Wednesday, May 05, 2010

'Chuck's' Non-Role Models

One of the biggest fears about putting a "will they or won't they" couple together is that all of the build-up and investment prior to the hook-up will fade once it finally happens.  Viewers will get bored and no longer feel as invested in the characters and they're relationship.  One of the ways shows deflect this pitfall is to stir up controversy between the two characters.  That puts them back in a "will they or won't they" scenario, but this time it's "will they or won't they... get back together" (for an excellent reference, see Rachel and Ross from Friends).  This tactic has a short shelf life because after several break-up/make-ups, fans grow tired of the back and forth and once again lose interest.  We're only three episodes into Chuck and Sarah's hook-up, and yet, we seem to already be approaching such a crossroads.  Episode one: they hooked-up at the end, Episode two: they were happy, Episode three: the first signs of discord began to set in.  That was fast!  Conflict can be a good thing on TV shows, so I'm not ready to assume that Chuck has fallen into the usual trap.  In fact, I thought the way the older spy couple served as both an equal and an opposite to Chuck and Sarah's relationship was clever and certainly not lost of either of them.  But, I would be lying if I said that I'm not concerned about the future of Chuck and Sarah: The Couple and their spy careers.

I'm thinking that working as a spy for the CIA has to be a stressful job that takes its toll on relationships.  Now, imagine if both people in the relationship are spies for the CIA.  There's good and bad (obviously, you understand the other person's work and why there has to be secrets), but watching the person you love make out with someone else for the greater good has to be taxing.  Add in the high-stress situations (we've seen how well that works out for many couples on The Amazing Race) and the fear of the other person not making it out of a mission alive, and you get one crazy formula for a marriage.  Enter the Turners.  The life had certainly taken its toll on them.  But, Sarah and Chuck aren't the Turners.  For one thing, Chuck isn't like any spy in the CIA and that just might be the key that keeps these crazy kids together and happy in the long run.  And speaking of keys, I got Sarah's hesitation about moving in with Chuck.  She isn't used to stability or being able to trust someone completely, so the prospect of moving in (and after a relatively short time dating) had to be scary.  I was actually surprised that she changed her mind in the end.  Nice character growth.

You know, I didn't pay a lot of attention to the Ellie/Awesome scenes because I thought they were just throw-away.  Don't get me wrong, I was uber-happy that the show decided to cover their work with Doctors Without Borders because I was worried that we weren't going to see those two again until they landed back in Burbank.  But, I wasn't thinking about their story line connecting with Chuck's.  I know, I should have known better.  On the positive side, this meant that the reveal at the end with the other doctor being a member of the Ring took me by surprise!  I was caught off guard and I liked it!  I just hope that Awesome is going to be OK (and P.S. -- how great was it that the name the local people gave him loosely translated into him being awesome??  I guess he's awesome in any language!).

Chuck airs Monday nights on NBC.  If you missed this week's episode, you can watch it for free at

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