Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Dream Job (2.19)

NBC Synopsis: THINGS ARE LOOKING UP FOR CHUCK WHEN HE FINDS HIS FATHER AND LANDS HIS DREAM JOB OR SO HE THINKS —CHEVY CHASE (“NBC’S SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” AND SCOTT BAKULA (“QUANTUM LEAP”) GUEST STAR—Chuck’s (Zachary Levi) life seems to be coming together: his long-absent father Steve (guest star Scott Bakula) has returned and he’s landed his dream job with his hero Ted Roark (guest star Chevy Chase). Unfortunately for Chuck, neither turns out to be quite what he expected.

Chuck This Ranking: 25
Dave’s Ranking: Lower

Full Write Up: Chuck vs The Dream Job (2.19) by Dave and Joe

Arc Write Up: Reader’s Digest Re-Watch: The Search for Orion Arc by Ernie

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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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33 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Dream Job (2.19)

  1. Another great episode. I read your review, Dave, from two years ago, and wonder if your opinion has softened at all. I guess I’m more partial to Joe’s take on it. Yes, Sarah’s initially supportive spirit turns more protective and less agreeable with Chuck as the episode wears on, but I think it serves to heighten the stakes that are at play in this episode.

    I really enjoyed the way Stephen J. Bartowski’s (Orion, or Steve for Anthropocene’s sake) character unfolds as the show goes along. He comes across as this slightly unhinged recluse. You may disagree, but to my mind the unhinged element was an act to explain his reclusiveness to his family. When Chuck discovers that his dad is in fact Orion, I see in Chuck’s face all the pieces falling into place. Ellie is of course in the dark on yet another matter, but at the end of the episode, when she basically writes off her dad, Chuck’s more informed perspective leads him to say to her, “Don’t count him out yet.”

    I also really liked Zac’s ability to do physical comedy while failing so miserably to sit comfortably on the ball. With his tall lean physique, he reminded me of Dick van Dyke.

    Chevy Chase plays Roark as so utterly full of himself and later, of course, we understand that it is not just ego, but a healthy dose of evil as well. His greetings to his guests at the launch of the RIOS is classic: “Arigato. In a gadda da vida.” Did anyone else catch that? The song from the 60s psychedelic rock band Iron Butterfly.

    Luisa’s Bones has been mentioned elsewhere, but the frantic desperation of Chuck’s search is accompanied just brilliantly by that song.

    Returning to Chuck’s discovery of his dad’s identity, I really like the way that Stephen quickly explains his absence from Chuck and Ellie’s life and how that must have helped Chuck immensely. I think Chuck also realizes the sacrifices he is making are not unlike the sacrifices his father made. At the end of season 3, after Stephen has died and they are all gathered in the Bartowski home, Chuck salutes his dad, acknowledging his greatness.

    Would I rate it higher than 25? I’m not sure. I think of this episode as partial. It sets up tension in an important storyline that needs to be resolved. But I really like the purpose it serves as the arc closes in on the season 2 finale.

    Russ / resaw

    • atcDave says:

      This episode does a lot really well, and I wouldn’t argue with any of what you highlighted Russ. I particularly liked Chevy Chase as Roarke (yes I got Inna Godda Davita. I also liked his quip that he had just bought an island, Mr Roarke bought an island, cute). And I love Scott Bakula’s dual portrayal of Stephen/Orion.
      But the last 20 minutes sucks a lot of the fun out of it for me. Not that I rank it as a weak or bad episode, but I find that sort of tension boring. Almost aggressively boring. So no, it will never compete for one of my top slots or a strong rating. It has greatness as a key part of the excellent S2 finale arc, but it is not a favorite episode for me to re-watch.

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    Anyone else here just absolutely LOVE nerd Sarah?

  3. Justin says:

    I remember enjoying this episode when I saw it. My favorite part of the episode will always be this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFCkPsxgYr8. Moving stuff.

    • Martin Traynor says:

      Yeah-that is a truly powerful scene, Justin.

      I enjoy also how un-awesome Devon is around Stephen Bartowski in this episode. He just didn’t know what to do with himself, which I found quite amusing. Always love when Captain Awesome seems to be human like the rest of us (though I really do love him in his awesomeness). it’s just fun when he’s a little awkward.

    • atcDave says:

      Definitely a great scene. I also love Devon for exactly that reason; he’s disgustingly perfect even in the ways he’s flawed!

  4. oldresorter says:

    I’m jealous of fans of The Mentalist. Is there somehow Chuck and Sarah could have the last 30 seconds of The Mentalist? I will forever smile when I think about that show, about Chuck, sorry, all that is left is a frown and wonderment over what could have been.

    • atcDave says:

      I never watched Mentalist; but I agree entirely about the burden of disappointment that will forever hang over Chuck.
      We recently finished a full re-watch of Monk; and even though I would consider it a show of lesser emotional consequence to me than Chuck, it ENDED on a far more satisfying note and left me completely pleased with how everything wrapped up.

      • thinkling says:

        I haven’t caught up with Mentalist, but I will, and I’m pleased to know that I will be pleased.

        I agree that Monk had a completely satisfactory ending — one of the best IMO.

      • atcDave says:

        I wonder if Monk was helped that I didn’t originally expect it to be so good? During the whole run of the show Monk had a shadow over him, that they found a way to lift it was both pleasing and surprising to me.
        By comparison, the last two seasons of Chuck were quite joyful. So ending on such a bleak note seemed like a pretty rude surprise.

    • Yes, as I was watching the final few minutes of The Mentalist, I couldn’t help but compare it to Chuck’s finale. Unfortunately, Chuck came up wanting, even though I was never as wrapped up in Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon as I was (and still am) with Chuck and Sarah.

      Russ / resaw

      • anthropocene says:

        Same here, Russ. My wife followed The Mentalist much more closely than I did, but I had heard in advance that the series was going to end happily, so I watched the last few minutes of the finale for purposes of comparison with “Chuck.” It’s not a perfectly valid comparison because of the very different trajectories of the characters in the two shows (Jane’s backstory is much more awful; Chuck and Sarah were already happily married well before the finale). But it is significant that a series darker than “Chuck” was closed on an unambiguously happier note. I am sure the die-hard fans were delighted, and I wonder if the showrunners had that in mind.

      • atcDave says:

        I sure would like to see a new trend. We’ve had so many years now where the artsy, conflicted or difficult end has become SOP; I think many viewers would be much more willing to invest in scripted programming if there was a more likely hope for a satisfying outcome.

      • oldresorter says:

        I think the key with series finals is to not try to hit a grand slam home run. A good solid double will empty the bases and win the game.

    • You should check out FarScape if you haven’t yet. Easily the alltime best series finale with the Peacekeeper Wars. Loved how the show wrote to the characters and never the other way around.

  5. herder says:

    This episode is very different from many of the others, in the main review that that you had the review of yourself and Joe was important, it is a good episode, I loved the bit at the begining with Sarah lovening the interaction between Chuck and his father. That is one of the highlights of season 2, Sarah taking part, albeit from a distance of Chucks life as a part of her own ( sadly to say some of that is lost in the first part of season three, a reason to dislike it along for many other reasons too).

    But the reason for liking this episode is much more than that, it is the music, the music and the swinging view of Roake Industries, was amazing. The idea that Chuck could get this job as his own person was important. The gradual idea that the father could be more that the guy who said that they were following for some reason is important too.

    Then the end, Chuck taking on Casey to save the intersest is good, the addition to the music made it much more important than it seemed. At the end it was “your daddy’s gone” was big too. I liked the episode, but the music made it much better than the story invoved alone.

  6. wow i haven’t commented in quite a while; between working, writing and reading The hunger games i dropped off grid…anyway, the end of this episode is still one of my favorites and it’s got that staple element of Chuck; the mood constantly changes! The music is great and Chevy Chase is entertaining and egotistical as Ted Roark…

    So many shows have ended in the last few weeks; Out of curiosity i watched the finale of two and a half men and for the kind of show it was i thought it was perfect but as usual backlash rears it’s ugly head again!

    Parenthood walked the tightrope and ended very well!

  7. Martin Traynor says:

    The Mentalist – all I can say is, THAT’S how you end a show. Especially the very end. Won’t give it away for those who haven’t seen it, but Chuck’s producers could learn a thing or two.

    • atcDave says:

      All this love for Mentalist is making me think this may be the next “old” show my wife and I need to check out.

      • Justin says:

        The show had its moments. The mythology surrounding the serial killer Red John went on longer than it should. In my opinion, the end of Season 3 would have been the perfect conclusion to that arc. But how they handled Jane and Lisbon’s romantic relationship in the final season was well-done. Who the characters were as people wasn’t undermined through the relationship. Chuck and Sarah could have taken the same route in the first half of Season 3 if their relationship was handled by different writers.

      • oldresorter says:

        DAve a word of warning, I started watching it twice. The first few eps, are not at all heroic, kind of like Monk that way, Patrick has issues … he is kind of a cross between Monk and the lady lead, Dr Brennan on bones. But the show, and the lead character, grow on you. In some way, Patrick is a little like Sarah, flawed, yet both characters are endearing, both with huge hearts. While Teresa is like Chuck, as normal as apple pie, and sliently in love for most of the show. What kept them apart is very believable to me. Never felt awkward. The final season is a true love letter to the fans, no angst or no shenanigans of any sort. Prior to that, the wt/wt is in the background, a slow burn. So when angst is introduced, it doesn’t feel mean or out of character. And it gets tied up really, really, really well the final season.

      • atcDave says:

        That all sounds good guys. I think the main reason we never started was it looked too much like a Psych rip off. With less humor.
        But we’ve heard a lot good about it since then, and I sure like what I’m hearing here. Usually long about May we’re looking for something to watch after all our shows wrap for the season. So this is definitely one we’ll keep in mind.

    • mr2686 says:

      I love the “Chuck’s producers could learn a thing or two” comment, as if there is only one way a show should end. Yes, the Mentalist ending was very good, but the real problem with the whole Jane/Lisbon get together is that they were believable as co-workers, but not as lovers. There was just no romantic chemistry there at all…and I like the show very much. I just ignore that and take it for what it is. I actually thought a show like White Collar had an excellent ending. Maybe a little predictable, but they worked it all in nicely.
      I love seeing all the comments, good and bad, on series finales. In the last few years, we’ve had several shows that have actually had an ending (good or bad), and I can’t remember very many where everyone was happy.
      1. Lost – huge split on the ending
      2. Sopranos – huge split on the ending
      3. Chuck – Everyone loved the ending (Ha, just seeing if you were still reading).
      4. Dexter – pretty much hated
      5. Burn Notice – Generally liked, but I thought it went against how the characters had been written.
      6. Two and a Half Men – Comedies are a different breed, but this one was the producer giving an hour long “F” you to Charlie Sheen.
      7. How I met Your Mother – Tried to wrap up way too much in to one episode. Split the fanbase with more on the side of not liking it.
      8. The Mentalist – Liked (see comments above).
      9, In Plain Sight – I think this one was generally liked, although there were many that thought Marshall and Mary should have got together, but they did put a nice spin on it.

      I think what this shows is that no matter how an ending is written, you’re going to piss off a good portion of your audience. Some of that is just because the audience doesn’t want to see their favorite characters go away. Some is just because everyone has a preconceived notion of what happens to the characters, and get angry when it’s written another way.

      • atcDave says:

        The main thing I would disagree with in your conclusions is that I think it’s a trend to get too “creative” and take too many risks with finales the last few years. So often those endings are treated as license to do something different in tone from the bulk of the show. And I think that’s exactly bass ackwards.
        I think finales should be a time to honor the show and audience in a way that is a good wrap up of the show and characters FOR the audience that has supported that show and characters. And I think we’re seeing hubris run amok from the current generation of television writers who treat their audience, their show and their characters with contempt by not rewarding the viewer’s support and investment.
        I think every one gets that shows eventually end, and that saying goodbye to those characters is a part of the viewing experience. There was a time when finales were anticipated and loved. Fugitive being the classic example of how to do it right. But many other shows have done good from Star Trek: TNG to Mary Tyler Moore Show we’ve seen good endings mostly loved by fans.

        In a nutshell, I blame the writers almost entirely for the number of poorly received finales in recent years. Blaming the audience is the entertainment equivilant of “blaming the victim”, and I’ll never buy into that.

  8. mr2686 says:

    See, you’re blaming the writers for what YOU perceive as poorly received (at that would be the case for something like Dexter) but on others like Chuck, Lost, and the Sopranos, there were just as many that liked the finales. So, which half do you write to? Do you write a middle of the road sappy ending for everything hoping that you get half that say they loved it and half that say it was just ok (better than disliking it)? That’s what didn’t work for Burn Notice. There’s just no way that those to characters are going to settle down in to a remote house with the excitement of the spy life nowhere to be found. Having them die in the explosion would have been a much better ending (especially with the funeral scene they had), but I’m guessing that a bunch of people would have hated that as well. As a writer, you just can’t win in TV.

    • atcDave says:

      Yes you absolutely write to the middle.

      And yes I categorically blame the writers. Every time. Its ALL on them to deliver. With such a large unhappy contingent for the finale I consider it a failure, period.
      That I personally found some peace with it is beside the point. The number of unhappy viewers we’ve heard from here defines the mistake of that ending.

      I don’t think the finale of Burn Notice was a failure at all. I think it was the only acceptable episode of the entire last season. So I consider the whole last season a failure. Maybe even the last two seasons. The show went progressively darker and less fun as it ran. I even stopped buying the discs after S4; so where I’m concerned I stopped supporting the show financially as it went darker. The finale came close to honoring the show I had first loved in those early seasons. But its much like “Other Guy” on Chuck; it was one bright note after a season of misery and it was inadequate pay off for what I had just sat through. But it would have been a terrific ending for the first four seasons of the show.

      • Justin says:

        Wasn’t a fan of the Burn Notice season either. Or the show taking a darker direction in its latter seasons. In my opinion, the perfect ending to the series was the end of S2 with Michael being freed from the clutches of the Company with his future being an open book. The end of S4 was good but I didn’t like the CIA cliffhanger which was the beginning of the end of the fun, earlier version of Burn Notice.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree exactly with that
        Justin.

      • oldresorter says:

        Burn Notice final season / final ep was exactly like Other Guy. Exactly. Good catch.

  9. mr2686 says:

    My last comment will be this. The number of unhappy viewers you heard from here does not define the mistake of the Chuck ending, as much as it defines this forum as a place for those that have a complaint with it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a whole big beautiful world out there. To go on with this would just rehash many of the discussions from the past years. I think at this point nobody’s opinion is going to vary much.

    • atcDave says:

      There’s no doubt I’m pretty well decided on this. But I would add my experience with “real” people off line pretty much mirrors what we’ve seen here (at least for the end; S3 typically fairs worse off-line than it does on-line). I believe a majority of viewers liked, or at least accepted the Chuck finale. But a large minority (20%?) were unhappy with it. And the real problem I see is that those who were unhappy were often VERY unhappy. This isn’t a “well, whatever” sort of discontent; it was angry and hurt. Usually those more casual off-line sort of viewers are more relaxed in their likes and dislikes (again; compare to S3, absolutely every single real world viewer I know disliked S3 but few of them were outraged. It was more like disappointed and mildly peeved). But those who disliked the finale were often very upset by it.
      As I’ve said before, the ultimate irony of Chuck may be that everyone associated with show built good will from me. That is; even if I won’t promise to watch everything they do, I will at least take a second look to see if I may be interested. Except the show runners. The show runners uniquely acquired baggage not benefit. Anything they are associated with will get a second look too; just because I question if I actually want to trust them again.

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