TV Review: “Chuck”

OVERALL: Fun, fun, show. Note that at the time of this post I have only finished seasons 1 and 2 and am in the middle of 3.

POINTS: After hearing my friends talk about this show lovingly for years, I finally broke down and watched it via Netflix streaming. OMG. Another “why didn’t I just TiVo this show in the first place” show. This show has its own feel, look, humor, and characters. It is a show that has, like a well developed fantasy/science fiction novel, has its own world. It is also cool how this show takes place in middle America retail work and apartments. It is not about big salaries and wondering how the characters make money. You see the characters working at the Buy More (aka Best Buy) and working under cover at a hot dog then yogurt shop. If you have ever worked retail you know the kinds of friendships and relationships that can form in such an environment. It feels familiar.

PITFALLS: Hmmm…. Let me think upon this.

FEMALE CHARACTER(S): Well who doesn’t love a kick ass heroine and therefore Sarah Walker played by Yvonne Strahovski, is just right. I would like to see more of her. (In fact if I could make it happen, she would play Kirk in a genderswapped Star Treksee the cast here.) I also like Ellie Bartowski played by Sarah Lancaster. I like the fact that she gets to be a smart, successful doctor, who also loves and mothers her brother. Just when you think this character might be one-dimensional, she does something different. She is fun.

CULTURAL PITFALL(S): And this is where I get tired of the show. Really tired of the show. This is why I stopped watching.

Chuck and Sarah. They are an adorable couple. The two actors have good chemistry together. You like them on the screen you want to seem together, you want to see them together in other shows. The two characters clearly love each other and you know they have to end up together in the end. This will make everyone happy.

However.

Their relationship is filled with a lot of high school silliness. By that I mean the two never talk to each other honestly. (Oh Lord that sounds so stereotypical I can’t even believe I wrote it!) They always try to say what they think or what another character told them the person wants to hear. They also don’t trouble shoot. (No pun intended.) * [SPOILER ALERT] * Apparently in this universe if they want to date and be together they can’t be spies together. What? How dopey is that! It’s like a contrived plot twist. Oh good grief. They eventually overcome this but why did it take them so long with so many silly non-conversations to get there.

STILL * [SPOILER ALERT] * I got so annoyed with their relationship that I Googled the show for future episode plot summaries. The couple do get married – YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally! BUT in the very last episode apparently Sarah has lost her memories. The only way to maybe get them back is to kiss Chuck. What? I find this kind of relationship shenanigan stuff contrived, juvenile, and unsatisfying. (I guess that is why I don’t like romances.) END * [SPOILER ALERT] *

If Chuck and Sarah could grow out of the juvenile relationship stuff I would be really happy. Note to producers/scriptwriters: Successful relationships can be portrayed on TV. See Bones and Grimm for example. In fact, it makes the show better, IMHO.

Note: I will probably finish watching this as I do wonder about the characters. The show IS fun.

HIGH POINT(S):  1.) The show itself. It is like entering a heightened world of spy craft and fun. 2.) The sister and her boyfriend are loads of fun. 3.) Zachary Levi, who plays the show’s hero, Chuck Bartowski. He certainly grows on you and can make you smile. 4.) Ensemble Cast. The cast is a good ensemble. They work well together, they compliment each other, and they look different from each other. You want to watch them.

BECHDEL TEST (Website): I can’t find it on the Bechdel Test Website but I would say it gets a solid 2 of 3 all the time, maybe a 3 of 3 sometimes. We have two lead women on the show – spy and sister – and a supporting actress. When the women talk it is often about Chuck or other men. Still they are fun characters.

IMDB: Chuck (TV Series 2007-2012)

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:  Chuck on NBC.

DVD/BLU-RAY WORTHY: Yes.

LION PAW PRINTS:  3 of 5.

Chuck TV series poster

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