Chuck Fans (re)Unite!

stopthepresses

Stop The Presses!

It’s been 19 months and one day, according to our friend at the bottom of the page,  since we left Chuck and Sarah on that beach to make a fresh start, and it may be a while before Zach organizes that movie, so in between we need to see to our Chuck needs ourselves.  This blog’s full series re-watch is one way, but some fans, notably those on twitter, want a more immediate communal experience as they watch.  I was randomly tweeting with a few of them last week when we almost tried to organize an impromptu Chuck Fan community re-watch of the pilot to be live-tweeted and live-blogged here.  So it didn’t quite come off last week, but the plan was to shoot for Thursday, August 29, 9 PM EDT 6PM PDT and see what happens.  Join me after the jump for some logistics.

So first off, when?  9 PM EDT/6 PM PDT.  Find the time here, though being the Navy they have to do the whole 24 hour time, so that translates to 21:00 EDT.

Where?  Either this post or possibly a new one will be where those without twitter (ATCDave …) can post and read others reactions in real-ish time.

Those of you inclined to join in on twitter, well I’ll try to be there, others involved in the re-watch are @dren_lla, @blitztrap, @jemjoven, and possibly more.

What?  The Pilot episode of the greatest genre mash-up drama-comedy-action-adventure spy show.   Make sure to notify your friends, neighbors, the mailman, your twitter followers and the cashier at the grocery store.  We’re starting a movement.  Spread the nerd.

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About Ernie Davis

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

  1. Ernie Davis says:

    Just a suggestion, leave a comment if you plan to participate and if you have a twitter account include that so we can all follow the right people. Spread the nerd.

    • resaw says:

      I’m not sure if I’ll have a chance to watch — my wife may suggest that I would use my time better by getting ready for our extended Labour Day weekend vacation starting Friday morning 🙂 — but I will try to participate. My twitter account is @RSawatsky

  2. joe says:

    Ernie, we need a hash-tag for this. Something like #RememberChuck or #RememberSarah (which seems oddly apropos)! I don’t suggest #Chuck because that’s been used in the past for general fan news, but hey, maybe it’s time to make it live again.

  3. Ashley says:

    It’s so funny that I came across this post, since I just put in disc 1, season 1 of Chuck to watch! 🙂 Guess I’ll hold off until tomorrow evening!

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Glad you’ll be able to join us, though you could always watch it twice, it’s that good. Also welcome to the blog and/or thanks for de-lurking and hopefully sharing more in the future. Another voice is always welcome.

  4. TraceinOz says:

    Haven’t been sure where to weigh in but here goes – I’m one of those new people who has discovered the “awesomeness” that is Chuck in the last few weeks and am finding this site like being in a candy shop! Can’t believe that I missed out on being a part of the Chuck community while it was on the air and can try to blame the sorry state of network TV in Oz. I do remember seeing what must have been a couple of early Season 1 episodes in Jan of 2009 when the show started on pay TV. I recall thinking that this was the type of show that I would like, but not often winning possession of the TV with cable on it, I didn’t follow up. Two years later, I had a TV addict student (I’m a teacher) who was offering me whole seasons of any TV show that I desired – and I asked for Chuck. It sat on my computer for yet another two years until early July this year – school holidays, at the beach in the middle of winter with not much to do – as good a time as any! My husband subsequently did not see much of me for the next two weeks – and I am happy to admit here that I am now quite obsessed – very late to the party but “getting” it. Unfortunately I am having trouble having anyone IRL sharing this with me so after finishing the first run through I hit the net and have been reading everything Chuck related, (and fanfic too) while watching a second time – I’m now in sync with your re-watch! What I discovered here is a wonderful thriving community that is still relevant and up to date. I have only once before become involved with a TV show in this manner and that was in the very early days of the net – 17 years ago (ugh!). So here I am – hopefully can join in the live tweet for the Pilot- just need to work out time difference and see if I am worthy of making any meaningful contribution. Just one quick point – the misery arc as I have learned it is called, is nowhere near as painful when you get through it in two days!! Just saying – and maybe will weigh in more in the right spot at some stage.

    • mr2686 says:

      Welcome TraceinOz. I 100 percent agree with you that the misery arc is nowhere near as bad when slamming it through in a couple of days. I’ve never thought it was that bad anyway, but now that I’m ranking all episodes it’s easy to see that some of the weakest Chuck episodes do come out of season 3.

    • uplink2 says:

      Great to have you Trace and welcome. You are not the first one to say the misery arc isn’t as bad when you fly through it. I can easily see how that would be the case. But I will say it was absolute torture in real time lol.I hate it and Shaw just as much now as I did back then if not more so 😉

      It’s great to see our community still getting new members. It’s a tribute to the show and to the characters and actors that captured our hearts so intensely.

      I hope you can join us tonight. The way I see the time change is it starts at 11am in Sydney so figure from there.

    • atcDave says:

      Very exciting to have another newbe on board! Welcome to the community and site. Don’t be shy about speaking up, we look forward to hearing from you again.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Welcome to the party TraceinOz. The whole reason we’ve kept this site active is so that people like you who discover our shared obsession for Chuck have a place to come and discuss, even though the show is over and the movie still an unfulfilled wish. And it’s always fun for us to experience the show through fresh eyes, which you and others let us do when you share your views as a newly minted Chuckster.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Oh, and FYI, depending on where you are in Oz it should be about 11AM Friday for you. (Based on Sydney)

  5. joe says:

    Ashley & Trace, it’s great to see new commenters here, and you two just made my day. It’s not like we’ve been stagnant; the discussions have been pretty lively, actually. But new blood is always welcome.

    Love your story, Trace. After more than six years of watching Chuck, I understand ‘obsession!’ We can always use someone who can translate Yvonne’s lines from the original Aussie! 😉

    We’ve adopted a number of catch-phrases and acronyms over the years. You might find the “Lingo and Acronyms” link up top to be useful. I’m particularly taken by the music that was used in the show, so I’d also like to point out the ChuckThis Playlist that Jem put at the bottom of the page.

  6. Angus MacNab says:

    The poor Twitter account has been collecting dust lately. @A_MacNab will be there with his Easter basket. Chuck Versus the Intersect is queued up on the PC.

  7. CaptMediocre says:

    I’ll try to be there. It’s a hour later for us.

    Remember to wear pants. 🙂

    @Capt_Mediocre (in case you need it)

  8. uplink2 says:

    Oh it’s @uplink2 though that shouldn’t be a big surprise lol.

  9. dkd says:

    Wouldn’t it have made more sense to do it on September 24th, the anniversary of the actual premiere?

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Yeah, but who wants to wait that long! This was just sort of a spontaneous development. I’m sure another re-watch could be organized for the 6th anniversary of the premier.

  10. Ernie Davis says:

    One hour to go Chucksters. Feel free to make your comments here.

    • TraceinOz says:

      Stoked to be part of my first real time #Chuck experience – is it wrong that I am also in Maths class at the same time! Obviously not watching but following …….

  11. atcDave says:

    Okay so I started three minutes early…

    First thought, I loved this show from the start because I loved Chuck. Escaping his birthday party, choosing a font, going on about Jill… This nerdy, awkward Chuck is likable, and someone I completely relate to. This will later be a mixed blessing; I have little patience with whiney or buffoonish Chuck (or the liar. Or the sleezeball). But I love Chuck of the Pilot.

  12. atcDave says:

    I also like the more understated flash face we see early on.

  13. atcDave says:

    Morgan’s definition of love, so wrong!

  14. atcDave says:

    Why is “Vicky Vale” still one of the most exciting moments I’ve ever seen?

  15. atcDave says:

    The guy in the ninja suit. Worst moment of the episode (clearly not Sarah!)

  16. atcDave says:

    Great reminder of why we love early Sarah too. She is clearly bothered at being replaced by Casey, because he’s a killer. For all the deconstructing we will later see about Sarah’s growth and pre-Chuck condition, she’s clearly not as burnt out or purely mission oriented as Casey. There are signs of a moral compass!

  17. atcDave says:

    But oh Graham is pure evil! The government sure lost its edge in later seasons.

  18. atcDave says:

    “I like you Chuck”. I always suspect Sarah slipped. A little more honest than she meant to be.

    • uplink2 says:

      Oh I agree. The “baggage handler” line kind of put her off her game and when she tried to get back on it with the question about “skeletons, any women” his humor really caught her off guard and she reacted “like a real girl” on a date. To me that is the moment she really started to fall hard. I think she was interested and charmed by the ballerina moment as she saw how different he was than any man she had ever met but she really started falling for him when they were in the Mexican Restaurant. You can see it in her eyes and in her expressions. Those weren’t someone working a mark, at least not all of them, but someone fascinated by the man in front of her. It’s why she became so incredibly protective of him so quickly.

      The thing that struck me last night, not that I haven’t seen it before, but was how intensely Sarah is focused on him when they have their meet cute. The way she looks at him, studying him, fascinated by him is really a great example of how great an actress Yvonne was even at just 24. It is the beginning of those incredibly expressive no-verbal, acting with just her eyes moments.

      It was such great fun to relive that moment. It really makes me sad that I missed when it first aired and had to see it on DVD.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree with all of that Uplink. I loved how Sarah was kidding herself about being uncompromised until the end of Nemisis when she first knew she had a problem. And then watching the struggle go back and forth until the end of S2. It is really a great story that was never adequately resolved in the show, S3 just made a wreck of it, and they didn’t really get together then until they were allowed to. The idea of having Sarah commit to something, higher than her duty, while having to keep it quiet; or even better, having to fight her bosses for it…. One of the great wasted opportunities in all of television.

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh I agree. But that is in part because of a number of reasons. Now this is purely my conjecture but I think that Schwedak never intended to have the Chuck/Sarah relationship be the central theme of the show for quite a while, if ever. You can tell that from the whole Kayla story. But they began while editing this pilot to realize just how magical the chemistry was between Zach and Yvonne. It was probably like nothing they had ever seen. I give them credit for dumping the Kayla storyline before the pilot was even given to NBC to look at. That was smart. But the problem that presented was that Fedak was the action guy and Schwartz came from the teen angst genre and neither knew how to write an adult romance. That ultimately became Ali’s job. But because they didn’t want to put them together too soon they fell back on Schwartz’s strength.

        That worked up until Colonel. After that the more adult, more male, older audience of the show was done with Schwartz’s WTWT. Going back to it once more in season 3 was a huge mistake and that was even before we had ever seen Shaw. What they did in Pink Slip, the betrayal of the character of Chuck and how he treats Sarah at the train station, had no impact whatsoever on the spy story. It was all to drive the OLI’s that Schwartz thought we would buy one more time. The problem for him was that as soon as he commented at Comicon about it he quickly realized he had a big problem but it was too late to change the initial path laid out and he got caught up in his own hubris that he could pull it off. Something that simply wasn’t going to work no matter what. But then he made it much, much worse by casting the wrong actor in the role. Getting caught up in the stuntcasting of Superman and Superman’s girlfriend.

        Schwartz even said that they realized that the audience didn’t want the kind of show that the Casey/Sarah battle in Helicopter showed. Great scene but the wrong direction for the show. I think that was probably more the original intent of the series, Casey and Sarah battling for control of the asset while Chuck chased after Kayla. Thankfully that idea was scrapped.

        But on your point about Sarah doing something bigger than following her orders I think we see that already in the Pilot. The contrast in how they should proceed with Chuck after he diffuses the bomb between Sarah and Casey is analogous to the “unquestioning of orders” vs someone who thinks out of the box and looks at the bigger picture. Sarah knew that throwing him in a bunker was the wrong decision and her independent thinking recognizing that something was very different about him won out and “we’ll protect you and you’ll work with us”.

        Seeing as I always focus on editing I think Norman Buckley really deserves a great deal of credit for just how good this episode is. It is easily visible why he won an Emmy for it.

      • mr2686 says:

        Uplink, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but don’t you think that proves that TPTB were listening and trying to make changes in line with what the fans wanted? Let’s face it, by the time they realized at Comicon that there was a vocal portion of the fandom that didn’t like the way that season 3 was going to go, it was too late to scrap several episodes already in the can.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I agree with most of that, although I do give them a lot of credit for changes they made in their original intent, at least through Colonel. They recognized quickly that Kayla was not needed. The tension and loyalties of Casey played out well until First Date, and I think they did an excellent job on how they managed that part of the story.
        I’m really never so eager to give Adler that much credit, I thought her S1 efforts were pretty unremarkable, a couple middle of the road episodes. She sure found her grove in S2, but then was a disaster in S3. I think she’s too inconsistent to be counted on for any particular theme or issue.
        But I agree entirely about Schwartz and Fedak. Although I would emphasize I’m VERY impressed with how CF let his writers explore the romantic comedy aspect of the show on occasion (Honeymooners, Roll Models, and much of S4). It really stands out though when you look at the episodes he penned himself, and you realize the romance just really isn’t his thing. He did write a few really terrific scenes, but all too often he just pushes Sarah aside in her own corner and tells the main story without her. Even Goodbye, has pretty much no romance at all until the beach scene.

        MR I do agree that by Comic Con it was too late to change Pink Slip anyway. BUT, they should have known earlier. Even casually reading commentary from those fans who were busting their butts saving the show would show the romance was THE major draw; and post S2 talk was largely under the assumption Chuck and Sarah would be together imminently, NOT dragged out through the whole main season arc. But okay, if we assume they were dismissive of that (‘shippers always comment a lot, the romance always draws disproportionate commentary, yadda yadda) the reactions at Comic Con, including comments from professional critics, should have made it clear patience with the wt/wt was at an end. And yet they continued with a very ill-advised main arc. They even extended Routh’s contract TWICE, AFTER Comic Con (I am not saying that to be critical of Routh, only to point out the unwanted aspect of the story was actually extended after they should have known better). That is a serious disconnect between them and the fans. And that’s what I’ll always call hubris.
        But as I’ve said, they mostly learned from their mistakes. Too late for the story I was just itching to see, of Chuck and Sarah figuring out how to make things work even while the outside world, including the government itself, was against them. The romance we saw was pretty tepid by comparison; after exploring other options Charah more or less end up as the only viable options for each other. And yeah I’m being a little snarky about that. If we eliminate the misery arc everything else is pretty satisfying. But it could have been so awesome…

      • uplink2 says:

        Ok first MR. From my understanding at the time of Comicon 2009, nothing had been shot yet. Traditionally they start shooting after Comicon or had just begun that same week so there weren’t any episodes “in the can” at the time of that in their mind “shocking” negative reaction. They were stunned by the fact that these fans who were so dedicated to saving their show were rejecting the idea out of hand. I think they believed they could say and do anything and the fans would love it. Some did and unfortunately that is who they were listening too much. But if they read the NBC boards they would have seen a much different picture.

        But the episodes were probably already written through maybe Operation Awesome at least. So it is difficult especially in light of the reduced budget to go back and do rewrites. Plus they were probably already in negotiations or had already signed Routh and Kruek at that point. As we saw with Yvonne and Dexter she knew long before they announced it just prior to her episodes being shot. So there was time to rewrite the future direction which if we can believe the “rumors” they did. But they chose to go darker and extend the angst in order to have it play out in May sweeps with Mask, Fake Name and Beard airing probably just before sweeps started. So you get the big heroes moment in sweeps. A March debut fits that model.

        I think this is where we get into some issues that they were tone deaf and relied on some of their original plan. This is all just speculation on my part. Schwartz revealed at some point that if it hadn’t been for the writers strike the 2.0 was going to happen in the finale of season 1. Going into season 2 it was reasonable that another round of WTWT and OLI’s would have been appropriate. The most logical are Bryce and Jill unless Jill was part of the back 9 of season 1. But I truly don’t believe we would have had a Colonel moment in season 1-21. So in that case OLI’s would have been accepted. Plus the whole is Chuck changing makes a lot of sense here.

        Now we come to season 3 and the original plan was for Bryce to be the mentor, probably have Sarah involved to some degree with him, not sure about Chuck unless there was some other Hannah type. But that the angsty parts were going to be resolved in November sweeps and the “stake date” was actually supposed to be a real date. That may have been the intent with Shaw too but they had that meeting and changed directions to the crap we got with Mask, Fake Name and Final Exam. The problem was the show had moved past that, or at least a large and yes vocal part of the fanbase had moved well past that because of Colonel and the changes made to extend the 2.0 until the end of season 2.

        So I do give them credit with seeing what was working in season 1 and 2 but unfortunately they made a serious mistake in judgement going into season 3. In order to force the OLI’s they had to have Prague. If they kept the characters as they were at the end of Ring 1 you simply can’t have OLI’s. If they had had Bryce still alive as a mentor for Chuck they could have simply gone the whole Sarah is angry Chuck did it and ruined their chance at freedom and doesn’t want to be involved in seeing Chuck change, kind of like what Bryce was trying to keep Chuck from at Stanford. Then she and Bryce bond over protecting him from himself. Not saying they get together but he does create the usual relationship angst.and feelings of inadequacy in Chuck.

        But with Shaw/Hannah the only way it can happen is if they turn Chuck into a bastard and destroy Sarah. An incredibly unwise and largely rejected decision. After all that the show went through and all the fan excitement and dedication to have disappointed so many fans after the long wait for Pink Slip was a huge mistake IMO. It was a mistake they knew already was going to have a very negative reaction. Hence the Ali “stick with us” video and the Schwartz “no WTWT fatigue” comments prior to Pink Slip. Then the almost immediate “spin session” with Sepinwall that only made them come off as arrogant and clueless.

        IMO once they lost Bomer they went back to their original plan and in his mind Schwartz’s strength of teen relationship angst with the big payoff in the expected finale of the show. They focused on that instead of realizing without Bomer, their original idea was doomed and needed to be scrapped. Then the whole stuntcasting disaster made everything so much worse.

        I do applaud them for looking at what was working in season 1 and 2 and focusing that but they dropped the ball in season 3 by first not realizing after Colonel it was never going to work without Bryce and even then it would be tough. But during the production of season 3 they didn’t even listen to their own staff and crew who knew Sarah/Shaw wasn’t working and never would. Hell they even admitted it sort of when talking about Routh after the finale. If you say you didn’t know how to write for somebody until you changed his character completely, it shows that he didn’t have to ability to perform the role you did hand him no matter how pathetic it was in conception and execution.

        Dave, I disagree to some extent about Ali. I think Wookie and Truth are 2 of the top 3 episodes of season 1. I try to look past Fake Name when I watch those because I don’t think it was entirely her call. She tried to balance the Schwedak insisted relationship BS with her usual humor and it failed miserable and came off as insulting and dismissive. That episode simply failed but much of its failure is its A plot story idea. That I lay at Schwedak’s feet. So I can still enjoy her season 1 and 2 work and even to an extend Three Words. The multi-layed final scene that we discussed at length during this rewatch is an example of good work on her part I believe. The problem with it is it like so many other times meant nothing going forward.

        Sorry for the novel sized posting.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink on initial viewing I disliked both Wookiee and Truth for their excessive reliance on smutty humor. In hindsight, I like both episodes better than I initially did. But I still strongly have the opinion that Adler is a lazy writer who relies far to heavily on smut and shock appeal to get a reaction.

        Otherwise, nice reconstruction on the chain of events. A couple things I would add, I know I saw Schwartz mention somewhere that as part of the initial sales pitch to NBC they had insisted no skills or abilities with the Intersect. The network apparently insisted they didn’t want another Heroes sort of show. So even if they conceived of the 2.0 early on, it was unlikely to have been used in the S1 finale. But leading up to the end of of S2, they had been told renewal was a long shot (the Leno experiment and slipping ratings) so I think they went for broke and accelerated Charah and the 2.0.
        That was all good. But as we’ve discussed many times, it meant absolutely no going back for Charah. There was simply no way to do that without breaking the show. Which is exactly what happened.
        But that finale arc of S2 was undeniably brilliant. And no doubt we were all fawning over how brilliant it was. And the critics were talking about how brilliant it was. Enter hubris. After that awesome strong finish, I think they were reading their own press too much and developed a “trust us, we know what we’re doing” mentality. So they took the show darker (which they’d wisely decided NOT to do back in S1) and broke apart Charah, thereby completely undoing that beautiful, special, awesome thing they’d done to finish S2.
        Tragic. Pity they were reading the wrong sources, or they would have seen the conditional aspect of the praise. They certainly would have known that brilliance would quickly fade if they UNDID that epic finale.

      • atcDave says:

        Just one quick addenda. I think this is a very common television/movie failing. Writers/Producers/Directors et al see something that was great, something that was well received and heaped with tons of fawning praise, and they decide the best thing to do is do it over again.
        WRONG! By doing it again (especially with relationships, but this can apply to defeated villains or imaginative story lines too) it not only feels like a rip off (another love triangle! This villain again! I thought they got off the island last season!) but it actually undermines and diminishes that which was so awesome in the first place. (And for Chuck specifically, it means Colonel had to lead quickly to Honeymooners, NOT Pink Slip)

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, here’s that exchange from the post finale Sepinwall interviews about each season/

        Chris raises an interesting point, which is you had to make a lot of decisions over the years because you assumed the show was going to end in five seconds from now and some of those work out really well, like Morgan being at Spy World. Chuck and Sarah together have worked out really well. In hindsight, is there anything you might have done sooner having realized how well it worked?

        Josh Schwartz Oh gosh, sooner? I don’t think sooner. Because I think we did everything pretty fast. I mean we were going to do Chuck knows kung fu at the end of season one if it hadn’t been for the strike.

        Interesting. I didn’t know that.

        Josh Schwartz Yeah, that was the big plan. We got very excited about that.

        Chris Fedak: If you think back to season one, Chuck didn’t want to be a spy. He just wanted his life back. There had to be a point where our hero decided that this is for him or this was his choice, so at the end of season one it was going to be that moment from the end of season two of sitting there at the computer: “Save the day”/”Run away.” He had to become a normal person.

        Josh Schwartz Red button, green button? Red button, green button.

        Chris Fedak: And so that was always kind of there in the background of season one and then definitely season two.

        Josh Schwartz But once the strike happened we had to reboot and that led to a lot of good stuff. I love all the seasons of the show. Season two was the moment where creatively the show really found its rhythm and we had the money.

        So at least in that interview they said the 2.0 was planned for 1.22 and got pushed to the back of season 2.

      • atcDave says:
          Yeah I’m almost positive he’s mis-remembering. Because they said about the time Santa Claus first ran THAT was supposed to be the S1 finale. And when Ring first ran they were laughing that they did something they had promised NBC they would never do (with the 2.0).
          I guess that doesn’t prove they weren’t going to do it all at once (oh, and kill off Devon too). But I think it’s more likely they went through two or three or fifty different versions and now have them all jumbled together. At this point, it’s likely impossible to sort out when they wanted to do what.
      • uplink2 says:

        You mean that the stories have changed over the years and Schwedak were not being totally honest with Sepinwall? I’m shocked!

        I mean they told him there absolutely is a universe where Sarah and Shaw are perfect for each other and would be the heroes of any other spy show! 😉

        Excuse me while I throw up in my mouth a little bit.

      • atcDave says:

        To be fair, they could have been joking on various occasions. That never translates well into print. I’ve had a few experiences with that myself…

        (And you know Sarah/Shaw had to be a joke. No sane person would ever buy that!)

      • atcDave says:

        It’s also possible the 2.0 WAS a part of their original outline for the S1 finale. The outline they had when they were shopping the show, and NBC made them change it, not the writer’s strike.

  19. atcDave says:

    Casey hates working with a team. “The CIA skirt, you can kill”. He knows Sarah by reputation. He’s trying to get his team killed. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  20. Ernie Davis says:

    Is “G-Man suit” a section at Menwearhouse?

  21. atcDave says:

    Don’t puke on the C4…

  22. atcDave says:

    It really stands out how much the production values slipped with the budget cuts.

  23. Angus MacNab says:

    Thanks, I needed that.

  24. Dave says:

    Sorry I missed the rewatch. The pilot is in my top three for S1 (can’t bring myself to pick a winner).

    Yvonne comes out of the gate smoking. She does a fantastic job in this episode.

  25. oldresorter says:

    Given how well received this ep is, made me wonder what makes a great Chuck ep vs what makes Chuck a great show? For me, I often compare to other shows. In Castle, Fillion’s charm makes the show great, but how tricky the bottle ep works vs the cast in play for the ep makes the ep for me. In Chuck, I think it’s Chuck and Sarah’s charm together that made the show, what made an ep for me, might be as simple as the ‘charm’ is allowed to manifest itself. A third show Burn Notice, is all about the bad guy getting it in the end after the ep makes me hate the bad guy enough, but the show’s charm is more about the narrative. In Alias, the Rambaldi mystery in the backdrop made the show, but the clever missions made the eps. So although all four shows have a primary couple, Chuck is the only show that the couple made (or ruined) the ep / show for me, in other shows, the couple is either a sideshow or even a distraction. Joe, in Covert Affairs, I’m not sure really, I find the husband and wife in charge supporting characters fascinating, but the lead couple, and the lead lady are both sort of annoying. I think the showrunners did watch Chuck, and use things learned from Chuck in their big picture plan, but I don’t think overall that’s a good idea. There is only one Chuck, one Sarah Walker and one Chuck and Sarah. That seems to be what gets me every time with Chuck, both the good (like the Pilot) and the bad (like the misery season or the amnesia arc).

    • atcDave says:

      Well I think what one part is most important varies a lot between viewers. On Chuck, Charah and Chuck’s journey would be the two major competing foci, but I think the humor, the action and even the Buy More may have mattered more to some viewers. Obviously for me, Chuck and Sarah had to be just right, or none of the rest of it mattered at all.

      I would have to comment on Burn Notice too. What you mention matters to you, does not matter to me. To me, the appeal of the show is (was) the humorous and light hearted way everything was accomplished. Especially the quips, quirks and banter of Sam and Fiona. This season, everything has been so oppressively dreary I find absolutely no joy in the show at all. It simply no longer satisfies on any level.

      • oldresorter says:

        Shows how tough it is to please everyone. BN seemed darker from the start for me than you. So much so, that I’d be OK if Micheal or Fiona dies, although, it looks like they will get a happy ending, as the entire season they’ve been so miserable, that’s usually a tell tale sign things will be wonderful at the end (no obligatory quip toward Chuck’s ending this time as 13 bad eps for one good moment at the end didn’t work so well in Chuck s3!)

        Jessie’s replaced Fiona as Sam’s straightman, while Momma Weston and Fiona have had a contest who can complain more about Mikey this season. Fiona is holding her own which is a compliment, given that Maddy might be the biggest ‘$itch’ on TV. One thing missing from the usual BN, is the variety of the teaming arrangements, this season every ep has sort of been the same which is not ideal.

        Speaking of tough to do something, I’ve started a different fanfic, an alternate plot line starting the night of Chuck’s birthday party. I’m almost done with the outline, but I’m stuck trying to imagine Chuck in a disguise. How can he do that, I mean who else is that tall, skinny, and goofy? Could he be in a disguise that would fool Beckman, Graham, Casey and yes, Daniel Shaw? As what?

      • atcDave says:

        I came so close, again, to just deleting the show after the last one. If there were much more than two episodes left I would have.

        But I do agree it looks like a more hopeful sort of ending. But this was a lot like Chuck S3 to me, they did so much damage to the characters (mainly Michael, although I was disappointed in Fiona so easily “moving on” too). In hindsight, it looks like Michael has been in a bit of spiral for a couple seasons, and Fiona has become increasingly shrill and less humorous during that same period. Last season was the first I didn’t bother to buy on disc, and this season I obviously won’t buy either.

      • joe says:

        I’m sorta glad that BN got out of the formula-rut they were in, though. You know; an A plot about finding out who burned Mike and a B plot (which most often took the majority of the air-time) about the team doing a nice deed for someone special. I agree about it not being as light-hearted as it was, but I am finding each episode a bit more interesting.

        I’m also finding them harder to follow. Someday we’re going to have an interactive system where you can put your cursor over a character to get the relevant bio or relationship. But for now, I really got lost in the jungles of the Dominican Republic when Mike was dealing with spies, counter spies, drug lords and the scummier part of the CIA all at once.

        I’m mixed on the romantic angst between Mike and Fi, though. You just know it’s going to be resolved in a couple of weeks, but I don’t care anywhere near as much as I did about Chuck and Sarah. I guess that’s not fair. I don’t even care about them as much as about Tony and Ziva or about Booth and Bones.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I agree the old formula needed to go, but mainly in the sense I never cared at all about the “A” plot. I was just interested in the baddy of the week, and the latest outrageous scheme the would hatch to bring them down.

        Along the same lines, I really liked Michael and Fiona early on when Mike was the experienced but burned spy and Fiona was his slightly psycho, but enthusiastic and capable girlfriend.
        Like many shows, I think it all started to go downhill when they started taking themselves more seriously. I think that was about S5. I think what they should have done was had Michael make peace with the idea he was doing important work, and could help more people, as an outside the law vigilante/troubleshooter rather than going back into the deep cover sort of life. And for a while, it really seemed like that’s where it was heading. He was liking spending more time with his mom, and being home with Fiona every night. But it came of the rails when he chose CIA work over his private “business”. He went the opposite direction from the Bartowskis, and the result has been profoundly no fun.

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