Reader’s Digest Rewatch: The Intro Arc

As an aside, in case you didn’t know what “reader’s digest” rewatch means…in the past, Reader’s Digest (the magazine) would print abridged versions of bestselling books in a collection called “Reader’s Digest Bestsellers.” I admit I’ve read one or two of them. No clue as to whether or not they still print them but here at Chuckthis we will be revisiting another bestseller (in our hearts): Chuck. Albeit in an abridged rewatch.

So it begins, The Intro Arc. If you haven’t had a moment to rewatch from the beginning, I definitely recommend it. Obviously the purpose of this whole venture is for all of us to rewatch and in the process re-examine the arcs and the story lines as they were. We placed these pieces on Mondays, during Chuck’s original timeslot not just for nostalgia, but also to give all of us plenty of time during the week to rewatch the episodes. We probably won’t be doing recaps on these weekly written blogs, just impressions, thematic reviews and how an arc ties into the whole so it’s a good idea to pop in the DVDs and watch. Especially the often underrated episodes like Tango.

This being the “intro arc” it’ll be very difficult for me to not talk about the finale, and if you’re still sensitive about it, I ask that you give it and this rewatch a chance. The two are just so tightly connected, almost parallel that there’s no escaping it, but in deference to POVs I won’t get into the subjective specifics, just the thematic parallels. And me being me, I’ll probably put in some songs here and there both found through Chuck, and inspired by Chuck. For this one I picked Specks by Matt Pond P.A. So, let’s rewatch Pilot, Helicopter and Tango together, after the jump.

If you haven’t seen season 1, and the pilot specifically for a while, your first thought would be that they looked so much younger. Almost babies in a sense, just completely different. It’s more than just the animal shapes hair (which I miss), but overall. They were, as difficult as it was, still innocent, naive, unknowing, exploring uncharted territories with dangers and hardships lurking just beyond the shadows. For Chuck, that danger is to his family and his health; for Sarah, it’s her heart and a way of life.

♪ “Up above I see specks of silver in the evening sky
Specks of gold in the river running from the deep moonlight
See us shake in the wild distortion of the water’s waves
Still I know you’re in the darkness shining from a mile away” ♫

As I watched Bryce break out of the intersect room, remembering just how kick ass it was, and how Sarah did the same, I’m reminded all the more how different the two worlds are and have always been (but we tend to forget that). Sarah Walker was a world-class spy. She was even better than the best, she was….Agent Walker. She lived in a world of danger, excitement and she was good at telling lies. A direct contrast to Chuck’s mundane, Buy-More existence and almost heartbreaking vulnerability and honesty.

Chuck Bartowski was not a noob per say, but certainly innocent. Though he was a born hero and leader–we see this as he leads the team of nerds through the Irene Demova outbreak–he was innocent, protected. First by Ellie, and in the coming episodes, by Sarah. As this is Chuck’s Hero’s Journey, it–as all heroes journeys do–started innocently. As the seasons traverse, Chuck became less naive, and more knowledgeable but he (through the ups and downs) retained his heart. And his heart, from the first “Vicky Vale” belonged to Sarah.

In the pilot, we felt the flash, they felt the flash and it is a heat, a burn, and a love that grew and spread throughout the next 5 years. First from a look that turned into that flash, into an infatuation, to love and then to happily ever after. But first that flash. It’s a pilot’s (and 2nd and 3rd episode’s) purpose to introduce, to flesh out characters. It is the rest of the story’s responsibility to plot and show growth but the beauty of Chuck’s introduction is that it did more than most. It gave us that flash. It made us fall in love with the characters from the get go, got us invested into the relationships, the emotions and their growth at first watch. We learn that Sarah is the agent, that Chuck is the secret, but more importantly we come to imagine what they’ll mean to each other, to all of us.

The flash didn’t come without its challenges. Chuck was going through an identity crisis. Remember the “5 year plan, just looking for a font”? It wasn’t until American Hero that he figured that out: all caps, SARAH. But in the beginning it was a question, an evasion, a lie. And for us, a source of frustration (heh).

Morgan: Why wouldn’t you call this girl?
Chuck: Because I live on planet earth.

In some ways, meeting Sarah, falling in love with her and she with him was its very own heaven. But he didn’t yet believe. He had no confidence, and it showed. Ellie’s “You don’t know Chuck. He freaks out when he likes a girl,” said it best. Even when Sarah went so far as to tell him, “I like you,” in perhaps the first genuine expression she has ever given anyone, he still didn’t believe. Sarah Walker was the unattainable girl that he couldn’t fall for, much less dream about. So Chuck had to learn, not just to trust her but himself.

Chuck: You know if we were really dating, this would be the part where I’d be forced to kiss you good night.
Sarah: Forced? Would it be so bad?
Chuck: I’m sure I can suffer through it.
Sarah: Me too.

Which leads me to one of the thematic elements of the show: Trust. One of our most favorite scenes in the entire series here at Chuckthis is the beach bump–as illustrated by the banner above–but more than that, it’s what it means. It was an important and beautiful moment for Chuck and Sarah, but mostly for Chuck. Just like the ending beach scene, was mostly for Sarah.

In Helicopter, in midst of beating him up in the bathroom in what Devon calls, “make up sex,” Sarah said it best: “Chuck, do you really think that my name is Sarah? I never asked you to believe me. I asked you to trust me.” We forget sometimes that she’s a spy; a cold-blooded, though never cold-hearted but nonetheless, superspy. And she asked for his trust. She asked him to trust her with his life, his family’s lives and she asked him to trust her to ably navigate through this world (her world of spies) and keep him safe. Part of the devastation of season 3 was just that–that she couldn’t, or she felt like she couldn’t protect him from what she feared most and that trust was broken. More, she trusted him and he let her down. They healed from that (thank god) but more importantly for our purpose here, all of that came after began here. Trust obviously came back into relevance in the end in Goodbye when Sarah herself had to trust him to help her navigate through “their” world, a world of normalcy, trust and love. But it started here.

Sarah: I need you to do one more thing for me.
Chuck: Yeah?
Sarah: Trust me, Chuck.

Sarah: This place is important, isn’t it?
Chuck: Yeah, yeah, very much. This is actually where you told me I was going to be okay. That I could trust you. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now. I’m asking you to trust me…Trust me, Sarah. I’m here for you always.

So the journey begins, and with it, our Chuck story. For Chuck and Sarah, it’s the beginning of the rest of their lives.

♪ “When the sun starts coming through
Or when the cardinal chides the moon
I believe in energies that no one has to see for us to prove
I believe in you and me and everything we’ll ever see and do
I believe in you and me
Woman, I do.” ♫

iOs link

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About Faith

Eternally faith-ful at least as it relates to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Yes that's where the username comes from. Other than that self-professed Chuckaholic, Laker blogger and part time internet addict. Ok, full time.
This entry was posted in Analysis, ChuckMeMondays, Inside Chuck, Music, Season 1. Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to Reader’s Digest Rewatch: The Intro Arc

  1. thinkling says:

    Faith, fantastic read. The pilot, this first arc really, is one I can enjoy time and again. The contrast of their innocence then and their later maturity is always stunning, as is the growth of their love. Thanks for reminding us of that.

  2. atcDave says:

    These three episodes were sooooooo good. I’ve re-watched them all more times than I care to count, and I really do see them as a continuous story. It is somewhat shocking how how much the characters changed, grew, and even aged in five years. But those changes are mostly all good, and very satisfying to see when watching early episodes through the lens of the entire journey.

    I really do love all three of these episodes; but both Pilot and Tango represent sort of perfect moments to me. Just a wonderful memory revisiting the start of this story!

    • Faith says:

      I still, to this day, laugh loudly at Devon teaching Chuck to tango and teaching him the girl part. Too funny.

      La Ciudad was also one of Sarah’s best fights!

      ^Just 2 things that are unrelated to the rest of the journey but are equally memorable, if not more entertaining. So yeah, I have to agree about these being wonderful memories.

      • Gord says:

        To me that scene of Awesome teaching Chuck to Tango is one of the funniest scenes in the entire series.

        Great job on the review Faith.

        I just started my rewatch of S4 today after finishing off S3 earlier in the week. Reruns of Chuck beats most of the crap they have on network TV these days.

    • thinkling says:

      I certainly agree with all of that, but I’m going to stand up for Helicopter, which I think is underrated. It’s an episode that I didn’t like so much on the first watch, but it became one of favorites. I’ll never not laugh out loud at the whole scene when Chuck races home thinking Sarah is about to kill his family. The dinner scene, the table cloth, the lighting and stomping of the soufflé.

      We get more insight into both our heroes: Chuck’s inability to stay in the car when Sarah is in danger and Sarah’s unwavering sense of duty, Chuck’s willingness to apologize and Sarah’s forgiving heart.

      • I also really liked Helicopter: Casey chasing shoplifters, the introduction of the Wienerlicious, the Sarah/Casey fight, the first ‘stay in the car’, and the first family dinner. I also like it when the leads of a show don’t know if they can trust each other at the beginning of the show. (Surprise, surprise, I like Farscape.) At the beach, Sarah asks Chuck to trust her. Helicopter showed that earning trust isn’t easy.

      • atcDave says:

        Yup, I love Helicopter. I don’t know that I like the distrust per se; but I love the way it plays out with the awkward dinner and violent bathroom scene. And there’s a certain irony that Chuck would ever trust Casey over Sarah. I love when she chews him out for it too. I would call it the weakest of those opening three, but that just means it gets a 9 on a 10 point scale. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen another show that started as strong as Chuck did.

      • Wilf says:

        There’s also the interesting inconsistency/irony of Casey agreeing with Sarah’s anger at Chuck’s lack of trust in her when it was Casey who didn’t trust Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        Agree 100% about the strong start. Since I started watching Chuck around the end of S3, I started with the Pilot and just kept watching, at least 2 a day. Very compelling.

        You’re right Wilf. I remember thinking that, too. It was all Casey’s fault that Chuck mistrusted Sarah, but in the end he played dumb. Just like in Family Volkoff … “who knows where he gets these ideas.” So funny.

      • Rob says:

        I think that Casey knew that he was wrong about not trusting Sarah. He said so after getting “shot.” I also think that Casey was being his typical SA self in response to Sarah’s anger toward Chuck.

        Plus, I don’t think that Chuck’s mistrust was solely grounded in Casey. As we see in Wookie, there continued to be trust issues between Chuck and Sarah. There was clearly more than just an asset/handler relationship at the beginning, and so I think that the trust issues should have been more pronounced. It is one thing to trust your co-worker. It is a whole other ballgame to trust someone who you are interested in romantically. I suspect that some of that ended when Chuck “overheard” Sarah telling her middle name at the end of Wookie.

        In total, it is really interesting to see the development of the characters (comparing the first arc with the last). I actually missed some of the innocence of Chuck. The scene with the ballerina girl was priceless (and I could be convinced that it was that scene that really triggered something in Sarah — seeing Chuck at his best, and seeing the value of of having something outside the spy life). She probably didn’t see that same quality in Bryce (until maybe she saw his support of Chuck in Alma Mater).

      • ww1posterfan says:

        Rob,
        I have always thought Sarah came under Chuck’s spell during the ballerina scene. She is pretty merciful to Chuck and Morgan during her attempt to steal the computer considering her reputation as a stone cold spy by only using necessary force. After the dinner portion of their date, she is already in protective-mode for Chuck– from Casey to trying to ascertain what’s really going on rather than just assuming “good guys aren’t sent government secrets.” There were a couple of times she could have eliminated Chuck and no one would have questioned her about it.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        Agree with all about these first 3 episodes. This seems to be where Chuck cast its spell. When I was trying to get people to watch the show, I noticed that if someone watched all 3 of these episodes, even if they had seen a show here and there before and then passed on watching Chuck, they were hooked.

        Magic.

      • Gord says:

        Funny, I also wasn’t all that impressed with helicopter the first time I saw it.

        It still isn’t one of my absolute favourites but my appreciation for that episode seems to go up every time I watch it.

        A good solid episode, in a good solid season. It is unfortunate the writer strike shortened that first season.

  3. joe says:

    So good, Faith.

    You brought up something I’ve been dwelling on. In the five years we saw her, Sarah was never heartless. I’m not so sure about before then. BC, she was someone that neither she nor Casey liked very much (and I guess more credit, then, goes to Bryce for seeing something in Agent Walker beyond the hot-blondness). I think I saw heartlessness in the flash-back we had in Baby and certainly, we saw some of that coldness in vs. Sarah.

    But just barely. Agent Walker could toss Quinn out the window without a thought. Then she caught him. The act may have been self-serving, but it also seemed to be an act of mercy. I’m not sure I saw the mercy when Chuck flashed on her ring (in the Buy More) and saw her shoot the French assassins. Even after five years, Sarah remains an enigma.

    They were so young, back then, at the beginning. Sometimes I think I’ve changed as much as the characters in that time.

  4. Ernie Davis says:

    One of the things that interests me about a re-watch is how my perceptions of the more fully fleshed out characters might change the way I see the story. Now I have to admit that I haven’t finished the re-watch of this arc yet, and I want to do it in one sitting (meaning I’ll probably start over once or twice if I don’t finish), but knowing now the events that directly preceded her Burbank assignment it makes Sarah’s seemingly contradictory actions (piece of cake, which may itself have been Chuck’s impression of her first meeting, topic for later discussion, versus I don’t know about this guy). She was clearly more emotionally vulnerable than we’d ever have been able to understand before the context of Baby, having just been burned by a handler and having had to cut off contact with her mother and the closest thing she had to a home. Thoughts of what could have been, under different circumstances, must have been causing her some turmoil. What if she’d quit one mission sooner (it seemed to me in the beginning of Baby she was re-playing a message, as if she was considering her mother’s offer). What if strikes me as a game Sarah played a lot in those early years. Being dropped into a fully formed and mostly healthy family dynamic, as we’ll see in later arcs, didn’t help ease the turmoil much.

    While this Sarah is a bit edgier than the softer Sarah we came to know, she’s still emotional, and always has been. Her response in Helicopter is I believe equal parts frustration and power play. She wants Chuck firmly under her control, for his own good (because the idiot is going to get himself killed or bunkerized if he doesn’t trust her and she isn’t prepared to potentially lose another innocent to the spy world) and to essentially make Casey back off from the trust games with the asset. The team dynamic is established for the most part in Helicopter, and definitely by Tango. She’ll let Casey run the team and the missions, but she runs the asset, and he’s not to mess with that again. It’s an emotional response, but in true Agent Walker style has its purpose as it helps define the team and their dynamics. But it is also an emotional response. Why would a cold spy care about not being trusted? With Casey it was expected and to be overcome professionally, with Chuck it was more emotional. The emotional Sarah has been there all along. It has just been applied differently or pushed further down. In any case she’s always been the one of the pair that compartmentalizes better.

    With Chuck the thing that struck me was how firmly he was tied to Ellie’s apron strings at the beginning. I can’t help but wonder now if some of his early phobias were the result of Ellie’s overprotective nature. Sarah was of course also overprotective in her own way, but she also challenged Chuck in ways nobody else seems to have done. Suddenly being Ellie’s loser little brother wasn’t enough for him anymore. We get our first hint of that later in this arc, after his first mission, with the first hints from Sarah that she doesn’t see him that way.

    • Faith says:

      Think there’s a huge difference between being emotional and being a robot. Sarah was never emotional in my opinion (that is until later, or when things really start to come to ahead like in Phase Three & baby) but she was also never a robot. That’s why what Chuck said in Ex hurt so much. Especially coming from him.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Sorry if I wasn’t clear, but my saying Sarah was emotional wasn’t intended to mean her emotions were controlling her, just that she was reacting, in part, emotionally to some aspects of her situation as opposed to the colder more professional Sarah we initially saw, or saw again in some of the final episodes of season 5 in flashback or response to her memory loss. While her response to Chuck and his plight was emotional at some level, it was fully professional at the same time, allowing her to re-assure Chuck and to try to gain some control over the situation so she can do the right thing, not just drop him in a bunker and go out for pancakes. You can make the distinction that that is a moral response as opposed to an emotional one, but that requires a level of empathy for Chuck’s plight others in the spy world don’t seem to posses at this point. As we know Sarah doesn’t really start reacting emotionally till Chuck dumps her in Truth.

      • atcDave says:

        Part of what was always so appealing about Sarah was that emotional/moral/professional dimension. She was a very complex character!

    • thinkling says:

      Ditto all that Ernie. You’re playing my favorite violin.

  5. ww1posterfan says:

    First of all, I just want to compliment all of you on your thoughtful analyses and insightful comments. Your ability to identify themes, nuances in character development, and even the easter eggs from episode to episode is impressive. So, thanks for making this such an interesting blog to read. And, bear with me as I am just getting back into the habit of exercising this particular side of my brain.

    Faith (and others) have mentioned The Hero’s Journey, and I looked up what literary elements were components of The Hero’s Journey. This seems to be another area in which the first 3 episodes excelled. For those not familiar with the particulars, the Hero’s Journey includes the following 3 milestones: the departure, the initiation, and the return. The first 3 episodes take Chuck completely through his departure and well into his initiation. The departure includes the hero’s original “home” (safe existence), a call to a new (inferring dangerous) world (Bryce’s email), a refusal of that call, the introduction of a “supernatural aid” (the Intersect), and crossing the first threshhold (defusing the bomb). The initiation begins the hero on his road of trials and frequently includes meeting a soulmate (Sarah). I also find it interesting that it is Sarah at the end of Helicopter who actually restates his call to his new world, “Some people want to be heroes, others have to be asked. Are you ready?” So, by the end of Tango, Chuck is well on his journey. I think it’s very rare that a character gets to grow as much as he did in just 3 episodes-he is already a different man between the ending of the pilot where his world has been shattered to the man being recognized as a hero by a hero in her own right and seeing the inkling of a possibility for love.

    This whole concept of a Hero’s Journey is interesting to me because of Chuck’s on again-off again relationship to the Intersect. Beware this is a little off topic as it involves the final arc. Clearly, in the first 3 episodes he considers the Intersect a curse. Later, the Intersect becomes a crutch. And, of course, Chuck clearly becomes a completely competent spy and a hero in his own right without its aid by the final season. But, even to the bitter end he is always trying to escape it, and I’m not sure if that is consistent with the “Hero’s Journey.” Again, in the final episodes he looks at the Intersect as a curse and certainly it was used in an utmost cruel way. His last upload while a choice was due to exigent circumstances, not because he embraced being or accepting the guardianship of the Intersect. I’m sure it was meant to be juxtaposed against the Intersect being forced on him in the first episode, but it’s a theme I’ve never discerned the writers’ intent.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      You’re new here, aren’t you? 😉

      • ww1posterfan says:

        Yep, I found you guys about a month ago and have been a fan since.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Most people know not to get me started on the Hero’s Journey theme. I’ve written about it frequently. Some would say obsessively. Though I admit I’ve never put that template to the opening arc as a whole, it does sort of fit as a self-contained (though incomplete) journey. By the end of Tango, he has returned home a changed man, as you say.

        If the topic interests you I’d say check some of our archives. I started writing about it shortly after I joined the blog in January 2010. (And they haven’t been successful at getting me to shut up yet.) 😉

      • ww1posterfan says:

        Ernie,
        Okay, I went back and read several of your Hero’s Journey posts. All of them quite excellent I might add. The one that I think summarizes what I’m struggling with is your post “Happily Ever After,” specifically the paragraph beginning with “Chuck’s journey is to fulfill his father’s legacy. That legacy is the Interesct…….” I totally agree with what you laid out as the anticipated/desired path for the show to close out. These first episodes set it up as Chuck being “destined” somewhat to receive the Intersect. Ellie even says “I’m sure your destined for something bigger than the Buy More” (or something close to that in Tango…I’m on business travel and don’t have my discs handy) This theme gets reinforced throughout the rest of the series. Anyway, I think that is another “issue” I have with Pilot’s bookend-Goodbye. Chuck and Ellie didn’t get to “redeem” the Intersect. But, that’s for the final arc discussion.

      • dkd says:

        I think we have to separate the story we thought the author was going to tell from the story the author himself told.

        Fedak created these characters and this story and Fedak wrote the ending. I don’t think he really thought the Intersect was as important as some fans did. I think he used it as an instrument that instigated Chuck’s growth into a hero and a man. But, it wasn’t all that important to him beyond being a storytelling device. In the end, it was about Chuck and Sarah.

        The looseness by which the technology was treated over the years is a telltale sign that they didn’t spend much time thinking about it.

    • Rob says:

      I think that you are correct that Chuck views the Intersect as a curse up until the point when he no longer has it at the end of Season 2. He voluntarily uploads the Intersect 2.0 in Ring, and at that point has embraced the Intersect as something he was destined to have.

      That said, I think that part of his motivation was based upon his misreading of Sarah’s feelings. At first, he thought that he needed to remove the Intersect to have a normal life. Later, he probably believed that he needed the Intersect to be with Sarah (Morgan said as much in Phase 3). Probably neither was entirely true, which leads back to the first arc…..

      At some point, Ellie tells Chuck that he is destined for much more than a manager at the Buy More. She believes in him. One of the most interesting aspects of the entire story, is Chuck’s growth, and the fact that it probably took him the entire series to believe in himself (and that he could do great things with or without the Intersect).

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think TPTB’s thinking on the intersect evolved quite a bit over the series run. It clearly started as the “high concept” McGuffin that works as a plot device to get Chuck into the spy life and various situations. Pretty quickly it became woven into the family mythology, but late in the series they were actually setting it up as a sort of depersonalized “big bad”. The Ring of Power if you will. To me it seems they just ran out of time or steam in the last season, but you get hints from Mary and from what Decker said at the end of season 4 what they were thinking. Stephen, Hartly and Ted Rourke all working together developed the intersect. It corrupted Ted Roarke, drove Hartley insane and cost Stephen his family, and eventually his life. Since none of them could fully posses it a covert war began to gain control. Ted Roarke started Fulcrum, Mary became trapped undercover with Volkoff and Stephen was forced underground.

        It seems to me they could have easily fleshed that out just a bit more, making Shaw’s part just that of another obsessed rival for the power it represented, in addition to his personal hatred of Chuck and Team B. Quinn didn’t quite work as the personification of that for me, but I won’t quibble over what was largely a really well done final season.

      • atcDave says:

        It’s interesting that Chuck personally always did rise to the challenge, it was mostly just the Intersect part of it all that he rejected. And even then he used it successfully for most of S4.
        I noticed in re-watching the finale that Beckman pointedly did not see Chuck flash; so in the end it may be just Chuck and Sarah’s secret (oh, and Casey’s; but that seems to be all who know).

    • garnet says:

      I think the idea of the Hero’s Journey has been fairly well thought of in the context of Chuck. I would suggest however that it is really “Hero’s Journey’s.” I have not really thought this fully through, but it seems to me that there is really a journey in season 1 and 2 , a somewhat separate journey in Season 3, and a final journey in Season 4-5. Before I say more I am going to have to think on this a bit.

      • garnet says:

        Bah! That should have been Journeys’ sorry for the grammatical error.

      • Faith says:

        That’s a good point. As we know Chuck has almost ended several times so obviously they’ve had to tweak the journey to stop and start at certain points. Though there’s also something to be said for the (perhaps) unintended but still overarching Hero’s Journey throughout all 5 seasons.

  6. ww1posterfan says:

    Ernie,
    I would never had made the association with The Ring of Power. Good catch. The problem is the Intersect is technology or knowledge-you can’t really destroy it. It’s like the Hydra, cut off one head and two more come back. How many times did they blow up the Intersect room-twice? Fulcrum and The Ring developed their own versions. Virtual-reality glasses were replicating like bunnies the last 16 episodes or so. I’ve always looked at it as Chuck was “special” and was meant to be the guardian or bearer of the Intersect-that’s why it always kept finding him. We all know that Chuck is a hero with or without it, but with the Intersect he was basically a superhero. And until he claimed his “destiny”, the Intersect would continue to control him (or his life) rather than the other way around. I looked at Steven, Hartley, and Ted like Prometheus-suffering for giving fire to the mortals. But once fire was out of the bag, there needed to be a force for good to counter balance all the evil/destruction that could come from it because it wasn’t going away. Chuck’s inherent selflessness, kindness, and humility made him the perfect vessel for that role. Bryce didn’t send Chuck the Intersect just because Steven told him to or because he knew his brain could handle the embedded data, he sent it to him in my opinion, because he was certain in Chuck’s moral compass to handle that kind of power-because knowledge is power. The first 3 episodes prove that Bryce was right about his moral compass and his special cognitive abilities, but wrong about his ability to operate in the field.

    • Faith says:

      I actually meant to talk about the intersect in the intro arc but that’s the thing about these three, they’re too rich…just too much stuff to mine from that I really didn’t have the space or the time for all of them.

      Anyway, my 2 cents on the intersect is that it’s poison. It started out as something that took away his family, became a gift that brought him Sarah but in the end it was still this poison that sought to take away all that he cared about: namely Sarah. It’s an interesting move for me that they ended the show with Chuck intersected, it maintains that menace that could foreseeable create conflict for them in that walk-off-to-the-sunset future. As we know, without conflict, there’s no story.

      • ww1posterfan says:

        Faith,
        You’re right I had no idea how cram packed the first 3 epis were until I watched them in one sitting last night taking notes. I initially felt that way too about the Intersect. I guess I am trying to come up with lemonade from sooo many lemons. Yes, it nearly destroyed his original family, but it was also the instrument for reuniting him with his father (RIP Steven) and mother. Not only did it bring him Sarah, it gave him direction and purpose when he really needed an injection of that in his life, through Team Bartowski it brought Casey back in from the ledge, it matured Morgan, it ostensibly saved thousands of lives. Anyhow, I’m not trying to convince anyone, this is more about me convincing myself. I know you and Ernie are probably more in tune with the writer’s intent.

        Speaking of Team Bartowski, I believe the first time I heard Chuck use that phrase was in Tango and it made me smile because little did they know what a team they would become.

        Also, I can’t wait until S5 DVDs come out because I haven’t seen Goodbye in its entirety and I’m getting more and more intrigued by your comment about how the pilot and finale really parallel each other. I started to see more of it watching the pilot with a more critical eye. The songs at the end really get you because the pilot ends on a song about having lost faith in your world (because it’s been altered so radically) and being unsure about what to do next to a song about hope and love and making the most of life’s moments since they can be taken away from you at anay time.

      • aerox says:

        Steven *twitch*

      • garnet says:

        I will accept your thoughts on the intersect as poison, but I’d temper that by suggesting that it is poison for anyone but Chuck. I do still see that he is special. It clearly affected Hartley, and to a lesser degree Steven, it fried Morgan’s brain, and it robbed Sarah of he memories, but although it did cause some issues for Chuck as far as Ring II was concerned, it was mostly a non-issue for him in Season 4. It did put him at risk in Phase 3 and there is potential for menace after Season 5, but overall I think Chuck has done better with the Intersect than anyone else, and in exchange, I think the Intersect has been more his spinach than his kryptonite; it has caused/helped his growth and journey.

      • Faith says:

        I don’t mean it as poison in the literal sense. I think they’ve effectively shown that Chuck is special for a reason with regards to the intersect. But really, more in the sense of it’s poison to Chuck with regards to his happiness. Let’s think of it this way, all of the bad things that has ever happened to Chuck can be traced back to the intersect, starting from when his mom left and ending with Sarah. For those reasons, it’s poison.

        I think Stephen was right in Living Dead in not wanting his son/family to be involved in it. Not just coz it eats at the brain but all the things that come with it.

      • atcDave says:

        And yet Stephen responded with a pretty clueless “head in the sand” way of dealing with it. One of Chuck’s major strengths was how he always rose to the occasion; well, except for Curse, he blew it big time there! But generally Chuck responded to the intrusion of the Intersect on his life in a heroic fashion, whether we consider the Intersect itself to be a curse or a blessing.

      • Faith says:

        Not to take away from Chuck’s heroism…because after all he is a hero and is in some ways better capable of all the things that had to do with heroism than his father…BUT he also had Sarah with him. Stephen lost his Sarah long ago, and because of that he’s already weaker by association. If you add the family aspect of it…which in my opinion is one of the things they tried to drill into us–that family is everything–well Stephen did the best he could. Especially if you consider Orion.

  7. andyt says:

    I love these three episodes. I agree with the others that this is as strong an intro as any series has had. I would especially single out the music selections and their use(shout out to Faith). In the Pilot you have the Shins “A Comet Appears”,v. Helicopter New Pornographers “Challengers”, and in v. Tango The National “Slow Show”. Each song is used very well to highlight the emotional beats in the story and close the show on a strong note both literally and figuratively. If there is a single thing that I still really miss it is the new music that I was introduced to through the show. My Itunes purchases have really went down since the end of Chuck.

    • Faith says:

      I can relate. I think some days I miss the music more than the show. Nah! But I do miss it a lot. Especially the discovery.

      If you’re interested, Josh Schwartz’s other show, Hart of Dixie has some good ones. You can check out the tracks without having to watch the show by subscribing to the CW’s spotify playlist. Unfortunately it’s heavily country (since that’s the locale of the show) but every once in awhile you’ll find winners like Austin Hartley Leonard’s The Come Down. We’re familiar with his work of course in “In My Sleep.”

      P.S. good job on bringing up the music. It’s definitely one of the best. Though I would still put the first 3 of season 2 above it. Can’t beat Bon Iver and the National.

      • andyt says:

        Those are really good too Faith. I especially liked the use of Huey Lewis and the News in them. But The National and the Kooks selections were very good. My favorite piece of music from season 1 is Band of Horses “No One’s Gonna Love You” from v. Nemesis. It turned me on to a great band and it fit that episode and point in their relationship just perfectly. I think that is the moment where Chuck became more than just one of my favorite shows, but my absolute favorite and tied with Buffy as an all time great.(Buffy also had a killer music selection)

    • joe says:

      You’re speaking my language, Andy.

      Confession time: I haven’t been able to rewatch the episodes Faith so wonderfully reviewed (it’s a long story…). But just yesterday and today my mp3 player has come back around to my collection of music from S1. It’s been hitting me even more powerfully than than before, which is no small thing. Each song instantly recalls the scene and the episode, the feelings and emotions.

      What’s funny is that, as amazing and meaningful as the songs you mention have been to me, I know the best is coming. I just can’t decide, though, if the best music is in S2, S3 or S4.

      Is it possible that I’ll come to like the music from S5 best of all? Oh yeah, it is. But I’m still in the process of absorbing those into my system.

      Oh, and thanks for the tip on the music from Buffy. Somehow, I missed that one. In return, let me tell you that The Sopranos also had an amazing selection of music. On the last disk of the DVDs for the last season, Steve Van Zandt discusses it on one of the special feature selections (for those who don’t know, he acted in nearly every episode, but made his career as a member of Bruce Springstein’s E-Street Band). Very cool information there.

  8. oldresorter says:

    Faith – I still cannot bring myself to rewatch an episode of Chuck (yet), I just don’t feel it for the show any longer because of the final two eps. I hope absence makes my heart grow fonder, maybe if your team has a ep by ep rewatch later in the year or next year I will be swayed to try watching again, from a more cheerful perspective.

    For the first time ever, last night, Fringe made me care about Peter and Olivia. In the past, watching them together, I never felt anything about them. But last night, Fringe was pretty darned special, highly recommended. Walter has always been my favorite Fringe character, he seems to be able to make me laugh, make me cringe, make me feel, make me care, make me cry and make me think, all in a matter of seconds, I don’t know if there is quite another character on TV quite like him. But last night was more about Peter and Olivia, and I thought the show nailed it.

    Looks like Castle is going to finally ‘get off the snide’ and do something with Castle and Beckett. Whatever they do, my guess is by the second ep of season 5 they will be back to solving the mystery of the week, wisecracking and flirting the hour away, which is what Castle does better than any other show.

    Also, for anyone interested, I found Hart to Hart on YOUTUBE. It takes a little patience piecing 8 minute segments together, but I watched parts of the pilot and the first ep there, just to get a feel for what the show was like and how Chuck and Sarah would fit in the actual roles. My goodness, would I ever enjoy Sarah as a world renown writer, and Chuck as an absentee billionaire, jointly making the bad guys in the world pay. Or maybe even role reverse, and have Chuck as the writer and Sarah as the absentee billionare with the ‘cool’ factor. I guess there is a little of Castle in Hart to Hart as I think about it?

    They did not spare ‘affectionate’ moments in Hart to Hart, that is for sure. I brought this up because I do see the comparison between the personal affection, albeit less fequent between Chuck and Sarah season 5 with Jonathan and Jennifer, right up thru Bullet Train’s end. What transpired on screen after the Sarah torture scene at the end of Bullet train has been debated enough. I hope to make peace with those last two joyless episodes as well as with the curmudgeon who came up with the story idea someday. But that isn’t going to happen today.

    • uplink2 says:

      I have to say I’m with you on not being able to rewatch anything yet. Though I do see much of the beauty of the final episodes for me at least the toughest part of dealing with it is that it took away my desire to retake this journey, at least for now. A big part of me wonders what’s the point. None of it matters at the very end. Five years of growth is gone for Sarah. Sarah Walker was always the lynch pin of the show for me. She is why I watch, why I became obsessed and why I started writing FF. It’s always been Sarah. But my favorite Sarah was lost on that train. The fully evolved completely happy and totally at peace Sarah Bartowski, the perfect manifestation of that journey was thrown away and discarded. So how do I take this journey again knowing that the journey is for naught in the end?

      I envy those that can take it happily again, I can’t. I’d love to comment here as so many of these arcs are favorites of mine but just as the payoff of investing in Sarah’s real name was taken away and thrown back in my face, so was the payoff of their love story. I know for certain I will never watch or invest in another Fedak show or a Josh show for that matter. It just seems so bizarre to me I’m having a lot of trouble reinvesting in this one.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Uplink,
        Sadly that’s where I am too. I have no problem believing that they leave the beach together and that Sarah gets “most” of her memories back – but revisiting the journey knowing where it ends and how unforgivably casually Fedak handles Sarah’s memories (and by extension “my” memories) just holds no appeal. That may change, but it will require a degree of effort that for the moment I’m just too disappointed to make.

      • uplink2 says:

        Thanks Kev. I know we have talked a bit about this. I really do hope some day we get some sort of epilogue that will take away the bitterness and we can enjoy this ride once again. But I doubt it because Fedak is clearly of a mind that he did the right thing and did it successfully. Hell he even thinks Shaw was a huge success. That is what I will never understand. He actually believes that falling in love is better than being in love and that Sarah falling for Chuck twice is somehow a greater story than her being completely and totally in love with him through all their lives. That delaying them getting to their “Someday” is somehow more fulfilling if he makes them take that journey twice.

        This is why these rewatches for me are just empty. They mean nothing because it all could conceivably be worthless in the end. Though I agree with you that I do believe they walk away together but there is still a chance they don’t. And I don’t feel I can take their journey again knowing that it ends with that possibility. Plus in Fedak’s case he has shown absolutely no empathy for those of us that feel this way. At least Zac did and I give him a lot of credit for it. Personally I think, though we will never know for certain, that Yvonne feels it too. No one knows or feels more intimately involved with Sarah Bartowski than does Yvonne and I simply can’t believe she is happy with where they ended her journey.

        Maybe someday I will feel differently but its still too raw and sad for me to want to join in here and talk about what was so important in my life for so long knowing that the last stop is filled with such melancholy for me and proud arrogance and dismissal from Fedak.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Ditto

    • jam says:

      I haven’t been able to rewatch the show anymore either. And the sad thing is I used to do that on almost daily basis before the awful finale.

      I don’t expect ever to be able to do it again to be honest, unless there’s an official “fix” to the situation, whether it’s a movie, webisodes or comics. And by fix I mean Sarah getting *all* of her memories back, anything else is unacceptable to me.

    • Faith says:

      I really am, truly sorry and emphasize with all of you. I’d hoped that seeing it from the beginning, revisiting their struggle will give you some peace but only you can… But I do hope that someday each and everyone of you do get to that place. A place where you can revisit and look back at Chuck without the pain. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Rob says:

      I have also been in the group which was very disappointed in the ending. I have to admit though, after a complete re-watch I feel a little better with the ending. Not because I like it — because I still think that it didn’t pay off. But, because I think that it was consistent with Fedak’s message that “love wins out over everything else.” We heard the following line a number of times: “Listen to your heart. Your brain only screws things up.” I think that Fedak was saying (and I tend to agree) that it is Sarah’s love for Chuck that will survive no matter what, and her memories are ancilliary to that fact. Fedak was saying that the most important aspect of the last five years survived: the fact that Sarah learned to love.

      Now, that said, the ending was grossly inadequate. This isn’t the first time Fedak played with the characters memories — Chuck in “Phase Three” and Morgan at the beginning of Season 5. In both of those instances, both Chuck and Morgan escaped with no more than a mental scratch. I will never understand why Fedak chose a “different ending” for Sarah. I’ll admit that I had high expectations for a “fairy tale ending” especially with Morgan referencing the “magical kiss” of the movies. When that didn’t happen, it did leave me with an empty feeling….not because I don’t think that Chuck and Sarah will be together, but because I didn’t see it happen to end the story. That is where Fedak missed the boat. He chose the artistic ending, as opposed to the “Chuck ending” and I think that it fell short.

      I do encourage you to enjoy the re-watches, because it will remind you what Sarah and Chuck fought for. And, I think that it will also remind you that they will do everything they can after they leave the beach to get back to that point. The path is easier when you know that you’ve done it before.

      • atcDave says:

        I think I’m exactly where you are Rob. I’ve made my peace with it and I can enjoy the re-watches. But I still feel a little robbed. I really wanted an upbeat epilogue.

  9. Sandra says:

    I’ve not watched any old Chuck episodes since the awful final two episodes that undermined all that went before for me. I’m surprised that such diehard fans as post here have accepted Fedaks slap in the face so meekly but good for you anyway. I guess most of you are so invested in the show that you can’t bear the thought of the finale ruining the series for you. Fedak’s nerve in calling the finale a love letter to the fans is beyond belief really. I wish he had never been given those final 13 episodes to ruin the show and it had ended with the wedding in season 4.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I hesitate weighing in again, but I’d like to ask that people keep in mind that quite a few of us enjoyed the finale. As Faith said, your reaction is your own, and is perfectly legitimate, but then so is ours. Expressing your opinion is fine, but when it crosses into de-legitimizing that of others as rationalization or meek acceptance, or of characterizing the motives of the creators as vindictive it is just plain rude.

      For those of you who wanted to see a different show or a different ending, I’m sorry you didn’t get what you wanted out of Chuck, but I’m not sorry I did and feel no need to apologize for the ending or for liking it, just as many of you feel no need to apologize for hating it and telling us why. At length. Repeatedly. Which again, is fine.

      It is important however to keep in mind that your own expectations and desires, expectations and desires not everyone shares, do play a part in your disappointment and shouldn’t be held against those of us who enjoyed the final episodes or against the creators who gave us a remarkably dramatic and moving wrap up to the series. You aren’t required to like Schwedak’s work, but then they aren’t required to personally please you at the expense of others who may appreciate the direction they took. It’s a difference in opinion and taste, not a personal insult. Please keep that in mind when commenting.

      • Thanks for saying that, Ernie.

        There are other topics where the pros and cons of the finale have been discussed at extreme length. The rewatch might not be for everyone, and that’s fine. It’s too bad that a topic about the first three episodes degenerated into a bash the finale and anyone who liked it discussion. I hope this doesn’t happen every week. We need a Chuckwin’s Law-like name for this. I’m thinking Sarahwin. Chuckwin’s Law is for S3; Sarahwin’s Law is for the finale.

      • dkd says:

        It is too bad that someone’s attempt at a positive Chuck-related activity seems to not be succeeding.

        In the real world, when I am surrounding by complainers who keep repeating the same complaint over and over again, I tend to leave their company. It’s so annoying–particularly, when the complaining isn’t going to accomplish anything.

        I wasn’t always a regular here, but I did start to visit often in the 5th season. Now, I rarely come here. It’s a broken record at this point.

      • ArmySFC says:

        just an off the cuff question and comment. if you read a book or watch a movie and you really don’t like how it ends, do you keep re-reading or re-watching it? i see the same thing for the show. i just wonder how the dvd sales will be in relation to other seasons.

      • Faith says:

        Dkd I hope all of this doesn’t turn you away from posting. Remember that there are a lot like you and me. I’ll always be here and I’ll always want to hear what you have to say.

      • Army, I think the right analogy is a lot of people who like The Matrix don’t like Matrix Reloaded and/or Revolutions. I would assume they still like and watch the original. I would also assume DVD sales for Matrix 3 would be lower. But I would hope every discussion of Matrix 1 wouldn’t degenerate into a discussion about the problems of Matrix 3. Then again, this is the Internet.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the analogy is more complex than that Jeff. With a movie, especially one that didn’t start as a series, its easier to regard each one on its own merits. I’ve never even seen the Matrix sequels, I’ve never heard anything good that would make me want to. Alien and Aliens might be an even better example for me though, because I loved both of them enough to buy them on disc, and I’m very eager for Prometheus coming this summer; yet I have never seen any of the sequels or AVP movies. By all counts they’re all dreadful, and I prefer to leave the story right where I last loved it.

        But a serialized TV show was always intended to be series, and I did in fact see it all. So its a bit more difficult for me to just shut off the parts I didn’t like. S3 often comes up in discussions with me because it remains the great sticking point for me. Its the one and only arc where I think the bad outweighs the good; and that a very good ending STILL isn’t enough to redeem a dreadful story. But it wasn’t the end, and for the sake of supporting the show and a belief that I would like later episodes better, I went ahead and bought a season from which I only really liked one episode. And you know, Honeymooners and special features are the only things I’ve ever even watched off of those discs. (although I’m only militant about not re-watching 6 episodes!)
        But what if I’d hated the ending? Could I ever go back and watch the show if they killed off Sarah in S5? (you know some viewers feel like they did!) What if Sarah had clearly left Chuck in the end? Could I have re-watched the show then? I’m pretty sure the answer is no to all of those. So I really do get why viewers who felt something hopelessly awful had happened at the end can’t re-watch. I’ve said as many ways as I can that the ending was happy; Sarah was remembering, Chuck and Sarah were together and happy about it, and they escaped the spy life. And for those reasons I’m perfectly able to re-watch and enjoy this journey once again. But I understand completely why those who were unconvinced by all arguments that things had worked out will not be able to re-watch. If the ending is tragic, there is little point in going on it again.

      • ArmySFC says:

        jeff, what you say is true but not what i referred to. i was talking to a single movie, not the sequels. if for example you didn’t like the ending of the original matrix would you watch it again? i agree with the internet being a cause for it, but look at it this way, with out it many discussions about shows and movies could never take place.

        also i disagree with the part about comparing the matrix movies. many shows and blogs constantly debate the values of one movie vs another in a series. star wars and star trek come to mind. try talking to a star wars or star trek fanatic and see how it goes. there are and will always be discussions comparing them, with the favorite coming out ahead.

        DKD funny you bring up a broken record. if it’s a broken record to hear people complaining about the finale, isn’t it also a broken record to hear the same praises of the show? i suppose it depends on what side of the fence a person is on. it is the same thing to me, hearing the same complaints and praises over and over again. either way as you say it’s a broken record.

        for the record i’m in the middle of this. i see both sides of it. the artistic side and the fan side. from the artistic side i see the emotions it created and from the fans side how it sucked. i doubt i will ever watch another episode of the show, mostly because i have only re-watched 2 episodes before. i was never in the camp that saw chuck as a great show, it was good, but not good enough for me to invest more time than i already did.

      • Star Wars is a great example. It was intended to be a series from the start. People compare movies (like they compare S1 and S3 of Chuck). However if someone is specifically talking about how they loved A New Hope, how they hated how whiny Luke was in it, or how Han should have fired first, the discussion wouldn’t degenerate into a ‘How could anyone watch every consider watching the movie because the ultimate villain, Darth Vader, doesn’t remain evil?’ I never heard anyone say they won’t watch A New Hope because Jar Jar didn’t die in Revenge of the Sith. Sure, people criticize the Ewoks or the lack of Anikan/Padme chemistry, but they don’t hijack every discussion about anything remotely Star Wars related into a Jar Jar hate-fest, even though he’s not even in the episode being discussed. They wait for the prequel discussion. Then the floodgates open.

        Indiana Jones was conceived as a serial, like a TV show. Many people, including Casey, dislike Indy 4, but they still love Raiders. Would anyone not watch Raiders after seeing Crystal Skull?

        Everything I just said is not reality though. It’s wishful thinking. The important part of my previous post is ‘Then again, this is the Internet.’ People who have no intention of watching ever again feel the need to criticize those who do.

        For the record, I rewatch Matrix 1 and the expressway scene from Matrix 2, even though I don’t like Matrix 3.

      • ww1posterfan says:

        ArmySFC,
        I think the DVD sales will suffer a bit given the number of entries I’ve read on TWOP, ChuckTV, here, and a couple of other sites clearly stating that they were not interested in buying Season 5 or any subsequent Series package that may come out. As for re-reading a book whose ending I didn’t like or re-watching a movie whose ending I didn’t like, I’m surprised to say “yes.” I didn’t like Jack Dawson dying in Titanic, but I love that movie and have watched it at least 20 times. I’m a big fan of the 1968 Zeferilli version of Romeo and Juliet even though I know how my star crossed lovers are going to end up. I have watched Aliens 2 dozens of times even though I despise what they did in Alien 3. Now, there aren’t any books I can recall re-reading with a unsatisfying ending.. I did almost quit The Kent Family Chronicle series after Anne Kent was killed, but ended up finishing the whole series.

    • atcDave says:

      Sandra I’m not sure where you see any “meek acceptance” of the finale. We’ve spent most of the last two months arguing over its merits and often getting quite inflamed in our feelings. I think the range of reaction has been extreme; as near as I can tell only two of the six principals here were completely enthusiastic about the finale. The rest of us have wrestled with what it was, what it meant for the characters, and what it means for the legacy of the show. There’s been plenty of harsh words and hurt feelings in that process.
      For myself I’ve been quite clear I did not like this ending. I have come to believe it was not a terrible ending for any of the characters personally (I believe Chuck and Sarah will be fine), but I still think it was a very unsatisfying way of telling the story and ending the show. It left far too much to the imagination and left for plenty of dark possibilities for what came next. The simple fact that so many long time viewers and fans were dissatisfied tells me that this ending has to be considered an entertainment failure. But again, that’s not the same thing as saying it was a horrible outcome for the characters involved, only that it was inadequate for a large number of viewers.
      That split reaction for me means I can’t completely embrace either of the extreme reactions we’ve seen from other fans. But if you’ve read much here you’d know there’s been no shortage of anger at times. I think, unless some new content on the discs really pleases me, my opinion will likely remain somewhat split.

      • Sandra says:

        Thank you for making a genuine effort to understand the feelings of those who hated the finale. I won’t mention it again. Flogging a dead horse and all that.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m fine with the feelings and sympathize. I’ve seen more than a few shows I loved go off the rails. I’m just asking for some deference and courtesy to those who might not feel the same. Just please don’t devalue our opinions and enjoyment.

  10. kg says:

    I’m aware what I’m about to submit has nothing to do with this discussion, but didn’t really know where else to leave it.

    Three former members of the Chuck show appeared in one single episode last night on CBS show CSI Miami.

    Ryan McPartlin has been a recent addition working for the Miami District Attorney’s office and dating one of the newer CSIs. Turns out, he’s actually working under cover for a corrupt, blackmailing and murdering defense lawyer (Malcolm McDowell) and used his relationship to contaminate evidence for McDowell and Discredit H. Caine’s crime lab.

    Richard Curgi?? (sorry) aka Clyde Decker played a city councilman involved with and defended by McDowell. It was revealed that he was having a relationship with a murdered reporter (opening of the show), who it appeared was about to blow the whistle on McDowell, who was blackmailing grateful past clients into performing corrupt acts to help clear other clients.

    Katrina Law (Fulcrum agent Alexis White from Beefcake) played the assassin hired to poison and kill the reporter.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow, that’s a lot of Chuck connection in one show!

    • joe says:

      That’s a cool report, KG. It’s Richard Burgi, btw (I recognized him from one of my “guilty pleasure” shows, Desperate Housewifes, where he guested intermittently for several seasons).

      To this day I wonder what Ryan would have been like as that Russian spy/baddie the way the part of “Awesome” was originally intended.

      • kg says:

        That’s right Joe. I think he played the ex-husband of Susan (Terri Hatcher) and father of her daughter.

    • oldresorter says:

      Are most of you going to watch the new Levi show if it makes it to the network? I plan to, am looking forward to it. I saw the wife has been cast, never heard of her, a brunette, real cute, probably a good idea on both counts.

      I hide this comment down here, since the attack hounds are out for blood above and I don’t want to get them going any more than they already are. I think the rewatch is a tremendous idea, even if I feel bitter about the show, the rewatch WILL get the focus off the finale for the blog, which is a good thing and should get the love flowing for the show. I only posted my feelings about not being ready to rewatch, as I was curious if I was the only one not feeling it, since I did not see very many comments about the rewatch.

      For those of you not in business, there is a Customer Service theory called the ‘Iceberg Effect’. It states for every complaint you get (visible as the tip of the iceberg above water), there are thousands of people who silently are disgruntled (hidden underneath the water). If that is true about TV shows (it might not be, who knows?), showrunner’s would be very wise to read negative internet comments, rather than dismiss them.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s interesting, Jason, and it certainly sounds reasonable. Is the same true for positive comments. I would imagine that positive comments are less expressed than negative, but obviously, it’s he negative opinions, like the iceburg, that can sink the ship.

        It makes me sad that a significant number of people no longer want to rewatch their favorite show, because of the finale. I am not one of them, but I understand why those people feel the way they do, and I feel bad for them.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll have to wait for more information before I decide on Zach’s new show. I’m not a huge fan of sitcoms, but I will follow news for this one more closely than most. If I find the situation bearable, and it gets decent reviews, I might give it a try.

      • oldresorter says:

        Think – it is true for positive too (the hidden., silent majority), maybe even more so. But the focus of the Iceberg Effect is on the negative, sinking the ship so to speak, in the case I learned about it, the US Auto Industry. Here is how it goes according to my POV:

        This is the part where I brought up I am not sure it 100% applies to TV. ‘Think’ of the finale being viewed by 4 million chevy owners. They love Chevy automobiles, bought them since they could remember. GM would not be in business for long if they designed a product that made a substantial number of those 4M folks vocally, visibly and emotionally upset. The theory was if that many vocalized displeasure, a far greater number did not even bother, and simply bought a Ford. The Japanese attacked the US market, by getting really smart at listening to the complaints, and designing products that people were more (completely maybe even) happy with, forcing the arrogant US automakers into a deep decline in business. Have you seen the number of TV viewers in the past two or three years vs 20 or 30 years ago? Makes one wonder if the decline in TV viewership is about more things than the internet?

        Sorry for digressing, you have to admit, at least it was a tad bit nerdy of me?

      • Showrunners typically cannot read Internet comments for legal reasons. If they happen to use a story idea that was suggested on the Internet, they could be sued. If our society was less litigious, we would would have a better feedback mechanism for showrunners that wouldn’t mind listening.

        While the Iceberg Effect is likely true for TV shows, the ratios are a little different than ‘real world’ customer service. Customer service rarely hears positive feedback, and it never hears satisfied feedback, so the Iceberg Effect applies for that too. People on the Internet complain more because they are anonymous and are not directly confronting a person. If the showrunners were known to be on a forum, there were still be complaints, but the ratios would be more like real-world customer service. If someone has something positive to say at a customer service desk, they wouldn’t be argued with by someone getting bad service. The Internet sometimes is more segmented into fan and complainer spots. But because of the ease of posting, complainers will cross-post complaints multiple times in multiple forums, making every place hostile. I stopped going to other Chuck forums after the S5 premiere when I realized people were posting the exact same anti-Morgansect messages three or four places.

        I’m not rewatching yet, because I’m half way through a rewatch of another show (200+ episodes along with 150+ chapters of fanfic episode tags). I’ve seen the Chuck episodes enough, and I figure I can catch up later. For now, I’ll just enjoy Faith’s write-ups.

      • thinkling says:

        I’m not much on sitcoms either, Dave. I generally refer to them as sit-drags, because there are so few that I find funny. But Zach’s comments about the show sounded like it might be worth a look.

      • atcDave says:

        You know Jason that’s the foundation for why I’ve always advocated direct and plain criticism when I’m not happy with a show (or other product). That is how consumerism works, when the suppliers get feedback. There’s no doubt I’ve even resorted to hyperbole on occasion to make a strong point stronger.

        Television is a little different in the area of creative vision. But even then, the studios and networks have a vested interest in knowing what will sell.
        And you make an excellent point about shrinking television audiences. It isn’t all due to product quality, some shrinkage is due to more distractions in our lives than ever. But we all know people (if not ourselves!) who have said “there’s nothing but c**p on television anymore!!!” Well, as one who has a lifelong love/hate relationship with the television medium, I am eager to see less c**p and more good stuff.

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff I know the writers often claim to not follow on-line forums, but I regard that with some skepticism. At the very least, I believe they have staff people who track general comments and mood (that, or perhaps its mostly the studio or network paying close attention). Too often we have discussed things here that were in some way addressed by the writers, often reactions they said had surprised them. Our reactions are surely getting through via some mechanism. I know they will NEVER admit to reading fan fiction, but they don’t seem too shy about addressing fan concerns.

      • Faith says:

        Interesting perspective Jason. I knew you’ve always had a good heart.

        Jeff, I’ll try my best to live up to your expectations 🙂

        P.S. Yeah I’ll watch Zac’s new show. I’m all for supporting all these fine people in any future venture, especially Zac and Yvonne.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason i think a good example of the iceberg effect is to just look at the ratings of any show. why you begin to see complaints about shows, a good number not just a few scattered about, watch the ratings. i would bet in most cases they fall as, like you said they bought a ford.

      • oldresorter says:

        Jeff – I got a hold of a Hart to Hart dvd. Watched a few eps. Were budgets (in 1979 dollars) much higher back then, the show is glamorous, I expected cheap and cheesy, although the script is very cheesy, the actual settings and action scenes seem very well done?

        Interestingly, Hart to Hart ran 5 seasons, then waited ten years to make 8 made for tv movies, which ran over the course of 3 or 4 years, ending in 1996. Not sure if they made any after that. Be nice if Chuck could follow that path.

        One last Hart to Hart comment, Casey ten years from now, is so much like Max, it is scary, I can see why he would not fit (or want) in that role in the season 3 ep of Chuck, but just saying …

      • oldresorter says:

        OK, I was trying to find viewership numbers for the eight made for tv movies, couldn’t find them, but I did find this gem where Wagner and Powers discuss the show. Dave, this quote is for you:

        ‘In talking about how Hart to Hart came to be, Mr. Wagner mentioned that what he had in mind was making a TV show similar to the popular The Thin Man films and then the talk turned to the casting process for Jennifer. At first not only was Mr. Wagner’s wife Natalie Wood considered for the part, so was actress Lindsay Wagner (who, of course, went on to become The Bionic Woman) and the late Suzanne Pleshette (who, of course, is best known for her work on The Bob Newhart Show).,

        http://nicegirlstv.com/2010/11/15/hart-to-hart-an-unforgettable-reunion/

      • atcDave says:

        Its been so long since I watched Hart to Hart,maybe its time to give it another look. My memory of it is that it was sweet but a bit cheesy. I don’t remember the humor as being either as funny or plentiful as the Thin Man movies. But I was in High School when it ran initially, I only remember watching one movie.

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave – Hart to Hart is maybe 50% the feeling of ‘What’s Next’ for Chuck and Sarah, not exactly by any means, but what out there is more so … I am OK with a little fan fic, but this is 100 plus eps on screen.

        One other little comment, I think they waited a little less than ten years to make the movies, the lead actors really aged, the roles they tried to recreate looked a little worn out in the movies, so if Chuck and Sarah come back, I hope it is done somewhat sooner.

        Last night, I went to my 84 year old parents house, I find Dancing with the Stars on tv …. they never watch network tv (too sleazy for them), yet they are watching DWTS to watch Packer great Donald Driver beat the hell out everyone else. The format for DWTS has stuff going for them that good, scripted TV has trouble competing with, plus the finales of these reality shows like American Idol or DWTS are always the best, in the case of scripted tv, not always by any means. Now, not that I am looking for someone to replace Sarah Walker, but my oh my, I have two words to say about DWTS 2012, Katherine Jenkins.

  11. garnet says:

    I intend to rewatch the series from start to finish, but I am afraid that my enthusiasm for this has been dampened by the finale. It is not that I dislike it per say. I can see the “art” in the full circle, and the growth of Chuck, who was, after all, the main character. But I can agree with those who feel that it was not the best way to end an essentially happy little show. I think we were expecting a clearly happy ending, and the ending was bittersweet at best. For those who wanted the beef, it is lacking the patty (or perhaps it is tofu).
    Having said that, the show remains one I expect I WILLwatch over and over (I can’t count the number of rewatches of previous seasons or episodes but I know my itunes counter is in double digits for a number of episodes and season 1-4 has been seen at least three times) I just fins myself repeating the final two episodes looking for something that I may have overlooked that would point me in the direction of complete happiness. Thinkling’s fan fiction and the Past/Prologue have helped me toward that and a bit of time will help as well.
    I look forward to the release of the DVD’s with the extended scenes and the commentary on them, not because I expect an alternate ending, but because there may be a few more hints and comments that may make things easier.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree entirely about the extended cut. I’m hoping there will be material in the earlier scenes that make the “happy” ending more clear.

  12. Sam Carter says:

    @Army: “i just wonder how the dvd sales will be in relation to other seasons.”

    Yeah me too, really curious about that. I also wasn’t a fan of the ending but I still love the show and want it to do well.

    BTW, just like some are sick and tired of people whining about the ending, I’m also sick and tired of people whining about season 3/Shaw/Sham/etc. 😉

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

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