasion, people associated with the show, such as Josh Schwartz and Zach Levi have asked the fans to try to get more people to watch the show. Well, atcDave and I were among the chumps who actually went out and did that. Between last summer and the renewal for S5, I managed to get 10 households to watch Chuck, and they’re still watching. In the big picture, this means nothing: none of those were Neilson households.

      But selling Chuck got me talking to a lot of people, and when I succeeded, it was the fun and the romance in the show that pulled people in. In my opinion, it was the lack of those things that drove people away from Chuck in S3. One of the reasons you find some many people who think the way you do, Sam, is because the fanbase has lost so many people. Many of the fans of the lighter side of the show have left since January of 2010, and those fans make up a much smaller portion of the fanbase.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, Sam, but have you taken a look at the traffic on this site during the winter and spring of 2010? At the posts on the NBC boards and at the other fan sites during that period? Have you actually tried to sell Chuck to anyone?

      Maybe it is you who are generalizing too much, not Dave.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks VV, I always appreciate the support. I realize talking to other viewers will never be anything more than anecdotal evidence; neither of us can possibly talk to enough folks to form a statistically valid study. But as you point out, the statistical likelihood of all our data being aberrant is very low. There is just way too much anecdotal evidence to dismiss it.

        I’d also mention that I am very careful in my word choices. Perhaps I didn’t use enough “in my opinion” or “in my experience” or “as far as I can tell”; but it sure seems like I use those phrases a lot. And I tend to assume most folks know when we’re talking opinion vs fact. I am also very careful about my use of “most”, “many”, “often”, “some”, “always”, etc. These words all have important meanings, and are especially useful when discussing experiential data. So if I talk to 8 people, and they all feel a certain way; I’m comfortable using “many” (the sample set was small, but the results were unanimous). If say 5 of those people said one thing and 3 said another I’d probably use “some” instead of “many”. Both words are non-specific but carry different connotations. When we run a survey here with 80% of 200 respondents saying something similar I am comfortable using “most”; but only with the qualification “visitors at this site” or something similar.

        Perhaps I should post my personal word usage rules on my author’s profile!

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave, VV, good points. i feel the same way. we had this discussion once a long time ago. i used most casual fans… (fill in the blank) and we had a nice chat about it. point is your evidence is counter to mine. i know 20 people who left during season 4 because they no longer like the show. these are not people i normally associate with either. like VV i have talked to strangers as well some liked chuck some never got into it. i don’t think i can make the statement most casual fans didn’t like season 4 based on that. mostly because it would start a war, lol.

        when i came here i claimed i was a casual fan. dave told me that i was more than a casual fan because i took time to read and post on this blog. he told me this more than a few times. well he was right, i was more a vested fan than casual one. based on what dave told me months ago about why i was not a casual fan, any data that comes from this blog, message board or the writings on this blog should not been seen as coming from a casual fans.

        i am not trying to start any arguments, ruffle feathers or be a troll. i am just offering my opinion based on conversations we had in the past. i think that trying to guess at what the casual fans likes or doesn’t is near impossible. while Dave, VV and ArmySFC may have a good idea based on interactions, i don’t think any of us really know, i sure don’t. i will admit this, dave is right, the casual fan will not take time to read or post here. but that’s based on numbers i used earlier in another post.

        Dave VV, if this post angered or grated on you guys in anyway, i’m sorry that was not my intent.

      • Verkan_Vall says:


        Your post doesn’t run counter to mine, Army. I didn’t say anything about S4, for a number of reasons; while I enjoyed the escape of S4, I don’t consider it a success.

        But while you aren’t sure about what you’ve heard from people you’ve spoken to, I am. I’ll say this again, my opinions are based on nearly 40 years of dealing with people, and I made my living for years by my ability to gauge my customers. Season 3 drove people away from Chuck by the hundreds of thousands (if not a million or more), both casual viewers and die hard fans.

        How about I stop just talking, and put my money where my mouth is. Army, how about this? I will send Joe a money order for $50, if he is willing to take part in this. Then, I will make a prediction based on the information I’ve gathered over the past year and a half. If that prediction doesn’t come true, Joe sends you the $50. If it does, Joe keeps the money to defray the costs of running this site, and I get to tell everyone I was right.

        How does that sound? Understand, this isn’t a wager, I’m not asking you to put up any money. I’m just tired of flapping my fingers about this, I think it’s time I put up or shut up.

      • ArmySFC says:

        VV, slow down a second. first your right our thoughts are similar. second either you read my post wrong or read something into it. this is what you said, “But while you aren’t sure about what you’ve heard from people you’ve spoken to, I am.”

        this is what i said,”i know 20 people who left during season 4 because they no longer like the show.” where is the part that i’m not sure of? the part where i said i wasn’t sure was why people left the show. most people here will agree there are multiple reasons for it.

        you also must have missed this,”Dave VV, if this post angered or grated on you guys in anyway, i’m sorry that was not my intent.” you sound awful upset to me.

        i believe you are very good at what you do, i don’t think i ever questioned that. as for your wager no thanks i think i’ll pass. but i would like to see what you predict and what it would be about. i think that could be fun. you make one and i make one?

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        Hi, Army:

        “while Dave, VV and ArmySFC may have a good idea based on interactions, i don’t think any of us really know, i sure don’t.”

        Please don’t include me in statements like that. You are the best judge of your view of this issue, and Dave can speak for himself, but when you included me in that statement, you are in effect stating that I don’t really know what I’m talking about, that I am just guessing. No, I am not. I KNOW that what TPTB did to Chuck in S3 makes no sense at all from a business point of view. I KNOW that actions have consequences, and I think I can predict what those consequences will be, in part. And I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. Why?

        Dave has mentioned that, in order to do a statistical analysis you need a lot of data, and he’s right. You would probably need a thousand or more data points before you could apply any of the statistical models I’m familiar with. I’ve run my own business, and most business owners can’t afford the time or the money required to do that kind of analysis. They have to develop their own framework for reference, their own “feel” for how people react.

        My analysis was not based just on what I learned from friends and co-workers, but from information obtained from blogs and the NBC site as well as conversations with 90+ people at conventions in different cities across the eastern and northern US, in the last year and half. Those people included both sexes, ranged in age from late teens to early 60s, and covered multiple racial and economic groups. Close to a third of them (25-30 if I remember right), at least one in every group, were vocal in their reaction when I brought Chuck into the conversation, and identified themselves as former viewers who left during S3.

        Have you ever worked in customer service? I have, for years. It is the sharp end of damage control for a business, and you learn a great deal about dealing with angry people, and about reading people in general, especially their voices since alot of that work is done over the phone. What I heard in the voices of some of those former Chuck fans should scare the beejesus out of TPTB. I don’t think anyone mentioned any of the writers by name, but everyone knew Schwartz & Fedak, and they would swear when their names came up. That level of anger and resentment, in one case after 18 months, is bad news for any business.

        I am not guessing about this; it is my conclusion to an analysis that I would be willing to put on paper if I were a consultant. I KNOW there are going to be long-term consequences for Schwartz & Fedak; they are the ones who will take the heat because of S3, whether that’s fair or not. But am I RIGHT? I’ve been wrong a thousand times before, but I don’t think I’m wrong about this. Hence the bet.

        Here are my two predictions; I’m interested in hearing yours. Be aware that if the showrunners manage to turn S5 into an out-of-the-park home run, then these predictions won’t apply. If they can re-energize the fanbase and reverse the long-term decline with a great last season, my predictions go out the window. Here’s hoping that is the case.

        Prediction #1: Josh Schwartz’s next show will fail. It won’t be picked up, and I’d be surprised if it got better than a 2.0 at any time.

        Prediction #2: Chris Fedak’s next show will fail, if he helms it. If he contributes to a show as a writer, he won’t be allowed creative control of the show.

        These things will happen within 1 year of the last episode of Chuck. Mr. Schwartz has a new show this fall, let’s see how it does. If you had taken the bet, both of these would have had to happen for me to win.

        So, let us see if I am right or wrong. If I’m wrong, you people can say whatever you like about me, I’ll deserve it.

        By the way, Army. I did see the disclaimer at the end of your post, but some people have been pretty contemptuous of the others who post to this blog recently, and I didn’t know whether you meant it or not.

        Thanks for your patience.

      • ArmySFC says:

        VV, hey no problem. i did mean what i said about ruffling feathers. sorry for the disconnect on what was being discussed. seems like several posts got mixed in. i was defending sam when she commented on daves statement on the casual fan. you agreed. i only addressed you because shared the same idea with dave so i wanted to address you both. i offered the opposite based on my data that said other wise. i just think we got crossed up. i already respected you information from past talks on ratings. heck i even asked you how you would sell morgan as the intersect. so no hard feelings?

        as for the bet, Don’t take this wrong i’m just giving out information. i kinda wished i would have taken it. unless you are talking about his next show. Schwatrz new show did get picked up and is going to air this fall on the WB. its called the heart of dixie. it is being done with the person he partnered with on the OC. as for it failing, that is a tough one. he has a pretty successful show on the WB already Gossip Girl. he is working with a know person and the OC was very successful, it got hurt because the network kept moving it against harder competition. his style seems to go good with the views of the WB. thats a tough call for me. i think it will run for at least 3 years.

        Fedak i agree with. i think the failings of this show over the last 2 years has him in a hole he may not be able to get out of.

        my prediction is simple. i think TPTB of chuck are going to go in a completely different direction this season. heavy on the comedy and not a lot else.

      • Verkan_Vall says:


        Interesting prediction about this coming season; I would prefer a balanced approach, but I think you’re right. In regards to Mr. Schwartz’s next show, yes I had read about that. Let’s see how it does; if he does pull it off, I think part of the reason will be because he succeeded in putting some distance between him and the show. S4 comes off in many interviews as Fedak’s baby.

        As for getting the Intersect out of Morgan, my first impulse is for someone to shoot him. Not fatally, but it would provide some drama, and his recovery would keep him the heck away from the A team of Bartowski, Bartowski and Casey. Whatever they do, I really hope the focus shifts away from Morgan as soon as possible.

      • ArmySFC says:

        VV. my thoughts exactly on morgan. i think he’s in it for the long haul however. i say this for three reasons. one, i think they are going comedy first, look at some of the guest cameo’s that have been released. they love Josh. two, they want to go to the season one feel and show why chuck is special (they said it). i don’t think that can be wrapped up quick. third, since season 2 they forgot how to balance. 3 was to dark for most, then 4 was to light for a lot, now 5 seems to be going for comedy.

        i guess i can add a fourth reason. they are to stubborn to admit they made a mistake. they never talk about three as going bad. that’s been talked about here a lot. i may not have your expertise in business, but if my company ran an ad for a product and it got the results that the morgansect got, i would be hesitant to release it. thats just me though. yet they are pushing on with it, full steam ahead.

        it seems to me that since season 2, when three crashed and burned for a lot of fans who were vocal about it they have been in a CYA make up mode, they have been trying to find a way to reclaim their good names.

      • jason says:

        Army / VV – I see it different, as a sign of the Apocalypse coming soon, I will have to defend Schwartz and Fedak on this one.

        Schwartz first, he ran the OC into the ground much harder than any show he has done. Yet he came back and made both Gossip Girl and Chuck successes, by to a certain extent copying his OC formula – does not sound like a candidate to fail to me? It could be argued he toned it down for Chuck even. IMO there is just as much reason to think he will be a success with Heart of Dixie as not. I find the potential for the show fascinating to see exactly how he treats the lead protagonist doctor and what appears to be her country bumpkin PLI. Seems to be much of the same dynamic as Chuck and Sarah with the lady out of the guy’s league on paper, I’m guessing the reality will be just the opposite. If the story works, the wt/wt’s success becomes a ? of ‘limits’ and ‘credibility’, and having a story ready to be transitioned – much of that spadework to get the story ready, has to be done in those early seasons. Schwartz may understand how this all works better than near anyone at this point, based on both his success and failures.

        Fedak is much harder to predict, since he gets his ideas after he astro-projects into some universe only he is able to visit, where black is white, wrong is right, and Shaw is perfect for Sarah. But if he can find just a modicum of common sense and team up with the right guy to pay the bills, find the money, etc … I think he could easily create a nerd, cult smash again. I would guess his future may be more on cable, maybe the sifi channel. Heck, who knows, maybe Fedak and Levi will do a project. Levi seems to be the type who gets how the system works, much like Schwartz, and Fedak and Levi appear to be interested in the same themes – i.e. nerdish, geekish, offbeat,sifi stuff.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason may be on to something. Schwartz does seem to have a loyal audience in the “Gossip Girl” set; and if he really has learned lessons about pacing, and actually delivering at some point and not being all “tease”, he might become a VERY successful show runner. I’m not sure if he’ll ever reach a more adult audience, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.
        Fedak is harder to speculate on. For one, he only has the one show to learn from. Second, while he clearly has some excellent ideas, he also has a knack for saying things that really annoy his audience (and apparently not quite “getting” what his audiences really want to see: re Phase 3). As Jason suggests, the key to his later success may be partnering with someone who compliments his weaknesses. Sci-Fi or USA might be excellent fits for him.

      • BigKev67 says:

        I’ll be really interested to see what Fedak comes up with next. Biggest advice I’d give to him? Slow down. 5 ideas fully written and paid off are better than 10 ideas rushed or left hanging. But that’s craft stuff that you would think he’d learn from experience. The stuff you can’t teach is the ideas, creativity and originality – and he seems to have that covered.
        As for Josh, I’ll give Hart of Dixie a chance just because I like Rachel Bilson. Superficial? Me? Never….

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason, i disagree with schwartz running the OC into the ground. i thought that too, until i read the history of the show. it was the networks fault IMO. it was in three time slots in 4 years, each time it was moved against better drawing shows. the last put it against Idol and other top shows. that would be akin to chuck drawing well on fridays when it started and moved to Thursdays at 8 then monday at 8. that was the kill of death for the show.. i may not like what TPTB did with chuck, but i can admit a mistake i made, and putting all the blame on schwartz like i did before about the OC is one of them.

  29. Sam Carter says:

    @luckygirl: “I understand hating Shaw, I just don’t understand one of the reasons being he’s a bad spy. No one on the show is a good one, at least not consistently. They are all just plotpoint spies from episode to episode. Their brains and abilities change depending on what the writers want to do on any given week. Its been that way since the beginning.”

    Bingo! 😉

  30. Sam Carter says:

    @Jason: “..If your defense of shaw’s greatness as a s3 character centers about nobody is written well on the show, so why should shaw … go for it ”

    It wasn’t directed to me, but I want to respond. You’re assuming that all of us actually agree with your analysis of why Shaw was a bad spy. I don’t agree with all of what you said of him in those examples you gave. You view it your way, others interpret it a different way. And Shaw was written like a master spy in some episodes, he outsmarted team B more than once. Some people just hate him (and the actor) because he was Sarah’s stallion, imo. Oh well, haha.

    • jason says:

      sam – not sure what you are trying to accomplish – whatever it is good luck – hope you continue to enjoy the show

      • Sam Carter says:

        @Jason: “sam – not sure what you are trying to accomplish – whatever it is good luck – hope you continue to enjoy the show”

        Uh?! I don’t really understand the first part. Look I guess I just have a different opinion to most here, and I’m just voicing it, just like you and the rest do. That’s all. I’m a fan of the show too.

        And thank you, I hope so too.

      • thinkling says:

        Sam, I’ve stayed out of the fray, because frankly it’s been a fairly frustrating discussion, more of an anti-discussion. You say you’ve just been voicing your opinion like everyone else. You may not realize it, but if feels more like hammering.

        You said, ‘It’s actually kinda fun arguing about things you like, but sometimes it gets really tiring to repeat the same thing over and over. haha. ‘ Well, it gets pretty tiring reading the same thing over and over again, too.

        There really are some things that are measurable and objective — factual, which is what makes analysis and meaningful discussion possible. Then there are opinions, some of which can be defended with measurable and objective facts, and some of which are purely subjective. We discuss all of those things here at Chuck This, and for the most part know the distinction. We do our best to offer interesting posts, pertinent information, and an open, respectful forum for fans of Chuck to analyze the show, verbalize their observations, and discuss their opinions.

        One of the most tedious things about the discussion is that you reduce everything to subjective opinion and then proclaim your own opinion as the only one that matters. Hence, some of your remarks like, And seriously, to me what the people you know or the majority of posters here have said on that means very little, are insulting to one of the authors of the blog, and by extension, all of us, as well as the entire Chuck This community. All the smiley faces in the world don’t help. You can’t flay people with your opinion, then sprinkle your remarks with LOL’s and emoticons and expect that to make everything peachy.

        On the subject of ratings, you said, I have learned that ratings are way more complex to explain and to make real sense of. Huh? Sounds like you’re throwing out a blanket negation of any of our conclusions (past, present, or future) that are based on ratings (some of that measurable, objective, factual data), by declaring the topic too complex. Don’t be so quick to foist your ignorance off on everybody else. Is it complex? Yes. Is it beyond comprehension? No. The collective intelligence of the Chuck This authors and contributors have tackled the subject at length (it’s not my forte either, but I’ve learned a lot from my fellow bloggers and some of our regular contributors). We even have a ratings heading in the banner.

        Similarly, you point out that our blog’s participants mostly fall into a certain segment of the fandom, therefore, not being representative of the fandom, at large. But they are representative of one particular segment. I can’t imagine that an 80% irate drop in approval from any given segment would make the show runners happy or be viewed as a ringing endorsement of their success. So, while not a wide sampling, it is a significant indicator. Beyond that, you are trying to engage the very people whose opinions your just downgraded to meaningless.

        Ernie said it well elsewhere in the thread, I know on this board it often seems there is little air left for those whose views don’t align with the majority or the most vocal, … but I don’t think the situation is helped by posts that characterize other opinions or tastes, even by implication, as unsophisticated. To “unsophisticated,” I would add “invalid.”

        It’s not my intention to discourage you from contributing. To the contrary, please continue to participate. Just keep in mind, that it would enhance the discussion, and make it more enjoyable, if you would receive facts as facts, be more open and charitable toward other posters, and give their opinion equal status with your own.


  31. Sam Carter says:

    @luckygirl: “I’m not defending him. I really have no strong feelings for him either way. I just can’t judge him as a spy any different than I do anyone else. They all do stupid stuff and they are all called great spies. Chuck has done countless stupid things and yet he’s the second beat spy Casey has ever worked with, which says everything you need to know about the depiction of spies on this show.”

    Perfectly said. Also, let’s remember that the show is still a spy comedy. The show has never taken itself THAT seriously, imo.

  32. Sam Carter says:

    @thinkling: “One of the most tedious things about the discussion is that you reduce everything to subjective opinion and then proclaim your own opinion as the only one that matters. Hence, some of your remarks like, And seriously, to me what the people you know or the majority of posters here have said on that means very little, are insulting to one of the authors of the blog, and by extension, all of us, as well as the entire Chuck This community. All the smiley faces in the world don’t help. You can’t flay people with your opinion, then sprinkle your remarks with LOL’s and emoticons and expect that to make everything peachy.”

    I’m not insulting anyone, that’s not my intention. I’m just voicing my unique opinion on things. I just feel that this board is very biased. Most of the people here are big shippers, while I’m not. I think that changes how you tend to view things in the show in a big way. And I use smiles because that’s my style. What’s wrong with that? Is my way of saying: “look, please don’t take it too seriously. It’s just a tv show.’

    thanks for reading

    • atcDave says:

      Thinkling’s point was that the smiley faces don’t sooth inflammatory words. We have had a significant number of non-shipper posters and S3 apologists on this site from the beginning. You are a recent arrival, during a very slow season for us by the way, and you introduce yourself by insulting the tone of the site. It leads us to question your motives for even coming here; it feels like you’re just looking for trouble.

      We do welcome open and honest discussion. But as Thinkling pointed out, and I have pointed out before too; insulting and belittling other commenters is NOT open and honest discussion. Its just about making people feel bad. You are always welcome to defend S3 or any other aspect of the show you like, but we do not condone insulting those with contrary views.

      • jason says:

        dave / think – one thing to keep in mind, when someone new comes on the site, it might be a very sophistacated media expert who is trying to tip the scale on the site or prove a point, or it could be a 14 year old school girl who has a crush on Brandon Routh or Levi or Gomez.

        I really don’t mind trying to best OD or Ernie or even Joe or Think on some Chuck minutia, but by and large that ‘honor’ has to be earned. So, when someone new comes on, I tend to read what they have to say and try to understand the motivation behind the words & mostly try to leave them alone.

        Now yesterday, when OD started talking crap about s3 and s4, I didn’t mind throwing out a few quotes and outlandish statements for old times sake, he is a blast and a challenge to debate and tease – although I have no idea what he thinks about me – I consider him smart and knowledgeable. But most of the time, I’d just as soon walk away these days on s3 issues ….

        These intense opinions on s3 or s4 mean squat now anyhow, as s4’s joy and levity has largely made s3’s drama a moot point and visa versa, at least for me. Plus when power watching both seasons at once over a month or two period of time, I not sure a new fan would know the difference. I power watch lots of shows, more or less knowing the end state, none of the intermediate interplay bothers me at all, most of the time I think it is funny.

        Anyhow, all that is left now is to watch what TPTB gin up for us in S5. I love the end of season in sports, tournament time, when all that you learned is put on the table and you can make a statement about yourself and / or your team. For me, I am real curious what statement Fedak will make about Chuck’s and his own legacy with s5. We’ll know soon enough.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason you are right that it likely doesn’t matter anymore as far as Chuck is concerned. But I remain vocal because I see long term trends that trouble me. I think younger viewers are so enamored of shows like Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy that I seriously worry if my sort of show will even exist in the future. I love light hearted stories of good people trying to do good things. That is a quickly shrinking segment. Not only do I hope Chuck remains the sort of show I can enjoy to the end, I hope for a next generation of shows I can continue to enjoy. I think Chuck and Castle are about all I currently enjoy on the networks. If it weren’t for USA I’d truly have little to watch. So I will continue to speak my mind as long as I can.

    • Amrit says:

      Sam this is a big shipper site…but that is because the authors for the most part are big shippers. They can run their site how they want, it is THEIR site. But if you are looking for deep analysis from two authors that are not the biggest shippers of the big shippers then you should read Joe and Ernies posts. They try to balance their opinions fairly and are very eloquent at the same time. Other times (authors) you will be hitting your head against a brick wall.

    • thinkling says:


      You speak as one who wants to enlighten all of us biased dweebs, rather than exchange ideas and learn something in the process.

      We really don’t need straightening out. We in turn don’t feel the need to straighten you out (maybe your etiquette, but not your Chuck POV). We enjoy open discussions, where everyone’s opinions are received and considered on an equal basis. We don’t enjoy being condescended to.

  33. Jonny says:

    Actually if you really want to go to a site that is anti-shippers then go to, lol. That site is run by a guy named Magnus and if you go through his season 3 posts he ripped apart the shippers..calling them losers in essence, lol. If you want to experience schadenfraude then that site will have you in tears of joy, he counters the shippers or crazy shippers he calls them very well and dismisses them and for good reason.

    • atcDave says:

      Again with the insulting tone. All of us who host this site do not appreciate the inflammatory words like “for good reason.” I promise you neither Ernie nor Joe nor any one else at this site appreciates the use of such hostile tone in making your point; really, we’ve talked about it. We’ve never banned anyone from this site, and we don’t want to start now. But if you can’t talk politely with those who disagree with your opinion PLEASE go to that other site.

      • Jonny says:

        Wow, hit a nerve? when I say “with good reason”it is because I was referring to those fans that insulted the cast and crew and some of the actors personal lives with derogatory remarks and they did it via twitter as well. You could have asked for clarification if needed? instead of jumping on me, I did not think I needed to include the first sentence in my last post because I thought it was obvious what I was referencing in the first place, I guess not. Also I did refer to them as crazy shippers, i.e. the people who do blur the line between reality and fiction.

      • atcDave says:

        Jonny I agree that would be crazy, and I know there are many who cross the line. I am sorry that I jumped the gun. But you must realize in the context of the current discussion it was natural to see the insult. I am sorry if none was intended.

      • Jonny says:

        That is ok, appology accepted. I must appologise too as I am a poster who has read said site a lot and know the difference. I know from his podcasts and posts what his attitude is and should have explained. To a new user that would have been beneficial.

    • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

      Didn’t Mr. Chuckgasmic come down pretty hard on misery arc Shaw and blame him for sucking all the fun out of the show?

      • atcDave says:

        That would be funny if he did! I know I’ve used very similar language (I believe said exactly that about sucking the fun out of the show). It would be funny to have that in common.

  34. Sam Carter says:

    @atcDave: “We’ve never banned anyone from this site, and we don’t want to start now. But if you can’t talk politely with those who disagree with your opinion PLEASE go to that other site.”

    Right, and I think I’ve expressed my opinions in a respectful manner. I’m not afraid or shy to speak my mind, and to question what others say when I disagree with it. Yes, I’m sure you guys don’t like a lot of the things I have to say, but it’s my opinion. And you don’t have to like it. But as a Chuck fan, my opinion counts too, and if TPTB ever come here.. I want them to know people/fans like I exist. Insulting the blogs tone? So, is this board open and friendly ONLY to those who agree with most of what you say? Or is it open to all fans? It seems to me like there is some contradiction here.

    @thinkling: “We really don’t need straightening out. We in turn don’t feel the need to straighten you out (maybe your etiquette, but not your Chuck POV). We enjoy open discussions, where everyone’s opinions are received and considered on an equal basis. We don’t enjoy being condescended to.”

    I don’t think I’ve been condescending. To me you’re just saying that you don’t like what I have to say. But I haven’t attacked anyone personally. Not even Dave. Heck, I like him. I just disagree with a lot of what he says and I tell him why.

    @Amrit: “Sam this is a big shipper site…but that is because the authors for the most part are big shippers. They can run their site how they want, it is THEIR site. But if you are looking for deep analysis from two authors that are not the biggest shippers of the big shippers then you should read Joe and Ernies posts. They try to balance their opinions fairly and are very eloquent at the same time. Other times (authors) you will be hitting your head against a brick wall.”

    Yes, I understand what you mean. I guess I just want them to know that not everybody views the show the way they do. Some of us actually like The Misery Arc and found Shaw/Cole/Jill interesting and even cool characters.

    I’m starting to think that coming here wasn’t a very good idea after all. Oh well.

    • Jonny says:

      Sam, the first amendment means you should never give up. You are right you do have your view and that is cool. Shaw/Cole/Jill were cool characters if you able to formulate the stories in your mind that helps flesh out their motivations, desires, needs, wants, expetations, failures, successes, feelings, emotions, etc. I like fast speed story telling do not get me wrong and I will always stick to my assertion that I liked Season 3, but the problem is that these characters needed to be fleshed out over time and that just did not happen, they needed to time for the characters to grow so we could understand them and that just did not happen and that is the greatest failing I can think of and Dave will agree that the execution was off. Shaw and Mama B really were disserviced by the lack of time that was needed to let their stories breathe and perculate so that we could appreciate their plight. Shaw should have mattered and so should have his wife…what can you do? I even think that in season 4 they rushed some of the Chuck and Sarah elements to fit a 13 season order and these characters have been around for 4 years! lol. I mean Sarah said in 4.03 that I need to take things slow and in 4.04 she is agreeing to marry Chuck. Do not get me wrong I like those crazy kids together and having them married at 4.24 was perfect, but I wish the show could have pushed their growth more organically or at least made the quick choices more compelling with a big scene where the two talk and convince us that this is not a post it note moment in a writers room in LA. I mean if Sarah came out and said something like I have waited my whole life for you or I just do not want to wait to show you how much I love you or I want to spend my life with you or my past experience has showed me that what we have does not happen very much if at all and I want to take a leap of faith or any of those things. I know the vows they made in the finale said as much as well as other moments but they all came in episodes that seemed to push their relationship form point A to point B and then 5 or 6 episodes of spy plot and then it got addressed again. Why cannot all these milestones take place over a whole season? I mean from episode 4 to 9 nothing happened between them to show the growth, we knew she would say yes and the moment was perfect in phase three when she accepted his planned proposal but it was dissconnect from when she said she would marry him if he asked in 4.04. if they slowed burned it over 9 episodes the impact would have been that much more powerful or maybe not, I do not know, lol.

      Back to my original point, Shaw/Jill/Cole suffered from the lack of time and detail not given to their characters and the arcs paid the price. I so wanted to know what the relationship between him and Eve Shaw was like, what they were like as a couple, what were their connection like, what made them love each other, what made them want to enter a dangerous world and risk everything for each other…we will never know and therefore we will never know just what made him so commited to finding her murderer or what made him so angry and distant. That is a big shame, a real big shame. A certain amount of integrity was lost for all the characters in that arc and that goes for Chuck to with Hannah.

      • luckygirl says:

        Stalling and then rushing storylines has been a problem since pretty much the beginning. They don’t tend to play the beats of any story, really. They introduce, they pad and pad the middle, then they cram for a ZOMG!!!! finale that usually feels lackluster because they are trying to pay off so many storylines at once. Even the golden last run of season 2 episodes was slightly maddening to me because I felt the search for Papa B/Fulcrum stuff was delayed then rushed just so everything could clminate in the finale. It’s just something to be expected at this point.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jonny, i agree that some of the plots felt rushed. 4.11 to 4.13. at the end of balcony sarah is hauled off to take down volkoff. in gobbler casey remarks that a certain amount of time passed (i think it was a month but i not sure) and she’s been running around europe making a name for herself. what was she doing to get noticed? killing, robbing banks, kidnapping? why was volkoff convinced so fast to let her join? i would liked to have known that. more information on mama b would have been good as well. like you said we will probably never know.

        my belief is they are hamstrung by the contracts of the actors. i don’t know, but i can guess that each actor has an amount of air time and episodes they will get. i may not like the fact that i didn’t get to see what i wanted, but i can understand the some of the reasons behind it.

    • atcDave says:

      Sam we have had a debate here about the merits of S3 since before the season even ran. Joe himself is a fan of S3, as is Ernie. Big Kev is a frequent commenter here who has challenged my opinions here from the very start. Variety is not a problem, and we know perfectly well every season and story arc has had its defenders.
      But you have insulted me and other ‘shippers on several occasions. And we’ve tried to make the point the issue has never been one of our understanding or intelligence. I can only imagine you’ve been told on other sites how biased we are here and that we needed an education or something. But I’m saying that is not true. We understand very well the issues and have been discussing all sides of this for a long time; in my case since 7/2009. And Magnus and other bloggers know it, they’ve been here many times and been right in the middle of of it.
      We really are happy to have fans with different opinions. We are less happy to be taken to task for our wrong attitudes.

      And for the record, there is no first amendment issue here. This a private site, we can ban posters, edit comments, or shut the site down at our discretion. We have resisted doing so even when we’ve had contentious guests in the past because we believe in trying to honor a variety of taste and opinions. I promise you, many other Chuck sites are FAR less tolerant than we are here. In fact, for a long time we were one of the few sites where ‘shippers were allowed to voice their opinions. We always had the S3 apologists too, and we had many, MANY interesting debates on the subject.

      The irony of all this is that the tables are now reversed. This is the site where the authors are happy with the most recent season. All six of us principals loved S4. And yet we’ve become counter-cultural once again; we are the Chuck site where we all loved the last season of Chuck. How sad is that to be controversial for!
      We are used to debating our taste and opinions every day. That’s been going on for two years now. If it helps, look at your comments from a reversed perspective before you post and ask “would I be offended if someone aimed this at me.” In many cases the answer must be yes, because you’ve taken offense at far milder jabs than what you’ve aimed at us. We do hope you stick around and continue to give voice to your opinion; just please think of how a post may be received before you hit “post.”

      • Big Kev says:

        Gotta say I compeletely agree with Dave here. I’m not going to get into whether certain comments are insulting or not, because that’s between you and whoever is feeling insulted. What I will say is that I’ve been in some almighty discussions with people here over the last couple of years, and I’ve never felt anything other than welcomed and encouraged to express my views, even when they are (and continue to be) against the prevailing tide. And if I have upset anyone, hopefully I’ve always apologised for it and moved on.
        I don’t post as much as I used to, but that’s just because I’m not the fan I once was, and also because I’m not sure I have many opinions left that haven’t been heard! But I read most days and continue to be impressed by both the passion for the show and the level of discussion that is had here. Yes, it gets frustrating sometimes and occasionally repetitive, in exactly the same way that the show does – but it’s comfortably the most insightful and intelligent discussion that you’ll find. It’s definitely shipper heavy, so if that bothers you, it may not be the site for you – but in my experience here even the shipperiest are prepared to have a discussion and to hear other points of view. I’ve learned so much from this site and enjoyed it immensely. I’ve recommended it to people and continue to do so – I really hope that you stay around and continue to contribute.

      • atcDave says:

        Thanks for that Big Kev.

    • thinkling says:

      Sam, you’re tone deaf.

      I’m not afraid or shy to speak my mind, and to question what others say when I disagree with it.


      Yes, I’m sure you guys don’t like a lot of the things I have to say, but it’s my opinion. And you don’t have to like it.

      ~Nice. Do you hear yourself? That’s belligerent, not respectful. It’s not your opinion that bothers me, not even slightly. This has never been about your opinion. Go back and read my comments. Not once did I mention S3 or shippers or Shaw or non-shippers. In fact, from my comment, you wouldn’t know whether I’m a shipper or a S3 defender or a Duck lover. It’s the way you come across that belittles people of a different opinion. If you were expressing all kinds of shippery things with the same attitude and belittling someone who was defending S3, my reaction to you would be the same. You have missed the point entirely.

      and if TPTB ever come here.. I want them to know people/fans like I exist.

      ~I’m pretty sure they already do.

      So, is this board open and friendly ONLY to those who agree with most of what you say? Or is it open to all fans? It seems to me like there is some contradiction here.

      ~As we’ve tried to make very clear, the board is open to all fans who can conduct themselves in civil discussion, respecting the opinions of the rest of the Chuck This community. As Dave said, “You are always welcome to defend S3 or any other aspect of the show you like, but we do not condone insulting those with contrary views.”

      I don’t think I’ve been condescending. To me you’re just saying that you don’t like what I have to say.

      ~You have been. Again, it has nothing to do with you opinion, only the condescending manor in which it is expressed.

      I guess I just want them to know that not everybody views the show the way they do. Some of us actually like The Misery Arc and found Shaw/Cole/Jill interesting and even cool characters.

      ~We’ve had over a million hits and more than 46,500 comments on the blog. We’ve read them all and responded to most of them. We do that here. We’re aware of the range of opinions about the show. Some of us even read other blogs, where the tone and slant is different. Like Dave and Ernie said, we don’t censor and we haven’t asked anyone to leave. So if you want to participate in an open discussion with the premise that the opinions of all others are worthy of the same consideration as your own; if you are willing to accept that all the others who comment here are as capable as you are of forming intelligent, well reasoned opinions, then you are welcome to participate. On the other hand, if you really just want us to know that not everybody agrees with us, no need — we got it. Or if you hold your own attitude as superior to opinions of the rest of us and just want to argue until we *facepalm* finally get it, that’s not going to be welcome. That’s not the kind of open, honest discussion we’ve tried to describe to you.

    • joe says:

      Sam, what the others are telling you is true. This isn’t about your opinions. It’s about a lack of respect for the readers here and for the show.

      There are plenty of people commenting who have expressed some great ideas, about themselves and their lives and the truths they believe, all inspired by the ideas they’ve seen on the screen a few Monday nights out of the year. And not just the six of us. They are genuine, honest and worth your consideration. Lots of times the words are expressed so well we consider ourselves lucky to not have to pay for the talent.

      You can be one of those or you can spout off. We’ll deal accordingly either way.

  35. Jonny says:

    As an aside something that never gets mentioned is Chuck himself as a sole entity. Everything is always viewed as Chuck and Sarah or Chuck and his family and friends or Chuck and the spy world or Chuck and the Buymore. I do wonder on his own what Chuck thinks of himself. I can’t help but think that moment when Chuck learned he could do Chuckfu it was the same as when Walter White finally fully embraced the Hiesenberg identity. I remember when Walt went and saw Tuco and blew up his headquaters with Fulminated Mercury he got to his car after besting Tuco in a battle of wills…he just sat in his car and screamed and fist pumped and you could see the adrenaline pumping through his veins followed by a smile…a new man was awoken! Hiesenberg. I think the same happened with Chuck in that moment. Whereas just like Walt he never fully embraced that double life he was living until that moment. Now I am not saying that Chuck is Walt because that is not true because Chuck is a hero trying to save the world whereas Walt is a selfish man who is destroying lives. But both men were had not lived lives that warranted their potential whereas Walter White to the outside world (not his family) as a chemistry teacher was an ineffectual joke but as Hiesenberg he is a drug king pin with power and daring. The same goes for Chuck, to the outside world before season 3 he was an ineffectual joke who worked at the buymore whose friends and family and Sarah loved, but as Charles Carmichael he has power and daring and respect from the spy community who know of his successes. I wonder if something awoke in Chuck and he wanted to claim his potential awesomeness, to be a man respected for saving the world, huh, maybe that is something we forget, Chuck is an individual character and sometimes looking at him in that way helps understand him.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Well put Jonny, though you’ve ruined Breaking Bad for me. 😉 Just kidding.

      I tend to agree with you, but I think with Chuck it was more of a process that lasted most of season 2. I’d peg the beginning or the process to Colt’s secret lair where Carmichael out-bluffs Colt, and eventually does show up with his team. Id say the end of that process was his decision to re-intersect, the realization that Carmichael wasn’t made up, Carmichael was him Chuck Bartowski, being that guy. With that realization Chuck and Sarah’s individual journys, though they share a destination, took different paths for a while. I found when doing my 3.0 re-watch watching two different characters on two different paths helped a lot.

      There is a funny thing about what you say with the Chuck-Fu realization changing Chuck. Zac has talked about how with the 2.0 he added a little smile at the end of the flash when Chuck realizes what he can do now. The first time you see that crooked half smile? In Colt’s lair, when Carmichael decides he can out-bluff Colt and his men.

      • Jonny says:

        Oh yeah you are right Ernie there were plenty of times that he had Carmichael said moment with Mr Colt and again when besting Jill and Leader and a whole bunch of times. I kinda seperated those moments because I thought Chuck did those things but he always thought that he would return to a “normal” life afterwards. But like Walt I thought in Ring that Chuck decided to never be normal again and go forwards. Plus for some reason, maybe it is this action packed culture, why does violence make us all the more awe inspired of characters? lol. When Chuck starts wiping the floor in the intersect room something just seemed more adrenaline pumping then beating people with his brains, lol. Same with Walt, that scene in the first season was fist pumping awesome.

      • Jonny says:

        Sorry hit submit too soon, I meant to conclude that I suppose there is a point where characters make the choice to abandon normal for good that maybe hints at a bigger change. Walt and Chuck will never be normal again in their minds, in fans minds, they never were……..

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yeah, I see your point. It was when Chuck decided he’d never be “normal” again (which I put at re-intersecting) that things changed for him. You may have a point that re-intersecting was one more step and it was really the realization that what he now had made him more than a match for any spy out there that drove him forward.

        I still put the Big Damn Hero moment at re-intersecting and giving up his dreams of a normal life to join the fight others had been fighting for him. It’s a very Chuck thing to do.

    • joe says:

      Jonny & Ernie, that’s a brilliant way of looking at Chuck’s evolution (where “brilliant” is defined as something I haven’t thought of before 😉 )!

      Oh Nos! Now I haveta go back and review everything I’ve seen with that in mind.

  36. Jonny says:

    I think a disheartening aspect for both character Joe and Ernie is that both characters are not fully aware the impact will have on the rest of thier lives, both think that their families and loved ones will see their point of view and just go with the flow and when they realise that is not the way life works at times it is a challenge for them to keep everything from spinning out of control. Skyler does not want a man who can do the things that Walt does and can do and Jesse is not ready to lose everything in his life yet does. Sarah was not willing to lose the man she loved in the pilot and seeing her having to try an keep control is facinating and compelling drama. But the adrenaline and the feeling of being alive must be so tempting for these two that their minds are not always clear to the dangers to themselves and all around. Walt and Chuck just want to be remembered for the right reasons and yet their actions do not always demonstrate that and frustrate all those around. I mean Ellie’s first reaction was not pride or anything else but admonishment, it is fair to say that the time of the reveal their father had died, but I do not think her mind at that moment would have changed otherwise, she is not like Chuck’s mom as well as sister and she is unwilling for him to risk his life even if that is his life. hmm, interesting and yet so clinical, how can people act with their own desires (percieved by some as selfish desires) that it takes out the heart of it all, the passion that ignores the love they want as well, the body acheing love they want to achieve just dissappears, hmmm.

  37. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Other Guy (3.13) | Chuck This

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