Monday, November 17, 2008

Chuck

Well it's been awhile since I blogged. I switched it my "Bedtime List" which essentially meant that I was setting myself up to blog at 11:00 every night. Needless to say I often found that I didn't really have the energy to write at that point. So I was successful in that I wasted less time in the morning, but unsuccessful in that there were a lot of days when I didn't blog. So I'm still experimenting. Since I rarely actually take a lunch I'm thinking moving it to around then. Anyway enough excuses on to the main subject.

I have spoken of my fondness for "30 Rock" in past blogs. But apparently I'm the only one who likes it. It's my understanding that the ratings are not great. I'm hopeful that the recent popularity of Tina Fey and her Sarah Palin impersonation will help the show out. Anyway that's not the point of this post. I wondered if the critics felt the same way so I did a search on "The best show you're not watching", (something of a TV critic meme) expecting that a lot of critics would be talking about "30 Rock". But the most common result was for "Chuck". I'd already heard good things about it from a friend of mine so I decided to check it out.

I was not misled. It's quite good. For those unfamiliar with the premise, basically the series stars Chuck, a hapless member of the Nerd Herd at his local Buy More (a parody of Best Buy's Geek Squad). He's sent an e-mail from a friend of his which contains the only remaining copy of the combined secrets of the NSA and CIA. Through some kind of magic (i.e. don't look too deeply at this part) Chuck absorbs all the information and becomes a human computer. For reasons that are largely glossed over he continues to live a largely normal life but he ends up with one handler from the CIA (an attractive blonde) and one handler from the NSA (Adam Baldwin who played Jayne on Firefly).

So the show works on a number of levels:

First, there's the juxtaposition of the normal drudgery of being in the Nerd Herd at the Buy More, with the high danger of hanging out with spies. It's sort of the same feel that Buffy had, pretending to care about what everyone else thinks is important, when it's actually meaningless when contrasted with the truly important stuff going on behind the scenes.

Second, there's this who back story involving Chuck getting kicked out of Stanford by the very friend who sent him all the information. So you get another layer of Chuck wondering what might have been if he'd been able to stay at Stanford. He obviously (for good reason) thinks that he would be better than working at the Buy More as "Chief Nerd".

Third, with an attractive blonde as one of the handlers, whose cover is playing his girlfriend there's also considerable romantic tension. And of course exploring what part of their relationship is real and which is pretend.

Fourth, the Buy More plotlines get in some of the same workplace humor you find in "The Office" or even "Office Space".

Fifth, Chuck desperately wants to be able to trust his two handlers, but of course their undercover operatives who pretend for a living, kill when necessary and who's final loyalty is to the government.

There's even more to it than that, but I think five levels should be enough to make my point. In any case check it out. I'm pretty sure I'll be buying all the DVDs myself.

Maybe this will be the one show I love that won't be prematurely canceled, but probably not

7 Comments:

Blogger Fred said...

I'd probably try to watch it but I already tivo one show at that time and watch another (Terminator, Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother). Big Bang Theory is one of my current favorites as one of the few shows that make both Janet and I both laugh out loud on occasion. Terminator may have jumped the shark this season...we're still trying to decide so maybe we'll try it instead of that...but Summer Glau is just so yummy :-) We really need to get the Tivo that records two shows at once and then we could watch one show on the air antenna.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Ed said...

There's actually a very devoted following of a handful of guys at St. Albert's for "30 Rock." Don't know about Chuck, though.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Ross said...

Yeah I also really like the Big Bang Theory.

"He's one lab accident away from being a super-villain!"

But as far as Chuck goes I'll let you borrow the DVDs.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Don't jinx it. I like watching Chuck.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Good call, Valerie. We forgot about Ross' superhuman powers of cancellation and jinxation.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

BTW, here's an interesting D&D/religion cross-topic:

http://www.fatherdowd.net/blog/?p=990

3:00 PM  
Blogger Ross said...

Excellent link! Very cool he echoed many of the points I've made when anyone gave me the "D&D is evil" bit.

9:32 AM  

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