Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Chuck: Schwartz and Fedak vs. the controversy

Last night, I wrote that the latest episode of "Chuck" wasn't designed to be a cliffhanger leading into the Olympics, and that there weren't any jaw-dropping, earth-shattering developments that would have fans arguing and angsting for the three weeks until the next episode.

Nearly 300 comments - some of them thoughtful, some of them furious, some of them bizarre - later, all I can say is... whoops.

After the jump, some thoughts on the controversy and then a long conversation with "Chuck" co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak about their reaction to the reaction...

So, if you missed it, "Chuck vs. the Mask" ended with Chuck deciding to pursue a relationship with new Nerd Herd co-worker Hannah (guest star Kristin Kreuk), while Sarah responded by showing interest in new spy boss Shaw (guest star Brandon Routh).

Some fans liked the episode and had no problems with the current configuration of the love trapezoid. Some (like Mo Ryan, found some flaws in the episode, and/or don't really see why Chuck and Sarah have yet to hook up, but overall are happy with the season and content to wait for the new episodes in March.

Some, though, were outraged at this latest roadblock in the inevitable Chuck and Sarah pairing, and weren't shy about saying that Schwartz and Fedak had ruined the relationship - if not the series itself - with one going so far as to suggest that all fans boycott watching the show on TV until the ratings get so low that NBC would have to force Schwartz and Fedak to reconfigure the show more to their liking. (Not only is this futile, since, as Schwartz says below, they're already well into writing the season's last episode, but all it would do would be to get the show canceled.)

Now, "Chuck" has a very unique relationship with its fans, who helped save it from cancellation through the whole Subway campaign last spring, so it's understandable that some viewers might feel more proprietary of the show than they would of some other series that they just watched but didn't buy sandwiches for. But as Linda Holmes at NPR wrote, there's a danger in letting fans dictate where the story goes. Schwartz, Fedak and company could, indeed, be taking Chuck and Sarah, or the show in general, to a very bad place, but, "The most satisfying stories almost always involve one development that, when it happened, was not what fans would have voted for."

But because of that connection to the fans, Josh and Chris wanted to get on the phone with me to discuss some of the concerns about last night's show, even though, as Josh notes, "We don't feel we have to defend what we did." So here we go, and I want to remind you once again about the most important part of the commenting rules around here: Be respectful of other commenters. Do not mock, belittle or attack them. Talk about the show, not each other. Any commenter who can't stay calm and follow those guidelines will see their comments deleted, ASAP.

Now then...

Did you guys expect anywhere near this kind of reaction to this episode?

JS: It was not unexpected that people who are into Chuck/Sarah - I refuse to use the word 'shippers,' but you can, I just want my objection to that term duly noted on the record - would be not thrilled with the development. The one thing that we didn't anticipate is that this would be the cliffhanger, and that there would be two more weeks required, three more weeks, until there was resolution to it.

So ordinarily, if this was just one episode with another coming next week, some people wouldn't be quite as upset?

JS: Exactly. Well, they might still be upset, but they'd only be upset for a week instead of three. Not that anything's going to be resolved next (episode), but it would still allow the story to continue.

Well, let's talk about that. I know you don't want to give away where the story's going, but what would you say to the people who feel betrayed, or just outraged, by what happened last night?

JS: We are further along in the story than they are.

CF: From our perspective, this is a necessary part of the season. It's like the middle chapters of a book. For the season to play out, we have to tell this story. Not only the romantic side of things, but also on the spy side of the story, feeding into the mythology of it all.

Some people have been wondering, before last night and after Sarah found out what Chuck said to her in the vault in "Chuck vs. the Three Words," why have they not gotten together? What, in your eyes, is the thing that has prevented that from happening?

JS: First of all, Sarah allowed herself to become vulnerable at the beginning of this season in terms of the Prague thing and was heartbroken by it. I think vulnerability is not something Sarah Walker does easily. Once she made herself emotionally available and was hurt, it's going to be that much harder to make herself available again.

CF: And on the Chuck side of the coin, he's made the decision to be a hero, to be a spy, and that only further divides Sarah and Chuck. As we saw in the Manoosh episode last week, as Chuck becomes more of a spy, Sarah is asking the question, "Is this the guy that I fell for last season?"

JS: I know there's some question, "Why can she date Shaw and not Chuck?" She's still there to protect Chuck. The bodyguard component of that professional relationship remains intact. Shaw is an equal - her boss in fact - and the same issue of Sarah's feelings for Chuck compromising her ability to do the job in the most cold-blooded way possible remains.

CF: There's also the part, too, that Shaw and Sarah share so much in common. They're spies, they speak the same language, have gone through the same spy school. This is the type of guy that Sarah, in any other spy show, would fall in love with.

There's also been a lot of speculation about why she might have gone from being so annoyed with Shaw to being interested in him within this one episode. Some people suggested she went running for a rebound guy when she saw Chuck with Hannah, while others think she might be checking Shaw out because she doesn't fully trust him.

JS: We don't want to answer everything. Some of the fun of being an audience member, I hope, is projecting onto the scenes and reading between the lines. There's such pressure, anyway, on a network show to spell everything out and leave everything completely unambigious, and then that pressure is doubled by fans who want an answer and want it now. And, look, we have been saved by our fans. We will most likely need to be saved by our fans again. We are incredibly invested in and respectful of our fans and their response. We are receptive and read almost everything that's out there. This is a show that we're doing as much for us as we are for them. That being said, we still have to tell the story that we're going to tell.

CF: A lot of the questions that you're asking, we actually address, but we address in upcoming episodes.

Well, in terms of being receptive to the fans versus telling the story you want to tell, is there a danger in just giving the fans what they want?

JS: Absolutely. Having been raised in the slums of the teen drama - just kidding, it's not a slum, it's a beautiful part of the state - those kind of shows, they just exist on the relationships that people are invested in. It's what they drive on week in and week out. As you stated yesterday in your blog, Chuck and Sarah is but an element of our show. There's a lot of other storytelling imperatives that are driving how these episodes unfold. Chuck and Sarah is a critical element of the show - we have said before that it is the heart of the show, and we stand by that - but there are other factors that are driving the story here. Given time, I think you will see this is a story that's unfolding not just on a romantic plane. There's a lot of Chuck and Blair fans on the "Gossip Girl" sites who've heard that couple's in trouble and are up in arms in a similar way, and it's like, if people are only happy, there is no conflict, therefore there is no storytelling, or drama. We're not arbitrary about it, we don't do it to drive conflict, We're not just going, "How do we keep them apart?" Part of your job as a storyteller, part of the writer's jobs here on the show is to mine all of these characters for maximum conflict and drama. There is an overarching design to the season, these stories are more than just romantic stories, and people have to trust that the journey we are taking them on is one that is designed to give audiences both what they want and what they need.

CF: The other thing, Alan, is you know us, we've watched way too much television growing up. We're very familiar with all the will-they-won't-they romances out there. It's an equation that we're always constantly thinking about. We realize there's the pitfalls as well as the successes.

JS: And to whatever fan out there who thought the way to get the story back on track was to boycott the show, we're about ready to start writing the finale, which is 12 episodes later than the one last night. Look, we are in a dogfight for our survival once again, and it would be a shame if people reacted in a way that was scorched earth.

CF: Who closes the book after chapter seven? That's the thing.

Were there times during "The OC" where you were either aware of fans reacting negatively to a relationship story or even reacted in terms of how you wrote it going forward?

JS: All I can say is, this is not an OC situation. This has been planned. It's not that. There are factors driving the story that are not just about will-they-or-won't-they?

But you can understand, given what happened at the end of last season, how fans might feel more entitlement towards this show than most other shows out there.

JS: Absolutely, but people have to remember: we came up with a big, game-changing - I know you hate that term, it'll be your version of shipper - finale last year, that could have been, I think, more potentially alienating to the fans than, I think, an episode or two of more romantic angst. But we did that because we felt we knew these characters and the show and knew what we needed to do to keep the show evolving and moving forward and interesting and compelling and creatively fresh. The fans rode with us on that one, which was a really big buy, and I think they've been very satisfied with how that's played out this year, and we ask for their patience here again. If the trade-off of having fans be this invested in the fate of your show is this reaction the morning after, I would take it every single time. Personally, I love it.

CF: I'm in a state of anxiety.

JS: I think it's great. It means people are invested. It's exciting. It was more of a cliffhanger than we intended.

Getting back to what you were saying before about the Intersect 2.0, there were some people who were surprised there hasn't been more kung fu from Chuck and more growth, while other people think he's evolved too quickly, and is darker and not the guy he was in the first couple of years. How do you maintain that balance of letting the character evolve without taking him too far away from the guy people liked in the first place?

JS: Quite frankly, I think that's what we're doing. For people to feel like there should be more, and people who feel like there's not enough, I think that means we're probably somewhere in the middle. As Chris said, in chapter seven of book three of the Chuck saga, that's kind of where you want to be. If we were doing a show where three seasons later, Chuck was still sitting in the car, and was still as scared as he was in day one, and him and Sarah had never progressed, and therefore never could regress from their progression - a lot more frustration.

CF: From our perspective, working on the season finale now, we have super-epic things that are coming up in the show, and we've decided you really have to test the bounds of the show. We have to take the content and take it to its limit. So there's incredibly emotional, game-changing, huge moments coming up. We're excited by that. So the notion of someone closing the book before you get to the best part is crazy.

JS: The end of this season is going to be as revolutionary to the concept of the show, if not moreso, than last year was.

The ratings this week were a bit down from previous weeks. Do you think it was just CBS getting a bump the day after the Super Bowl?

JS: I don't attribute it to any one thing. Barring this week, it's been a pretty consistent number. Certainly, CBS had a lot of NFL momentum, people are still sampling, we're against Bachelor and House. A lot of tough shows.

Well, you're going to be off the air for a few weeks. Any concern about the numbers dropping when you come back?

JS: Sure. Every time you go off for a couple of weeks, you've gotta self-start again when you come back. We always knew coming back in January would be great for us, but it also meant other things would be premiering. NBC's been incredibly supportive of the show in getting us launched, but I would not expect to see a lot of promotion for us during the Olympics.

Moreso than any other episode this season, last night was very light on the supporting cast because of the budget stuff you've been dealing with. In terms of the way you've been portioning it out, as the season moves along, are we going to have more of a full roster going forward?

JS: Part of the reason why we're rationing the way we are in certain episodes like last night is so that we can have everybody down the line. We've had budget cuts. Hopefully you haven't really seen it on screen in terms of the production values of the show, but it does affect the number of actors we can use in the number of episodes, and we want to bring in new actors as well, and all that is coming from the same honeypot.

Initially, you were only going to have 13 episodes, and you wrote accordingly. One of the comments, even from people who weren't necessarily upset by the Sarah/Shaw thing, is that it came pretty quickly. In a 22-episode season, or even if you'd known going in it would be 19 episodes, is that something you would have let percolate a little longer, or did you want the symmetry of the two of them getting together in the same episode as Chuck and Hannah?

JS: The symmetry was always designed. Are things happening in the first 13 episodes in a slightly more accelerated way than they would if we'd know we'd have 19? Probably. But that's good for the audience. No stalling going on here. No filler.

CF: Our perspective is to always tell more story, to accelerate it and tell more. And I think so much of last night was that Shaw saved Sarah's life. That's another component to the Shaw/Sarah relationship.

I asked Josh before if there's anything he would want to tell the fans to hold them over the next few weeks. Chris, is there anything you would want to tell them?

CF: For Josh and I, we do appreciate our fans so much. Getting on the phone with you is about that direct communication.

JS: We don't feel we have to defend what we did. We wouldn't take it back, we wouldn't change anything. This is just to merely help explain to people over the hiatus what our seasonal vision is.

CF: What's important for us is, don't close the book yet. We've got some amazing stuff coming up.

JS: And if you thought the end of season 2 was crazy...

Alan Sepinwall can be reached at asepinwall@starledger.com

195 comments:

AdamW said...

The furor is just bizarre, particularly for a show as generally easy-going as Chuck.

In the immortal words of MST3K, "Repeat to yourself 'It's just a show, I should really just relax...' "

Josh said...

The most frustrating part of this transcript is that NBC, and all of its various subsidiaries, isn't going to promote Chuck as much as any other show on its network during the 800-plus-hour coverage of the Olympics. (You can also read that as me being a fan of the show who wasn't too incensed by last night's installment.)

We've talked about how NBC could prefer one show to another in terms of a full-season pickup, but why do not they not market their shows, especially ones that do...you know, not terrible?

Kudos to you for getting these two to talk; I've never loved the will-they-won't-they elements of the show completely, but I admire their honesty and haven't felt the urge to ever tune out.

Figgsrock2 said...

Great job once again Alan. Although it's pretty sad that these two guys had to do this interview just to calm down the minority of fans out there that believe the show "owes" them a Chuck & Sarah hookup.

That being said (ha ha), I did appreciate the point about Sarah feeling burned in Lisbon. I had kind of forgotten that plot point already, so it puts last night's episode in a bit clearer focus for me.

Wes Covington said...

I watched last night's episode blissfully unaware that people would freak out. And I still don't get it why people freaked out. Maybe Schwartz and Fedak could show up at some people's work places and heckle them. Worked wonders in "Seinfeld."

Liz said...

Was it Joss Whedon who said don't give fans what they want, but what they need?

Else you end up with fanfic. :-)

Thanks for the interview, always neat to get the creator perspective.

Michael G. said...

Sarah is asking the question, "Is this the guy that I fell for last season?"

Confirmation that Chuck is a reality show.

Anonymous said...

Fred

I've tossed a book after 7 chapters if it stunk. That is what most of the first 7 have done for me. I'm trying to hang in there, but its hard when you get the kind of answers out of the shows creators that you did.

It continues to amaze me how JS just doesn't seem to get it that when you have a show that rides a fine line with ratings that when you go over the top to alienate your fan base on purpose, it could end your show. The show lost 39% of its viewers in the second half hour, that's not your competition. There will be another drop for ep 8 because of the firestorm surrounding this ep. The hope is that they can get the show back on track so we don't see a continual erosion.

Anonymous said...

Who closes the book after chapter seven? That's the thing.

People who recognize dreck for what it is?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, where did you see the 39% drop in viewership?

Disappointed that JS said that NBC would not be promoting the show much during the olympics. Hope he's wrong

barefootjim said...

I am still absolutely gobsmacked that this is any kind of controversy.

Just because Chuck and Sarah have loads of chemistry doesn't mean that they'll end up together. It doesn't always happen like that, either on TV or in real life.

I've been enjoying what they've been doing with this season: slowly showing what it means for Chuck's life for him to be a spy.

And it makes absolute sense for both Chuck and Sarah to rebound -- especially simultaneously. If anything, the fact that they both latched onto the first person who came along and showed any interest can only strengthen their long-term bond, not destroy it.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I have closed the book before Chapter 7 when I realizes that it is not as good as I expected. It's a question of not wasting time.

I'll give you the next chapter.

anon4utu said...

The issue is that the transitions within the episodes this year have been so sudden as to be both poor writing and, surprisingly, poor acting.

Routh is a dead-weight as an actor. If you think about most of the guest stars that have repeated, they added something both to the story and the comedy. Also, based on what JS/CF said in the interview, I can't possibly believe that they think that in this episode there was/is any chemistry between Yvonne and Routh as there was is between Yvonne/Zach or Yvonne/Bomer. It's not Yvonne; we know how great an actress she has been. So, it's Routh and the scripts.

But, your interview (which was very, very soft) has confirmed much of the commentary on the Chuck Google Group. At the end of the day, for a TV show, the vision is that of the producers. Here, the vision is very, very shallow. Even if it is so that Sarah's heart is broken in the ridiculous Prague train station scene, how could she fall for a log like Shaw the character, and, lol, Routh, the actor?

I can't speak to the ratings. But, if you look at the best episodes, Nemesis, First Date, Seduction, DeLorean; it has been the romantic comedy with wit and action that made the show delightful. The three principals have a chemistry with each other that you could bottle and sell in Macy's. So why ruin it with a dense, hardened matzohball of an actor/character? Couldn't they have saved money by making Bonita they bureacratic Cheney like heavy, with the Ring as the deadly nemesis?

They would have been better off doing under the covers, under cover, and work in the Buymorons and Ellie/Awesome, then introduce PLIs that distract from the comedy and romance.

Final point. If Zach and Yvonne have this incredible chemistry, then shouldn't that dictate how you advance the story? The humor in True Lies, in Scarecrow and Mrs. King was in the relationship between the super reality of the spy world with the mundanity of domesticity and the real world. That was what made S1 and S2 so winning, until we were placed in Fedak's Campbellian projection of an epic. If they took a leaf from Hill Street Blues, they wouldn't be afraid to have the characters interrelate directly with each other on the personal level, even as the real world or story world rages around it all.

Your interview was revealing. But, regrettably, the disappointment at what might have been persists.

cadfile said...

Thanks for the transcript and that they took time to talk to you.

They pretty much answered the way I thought they would so I know I am on the same street as the show... lol

rspad said...

Kudos to them for even bothering to address the "furor".

Bring on the rest of the season! I can't wait to see it play out.

Daniel said...

Anonymous (the first one) - "Chuck" lost 300,000 viewers last night, half-hour-to-half-hour. There's no math that can make that a 39 percent drop, though obviously it isn't ideal. However, the show went *up* 0.1 ratings point in the 18-49 demo. I'm not gonna try saying that second fact is meaningful, but don't try saying that the first fact is of great import either.

-Daniel

medrawt said...

Anonymous @ 6:27 -

Where did you get that the writers are trying to alienate their fan base on purpose? Whether they made a misstep or not, they have a long story they're trying to tell, and I thought they went out of their way to make clear that the developments along the path of that story aren't designed for audience agitation, but because they feel they're necessary (right or wrong).

And yes, Liz, it was Whedon who said, actually, that it was his job to give fans what they need, and not what they want.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Alan. You're doing yeoman's work.

And thanks to Josh and Chris for responding so quickly, and for offering their perspective on the situation.

Though I would disagree with Chris. It's not chapter seven. It's chapter 42, of a book where you've on-balance devoured and blissfully enjoyed the vast majority of the preceding chapters. I'm going to watch as many episodes of Chuck as NBC will broadcast because, frankly, we're insanely lucky to have gotten anything past the first two seasons. This one's gravy, and if there are a few lumps, fine. Still damn fine gravy.

Barahir said...

I think this was a weak episode but most of the season has been good. Episodes 3, 4, and 6 were great. I'll definitely be watching after the Olympics and I think a lot of people are overreacting and exaggerrating.

Stav said...

Who are the nutjobs who could be upset that a delightful cotton candy show would have the leads take up with very attractive guest stars. Yeah, I would have wanted Sarah over Lana, but that's just my taste. Last nights ep was good tense fun...just what I want from "Chuck" after the first day of the work week. Kudos to the two guys you interviewed for keeping the show fresh.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say thanks to Alan, JS & CF for the interview. I'm in, I'm watching. I don't feel that I should get what I want because I bought a sandwich. I also didn't feel that I should get what I want because I bought a football for Friday Night Lights. Fans wanted to save these shows for the whole package, not for one pairing or one storyline that they don't even know what is coming. People need to sit back and watch the show, enjoy it and be happy its on the air to have the storylines play through. I feel bad for showrunners once the shippers (I will use the word) begin their never ending, hourly ranting whenever they don't get what they read in a fanfic or imagined in their head.

neftones said...

The worst part of this shipper revolt is that it takes the focus off the real problem with Chuck vs The Mask, which is not that the relationships took those turns, but HOW they took those turns. The Shaw/Sarah story is a prime example of sloppy writing and bad pacing. It needed either one more episode of development, or more development in previous episodes. If the execution had been better, the relationships would feel more legit and the bitching would be much quieter.

Anonymous said...

This show is so much more then just Chuck and Sarah. There is a whole cast of people that make Chuck, 'Chuck'. I know that I personally am invested in the Chuck/Sarah relationship, but the show isn't about them. It's a journey, and I like being on the journey with them.

Boycotting the show isn't going to do anything, NBC aren't going to force them to rewrite the scripts, it's done. Get over it. All the 'die hard shippers' are going to do is give nbc a reason not to invest in a show with such flakey viewers.

I would rather wait for the right time for them to be together then have it rushed and feel out of place. And I'm going to support the writers to tell their story.

Robin said...

Kudos for a great interview Alan, and for being the person they wanted to talk to.

@Josh, I agree about the Olympics promotion. My hope when I heard Chuck was back in January was that NBC would build in Olympics promotion for the show, knowing it was being forced into a 2 week hiatus. Considering the lack of promotion over the last 2-3 weeks, it seems that it will up to the rabid fans (shippers and non alike) to make sure Chuck is kept on the radar.

I'll have to start carrying my Chuck water bottle to work. :)

vgerland said...

Thanks for taking the time to communicate with the fans. I can't wait to see where this story is going and want to see and savor every minute of it.

lisa said...

Why are people freaking out over Hannah? Don't people go on the internet and read that Kreuk only has a few more episodes left on Chuck? It's OBVIOUSLY not going to last forever. Get over it people!!!!

Anonymous said...

The firestorm surrounding this episode is pathetic. Aww, boo freaking hoo, Sarah and Chuck are not together yet. Let's BOYCOTT THE SHOW!! Are you serious? Did these people seriously think that Chuck and Sarah would be together from ep1 season 3 throughout the entire season? Have they never watched a television series before? That's not how it works(or very very rarely). I'm legitimately dumbfounded by the angry response, because it was obvious that a)given the hints that fedak/scwartz and co dropped through the off-season and b)the nature of TV, that Chuck/Sarah would hit a rocky patch. Chuck's still a great show, and I'm really interested to see where Fedak/Schwartz are taking us.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you asked them about the budgetary constraints, and am glad to hear that they are using their budget in such a way so that they will be able to end on a strong note. With that being said, I think it's clear that the budget cuts have affected the quality of the first 7 episodes this season. The 7 episodes we've seen so far are simply not as well done as the 35 previous episodes. Are they terrible? No. Am I looking forward to the rest of the year? You bet. Do I think the reaction of the "shippers" to this episode is silly? Yes (I am not a shipper and could care less what happens with Chuck and Sarah, as long as their storyline is enjoyable/believable). But that still doesn't change the fact that this season Chuck isn't as enjoyable as it was the previous two.

Anonymous said...

as a wise writer once tweeted, "calm down and enjoy the show you love"
i think that is appropriate right here. :)

on another note, i thought that was going to be KK's last episode, but clearly not.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking the idea of boycott and after reading the interview I decided to stop watching.

Anonymous said...

This is what I was afraid of. They completely and totally missed the point, and I bet they continue to do so.

As far as the constant dismissive insults today from here and other apologists, where the problem is that shippers are just too dumb to watch TV and understand any deeper context... I can answer to THAT.

I watch Chuck to see TB beat bad guys and see Casey shoot and blown stuff up. I could not give a @#$% about the whole relationship crap, but if there are people out there with lady feelings that need to see that junk, as long as it doesn't interfere with TB and stuff being blown up and bad guys being killed, it's all OK.

But I have to at least LIKE the characters. Now, the writers have managed to get me to the point where I am mostly indifferent to what happens to them. You could even have a show be successful if you made characters people HATE! But vague indifference is a killer.

The anger over the last episode isn't about "displeasure at a relationship progress", it's over an incoherent plot, a total lack of continuity of the characters, and over the writers seemingly, intentionally, alienating the audience.

I don't even have the connection with the show now to be mad enough to threaten to quit watching it. The only thing I feel towards the characters and the program is apathy.

BrianNewman

Anonymous said...

Alan, you wrote "effect" when you meant "affect". As a longtime fan and supporter, this is heartbreaking to me. I would like to issue a call to boycott Alan's blog until he resolves this dire error. We'll read it in our RSS feeds, but we won't go to the site and comment. That will send a message to Alan and the Star Ledger about not mixing up the two; when his traffic drops below 10,000 hits per day, someone will take notice. "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!"

Eric Johnson said...

I, for one, am going to read no more of these interviews until all of the roadblocks have been removed and Fedak and Schartz are a couple. That'll work, right?

Anonymous said...

Shaw saved Sarah's life? Umm, actually Chuck did. CF and JS are living in denial and playing politics.

David w said...

My prtoblem with the episode and I'm sure some other people's as well was that Sarah having feelings for shaw seemed to come out of no where every other relationship on the show you could tell that the characters actually cared about eachother and why they did butsarah developing feelings for shaw seemed like the writers just put it in there so she wouldn't be alone while chuck has his relationship with hannah and thats not good if you are gonna put a character into a relationship the audience should be able to buy that both characters have feelings for eachother and frankly the way it was written the episode seemed that sarah cares about shaw the least of all the people she knows and is only gonna be with him since she can't have chuck or any of the other characters that she seems to care about more then shaw. I honsetly think sarah being in a relationship with pretty much any character besides shaw would have felt better then the new shaw sarah relationship because we didn't see that she cares if he's around wich is something thats needed if you are gonna put them together even temporarily.

The Catcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

Just wanted to say thanks for the interview and that I am with you for the ride! I don't get all the outrage, truthfully I think I was most upset I didn't get my dose of Jeffster this week or that Casey didn't get to blow up nearly enough stuff. ;)

It's gonna be a long 3 weeks without Chuck, but I know you have great things in store that will make the wait worth it!

OldDarth said...

First up - thanks to everyone involved in taking time out to do this.

As has been mentioned it is not WHAT is being done that is the point of issue it is the HOW.

To quote:

" There's also the part, too, that Shaw and Sarah share so much in common. They're spies, they speak the same language, have gone through the same spy school. This is the type of guy that Sarah, in any other spy show, would fall in love with."

We have not been shown this adequately. For half the episode Sarah spurned Shaw and was very happy to work with Chuck.

A dynamic with 2 years of emotional baggage has been setup. Sorry, a coffee and stir stick is not nearly enough to overcome that existing dynamic and sell a new relationship.

When things are rushed two things usually give - story logic and out of character actions. Both were evidence in 3.07.

Thank you for your time. Always very excited and eager to see the next episode of Chuck.

Good Luck!

7s Tim said...

I think some people should watch previous episodes and the interactions between Shaw and Sarah. It actually felt a little telegraphed. His advocating agains spyplace relationships, her telling him his coffee cup come ones were inappropriate: these felt like the things people do on shows when they are denying to themselves as well as those around them that there is an attraction. Plus the lingering glances, Shaw getting within Sarah's personal space in, I believe, vs. First Class.

Does Chuck continually have giant plot holes in its mission of the week? Yeah. But they are usually fun or in service of something that is fun, or possibly emotionally resonant that episode (Shaw reviving and conforting Sarah right outside the room where Hannah was passed out but she never noticed-- resonant because Chuck looks on with a sense of loss at Shaw usurping his role with Sarah, and them moves on to his new trim). But I find all the accusations of lazy writing in developing the Shaw/Sarah and Chuck/Hannah relationships are unfounded. Maybe you didn't notice it was there, but it was there.

Anonymous said...

The problem isn't where they are going, it is how they are getting there. The horrid writing is what's killing the show for me.

Seems like the budget constraints forced them to put Captain Awesome, Casey and the intersect in the same character, to bad that Captain Chucksome isn't very interesting.

Anonymous said...

don't try saying that the first fact is of great import either.

It is, actually. The television audience builds over the first two hours of prime time, so it's quite damning when an "Accidentally on Purpose" loses viewers from its lead-in or an 8 o'clock drama loses viewers over the hour.

Krista said...

Reading your interview with JS and CF made me even more excited about the rest of this season of Chuck! Thanks for posting the transcript. I look forward to watching episodes after the Olympics - my brain is busy trying to figure out what game-changing path Season 3 will take!

Lily1 said...

the name of the episode was The Mask. That sums it up to me, it was about illusions, people pretending to be something they are not, while a few frustrated idealists like Morgan and Ellie try to dig beneath the veneers, but find only more illusion.
You know, it is good when an audience feels anxious, anger and hope at all the appropriate times. That is called good storytelling.
Well written, well played, and consistently awesome.
I will always always stand by this show.

Anonymous said...

Whatever, Hannah's hot and so was Lou. Chuck always seems to get with good looking girls so kudos to him! This will get Sarah jealous or something and then they will think they are going to die again and kiss and make up and be together. Patience is key my CHUCK friends.

Anonymous said...

Why are people freaking out over Hannah? Don't people go on the internet and read that Kreuk only has a few more episodes left on Chuck? It's OBVIOUSLY not going to last forever. Get over it people!!!!

Patrick Duffy will be back next season! This season was all just a bad dream! As long as we get to the desired destination, how ridiculous the journey is doesn't matter! Get over it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!oneoneoneeleven

barefootjim said...

I'm also confused by @Anon4utu's characterization of the interview as "very very soft."

Because he's supposed to ask "hard" questions of a couple of TV showrunners who have graciously taken their time to address a bewildering controversy?

It isn't like they've been accused of embezzling TARP funds for their own purposes.

Whiskey said...

another fan who doesn't get the furor... I can't think of any great book, movie or show where there weren't distractions and/or detours for the romantic leads before they wound up together. Jane Austen & George Elliott are two authors that come immediately to mind, as well as most of my favorite movies. In fact, in my *absolute favorite* movie the romantic leads say goodbye fondly at the end, after having shared nothing more than a kiss. Sometimes, the potential is enough, if it's well written.

I have patience with these two storytellers, and I definitely think that right now they're "somewhere in the middle" with Chuck's character development. As another commenter said (in last night's ep thread), as long as Casey's grunting I'm in! ;-) Actually, that and the music, and all the pop culture references would probably be enough to keep me coming back. This show still makes me happy, when most stuff on TV does *not*.

CandyMaize said...

Schwartz and Fedak can rest assured that I'm along for the ride. :)

Kate said...

I think Schwartz and Fedak are decent guys who despite Josh's defensiveness didn't write a good episode last night for a whole host of reasons. I appreciate them taking the time to talk about it. My only issue with their answers is Josh's comment about giving fans what they want and what they need. He always take that approach in interviews that the fans don't really know what it is they NEED and we wouldn't be satisfied with a different trajectory for Chuck and Sarah. I don't agree and it's kind of an offensive thing to say to fans. He may or may not have meant to come across that way. He also talked about C/S "regressing" after progressing and it sounds like he is a fan of that process. I think most of the fans aren't a fan of such drastic regression and they mean it, really they do. It's not simply that they don't know what it is they really want or need. They're right though. The fans stuck with them through Intersect 2.0 and lots of plot holes and even sighed and said ok, bring on 2 more love interests as long as we end up at least move step forward in the end. I think the breach in the relationship with the fans came from where they took those relationships with others and how much C/S regressed and how fast. They feel that all will work out in the end, so don't close the book. I'd say to them you have to be true to your characters and your audience along the way to that end point and you can't ruin their trust in you or you risk them not sticking around or starting to not care when you do right the ship. Saying "hang on" doesn't work if people don't feel it when you reach your climatic moment be it C/S, Chuck as spy, whatever it is. I guess I feel they were careless with our affections :-). One last thing-they seemed to be saying that Shaw saving Sarah's life drew her to him? Didn't Chuck save her life? I'm down with the Chuck was an ass, Sarah is hurt, Chuck needs to make it up to her plot, but so far Chuck gave up pretty fast on getting Sarah back (I'd like a bit more effort if I was Sarah)and they both have moved on pretty damn fast. It would have worked better if they conveyed throughout all of this-not just here or there--that their 2 main characters, their love interests, still HAD an interest.

Ryan Devisser said...
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Anonymous said...
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BiLLi0 said...

I don't understand all this noise. Isn't the show made for fans?

A true fan like me supports and believes in the people who work on it.

I guess some people just don't deserve a show like this. It's sad, but true.

Thank you JS and CF. For everything.

KevinCalvin said...

Was it Joss Whedon who said don't give fans what they want, but what they need?

Else you end up with fanfic.


Yeah it was, a quote I've always found weird. To me, Season 7 of Buffy was a fantastic example of an author writing in a way which resembled fanfiction.

Mo Ryan said...

Thanks, Alan.

I do agree with Schwedak that Chuck and Sarah are just one part of the show. And if we're going to talk about the show as a whole, I hope that there are fewer glaring plot holes moving forward. The sense I get from the vast majority of comments on my blog is that Monday's episode didn't just tick off shippers. In fact, many shippers came by and said they agreed with my take on what went down on Monday (and of course, I'm sure many don't).

But overall people just had some frustrations with various aspects of the storytelling, either in the season or the last episode or two, and Mask just provided the opportunity to clear the air about a lot of pent-up gripes. That was the sense that I got. Therefore I hope the powers that be don't just take this as "Oh, the shippers caused a ruckus." No, a fairly large group of fans had various concerns, and I share some of them.

I'm glad Schwartz and Fedak have a vision for the season. I look forward to seeing what that is. I also hope that we get missions and outcomes that make sense and don't rely on the audience looking past dangling plot threads, etc.

To be clear, as I wrote earlier today, I did not by any of the stretch intensely dislike Mask. I just thought it (and in some ways, Nacho Sampler) could have been better.

And I definitely like some of the ways the show is evolving and changing.

Ryan Devisser said...

My God, I'm glad the majority of LOST and Office fans weren't this fickle when those shows were at their creative/narrative low points-- middle of season 2 & beginning of season 3 for LOST, the entirety of season 3 (only if you were a hardcore PB&J shipper who hated Karen) and most of season 4 for The Office. If fans had decided to boycott those shows then, we wouldn't have witnessed the brilliance that is LOST seasons 4 & 5, or the introduction of HR Rep Holly Flax/Michael Scott Paper Company/Jim & Pam finally getting together in The Office.

Hell, maybe we wouldn't have even gotten Seasons 3 - 5 of 'The Wire' because of everyone jumping ship due to season 2's focus on the "white" working class. I shudder at this bizarre notion.

That's not a world I want to live in.

Truth is, almost every show dips in quality at some point. 'Chuck' is arguably at this point, given some of the valid criticisms. I personally embrace the campy aspects like Routh's obvious shallow Tom Cruise/Ethan Hunt impression, as well as Hannah's suspiciously forward advances on Chuck (though I doubt she's a spy since she didn't even try to save herself from the vault). But if you really cared for the show, you would at least see the season through. Certain narrative threads have been fast-tracked and b-plots minimized for budgetary reasons, and yes it does skew the pacing of character motives, but there is a larger story at work here; one that I'm willing to bet we don't fully understand yet.

To close a book after 7 chapters is different. You paid for it, so you can stop if you want. But you (the jilted viewers) don't pay for Chuck. It's a free service (especially so if you don't have a tv, and are watching it on Hulu) being provided by people who love the very same characters that you supposedly love; characters who aren't as "unrecognizable" as you say just because they make human errors, the most common of which stem from the often illogical actions of broken hearts. All of a sudden, Chuck and Sarah are fickle scumbags because they succumb to human mistakes?

It's a hateful state of mind to be in, and I'm neither singling anyone out nor resorting to name-calling. I just don't like how venomous some of the reactions have been.

I want to live in a world where, even if Chuck had dipped in quality in it's 3rd season, it still lived to see an amazing 4th season, 5th season, and so on. Boycotting the show now will ruin any chances of that.

I love what Chuck was, is, and could be in the future. Please don't destroy that potential future, guys. One love! ;)

Anonymous said...

Nice interview. Thanks.

Personally, I really enjoyed last night's ep (Vs the Mask). I agree that the ending felt a bit rushed, but I can totally understand WHY Sarah and Shaw would fall for one another. They really make a cute couple. Same for Chuck and Hannah. It just clicks for me.

This development is like a breath of fresh air as well as daring and exciting; sure I guess I still root for Chuck and Sarah, BUT I am not upset or opposed to them wanting to explore other romantic options. Yes, Zach and Yvonne have great chemistry, but that doesn't mean nonone else could make them happy.

I also think the Shaw character is very interesting and a great addition to the show. And Mr. Routh does a really good job playing it. I like his strong connection to the Ring. Really hope to see more of that in upcoming eps.

Overall, I'm really loving this season. Yes, it's a bit darker and more mature, and I really dig it. Thanks! Really like to see how Chuck is evolving into becoming a real spy. Zach does a great job. Please, continue with the great work. You have all my support.

~Star

Josh M. said...

I just watched the show, and I am legitimately embarrassed for anyone who freaked out last night. An old William Shatner/SNL skit comes to mind.

Ryan Devisser said...

Actually, I'm not even sure if "human mistake" is the right word. For all I know, the Chuck/Hannah & Sarah/Shaw relationships may be necessary for Chuck and Sarah in order to realize something not yet realized, or to grow as humans. A mistake implies that it will only be detrimental to them as individuals (which it may or may not be, depending on how the following episodes play out).

In regards to people not liking the alleged hardening of Chuck's demeanor, I actually think the best part of this season has been his slow but visible transition from asset to spy. And I don't think that Chuck is becoming colder. He might act it on the outside at times because he feels he has to, but you can tell that it breaks his heart to do so. The look on his face when he burns his first asset says it all. Chuck is still the same guy we always knew, just thrust into situations he hasn't been in before and doesn't know how to handle yet.

Anonymous said...

Ryan Devisser.

Good post. I've been critical of this season in both this thread as well as the episode recap threat. I personally think that the budget cuts have negatively affected the show in a number of ways (production values/storytelling/etc). I don't think the first 7 episodes of this season have been as good as the previous 35 episodes. However, I'm surprised at the venom of some posters who seem to be ready to write the show off because of a somewhat rocky start to the season. It's still a fun show with good actors and solid writers. Let's give it a chance to improve.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, shouldn't there be more outrage at the news of a certain actor on Mad Man whose contract wasn't renewed? Chuck's season still has several episodes to go; why the panic, folks?

Diane said...

Nice interview. I really appreciate that Josh and Chris care enough about the furor to comment personally. But I concur with others here that Chuck was more responsible for saving Sarah's life than Shaw was. In fact, he saved three lives (Shaw's, Sarah's and Hannah's).

Anonymous said...

Alan Sepinwall = best TV journalist out there. Good job.

Emily N. said...

I agree with Mo Ryan and Old Darth.

I am still going to watch, enjoy and support the show but there have been some problems with the storytelling this year.

I appreciate Chris, Josh and Alan for taking the time to address some of these concerns.

Craig Ranapia said...

First, thanks to Josh and Josh for dropping by -- angry shippers would have me curled up in the fetal position in a dark room, so much respect to the guys for engaging.

Personally, I'm with Mo Ryan on this one -- I'm OK with where Chu-Rah are going, while granting the execution (and this episode) are far from flawless.

But they have scored a solid A+ for addressing my big concern with Chuck 2.0 -- that after the kick-ass cool Matrix shout out at the end of last season, business would continue pretty much as usual for the characters and their relationships.

Well, sorry if this offends quote unquote "shippers", but I really get frustrated with shows that introduce game-changers (like the Intersect 2.0 getting downloaded into Chuck), but don't have the nerve to think it all the way through.

Did anyone really think Chuck could embrace the spy life (where he just has to become more like Bryce and Casey to survive) and not have that affect his relationship with Sarah. Hell, he's changed her too -- and perhaps she's fallen in love with the very parts of him that are nothing like Bryce?

It makes perfect sense to me that Shaw is emotionally a much safer bet for her than pining after a Chuck that doesn't exist any more. And ditto for Chuck and Hannah -- why wouldn't be want a relationship that's not quite so heavy on the angst and never really knowing what the hell is going on?

Billy said...

First off, thanks for the excellent interview Alan.

I figure if Fedak and Schwartz are this worried over the fan response, any positive responses can't hurt. So for the record, I still love the show, and won't stop watching any time soon.

I have given up on shows before, but those were Heroes and Lost (during seasons 2 and 3, but I went back to it later), and Chuck is much more entertaining than those shows were. And for those of you who are pissed off, please keep Lost in mind. Shaw and Hannah, like Paolo and Nikki, aren't going to be around forever, and when they're gone you'll still have the same core show that you enjoyed before.

Anonymous said...

I think the buffy/joss whedon comparisons around here may be apt. Remember the complete outrage at the time that Angel went bad in S2? And how great were the episodes that followed? They are also going through major transitions on this show, similar to buffy's mom finding out about her slaying. I have faith that fedak and schwartz are on their way to taking the show to new heights.

Anonymous said...

Oh and yes comments and advice from Josh Whedon... there's something you want to listen to, Liz. LOL.

Maybe if he had listened to the fans he would still have people watching his shows!

Andrew said...

That there is such "controversy" over this episode is bewildering. Unless a serialized drama is spinning its wheels (ala some of the early episodes of Lost season 3, before the show regained its mojo), claiming that its characters are going to change, but then don't (ala House) or having absolutely no comprehensible motivations for the crazy, random, character-destroying things that the characters are doing (ala Heroes), have patience in the show. One or two sub-par episodes in a season do not a failure make. BSG had some episodes in the second half of season 3 that were far worse than anything Chuck has done this year, yet it still managed to be a great show. So I'm surprised at the number of Chuck fans who decided to lose their minds in Alan's comments. That Fedak and Schwartz took the time to respond to this "controversy" shows something about how appreciative they are to have the opportunity to tell this story.

Yes, Whedon is on the record as saying good storytelling gives the fans what they need, rather than what they want. Perhaps this ridiculous outrage shows that the Chuck writers are doing something right?

Kevin said...

There are a bunch of reasons why the Shaw/Sarah relationship took such a huge turn in such a short period of time. One of my strong theory is that it isn't genuine, Sarah could be on to him and using him for some spy stuff or they would be working to get Chuck to be more independent. And do you guys not noticed the change in mood right after Shaw said he's the safest guy? and had an eerie look on his face RIGHT before we change to the scene with the Ring. And the title of the episode "The Mask" fits it perfectly because Sarah could be putting up a facade to fool Shaw and Shaw could be doing the same thing this entire time.

I'll always support Chuck because it's a great show with many elements integrated into the show

BuckChartowski said...

Just don't "Ed" the show.

Mo Ryan said...

You know why I'm far less concerned than some folks?

Because at no point last night did I see Landry holding a lead pipe.

belinda said...

After reading an interview with Kring over at AV club (Heroes, I gave up on since the beginning of S3, but it was shocking reading Kring's replies to his idea of what a tv show entails. It's laughable, and also amusing to those who did give up on the show years ago and can pat themselves on their backs for doing just that), I applaud Schwartz and Fedak for being real showrunners and not letting the fans dictate the stories (well, and actually knowing how to write and run a tv show).

After all, Chuck has always been a fun show and I trust these guys' knowledge of their own plots and characters that they'd write the best stuff for them. The thing is - Chuck is great to watch, no matter if you're a 'shipper' or not. So I totally look forward to seeing Chuck after the Olympics.

renton said...

Forget the show, I'm boycotting SUBWAY until I get what I want.

Waaahhh, waaahhh, waaahhh.

This nonsense is unbelievable. I guess it's better to have an audience with such a deep emotional investment than having an audience be indifferent to the show, like say, According to Jim, but still.

The scary thing is... seeing that this kind of passion is out there, watch NBC start soaping up Chuck promos the way they used to with latter-season Friends. You know they want to.

Anonymous said...

The people who are calling the "shippers" stupid are actually the ones that arent taking the time to read anything. its quite funny actually, how badly people are making themselves look!

I will reiterate what others have said... again... I dont need chuck and sarah to be together, but i need their characters to be consistent. This episode destroyed the integrity of the characters

Still looking forward to the rest of chuck tho!

-DP

Stonewall said...

Thanks for speaking with the fans! I enjoyed last night's episode, and I am really looking forward to the rest of this season. I can't wait to see what you guys do next! Thank you for always giving us a good show.

Nathan said...

The closest thing I can describe season three of CHUCK to is season four of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. The status quo changed and the characters starting changing as well. The people are still basically same but they are growing. Growth can difficult but as long as the creators are playing honestly, I'm willing to take that ride. Clearly the show is building towards something and as fans we can only speculate as to what those things are...which is supposed to be part of the fun. Count me as one who just does not get the eruption of negative comments. Yeah the show isn't as lighthearted as it was the past two years but it's giving us something more mature and I think more interesting.

Anonymous said...

Well, congratulations, Chuck "shippers", you've officially become a laughingstock amongst other fan communities and bypassed the fickle and obnoxious Grey's Anatomy and Office fans on the bottom-scraping sadness scale.

This whole mess is just embarrassing.

Rick said...

I think that JS and CF are missing the point of what most of the complaining is about. It's NOT because Sarah and Chuck have split up, it's because of the way it was written. I heard CF and JS say that they were not going to apologize about it. They should. The last 15 minutes were probably the worst last 15 minutes I have seen on TV for along time.
Also they should stop using the word "epic" because so far this season the best description would be myopic.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing to say that this wasn't a very good episode. I kind of agree with that myself, it's the weakest of the season. Sarah/Shaw feels pretty forced and no Jeffster was a big disappointment after last week's setup (the comedy in general was lacking).

It's another thing to say that the show is ruined because of it and that the season is now a complete disaster. We've had some high-quality episodes and I expect it'll probably be better than season 1 when things are done, though not season 2. It's not about people not liking the episode, it's about the insane overreactions some people are making.

W Gladstone said...

This story just runs & runs. It’s great to hear what the creators think. They gave honest answers & didn't just say what people wanted to hear. It’s obvious to me that they appreciate massively the fan support as they're out trying to communicate the ideas behind the shows current & future direction. And while their grateful to the fans I think they're entitled to want to tell the story as they see fit. After all they have done so successfully for pretty much 3 years.

This sudden explosion of anger is surprising to me as I personally loved the episode. However I am aware there was some discontentment over the direction Chuck & Sarah were heading way back in the summer/fall. I read a lot of stuff from some commentators that suggested if Chuck & Sarah were not together by episode 1 or at the very latest No.3 they would feel hugely let down. This reaction has been building for sometime & for many the confirmation of this final 'betrayal' is the straw that broke the camels back. For others this reaction seems strange as the episode does not feel that much of departure from the rest of this season.

Look I respect everyone's view on this. I don't think it's fair to label anyone who has a problem with the show as a shipper. Different people will have different views on the show, & you know what that's ok. There's a lot of comment out there at the moment but ultimately if the show works enough people will watch & if it doesn't than people will switch off. I personally hope Chuck gets great audiences & continues for several years but if it doesn't make it to season 4 it’s been one hell of a ride. And I've enjoyed every minute of it.

Lastly it is obvious that the current reaction shows that a lot of people feel passionately about Chuck. And for me that is the greatest compliment you can give to everybody who makes the show work. They have managed to create real believable characters that the fans have embraced. And if they've achieved that than they must be doing something right. I don't know how the season will play out but I trust these same people to deliver more of what makes Chuck so great.

p.s. On giving up on a book 7 chapters in to go with the analogy you are well within your rights to do so. I often choose books by a very quick perusal of the covers front & back as well as an excerpt within the book. That decision may be right or wrong but the point is I will never know for certain.

pps. I am going to predict 300+ posts on this one. Would that be a record Alan?

Underneath the Stars

Rachel said...

"I think that JS and CF are missing the point of what most of the complaining is about. It's NOT because Sarah and Chuck have split up, it's because of the way it was written."
This is perfect. I'm the first to admit I'm salivating at the thought of the Chuck/Sarah relationship taking off. I knew going into this season that they weren't going to be together just yet, so I'd made my peace with it. But the way this episode was written was rushed, the characters were out of character, and the editing was cheesy enough that it affected my opinion of the entire episode. That being said, it's the first episode this season I haven't LOVED, and every season has its episodes that aren't mindblowing. It makes NO sense to abandon this show now after we've worked so hard for it. I'm excited for the next episode- anything written by Ali Adler is going to be gold.

imkeh said...

Alan, I wish you had followed up Josh's reply with the question; So spy-handler isn't ok? But spy-boss is all go?

I think they threw out SW character for sake of storytelling.

The Sarah I've been watching for 2.5 seasons no wouldn't have done and said those things she did in last 10 mins of movie. I'm hoping this is all some setup that will have a big payoff.

Sigh.

Anonymous said...

First of all I don't care about the whole Chuck/Sarah shipping crap, if you're going to break down and have a hissy because two TV show characters didn't get together it says more about you than it does the writers.

If Chuck and Sarah end up together fine, if they don't, well that's fine too as long as it makes sense.

Now the thing that threw me about that episode was Sarah, her character seemed to be all over the place. She went from over-the-top PMS hatting Shaw in the beginning to all lovy dovy with him by the end. To say her feeling for him came out of left field is an understatement.

As queer as that was though I cannot believe the hissy fits some people are getting into, perhaps Chuck is on past their bedtimes and they're all cranky or something?

jd said...

It's a tricky thing to balance the need to tell the story versus the audience's expectations, especially when many fans feel a certain ownership of "Chuck" by participating in the Subway campaign. I firmly believe that Schwartz and Fedak are doing a good job overall of telling the evolution of Chuck Bartowski. If they didn't try to grow the character and show, we'd still be watching Chuck screeching and hiding in a car; been there, done that.

What I don't get is the "scorched earth" call to boycott the show because it isn't playing out in an immediate fashion with the Chuck and Sarah relationship? That's a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face, so to speak. I'm totally dumbfounded that there's a segment of the audience that would feel so...angry that they would prefer to throw away a show that has a fantastic mix of comedy, action, drama, etc., especially when there's a definite lack of quality scripted programming on broadcast television these days.

For all the hints that Fedak, Schwartz and Ali Adler have given about the development of the C/S relationship, I think that some patience is needed. Put away the torches and pitchforks -- have a little faith in the overall arc that these three have hinted at over the last six months or so.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Alan Sepinwall = best TV journalist out there. Good job.

7:34 PM, February 09, 2010"

Journalism requires objectivity and a professional distance from the subject you are covering.

When the "journalist" in question - Alan - gets to host "Chuck" panels at television conventions, writes a book about one of the creator's previous shows ("The OC" with the creator's approval and input), and now gets "special" go-to-first access to the creators as their special "Chuck guy", objectivity and journalism are the last things Alan should be complimented on.

One just needs to read his super long, always glowing, unbelievably excited about everything reviews every week for a mediocre show like "Chuck" to begin to question where the line is for "journalists" and "paid shill".

Also, no show gets praised more for stealing the best bits from other shows and movies shamelessly than "Chuck". It's called plagiarism, not homage or pop-references.

Karen said...

As much as I enjoyed reading this--and I DID--I feel so sad that Fedak and Schwartz even felt this was necessary. It shows how much respect they have for their fans that they would take this time to explain their process and their plan. I just wish the fans would extend Fedak and Schwartz the same respect.

Thanks to you, Alan, and thanks to CF and JS for taking the time to bring this to us.

I know I'll be watching in March and as long as TPTB allow this wonderful show to last.

Lisa said...

It's tough doing what these guys are trying to do with this series on the budget they've had shoved down their throats. These guys are trying to work in huge storylines and stunt casting in what used to be a very intimate ensemble show where every regular character had proper care and feeding and that's why we grew to love it so.

"Chuck" has changed and a lot of us are feeling grumpy about it. Last night's show really brought that home for me -- it was a clunker with weak writing and rush-rush character development. No other way to look at it. I think we would have been much more forgiving if "Chuck" wasn't taking three weeks off thanks to the Olympics nobody is going to watch. If they had an episode next week, we'd be less desperate about a save, because we're "Chuck" fans, and thanks to Wendy's leadership, we succeeded in keeping this show on the air. My psychoanalysis of the last 24 hours is that failed episodes make us afraid we're going to lose the show -- hence the craziness.

I have no intention of abandoning this show -- Zach Levi is extraordinary in his role, and I think he's doing a lot to reach out to the fan base in ways that are very unusual for a TV star. Everyone -- particularly the showrunners -- are working hard. And though I'm in love with the ZL/YS chemistry, I'm also not looking for a "hookup." I just want the writing quality of S1 and S2 back because it made the show so intimate and special.

Seeyuz after the Olympics.

Bill S said...

I have a few points.

First, I’m frustrated that this is coming across as some fans throwing a tantrum because Chuck and Sarah aren’t together yet. Sure, some are. But IMO, that’s not the main beef. The main beef is what happened to the characters.

Last we knew, Chuck was desperately trying to get back and fix this thing with Sarah, whom he knew that he let down. And Sarah was watching the tape of Chuck professing his love and sobbing. Can we really see the Sarah that we’ve known for the past 2+ seasons saying anything remotely like “I have a type?” No way. So in 10 minutes, we see Sarah deciding that she liked this new guy. The same new guy that she had just spent several episodes keeping at arms length. Way too fast, way too soon.

I’m also a little perplexed by the multitude of posts that seem to imply that the fans have an obligation to like whatever is produced. Those people invert the provider/customer relationship, IMO. We have a perfect right to not like what we see, for whatever reason we choose.

Yes, I’m invested in the relationship. But that’s not my main problem with this season. For one thing, I’m sure they will get together. My main concern is that I don’t like the characters anymore. Sarah seems cold. And Chuck seems to be a whiny, self absorbed ass. And if they don’t quickly fix that, it really doesn’t matter if they get them together. Once we stop rooting for them, why watch?

Another criticism is the lack of originality. What is the difference between Shaw and Cole? What is the difference between Hannah and Lou? How many times do we have to seen this recycled plotline?

CiciRose said...

You guys are class acts. These angry fans are just a minority, albeit a very loud, opinionated minority, but a minority nonetheless.

I think last night's episode was not only a highlight of the season, but a natural progression and offered one of the most mature scenes Chuck and Sarah have shared about their other relationships to date.

People need to learn that not everything is simple and can be spelled out in one sentence; the most fun part about a show is sitting back and enjoying the ride, all the twists and turns and surprises.

MikeS said...

I am truly stunned by the whirlwind of backlash from last night's episode.

I for one, have faith in Shwartz and Fedak's story. I have watched 42 episodes of Chuck, and I have been entertained, and seen all the highs and lows of the show in that time. This is a story arc, no different than an arc that involved Chuck's dad, or Jill, or any other arc. It may not have been the best one they ever did, but it has all the potential to be as awesome as the best moments of the show.

So, thanks to Schwartz and Fedak for the show, and thanks to Alan for championing the show, and so passionately recapping the shows.

Anonymous said...

Alli gotta say is bring Kristin kruek onto the show full time and make her Chuck's love interest!!

Matt said...

I'm flabbergasted that any "fans" of this show would advocate that people boycott the show to punish them for this plot point that they dislike in the hopes of forcing a change.

1) Do these people really not understand how television works, especially with a usually-low-rated and barely-renewed show like Chuck? What world do you live in?

2) How can you call yourself a fan if you think this way?

Baylink said...

For everyone involved in this thread:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/family_concerned_after?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Anonymous said...

Morgan shouldn't be mad at Chuck for kissing Hannah. Morgan still has to live down that condom IOU situation. Plus, he got Carina and Chuck still hasn't been with Sarah!

Morgan needs to cut homeboy some slack. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, while internet ranting (from both parts, "shippers" and "anti-shippers") is a waste of time reading and answering to, it'd be stupid not to read and take into account the consequent mass of well thought negative comments.

Reading from several sources, angry die-hard fans are actually the minority of the guys who voiced a negative opinion on this topic. Readers and authors alike shouldn't let this low-credibility minority discard the whole discussion.


That said, this interview has a bitter taste of PR. Boycotting isn't the danger for the creators of the show here (hello overreaction), too big a part of their "regular" audience switching to a different show is. The point being: that audience is calm and sound enough to make the difference between info and some vapor PR stuff.

Baylink said...

Ok.

Could everyone take a moment, please, and remember what happened to Sarah Walker at the end of Season 2?

She. Fell. In. Love.

*Sarah* *Walker*. Fell in love.

Something she does, y'know, fairly frequently.

Clearly, if her response was "Chuck, let's run away together, tossing my lifelong career in the trash", it must have been pretty heavy stuff for her.

And then, on top of that, what was Chuck's reaction?

"But, Sarah, I *sold* the watch, to buy you these beautiful combs for your long hair."

Of *course* Sarah is off balance, and not reacting in the way we've come to expect after "knowing" "her" for 2 seasons.

Of course, she's wobbly, and occasionally bitchy, and off-balance, and weak, professionally.

She just stuck her neck *way* out, for the first time in... ever. And Chuck lopped it off and handed it to her.

And here's the best part: she can't even be mad at him. He did it for reasons even she has to admit are really, really good ones.

And then, on top of *that*, Shaw comes in and takes over, effectively, her seat, and then send Chuck out to become a Real Spy.

And then along came Hannah (whooo, ooooh).

Wow.

Can you people really not see the season-long motivation for her not acting the way *you* expect she ought to act?

Furrfu.

Anonymous said...

Also- sure Shaw may have technically saved Sarah's life, but he was also the idiot who put her life in danger in the first place! Would a real top-class spy just let a canister roll out and explode and say oops?

Especially after failing in his mission earlier in the episode and needing Chuck to save him? It seems like Shaw is the novice.

Anonymous said...

Schwartz & Fedak,

As one of those fans who bought sandwiches, and wrote a letter to NBC at the close of last season (and I can honestly say I've never been devoted to any other show enough to do that!), I think I speak for the majority of the fans (the true fans, anyway) when I say that we trust you guys. Sure, I hope Chuck & Sarah eventually hook up (though I would never call myself a "shipper"), but to be honest, I actually had no problem with the developments of last night's episode. Maybe it's because I realize that sometimes people just miss each other like that; the opportunity never really presents itself, the moment passes, and eventually people move on from one another. I think the way the story is being handled rings true right now, and though I of course have no idea what's in store, I trust the writers will continue to give me a quality product that I can enjoy, live as it airs every Monday evening (in my living room, House is forced to the DVR and Tuesday night viewing, HIMYM is watched online later in the week, while Chuck is never to be missed live). I have enjoyed every episode thus far this season, and I can't wait til the show picks up again after the Olympics. Thanks.

Craig Ranapia said...

I’m also a little perplexed by the multitude of posts that seem to imply that the fans have an obligation to like whatever is produced. Those people invert the provider/customer relationship, IMO. We have a perfect right to not like what we see, for whatever reason we choose.

Bill S.:

I think you've kind of set up (and torched) a straw man there. I can only speak for myself here, but you're under no obligation to like what I do, for the reasons I do. (As I've said here before Alan liked Tara a lot more than I did; the reverse is true of V. The world keeps spinning.)

But I think you can reasonably expect the following from me:

1) Not to be treated like you're stupid or downright evil for holding a different POV on what is (in the end) just another TV show.

2) The presumption that your statements and opinions are made in good faith, and not trolling or flaming for a fight.

3) That everyone is entitled to be referred to in a civil and respectful manner> Using obscene, demeaning or bigoted insults against anyone is not acceptable.

4) Also, a little sense of proportion and good humour never hurts. :)

Anonymous said...

Geez, what is with some of you and refusing to hit the "enter" button?

Also, this is the same Sarah who made out with Chuck after knowing him for a few weeks because she thought she was going to die. She also made out with Bryce the day he came back. She also kissed Cole. How is it that absurd that she lets Shaw, who carried her to life, give her a neck massage?

Nathan said...

"Also- sure Shaw may have technically saved Sarah's life, but he was also the idiot who put her life in danger in the first place! Would a real top-class spy just let a canister roll out and explode and say oops?"
The question I have is what if that real top-class spy did it all on purpose? Maybe I'm making the character of Shaw a lot smarter than he really is but a lot of this feels like a total set-up.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

I have given up on shows before, but those were Heroes and Lost (during seasons 2 and 3, but I went back to it later)

Billy: Thanks for mentioning Lost -- that show didn't come back from a serious slump in season three because of fan-service, but because Lindelof and Cuse got a grip on what wasn't working and did something about it.

I'm not saying they don't pay attention to an incredibly passionate and nit-picky fandom, they do. But they're also realistic that nobody can satisfy every fan happy all of the time. So, you might as well focus on making the very best show you can and hope enough people agree to keep you off welfare for another season.

Anonymous said...

Let's say this was not a Chuck Sarah controversy and people are legitimate in a furor about the quality of the season. Then I'm of the opinion that they are either remembering the past seasons in too good of a light, you know.

The series was not without it's flaws and I wouldn't say this is a quality drop on the level of FNL season 1 to FNL season 2. Not to say that it can't be enough to drive off a certain section of the audience, hail it's even your right to start a boycott, but I think it's better to just avoid that level of action. Not watch individually = personal choice, organizing boycotts to destroy
(something that you loved no less) = extreme (don't want to use stronger words, but they are there).

Video Beagle said...

I think it's cute you focused on the shippers being upset. Yes, because messing up the ships is the problem.

reposting me from TVBy The Numbers:
***
The problem isn’t the romantic complications…it’s that IT’S THE EXACT SAME ROMANTIC COMPLICATIONS the show has done before.

Shaw is just Bryce and that British Guy. Hannah is just Lou…there’s no difference in the story.

The Show’s problem is summed up right here. Last week, Morgan and Ellie get together to figure out what’s going on with Chuck. Morgan is goning to have Jeffster stalk him, so Jeffster vs Spy hijinks will ensue for an ep, as the plot line progresses.

This week “They weren’ as good as I thought” ends that entire subplot with Jeffster, and the Morgan and Ellie bit goes nowhere new. Not maybe finding out his secret, not putting clues together (so they really think he flew to France because he was depressed?). It didn’t even lead to Three’s Company like confusion with Chuck and Awesome wondering why they keep finding Ellie and Morgan together at weird times.

Oh and the big secret spy group operating within the US Spy Agencies…has shadow chamber with a Glowing, Animated Ring like a Power Rangers set. Seriously?

Charity - The Soprano in the Kitchen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 8:42 your post is absurd. Alan is a TV critic, thus he either likes a show, or doesn't like a show. He happens to like Chuck. I really dont't understand your gripe. Would you rather him say "some people like chuck, some are upset with chuck, you decide". That's absurd. He's paid to give opinions.

Juan Antonio Sandawich said...

In addition to Whedon saying that you don't give the wants what the want, but what they need. David Simon also basically said that the average tv audience is stupid, and that he didn't write his show for them and didn't want them watching it.

This type of childish reaction from this vocal minority is just sad and embarrassing. The fact that this interview ever had to take place says something about where our society has gone. Not only are people too selfish to understand that a tv show doesn't revolve around their fanfic stories. But more so that they are too thick to realize that what they are complaining about is CLEARLY coming. Patience people. Patience.

It's like a child who is angry at it's parents for not giving it ice cream and lollipops for dinner, and who throws it's vegetables on the ground, kicking and screaming. When there is clearly ice cream in the freezer waiting to be served for dessert. Sigh. Seriously folks. Sigh.

A couple quotes from the writers that I wanted to point out:

"This is the type of guy that Sarah, in any other spy show, would fall in love with."

Translation: SARAH ISN'T GOING TO BE WITH SHAW FOR VERY LONG!!! You should already know this as Routh is only a guest star. That and this is obviously a ancillary romance. But I guess I'm expecting too much from some.

There's such pressure, anyway, on a network show to spell everything out and leave everything completely unambigious, and then that pressure is doubled by fans who want an answer and want it now."

Translation: It's hard enough to write a good show with moron network execs wanting you to write it for the average moron viewer. Having to listen to the crazy fans only makes things worse and takes away any chance at telling an intelligent story.

"There is an overarching design to the season, these stories are more than just romantic stories, and people have to trust that the journey we are taking them on is one that is designed to give audiences both what they want and what they need."

Translation: HELLO! We know what we are doing here! This is our story we're telling. Give us an ounce of credit. There's a reason we do this for a living and you guys write Buffy fan fiction.

frabjous said...

Count me among those who don't get the furor. I'd rather have the two of them in real relationships, however shortlived, than continuing the season-opening angstathon. (I actually thought there was actually a really nice moment of continuity between the way Chuck smiled at Hannah and the way he smiled at Sarah when they were together in the motel in S2!)

Thank you to Schwartz & Fedak for doing this interview, and for your responses. Here's hoping we don't have to buy foot-longs again this spring because of some entitled yahoos!

Josh M. said...

Alan: Have you ever considered making commenting open to registered users only? Anonymity often breeds the worst kind of internet behavior.

Baylink said...

Y'know what, folks?

Let's quit pickin' on fan fiction, huh?

http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1516507/

http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1293524/

And a little tiny bit more uneven, but the author of Chuck vs. the Buy More Bomber, which makes up for it:

http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1545462/

Veritas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

THE PROBLEM IS THAT SEASON THREE STINKS SO FAR!!!

The way Chuck and Sarah are being portrayed is just awful. For the third year in a row, they both immediately fall in love with random co-stars without thinking twice about their supposed feelings or loyalties to each other.

Devon was a crybaby and had a nervous breakdown instead of being a cool part time spy like he should have been, and Ellie has been out of her mind all season.

The only character to progress at all is Morgan, other than Chuck's 'progression' towards being cold blooded.

The show is no longer funny or uplifting at all. The spy plots are all laughably juvenile and always have been because the real hook of the show has always been humour and action and Chuck and Sarah having great chemistry.

Josh and Chris have no clue apparently how lame parts of season two are because they are just repeating the same confusing junk with Chuck and Sarah.

Shaw and Hannah are BORING BORING BORING BORING. They add NOTHING to the show but instead just derail Chuck and Sarah once again.

When I wrote six letters to NBC and ate my subs and spent several hundred hours voting repeatedly on online polls to support Chuck, I never once thought I would be driving the bus. WHAT I DID THINK WAS THAT I WAS SAVING A SHOW WORTH SAVING. That is what I no longer feel at all...

P.S. You have got to be kidding with these Office analogies. As a big office fan who owns all the seasons on DVD, I still hate the way the Jim and Pam situation was handled with Jim going to another office and dating somebody else (SUPER LAME) and then Pam going to art school (SUPER LAME) just to keep them apart. That is not clever, that is not well done, that is almost as stupid as the way Chuck and Sarah are being handled although Chuck and Sarah cheating on each other (in spirit) every single bloody season takes the cake for any stupidity I have witnessed in television history.

buzz said...

I posted the following paragraph here in response to "Angel of Death", and this seems a good place to bring it up again:


...Speaking of affection, I was always a "shipper", but I like where Chuck and Sarah are now. When (not if, I'm sure) they get closer again, they'll be better equipped to handle it. There was an almost adolescent idealization of each other that the Prauge situation shattered. They'll be older, sadder and wiser when they inevitably get together again.

Veritas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Sepinwall, Schwartz and Fedak don't seem to realize that some of us are objecting not to the characters' relationships, but to the show's decline in quality. I guess our concerns aren't as valid as those of the shippers, who you can dismiss as impatient and irrational and take a shortcut to ignorance of the show's glaring flaws.

Henry said...

So... wait and see. Great. Company line. I suppose I'm a little surprised at how up-in-arms Chuck fans and Chuck-Sarah fans are in, but since I'm a fan of Lost and other mythology-driven shows (I was the guy who agonized over the season two/season three break of Alias), I'm willing to give Schwartz and Fedak benefit of the doubt. I wasn't as fiery as some of the commenters on this blog were over the switches by Chuck and Sarah and took the episode more for being on par, neither great nor especially terrible. Given the love for the show that I witnessed at the Comic-Con panel, the show doesn't deserve the derision it's been getting since the episode aired.

amysusanne said...

@Josh M.: at the very least, I wish that people would make up names so I can pretend that half of the angrier anonymous commenters aren't the same person rehashing the same gripe.

I was genuinely surprised to come over here tonight and see the crazy. The volume of comments was just overwhelming. When I watched it last night, I enjoyed it. It wasn't my favorite episode of the series, but it was a perfectly adequate end for the pre-Olympic season and I was looking forward to the return in March. Stupid me...I didn't realize that in order to truly understand how horrible it was and how wrong I was wrt liking it that I was supposed to be on the NBC boards. I don't know what I was thinking.

I appreciate Schwartz and Fedak taking some time to talk about it. They didn't have to and shouldn't have had to, but it was cool of them to do it. The downside of their taking that time is that it's met with the usual "they just don't get it and never will" grumbling from folks who think they can do a better job producing a television show than the men who *are* producing the television show. I left the "House" fandom because in spite of the fact that I was frustrated with the show and had lost interest in parts of it, it was still crazymaking to see the level of vitriol spewed at Shore and Jacobs for "RUINING MY SHOW!!!" by not letting House and Cuddy hookup and live happily ever after. I honestly thought "Chuck" was going to be immune to that. Sure, Sarah/Chuck is a big deal and a lot of people are very invested, but I naively thought that a group of people who had invested so much time into saving the show would also be willing to invest time into storytelling rather than expecting Josh and Chris to feed us Charah porny fanfic every week.

Also...

>>As far as the constant dismissive insults today from here and other apologists<<

please don't. Thank you.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Sepinwall, Schwartz and Fedak don't seem to realize that some of us are objecting not to the characters' relationships, but to the show's decline in quality.

Hey, if ya don't like it, ya don't like it. Different strokes and all that. I haven't seen a major drop in quality from the comparable episodes from the start of season 2, but that's just my opinion.

But there's been a very vocal group (albeit perhaps a vocal minority) who have made it very clear in the last 24 hours that there objections are to the state of Chuck and Sarah. And they're certainly entitled to that opinion, as well. It's just the vitriol - and, in cases like Boycott Boy, complete disconnect from reality - with which they've expressed that opinion that's troubled me, and made me feel compelled to reach out to Schwartz and Fedak for this.

Ryan said...

Its weird everyone seems to either be outraged by what happened or happy with it.

I'm in the indifferent camp. That ending didn't evoke any emotion. It almost felt like a parody of the Chuck and Sarah relationship from last two seasons. The dialogue and acting were terrible. It felt like something you'd see on youtube. And really we know they'll just hit the reset button if there is a season 4. It'll be the same exact "drama" as before. Rinse and Repeat.

Allison DeWitt said...

barefootjim said...
I am still absolutely gobsmacked that this is any kind of controversy.


I'm so delighted not to be alone on this.

The people who are still so riled up and threatening BOYcotts for God's sake...what the hell is that about? It's one week. It's just a TV show. Some arcs are better than others. Much is yet to come.

All the critical people are not the same, but I get a feeling a couple of folks just left a Parks Dept. official mad as hell over the mayo on a sandwich, if you get my drift.


Personally, at the moment..I miss the host of chracters at the BuyMore more than the Sarah/Chuck relationship. The budget contraints I understand but they add a lot of pleasure to the show.


Alan Sepinwall ..what a patient guy, well done. Thank you.

Craig Ranapia said...

Sepinwall, Schwartz and Fedak don't seem to realize that some of us are objecting not to the characters' relationships, but to the show's decline in quality.

I think they do, but just beg to differ. I really don't think Schwartz and Fedak get up in the morning and say to themselves "I'm bored -- time to turn Chuck into a steaming pile of monkey poo, while crushing the hopes and dreams of total strangers I hate with an incandescent passion." Really. No.

Sam Hobart said...

I can't believe I'm going to actually jump into a discussion of the merits of this reaction but here goes nothing.

I have trouble understanding the "bad writing" or ruining the characters arguments being made. Rushed? Yeah I get that one but I'm also fairly forgiving of a show that's trying to be engaging and fun but not a whole lot more.

Sure there were plot holes aplenty last night and the show ignored the ones it didn't have an interest in dealing with, just like it has for 2 and a half seasons. It is clearly a choice on the part of the creators to ignore the awkward conversation that must have followed everyone finding themselves okay in the museum because they didn't feel it would add anything more worthwhile than what was in the rest of the scenes. Bad writing? My wife thinks so and that's why she checked out midway through season 1 but it's a choice they've been making since the beginning.

That these two characters have moved on and ruined any future relationship or acted so out of character they can not be redeemed seems like a bit of an overreaction. It was clear to me that Sarah and Chuck still love each other but neither is willing to take a shot at a real relationship with the other at the moment. The way their faces lit up when they worked together to get the mask and bickered over their jealousies was a pretty obvious red flag about their feelings to me. Did I buy Sarah giving in to Shaw's advances? Not entirely but as much as I did her interest in Beefcake last year. Chuck and Hannah makes perfect sense to me with the groundwork they've laid since "First Class." Neither of these couples was giving any indication of a long term commitment as far as I saw. It seemed like a few people who were attracted to each other acting on those impulses.

So my honest question for the enraged:

What specifically bothered you? Which scenes or lines of dialogue made this so irredeemable? What specifically seemed so out of character?

I just don't really understand t he reaction for the life of me and, despite my better judgment, I'm very curious.

J said...

I really didn't have any intention of watching this week's episode until this post popped up in my RSS feed. Oooo! Controversy! So without reading I Hulu'd it up and...

Well, I figured the controversy would be about how the show rewarded the predatory sexual harrassment of the Brandon Routh character?

This show has an alarming, consistent history of rubbing its real world blinders in our face. Whether it's Ellie chucking away whole turkeys, or the whole "Buy More hires everyone!" promotion that hit after unemployment started rocketing, and now this boss/subordinate situation (which echoes Morgan's own questionable attempts to woo Hannah, but at least Morgan's just pathetic) that's about as progressive as the sergeant and secretary in Beetle Bailey.

I pretty much lost interest in the Chuck-Sarah 'ship as soon as the dynamic changed, and now I find myself actively pitying the actress for what the show's done to her character. She still gets her fight scenes, but mostly her role is just as this passive, dangling thing. It's depressing.

But consistent. Because the other thing the show has done, regularly, is introduce a strong female character and suck every bit of self-esteem out of them. Poor Anna. Poor Sarah. And poor Hannah, who gets abandoned in a stressful position without explanation but still cuddles up to the guy who left her there afterward.

Pretty much the only character I respect on the show is Casey. Will he/won't he blow something up is Chuck's most valid dramatic question.

dez said...

If Schwartz and Fedak are reading: Thanks for the interview! I love CHUCK and will continue watching after the Olympics to see what happens next. No boycott from me.

Anonymous said...

I thought the episode was great!

I don't have any serious complaints. In fact, I thought I would be unhappy with any more keeping Sarah and Chuck apart, but the way they did was really good. I found the Chuck/Hannah and Sarah/Shaw pairings to be very well done and realistic. The only thing I worry about is that they will create stupid reasons to keep the new pairs apart....

Overall, well done.

Anonymous said...

@7s Tim:
"I think some people should watch previous episodes and the interactions between Shaw and Sarah. It actually felt a little telegraphed. His advocating agains spyplace relationships, her telling him his coffee cup come ones were inappropriate: these felt like the things people do on shows when they are denying to themselves as well as those around them that there is an attraction. Plus the lingering glances, Shaw getting within Sarah's personal space in, I believe, vs. First Class.

Does Chuck continually have giant plot holes in its mission of the week? Yeah. But they are usually fun or in service of something that is fun, or possibly emotionally resonant that episode (Shaw reviving and conforting Sarah right outside the room where Hannah was passed out but she never noticed-- resonant because Chuck looks on with a sense of loss at Shaw usurping his role with Sarah, and them moves on to his new trim). But I find all the accusations of lazy writing in developing the Shaw/Sarah and Chuck/Hannah relationships are unfounded. Maybe you didn't notice it was there, but it was there."

I NOTICED it too, 7s Tim. :) But I think a lot of people just didn't want to see it because it doesn't fit their idea of what Sarah should be feeling. I also think that Sarah and Shaw had this bonding moment during the rings (Eve's) scene; Shaw was very vulnerable in that scene, and he wasn't even trying to hide it from her. Absolutely Loved that scene.

~Star

Anonymous said...

No offense Alan, but if you are a TV critic, I doubt that you can truly be a fan of Chuck and love the show.

You've seen no drop in quality?

"Different strokes for different folks"???

Get real. We have objective complaints against this show's sudden deterioration; namely, we don't like being force-fed CRAP.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

That episode made me laugh... 0 times.

It made me ponder... 0 times.

It filled with me with joy ... 0 times.

I connected with the characters I once adored... 0 times.

You all get the point...

Nicole said...

Wow. It seems like Twop decided to show up on Alan's blog.

Thank you for the interview Alan. Your work is definitely appreciated by those of us who read all your articles and to accuse you of not being an objective journalist is absurd. Since I'm pretty sure you don't get paid by NBC, I'm going to assume that your opinions regarding Chuck and other television shows are just that.

I am hoping that all this activity will translate into more viewers for Chuck when the show returns.

AD said...

I hope this doesn't come off as a personal attack but does it seem to anyone else like the most riled critics don't use monikers?

It's a bit odd.

ELena said...

I get it, and think it will be fine in the end. Thanks for talking to them Alan, and writing it up.

mike said...

this entire "controversy" has ensured i never give this show a chance. i was under the impression is was a super clever kick ass show built around geek who gets super powers, instead i find it's a romantic comedy in wolves clothing.

i don't know what has turned me off more, the fact that it's playing the will-they-won't-they card and the love triangle card and (seemingly) tossing up stall tactics to putting the two characters together, or how pathetic these "fans" are threatening to ruin the show if they don't get what they want.

generalone said...

I'm OK with the Chuck-Sarah separation. It's the right thing for both of them while Chuck is in intensive spy-learning mode.

And I can understand the Chuck-Hannah and accept (to a lesser extent)the Sarah-Shaw developments.

But I would love for Casey to drop a few well-timed and strategically placed zingers to snap them all out of this mess. He knows what's going on--didn't you hear him grunt as he left before the Shaw-Sarah back rub.

Go get 'em Marine. Your country and the show needs you!

Anonymous said...

Mike, I think the answer you're looking for is (c) and you'll find it in a Vonnegutian leak.

People, you can't spew vitriolic and snaky remarks here, it's the internet!

Anonymous said...

Dear Creators,
I am among the fans who are fine with how the story is progressing. Thank you for taking your time to address this so-called controversial matter. But, I would have to politely ask you to give your female characters something more than what they have been given. They're not there to show off their, erm, physical assets.

In writing, they might seem to be strong characters: a superspy, a doctor, a general, a competent Nerd Herder. In reality, they are always rated second to your male characters. Sarah is the object of Chuck's love; Ellie is there to nag to and worry about Chuck; General Beckman is a dull one-dimensional character; Anna is Morgan's distraction from his BFF Chuck; and now we have Hannah who was the damsel in distress and totally forgot that someone tried to killed her minutes ago. Heck, we know more about Jeff than most of the ladies.
You have talented actresses on your team, don't put that to waste.

Manton said...

Ah, the dark side of the internet has finally hit the Sepinwall blog. It's a sad thing to see.

To all of those Chuck fans who are upset about Schwartz and Fedak using dramatic structure in a television series: if you don't like it, don't watch it. I don't understand how this place which is usually full of constructive comments has turned into a flame war. It's very disappointing, especially given how the fans rallied around this show on this blog.

Keep up the great work, Alan, Fedak and Schwartz. Can't wait for the next show to work like gangbusters so everyone can get their "SEE IF THEY JUST LISTENED TO ME WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO YELL ON THE INTERNET" posts out of the way and we can get back to normal around here.

Stellar Drift said...

Thanks for the interview Allan!
But you forgot to ask them when they are going to let Casey blow something up!


@Liz
"Was it Joss Whedon who said don't give fans what they want, but what they need? "

Yes, and he gets canceled all the time.
Because more and more people need what they want.

@lisa

"Why are people freaking out over Hannah? Don't people go on the internet and read that Kreuk only has a few more episodes left on Chuck? It's OBVIOUSLY not going to last forever."

They "freak out" because Chuck as a character has been ruined now. "I loooove you -ooh, look at that hottie". Now he is just a horny superficial jerk.




@Schwartz/Fedak

The "she can't date chuck" never made sense and still doesn't. Its as if this is a documentary.


The "fun" of being an audience member is to have fun WITH our characters - not that you lot hide stuff from us (and chuckle all the way to the bank).

"We are further along in the story than they are. "

The only thing which can save it is if this has been a dream - even if BOTH characters are ACTING they have been soiled.

"if people are only happy, there is no conflict, therefore there is no storytelling, or drama."

Well get rid of "drama" then (and of course you can tell stories without 'drama') the show Chuck was at its best when it was lighthearted comedy with quick wit, if we want conflict we can switch of the TV and find it in the real world.

''We're not just going, "How do we keep them apart?"''

I for one do not believe that. Not after 3 seasons.


"Look, we are in a dogfight for our survival once again, and it would be a shame if people reacted in a way that was scorched earth. "

Yeah well, a lot of us asked you last year to stop doing this - but you keep doing it - and saying it is the right thing to do. If this season is about change - well, stopping is a change isn't it...

now forgive me whilst I go cry on my season 1 DVDs

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to let you, Chuck Bartowski, ruin MY life. If you want to be a scumbag-degenerate, that's YOUR life decision. Just know you are hurting not only yourself; you're hurting a lot your loved ones and your friends...

BTW... you're going to kill your sister with worry one day. Captain Awesome can only do so much to keep her happy without you being there for her. Chuck... come back to us.

NO! I don't care... You're dead to me!

BradynJ said...

Ill keep this comment brief,

There are plenty of hints in Episode 7 to let you see just how their feelings stand.

Ill keep it basic,

Sarah is still healing from the whole "run away with me" deal, which means shes somewhat closed to tell chuck how shes feeling, Chuck is also feeling that from her and is slowly fading away. however if you watch close enough and listen close enough, you can tell that they are both there as in their love is just how it used to, but they are both still trying to find it again. Could i be wrong? sure, But im just taking the hints from the show and going with it, Not to mention that if you guys look at the episodes that both "Hannah" and "Shaw" are in, theres something big coming. that i would imagine will satisfy everyones "sarah and chuck" lust. then again, maybe it will be a "Chuck and Jill" Who knows. But ill be watching and waiting.

Oh and I'm gonna boycott the olympic, Damn them for making me wait 3 weeks! (actually I only live a few minutes away from most of the events so I'll be going)

(2 scenes from episode 7, When Chuck and sarah are talking before getting the mask and casey shuts off their mics, and the last scene with sarah and chuck, Watch the faces)

Anonymous said...

What Juan Antonio Sandawich said.

Anonymous said...

@StellarDrift

Whedon canceled all the time? Not exactly. Whedon has had about 275 episodes of TV. That's not indicative of someone whose been canceled all the time. Also, Whedon's most successful show was Buffy(not canceled), which didn't exactly give people what they want(in terms of relationships).

Anonymous said...

I have watched every episode of Chuck from the door, and one of my best friends is also a CHUCK watcher. We're two professional African-American women in our late thirties, one with an advanced degree and one working on hers. Why does this matter? Because at one point CHUCK was universal. We may not be the demographic expected for CHUCK, but we loved it nonetheless because it was smart, funny and relateable.

Fast forward to this season and ... meh. The highlight of the season thus far was the unexpected death of a character, but the writers didn't even have the guts to let the workers in the Buy More know he was dead. A little element of fear in this show in the characters outside of the Castle crew and Awesome might be nice.

What frustrates me the most is that Chuck is moving towards Saturday morning cartoon. Subtle pop-cultural references have turned into "look at me I remember the 80's" obvious gags. We get it. Look, it's physical comedy! Look, Casey can make his trademark face while Sarah and Chuck pine away! Look! I remember the NBC lineup from 198.......!

And speaking of Casey, what's the deal with the lack of Casey alone time? I know he's mysterious, but we've had a Sarah-centric episode with her father. When are the writers going to give me some Casey-centric plots? Sure, the "My Bodyguard" subpolot with Morgan made me squeal like the girl I was when I saw it in the movies back in the day, but come on. It's not just the boys watching this show. Cute as Zachary Levi is, some of us need some more Baldwin. There's just something about a mature man that growls. (Ask Hugh Jackman.)

Come on Chuck. So many threads aren't even touched. Don't do like Alias did and just leave them like they never happened. Where is Chuck's Father? What ever became of Harry Tang's transfer? (Wouldn't he be a great ...... oh wait. I don't get paid to write this show.) Where is
Sarah's scandalous dad?

And I hope the writers come up with an inventive enemy twist. Fulcrum, the Ring, (the Alliance of 12, the Covenant). Listen, I've seen this before on Alias. It doesn't end well. For anyone.

I'm still sticking with the show. There is so much more there that they can mine in terms of character growth if they'd only push a little harder. And give me some more Casey. Maybe with a little Nia Long as his controlling ex.

A sista can hope.

.....Mimi

gwindor said...

I don't understand the people who say this season is a huge drop in quality. Sure it's not as good as season 2's best but so far it's about on par with early season 2, probably slightly worse but not by much. And it's certainly better than the first half of season 1.

There have been some weak episodes (I'm not really a fan of this one), but there have been some excellent ones too. People are really overreacting and wildly exaggerrating.

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand most of those questions/complaints since they've either been answered or don't make a lot of sense.

>>The highlight of the season thus far was the unexpected death of a character, but the writers didn't even have the guts to let the workers in the Buy More know he was dead.<<

How is that gutless? And what's the logic in letting them know he was dead? Wouldn't they want to know what happened? Wouldn't they want to know why the police weren't involved? Because they weren't. As far as the cops were concerned, there was no body, no death, no Millbarge. Keeping it a secret made total sense in the world of the agents protecting the Buy More group, their cover, etc. What would be accomplished by telling the group at the Buy More that their boss was murdered in the loading dock?

>> A little element of fear in this show in the characters outside of the Castle crew and Awesome might be nice.<<

The two Awesome episodes heightened the stakes quite a bit, certainly more than they had in the past with regards to outsiders being in danger as a result of the Chuck and the government. There was fear just a couple of episodes ago. I'm not sure what you want since they just gave it to you.

>>What frustrates me the most is that Chuck is moving towards Saturday morning cartoon. Subtle pop-cultural references have turned into "look at me I remember the 80's" obvious gags.<<

I respect the opinion of those who don't like the slapstick and the heavy handed 80s references, but I'm curious as to why that's an issue for you now when, if I'm reading your post correctly, it was something you enjoyed in the past. The video game episode last year was hardly subtle. Episodes that include backroom Thunderdome brawls aren't subtle. Buying a Delorean and then the General Lee? Well, that's just weird. And all in seasons one and two.

>>And speaking of Casey, what's the deal with the lack of Casey alone time? I know he's mysterious, but we've had a Sarah-centric episode with her father. When are the writers going to give me some Casey-centric plots?<<

I too would love for there to be more Casey and I imagine that there will be since we're overdue, but if you're going to use the Cougar episode as an argument that it's not fair that Casey hasn't had the attention Sarah gets then you should go back to an episode guide and see that we got a nice Casey-centric episode just four or five episodes *prior* to the Sarah episode. We've gone into Casey's past before and I'm going to assume we'll do so again. Casey's lost love is just as significant as Sarah's father issues.

>>Where is Chuck's Father?<<

He left because he wanted to protect Chuck, per last year's finale. Given that Bakula's a little busy right now we can't have Chuck's dad every week, but he's certainly not erased from the show.

>> What ever became of Harry Tang's transfer? (Wouldn't he be a great ...... oh wait. I don't get paid to write this show.)<<

I don't care what happened to Harry Tang's transfer, but CS Lee has another job, just like Bakula so even if I did care, going to the trouble of working around the schedule of a guy who left in season one and isn't especially important to the series seems like a waste of time.

gwindor said...

And Chuck vs. The Angel of Death was a pretty Casey-centric episode.

Katrine said...

I still hate what happened on Monday and NOT because I want ChuckandSaraTogetherNowOMG.

I agree that they can't be together now. They definitely SHOULDN'T be together now. But that doesn't mean they should be dating other people either. Why I hate what happened on Monday is that by putting Chuck with Hannah, they single-handedly not only threw out a bunch of previous character development, but also missed out on a chance to do something MUCH more interesting.

First off, Chuck with Hannah now makes no story-sense and just feels STUPID. By having Sarah ask Chuck to run away with her, and by having Chuck... well, be Chuck (AND have that scene of professing undying love to her in the vault), the show has effectively tipped its hat and admitted that yes, Chuck/Sarah is where this show is going and they're not really coy about it. So we all know Chuck is eventually going to wind up with Sarah.

Now, even though the characters are both in love with each other, and as of the show's third episode both KNEW they were in love with each other, it makes sense that Sara would not "take Chuck back" just like that. He has effectively left her at the altar. He may have had his reasons, but however he may paint it about her "inspiring" him to be a greater man and all that, the point remains that given a choice between life with Sarah and the spy life, Chuck chose being a spy over Sarah.

He obviously hoped things would work out so he could have both, but when it came down to it, he still chose being a spy over Sarah.

It may not have been a choice that Sarah should have ever asked him to make--the choice between making something of himself and a life on the run with her--but she did, and once again, he chose being a spy over Sarah.

It was a pretty ultimate rejection.

So I can see Sarah, hurt, rejected, trying to pick up the pieces, trying to distance and distract herself by getting involved in another romance. Sarah and Shaw I can see, but NOT the way it happened. Even if Sarah's on the rebound, even if she wants to distance herself from Chuck, she just got her heart stamped on by being precisely what she wasn't before--emotionally open, trusting, letting someone in. I don't see her warming up to Shaw quickly after that. I see her possibly tentatively starting something up with Shaw, but keeping her heart guarded--or else starting something purely physical with him while remaining ice cold. But it has to be one or the other--slow and tentative and obviously as a way of forgetting about Chuck if it's to be any sort of "romance"--or fast and quick but totally unemotional. What we got was neither, but a bizarre "yes I was just terribly burned and in general it usually takes me forever to let people in, but let's be boyfriend-girlfriend."

As for Chuck... oh geeze, where to start. First of all, the season opened with him spending months on the couch in a stupor moping over Sarah. It then went on to him making a grand proclamation of love to her. He loves Sarah, he messed up, he would do anything to get her back... oh no wait, he's gonna take a detour to boff this other chick? WHAT? Chuck knows Sarah was the most important thing in his life, that she offered everything to him and he rejected her, that now she's hurt, that he messed up, and that she still loves him. What he should be doing is trying to regain her trust enough to win her back, NOT starting up flirtations with coworkers. It simply doesn't MAKE SENSE that after everything that happened, and after everything that's come out in the open, and KNOWING where they stand, Chuck would just give up on Sarah. Not only does it not make sense, but if he can so quickly shift gears, it makes his love seem worthless, and thus totally devalues the last 2 seasons.

Katrine said...

Con't:

That's one of the things that's wrong with Chuck and Hannah. Second thing: it's a dead end story wise. Or rather, worse than a dead end--a retread. We KNOW he's not going to end up with Hannah long term. Not only that, but we've BEEN over this before. So it feels absolutely entirely POINTLESS, and a delay just for the sake of delay and exactly the kind of thing "Chuck" has been so good at avoiding before.

At least before when he dated other women, he
a) didn't think he had a chance with Sarah and was trying to see if he could focus on someone else
b) was figuring out if he could still hang on to having a "normal" outside personal life
c) was attaining closure with a past girlfriend who had meant a lot to him.

All those storylines served to develop Chuck's character and the show in a way that went beyond keeping him and Sarah apart. But all those storylines are over, and the Hannah one brings nothing new to the table. She's not someone who has previously been important to him, and we already know that a) he can't forget Sarah, b) no, he can't have a "normal life," plus c) he doesn't even WANT a "normal life" anymore since he chose the spy life and nowadays his Chuck Bartowsky existence doesn't feel like his "real life" anyway.

So Hannah is nothing but a macguffin roadblock and bad writing.

Finally, the last reason--I LOVED how the previous episode showed us the darker ramifications of Chuck, indeed, choosing the "spy life over Sarah." How it has an impact far beyond him leaving her at the train station. How by choosing to be a spy, he really is choosing it over his previous relationships, and how choosing the "spy life" means he has to sacrifice his previous existence to it. How his choice means that, whether he realizes it or not, choosing to be a spy means giving up on the very qualities that Sarah fell in love with him for. How choosing to be a spy, in every sense of the word, really does make a future for him and Sarah impossible. How his choice now reverberates to cut off further choices from him.

I would have wanted an exploration of THAT. A focus on the Chuck/Sarah relationship, but not in terms of being lovey-dovey, but exploring how they--as Alan said--are changing so much that they're passing by each other. I would have wanted to see them both deal with it, I would have wanted to see what happens when Chuck realizes this, etc etc.

But no--THAT far more interesting ground for exploration was passed up in favor of the two of them playing out-of-character footsie with other people.

Baylink said...

> They "freak out" because Chuck as a character has been ruined now. "I loooove you -ooh, look at that hottie". Now he is just a horny superficial jerk.

Sure. Cause he fell for Hannah during an 8 hour plane ride, *while he was not involved with Sarah*. Chuck was *single* when he went on that flight, for those of us who don't keep a concordance in our heads (like me :-}).

Now, that said, and while I don't agree with the commenters who think the writing has *generally* gone in the toilet...

I declare I do believe that we are in fact not seeing the degree of Strong Woman that we saw as a matter of course in earlier episodes, and while an argument could be made that the change is motivated, an equally defensible argument can be made that the whole *point* of strong women is that you notice it more *when* they are put-upon in whatever way.

So, given that, I have to throw in with Anonymous, Anonymous, and Anonymous when they say that it really is missing, and we miss it. They don't all have to be strong all the time. But when they're *all* wimping out at the same time, it grates a bit.

Hopefully, we get at least a scene to balance Hannah's "You saved my life", which was a bit weak, even if she's just woken up from anoxia...

Baylink said...

And, Katrine?

>He obviously hoped things would work out so he could have both, but when it came down to it, he still chose being a spy over Sarah.

Not really.

My perception of it is that he realized that a) it was something he had to do, and b) *once he was a spy*, and not Sarah's asset, *then he could* be in a real relationship with her.

So it was an affirmative move, in my view.

forat: the French Borat.

Anonymous said...

A big thank-you to Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak to actually take the time and address an issue like that.

Personally I liked "vs. the Mask" better than "vs. the Nacho Sampler" - and even though there are some plotholes I have been thoroughly enjoying the ride so far.

I'm most definitely going to continue watching.

Katrine said...

Baylink: no one's saying Chuck CHEATED on Sarah. It doesn't matter whether he was single or not. When you're in love with someone, even a 12-hr plane ride usually won't make you forget the woman you love and are desperately trying to get back.

And it's not like Chuck thinks there is no chance for anything else with Sarah again ever. He knows she still has feelings for him but was hurt badly enough that she can't just let him in again and he needs to rebuild trust.

But no, now he decided to forget all that and play kissy face with Hannah? Really? It DOES seem like a case of "I love you I love you I'll always love you--ohhh, another hottie!"

Katrine said...

My perception of it is that he realized that a) it was something he had to do, and b) *once he was a spy*, and not Sarah's asset, *then he could* be in a real relationship with her.


That's exactly what I mean by saying he hoped he could have both--eventually. But--Sarah offered to be in a relationship NOW, and he rejected that. And he seemed to know that by saying no, he was rejecting her and cutting things off between them and he still went ahead with it. That's what I mean by saying he chose being a spy over Sarah. He KNEW that leaving Sarah at the station meant a break up (he admitted as much in the 1st episode of the season), and he left anyway.

Like I also said, I don't think this was a choice that Sarah should have asked him to make. But she did, and when it came down to it, he chose a future as a spy over guaranteed life with her.

Anonymous said...

Hannah is angry at Chuck because she's convinced he's hung up on his ex-girlfriend. Nothing happens to resolve that conflict, yet there she is making out with him in the AV room.

That's "Chuck" in a nutshell. All the major conflicts are hand-waved away in this shallow, lazy manner. And then press secretary Sepinwall denies the obvious.

Baylink said...

> When you're in love with someone, even a 12-hr plane ride usually won't make you forget the woman you love and are desperately trying to get back.

Ah. You're a monoamorist. Got it. My condolences. :-)

> I don't think this was a choice that Sarah should have asked him to make. But she did, and when it came down to it, he chose a future as a spy over guaranteed life with her.

You're right: she shouldn't, and *that* was the OOC move that screwed up the storyline. Given that, though, I don't see any other way he could have played it: he's grown enough to realize that on-the-run, particularly from the CIA, is no way to live... and he *also* realizes that the Sarah he'd get would *not* be the one he fell in love with.

IMHO. :-)

Anonymous said...

Alan, you are a true hero, and the show is still fine.

Anonymous said...

Based on the last 7 episodes esp. epsiode 3.07, I closed the book on chuck. It just not worth watching anymore. There are no maturity in the story line. More like teenager romantic story. Chuck better forget sarah. Sarah not worth waiting for.

GMSoRP said...

I'd like to start with a grand proclamation of my love for Katrine. You've encapsulated my feelings on the Chuck-Sarah storyline perfectly.


You're right: she shouldn't, and *that* was the OOC move that screwed up the storyline.

Out of character for Sarah "Take off your watch...we have to run" Walker? You're not serious.

Col Bat Guano said...

Wow. It seems like Twop decided to show up on Alan's blog.

Comment of the thread so far. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"How is that gutless?"

My opinion. I'm supposed to believe that nosey Jeffster can tell what MP3s you download, but no one looked into the "transfer" of the second power-hungry man in management at the Buy More? These are the conspiracy guys right? To me, these transfers are way more suspect than blaming it on random theft/street violence/robbery after-hours. How many of those go unsolved?

Would that have alerted the bad guys? Maybe, but don't their circular phones have GPS anyway? What, no one knows the last location of all of these dead bad guys is in and around the Buy More? Or that they were there at all?

And the idea that Buy More is unsafe enough to have a dark side that everyone knows about might be a nice touch to the show for me. A touch that made it harder to conduct spy operations out of that place; and therefore more tricky for Chuck et. all.

"I respect the opinion of those who don't like the slapstick and the heavy handed 80s references, but I'm curious as to why that's an issue for you now when, if I'm reading your post correctly, it was something you enjoyed in the past. The video game episode last year was hardly subtle. Episodes that include backroom Thunderdome brawls aren't subtle. Buying a Delorean and then the General Lee? Well, that's just weird. And all in seasons one and two. "

I love most everything about the 80's. I don't love it in lieu of new plot points. I know they have to reach a large audience, but I kind of feel Chuck is trying too hard on those things as opposed to plot. If viewers wanted to watch an 80's-focused show about a hero out of place with his accidental powers, The Greatest American Hero is on Hulu. We watch Chuck because we like more than the premise or a time period. We like the characters.

"I too would love for there to be more Casey and I imagine that there will be since we're overdue, but if you're going to use the Cougar episode as an argument that it's not fair that Casey hasn't had the attention Sarah gets then you should go back to an episode guide and see that we got a nice Casey-centric episode just four or five episodes *prior* to the Sarah episode. We've gone into Casey's past before and I'm going to assume we'll do so again. Casey's lost love is just as significant as Sarah's father issues. "

True, but to me it seems poor Casey's kind of been relegated to a fourth wheel this year. I kind of keep waiting for him to be front and center. I know the show's called Chuck. I just wanted to see more Casey too.

"going to the trouble of working around the schedule of a guy who left in season one and isn't especially important to the series seems like a waste of time."

Not once did I say these characters ought to appear on screen. But it's odd to me that after being reunited with a dad she hadn't seen in years Ellie isn't wanting to spend time with her dad or asking about him.

Harry Tang for me is the same thing. I keep waiting for someone to ask Morgan when he's transferring like the other former assistant managers.

Like I said before, I'm sticking with Chuck because I like the characters. It took me years and an under-used Alfre Woodard on Desperate Housewives before I gave up, and that show was WAAAAAY worse than Chuck has ever been.

... Mimi

Manton said...

This: There [is] no maturity in the story line. More like teenager romantic story. -from Anonymous Poster #48

This is a light-hearted show that is rather trapped in arrested development (the Buy More alone never matured past 16...and maybe that's being too generous), so I'm not sure how much complexity you should expect. But Sarah and Chuck's relationship should be seen through a high school lens. To the analogy!

Chuck is the geek who helps the pretty girl in math class during study hall. He fawns for her, she just needs math homework, and of course she loves the jocks. Just as Chuck starts to give her rides home and maybe goes to a party or two at her house (SO CLOSE TO DRUNKENLY HOOKING UP!!), he decides the best way to really win her over is to become what she seemingly always wants: the jock.

So, Chuck starts to become a jock in order to get Sarah's attention (yes, it's dumb, we men do these things). Sarah rejects him, cause she isn't looking for that (again, males, dumb) and starts to go after the new QB who just moved into town, as if to say "you think I want a jock? Then I'm getting the BEST!"

In retaliation, Chuck's confused as to why Sarah isn't eating this all up and, as an act of defiance, starts hanging out with the cheerleaders, and dates one of them. They'll both have their fun, but would rather be with the other.

Then prom comes and something really huge happens, and Sarah is let down by Shaw in what will probably be a d-bag move, Chuck can't help himself and his feelings, gets rid of Hannah, and helps out Sarah. They then tell each other "zomg i didnt no!!!!" and kiss while the crowd applauds.

So, now we're just waiting for The Ring to send out Prom invitations.

If you want a specific example, think Landry/Tyra, or She's All That (you can stop cringing now). And after referencing Freddy Prinze Jr's masterwork, it's time to take a shower.

Veritas said...

What does "Twop" mean?
As in, "It looks like Twop showed up on the thread"...

amysusanne said...

re: Emmitt's death. They hated him. If the boss that made work hell were to be transferred, would you ask questions? I'd take a long lunch and celebrate. Jeffster's nosiness that you bring up would be one of the main reasons to keep the death a secret. The CIA covered up the murder. Emmitt is gone, forever. If anyone was told that he was murdered they might look into it and given that there would be no police report and no police investigation *that* is when red flags would be raised. They have a job to do, but they also have to protect the civilians that exist around their covers. I doubt Casey and Sarah care much about whether or not random bad guys know that other random bad (or good) guys were killed in Burbank, they just care about keeping their cover and keeping the people at the Buy More alive and safe while they do their jobs.

Veritas said...

has anyone calculated the probability of Shaw and Hannah being covert Ring agents?

I'm pretty baffled by this last episode; I feel like the explanation for the strange ways of the characters has to be that something frightening is in the works.

So, if you had to vote for Shaw turning out to be a bad guy in one way or another, would you say it will happen by:

A.) He's bad in the sense that he's a deceptive killer, using Sarah to allow Chuck to get Close to Hannah perhaps?

B.) He'll turn out to just be a jerk who hurts her in the emotional sense... kind of like a teen drama. Perhaps Sarah Falls for him, and then finds out he's lied about something. The point is, option B means he's NOT a deceptive agent for the ring, but something less frightening and harmful.

Thanks all.

Baylink said...

@Veritas: TWOP - Television With Out Pity; they, and their forum inhabitants are the secret cabal that actually controls television -- and don't let them hear you say any different. :-)

Zach, yes that is my real name. said...

I love how this blog is the home of deeply interesting, incisive commentary and thoughtful response to complex TV writing: all welcome, encouraged, good fellowship kind of stuff.

How all kinds of insightful perspectives are always welcome.

Unless and until folks get nervous about some conflict. Then all of a sudden its all about Ooh Poor Showrunners! / Alan, We Feel So Bad for You because all those dirty whiners are mobbing you!

Please. Alan has either some personal or fiduciary tie to Chuck that has so altered his perception that his comments bear no resemblance to the criticisms he has (accurately) leveled at every other damned show he's blogged on.

Alan's human. Or corrupt, I spose but human seems more likely. In any case, leaping to his defense is unnecessary. Human fallibility is almost always short lived and Alan has a whole lot of integrity to fall back to.

And defending Schwarz and Fedak? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAZE! Were talking about a couple of multizillionare hollywood power brokers, people. Not your buddies. Not *your team*. Hardly in need of your "astonished" "astounded" "gobsmacked" protestations of wounded fealty. They dont CARE about you, folks. Hardly need your outpouring of authority-kissing affection. Really, they're fine.

I read the evidence this way: Somebody, or some somebodies, up the network food chain took the Subway action completely the wrong way, and saw $$$$ signs. The Eye of Mordor was attracted to the show, if you like. This person or persons has stuck his or her nether parts deeply into the process, is burying the writers and probably showrunners in producers notes or some such crap.

Unless they fired half their writing staff, you dont get this kind of character abandonment in a season 3 without some serious power p*ssing going on from above.

Its sad but I believe we accidentally all together killed Chuck with Subway kindness. Some of us are old enough to remember what outpourings of fan love did to Northern Exposure.. the Eye of Mordor took that one too.

Own your grief, comfort one another, move on to a new home. White Collar or Burn Notice, somewhere they still have never travelled. This is the death of TV, it happens all the time.

For my part, they **killed** Ellie this episode. Murdered that super competent, super grounded, SO interesting, so clear eyed but sweet family member and replaced her with a hideously disfigured cartoon. I cant forgive that. Im out.

Karen said...

OK, so the people who are depressed and upset and angry say that it's NOT because they're Shippers (which is how this started out: everyone yelling about how wrong the Sarah/Shaw and Chuck/Hannah hookups were), but because of the writing. And when people say, "Geez, it was just one episode," they say the writing has sucked all season long.

WV: "temper." THAT is hilarious.
Well, where have you been all season long? I read Alan's blog religiously, and I haven't heard people consumed with outrage over the writing all season-long.

Also? Simply stating "the writing has sucked all season" isn't helpful. This is not an absolute fact; it's your opinion. I feel that I'm fairly sensitive to the quality of writing, and I haven't seen this decline you all are clamoring about.

Yes, I think that Sarah's acquiescence to Shaw's neckrub was a little surprising, given her vehement objections to his attentions earlier (and, yeah, the canoodling at the museum? WAY unprofessional, Shaw!), but we were also shown her reaction to seeing Shaw got coffee for Casey, her observation of his dedication to his work, and the fact that he noticed things like her stirrer-chewing and coffee preferences being, perhaps, somewhat sympathetic. In my opinion (a great phrase, that more people should use), they showed Sarah changing her opinion about Shaw. But it's not like she ended up clasped in his embrace at the end. His holding her at the museum was more a consequence of his holding her up when she had almost died. Nothing seemed out of character to me at all.

As for Chuck and Hannah--geez, I've never seen a guy start making out with a beautiful woman who threw herself at him. Yeah, that's just CRAZY.

amysusanne said...

Wait...what did Ellie do? Other than the want the exact same thing for her brother that she's been wanting since the very first episode when she threw him a birthday party?

Beyond that, the "you must be on the payroll" comments that have been making the rounds, whether here or on twitter or on Linda's NPR blog are hilarious. Nobody's allowed to like what they like without having some ulterior motive (ALAN'S THE CHUCK PRESS SECRETARY!!!!) if it happens to go against what *you* like. If someone agrees with you they are good, if they don't then they're clearly on the take.

And to give this one way more time than it actually deserves...

"Unless and until folks get nervous about some conflict. Then all of a sudden its all about Ooh Poor Showrunners! / Alan, We Feel So Bad for You because all those dirty whiners are mobbing you!"

What the hell are you talking about? This place is generally a nice, calm place where people talk about the show they have just watched with other, generally like minded (though definitely not always) folks who also happened to have just watched the same show. What happened Monday night was a shitstorm of crazy that was legitimately unexpected and definitely unprecedented for this blog. The internet exploded and landed here and a twister of "OMGTHEYKILLEDMYSHOW" swirled around the various "if you want to know just how wrong you are in your opinion then you should read the nbc boards where all the real fans are" were flung about. So, yeah...I do feel bad for Alan for having to deal with that, especially when it was very clear that he thought this was just your average, adequate episode. I did too. Nothing special, nothing controversial, just an episode taking us into the short break. And then all hell broke loose and I'm still not sure what happened.

Zach, yes that is my real name. said...

What the hell are you talking about? This place is generally a nice, calm place ..Monday night was a shitstorm of crazy that was legitimately unexpected and definitely unprecedented for this blog. The internet exploded and landed here..

Yes that is exactly what the hell I am talking about. The outside world intruded and our usual commenters have panicked. Like yourself. OMGTHEYARETRACKINGMUDONTHECARPET ANDEXPRESSINGEMOTION!!

Too funny. Well, except I was actually kind of invested in pursuing the topic, of the dissolution of the show we knew as Chuck.

Conflict happens. People get involved, sometimes they say impolite things. We all were Im sure more than happy to take these same folks' Subway dollars to save the show.. what, so long as they dont participate in this blog?

What the hell I am talking about is that all actual criticism of Chuck has been abandoned, set off limits, transformed into a Sign of the Evil Eye or something -- in favor of what, name calling? pledges of unswerving alliegiance? Lots and lots of clutched pearls. Its funny, in a grotesque way.

This is a TV CRITICS BLOG. We come here to CRITICIZE. And occasionally vent, sometimes well sometimes poorly. Sometimes even in great numbers from the outside world. Hey, you did remember that Alan is a NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST WITH A LINK TO THIS BLOG, right?

If anyone's personal affront at The Madding RiffRaff gets in the way of the common act of evaluating the TV under discussion, by all means do go do something else fun for a while.

Katrine said...

Manton: your analogy of Chuck and Sarah's relationship, while cute, only works if after giving her rides to her house AND after kissing once in the driveway, the pretty girl asked the geek to go to the prom with her and he turned her down and said he needs the time to focus on trying out for the football team instead. The pretty girl was left without a date to the prom and cried her eyes out and didn't even go, and then agreed to a date with the new transfer quarterback while the geek started hooking up with a cheerleader.

Annnd there you see where the problem lies.

Ryan said...

I just can't fathom how in interviews Schwartz hasn't been called out about his recycled plots. Maybe a redhead for Chuck and a cop for Sarah next season if there is one.

Anonymous said...

I love the fact that the characters are evolving -- that used to be the number one annoyance of other shows I watched. It got boring. Not with "Chuck," and that's a good thing. Second, I'm totally on board with Chuck's angst over his relationships, his job, his team, his abilities. I think the chemistry between the three leads is great and even though we're in year 3 and the writers could get lazy, those relationships keep changing. I don't advocate boycotting unless you're done, and if you've seen the junk that passes for TV these days, "Chuck" is heads and shoulders above the competition. Speaking as a former "House" fan, I know whereof I speak. Third, isn't anticipation and angst part of the fun? It is for me -- and last season's finale had me rolling on the carpet -- "you rang?" says Casey, and I just about died laughing right there. Give the show a chance, and have a little faith.

amysusanne said...

>>Yes that is exactly what the hell I am talking about. The outside world intruded and our usual commenters have panicked. Like yourself. OMGTHEYARETRACKINGMUDONTHECARPET ANDEXPRESSINGEMOTION!!<<

Not really, but okay.

Based on the above, I'll ask again: what are you talking about? I mean, is that your point? Because there's a difference between panicking and asking WTF is going on when a show that generally gets a third of that action over several days has a conversation explosion in just a couple of hours that rivals the usual "Mad Men" thread.

Karen did a better job of summing up why the crazy is so puzzling than I ever will because I'm mostly baffled by the anger and flouncing and gnashing of teeth.

>>What the hell I am talking about is that all actual criticism of Chuck has been abandoned, set off limits<<

No it hasn't, but okay. I've never really noticed anyone on this blog post that they outright hate something that has happened on "Chuck" or that they think an episode is terrible, but there's always been a nice mix of opinions on the show here and every episode isn't received by every poster in the same way. Plenty of people were meh on this one. I thought it was average, adequate, nothing special, but nothing offensive. Organizing boycotts and telling the people who post here that they're opinions mean nothing and if they want the real scoop on how people feel/what they *should* be feeling they should go visit another board is, at best weird, at worst really obnoxious. If the NBC people know better than the folks here then by all means, stay over there.

Still wondering how Ellie's character was totally assassinated...

Anonymous said...

I'm sick & tired of any & every criticism of this show derided as the rantings of "crazy shippers." I take offense mostly because I have been very critical of this show when I felt it was warranted, and I am MOST DEFINITELY NOT a shipper; if anything, I am an anti-shipper--I think it's weak & formulaic in the first place to NECESSARILY have the 2 primary leads romantically connected. There, I said it.

Dismissing complaints about the show by branding the messengers is weaker than the writing from this episode. It's also a convenient way to not address the awful inconsistencies we watched, especially during the last quarter of this ep.

Krista said...

Zach,

I think people can criticize a show, a review of a show, a post about a show, etc. and still maintain a civil and respectful tone. I love reading the Sepinwall Blog comments because they are often insightful and always (until now) civil.

It is somewhat depressing to read a blog that gets nasty. If I wanted to do that (and sometimes I do) I go elsewhere.

I cannot control this change in tone, but I can express my displeasure in its occurrence.

Craig Ranapia said...

Anonymous@3:06 PM:

I know Alan has already addressed this waaaay up thread, but "any & every criticism of this show derided as the rantings of 'crazy shippers.'"? Redlining the hyperbole and over-broad generalisations a bit, isn't it?

I can only speak for myself, but I read Josh Schwartz saying loud and clear that "shipper" is a term he finds distasteful and won't apply to anyone, period. Nor have I found any evidence that Alan uses the term in snide put-downs of people who have the gall to disagree with him.

Veritas said...

@amysussane:

Yes, many characters have been destroyed because of crass, phony writing. The characters have become automatons with the sole purpose of moving the plot towards a realm that is incongruent with the former show.

Ellie, Morgan, Jefster, Awesome, Casey, Sarah, CHUCK... they are all drastically different and unappealing.

Now, granted the show has to evolve. But the cast members were taken out of their element, and obstructed from having what could have been a more natural evolution in regards to their relationships to Chuck. How did this happen?
I agree with the guy ZachYesThatIsMyRealName, when he says some death gripping tentacles from above has been sucking the life from the show... That's all there is to it. The show is no longer fun and lovable because the writers are denied their original creative impulses and reason. Every single character is just bazaar right now; like they have been mind-controlled by general Beckman's/NBC's staff.


This is definitely the last time I watch a TV show; the artistic process is too corrupt and unnatural. My TV is likely going into a goddamn river.

Goddamn phony Chuck fans!

Karen said...

Yes, many characters have been destroyed because of crass, phony writing. The characters have become automatons with the sole purpose of moving the plot towards a realm that is incongruent with the former show.

Ellie, Morgan, Jefster, Awesome, Casey, Sarah, CHUCK... they are all drastically different and unappealing.


But do you get that that is only your opinion? It may be an opinion shared by many others, but it is not a universal truth.

I, for example, disagree with you. It doesn't make either of us right. But it does emphasize that we are talking opinions.

If everyone would just keep in mind, as Alan put it, "different strokes for different folks," then I think this whole three-day tempest would be a lot more civil--and, dare I say it, even productive.

But no one, on either side of the debate, appreciates being told: "NO! You're WRONG! How can you not SEE how WRONG you are!"

And that's the note that a lot of the comments--again, on both sides of the debate--have sounded, and I think this is what has many of us stunned. Because that's just not a tone of discourse that Alan has hosted before.

Veritas said...

@ Karen (likely a shill)

Karen, you don't fool me with your sophistry. It is not an opinion. It is an objective truth that the characters are grossly different. It deals with how they fit into the scheme of the episodes. The Buymore and the "real" Chuck has become ancillary to the the development of Chuck as a spy and the Romantic contrivances of late.
It is objectively true that when a character's element is subverted in importance, that that character no longer is as integral to the integrity of the show's originality and creative processes.

You are a sophist and a shill likely and NO fan of "Chuck". So buzz off sister, and go earn your MBA or marketing MA from Columbia already; you care not for truth, beauty, nor creativity.
And Uh oh, surely the press secretary will drop this comment down the memory hole.

P.S.
My computer is going into the river's depth with the TV, and that's where my memory of all of you and this experience will go.

Veritas said...

and I should clarify:
It is objectively true, therefore, that the characters are less appealing than formerly-- if one truly liked them before -- and if they are truly totally different (which I've showed is objectively true).

So, we must then just be liking different TV shows (Season 1 and some of 2, versus season 3)...
In that case, enjoy your new series.
And I'm really sorry I told you to buzz off; that was rude. I'll buzz off now.

Take care.

amysusanne said...

>>@ Karen (likely a shill)<<

Is this some kind of vast conspiracy theorist performance art? Everyone that disagrees with you isn't working for the man.

Taking Sarah and Chuck off the table (because the "character issues" that people have with them lean in another direction and those people's issues seem to involve only those two characters for the most part): what's your problem with Ellie, Jeffster, Morgan or Awesome? What is different this season about any of those characters that had made them unappealing and shadows of their former selves?

Zach, yes that is my real name. said...

But do you get that that is only your opinion? It may be an opinion shared by many others, but it is not a universal truth.

I, for example, disagree with you. It doesn't make either of us right. But it does emphasize that we are talking opinions.

If everyone would just keep in mind, as Alan put it, "different strokes for different folks," then I think this whole three-day tempest would be a lot more civil--and, dare I say it, even productive.



I can empathize with a call for everyone to settle down and be friendly. I like friendly talk too.

Friendly is not the same as productive. Stepford blogs are friendly, as far as they go.

Many posters upthread have, for instance, identified wildly disjointed actions and reactions assigned to characters we all have affection for; also stupidly inconsistent attitudes, totally unecessary undermining of personality, insight, intelligence, consistency, integrity, all of the things that make up an interesting character. New characters dropped in and plot points assigned that are directionless, artificial, internally implausible from the standpoint of the people we have been shown these characters to be. For two years.

I think the folks here who try to articulate the “RIP Chuck” position here would not so much take issue whether you agree or disagree about the meaning of sloppy writing when it appears in a series.

Where people will get heated, is when an unbroken and increasing surfeit of this sloppy writing is suddenly ***not a problem***. When, for example, no way would “Heroes” for instance get cut the same kind of slack for the same disintegration. In fact, it wasn’t.

And for Alan -- the owner, moderator, perpetrator ,and permanent denizen of this fine blog -- to just shake off the analyses of his commenters, commiserating on the death of a beloved series as “different strokes for different folks” – is pretty outrageous.

We all come here to intelligently discuss ups and downs. Talk about what works and what doesn’t. To wonder aloud what on earth “X” director/ showrunner/writers are thinking.

To then be dismissed so completely out of hand for trying to articulate the crushing disappointment we feel at the wheels coming off of Chuck-- well, that right there is what is still continuing this thread 180 comments later.

Veritas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Sepinwall said...

To then be dismissed so completely out of hand for trying to articulate the crushing disappointment we feel at the wheels coming off of Chuck-- well, that right there is what is still continuing this thread 180 comments later.

Oh, good lord, Zach. I am not dismissing anyone's opinion. I have never had a hard time swimming against the current of my readers' tastes, or in engaging in a debate when we disagree. (Check out everyone piling on me for last season's penultimate "Mad Men," for instance.)

You want to debate? Debate. The "different strokes" line just meant that the show's decline is not an objective fact that can be proved or disproved, because not everyone sees it that way, and because it's a matter of taste. And there are an awful lot of people over the past few days who have been acting as if the decline is absolute and inarguable, and becoming indignant at the mere suggestion that someone might disagree with them.

The tone of the last few days has been really upsetting, not because I can't deal with people disagreeing with me, or complaining about one of my favorite shows, but because I've worked very long and hard to make this blog one of the few places on the Internet where people can discuss TV in a way that's friendly and rational and low-key, even when there are debates about it. And for the last 48 hours, a lot of people - on both sides of this particular issue, I should point out - have come in here and acted like bullies and assholes.

I've deliberately allowed people to comment without having to create an ID of some kind because it made it easier for people to comment, and because everyone had shown that they were capable of following the rules and playing nice with others. This experience has led me to wonder if I should rethink how the commenting works.

Because for this atmosphere to continue is simply unacceptable, regardless of anyone's opinion of "Chuck" or any other show.

Craig Ranapia said...

And for the last 48 hours, a lot of people - on both sides of this particular issue, I should point out - have come in here and acted like bullies and assholes.

Alan: I'd like to apologise if I've said anything to increase the toxicity. I know when I get passionate about things my manners can the first to go, but I really do appreciate the seriously smart and articulate folks who've even changed my mind. Well, shifted it a bit. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hadn't seen there was all the brouhaha (I tend to post and run here), but I enjoyed this interview nonetheless.

I just think poor Casey needs a good love interest. I'm trying to think if I've ever seen Adam Baldwin get any action, other than some gold-hearted whores on "Firefly"... That could be all sorts of fun seeing Chuck and Sarah react to a Casey in love.

marenamoo said...

Love Chuck, Love the new season. You are absolutely right everyone is different because they have all evolved. Chuck is growing from a kicked out of college slacker into gungho hero. Ellie and Awesome have grown from hangout with the brother lovers into an old married couple. Morgan has grown into an assistant manger after having his dream job fall apart and has become distant from his best friend. Jeffster and the Buy More by contrast have not shown any growth contrasting them in a negative light.

I have seen enough shows where people never change - House fro instance - and after awhile I get tired of the cranky, manipulative doctor who never grows up and I stop watching. Chuck the show and character are going through growing pains and while sometimes difficult and not as fun to watch it is realistic and hopefully worth the journey that we are on.

So did Sarah seem horribly out of character when she went for Shaw - yes. Did it seem unrealistic Absolutely no. The guy she loves, that she goes way out on a limb for, turns her down and then falls for someone else. Sarah probably is just turning to someone less real - like Chuck - to someone colder because that is safe. And that seems like a choice that she would make.

Is it a comfortable happy choice - no but it seems human.

And Alan - you helped to save this show for us and now you are contacting the writers and going above and beyond to bring clarity and reason to this discussion and for all of that - you are very much appreciated! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I loved this show right up until the Chuck and Sarah relationship became a bigger MacGuffin than the Intersect.

dez said...

I just think poor Casey needs a good love interest.

He does have a good love interest--his weapons! What woman (that we've seen, anyway) can hold a candle to his guns? :-)

Andy Moe said...

Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak you guys rock this is the only show that could stop me from playing a video game.

David said...

Nice interview. Glad they took the time to answer questions. I can't wait to see how the rest of the season plays out.

Baylink said...

> The show is no longer fun and lovable

"to me."

There. Fixed that for ya.

Anyone here who *has made a living as a showrunner* is allowed to speak ex-cathedra.

Everyone else, please remember that you're *stating your opinions*, and that it really is ok for other people to dis agree with you.

I mean, Jesus, what is this? A religious argument?

And yeah, Alan, I agree: while I wouldn't like you to turnoff Name/URL, you're welcome to turn off Anonymous, IMHO.

Baylink said...

Wow; Veritas: I apologize. The irony there was so well down that I missed it, and didn't notice it until I read down past it again.

Nice.

Baylink said...

On re-re-read, no, Veritas was apparently serious, and I retract the apology. Alan, could you whack this comment and my one immediately above it, if you get the chance?

lablogna: mine has a first name...

Veritas said...

Hey, Thanks Josh and Chris.

This is the only show that can take me out of my nose picking, catatonic stupor.

And thank you McDonald's for giving us such nutritious, inexpensive treats.


And thank you Chuckie Cheese for providing children with meaningful hours of positive activities for their development.

Oh, and thank you Subway for Saving the show while feeding Big mike his chicken teriyaki sandwich.

Thank you, producers, for never insulting my intelligence and never too glaringly projecting your general disdain for humanity.

OK...I'm going back into my mindless stupor again; I look forward to guffawing, staring blank-faced and confusedly, and screaming for joy for reasons I don't understand anymore after the show returns in a few weeks.

Hopefully, in the future, we'll just have prison guards shoot us up with narcotics. I guess sometimes I confuse TV with free-thought and expression, and so I get too often reminded of my own crazy aspirations for freedom and creativity. So, I look forward to the day when the catatonic state of mind-drudgery is pure and untainted-- in other words, no interruptions by hot-shots with value-laden, idealistic projections, who think they have a right to move individuals on any other level than their bodily functions, and who think they can just follow these notions which are in accordance with their "individuality"...

Oh, yes, and I'll never have to act in revulsion, then, and I'll be fully content.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And now commenting on this post is done. Thanks for behaving like adults, those of you who did so.

This is why we can't have nice things.