"Chuck" Chuck Versus the Marlin (TV Episode 2008) Poster

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Chuck Versus the Marlin is a wonderfully amusing supposed season finale of "Chuck"
tavm28 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Chuck finds a bug hidden in one of the Buy More appliances. He gives it to Casey who shares the find with Sarah as they share the info to their superiors on the computer screen. Devon arrives at the store to ask Chuck for approval of his sister Ellie's hand and hands him the ring for safekeeping for a couple of days. The next day, the store is stripped clean as boss Big Mike discovers when his marlin is missing. Turns out the agencies ordered all items removed when more bugs were discovered which blows Chuck's cover for an enemy station whose mole is someone inside the store...Perhaps not as hilarious as the previous episode of "Chuck" that aired earlier last Thursday but very funny nonetheless with a very exciting girl-fight between Sarah and the female enemy agent. Also loved Chuck's awkward attempts in trying to use the gun to unlock the freezer that Sarah was stuck in. Chuck's Buy More co-workers, especially Morgan, were probably a little annoying again though not by much but I wondered, where's Anna? Nice to see everything turn out well though Sarah's face at the end seems to tell me she now cares enough about Chuck that she hopes Chuck won't eventually have to relocated. Oh, and the show's promos with the cast being themselves, down to Yvonne Strahovsky's natural Australian accent, that aired throughout the night brought out their charms considerably. Hope that NBC's promise of "More Chuck...Coming Soon" is indeed fulfilled!
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Season 1: It is "quite" everything
bob the moo30 September 2009
When my girlfriend suggested we watch Chuck I had it in my head that each episode would be about 20 minutes long and it would be more comedy than anything else. You see, to me, it seemed kinda obvious that it was going to be an "ordinary (maybe inept but def unsuited) guy caught up in the spy world" type affair that would be comical, have a bit of adventure in it as well as a central dramatic plot that is enough to provide structure but not enough to make it a "serious" affair – you know what I mean because it is a plot that so many films and other things have done over many decades. So with Chuck I was open to the idea and not that bothered when I learnt that each episode was an hour long (or 40 minutes if you record and fast-forward the ads, which I do).

From the pilot it is obvious that money has been spent on it with the effects, stunts and amount of original music making it feel like it could easily have been a film. This is not maintained but it is not "cheap" as it settles in. I gave it a whole season to see what it does and what I was left with was a show that I cannot talk about without using the word "quite" lots of times. This is because it is overall "quite good" because it is "quite good" in almost all of the aspects. As a story it more or less does what you expect it to do. Chuck is able to solve problems despite being disliked by one of his handlers who has no faith in him, Chuck's family get put at risk by his undercover world, his normal job overlaps with his secret role and of course there is a "will they won't they" thing with Chuck and Sarah. It is all the sort of stuff you expect it to be doing and, to be fair, it is all quite good and works well enough to be distracting.

Likewise with the comedy element to it. I laughed once or twice each episode but not a lot more than that. It does maintain a fairly amusing air throughout though and this helps it feel quite light and amusing even though it is not actually that funny or indeed that much fun overall. And it should have been more fun really. The plots are not serious enough or the characters real or involving enough to make anyone mistake this for a serious show, so by default it needs to be light and breezy, which it is clearly trying to do. "Proper" critics use the word "cute" a lot when describing it and this is a good term because it does seem to be aspiring to be a sort of shaggy dog that everyone loves and ruffles its ears with a certain amount of affection that maybe doesn't make sense to the external observer. It doesn't really manage this for me though simple because so much of it is quite unexceptional.

The cast are quite good even though they are all doing quite obvious turns and characters. Levi leads the cast well with his geeky and likable character, he is amusing and does everyman well. He is well supported by the more "out and out" geeks in the store such as Gomez, Sahay and Krinsky. Strahovski works as well as she can to make the possible romantic part of the story work but she could do with a bit more help from the script because mostly it feels like she is doing it because it is the sort of thread that is just seen as being required so has been plunked down without any effort to let it grow organically to the degree that it may have done. Baldwin has a simpler character which he does well with – delivering a comically surly guy who has little time for Chuck while also making Chuck his entire mission and life. Lancaster is a bit bland but is not helped by poor writing, while other characters come and go in a way that allows them to be useful for the narrative later perhaps.

Chuck is not a bad show by any means. It is quite amusing, quite engaging and quite fun, however I found all these quite's to add up to nothing that particularly worked for me. The season ended with a shrug as far as I was concerned, which was pretty much how I met each episode. Easy TV for the undemanding perhaps but nothing more than that and certainly not good enough to make me care enough to invest the time in another season of it.
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