Wednesday, April 8, 2009

YAY: "CHUCK"

So here’s the deal.

I’m turning 30 in approximately 22 days. For the past two months, my parents have been after me to tell them what I want for this very special birthday. I mean, there are things that I actually want – like the Hannah handbag from Fossil and an iPhone and one of Landry Clark’s awesome “Keep Austin Weird” shirts – but the things I want most, they have absolutely no control over... A million dollars. A decent, good-looking man. A flourishing career. A pony. And a Chuck renewal.

One of my most embarrassing memories of my childhood is bursting into tears one Christmas when my grandparents got me a fake make-up kit. I had wanted real makeup because I was a big girl. (And clearly, all the other eight-year-olds at my elementary school were wearing it.) Instead, I got a plastic applicator with plastic eye shadow and I went to a corner where I thought they couldn’t find me and I cried. Eventually they did find me and my grandparents felt horrible about it, which ended up making me feel horrible about it for the next twenty years. Thinking back on it, (a) the fake-up kit was really kind of cute and (b) I am mortified at how ungrateful I seemed, but that plastic eye shadow broke my heart. I like to think that being of a certain age I am above such histrionics. But if I don’t get that Chuck renewal, all bets are off.

(Unfortunately, save for a few friends who work at the National Broadcasting Company, I don’t think anyone there gives a rat’s behind that their "Infronts" fall just five days after my golden birthday. But it’s worth a shot, yes?)

You guys, I am in complete love with this show. I love, like, everything about it. I literally look forward to Mondays because of it and that’s not an exaggeration. I get free lunch in our departmental staff meetings, I go to pub trivia with Allison and Meredith, and then I go home and watch Chuck. When I leave for work on Monday mornings, I actually lay my pajamas and my fuzzy pastel rainbow socks out so that I can quickly change my clothes before what Meredith and I affectionately refer to as “Chuckles time.” Keep in mind that said Chuckles time takes place at approximately 12 midnight P.S.T., given that my roommates and I participate in the afore-mentioned pub trivia. Basically, coming home from trivia is like getting up on Christmas morning when I was a kid – except it’s not a My Little Pony or Yamaha keyboard or a Sony Walkman (or plastic make-up, for that matter) under the tree. It’s approximately 43 minutes of pure, unadulterated television fun.

It should come as no surprise that I like the show. Among the ranks of my favorite television shows (past and present) are Alias and The Office (U.S.). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I might be interested in a hybrid of the two. But it didn’t start off that way. When the show premiered in 2007, I recall seeing bus ads and rolling my eyes. I had absolutely no interest in getting involved with another spy show and, really, how dare they even try to top the awesomeness that was Alias?? Then something happened, and by “something” I mean the 2008 Summer Olympics. Or, more specifically, Michael Phelps. Or, if you want to get even more specific, Michael Phelps’ body. (Shut up.) But during the Olympics, NBC was running some absolutely adorable ads for the show. I managed to hunt down my two favorites on YouTube.

To make the long story short, those ads led me to the Emmy screeners at work, which led me to Hulu, which led to me Netflixing the DVDs, which led to me buying the DVDs, which led to me being absolutely hooked by the time “Chuck vs. The First Date” aired last September, which led to me being a huge dork about the show, which led to me breaking my normal “television professional” persona to blog about it today.

So here I am in 2009, begging my one blog follower (I’m going to just call you Mel), to give the show a try. If I had that million dollars, I’d totally buy the DVDs for you and send you a full season subscription on iTunes, but I don’t. So, you’ll just have to trust me when I outline a few reasons why you should watch (in no particular order):

Chuck. And Sarah and Casey and Ellie and Awesome and…: One of the things I love more about television than film is that viewers get a longer period of time to get to know a character. Yes, Chuck is funny and yes, it’s a spy show, but my favorite parts are the smaller character moments. Season two has been amazing in that respect – hearing Chuck talk about why the often insufferable Morgan is his best friend, finding out just a little more about Sarah’s past in high school and with her father, and, in this most recent episode, watching Chuck learn the truth about his own dad. I’d elaborate on it, but I don’t want to spoil you because it’s a rather big plot point. I could go on and on about the characters – about how awesome Captain Awesome (aka Devon) is, or how hilarious Casey is with his Reagan worship, and how creepily endearing Jeff and Lester can be at times. I’m going to spare you, though.

Zachary Levi. And Yvonne Strahovski and Adam Baldwin and Sarah Lancaster and Ryan McPartlin and…: When I first started watching this show, the only person I knew by name was Sarah Lancaster. I really liked Sarah on What About Brian? (remember that show?) on ABC. Also, I worked as background on Dr. Vegas for a little bit, so I remember her from that, though the dark hair threw me off at first. But the rest of them? Nary a clue, but what a nice surprise. And again, it’s those character moments that allow the cast to really shine – Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and Chuck (Zac Levi) dealing with the reappearance of their father, Casey (Adam Baldwin) going to bat for Chuck in the season opener, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) reacting to her father disappearing from her life once again… And have I mentioned the guest appearances? Scott Bakula, Bruce Boxleitner, Morgan Fairchild, Chevy Chase, John Laroquette, and the list goes on.

Cake. And Frightened Rabbit and Bon Iver and Blitzen Trapper and Pop Levi and…: Alexandra Patsevas is a musical genius. Much like with the cast, I had never heard of more than half of the bands whose music appears on Chuck. You can bet I know of them now and that is thanks to the incredibly effective use of songs. There’s even a Live Journal community dedicated to the music used on the show! Need video evidence of the awesomeness? Frightened Rabbit’s “The Twist,” which I could not stop listening to the week after this aired. Other favorites include the use of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love” and “Blood Bank,” as well as “Keep Yourself Warm” (also by Frightened Rabbit), despite what was, ahem, going on in that scene.

That’s only three reasons to watch Chuck, but there are so many more. The main thing I want you to take away from this is that it’s a good show. It’s a really, really ridiculously good show. It’s funny and it’s heartfelt and it's romantic and, more recently, it’s friggin' intense.

So please check it out, especially if you’re a Nielsen viewer. If you don’t check it out and Nielsen calls, please lie through your teeth. If you could also tell them that you’re loaded and that you’re between the ages of 18 and 49, that would be awesome, too.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shut up now and return to my normal television professional persona.

Right after I go watch some more clips on YouTube…

"Chuck" airs on NBC on Monday nights at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST. Most of the second season is available for free viewing on Hulu. The first season is available for rent or purchase on DVD and the entire second season (thus far) is available for purchase on iTunes. Go forth and view.
ETA: Ms. 'Thleen has brought it to my attention that the first season is available for viewing on TheWb.com. While you're there, check out "Rockville, CA." It...rocks.

P.S. I have to give major props to Give Me My Remote for making it Chuck Week at their awesome site. Thanks, y'all!

4 comments:

Thleen said...

And season 1 is always playing at http://www.TheWB.com/shows/Chuck. Half season at a time. Hooray for shameful self-promotion!!

Midtown Mandy said...

Self-promote away, Thleen!

Liz said...

Yay, Chuck! This is a lovely post, and I agree with every word of it.

(Also, you may not be surprised to hear that my first thought on Mondays is always, always "MONDAY...Chuck day!" Your Christmas-morning analogy is spot on.)

Please please please don't cancel my show, NBC. Please. Please.

Rob said...

We've created a small movement to save Chuck. Please post this link and have everyone you know sign our petition, we're sending it to NBC on Friday via email and snail mail:

New Chuck form milestone: We have reached over 1540 signed petitions. http://tr.im/jXWA #savechuck Please tweet this on Twitter for us!