For anyone who hasn’t worked it out for themselves yet, or who may be coming to this blog afresh and untainted by my insipid, inane and all round dismal point of view: TV and I have a strained relationship.
It’s not that I hate TV. On the contrary, I love it to pieces and would do much to protect it (not least because being mean to it would result in me having to shell out hundreds of those quid things to replace it). It’s just that it doesn’t always love me back.
It’s often mean and selfish, thinking only of itself and rarely considering my wants or needs. It regularly sheds shows I like as though our relationship is nothing but an irritation, and often those shows hadn’t yet reached anything like a decent conclusion.
It also allows shows that I really enjoy to become stale, stagnant and unexciting. For that reason alone, I feel that I should undertake a little early intervention to prevent another televisual travesty from happening and talk, from the heart, to the writers of Chuck.
(For those of you who are not up to date with this show (or Dollhouse), be warned: Spoilers abound)
Dear Writers and producers of Chuck (I would have learned your names but you don’t seemed to have earned that honour just yet. Don’t feel bad, I took the time to learn the names of those closest to that pile of tripe that Lost turned into and now they wish I hadn’t. My basement can be cold this time of year, but Cuselof can keep each other warm)
I won’t begin to try to understand how difficult it is to write or produce a weekly TV show, because I have no frame of reference; nothing I can connect it to in the real world. However, I will say this: It can’t really be that hard, can it?
I mean, come on, your show is about an ordinary guy who winds up with a super computer in his head for crying out loud. A super computer that gets an awesome upgrade, allowing our hero access to a plethora of cool skills that he can download simply by spazzing out for a few seconds.
That’s just awesome. In fact, it goes beyond awesome and becomes….something for which a word has yet to be devised, that’s how…..whatever the word is….that idea is.
But, on top of that you threw in Adam ‘Jane’ Baldwin, and Yvonne ‘I look really good in underwear and a thigh holster’ Strahovski. Throw in a solid gold starship piloted by Mark Sheppard and an unshaven Hugh Laurie and you’ve got yourself a show that will beat all others to death with their own Nielsen ratings.
But what, dear people, have you done with it? Where have you taken it?
Sure Chuck reunited with his estranged dad, his errant, wayward mum and is currently marrying the girl of his increasingly moist dreams, but you didn’t do anything particularly fun to get there, did you?
Take this last season as an example.
Midway through you had a finale-esque episode in which Ellie finds a car that her dad left for her. Under one of the seats is a weird green flashy thing, which we’re all left to ponder on for a few weeks. Also, Chuck’s mum uses some device or other to scramble the intersect in Chucks head so he can’t use it, uttering the phrase "I’m sorry. I don’t think your dad wanted you to see this" as she did so.
For months we, the viewers, set about pondering what it could all mean and what might happen.
Was the green flashy thing another intersect ready to infect Ellie’s mind, possibly affecting her unborn baby in some carefully sensitive, but imaginatively fantastic fashion? Given the myriad goodies and gadgets Sam Beckett….sorry, Chuck’s dad had down in his batcave (now all pointlessly destroyed), was it something new that we hadn’t yet seen? Something mindfuckingly cool?
And what of the now fucked up intersect sitting useless and dormant inside Chucks head, out of his cognitive reach? Would he get it back? Was the whole being a bad guy thing an act on his mum’s behalf so she could flash a trippy video at Chuck to allow him to access the intersect without the need for him to have a mini stroke each time? She did say that she didn’t think his Dad would have wanted him to see it, didn’t she? And as his Dad didn’t want him to have the intersect in the first place, and actually created an anti-intersect to drag it out of his brain at the end of one season, surely the kaleidoscopic screen she showed him was something that lodged the computer deeper into his brain than ever before, right? Right? I mean, you wouldn’t just jam lines like that in there at random would you?
Well, turns out you would, and you did. An abundance of possible storylines, twists and corkscrew plot devices at your very fingertips. Any number of wild directions the story could take, whilst keeping the dynamic of the show together, and what do you do? You make the green flashy thing in the car a laptop containing a copy of the intersect that reboots the one inside Chucks head, bringing everything round to where we left off. No twists, no turns, no frigging surprises, just a fucking Scooby Doo ‘Everything’s back to normal’ ending.
Well, fuck you.
I enjoyed this show. I loved the horrendous geekiness of Chuck and Morgan, the rocking winningness of Casey. I love the idea of a ridiculously overpowered computer locked inside someone’s head and I especially enjoy seeing Sarah in her underwear/bikini/belly dancing outfit (this needs to happen with increasing regularity please).
But for the love of fuck, wedge in a twist every now and then.
And I don’t mean killing off a main character or having yet another regular cast member discover Chuck’s secret. And, no, having Volkoff’s daughter wander away with the devil from Reaper does not count as a twist. That counts as a majorly fucking obvious from the moment Satan walked in with the photo of Chuck because I knew you guys wouldn’t have the balls to do something different.
Use your imagination (I’m presuming you still have one), go a little nuts. Give us some alien tech or, better yet, make one of the regular cast members the biggest bad guy we’ve seen so far and write it so they always have been. Dollhouse (god rest it) would have done this magnificently had it not been fucked over by the knobjockeys who run Fox (think next time Joss). Boyd fucking Langton, Echo’s handler turned head of Dollhouse security turned out to be the big bad guy of the entire fucking show. He was one of the first characters you see at the beginning of the first episode!! The reveal was a smidge lost by the compressed nature of season 2, but had it run to 5 seasons that would have been one of the biggest twists since Kevin Spacey turned out to be that Keyser fella or Susan Boyle turned out to be a woman.
Please, please try to actually write something interesting. I couldn’t give less of a shit about wedding dresses or how much they love each other. We fucking know that. Concentrate on giving Chuck more awesome abilities like code breaking or some shit; enough with the kung fu.
In closing, I leave you with the immortal words of Lewis Carroll "For fuck’s sake, innovate".
P.S I wasn’t joking about Sarah and the bikini stuff. Also, bring back the Orange Orange uniform.