Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Suburbs (2.13)

NBC Synopsis: WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD—Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah’s (Yvonne Strahovski) latest assignment forces them to pose as a happily married couple living in the suburbs. They meet some interesting characters including Brad (guest star Andy Richter), a cheerful next-door neighbor in the stationary business, and Sylvia (guest star Jenny McCarthy), a seductive and attractive woman who lives across the street and has her eye on Chuck. Meanwhile, Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence) is on a work rampage after his wife files for divorce, so the Buy More gang sets him up on a dating website to keep him distracted.

Chuck This Ranking: 37
Dave’s Ranking: Much Lower

Full Write Ups: Chuck vs The Suburbs (2.13) by Dave and Joe

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About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 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 Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Suburbs (2.13)

  1. Suburbs is more comedic for me but i’d say that it’s a great example of the shows ability to turn on a dime when it comes to its mood! There’s big emotional swings in this episode and that’s something this show NEVER failed to provide regardless of how we felt about such things.

  2. thinkling says:

    I’m not sure where I rank this. It has some wonderful scenes of Chuck (some of the best to date), but the end sucks all the happy from my mood.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I agree exactly, shocking but true!

      The first Charah breakfast and Chuck saving Sarah in the Fulcrum Intersect chamber are real stand outs for me. And Sarah’s epic “cover” SLAP makes me laugh every time.
      But the end is so bitter, I really don’t re-watch this episode often. As you said, it sucks the fun right out of it.

    • Wilf says:

      Yes, the slap was great. You know, despite the lousy ending, I do really like this episode as there is so much to enjoy in it and it is so memorable. I just sort of ignore the ending and, instead, enjoy Freeze and Explode.

    • anthropocene says:

      I particularly like this episode, precisely for the major mood swings that Josh alluded to. I’m a big fan of the show’s signature quick transitions from comedy to life-and-death drama, and this episode was full of them. It also held significant milestones in the evolution of Chuck: in the way he withstood the Fulcrum Intersect and used it against the foe (further affirmation of his unique abilities), used those abilities and quick thinking to protect and save Sarah in a way only he could (suggesting that he could be her full spy partner, as he eventually was), and—as Beckman elucidated—became an even more valuable asset, more of a threat to Fulcrum, and more at risk himself.

      The downer ending was made bearable for me by Sarah’s “you saved me” gaze at Chuck in the Fulcrum lab, by Beckman’s raising of the dramatic stakes, and by Sarah’s own responses to the end of the mission. I thought it was clear enough that Sarah was affected by her suburban sojourn with Chuck, and her devotion to duty and to protecting her asset were definitely wrestling with her deep yearning for a “normal” life. Hence, something of a milestone in her progress as well!

      • oldresorter says:

        I think your way of viewing the show is the best way to enjoy it. I hate the transitions you talk about, yet would have to think that most of the fans who were left by the end had to like that stuff. Why else watch unless you were like me and simply illogically hoped Chuck and Sarah would be written to have some fun adventures like they mostly did in s4. By the start of s5, the writing had so lost its way, I don’t even know what fun writing was any more for those two even as I think the writers tried to do right by season 5, they couldn’t. Much of the chemistry was gone by then, sapped by s3 and somewhat by the show runners own lack of commitment to not only the show I wanted to see, but even the show they were still writing.

        IMO had the show had a normal story teller, who used the happy ending at the end of each or most episodes (see Bones / Castle / etc) as the ‘step forward’ in the angst game, the show would still be on. The characters Chuck and Sarah could have delivered a happy ending each night, the kind the mass audience loves, as those two characters are much more lovable than the ones who found much more success in the open market. Instead of normal writing, I found the comedy to brutal drama transitioning insulting, because the show was silly in nature, comedy and parody, even more so silly than the commercial successful shows out there. But the drama always had a knife to the heart quality, with each knife, the show seemed to lose a little bit, so by the end, nothing was left, right down to the bittersweet finish on the beach.

        Yet for this ep, I’d say 90% of this episode was really really great. That’s what makes the episode so mind shatteringly upsetting. The bad is vile. So In spite of the greatness, I never would rewatch the ep without it being part of some other project or reason. I would place the ep in the bottom part of my eps, just above the really miserable eps and arc, season 3 except the two excellent eps – HoneyM and RM, the mean spirited final two eps of s5, the shaw christmas ep from hell, etc.

      • atcDave says:

        Gee OR, what do you REALLY think….

        I would not have put it so strongly, but I do also see it as a mistake that they so often ended on a down note. And this one comes so soon after Santa Claus it really left me feeling pretty beat up when it first ran.
        But you know me, if I had it my way I would end at least 2/3s of the episodes with a fun Chuck/Sarah moment; and that would include every arc and season end. The show runners maybe came close to that in the last two seasons. But I would take it a step further and say actual BAD endings for Chuck and Sarah should be very rare, and only when they will be dealt with quickly in the next episode.
        So obviously it fell short for me on occasion. But I never felt the actual chemistry was diminished any, and those episodes that ended well remain among the best things I’ve ever seen on television.

      • authorguy says:

        I never felt the same chemistry after S2. Every kiss they shared in the last 3 seasons felt perfunctory, specially after OG. They touch lips, and that gross sucking noise. Very superficial. Nothing like the Bomb Kiss, or Barstow. Suburbs just glows with that chemistry, just that one moment in the backyard barbecue scene when Chuck looks at Sarah, and she looks back. That’s the show I wanted to see, but got so little of. Even the powerful pining look Sarah makes at the end of Fake Name is better than all the fake stuff.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m pretty sure we weren’t watching the same show.

      • authorguy says:

        Really? I was watching a show about a nerd who grows to become his inner heroic self, humanizes hardened agents, and gets the girl. What were you watching?

      • atcDave says:

        I watched the best romance on television. That had those other things you mentioned too.

      • Late to this week’s conversation again, but I just finished watching the episode. I agree with Anthro’s assessment of the “downer ending.” I think it is actually quite heartening that their sojourn in the suburbs had such an impact on Sarah. And was there ever a scene where Sarah’s joy is so unadulterated in the first two seasons as when she was making breakfast for Chuck?

        Russ / resaw

      • anthropocene says:

        Yes, and here’s a little thought experiment to further illustrate the point. Just imagine how Carina or Alex Forrest would have closed out that same mission with Chuck.

        (I also doubt that Chuck, big-hearted as he is, would have been so quick to shield either of those two with his own body in the Fulcrum lab!)

      • atcDave says:

        No doubt Sarah is different from the other agents we meet!

  3. Matt Bohmer just won a GG for The normal heart:) It makes me happy when Chuck alumi are recognized for their fantastic acting ability because Hollywood sees what we already knew!

  4. Christopher says:

    Chuck vs The Suburbs is a very underrated episode in my view. It falls into the category with episodes like Sensei and couch lock. Sarah and Chuck playing house and as Ellie said “A test run” What I also love about this episode is the beginning of it. We also see just how important they are to each other in the Fulcrum ;ab.

    it also shows how much of a screw up S5 is with everyone getting the intersect in the final season. Only Chuck’s brain could handle the intersect because he had the application for it since he was a kid.

    Sarah coming to the Buymore asking her “cover” boyfriend there plans for the evening. A misread by Chuck on Sarah seeking to spend time with him on Valentines day. What made even great was Sarah’s reaction watching Chuck play his video game rather than cozy up with her.

    http://gallery.strahotski.com/picture.php/strahovski-ep213-006/category/chuck/season2/213-chuck-versus-the-suburbs

    Great stuff/////

  5. AG

    I agree with Dave here…you were clearly watching a different show! I see the last two seasons as embracing what they had fought against for so long; their love for each other!

    If you want fake or overplayed look no further than the twilight series!

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with all of that Josh!

    • authorguy says:

      You’re right. I wouldn’t have wasted much time changing the channel on a simple rom-com. It was Chuck the non-standard hero, and the situation he was in, that drew me in. Once they dropped so much of the stuff that made the show unique it was mostly inertia that kept me going.

  6. anthropocene says:

    I for one would find it hard to believe that anyone who is still reading and posting on this blog, nearly 3 years after the series ended, isn’t a die-hard fan who, in the balance, liked much more about “Chuck” than he or she disliked about it.

    • atcDave says:

      I would start by saying checking out a show on line is sort of the acid test I use to separate a casual viewer from a more serious one.
      But there are qualifications to that. For one, I think many people grew into the community here, and continue visiting the site even after their affection for the show itself waned. I myself may be in that category. As time passes, my complaints seem to weigh heavier than my affection. Even to the point of saying I’m not sure if I care about a movie anymore. And honestly, in the last year or so I would say some fan fiction absolutely matters more to me than the show itself.
      Although a lot of that may come down to no new material for canon. The test will be, what happens when a Chuck movie (or mini-series, webisode, TV series…) is announced? Will I be giddy with excitement? Or will I shrug and read Anthro’s S6 again? Maybe we’ll see.
      There is no doubt that historically my investment in Chuck is one for the record books. I’ve never been so wrapped up in a show before, and I don’t expect to ever be again (although never say never! I didn’t mean for this in the first place!). But currently I don’t really know where I stand.

      • anthropocene says:

        Nor I, Dave…never before and probably never again.
        Oh, and feel free to re-read S6 any time. There’ll be an episode 6.08 eventually!

      • atcDave says:

        Hey you know I enjoy every update!

      • thinkling says:

        I’m a little bit like that, Dave, except for my complaints outweighing my affection. I would say my affection outweighs my complaints as time passes. The complaints are easy to ignore, and I just don’t rewatch episodes or scenes that I don’t like. And rewatching favorite episodes and scenes rekindles a warm, cozy affection in the Chuck corner of my heart.

        But some three plus years after the show ended and after rewatching umpteen times and analyzing the show and many episodes inside-out and writing around a quarter million words about Chuck… well, my front-burner enthusiasm has waned. I will always have a unique affection for Chuck and the cast and this community. I still keep up from a distance and check in from time to time, but now other stuff occupies my time and attention, as it should. As for a movie, it will totally depend on the movie itself. After the ending, I view the possibility of a movie with hopeful caution.

      • atcDave says:

        Well there’s no doubt I still think fondly of the many great episodes and moments from the show. And I will always follow the careers of the Chuck alums. But this current re-watch may be my last full one, too much of what I don’t like REALLY annoys me.
        How enthusiastic I am for future content varies day to day, but generally the more time passes the less confident I am that anything new will be appealing to me. Obviously that could change a lot if I like what I’m hearing when such a project begins. I’m sure I’d be excited if you, Anthro or Angus were writing!

        For now, the time commitment has shrunk a lot. Notice this current re-watch has not involved lengthy write ups! Fan Fiction is way down too. And that is for the best. It makes me a little sad, but other hobbies and interests benefit! So that is good…

  7. Martin Traynor says:

    Authorguy, as to your comments above – “I never felt the same chemistry after S2. Every kiss they shared in the last 3 seasons felt perfunctory, specially after OG. They touch lips, and that gross sucking noise. Very superficial. Nothing like the Bomb Kiss, or Barstow.”

    It’s so funny that you say this, because I was thinking that exact thing the other day. I’ve been reading some great FF as suggest by atcDave (Thanks again, Dave!!), and those truly gifted writers have a very emotive Sarah and Chuck who fawn all over each other. It got me to thinking about that C/S heat, and I could only place a couple of scenes in the first two seasons where they were “HOT” for each other (at least as far as I could see) – those you mentioned.

    I have no doubts that those two loved each other (phase 3, cliffhanger), but the heat seemed to have been reduced to a simmer from season 3 on.

    I agree that the ending here is sad, but it’s very telling as far as Sarah goes. She’s struggling here between duty, Chuck’s safety and her feelings for him. I kind grow to hate how much they sacrifice to “keep each other safe.” All that breaking up and breaking away. Enough, already!

    And is this where Chuck really starts lying in earnest? Fitting that he lies to Ellie, and in so doing, mostly to himself, first. Yeah, right, he’s OK with not going any farther with Sarah…silly boy.

    • DKD says:

      I’m in agreement with Authorguy and Martin on the issue of “heat” between Chuck and Sarah. I enjoyed the latter seasons for different reasons, but the potential passion that was in our heads during the early seasons before they got together was a lot hotter than the actuality of them getting together. It was almost like they became Ozzy & Harriet overnight. I wonder if they were concerned about their perceived “family” audience.

    • Did the “heat” already disappear in season 3? For me S3 was the last one that still had the passion that I enjoyed in the first two seasons, even if that passion was sometimes presented more as anguish (especially in the first 12 episodes). Season 4’s tone was the one that felt so much flatter for me. Suburbs, despite its tone at the end, was for me, while perhaps not a “satisfying” episode, was engaging, and certainly evoked a response that brought me into Chuck and Sarah’s emotional world. To my mind, that made it an episode that I love going back to.

      Russ / resaw

      • authorguy says:

        They didn’t have so many strong positive moments in S3, but the ones they had felt flat. As you say, the power of their emotions was in their pain in the first 13 episodes, but everything from Honeymooners on just felt pro forma. Even in Other Guy, Chuck was waiting for her to wake up from across the room, at a computer.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think the key is that their relationship evolved and changed throughout the series. I never felt that the heat was gone between them. It was more the difference between trying to hide a burning longing for something forbidden and a more openly expressed loving relationship. Though I do remember contemporaneous complaints that they’d turned Chuck & Sarah in to a Disney cartoon couple, so opinions are gonna vary a bit.

      One thing it did do when they finally got together is it gave Yvonne a whole lot more material to work with by letting her, as Chuck’s partner in every sense, more fully in to his world. She could then do the comedy and the more casual show of affection that she’d been prevented from doing by the earlier seasons setup. Sarah was a far broader and looser character in later seasons, so perhaps that is a part of it. Though I don’t agree with the “Sarah was a plot device” claims, they obviously had a lot of back-story for her even in seasons 1 & 2, but when it comes down to it in those first two seasons their main method of humanizing Sarah was to have her longingly gaze at Chuck (or him at her).

      In any case, those two had crazy great chemistry and I hope we get to see them work together a few more times just for old-times sake.

      I’m holding out for a reprise as “The Charlses” as Castle and Becket’s new Hamptons neighbors.

      • atcDave says:

        Hey I actually agree with most of that Ernie! I’ll agree a little with those who say they could have turned up the heat a little in the last two seasons; but I never saw it as a huge problem, and I think we gained far more than we lost.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree that it was partly because the relationship evolved along natural lines. Emotions that had been bottled up, only to be released in a grand explosion when the lid blew off, were expressed less explosively on a regular basis: kind of like a simmering pot as opposed to a defective pressure cooker. On the whole, I preferred the simmering pot, but I admit (and said so often contemporaneously) I would have liked a more realistic show of steam from time to time (still prime time suitable, of course).

        The Charleses as Casket’s new Hampton neighbors … what a fantastic idea. A two-parter (or trilogy) with the ex-CIA team collaborating in solving a crime.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh man that would be so much fun!
        I can see it now, something dark and evil seems to be going on in The Hamptons, and Rick is convinced his new, overly affectionate neighbors are involved.
        Of course they are, some part of their old CIA lives has followed them home, and they are trying to deal with it while covering up their own involvement.
        Naturally Castle and Beckett figure out what’s really going on just in time to participate In the big wrap up and haul the real evil doers off to prison.

        Wouldn’t it be nice to have actual influence…

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I hadn’t really thought they’d be Chuck and Sarah, or a CIA couple for that matter, but then Castle has gone that route before. Sure, it could work… I’d have just been happy to see the little nod of them playing a married couple called the Charleses.

      • atcDave says:

        I imagine we’d never hear “Bartowski” or even “Carmichael”. But Charlie and Sarah Charles, why not!

      • oldresorter says:

        Of all the shows that have done a pairing of the wt/wt couple, so far, this season’s Mentalist might be doing it the best for me. I haven’t looked to see if the critics (or other fans) like it or not, but they are on their last season in any case. I don’t think the couple is being written hot, but every ep has deep emotional connection. I think that’s what Chuck at it’s best had.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree exactly about Chuck OR. The last two seasons felt pretty warm and satisfying to me, even when growth was occurring. I thought it was quite nicely executed.

      • Justin says:

        oldresorter, I love that you brought up The Mentalist. I love how they’ve been handling Jane and Lisbon’s relationship in the final season. I wish the same could have been done for Chuck and Sarah in Season 3. Imagine how much pain Chuck fans would have been saved if that was the case.

  8. Need vote: What was the best dress Yvonne wore on the show (excluding Sarah’s wedding dress of course) can’t decide for this scene i’m writing so majority opinion wins!

    • atcDave says:

      I’m partial to that very elegant thing she wore at home in Seduction Impossible…

      • i decided to go with the one from breakup for a little comedic nostalgia by Sarah because we all know Chuck was lying through his teeth back then! I’ll probably include the one from seduction impossible at some point! Several of the conversations here have already influenced some of my story anyway:)

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah that exchange from Break Up is a favorite.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think people miss the point of Breakup a little, or the early seasons in general when they say Chuck or Sarah was lying. Lying assumes knowledge that what you are saying is not the truth. We are all fully aware by now that self-knowledge and truth was a tough thing for both our protagonists, and Truth is a prime example. Chuck is telling the truth as he knows it. He’s a normal ordinary guy who will never be enough for Sarah, and because of that he needs to let her know she is free, that she owes him nothing. Sarah hears the truth as she knows it, that she will never be enough for Chuck, that he deserves, and knows he deserves so much better than what she is capable of giving. And that is the poignant heartbreak of it all. They each “know” they are doomed to heartbreak, and they each act to spare the other as much of that heartbreak as possible, but each unknowingly reinforces what is keeping them apart.

  9. Martin Traynor says:

    I love, love, love season 4 and the back half of season 3 for the C/S coupling, and I enjoyed seeing their growth together (he as a confident, competent spy, who ultimately becomes the spy leaders…and she who ultimately becomes the relationship cornerstone). I just think that they settled into a nice relationship, and I’m not complaining, but that unbridled passion of the earlier seasons just seemed to evaporate. Like was said, they became a Disney couple. And I’m good with that. I guess that I was just lamenting that in some of the great FF I’m reading – Thinking included – that Chuck and especially Sarah are much more effusive, and I like that better.

    I would also LOVE to see the Charleseses guest on Castle – another favorite show. Does anyone know if any Chuck alum visited White Collar? I’m on the third season of that fantastic show, and aside from Ryker (Peter on White Collar) and Bryce (Neal on WC), I don’t recall seeing anyone else (who was a regular on Chuck, anyway).

    • atcDave says:

      The Ring Director, I’m drawing a blank on the actor’s name. He was Badger on Firefly, and I think a forger in the White Collar Pilot?
      I’m sure there were others. So many one-shot villains and guest stars, there’s bound to be overlap!

  10. Martin Traynor says:

    That’s right! He was in the first season – maybe the first episode. White Collar is another great show about relationships. Neal and Peter are about the best non-romantic relationship out there, I think (at least as far as season 3 – I haven’t seen the rest yet).

    • atcDave says:

      We did drop it in S4. It seemed the show spent too much time with Neil and Peter deceiving and lying to each other, and we just sort of lost interest in that theme. But the first two seasons in particular were very good.

      • Justin says:

        Yeah, I hated how much they ruined the Neal-Peter friendship with games of secrets and lies in Seasons 4-6 and part of Season 3. I understand that Neal is a con man and Peter is an officer of the law but I would think at this later point in the show that they would have come to trust each other more after everything they’ve been through. Maybe there should be a what if alternative about White Collar.

      • atcDave says:

        Isn’t there a “White Collar This” site that featured “Alternatives” discussions? I thought every show had that!

        But yeah I thought it worked great as odd couple/buddy story. Especially when they were trying to do great things together. But it got a lot less interesting as they wasted more time gaming each other.

      • Justin says:

        If White Collar had ended with Season 3, it would have been sad because of Neal leaving but it would keep the heart of the show intact which is Neal and Peter’s friendship and how far they are willing to go for each other. In Peter’s case, that would be giving Neal the signal to run when he has the chance.

    • Mark A. Shepherd; he was just upgraded to a series regular on supernatural where he has been recurring as a demon named crowley since S3! His best role by far!

      • Speaking of supernatural thats another great relationship oriented show and a favorite of mine! Of course it is about the enduring bond of family but just as compelling and nicely balanced with comedy. I supernatural has the most rock solid (by CW standards) ratings ever 10 years and counting while surviving two years on Friday!

        I guess it’s true what they say; the top performers on a low rated network get a loooong shelf life!

  11. Martin Traynor says:

    I didn’t like the first few eps. of season 3 because of that huge secret Neal was keeping from Peter and the strained relationship that resulted, but it’s since gotten better. I’m disheartened to hear what’s to come, though. Sounds like this is a requisite for all shows. Bring folks together, then tear them apart, etc., etc. I HATE that.

  12. noblz says:

    Late to the party. My apologies.

    I like this episode…a lot!! It just makes my top ten (29). There are some great moments in here and I’m OK with this particular angsty ending. This is the fourth time where the angst is Sarah’s, not Chuck’s.(Alma Mater, Truth, Break-up being the others). At the end, Chuck appears resigned to his fate while Sarah appears to be crushed. I give it a pass because of the uniqueness.

    As for the heat, it was because we weren’t taken there. I mean, we only see the couple, primarily, in public moments. They aren’t going to stick their tongues down each other’s throat in that environment. They are acting like a normal couple would, at least in my world. It’s going back quite a while, but Mrs OtherDave and me were the same way. Our heat was in the bedroom or on special occasions. We were never shown C&S’s intimate life. Probably Fedak’s fault. The romance just wasn’t his thing. I for one complained about TPTB giving us too much Morgan and Buy Morons and not enough C&S privately.

    Also, remember the passionate moments before OG were illicit, stolen, naughty…pick an adjective, that added to the heat. After RM, they were a “normal couple”. We needed to be taken to where they were intimate and we were not.

    • atcDave says:

      Perfect point about the changing dynamic of the couple. I think when people see my wife and I in public, the only heat consists of holding hands and sitting closer together than “friends” would. The rest is private. And I think that’s very normal.

  13. Martin Traynor says:

    Good points, guys. I think I would have liked to see a little more passion, but we did get plenty of playfulness, which can be just as good. Didn’t want to see anything graphic, though.

    I also wish we could have seen more “domestic Sarah” one they did get together. She was fun, adorable and very loving in the breakfast scene. We didn’t see a whole lot of that Sarah the remainder of the series. Some playful Sarah, yes, but not like she was during that wonderful breakfast scene.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I always could have gone for more of the playful/fun sort of stuff. We did see it on occasion, like the Valentines scene in Masquerade, or teasing with Chuck and Morgan early in Business Trip. But more would have been nice, especially in place of the Buy More that often felt like they didn’t know quite what to do with it.

      • authorguy says:

        I did like Business Trip, when I rewatched it recently. In some ways it seems like Sarah was punished for making a friend of the woman who turned out to be the Viper. Masquerade began with a sort of humiliating humor that never sits well with me, and her playful interlude gets caught up in that..

    • authorguy says:

      I’m not so hungry for passion on the level of the Barstow kiss, or the bomb kiss, but I was starving for anything that looked like a real kiss, and that’s what the show lacked after S2. Two actors rubbing their lips together and making a sucking sound as the do it does not a kiss make.

      • That could be inadequate directing but i think you’re being nitpicky to an extreme extent and don’t see it to that level just my opinion-what couple isn’t overly affectionate in the beginning and Chuck and Sarah were at the start of a real relationship come the latter part of OG!

      • authorguy says:

        Gertrude’s and Casey’s kiss at the beginning of Kept Man is an example of the sort of kiss I wanted to see. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

      • anthropocene says:

        I thought Chuck and Sarah’s kissing in the cafe after their handcuffed fight and true confessions about spying in “Honeymooners” was certainly fevered enough. (It was passionate enough to annoy Casey!) And there was the utterly desperate kiss Sarah gave the tortured Chuck in the Belgian’s lair—when she wasn’t sure he was going to come back—followed by her profound physical and emotional relief when he does. The last little scene where Sarah throws her arms around Chuck’s neck and half-sobs, half-laughs on his shoulder…not passion? How about the kiss right after Chuck defused the Chinese nuke with apple juice? His nerdy clever heroics always turned Sarah on and I thought she showed it clearly there.

        After Paris, Chuck and Sarah were free to show their love in many ways besides kissing: cuddling in bed, one lying on the other’s lap in front of the TV, and so on. I thought ZL and YS did a good job in portraying an evolving, maturing—but in no way cooling—love affair. (Except when they were inflicted with overly contrived relationship/engagement angst.) The only thing (unavoidably) lost was the element of surprise that characterized the memorable S1 and S2 kisses, because they were still basically “forbidden” at that point. (To Bomb and Barstow I would also add the great tie-grabbing “national security emergency” kiss in the Buy More.)

        And I’m a firm believer that the final Sarah-Chuck kiss on the beach was building up to being the best of them all—it’s just unfortunate that the screen went dark early! 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I would agree with all of that Anthro!

    • noblz says:

      anthro- I agree completely.

      Martin- During atcDave’s last “Fan Fiction” thread, I thought a jealous Sarah and some comedy from their relationship/love life would have been just the thing.

      Re: Jealous Sarah I wrote “I felt just having Sarah run off petite brunette customers until the General has to chastise her would have been fine, but ernie had a better idea of how to do this. Suppose Chuck and Sarah go to DC for a meeting. Of course all of the petite brunette analysts hear that the dreamy Agent Charles Carmichael is coming to town (remember Stanley Fitzroy) and corner Chuck in the hallway until the Giant Blonde Shemale arrives to scatter them. It would have been a hoot.”

      Re: Fun with their relationship I wrote “Like having Chuck and Sarah arrive in Castle with Sarah as fresh as a daisy while Chuck is all disheveled and scuffed up, then Casey makes the mistake of asking Chuck about it and have Chuck begin to explain Sarah’s actions until Casey can’t take it anymore. Also, I really wanted to see Casey open the supply closet to find Chuck and Sarah using it in a very unauthorized fashion. Adam could have made that a great scene. Not necessarily from fan fiction, but I would have loved the Rene Russo/Clint Eastwood hotel scene from Line of Fire. It could have been made very funny. Also, in S5, if they had played Chuck vs Sarah in a lighter way like “Mr and Mrs Smith” I would have accepted it better than the attempt to go so dark as we approached the end. Didn’t really work for me the way they did it.”

      All of that is valid here in my mind. Re-doing the Sarah confronts Morgan in Castle from Living Dead, only have her threaten him to stay away for 24 hours because she has a big surprise for Chuck. These were the type of things I would have liked. TPTB just didn’t invest in the romance. I mean, how many dates for dinner did we see? I remember one in the aborted proposal in Balcony, were there others? I don’t recall. Did we ever see them go out to a night club on a date? Not that I recall. When I referred to their intimate couple life, this is what I meant.

  14. Guys I agree…that’s why i removed the Buy More and related things entirely from my fan-fic! In regard to the show; a large portion of the comedic tone came from that…it should have been dumped after S2 but I think the writers liked the “Nerd Herder by day; spy by night scenario.” Wasn’t terrible but definitely one more thing that went on too long,,,

    • noblz says:

      Josh

      Not all of the Buy Moron stuff was bad. A few good entries come to mind, one in this episode(Suburbs). In this episode the “getting Big Mike a woman to occupy him so they can goof off” scenario was good.

      The Buy Moron scene in Predator where Jeff and Lester were trying to rob the store at the same time Chuck/Sarah/Casey were was funny.

      The scene where the Buy Morons were boozing up Awesome in Subway was fantastic.

      The scenes in Bearded Bandit where the Buy Morons were making a commercial was along with the Sarah/Verbanski confrontation and the Sarah/Casey ride to the evil guy’s headquarters scene were the only really good parts of that episode.

      Having said that, most Buy Moron stuff after S2 was less than inspiring (My tastes here, I know some of you liked the Buy Moron stuff, but I could live without most of it), so using some of their time and most of Morgan’s would have suited me.

      • I agree (though Morgan did not bother me nearly as much) that’s why if we ever get a movie i think a cameo of jefester in London is gold!

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that. Buy Moron humor was occasionally funny, but mostly I wish they’d made better use of the time.

  15. Martin Traynor says:

    WOW! Sometimes i just fell so inadequate with all these great ideas you guys proffer. I agree, Noblz (and some great thoughts there with the silly stuff)! I also agree that the Buy Moron segments were usually too long and not all that entertaining. Sure, there were some gems, and I actually really liked the Big Mike/Morgan interactions the most there. I could have done with more smart Jeff and less stupid Jeff and almost no Lester. Really couldn’t stand Lester for the most part.

    I guess I just really liked the Sarah/Chuck interactions when they were pretending to be married here, and I think that this came off better than when they actually got married. I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining, because I love most everything about the show, especially the characters and their interactions. I just wanted more of the good stuff, that’s all.

    • noblz says:

      Martin

      I’m not complaining either, just re-imagining some stuff. I agree that their interaction here was better than most of their later stuff, but TPTB never took us to their private moments. That is what I regret.

      • In their defense; writing private moments is not an easy task…I’ve had to work hard to learn to space them out so they don’t seem contrived or boring…can’t image trying to cram such things into a 3 or 4 min scene and frankly i’m glad have no timetable…I made a conscious decision when i started writing my follow up fan fic (at this point its been 8 months) to have as little friction between Chuck and Sarah as possible because i thought the writers spent too much time having both of them wallow in self doubt about each other and themselves. As a result i’m much more in line with the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” scenario you spoke about and that has been extremely fun for me!

        I bring this up because i think when writing anything the first decision is always the most important and the show runners were set on a guy who worked at a Buy More going from Zero to Hero…they weren’t prepared for spot on casting with the leads and were even more unprepared for Zac and Yvonne’s (i can’t believe there not a real couple) chemistry! Add to that JS (man i really hate that guy) is one dimensional in his writing of relationships and i think we were always doomed t get less than we wanted in terms of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship because they never realized how FUN the relationship could have been if they had kept a Honeymooners or Role Models frame of mind all the time!

      • atcDave says:

        Josh I agree with almost all of that, I’d even add you’ve done a very good job telling a fun story that really honors the characters we all love.

        Although before we all get carried away I do want to ask that everyone make an effort to moderate our tone. It is easy to take the performance of writers and actors very personally. But please be careful not to put “hate” on an individual. We may hate their work, or something they said or did; but we don’t even know the actual person. So I just ask for more careful word choice.

  16. Martin Traynor says:

    Yes. I agree.

  17. Dave

    What can i say i slip up occasionally…especially because his mistakes ultimately led to the downfall of the show making it hard to keep a lid on my anger…that said i do acknowledge he birthed the project; my severe..dislike comes from the fact that CHUCK was not a teen drama and he spent half a season writing exactly that! I guess i just don’t understand how somebody could screw up so badly…

  18. noblz says:

    atcDave

    I believe you and some of the other folks are watching Forever. Catching up on my DVR’d episodes caused me to consider something. Since we have essentially the Chuck crew, minus Schwartz and Adler, it will be interesting to see if they’ve learned anything about resolving the looming personal issues between Henry and Jo (Jo learning Henry’s secret, the building Henry/Jo romance). We’ll see how Miller/Fedak/Klemmer/Borow handle this problem.

    They had better hurry. Forever is very likely a one season wonder.

    • atcDave says:

      I have wondered exactly the same thing about lessons learned Noblz! It will be interesting to see. I don’t mind a lot of legitimate angst, and no doubt, Forever has boatloads built right in to the concept. The trick is to play a wt/wt game without making the main characters look stupid, foolish or immoral. Chuck badly failed on occasion.
      But as you mentioned, its a little discouraging that the ratings are weak. They did get a full back order, which is obviously good. But no news yet on an S2.

    • CaptMediocre says:

      Once you get over the immortal hook of the show, which hasn’t played a factor in the last 2 to 3 eps, you’re basically watching Castle with a side order of Bones.

      • atcDave says:

        Well as a pure episodic formula goes I would agree. But apart from the gimmick aspect of the immortality, I think it adds a fascinating emotional hook. It is profoundly Tolkienesque. It’s like Elf/Human relationships. Henry is the Elf with a Half-Elven child, he will watch grow old and and die. It’s beautiful, melancholy and tragic. And if the show lasts long enough for a romance to develop, it will add another barb to that hook.
        I would also add, although I’m not familiar with Bones, I see such a huge difference between Richard Castle and Henry. In particular, Castle is an overgrown boy who had some serious maturing to do before he was ready for an adult romance. Henry clearly has some issues, but “maturity” will never be on the list.

        So I guess my bottom line is, I might agree with the quip as a pure structural issue, but so much of the mood and nuance of Forever is unique, and I love it for that.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        It is a cool twist to have an (adopted) son that look so much older than the parent. Plus Judd Hirsch makes the character fun.

      • thinkling says:

        Agree with all of that Dave. I’m liking Forever more and more. Henry is sort of the anti-Castle, as you say … maturity in spades. Great show, really. Tremendous relationship dynamics all around and angst that is genuinely organic (so hopefully they won’t feel the need to manufacture any gratuitous angst!)

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Thinkling manufactured angst is exactly what I’m wary of. I hope we never see a serious love triangle, or lies for no good reason. Things that I think undermined my Chuck experience, and are such a part of television-by-the-numbers I expect to be disappointed.
        Forever so was powerful last week; with Jo’s grief, that Henry understands, even if he won’t quite share why. I loved it, and I hope they continue to treat those characters with such respect.

      • thinkling says:

        Totally agree, Dave. I’m even okay if the romance goes slowly, because the relationship is so sweet right now. It’s angst with meaning and purpose and flows right out of their lives. But despite the organic angst, the tone of the show overall is hopeful and entertaining, not dark or depressing. That’s a fine line to walk, but they do it well.

  19. Martin Traynor says:

    I hope for a season 2 for Forever. I, too have noticed and wondered about the extensive Chuck crew, and hope for the best. Right now it may be my favorite show currently on air. Even Castle is waxing and waning a bit with me. Though last week was enjoyable, I’m not a huge fan of Rick and Kate being separated by work, of all things.

    • atcDave says:

      I won’t like it if the work based separation lasts for very long, but I thought last week was fun and entertaining. Apart from the awkward place the previous show runner left things, I think this new season of Castle has been pretty terrific. There are several shows I like right now, but Castle is top of the heap.

      • I continue to be highly entertained by Scorpion which unlike Forever is holding up well in ratings

      • duckman says:

        Scorpian has grown on me some. They still play fast and loose with the science, maybe I’m learning to ignore the details.
        Forever has already dipped it’s toe in the triangle pool. luckily that only lasted an ep. I’ve really liked most of the guest characters they’ve come up with, I really hope “the frenchman” returns occasionally. I can already tell that when I dump the show it will be because of Red John/creepy stalker dude. It’s looking like he’ll be a permanent fixture anytime they think they need some kind of dramatic boost. Fedak’s last ep featured him and it felt like classic fedak- manipulative, insulting, unpleasant, and just no fun. I’ll be paying attention to the writing credits before watching from here on and fedak gets 2 more cheap shots at me before I summarily refuse to watch any of his eps. I’m pretty much done tolerating Red John/creepy stalker dude too.
        I will say Mysteries of Laura has been better than I expected.

  20. DKD says:

    My rewatch continues to be about two months behind everyone else.

    This is a much higher episode in my book. Maybe #25. Historically, it was one of the episodes that was part of my transition from casual viewer to hardcore fan.

    The humor is great. It is full of quotable lines. I like the musical selections of Talking Dead and “I Can See Clearly Now”. They put smiles on my face. I also like an episode where significant things happen to the overall arc. That significant thing in this one was the download of the Fulcrum intersect and reinforcement that Chuck was special.

    (That they eventually screwed with that concept in Season 5 is not this episode’s fault. The writers still had a firmer handle on Intersect canon than they eventually had.)

    The ending didn’t bother me because the reasons behind it were solid. Plus, I’m never in a rush to get a couple together so that they can become more boring afterwards. It doesn’t bring me down the way it seems to others.

    • authorguy says:

      Bringing the leads together doesn’t have to make them more boring, it’s just a scriptwriter problem that they can’t seem to figure out ways to keep them interesting. I started off my rewrite with them married, and found quite a lot to do with them afterwards. Being married does not solve their problems, it just changes which problems they have. I think the business side of Hollywood has a set of acceptable scenarios and they more or less force scriptwriters to pick from a set of acceptable plots, I can’t imagine they’re all so lacking in originality.

      • thinkling says:

        I would almost rather watch a show that starts with a dynamic married couple than be dragged through the muck and mire of wt/wt. I’m thoroughly enjoying Madame Secretary, and her strong marriage is one of the reasons.

      • atcDave says:

        Absolutely! I’d much prefer the happy stable couple over the wt/wt game.

        I like seeing the respect, the teamwork, the happy camaraderie, even the teasing banter. That always brings a smile to my face.

      • authorguy says:

        One of the things I liked about Bones right from the start was the strength of their relationship. They never really did the wt/wt stuff either. Maybe if the fans hadn’t been so forceful about seeing Chuck as a romantic comedy, they’d have gotten together faster, since the romance wouldn’t have been a driving force to the show.

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