Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Role Models (3.15)

NBC Synopsis: CHUCK AND SARAH TRAIN WITH A MARRIED CIA TEAM – FRED WILLARD (“ANCHORMAN”) AND SWOOSIE KURTZ (“PUSHING DAISIES”) GUEST STAR – Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) are assigned to train under Craig and Laura Turner (guest stars Fred Willard, “Anchorman” and Swoosie Kurtz, “Pushing Daisies”), a married CIA team who, despite their impeccable record, hate one another. The Turners’ stormy relationship forces Chuck and Sarah to wonder if they’re doomed with the same fate. Meanwhile, Casey (Adam Baldwin) must train the newest member of the team – Morgan (Joshua Gomez).

Chuck This Ranking: 59
Dave’s Ranking: I agree

First Impressions: Mobs and Models and First Reactions

Full Write Ups: Chuck vs The Role Models (3.15) by Dave and Joe
The Last Word on Role Models by Joe
S3 Revisited: Chuck vs The Role Models by Joe, Ernie, Amy and Dave


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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16 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Role Models (3.15)

  1. Martin Traynor says:

    I have to say that I totally disagree with the ranking of this episode, which is what opinions are all about. I’m not sure just how high I personally rank it, but I can say that i re-watch it – a lot! This episode follows up the near-perfect Honeymooners with more domestic and spy fun. I LOVE the back and forth between Chuck and Sarah about where the guns are, left in the car, “because you told me to!” – wow, Chuck has quite a bit of pull with Spy-Sarah already!…and of course, Chuck’s “I can’t believe you listened to me…” followed closely with Sarah’s, “I know, I can’t believe it either!”

    It’s gold, Jerry. Gold!

    To me, this episode was loads of fun with some great spy stuff thrown in. Sarah relenting as far as letting the Turners off the hook (I LOVE Chuck’s influence on her already), and Chuck volunteering to welcome Otto and the tiger into the apartment and letting Sarah take care of the Turners (did Chuck really just volunteer for the dangerous part?) – they really are rubbing off on each other, making each other better.

    And they are having FUN, as am I. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

    Easily in my top 5, maybe top 3.

    • atcDave says:

      Well I completely agree with all the things you like here Martin. I want to mention our usual Chuck rule here, an average episode of Chuck is a wonderful show. So even if I put it middle of the pack, I completely loved it!
      There’s nearly 70 episodes I can happily watch any time.

    • oldresorter says:

      Martin this is a top ten’ish level ep for me too. Never understood why it ranked so low either, it seemed the perfect to be continued from the ‘Charles’ honeymoon mission.

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    Another thing I really enjoyed about this episode is that it’s the first time we get to see Chuck and Sarah interact as a couple in their “regular lives” – that is, both domestically and during (sanctioned) spy missions. To me, and I agree with you on this Old, this is the perfect companion piece to “Honeymooners.”

    And another bold step in the relationship is taken with their decision to live together.

    A lot is happening here, and it’s all good (for the most part). I’ll admit that upon first viewing, Sarah’s comments about messing with what works when Chuck asked her to move in had me a little worried, but now (being on the other side of having seen it a few dozen times), I find it mildly humorous. It still manages to throw me a second every time, though…

  3. uplink2 says:

    Well I wouldn’t put this episode all that high on my list but it is definitely a fun ride. My only gripe was believing Fred Willard and Swoosy Kurtz as world class spies, aging or not. But other than that minor thing it was definitely another fun fill romp. Plus it was a great episode for Yvonne to get into the comedy more while still being truly Sarah Walker.

    This episode has the great inclusion of one of my favorite songs in all of Chuck, Sans Soleil by Miike Snow. It fits perfectly with that scene of growth for them. Another moment where you knew the relationship angst was gone and gone for good. Not soon enough mind you but at least that door was closed and locked forever.

    • thinkling says:

      Agree about the guest stars Uplink. Since that was my biggest beef, I have enjoyed the rewatches better than the first viewing. Fun episode. Not top ten, but very solid and … fun.

      • atcDave says:

        Fred Willard and Swoozy Kurtz are a bit of a problem for me too. They were funny; but too buffoonish (which apparently I really don’t care for!) and way too old.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree … all except for the funny part. Apparently the buffoonish overwhelmed the funny for me. I thought Chuck and Sarah were funny, but the Turners … not so much. Although it was interesting plot-wise, with the old timers double crossing everyone. And a triumph for the younger couple to best them.

      • oldresorter says:

        the bafoonish stuff doesn’t bother me. It seems like a fair amount of the paid cast’s only job is to be bafoonish. So as long as they show gets Chuck and Sarah ‘right’ I’m OK. IMO this episode got them right, so it was a great ep. I could care less about the guests, for me the guests only job is to bring out greatness in Chuck and Sarah. The Turners did that, more or less.

        I also find for me, the show fails when the story errors in the violent or morbid direction, so I disliked amnesia, ep long torture of sarah, the Mauser scene, even when Cole was tortured, I didn’t like that kind of stuff in the series.

        And I really don’t like when Chuck or Sarah go off the reservation individually or collectively, like the next 4 eps of ‘lying Chuck’ or the first 12 eps of season 3 when the show lost its way. This ep had no bad for me in terms of Chuck and Sarah, which is all I really ever wanted from the show.

  4. Martin Traynor says:

    Ah, well…to each each his own, I guess. Their ages didn’t bother me. I’m a big Fred Willard fan though (love him in all the Christopher Guest flicks). I enjoyed them…

  5. noblz says:

    This is one of those episodes that I didn’t care for the first time through, but upon re-watch I got hooked. Didn’t make my top ten (29) but is in the top third of my good ones.

    Only beef: They needed actors in their 50s not their 70s to play the Turners.

    Good Stuff: How Sarah is so protective about their reputation as spies, the way Sarah reacts to Craig’s infidelities and the AP (Adorable Psycho) moment where Chuck is cleaning to deal with stress, Sarah then charges her weapon and says “This is how I deal with stress!” and with a happy smile turns to pursue the Turners. Chuck shuffles after her mumbling “Here we go!” with a terrified look on his face, like he’s seen this before…great.

    There has always been a lot of talk that Sarah was scared to move in…to take that step. Frankly, I thought she always meant to move in and was playing with Chuck. Just remember “Not if you want to live with a spy” and how she smiled at him at the party when she asked him if he was going to ask her to move in again and Chuck replies “Well, not right now”. Sarah was playing Chuck…and enjoying it.

    • I’m inclined to agree with you, noblz, on Sarah’s attitude toward moving in with Chuck. I know that a big part of the subsequent episodes had to do with Sarah’s domestication: moving in, engagement, marriage, the talk about children….But I wonder about that, too. Marc (Authorguy) in his fanfic version, has Chuck and Sarah already married. In our rewatch of two years ago, atcDave says he would have liked to have seen them elope right after Paris. I suspect the writers thought that exploring this path of Sarah’s over an extended period of time provided good material for subsequent stories, but my thought is that those two knew by this time what they meant to each other, had gotten to know each other a great deal over the previous two years, and after the struggles and misguided paths taken during the first two-thirds of season three knew that they were now completely committed to each other.

      I know this episode is rated in the middle; I’m not sure I disagree with that, but I think it has some important elements in it, that perhaps make it worth more than its ranking might suggest. There is a newfound freedom to be herself in Sarah, to name one. The other is that The Ring is connecting Ellie to the world of espionage despite all the secret-keeping that Chuck had been endeavoring to maintain. I should also mention the endorsement given by the Turners that the “Bartowskis” (no apostrophe s, by the way) are their worthy successors in CIA coupledom.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with all of that Russ. There is a lot that is important and fun that takes place here. A “59” ranking only proves that Chuck in the middle of the pack is still a wonderful thing.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree completely with your good and bad of it.
      I’m not so sure I agree that Sarah always intended to move in, but I do like that they were both having fun and teasing about the topic in subsequent scenes. And as I’ve said before, I find the whole thing a little silly. They were running away together just the week before. I’d call that practically a marriage. And then she balks at moving in?
      It just struck me as lazy story telling. I never doubted they intended to draw out every detail of the growing relationship, but some of the steps seem a little silly (like moving in and unpacking being two different episodes!)

    • uplink2 says:

      I think the Sarah moving thing had little to do with moving in, it was about change. She doesn’t like change and the relationship was working perfectly well so why mess it up? We see that later in Coup d’etat. It’s more about change than anything else IMO.

  6. oldresorter says:

    a bit of chuck related news, as a member of the writing staff landed a showrunner spot: https://www.yahoo.com/tv/s/cws-legends-tomorrow-taps-tomorrow-160002452.html

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