Friday, 28 December 2012

Falling in Love with Chuck

I get this sensation every two years or so: I stumble on a TV series that is so good I just got to watch the next episode here and now. In between I find myself captivated by what I have seen thus far.
This time around the culprit is a rather strange one: a series called Chuck that aired between 2007 and January 2012. I find it amazing I was able to be completely oblivious to the series' existence for so long; on the positive side, I’m on it now and I seem to love everything about it.
As things do this past year, it all started with Mass Effect. During one of those bored moments of meaningless rumblings about the Internet I went looking to see what the people behind the game are doing. People like Yvonne Strahovski, who lent her [Aussie accented] voice and likeness to the character of Miranda. Like most of the other real actors behind the games she did lots of mundane stuff (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I could not avoid noting she took part in a TV series that was dubbed as “science fiction”. A science fiction label means there may be some potential to the series; I gave it a go. The rest, as they say, is history.
I wouldn’t classify Chuck as science fiction myself. Sure, there are some fantastic elements to the series, but it’s more to do with geek culture than anything else. Indeed, it is not unlike The Big Bang Theory; the main difference is the addition of action to the comedy and the subtraction of the more hard core “science” elements.
We follow Chuck, a nerd/geek who lives with his sister, cannot for the life of him get into anything successful with the females of the species, and despite all of his potential works at a frustrating job in a Costco like shop called Buy More. How many elements for me to identify with have you picked up so far?
Chuck’s life changes when secret CIA computer data gets implanted in his head. Two secret agents are put in place to take care of this now important asset as well as utilise him in covert business: the beautiful Strahovski, who sets up a cover as Chuck’s girlfriend (as in, the beautiful girlfriend all men dream about but no one gets); and the no nonsense bully of an agent that is the exact opposite of Strahovski. Between the agents, his work and his colleagues at Buy More, and his sister with her ever so awesome boyfriend, the setup for the perfect TV series is complete.
And yes, I love it. I love the whole line of jokes on the Buy More culture (get me a Buy More mug for my birthday – hint hint). I love the geeky friends who remind me so much of my own (here’s looking at you, Mr Wolf). I love the one liners from the bad ass male agent. I love the smart jokes, like the Indian looking Buy More salesperson who threatens the shop manager whenever the latter says “merry Christmas” instead of “happy holidays”. I even love the music, with the Spotify playlist of the series dominating my listening at the moment (sure, there is some crap in there; but it’s well integrated). And sure, I love Strahovski too: I do think that hers is the weaker link in the series, in the sense of the series should not rely on her looks alone (the way it seems to be doing thus far) to advance that particular aspect of the plot; surely Strahovski has much more to offer. Let’s be honest, though: it is no wonder she was cast to play a perfect gened character in Mass Effect; women do not come any better looking than Strahovski (reminding me of that immortal line from the Mass Effect parody, “Liara the asari is hot, but I’ll take Miranda”).
I’m only at the beginning of my adventures with Chuck. I suspect there will be ups and downs along the way. I also suspect I will greatly enjoy the ride.

Images: NBC

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