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Why did I love the series Chuck so much? I did and I still do

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The show Chuck, 5 seasons from 2007-2012, proves itself, over the course of five years, that it's an ensemble cast. That Chuck is a Jenga puzzle requiring every single one of its extended cast, including Lester and Jeff, the clueless Buy More foils.
Why did I love the series Chuck so much? I did and I still do

Cast of Chuck

Last week I told you about my gluttonous consumption of old Magnum P.I.. Today, I'll admit that I liked Chuck enough to watch it back in 2007 when it was on my TV. When I considered watching the entire series, all 5 seasons, from 2007-2012, I wondered if it was only because of Yvonne Strahovski's and Sarah Lancaster's beauty. 

However, I liked the entire conceit of the series. I had started writing a "there are spies all around us, everyone's a spy" online novel, Hill Mole, back in May 2005, and loved the idea that anyone and everyone might not be what they seem, especially in Washington; or, in the case of Chuck, under a big box store in Burbank, California, the Buy More

The show's a slapstick comedy. The show's a romantic comedy. This show objectifies both men and women, though women get the brunt of the objectification. It's riffing on every spy TV show ever produced, of course, but it's also a buddy comedy and a family comedy. I don't know how deeply I can scratch Chuck because it's not actually secretly profound like series like Buffy; however, the series is a very earnest comedy that pretends to be snarky and self-aware. In fact, it's a friendship and family utopia when all is said and done: nothing is more important than friends, family, and loved ones. 

After seeing both Chuck and Shazzam, I was convinced that Zachary Levi—Chuck himself—couldn't underact; however, he's proven me wrong as the hunky doc in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; that said, Chuck was always on, even when the mood demanded a soft touch; Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Sarah Walker, on the other hand, is all about subtlety and nuance. If you look closely at her face, there's a lot of acting going on, though if you're not paying attention, most of her scenes with Chuck seem like she's just standing there, staring at Chuck in the eyes, counting the seconds until he stops emoting and talking things through, before giving him very clear instructions. 

Even at the crescendo of their love, it's a little hard to tell whether Sarah is hungering for Chuck or if she's suffering him—unless you look very closely at her face. She's such a nuanced actress that maybe her face acting is lost on the show.  Maybe her mad close-in, close-up, acting skills are better served in her role as Serena Joy Waterford on The Handmaid's Tale (I haven't watched, only read, it).

Morgan Grimes and John Casey; Devon and Ellie Woodcomb—they're all multidimensional characters and you really get to know them over the course of the series. You get to know everyone really very well. In fact, I feel like the missions and the intrigue are just excuses to write a story about a group of family and friends. I feel the same way about Blue Bloods (isn't that show only about their dinners together?)

The true enemies are one-dimensional; they're fungible and not actually The Russians or Islamic Terrorists, per se, and are mostly mercenaries, opportunists, privateers, rogues, or splinter groups hidden within agencies like the CIA, MI6, or the FBI. It reminds me of a more recent, recently canceled, show that I quite liked, 
Whiskey Cavalier (RIP).

I remember when Chuck was threatened with cancellation a number of times. I feel like Chuck was the first series to be saved by a campaign and thereby became wedded to incessant, shameless, and fearless references to Subway and all its sandwiches and new products. Remember when I said that Chuck was artless and innocent? Well, when it came to shameless and incessant cultural references and the fact that it was pitching mad Subway product placements for its life, it was exceptionally self-aware, and you were always on Chuck's side because you knew that what you were watching was so special that you'd be OK with the entire series being renamed and rebranded as Subway.

Chuck is one of those rare series that gets to wrap up with a bow. I am not going to spoil it for you but the only other series that came to a conclusion with such happy and playful celebration was the final episode of Hart of Dixie, which [spoiler alert] ended in a grand musical dance number finale par excellence (I started watching the series because of my weakness for petite brunettes but held on through 4 seasons for another series that dealt with nothing more than love, friends, family, and place—that show had me at howdy).

I don't know what I'll write about next. Probably what I am watching and have watched on Amazon and Netflix and maybe even some of the YouTube Creators I am proud to say I watch (and maybe a dirty little secret or two).  I really hope you enjoy these missives. I appreciate the 11 of you who are subscribed via TinyLetter. If you ever want to find them later, I will always cross-post to my personal blog on chrisabraham.com.

The Full Cast if Chuck

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