Hos N Bros

Hos N Bros
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chuck vs. the A-Team: Thoughts from a Ho

This is the first time in a long time that I felt compelled to write a Chuck review.  I am happy to say that last night’s episode, Chuck versus the A-Team written by returning writer Phil Klemmer, was a breath of fresh air.  However, despite enjoying the episode Chuck’s future isn’t looking good to me but before I get into any of that let’s talk the episode. 

This episode revisited the Greta plotline that was introduced at the beginning of the season.  Both Isaiah Mustafa and Stacy Keibler reprised their roles (no Summer Glau though that could be a good thing for Jeff and Lester) and we soon learn that these Gretas are now Intersects.  I think from the beginning of the show we’ve wondered if anyone other than Chuck would or could get an Intersect.  The show has flirted with the idea before and this show did briefly have the character Shaw had an Intersect albeit a sketchy version.  However, this is the first time we’ve seen the Intersect be successful in other people and I liked how it played out.  We got a little Intersect v. Intersect action and even got to see someone other than Zachary Levi do that eye thing (by the way the Gretas win as they manage to do it without looking as constipated) though between us I liked the first aspect better.  More so, it was acknowledged that despite all the crap Chuck gets about not acting more like a spy it isn’t an easy job being the Intersect.  Captain Rick even admits feels sorry for Chuck and it becomes clear that although other agents can now download the Intersect, Chuck can still manage it the best.

The other plot included Ellie being stir crazy and wanting to revisit that laptop that her father left her.  I have to hand it to Klemmer as he managed to not only integrate the Buy More with the Awesomes but he did it well.  I was actually laughing at the Buy More scenes and I can’t say I’ve done that recently.   The Jeff/Lester/Ellie scene was one of my favorite parts of the episode and then the C-I-A scene came and I was laughing all over again. 

Other highlights:

·      Sarah using the 10mm darts on Morgan.  Let’s be honest though, I enjoy it when anyone is tranquilized.

·      Awesome being the greatest husband and reminding his wife that she’s not just anything but Mrs. Awesome.

·      Final Fantasy 2 reference and a blow on the cartridge.  Brings back so many memories.

·      That cliffhanger.  Ellie the Super Mom?  I think it fits.

Yet despite the fact that this episode felt like a return to the old Chuck there were plenty of issues excluding the Sienna commercial.  Many of the problems that the episode faced could be summed up in that many of the aspects have come too late in the series.  First off there were 9 episodes since the last mention or appearance of Greta and no hint to the fact that they had any real relevance.  This plot should have appeared earlier in the season or really earlier in the series when trying to create another Intersect was the plot.  Now, randomly in the midst of the new Volkoff plotline we get this episode.  Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather have this over the awful Volkoff daughter story but it doesn’t really make sense as of now.  Sarah all of sudden caring about being Casey’s partner was also random and out of place as well as Chuck once again being questioned as the Intersect.  It seems like we’re too far past all of these aspects to be going backwards.

So after all of that how can I still say I liked the episode?

I refuse to speak for anyone else but I’ll say that this season has been pretty disappointing for me, especially this later half.   Chuck has always been a lighthearted show and one that pokes fun at its own genre and because of that it is easy to forgive some of the ridiculous plots we’ve endured over the years.  However, it seems this season has hit a new lows.   I believe because of this I now have lower expectations for the show.  It seems if I am entertained I can hand wave the rest of issues off.  The show’s future, once again, is in question and perhaps in the possibilities of its last days I’d want to see various stories be told regardless of how random they seem.  If Chuck were to end then I’d rather it go out with a bang.  Speaking of a Season 5…

Do I think Chuck will get a Season 5?

I honestly don’t know.  The current state of NBC and the fact that most of the freshman shows are doing poorly (or have already been cancelled) might mean Chuck scrapes by for another season.  However, it should also be noted that Chuck is a Warner Bros. show meaning that licensing fees are always an issue and NBC could just decide it isn’t worth it anymore.  Also given the recent ratings I’d say that Chuck is a goner but honestly the show is the little engine that could.  If any show could make it then it’ll be Chuck.

Shouldn’t the fact that Chuck is close to 100 episodes mean renewal is more likely?

I don’t think so.  I hate to be realistic but Chuck is no Friends or Seinfeld and I don’t really see it running on TBS on the weekends or late at night.  I don’t think another 10 or so episodes will make difference and again costs should be taken into consideration.

Do I even want a Season 5?

And isn’t that the real question.  Here is where I feel I might not make friends.  Let me first say that I really do love the show.  Chuck has given me some of the best entertainment and led me to people such awesome people that no matter what I’ll love the show.  That being said I think I’m about ready to say goodbye.  No, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop watching the show.  If Chuck were to run for another 10 seasons I’d feel compelled to watch them all.  However, the current state of the show makes me feel like the end is near.  It is hard to watch a show that used to be fresh and funny became very cliché and predictable in my eyes.   Chuck used to be a show that had strong episodes with the occasional misfire (Third Dimension anyone?) but now it seems like the situation is reversed where we get a great episode after several mediocre ones at best.  I don’t think I’m being too harsh when I say the show feels tired at times and often clueless on where to proceed.   If Chuck is to get a Season 5 then these are the aspects I’d like to see worked on.

·      Continuity and Flow in both Plot and Characters

·      Learn to Balance the Various Sides of the Show/Don’t Force the Buy More

·      Be Original

I know that the unpredictability of the show’s future comes into play in trying to map out a season but if all cable shows can successfully write a solid 13-episode season, then I think Chuck should be able to as well.  The show has had so much trouble with this one aspect.  Most of the issue is organization.  This episode, as I stated, seemed to belong episodes ago when the Greta plot was first fresh in our minds.  A trending theme with the show seems to be cramming jammed packed plots and twists at the end of the season so that we forget the weak fleeting arcs in the beginning.  Chuck still has great ideas in my opinions but the execution is so lacking that these ideas often don’t measure up on the show or aren’t given the proper attention.  Volkoff was a great villain idea but the fact that in less than a few weeks (if that long) he was brought done despite 20 years of failure didn’t really add up.  Shaw is another example of a character idea that had potential but wasn’t executed properly.
*I personally would rather the show give up the whole “need a villain” aspect.  In fact in the few minutes I got of Director Bentley I would rather have her been the antagonist, not even necessarily evil, over continuing the Volkoff story. 

In truth I just want the show to take a step back and focus.  Don’t juggle too many plots like they’ve done in past seasons but rather take an idea and go with it.  I don’t know if Chuck can ever be what it was (novelty does wear off) but the spark is still there.  All I ask is to be entertained and Chuck has done that more for me than any other show but I miss the days when I was excited for it.  Here’s to hoping that it’s not too late.