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Saturday, 22 of July of 2017

Tag » Chuck

Chuck vs My Heart Strings: A Reflection

“Tell me our story.”

Sarah and Chuck talk about their lives together on the beach.

"Does it bother you that, even though we're the stars of this show, Baldwin's going to be the one they demand at Comic-Con?"


I’m not sure I prepared enough. I knew that I was going to watch the final episode of Chuck live (because, basically, the windows deal for the final season, which left episodes off Hulu, NBC.com, and the WB site) made me. But I didn’t get enough of the essentials to celebrate the end of this series. Sizzling Shrimp and (even if it wasn’t for drinking) Rombauer Chardonnay made their absence felt. I didn’t even get a fast-food sausage or a PinkBerry knock-off.

Snacking through a wake aside, the one thing I did make sure of was to watch this finale alone. Watching it live meant that I wouldn’t be able to rewind, to pause, to walk away (no DVR). I was going to have to stare at this series finale until it was over, commercial breaks being my only respite. I was subject to the whims of this show’s authors, ones that have notoriously (if inconsistently) taken advantage of me emotionally. But I was of two minds approaching the final episode of Chuck.

One was recollecting all the times this show has manipulated my inside feelings with neo-folk soundtracks, a guy debating the same things I debate since we’re of the same age, and a hopelessly romantic (if far-fetched) storyline. The other part of me couldn’t trust this show, not just because of the manipulation but also I didn’t know what to expect because the last three seasons have been so inconsistent (at times, straight up betraying). Even in the episodes leading up to the two-hour finale, I really liked the third-to-last episode but rolled my eyes at the penultimate one. It’s not like I was worried about them tying up loose ends but I was worried that the ending would be so sickly sweet that my inherent cynicism would pile up in my throat and choke any sentimentality I could feel for the show.

So I sat down to watch it, gastronomically unprepared but maybe emotionally over-prepared. After knowing this would be the last season NBC/WB could, in good conscience, support, would this series come up big in the end or did they muster up just enough disappointment to say “screw you” to me one last time? Read more »


Chuck – “Chuck vs Bo”

“Have you had any sneak peeks of your childhood crush’s boobies?”

Bo Derek tries to seduce Morgan Grimes.

"That's funny. I'm pretty sure I just felt my sense of rhythm and whimsical good nature being sucked out through my ears." Bo Derek. SUCCUBUS.

Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that Chuck will never be the show of intrigue or subtlety that you predicted, you can learn to laugh at well-constructed episodes like this one. You let go and you can enjoy yourself.

This episode is the first of this season, now that we’re down to two weeks and three episodes of this show left, to really have fun with its characters. Sure, we’ve exhausted some outfits for Sarah (including full-on nudity) given the Intersect to Morgan and a love interest for Casey as we scrape out all the half-incubated ideas the series had left. But this episode really felt like it was having fun with being a lame-duck series. You don’t have to hold back anymore. Be as crazy as you want to be. Let your (broadcast-approved) freak flag fly!

Everything from the language being used to the major arcs of the episode (and particularly the turning point for the season at the end of this episode) was inspired. If only they could’ve done this kind of thing consistently.

Let’s talk about what happened. Read more »


Chuck – “Chuck vs The Kept Man”

“I didn’t fly halfway across the world to be debriefed. That’s your job, John.”

Sarah reacts to just walking in on Casey being intimate with Gertrude.

It says so much.


Watching this show is to continuously realize that the series made a decision in the third season of who it wanted to be: Chuck is always going to sacrifice any real intrigue for everything saccharine and foolish. Since then the show has had its moments (Orion’s exit, for example) but, overall, I find that I spend each episode reminding myself that I have to come to terms with their decision. It favors slapstick jokes and nerd references over deep storytelling.

And I’m not saying the show is wrong in making that decision. Season 2 made promises the show could never keep (especially when short-sighted fans made themselves heard on what they think of storylines) and a series that’s more episodic with shorter arcs makes sense for syndication (although I’m not sure who’d want to pick up this series with those ratings). Just as I’ve said this to myself through every episode, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times in reviews. Sometimes you have to just let the hilarity ensue.

With the final season of Chuck about to be written in the books, taking a little air out of the Casey’s cold demeanor is the dark corner of fun the show hasn’t explored nearly as much as it could/should have. Keeping in mind what this show is trying to be, this was a pretty solid episode. Especially if this show wants to make the viewing public want to beat Chuck senseless. Read more »


Catchin’ Up with Breaking Bad – The Trouble with Tuco (Episodes 02.01-02.03)

“Ding!”

Walt and Jesse meditate their options at Tuco's desert outpost.

We are sca-reeeeewed.


Noel did a write-up of Breaking Bad Season 1 back in April but, unlike him, I’ve always been intrigued by the show but never got around to actually watching (whereas he caved to peer pressure). Part of it was because I have a tangle of other shows that dominate my weeks and part of it was that I have absolutely no excuses whatsoever. I’m inherently lazy and the thought of sitting through another show was just too much. Not to mention I had a feeling a show about a dude with cancer paying the bills by selling meth would have the same marathon effect on me that Six Feet Under would have: clinical depression and a number of medications just to stay stable.

But, happily, Breaking Bad is different than I expected and doesn’t make me feel like a raincloud-haunted iota. There’s action! Drama that’s not cancer-related! Comedy that works and doesn’t just elucidate the hopelessness of the characters’ situations, further driving you into an existential tailspin! No, Breaking Bad is a different kind of show. As most of you probably know because you’ve watched it already.

If you haven’t watched it, let me tell you now that this intends to be spoilerific (terrific in spoilers). I ask that, at the very least, you catch up on the episodes in the title (since I’m writing these posts before any knowledge of the show’s future) since, as witty and charming as I am via prose, the series itself is far better than my analysis of it.

Especially since I’m going to, inevitably, compare it to Chuck and Weeds. You write what you know.

Read on, you cool babies!

Read more »


Podcast 14: “FOX Hurts Nick’s Feelings”

“I bet that was the first time Human Target has ever trended on Twitter … those seven people were really upset about it.”

Where’s podcast 13, you ask? Well, think of it like how buildings don’t have thirteenth floors because it’s bad luck. That should distract you from the real reason: Nick got lazy and didn’t cut the last recording. When the Monsters of Television album drops, I’ll make Podcast 13 (and all the others resigned to a similar fate) the secret track for you.

Another secret track on that album? Some of the stuff that was left on the cutting room floor for this podcast. So much to talk about and so little time to do it in. FOX hacked its schedule to shreds this week, canceling just about everything, even putting House on notice for a final season. We stare down the barrel of the upfronts and tell you about what we’ll miss, what we’re looking forward to, and what we’re already cringing about. We also talk a lot of television from the past week, mostly the usual suspects. So go ahead and indulge yourself with this week’s podcast. Learn something. And try to forget about ol’ scary number thirteen.

Running time: 72 minutes

  • FOX Bloodbath
    • Chicago Code: 0:00:22
    • Breaking In:0:04:33
  • Chuck: 0:10:02
  • Wonder Woman: 0:11:42
  • Charlie’s Angels: 0:12:58
  • FOX Bloodbath – Sepinwall Post: 0:15:24
  • NBC PIckups: 0:17:32
  • Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea: 0:18:19
  • Ashton Kutcher and Two and a Half Men: 0:19:15
  • S#*! My Dad Says Cancelled: 0:22:10
  • ABC Pickups: 0:22:28
  • Damon Wayans, Jr and Happy Endings: 0:26:11
  • CW Renewals: 0:27:49
  • Smallville: 0:28:15
  • Ringer: 0:31:06
  • Gossip Girl: 0:33:25
  • Game of Thrones: 0:40:20
  • The Office: 0:53:40
  • Community: 0:55:41
  • This Week’s Finales: 1:08:10

Nick and Noel Talk about Chuck (Probably) Being Renewed

So rumors are circulating that Chuck will be picked up for a fifth season of 13 episodes (and, knowing NBC, it will then get a surprise back order to fill the hole left by Wonder Woman). Like with House, we discuss what we think they show could do in this (yet another) miracle season, why only G4 would want this show for syndication, and that it’s probably time to do away with the Buy More. For real this time.

Noel: WHY. Why, Nicholas? Why.

Nick: I can’t explain it.

Noel: I mean…What happens if NBC needs to fill 11 more weeks? AGAIN? You may kill youself.

Nick: Which they almost assuredly will. I mean, Wonder Woman is part of their development program.

Read more »


Chuck – “Chuck vs The Last Details”

“Vittore la Barba, huh? Ciao, bella. Spaghetti-ah pizza. Mammamia. It’s a-me: Mario. I send-ah the arms to-ah the bad guys.”

Sarah plays guard, protecting Mary from any real threats.

It’s just like that movie with J-Lo and Jane Fonda but with guns, prison, and a more sensible plot.

I hate you, Chuck, with the fire of a thousand suns. And let me tell you why.

I’ve put up with a lot from you. I fell in love with the show, even sunk so low as to be a ‘shipper for Chuck and Sarah, during the first couple of seasons. Granted, I wasn’t demanding your collective heads with every obstacle you put in front of them but I swelled with happiness, pure joy, as I watched these two crazy kids non-consummate their relationship in front of bombs, doped up on truth serum, on dates, and even rolling around together in a hotel room. I suffered the slow start to Season 3 and the subsequent cornball start to Season 4, only because the exits from your seasons have made up for so many episodes that would raise my ire.

Even though I consistently dish out hearty bowls of WTF on this blog for your show every week, you had to notice that some of those bowls were filled with love and devotion. I only pick on you because I care. I only want the best for you.

Don’t blow this for me.

You’re rolling up on the end of the season, possibly the series, which means you need to go out with a bang anyhow. Season 4 has been terribly inconsistent with astronomic highs that compete with the best of your early work and some pitiful lows that almost turned me off the series entirely. Though I suppose if I could stay through “vs The Honeymooners,” really, I can battle through anything. These last few episodes have looked promising if not up to the calibre I expect, nay, demand. But this crap — I can’t cotton to this. It’s not all bad but I’ll tell you this: the bad stuff was so infuriating that I had to go out and take a walk. And it’s raining outside. And I had to get some ice cream. So, while I sit here and eat my feelings, let me tell you what upset me so.

Read more »


Chuck – “Chuck vs Agent X”

“I love this woman.”

Chuck prepares for his bachelor party while Sarah takes a bath.

A new way for Sarah to be naked and/or wet every week. Who says this show can’t innovate?

I was kind of hoping Dave Thomas and Charlize Theron would be surprise guest stars. And then I realized that was “Mr F” and there was a distinct reason why my search for “Mr X” was coming up with bupkis.

So here we are, into the final three episodes of the season and we’re ready to escalate into the end. This is where Chuck is Chuck, the part of the season that helps us fall right back in love with the show, at its most endearing when no one is watching. It’s also why, when Chuck hurts us so bad later and people start to ask we we’re still in this relationship, we tell them they don’t understand and they don’t really know Chuck the way we do. “You don’t understand OUR LOVE!”

From the title, you can tell we’re being plated with this “Agent X” thing, the condensation of the vapors of a storyline we’ve been sniffing in the latter half of this season as it’s been mentioned by Ellie and the Volkoffs in passing. The search for “Agent X” finally brings about some storylines they’ve been desperately staving off for weeks and weeks. I mean, really, how long could we have Ellie sitting in front of the computer, whining about her dad’s research? This is the episode that sets the table for the rest of the season (kinda) but how the table is set isn’t really as shocking to me as how early the table is set.

And it’s all contained in a little picture of cottage in the English countryside.

Read more »


“Chuck vs The Honeymooners”: One Year Later

Chuck and Sarah answer the door on the train.

I wouldn’t leave the room either.

With the Season 2 premiere of Treme on HBO last night, NBC apparently wanted us to observe one of their own man-made disasters. Instead of using an off-night for the networks to catch people up on recent episodes of Chuck, we’re being subjected to a repeat of what I consider to be the worst episode of the series, one that I malign more often than I call for the dissolution of Huddy, more than I champion Peggy on Mad Men. We call that festering, weeping mess “vs The Honeymooners.”

The episode comes right after a high point of the season as the Shaw storyline comes to a close (or at least a temporary hiatus), Chuck defending Sarah by firing an actual gun as a live human being. “vs The Other Guy” was an inspired episode ending with the event even a non-shipper was happy to see: Chuck and Sarah getting together. A lot of complications were in front of them and they brought a lot of baggage into their relationship but, finally, we had some level of real consummation.

And then there was “vs The Honeymooners.”

Some might think I’ve been too hard on the episode, that it was a necessary romp to let the audience have a breather post-Shaw. Perhaps my expectations for the first episode of an official Chucknsarah were too high. I’m a man willing to learn. So I decided, in honor of NBC deeming this particular episode important enough to show you on a break, that I would take another look, enlightened as I am with the gift of hindsight.

And you know what …

Read more »


Chuck – “Chuck vs The First Bank of Evil”

“Don’t lead with the beard. Let it be a pleasant surprise.”

Vivan acts tough for the bank executive.

She is so not happy to be on the Island.

Between the Devil from Reaper and Pierre Chang from Lost, this might be the most evil episode of Chuck we’ve ever seen.

That’s why I’m so glad it has been part of what has been an inspired run of of episodes. From the downfall of Alexei Volkoff to the reluctant rise of his daughter Vivian (played by Lauren Cohan — an electric presence on a show not lacking in that department), we’ve seen some imagination, some heart, and really sharp comedy. The kind we haven’t seen in such a long time.

I don’t know if someone cracked down on the writer’s room sometime after they crapped the bed on “vs The Balcony” but it’s refreshing to see characters behaving in the way you’ve been dying to see them behave, engaging in real problems, dealing with issues some characters have been having from the very beginning. Sarah’s detached mind finally has a chance to float in the opportunities afforded by her civilian friends (like getting excited about a wedding). Casey’s skills, handicapped by van surveillance and a string of debilitating injuries, finally gets noticed by higher ups so he’s given a mission. And Chuck — well, Chuck has his black hole of emotion that everyone gets sucked into (even the coldest hearts in the spy world seem to cave into their inside feelings more often lately) but he’s returned to being that affable, sometimes awkward character everyone probably misses. And how about someone realized there’s more to the Intersect than kung-fu. Lots of good stuff with all the characters.

But let’s get to the specifics of this episode, shall we?

Read more »