Chuck vs the Seduction Impossible (4.14)

The start of the large Season Four back order.  These episodes could be called an “Engagement Arc”, or maybe the Vivian Volkoff arc.   But Seduction Impossible is clearly a stand alone sort of episode.  After the jump, we’ll start this week’s discussion.

Roan Montgomery is a fun cad.  Much of what works well in Seduction Impossible is thanks to his presence.  But I think this is a pretty entertaining episode however you look at it.  We get to see plenty of funny Sarah this week (“are you calling me a ball and chain?!”), Casey contemplating removing his arm, Beckman with a rocket launcher and dueling seductions that leave Chuck (and maybe some viewers) slack jawed.

I’m at a loss to find anything to criticize here.  The two main stories involve Roan’s mission to seduce a warlord counterfieter,  and Chuck and Sarah butting heads over the wedding or elopement discussion.  Roan is apparently trying to avoid a prior commitment to Beckman, by doing the sort of mission he knows best.  His story with Beckman is particularly entertaining, but I think the main focus of attention here is on Chuck and Sarah’s story (shocking but true!).  I know there’s been some criticism of the continued use of “angst” in the central relationship, but honestly I think this is so funny it hardly merits any actual worries.  It makes perfect sense Sarah would have little interest in a traditional “big” wedding.  Perhaps she errors in not being immediately forthcoming with her reasoning, but Chuck manages to really gum things up.  And I love how this starts with Morgan’s transparently selfish concerns about being left out of the wedding, and the practice “no”.  Oh my, what a massively stupid idea.  I love how Chuck starts by practicing on dumb stuff, stuff it turns out he actually meant to say yes to (“want some water?”), and escalates into being the worst spies in the world.

Casey’s botched seduction mission is another episode highlight (“Tranq and explode!”).  I guess not everyone is cut out for such finesse work.

Roan forced to work at Buy More is good for a laugh.  I guess that makes the store the government’s secret gulag.  So now Chuck goes from getting really bad Morgan advice to seeking some really bad Roan advice.  Because obviously Roan knows a lot about a long term stable relationship.  Thankfully the result is hilarious.  Did it not occur to Chuck that Sarah had Roan’s class too?  He observes she’s much better at it than he is, but in the end Chuck will get his way.  After much sit-com style comedy we finally get an honest discussion.  It may be obvious to observe Chuck should have known better from the start, but I enjoyed this comedy of errors and I’m not going to worry about it.

The episode’s climax takes us back to Morocco to complete the impossible seduction, and rescue Casey from cutting off his own arm.  I suppose its a good end for Roan and Beckman too, but I can’t help but be sad for two such empty lives.  At least that’s how it looks to me.

I like the end scene here.  Chuck and Sarah fully reconciled back at home.  Sarah concerned over who will come to her wedding and Chuck acknowledging just how much she has done to bring his family back together.  Really a sweet moment.  Sadly, Sarah won’t actually be reconnected with her own Mom until some months after the wedding, but at least the CATs will be there!

There are both a “B” and “C” plot in this episode.  For arguments sake, I’ll call the Mary/Ellie scenes the “B” plot.  Some nice mother/daughter moments; that unfortunately really highlight Ellie’s selfishness towards her brother.  It would have been nice to see a light bulb moment attached to the last Ellie/Mary scene.  I still imagine it has something to do with how accepting Ellie is when she finds she’s been deceived about Chuck’s re-involvement with The Agency.  But I would have preferred something more clear.

That makes the Morgan/Casey story the “C” plot.  For me, the most significant part of this is Morgan talking with Casey while he’s trapped in the palace.  And Casey being hurt to discover Alex doesn’t want him involved with her Mom again.  In the end, he won’t be and Casey realizes that she has moved on.  Not a huge moment, or even the last word, but a well played mile post.

I think this all makes Seduction Impossible a very strong episode.  Of course this is Chuck, maybe that just means its average.  Either way, it was a ton of fun!

~ Dave
ct_bar

Situation Hopeless, But Not Serious

Yes, I answer to that.

Yes, I answer to that.

 

Fatima: You bastard!
Roan: Yes, I answer to that.

Yeah, that could be Roan Montgomery’s (John Larroquette) opening line. The seduction master is a wonder, he is. Just like Push Mix was a dramatic, exciting spy adventure for a now very suave and mature spy named Chuck, Chuck vs. The Seduction Impossible is a comedic tour de force for Team B. And that’s good because I, for one, needed a break from all the dramatic tension of the past few weeks.

A hot mess

A hot mess

Things are changing. It’s true that C&S are having their first tiff as an engaged couple, General Beckman is a “hot mess” and Casey, is trapped behind a wall. That’s the hopeless part.

But Roan asking Chuck if it’s about performance issues, the idea of Casey about to gnaw off his own arm because he’s trapped behind a wall – again! – and, well, General Beckman being a hot mess, now, that’s the “not serious” part. In fact, it’s downright funny.

Unforgettable

Unforgettable

There’s more. No one here forgot about Sarah Walker’s outfit, I’m sure.

Sarah: By the way, for the record, I will not at any point during this mission be dressing as a belly dancer.

But I’ll bet you forgot that line. Right? So go on. Admit it. You laughed this time around too! I laughed enough to barely remember that the episode’s title misleads us to thinking that the impossible seduction is Roan trying to get information illicitly from Fatima Tazi (Lesley-Ann Brandt) by seducing her twice. No one could do that! But that’s not it. There are seductions happening all around.

You said "no!"???

You said “no!”???

The obvious ones include the engaged couple, trying to seduce each other to get what they want (Sarah’s a bit better at it than is Chuck, but he tries nonetheless). Sarah says she wants to elope and Chuck wants a somewhat more fancy wedding with the family attending.

The not so obvious seductions include Ellie’s entreaties to her mother to be a grandmother and to be herself (a spy and a hero) at the same time. They include Morgan trying to convince Casey to see Alex’s mother, Kathleen (Clare Carey) and Casey’s failed attempt to contact her again. These are the sweet, slightly sad moments that make Chuck much more than just a silly sit-com, even while the humor is firing on all cylinders.

One intense family

One intense family

How does it all work out? Well, it works out quietly for Chuck and Sarah, when they realize that their impasse isn’t about them at all. It’s about their families, especially, but not entirely, Sarah’s.

Sarah: So. Your family…
Chuck: Sorry. Sorry. They’re a little intense about the wedding, huh?

And it works out explosively, mostly. That’s okay. Mary is used to that.

Mary: Smooth and silent. Same technique I always used for moving live explosives.

Duck!!!

Duck!!!

It certainly works out for the biggest seduction of all – the climax of Diane Beckman’s decade’s long romance with Roan. They’ve had their time, but they’re not done with each other. And that makes it a romance for the ages.

A romance for the ages

A romance for the ages

 

Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change

The Scorpions – Wind of Change

Dave’s right. Seduction Impossible is not the most memorable, exciting and dramatic episode we’ve seen. It wasn’t meant to be. It may be the most sweetly humor-filled episode, though, and it may be the best way to remember the wonderful characters, like Roan Montgomery, that made Chuck’s journey spectacular.

– joe

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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105 Responses to Chuck vs the Seduction Impossible (4.14)

  1. BillAtWork says:

    Okay, so am I the only one who was disappointed that Sarah didn’t come to Chuck’s defense when Roan asked ‘performance issues?’

    I think the funniest line was when Sarah asked “Are you calling me a ball and chain?” without realizing that Chuck was attached to a real ball and chain.

    But my favorite part was the closing scene. Chuck asking, no pleading, “can’t I get to know you a little better?” Damn right, Chuck.

  2. anthropocene says:

    I agree, Bill…Sarah should’ve swatted Roan down after that below-the-belt comment.
    Dave: “Empty lives” indeed. I’ve always thought that Diane Beckman was a good model for Sarah’s fate without Chuck, and I also thought this episode reinforced that idea.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I think that’s exactly right Anthro. They don’t dwell on it too much, but I like the contrast of Beckman’s lonely life and what Sarah has. Even with a little spat; the difference seems stark.

    • joe says:

      I’m glad you saw this, Anthro. I wasn’t sure TPTB had put that in there intentionally or if I was over-thinking. But I had the same thought.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Sarah seeing herself at a crossroads where she either goes all in on the relationship — or eventually turns into Beckman has always appealed to me. I wish the show would have done more with that.

  3. BillAtWork says:

    I really wish they would have told us the story of Sarah’s parents. What happened? Sarah said that she was forced to take sides. But she seemed to have good relationships with both.

  4. andereandre says:

    Show me footage of the fall of the Berlin Wall and I tear up. Happens every time.

    • joe says:

      I have a confession, Ander. Because I never saw the video before this week, I didn’t realize the significance of the song.
      That’s not quite right. “The video” is seen, after a fashion, in the episode, when young Roan and young Diane are at The Wall. I just didn’t know about the vid. Worse, I always thought the first couple of lines of the song were in a foreign language, so I never paid enough attention.

      Follow the Moskva
      Down to Gorky Park

      Maybe, understandable.
      With the Chuck connection, it’s a great piece. Makes me tear up too!

      • andereandre says:

        For many Wind of Change is the theme song of the fall of the Berlin wall (for me too).
        Funny thing is that it was first released a year after the event and a hit a year later.
        It was written in 1989 though when the group was visiting the USSR during the perestroika and that is what the song is about.

      • BigKev67 says:

        I always felt a bit sorry for anyone who hadn’t heard of the Scorpions and decided to check out their stuff on the basis of that song. It’s fair to say it’s not representative of their normal style!

      • andereandre says:

        I wouldn’t even have liked the song if it were just a song.
        It is the association that does me in.

      • joe says:

        I understand that, Ander. I’m not much into ’80s “power ballads” (which is the way I categorized the song). It was okay.

        But then I saw the video this week, and it really came alive. The scenes are more than evocative – I remember the ’80s and the fall of the Berlin Wall very well. I remember the tenor of the times even better. The atmosphere was completely different then.

        I don’t know how historians will view the way those things were memorialized in “light” TV fare. But somehow, the episode didn’t exactly trivialize the event in my mind. It may have captured something very real, if totally fictional.

      • andereandre says:

        I have absolutely no problem with using joyful historical events for fun.
        If they did that to Florida 2000 however …

      • joe says:

        Oh yes. That *was* Roan and Diane’s most recent significant date, as Casey noted. 😉

      • The Bush 2k line was a great throw-in. I love how unabashedly Republican Casey is.

  5. This episode is hilarious. I’m not as high on standalones as some of you, but I do enjoy them when they pop up. Casey’s just awesome. His excitement about hiding in a wall for weeks, followed up by his premature offer to cut his arm off would be the comedic highlight of almost any other episode. Except here we got his fantastic tranq and explode bit. I guffaw every time.

    I always love how Chuck follows Morgan’s advise unhesitatingly. It’s one of the more endearing aspects of their friendship. I don’t know if that’s in spite or because of how dumb Morgan’s advise usually is, but I had a lot of fun with the practice no’s. Their “oddly co-dependent relationship” is one of the many great odd little details that keeps me coming back to the show.

    Of course, my favorite moment is how completely Chuck fails at seducing Sarah. Solid, solid episode.

    • resaw says:

      Absolutely agree with that, Arthur. Casey seems to relish the prospect of physical privation and mutilation in service to his country. He takes “gung-ho” to a whole new level. What’s even funnier to me is when Morgan calls Casey while he’s in the wall, and when Casey says, “I’m in a wall,” Morgan replies rather matter-of-factly, “Of course you are.”

      On the mutual seduction effort between Chuck and Sarah, I note that when Chuck came in wearing his suit and coat, he was also wearing sunglasses. I realize it was a very brief view, but I thought that it looked dark outside, which made the sunglasses rather incongruous. Reminded me of a song from rather long ago by Corey Hart, “I wear my sunglasses at night.” The other thing was that Chuck was very much dressed up, whereas Sarah’s seduction technique showed a lot of skin in an exotic outfit. I have little trouble understanding Sarah’s effectiveness on Chuck, but are we to understand that a nicely accessorized suit is the best way for a man to seduce a woman? Or is it because Chuck had the appearance of a sophisticated James Bond spy type?

      For me, when Chuck and Sarah are lying in bed, and Chuck is quite reasonably asking to know more about Sarah and her family, the music that played sounded rather ominous, as though to ask questions in this direction could only lead to danger. Did anyone else get that impression?

      I agree that this was an enjoyable episode. Largely self-contained, it filled in some gaps in our knowledge of the main characters, and gave Sarah an opportunity to be more vulnerable to Chuck about herself and her family. Mary Bartowski was also rehabilitated somewhat in my mind, too. I sure didn’t have much use for her earlier in the season, but these last two episodes worked for me. I enjoyed her interaction with Ellie and Clara.

      • thinkling says:

        It’s interesting to watch these episodes, especially the Sarah ones, with hindsight. I think they walked a fine line about how much (and how in tone, etc) to reveal about Sarah’s past, especially her mom. I had always sort of assumed Sarah was estranged from her mom. Of course that turned out to be untrue, and I love the back story they gave us in Baby.

        So back to the tone at the end of Seduction Impossible. At the time I interpreted it as some huge uncomfortable issue with her mom/family — a falling out or whatever. Now that we know the story, we see it as fear for Emma and Molly, and you are right about leading to danger. I guess it was tricky writing for Sarah before they knew exactly what back story they were going to give her. I doubt they ever thought they’d get that far into Sarah’s back story.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I think they meant for us to think that Sarah had some huge uncomfortable issue with Mom. They reinforced that later in the season (Family Volkoff maybe?) where Sarah told Casey that she had to choose sides. The implication was that she had chosen dad.

        I doubt that Mom and the Baby were on their radar at that time. It’s not a big deal. I loved the episode with Emma and come to find out; she had a better relationship with her than she did Dad. I would have loved to have seen more of Emma.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, that’s kind of what I meant. They obviously didn’t have Molly or Emma on the radar, so they had to walk a fine line to with what they hinted at, so they would have lots of leeway if they ever came back to fill in the back story. They were intentionally murky so as not to write themselves into a corner.

        I loved Baby, the whole story, and I would have liked to see more Emma as well.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Sarah clearly had a better relationship with mom. Mom knew that she was a CIA Agent. Dad didn’t. It makes you wonder how they got from the scene at the end of DeLorean — to Sarah calling mom from a mission for advice on how to calm a crying baby.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree exactly with all of this about Sarah and her Mom, they did a very nice job of foreshadowing something big, and still managed to surprise us with what they did.

        We still never knew quite how the balance between parents and grandparents worked for young Sam/Sarah, but in the end it never really mattered.

  6. revdr says:

    Knowing all that we now know about Sarah’s childhood and her relationship with both her mom and especially her dad (he wouldn’t even stay for dinner for God’s sake) it was understandable to Sarah would shy away from a big family wedding. As to the episode itself it was just fun…and after all the drama with the Volkoff arc and finding Mary both the team and the fans needed a little fun. Roan is one of my favorite Chuck characters and to have him in the mix once more was very enjoyable. Plus we got to see the General get from behind the desk with a little backstory added to the mix.

  7. thinkling says:

    This is such a lovable episode. It’s unremarkable as episodes go and perhaps a little less than the sum of its parts … but so lovable. It’s laugh out loud funny — every time — and romantic and sweet. Plus it has a lot of love and heart.

    There’s so much that makes me laugh and smile in this episode: Sarah sweating without gunfire and refusing to dress as a belly dancer on the mission; Beckman with her bottle, her boyfriend issues (awkward), and her rocket launcher; Chuck with his practice no’s; and Roan in Buymore green polyester. The seductions: Chuck and Sarah seducing each other was funny and priceless, especially with Sarah’s indignation that Chuck would try the same thing on her that she’s trying on him. Both of them are better at it than Casey, though. His seduction of the hearty guard with the lovely weapon may rank as one of the funniest Chuck scenes, ever, made even funnier by Roan and Chuck and Sarah’s reactions.

    Seduction Impossible is the first of a number of episodes that give us Chuck and Sarah growing and learning to how to communicate and love each other. It’s a ride I really enjoyed and never get tired of repeating.

    I loved how caught up Sarah got in her description of eloping with Chuck to some beautiful, romantic, amazing place. She really ended up seducing herself a little.

    When seduction didn’t work for either of them, they finally communicated. Chuck asked her why she didn’t want the big wedding, and wonder of wonders, she told him. Fantastic moment when Sarah becomes more honest and a little more vulnerable, and Chuck becomes more supportive. The final scene was the icing on the cake.

  8. oldresorter says:

    Castle Spoiler – last nights ep, in spite of the less use of Kate, was a top notch ep for me. Was that Alex’s best ep ever? The ending was eerily like the end of Push Mix, as we see Kate and Alex talking, but can’t hear the words, but we know they’re good ones! I don’t always rewatch Castle, but I will this one, as I missed a few things. This Castle ep, along with Seduction Impossible, were examples of how self contained eps can provide big payoffs from ‘small’ stories, loved both of them!

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah it was a good strong episode. And no Pi…

    • joe says:

      You may want to check out this recap/review by Donna Kauffman.

      Last week we were back to our good ol’ case-solving antics with our favorite team of crime fighters plus one … but we fell a little flat with the secondary storylines. Yes, Pi, I’m looking at you. And, frankly, I’m getting really tired of it. Also? We need to bring back the Castle’s-daughter-Alexis character that we all know and used to love.

      Without reading the fan sites and tweets the way I used to for Chuck, I have a feeling that this is the general fan consensus. Pretty much was mine, too.

      I think the reviewer missed one thing, though, or at least, terribly under-emphasized it. [minor spoiler, so avert your eyes all ye who haven’t seen it yet] That last scene with Beckett and Alexis told me one thing loud and clear. The whole Pi situation (and everything Alexis this season so far) was meant to be taken as the girl’s reaction to another woman (Beckett) taking her father away from her, not so much about having a new step-mom. Alexis is too old for that.

      Yeah, it’s all very Freudian.

      I think they over did this by at least two full episodes, and I also think it’s rather OOC for Alexis. Kauffman does to, I think. But I get why they did it. It’s only a half-bad idea. The situation seems to be headed back to normal, and not a moment too soon.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think the teen-revolt boyfriend was a terrible idea at all, but it is a joke that’s already gone stale.
        But I’ll wait until he’s back to pass final judgement. I still hope he’ll just go away quickly.

      • thinkling says:

        Hmm. I didn’t really pick up on the push back against Kate … until she mentioned it. Maybe that’s because I thought they already did that when Alexis found out (last season). If that’s the reason for the Pi plot (eye-roll), I hope it ends soon … well, I already hoped that. I agree with your quote, Joe, although it’s not a terribly big deal to me. I think they may also be trying to figure out how to write Alexis, now that she is a young woman. I think this last episode would be a good direction … having her adding to investigations, maybe an internship in the DA’s office … something useful, instead of the whole mad-at-daddy-Pi-thing. Whatever, Castle continues to be uplifting weekly entertainment for us. It’s nice to have a show that you know isn’t going to go too dark. (Where have I thought that before?)

      • oldresorter says:

        I must be the only one here who likes Pi. I love that he gets under Rick’s skin. In many ways, Rick is an arrogant, selfish, snob, a lovable one, but still one. So having the anti Rick as the B/F is clever IMO. But I read the article Joe posted, and again, seems like I might be one of the few in the entire fandom that likes Pi. I guess that’s how Shaw fans felt?

        I’ll ask rhetorically, what type of guy should be her b/f? A bad person, say like a young Shaw? No way! Wouldn’t a perfect captain of the football team be wrong too, say like a young Bryce? Yuck! A geek like her (say like Chuck), no contrast right? A detective on the force? Maybe? A writer? Be too wierd, but maybe? I think a bafoon, say like Morgan is pretty good, as it gives the show the comedy that Martha used to supply! Not perfect, but I certainly see the rationale and I’m not sure what type of guy works better.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t know exactly what would work either Jason, but the neo-hippie isn’t really working for me.
        Perhaps part of the problem (?) is, I empathize 100% with Rick. I don’t really laugh along with the ways they clash, I just want to see Pi take a hike already.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I haven’t seen the episode, but they have established in previous episodes (and seasons) that both Alexis and Martha have their doubts about Kate. I was pretty sure Pi was about feeling as if Kate was replacing her and acting out to replace her dad. Hope it gets resolved soon.

      • joe says:

        Good thoughts.
        I think you’re right, Thinkling. They’re struggling to make Alexis grow up a bit. The reviewer mentioned the “Don’t mess with me” suit she wore and I flinched at her “I’m not asking permission” line. Even at age 19, that’s not exactly appropriate (at least, it wasn’t in my day unless I wanted to be smacked into next Tuesday…). For all that, they’re right – Alexis can’t stay “Daddy’s little girl” much longer.

        As for Pi, I think Hipster is the term they use now, Dave. I think he’s meant to be clearly not Alexis’s type, as verified by Rick’s reaction. Her stubborn insistence on being with him is supposed to be for Rick’s benefit, I’m sure.

        But what’s more annoying and not yet addressed in the show is Alexis’ loss of innocence. In some ways she was always supposed to be the mature one so that Rick could be the boy by comparison. I never liked it when the child was the grown up in the house. It’s a standard sit-com trope that I find annoying and insulting to fathers. They used a light touch on that, so it was okay in Castle. But now there’s a price to be paid. The fans saw Alexis as intelligent but sweetly innocent and the writers wanted her to be mature and not naive. It’s going to be hard for the character to be both.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Totally off topic, but I thought I’d note we just passed 70,000 comments on this blog.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with a lot of Dave and Joe’s sentiment, and my husband really doesn’t like the anti-dad stuff. I do think they’re struggling to find her character and how it all fits. That’s something Chuck did extremely well — letting the characters grow and doing a good job with it. It’s hard to get to those new plateaus in TV world.

        What type of guy? I agree that an opposite kind of guy would be fun — like Rick and Kate. But that doesn’t mean I buy this much of an opposite. He’s too extreme to be believable, and it appears he’s just there to be Rick’s rash, because they haven’t really developed him at all. I could like an opposite, but give me something endearing or something admirable, something of substance that I can root for.

      • atcDave says:

        Thinkling I think “admirable” would make a huge difference! Pi is potentially a funny character, but he seems so horribly wrong for Alexis it just doesn’t work for me.

    • thinkling says:

      Heh, that scene did indeed remind me of a Chuck scene, but it wasn’t Push Mix. It was the end of Cat Squad. Chuck was in the courtyard, looking through the window, watching Sarah and Ellie bond. Very strong parallels and similar staging.

      • oldresorter says:

        absolutely, good catch Think. When I bring up other shows, I try to relate to something Chuck, Push Mix’s unspoken words came to mind since it was still in ‘RAM’ (does that still exist?), but I like your example better than mine. Watching the ep, it struck me how much more satisfied I am watching eps that are more self contained, I really don’t like arcs very much. I realize all shows to a certain extent are arcs, but I like the serialization to be muted and subtle, rather than overpowering and overt. Then, at the end, I want an overpowering and overt happy ending while I scratch my head for clues that led to the happiness, rather than debate whether the ending was happy at all.

        Joe, that review you posted helped me understand a few of the things I missed in this Castle ep, I still look forward to rewatching the ep, but when I do, it’ll be with a clearer picture of what went on.

        Saw somewhere that Castle is likely to be renewed, which is good news.

      • atcDave says:

        I just watched CAT Squad (for next week’s post) and that is an excellent comparison. Very similar sort of mood.

        Jason I agree with all of that. I’m okay with some story elements carrying over from week to week, but I prefer a pretty neat conclusion to the main story at the end of every hour. I’m watching television mostly to relax and decompress at the end of the day, I don’t want it adding to my issues for the week. And on shows I follow more casually, I don’t want a big burden of having to keep track of a very complicated story. I sort of resent the idea that I have nothing better to do with my time than keep track of eight different shows.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave i agree. i’m more of a case by case type guy myself. i don’t watch much TV other than sports so when i decide to tune in i don’t want to figure out what i missed. judging by the lenght of shows (longevity) that air that way vs ones that carry over, most of the public would agree i think. on a side note glad to see you guys are still going on. i don’t get a chance to popst to often because of my location i still follow up and enjoy the discussions that take place here.

      • atcDave says:

        Army its always great to have another “old timer” stop by!

        I think we’ve got about 5 months left until we finish this re-watch, and I’ve got another 6 weeks or so in mind after (series/season evaluations)…
        And then, who knows. We hope to still be here when talks get serious about a movie. But that may be a while yet, and things may slow down a lot before that happens.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Dave hang on longer than that, i have till august in astan. they asked me to stay with a unit from PR and well you know how it goes. this blog gives me a tatse of home, so again thanks!

      • atcDave says:

        Well if we’re doing it for the troops we’ll have to find a way to keep going!

  9. noblz says:

    I will say this is a very enjoyable episode that I liked a lot and Roan Montgomery is a hoot. Having said that, there were two things that I took issue with.

    One: this is one where the reduction in production quality was obvious. The sets and such were just so noticeably a cost cutting measure. It didn’t hurt the story, but it was noticeable.

    Two: the cheap gimmick that TPTB pulled with the engagement ring. I understand that Sarah would not wear it on a mission, but in the opening scene (after Roan) everyone is discussing the upcoming wedding and Sarah doesn’t have her ring on. In fact, I think we first see it in the scene AFTER the seduction not DURING it. I mean why? Who possibly believes that Sarah refused the proposal at the end of Push Mix. I mean come on man!!!

    • thinkling says:

      I remember the first time around we all noticed the same thing … along with the rest of the fandom. Turns out it wasn’t intentional at … just simple oversight. And it never happened again.

    • BillAtWork says:

      Here’s the deal. If you’re looking for any detailed attention to the relationship, CF was simply not interested in that. I would have loved to see the scene where C/S tell Ellie that they are engaged. That’s not his style. We got the 10 second, long lens payoff as the credits were rolling in Push Mix. Now the engagement is just an opportunity for conflict for basically the next 9 episodes until Cliffhanger when we get our next 10 second payoff as the credits are rolling.

      It’s just the way it is.

      • atcDave says:

        Some of it is just continuity stuff. Television is made fast and cheap, it is not uncommon to see such oversights. Which scenes Sarah was wearing her rings is primarily going to be the responsibility of a continuity person, a prop/costuming person, and even Yvonne. It is made more complex because Sarah would logically not wear her ring(s) on missions. It is not an issue to the show runner or writer. Even the director may pay little attention to it. It is small issue on a big production.
        Obviously it is also an emotionally charged issue for many fans. But I am pretty confident absolutely nothing was meant by the inconsistency of it. It was simply an occasionally overlooked detail.

      • BillAtWork says:

        I agree that the engagement ring thing was probably simply an oversight. It’s a little stunning oversight since it’s the first scene after spending 10 episodes teasing an engagement.

        But not really a big deal. I was making a larger point.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        It is the first scene we see of Chuck and Sarah after the engagement, not necessarily the next scene shot. From what we know of the production schedule that scene could have been shot before the engagement scene, meaning they wouldn’t be thinking of the ring. Relatively minor compared to some of the continuity whoppers we’ve had even in the earlier seasons where they had more time and money (like Awesome installing a pacemaker the same night as his bachelor party).

        Want to have some fun, when they show a phone check the time the phone is showing compared to when it appears to be in the show.

      • thinkling says:

        Aww, Bill, it was at least 20 seconds. Kidding. Why must you exaggerate so? To be fair, whereas I agree CF was a bit miserly with relationship payoffs, the two episodes you mentioned are his most generous.

        Push Mix, yes, gave us the night vision binocular payoff, and I’ve complained about wanting to see it better. But … but, they gave us pretty much an entire episode dedicated to the proposal and ending with a very romantic proposal (shy of 5 words), which the CIA crashed with abysmal timing. We’ve talked about that, so I won’t again. The point is they did give us a very romantic proposal with both C/S involved in making it happen, so I can’t quibble with the length of the hospital proposal. It was a very sweet way to tie up the loose ends of the original, more romantic proposal. I say that was good payoff.

        The wedding was 4 minutes. Yeah, I would have loved more, but I was pretty happy with what we got, especially in a show that packs as much into an episode as Chuck (They needed 2 hrs for Cliff Hanger). Despite the shorter-than-we-wanted wedding, we got the practice vows, which I loved, and we got 6 minutes of rehearsal dinner the week before. That’s good payoff, especially considering how much wedding stuff we got leading up to the wedding.

        As for the conflicts during the engagement arc, they were very minor, always humorous, and used as a vehicle for growth and some of Chuck’s sweetest moments. No conflict ever rose to a level that in any way threatened the relationship. So I wouldn’t call the engagement “just an opportunity for conflict.” I saw a lot of humor and fun, sprinkled liberally with growth and heart.

        Finally, to say that CF wasn’t interested in the relationship is to call him a liar. (We try to avoid that.) He was obviously interested in it (the heart of the show, he called it). I do think he was more interested in, and better at, the hero’s journey … and more interested in Chuck than Sarah. However, he gave the relationship a hugely significant place in the show … I would say of almost equal importance, except when it came to finales when Chuck’s hero journey was clearly foremost in his mind. But just because he didn’t put it first didn’t mean he wasn’t interested in it.

        To many fans the relationship was of equal (or greater) importance with the hero’s journey. I think, perhaps, in Fedak’s mind, they are not separate. The relationship was one aspect (a central aspect, but not the only aspect) of the hero’s journey. I think that’s part of the reason for the disconnect with fans.

      • thinkling says:

        Hey, have a little more fun and track Beckman’s wedding ring in S1. 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        That was all well put Thinkling, I have no doubt the romance DID matter to CF. But as a matter of priority we’re not quite on the same page with him. Although I think I would tinker with some more scenes than it sounds like you would. But even so, I’m mostly very pleased with the end product.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Look, I really don’t want to have this conversation if my choices are

        A – Being labeled as a chronic complainer.

        Or

        B – Having to buy into the ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ vision where CF is a genius who hit every single note perfectly.

        Liar is far too strong. I don’t think CF is a liar. I do think that when he talks about the relationship, and when I (and people like me) talk about the relationship we may be using some of the same words, but we’re not saying the same things. That’s what I mean when I say that CF doesn’t understand his audience. He clearly thought 3D, Pink Slip, and First Class were quality entertainment that we would love, right? Or I assume he wouldn’t have done them. I mean, I don’t think he’s suicidal.

        The wedding. I’m glad that it was enough for you. But I would like to contrast the wedding we saw in Cliffhanger with the one we saw in Ring.

        Ring was the story of a wedding. And sure, other things were going on. But they were all centered around the wedding. We saw the bride getting ready with her bridesmaids. We saw her walked down the aisle by her dad and brother. We saw her reception. We saw her throw her bouquet (in a deleted scene). None of those things were hurried.

        So when I say that the engagement was a source of conflict, here is what I mean.

        We got a big fight over elopement.

        We got a prenup.

        We got the wedding planer stealing their money and dad saying he wouldn’t show up.

        We got mom getting captured and possibly not attending.

        We got Sarah on her deathbed and a shot of what we were supposed to assume was her funeral announcement.

        And for all that conflict, we got a hurried, afterthought payoff.

        That’s all I’m saying.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Thinkling, how dare you call Beckman’s quickie divorce after seeing Chuck a continuity error, it is a major theme of the Duck shippers mythology.

        Bill, calm down. Nobody is claiming B or has ever claimed B. I’ve written plenty about problems I see with the show and the execution. I just choose not to dwell on them.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I really don’t think anyone has ever said CF never made a mistake, I doubt even CF claims that to himself (what he says publicly may be a different matter!).

        I would think any show, any story we can think of, we can also imagine alternatives and “what ifs”. I know I often do. And with Chuck there’s just so many times I can imagine a different version of the story playing out. I guess my imaginings are never as involved and detailed as some, but that’s why some fans write fan fiction, and some don’t, right? But seriously, I’ve probably imagined to myself 20 different ways of Ellie finding out that Chuck and Sarah were really involved with the CIA. Back when S2 and S3 first ran I probably constructed 30 or more scenarios in my mind as to how Chuck and Sarah would get past the wt/wt stage. I’ve made up stories involving reassignments, secret relationships, still more returns of Bryce Larkin, different downfalls of Ted Roark and Alexei Volkoff, and on and on. None of that means any writer(s) screwed up by not doing what I imagined (well maybe in a few cases. …S3… ); but mostly it means they fired my imagination and got my mind actively involved with their characters and in their universe. In many of those cases, where I can imagine something that would have appealed more to me, it possibly would have ONLY appealed more to me. Like some of my F-22 fantasies.

        And that’s all a long way of getting to saying I don’t really believe they over-used or misused tension in the relationship during the engagement! I mean seriously, it’s a spy themed action comedy. Of course there’s going to be life and death tension, of course they’re going to find issues and differences to tease and laugh over during the engagement. Nothing really threatened the stability of the couple. Every spat in S4 was mostly played for laughs. And only Last Details ended in a very tense place, through no fault of our characters. Sure we can imagine different ways of dealing with this period, but that doesn’t make what they did “bad”. Really I think this is a surprisingly long, joyful period for the show. Few shows have ever delivered anything quite like it. We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for with this show, and I’m just so pleased we got this period. Pretty much all the way from 4.01 – 5.08 is a sort of Golden Era to my mind. The Chuck I always hoped for.

      • thinkling says:

        Bill, there is very, very broad ground between A (chronic complainer) and B (buying into the Emperor’s New Clothes vision). That expansive middle ground is where we like to keep the discussions.

        As Dave and Ernie said, none of us has EVER taken the B position. We have all criticized various aspects of the show, the decisions made by the show runners, and the show runners themselves.

        You, on the other hand, hunker down on the A side of that equation and hurl outlandish barbs, only to completely change the meaning of what you said later on when you try to explain what you meant.

        You’re a writer, and since writers usually choose their words carefully, I have to assume that you said what you meant the first time … which, taken at face value, was simply not true.

        And you’re surprised when someone takes issue with what you say?

      • BillAtWork says:

        Okay, fair enough. But let’s look at today’s example.

        Noblz (and Noblz, please feel free to correct me if you think I’m wrong. I don’t want to put words in your mouth.) pointed out something that he didn’t like about the episode we were discussing. I think even he would say that it wasn’t a big deal, really didn’t ruin the episode, but he did notice it. I’d basically agree with that sentiment.

        He was immediately challenged by 3 of the 4 principals (Joe must have been busy, lol) saying that it was simply an oversight, an insignificant detail overlooked. It took something tiny, something that would have been quickly forgotten and made it the point of discussion for the day.

        And I think even the most ardent defender would have to admit 3 things.

        1. It is totally CF’s style to pull those kinds of visual gags to make you wonder what is going on. We’ve already talked about the marquee in front of the church announcing what we were to believe was Sarah’s funeral. One could be forgiven for seeing Sarah’s bare finger and wondering WTH.

        2. If it was an oversight, it was a pretty big one. No matter when they shot that scene, it was the first episode after a long wt/wt get engaged where the extended family was talking about the wedding. And Sarah’s not wearing her ring? Noblz has a valid point. I noticed that right away. It was hard not to notice.

        3. There were 5 million people watching who don’t know that it was an oversight. Did they notice? I’m sure that it didn’t cause anybody to change the channel. But I’m thinking it did get a groan or two.

        And Dave, I agree that most of the wt/wt in the first half of the season was tongue in cheek and played for laughs. The 2nd half… not so much.

        The prenup was not only, OOC, it was played for genuine angst. Who wants their fiancé to put a prenuptial agreement on the table? And Sarah’s position was unintelligible. She got upset that Chuck didn’t get upset. What kind of logic is that?

        CAT was pretty tense. Sarah told Chuck in no uncertain terms that she wanted him to stay out of her business. That wasn’t tongue in cheek.

        And I’m not even complaining about that. What I’m complaining about is the woeful payoff.

        Why was the engagement so important? Because they made it so important. They spent the large part of half a season building up the wt/wt. The payoff (and I liked that scene) simply didn’t match the setup.

        And it’s the same with the wedding. It was the climax of 4 longs years of sometimes brutal wt/wt. Do you really think what we got paid that off appropriately?

        Just like they spent a large part of S5 playing up would C/S leave the spy life and start a family. Do you think they paid that off appropriately? I don’t see how even the most ardent supporter of Goodbye could say that it paid off S5.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Thinkling,

        You’re going to have to give me an example of what you would consider an outlandish barb. I think the most critical thing I’ve ever said was that I don’t think that CF is a very good writer. And even that’s not true. He may be a good writer, I just don’t like his stories. Just like I don’t like Charles Dicken’s stories.

        I think that maybe what I think is a fairly tepid criticism sounds to you like an outlandish barb.

        It’s sort of like the definition of freedom of speech. Nobody would ever object to speech, even harsh speech, that they agree with. You only really believe in the freedom when you’re willing to defend the right of the person who makes your blood boil, who speaks ill of everything you hold dear.

        So, yes, I’m more critical of the show than you are. I lament some of the problems. I think that the show could still be on the air had they done some things differently.

        But surely, we can have that civil, respectful discussion, can’t we?

      • thinkling says:

        Outlandish barbs:

        CF was simply not interested in [the relationship] He created the show and called the shots that made the relationship central to the show. He progressed the relationship in ways few other shows have done. He often said that the relationship was the heart of the show.

        We got the 10 second, long lens payoff as the credits were rolling in Push Mix.

        Now the engagement is just an opportunity for conflict for basically the next 9 episodes until Cliffhanger …

        … when we get our next 10 second payoff as the credits are rolling.

        All untrue and exaggerated beyond the field of meaningful discussion.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Those are what you’re calling outlandish barbs? Really? We must run in different circles.

        CF was simply not interested in [the relationship]

        I think it was Josh Schwartz who first said that, in almost those exact words, lol. In fact he was more derisive. He said that CF was only interested in blowing things up. If I said that, you’d call it an outlandish barb.

        We got the 10 second, long lens payoff as the credits were rolling in Push Mix.

        Okay, hyperbole maybe, I’ll give you that. But I do think that the payoff didn’t match the buildup. I stand behind that. I don’t think it’s outlandish… at all.

        when we get our next 10 second payoff as the credits are rolling.

        Come on, that was clearly tongue in cheek.

        Look, I’ll try and keep the criticism fair. But certainly we can agree that we can respectfully disagree, can’t we?
        .

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I really disagree with calling any of the late S4 angst “serious” in any way. In CAT Squad, Sarah is angry with Chuck for maybe 3 minutes of screen time, after having just acknowledged to Ellie she loved him even when he was annoying her. And the pay off was comparatively much longer, from worrying over him in the Buy More to thanking him effusively at the party.
        The pre-nup thing was also played for laughs. I actually don’t find the subject matter very funny, more like a bit of modern culture idiocy; but I found the execution amusing in that Sarah realized as soon as Chuck didn’t react that she apparently wanted to be talked out of it. Its almost like something she promised herself she would do years ago (protect that money for her dad at all cost) only discover the issue was irrelevant with Chuck involved. In the end I liked it, and I loved the resolution.
        And that pretty much sums up my reaction to all the issues between Chuck and Sarah. Some laughs and low key tension to arrive at a heart warming conclusion. That works for me. Sure I might have gone for more of a Nick and Nora sort of story, but I’m fine with what was done.

        As far as responding to Noblz (AKA Dave), I never saw any harshness in the reply. And Dave is someone I think I have a pretty solid and friendly report with. Our taste is usually closely aligned. If we disagree on something its always in the friendliest sort of way.

      • thinkling says:

        Bill, since I was the one to reply about the engagement ring oversight, I’ll respond. First of all, I stated that we all noticed the absence of the engagement ring and reacted to it when Seduction Impossible aired.

        Then we found out it was an oversight. That’s not my opinion, or a challenge of a defense of anything. IT’S THE TRUTH. Someone related to the show said that it was not intentional. Somebody forgot (like Josh forgot to take his wedding ring off in one scene in Balcony). It was an oversight. I guess I figured that Noblz would be glad to know, as we all were when we found out, that it was not a gimmick after all … just an honest mistake.

        The rest of the big discussion hasn’t been about the ring at all. It’s been a response to the criticisms you started about 10 second payoffs and CF’s non-interest in the relationship. As it is right now, you’re the only one complaining.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Okay, Thinkling, I’m going to try and take Ernie’s advice (don’t let it go to your head, Ernie) and calm down a little.

        I agree that I started the tangent discussion with a 93 word (you like statistics, lol) post. Was it sarcastic? Maybe. Was it hyperbole? Okay. But I don’t think it was complaining. And it certainly wasn’t intended to be construed as outlandish barbs. It was simply a recognition of what we all originally realized about this time. We weren’t going to get a lot of romance. And what little we got was going to be paid for by some internal melodramatic conflict. We were going to have to enjoy the show in spite of that. It’s fair to disagree with my conclusion.

        In your 459 word response, you basically agreed with most of my points. You just used different words and cited other things that mitigated the issues.

        There are two main items where we disagree. The first, if there was wt/wt conflict, is simply a matter of opinion. I respect your opinion that it was all in good humor. You should respect mine that it sometimes (the prenup being the most blatant) crossed the line into genuine and gratuitous angst. BTW, I totally agree about the fake vows in Cliffhanger. It was the best scene in the episode, far better than the wedding.

        But the CF being interested in the relationship, I simply have to defend my POV. Of course he said that he was. I don’t dispute that. He was the show runner. What would you expect him to say? That’s the answer that was demanded at that time. He also said once that the Chuck/Ellie relationship was the heart of the show. But that’s before he became show runner. I’m not sure if he ever called the Chuck/Morgan relationship the heart of the show. But he clearly thought that it was. 🙂

        It’s hard to psychoanalyze someone who you only know by his interviews and works. But I think that CF felt that the show was about a hero’s journey. And there were 3 important relationships for Chuck, Sarah, Ellie, and Morgan. Economic reasons maybe put Chuck/Sarah a bit ahead, but not much, and not because CF thought so. It’s the main reason he had a show. And that attitude came across pretty loud and clear in his episodes. The dramatic relationship scenes where just as often Chuck/Morgan or Chuck/Ellie. Chuck talked to Morgan and Ellie about Sarah more than he talked to Sarah about Sarah.

        I’ve often said that he didn’t understand his audience. I fully believe that. I also fully believe that had he understood his audience better, he would have done some things very differently. And, yes, it makes me a little frustrated because I think that the show could still be on the air had he done a better job.

        I’ve always tried to be fair to CF. It was a hard job that he had no experience to help him with. I would suck at it too. But I also think there are areas where that inexperience really showed. Every time I would read one of his interviews, I’d come away shaking my head. The episodes that he wrote are almost universally at the bottom of my list. And I’m clearly not the only person who thinks so. He has several episodes in the bottom 10.

        So I’ll make an honest effort to watch the tone of my future posts. But I’m probably not going to change my opinion on CF.

      • noblz says:

        atcDave, Thinkling, Bill, Ernie et al

        I’m kind of sorry I pulled the pin on this grenade. For the record, I was participating on the IMdB board (I didn’t find this blog until the show had ended) when this aired and never heard the ring issue was some sort of goof. I still say it is a big goof and honestly, after S3.0 I find it hard to cut TPTB any slack on this.

        Bill is correct in that it was not a showstopper, there was just too much good stuff in this episode to let the ring or the cheap sets drag it down. Loved the episode, the sets and the ring just seemed to be needless distractions to me.

        Not sure why my handle changed but yes, I am Noblz formerly known as Dave.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill there’s no doubt CF often came across poorly in interviews. I often joked he only promoted things with negative energy; he always talked about how dire everything was going to be. Which is actually a complete turn off to me; I want to hear why things will be great, the team working together, learning new things about favorite characters, seeing the true strength of friend, family loving relationships. THAT’s the stuff that excites me, and it isn’t how he normally talks.
        But in spite of that particular disconnect, I’m mostly satisfied with the product delivered. I can always find little details to fuss over, some bother me more than others, but in the end I’m mostly satisfied.

        Dave there is no problem bringing things like that up. That’s really why we do this, so we can all fuss and discuss over the details. It is great on those occasions when there is a simple answer. I do understand not wanting to give them much benefit of the doubt in some of the later seasons; S3 really did deep and lasting harm for so many of us. But I do believe they honestly were trying to make things right in S4. And with only a few missteps, I think they succeeded.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Bill there’s no doubt CF often came across poorly in interviews. I often joked he only promoted things with negative energy; he always talked about how dire everything was going to be. Which is actually a complete turn off to me; I want to hear why things will be great, the team working together, learning new things about favorite characters, seeing the true strength of friend, family loving relationships. THAT’s the stuff that excites me, and it isn’t how he normally talks.

        Yes, Dave. And that’s exactly why I hope that CF isn’t part of any movie. His instincts in saying things to get us excited are simply bad. Someone recently said (I think it was Joe) that things are going to be leaked (I’m paraphrasing) about the movie that will give the base discomfort. If that happens, if CF goes and tells someone like Assellio how serious Sarah and Shaw are getting and how in another show they would be the lead couple… I say don’t bother. If he does that, he’s not trying to reach me, that’s for sure.

      • atcDave says:

        I noticed though, you actually left out my concluding statement!

        I mostly arrive at an opposite conclusion from you Bill. Even if CF is not my favorite writer, I do think he would be okay for writing a reunion project. So much of the mood and feel of all things Chuck is HIS doing, he might actually be the best writer for the job. As long as someone else is able to reign in some of his worse instincts. And for the record, I’m not really worried about another Shaw character!

      • BillAtWork says:

        he might actually be the best writer for the job.

        And what exactly draws you to that conclusion? We’ve already agreed that he was horrible at handling the media relations part of being a show runner. Look at the episodes he wrote. Do you hope that a movie is like 3D? First Class?

        That is exactly, exactly, exactly what is wrong with this conversation. You sense that I attacked CF and feel the need to come to his defense. So much so that you’re willing to contradict things you’ve previously said to defend him. It’s the bias that makes a reasonable, intellectually honest discussion impossible here.

        But I’m not attacking him. I’m simply pointing out the stats. It’s not just me. Some of his episodes rank near the bottom of the list. Under his watch, the show lost so much of its audience that it ended. Those are just statistical facts. Why isn’t it okay to say that here? Denying them makes this discussion feel like Emperor’s New Clothes territory.

        Okay, this next part is purely my opinion. His style is pure melodramatic, generate angst, and them have a happy ending. Except that his happy endings often didn’t pay off nearly enough. He would have paid off S3 with Other Guy. He paid off S4 with Cliffhanger. He paid off S5 with Goodbye. If a movie is going to feel like Other Guy, Cliffhanger, or Goodbye, I say don’t bother.

        And IMO, a Chuck movie can’t be about a hero’s journey. He told that story. It went full circle. If there is going to be enough interest for a movie, it has to be about C/S. That’s what the fandom wants. There is enough anger already.

      • thinkling says:

        Bill, in your original comment, you started with a false statement, okay let’s say a misrepresentation of CF’s position, and backed it up with sarcasm and hyperbole (which equated to two additional false statements). Misrepresentations and sarcasm and hyperbole aren’t much of a basis for meaningful or reasonable discussion. They do, however, come across as unfair criticism and complaining.

        In your 459 word response, you basically agreed with most of my points. No. I didn’t. I responded to what you said. I had no way of responding to whatever you may have been thinking, if it was different from what you actually said.

        You just used different words Way different! I gave a reasoned response to your hyperbole and sarcasm about CF and payoffs.

        … and cited other things that mitigated the issues. Yeah! Like, I based my opinion on facts and what actually happened on screen, instead of raw, unmitigated sarcasm.

        It’s not surprising, then, that we can find common ground in what I said. There will be differences as well. I’m fine with that. Then we can actually have a discussion. But when you start with misrepresentations and sarcasm, we can’t have common ground or discussions, because there’s nothing real or reasonable to discuss.

        Anyway, I do appreciate your willingness to self moderate the tone of future posts. I look forward to those discussions.

      • BillAtWork says:

        No I didn’t. That’s just wrong. It’s incorrect. And since it’s the basis for your entire post, I hope you don’t mind when I protest.

        Here is what I said.

        CF was simply not interested in [the relationship]

        It is a true statement. I stand behind it. I think that it’s pretty much widely accepted that CF wasn’t interested in the relationship. It was JS who insisted that the relationship be a central theme. If it was up to CF, there would have been no C/S wt/wt. In fact the original plan called for Chuck to crush on another character (Kayla?). Many people including JS have said almost exactly what I said. Now once he was show runner did CF recognize that the relationship was a requirement for having a show? Yes, he absolutely did. But was he interested in writing a love story? I say no. I think I have plenty of support for that position. I think that even you would agree. You just maybe wouldn’t say it that starkly.

        Here is what I said.

        We got the 10 second, long lens payoff as the credits were rolling in Push Mix.

        You agreed with that. You said.

        Push Mix, yes, gave us the night vision binocular payoff, and I’ve complained about wanting to see it better.

        That’s basically what I said. You just added some things that make it not matter so much to you. That’s fair.

        Here is what I said.

        when we get our next 10 second payoff as the credits are rolling.

        Here is what you said.

        The wedding was 4 minutes. Yeah, I would have loved more,

        Again basically agreeing. And again, you added some things that make it not matter so much to you. And again, that’s fair.

        So let’s face it. You don’t object so much to what I say. It’s the tone that bothers you. I’ll make an effort to moderate my tone. But guess what? I’m not crazy about your tone either.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I think the actual good and bad of various writers is far more complex than you make it out to be. For starters, as show runner, CF had the single largest influence of any writer on staff. So even if we agree some of his episodes weren’t the best, how much of the rest of what made Chuck great IS his doing? We have heard it said from many insiders that the outrageous sort of action sequences the show often employed were often CF’s ideas, even if he wasn’t the actual writer. There is also a unique brand of humor that defined the show, and was carried over across many episodes by many different writers; it is likely CF played a major part in that. These things are IMPORTANT in making something “Chuck”.
        Could one of the former staff writers, or someone new entirely, recapture that blend of action, adventure and humor that made Chuck the distinctive product that it was? Maybe. But CF really may be the best candidate for doing so.
        I would also point out that CF wrote a number of excellent episodes in addition to a couple turkeys. Pilot, First Date and Seduction Impossible are all tons of fun and quintessential Chuck. As I’ve said many times, LaJudkins or Newman would be my favorite choices. But it would not be a terrible thing if CF or someone else got the job. One very important thing, there will be different influences and objectives on a reunion than there were for a show. Most significantly, it will likely be more about pleasing a fan base than serving a longer story. Even if CF is sometimes unclear on what that means; Zach and Yvonne are far more aware of fan sensitivities. And they are not under contract anymore. A reunion project will have to be sold to them, and that means fan interests WILL be represented.

        Just to reiterate, CF would not be my first choice for future Chuck content. He was never my favorite writer and I have serious concerns about how he would deal with anything new. But it wouldn’t necessarily be a great tragedy if he wrote it either. At this point, I would be happy for anything more, no matter who is at the helm. I’ll sweat the details later. One step at a time…

      • BillAtWork says:

        I would also point out that CF wrote a number of excellent episodes in addition to a couple turkeys. Pilot, First Date and Seduction Impossible are all tons of fun and quintessential Chuck.

        If you’re going to leap to CF’s defense, at least be fair. CF didn’t write the Pilot, First Date , or Seduction Impossible. He co-wrote all of them with other people. You notice that I didn’t include Pink Slip in my list of clunkers. Because he also co-write that. I’m trying to be fair.

        Here are the episodes that CF wrote himself.

        Nemesis, Gravitron, 3rd Dimension, Predator, First Class, Other Guy, Anniversary, and Goodbye

        Which of them would you want as the model for a Chuck movie?

        Of those, only Anneversary would I call a good episode. And it doesn’t rank tht high. (#50 of 94)

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I can’t say much more clearly that he wouldn’t be my first choice. But I think you’re over-reacting. CF CAN be very good. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for a project that is currently only theoretical!

        This is like arguing over who should be a starting quarterback for the Lions 2019. Just way too many variables.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Dave, I’m not over reacting. I’m calm. I have a smile on my face (I really do). This is an intellectual debate, nothing personal.

        But having said that, I’m confused. You just said that CF wouldn’t be your first choice. But 10 minutes ago you said that he might actually be the best writer for the job.

        Those two statements seem contradictory to me.

        I’m not hating on CF. I’m not. Some of what you say, I totally agree with. He was the main force behind creating the show and characters that i fell in love with. He gets major credit for that. I probably don’t express that often, but I do respect him for that.

        But on the flip side, I look at his body of work and conclude that he probably wouldn’t create a movie that I would be interested in seeing. That’s fair, right?

      • BigKev67 says:

        I can honestly say I’ve never come across a creative artist, in any medium, that leaves me as conflicted, bordering on schizophrenic, as Fedak does.
        If you’d asked me at the end of Season 2 I would have given him all the credit in the world. He dreamt up one of my favourite shows, co wrote what remain 2 of my 3 favourite episodes (First Date and the Pilot), as well as 3 others that I loved – and he was partly/mostly responsible for giving us the wonderfully talented cast that we all hope go on to even better things. All that for a man not long out of film school, joint-producing his first show. Truly a remarkable effort.
        But then from S3 onwards, and maybe without the steadying hand of Josh to tighten up the stories a little, things began to unravel, at least for me. As he took sole control, the show moved further away from what I had loved. Without rehashing all the old arguments, for me Chuck was a show with a vast chasm of difference between its best and its worst. Fedak embodies both extremes.
        For all that he was still in credit with me at the end. Then came the finale, which finally tilted my perception against him. I’ve settled on this position. I think Chris Fedak is a creative genius – a genuine, original “ideas man”. I’d be interested to see him as a creative catalyst on a writing staff. But I don’t trust him as a show runner any more because I don’t think he has enough grasp of the things that make for consistent execution of storylines – particularly pacing, continuity and backstory. I think he has a tin ear for what the mass of his audience wants too – and that would worry me more than anything else about his future prospects. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what the future holds!

      • thinkling says:

        Bill, you have a funny way of defining basic agreement. I spent the better part of my reply disagreeing by showing that we got far more (both quantitatively and qualitatively) than the 10 second payoffs you asserted. The bulk of my comment was in all those things I added (that you seem to discount) that directly oppose what you said.

        You basically said that because CF wasn’t interested in the relationship, he only gave us 10 seconds of payoff for the proposal arc and another 10 seconds for the engagement arc and that he reduced the engagement period to just an opportunity for conflict. That’s simply not true.

        There are degrees of interest. Even simple recognition of the importance of something demands a level of interest. (But I think CF spoke of and showed more than that type of passing interest.) Was it his strong suit? No. Was he as interested in it as the hero’s journey? No. (I said all this already) But was he interested? Yes. Whether you stand behind your assessment of his lack of interest or not is beside the point. Your categorical statement that CF wasn’t interested in the relationship misrepresents his stated position on the matter.

      • BillAtWork says:

        Thinkling, I’m not discounting the areas that you disagree with me. I said that they are fair.

        My basic point was that I was looking for more payoff. You sorta agreed. “Yes I would have liked more”, then you added a big but. I have no problem with your big but (wow that didn’t come out right, lol). I simply don’t agree with you. That’s fair, right? That doesn’t change the fact that we both have expressed that we would like more. Did I do it in a harsher tone than you? Absolutely. I’ll try and moderate that.

        You’re mischaracterizing what I said about CF my using my words literally instead of my clear figurative meaning. Was CF, the show runner, interested in the relationship? Of course. The show’s survival depended on it and he knew that. Was CF the writer interested? I say no. And I can point to a number of people who have said almost exactly the same thing including JS.

        When I think of Chuck, I see it as the 5 year romantic love story of two pretty unlikely people. When CF thinks of Chuck, he sees it as the story of a hero. One who had several key relationships in his life, all pretty much equally important. At every key moment he delivered a minimal payoff to the love story and concentrated on making Chuck singularly the hero. That often frustrated me… and I don’t believe it’s what his audience wanted. I’m kinda stunned that we’re having this discussion. I think I’ve read you saying pretty much those exact words.

        Does that make him wrong? Absolutely not. It was his show to do whatever he wanted. Does it make him out of touch with his audience? IMO, yes. Am I interested in seeing a movie that tells some more of a hero’s journey at the expense of the love story? No, I’m not.

        And, Dave, to be fair, I’m not sure that is what he would do anyway. But given his track record, he would have to do something to reassure me before I could get excited. I do know that from the people I’ve talked to, CF’s name being associated would be a show stopper about supporting a movie. Is it for me? I’m not sure.

      • atcDave says:

        Bill I said “might” be the best man for the job. I don’t know. And none of us do. We don’t actually know what the dynamic was in the writer’s room.

        But the dichotomy comes down to CF’s oversight of the whole show, vs his performance on individual episodes. That magic that made “Chuck” my favorite show ever MIGHT be VERY dependent on CF. Most of my favorite episodes were written by others, but I’m willing to entertain the possibility that CF was always indispensable.
        If I had my choice I would put someone else in charge of any future projects. But I’m not going to be too terribly upset if Fedak does, in fact, end up writing a later movie.

        Although I disagree with BigKev on some of the specifics (I still love the last two seasons, my feelings are however mixed on the finale) I agree completely about having an overall mixed impression of CF. At this point, his name is certainly no selling point for any project. But I won’t rule out the possibility of watching another project of his if it looks interesting enough.

      • thinkling says:

        Bill, yes, I can agree with a lot of what you’re saying … now. Which circles back to my main point all along. Whatever you meant wasn’t what you said. When you obscure your main point behind sarcasm, extremes, and half truths, the comment comes off as a cheap shot (or worse) and short circuits any meaningful discussion we might have had. And that’s a shame, because amidst our differing view points we do have some common ground.

  10. BillAtWork says:

    Ernie,

    I’m calm. Really I am. But anytime, and I do mean anytime, anybody (not just me) says anything here that could remotely be considered a criticism, they are immediately challenged. Often times the challenge makes what would normally be a trivial issue that would be quickly forgotten into a huge argument.

    I get that the blog is mostly to celebrate the show. I get that. I don’t even quarrel with that.

    But having said that, CF doesn’t need you to protect him. He isn’t the Emperor with a new set of clothes. He’s a big boy. He made tons of dollars off our fanaticism. I think we can agree that the show had some flaws, that even maybe CF sometimes was a little tone deaf, and yet the show was mostly consistently entertaining.

    Can’t we?

    • atcDave says:

      Bill you’re really one of the few who’s ever complained about that here. In fact, we get FAR more from the other side that gets discouraged with us because we spend too much time being too critical of all things Chuck.

      So here’s the thing, it IS always allowed to find flaws, to discuss things we don’t like, to discuss alternate ways of doing things. But we never want to loose sight of the fact that we are here to celebrate an awesome show. And yeah, that means it’s largely a matter of perception. Such perceptions can be a fragile thing in an Internet community. But I think its reasonable to expect fans to defend their favorite show on a fan site devoted to that show.
      It’s been interesting to me doing this full series re-watch to find some of the things I liked, or didn’t like, are actually out of step with other viewers. I was apparently of the few who disliked Wookiee, and one of the few who just absolutely loved Tango. But at some point, I just need to accept those differences of taste and move on.

    • revdr says:

      While I agree that the show was pretty good most of the time I also tend to agree that some of the writers didn’t particularly care about the C/S relationship. If you recall, back in the season 3 extras it was said that some of the writers were more concerned with the spy stuff while others wanted to focus on the Buy Morons and still others the romance/love aspects (Ali Adler). And IMO, we lost some of that heart (the romance) when she (AA) left. Sure, we still got a lot of great moments afterwards, but clearly (CF) didn’t care as much about it. That’s why I hesitate to even comment on CF and his seemingly lack of caring about the obvious importance of the relationship. I don’t want it to seem that I don’t appreciate the fact that without him we would not have Chuck, but I too would have to think long and hard about a movie (tv or otherwise) if I knew he was writing it. The reality though is that under any circumstance we would be at the mercy of the writer, who ever we got to form the story. It’s about personal perspective….and trust. Right now, I don’t really trust him.

      • atcDave says:

        There’s no doubt different writers have different strengths and different interests. I’m not particularly a big Adler fan; she did outstanding work in S2, average work in S1, and just horrible work in S3. So a completely mixed bag from my perspective.

        But I guess the main thing I would comment on is the idea that we are at the mercy of any one writer. I think that’s really not true. For a reunion project to happen many people must be involved; studio, producers, writer, director and cast will all have to buy into the story. I think the individual writer will matter less than the story concept that is behind the reunion. And for now I’m pretty confident about what that would mean for the future.

  11. oldresorter says:

    Bad guy named ‘Shaw’ showed up on Revolution this week. While watching Revolution, something dawed on me, regarding the very complicated bad guy character ‘Miles’. Writers have remarkable control over how characters are perceived (I’ve been sort of liking the very evil Miles lately). But, for those who love Chuck and Sarah, as I do, the writers do deserve praise, maybe more than I give them. I do wish the show had been written better, but my POV needs to be balanced by gratefullness at how well what we got did get thru to me.

    • atcDave says:

      I had never noticed before Chuck just how common a name “Shaw” seems to be on television. And it still feels wrong, dirty somehow, that I enjoy Shaw so much on Person of Interest.

      • oldresorter says:

        POI Spoiler Alert! If I recall, I liked Shaw, POI’s Shaw, first. She reminds me of Sarah, without Chuck, on steroids, which is saying something. Her role has come at an expense, as Detective Carter seems out of place. The show seems to be heading on a collison course between Team Reese / Finch, HR and Carter / Fusco. Then that crazy Root is also hanging around, 5 minutes per ep with Amy Acker is time well spent IMO. More and more, POI is taking the place of Castle as my favorite, which is saying something, as Castle never disappoints me, but POI has the ability to surprise and amaze me, something Castle doesn’t do as much of.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I still think Castle is my favorite, but POI is pushing right behind it.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Shaw is another offensive 4 letter word 🙂

      • joe says:

        I must have a love-hate relationship with POI. The acting is so dry sometimes (especially Caviezel, but really, all of them) that I don’t understand why I like the characters! The plot lines are so complex that I’ve had a hard time keeping the bad guys straight. Yet, I’m blown away by the intricacy and complexity of that whole universe.

        Lessee – HR, officer Simmons, Elias, Root, Quinn, the Russians, the CIA, bad guy du jour… – I feel like I’m leaving out some recurring bad guys here. All the good guys are at least partially compromised (maybe with the exception of Carter?). It hurts my head! It’s a world of grays instead of black and whites.

        I’m not yet sure where they’re going with the machine being freed at the end of last season and the way it’s communicating with Root. Lots of ambiguity and it’s mystifying.

        I can’t get myself to not watch.

      • atcDave says:

        Its funny Joe, I’m really no fan of moral ambiguity, but I love the show. Perhaps a lot of it is the characters who try to do the right thing in a complex world. Certainly Carter is the most “pure” of the bunch (she sure has pushed limits though with HR!). But I love how Finch and Reese honestly try to do what’s best, even if their own histories (especially Reese’s) are a bit murky. And I love Fusco playing catch up; trying to do right even though Reese clearly doesn’t trust him yet. Shaw is the resident psychopath who seems to have currently made common cause with the good guys.

        The characters of Reese and Shaw are both very understated. Caveizel is always like that, I’m not otherwise familiar with Shahi. But it may be a show runner’s take on the professional killers. Carter is more expressive, but then her background is intelligence, not mass destruction.

      • oldresorter says:

        Joe I don’t think I ever rewatched a POI ep, but I would think it would rewatch well, as you pointed out, there is far too much going on to catch everything, and few things are softballed out there as season long obvious teases or directions. In that sense, I have no way of being disappointed, cause I have no idea, either what I want to happen or what the writers seem to be setting up (well, maybe a some ideas, but no firm ones, or none that I’d feel cheated if they didn’t happen).

        Elias, how could I forget, I’m just getting used to him not being VM’s dad. He is another highly layered, evil guy, and he is such a great actor, underestimated IMO. Dave once compared Reese to Clint Eastwood’s characters, I think that is dead square on.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jason I still see him that way. I love his droll sense of humor, especially when he’s about to annihilate a large group.

  12. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Seduction Impossible (4.14) | Chuck This

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