I picked "Chuck" as one of my five shows to watch this fall because the pilot was just so much giddy fun. Luckily, the episode was just as amusing to me the second time around. I'm curious to hear what the rest of you have to say about it, so to read my thoughts on the episode and add your own, just read more
I've already said a lot about the pilot, so I won't dwell much on plot. Suffice to say: Chuck Bartowski is a socially awkward computer geek who lives with his sister and runs the Nerd Herd at the local Buy More. One day, he gets an e-mail from his old college roommate that contains all of the government's spy secrets, which become implanted in his brain. This sends both the CIA and the NSA after him — the CIA embodied by a beautiful agent named Sarah, the NSA by a more battle-worn dude named John Casey (the fantastic Adam Baldwin). Chuck might be headed toward an untimely end when he suddenly realizes that terrorists want to blow up a nearby building; he diffuses the bomb by downloading a porn computer virus he learned about at the Buy More. Nerds rule, government agents drool.
Obviously, watching "Chuck" takes a lot of suspension of disbelief: How does looking at pictures turn your brain into a computer? And wouldn't the information be outdated really fast as new secrets get added? It seems like the sort of show that falls apart if you think about it for too long. Luckily, at least so far, I'm doing a lot more laughing than thinking.
"Chuck" works for me for one reason: Zachary Levi. He makes Chuck likeable and smart but also awkward and unsure. He's a geek, but a well-meaning one; did anyone else think, while on his "date" with Sarah, that he sure was doing well for himself in the flirting department considering that he couldn't even speak to the girls at his birthday party? He's got all the qualities I like in an antihero, including some mystique: Why did he get kicked out of Stanford? What's the deal with his ex? Did he have any idea what his former roomie was up to?
One of my other favorite things about "Chuck" is the juxtaposition of Chuck's life and Sarah's. That scene where they're both getting ready for the date — he making out with his reflection, she strapping weapons onto her body while wearing very little — is one of my favorites, especially when Sarah's told to kill him while he stands at her door with flowers and a dopey grin. I've heard some comments that Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Sarah, seems uncomfortable with the show's fast-paced humor, but as a character trait, I kind of like that: Just as Chuck's out of place in the spy world, Sarah's out of place trying to be a normal girl.
A few other thoughts:
- Anyone recognize Bryce Larkin as Matthew Bomer from "Traveler"? Maybe that show's cancellation will mean more Bryce flashbacks.
- I giggle every time I watch the ninja scene. I know it's every standard physical comedy cliche ever written, but still: "Didn't you hang that shelf?" Hee.
- Somehow, in my first viewing of the pilot, I completely missed that Ellie's boyfriend is nicknamed Captain Awesome because he says "awesome" so much.
- Did anyone else get shockingly hungry for pie after watching the apple pie turn up countless times in Chuck's visions?
- Adam Baldwin line of the night: "Don't puke on the C4."
Your thoughts? Is "Chuck" fun for you — or just too wacky for its own good?
Photos courtesy of NBC