Sunday, February 5, 2012
After five fun seasons, "Chuck" has come to an end. When it first came out, I was attracted by the nerdy "I don't know what I'm doing" spy angle.
Chuck was a young, geeky, intelligent college screw-up. He worked at the Buy More fixing computers in the Nerd Herd. It was the best job he could find. Thus at the very beginning we had a guy frustrated with some dead end job, knowing he could do a lot more. He was surrounded by idiots who got in the funniest situations.
Everything changed when his old college buddy sent Chuck an email containing a virus that would upload an entire super-secret database (the Intersect) into his mind. Then the CIA and NSA each sent an agent to watch over and protect the "asset." The CIA sent the sexy Sarah Parker (seen in the promo above), and the NSA sent John Casey (Adam Baldwin almost reprising his role in "Firefly").
The first season revolved around a hilarious love/hate triangle between Chuck and these two agents. Chuck fell in love with Sarah as they went through their cover as boyfriend/girlfriend. John Casey tried to keep everything professional, knowing that when the mission is over, he would have to terminate Chuck.
This first season had a lot of energy, combining fun spy action with nerdy comedy and silly situations. Yes, it was easy to see that the spy action was convoluted and written so as to set up the silly situations, but the comedy was so funny, hardly anyone cared. The funniest moment comes to mind when Chuck was controlling an explosive missile. It had to go somewhere, so he guided it to hit Casey's beloved Crown Victoria. BOOM!!! And the look on Casey's face--priceless.
Later seasons got more interesting, but never quite maintained the energy from the first season. Throughout the years, we got to meet Chuck's Dad, who turned out to be the one who created the Intersect. Then we met his Mom, who also turned out to be a super secret spy. Chuck got an Intersect upgrade at the end of Season 2. ("I know Kung Fu.") So, in Season 3, he got to be a real super secret spy, fleshing out his Carmichael persona. Of course, at first he didn't do it right.
Slowly, we saw Chuck's bushy hair transform into a more sexy kept hairdo. As he came to lose the Intersect, and then watch it go into his best friend, Morgan, we watched as Chuck tried to keep him from making the same mistakes.
We saw several villains. I can't remember one major villain from the first season, unless you count the college friend, Bryce who turned out to be kind of a traitor, but not really. He's the one who got Chuck kicked out of college, sort of. Other villains included the Ring, Folcrum, Volkoff, Volkoff's daugther, Chuck's mom, Daniel Shaw, and one last one at the end: Nicholas Quinn, the guy who was supposed to get the Intersect instead of Chuck.
The show had a good run. It ended at a good spot. Everyone got a happy ending (like the Subway moving in with the Buy More--much to Big Mike's delight), except for perhaps Chuck and Sarah.
They say you shouldn't introduce new characters and new situations at the end of a story, and this is one case where I agree. Sarah lost her memory with only two episodes left for the writers to resolve the conflict. And with the show over, in my opinion, they were unsuccessful. Sarah losing her memory did provide some emotional tension, but so close to the end, it also added a lot of unnecessary confusion, when the writers should have been spending more time closing off all the loose ends.
The show ended with a kiss. Did it bring back Sarah's memories? Did it simply signify her decision to make it all work even though she had none of her memories? Such a bittersweet ending would work in a movie or in a series built around the premise, but not here in "Chuck." It just doesn't fit, and it was nowhere near fleshed out fully. I'm not thinking, "Oh, how sweet and sad." Instead, I'm thinking, "I don't care."
But then again, it's always hard to write that last episode of any series. I'll always remember "Chuck" as that funny show that was part of my life for a few years. It proved that even we nerds can have fun. We need more shows like that. :)