Friday, January 27, 2012

Chuck versus The End

I don't latch onto many television shows for their full run. "Chuck" is one of them. For five years, I've enjoyed watching Chuck Bartowski - a Buy More employee with a protector in his pocket and a government computer in his head - save the world from evil alongside CIA Agent Sarah Walker and NSA Agent John Casey. But now it's over. The series finale airs tonight.

Really, "Chuck" should not have made it this far. Every season, it was in danger of cancellation but somehow managed to pick up another 14 or 15 episodes. That was partially due to several determined fan-based Save Chuck campaigns. The best one: fans went to Subway on air dates, bought footlongs and filled out little response forms saying they were there to support "Chuck." The next season, Subway was a major sponsor of the show, and Buy More employees frequently bit into juicy footlongs. Great stuff.

But the head of NBC entertainment recently (and with more than a little nastiness) said that those fan campaigns did not translate into viewers. Thus, we have reached the end.

What I will remember "Chuck" for the most is its ability to wink at the audience. This was a show for and about geeks. The characters often quoted from classic geek movies: "Come with me if you want to live." They referenced geek shows: "This is just like what happened that one time on 'Alias!'" They hired geek actors. Scott Bakula and Linda Hamilton played Chuck's parents. Timothy Dalton was the Big Bad one season. Carrie-Anne Moss came on this season as a love interest for Casey. Guest stars included Morgan Fairchild, John Larroquette, Bruce Boxleitner, Nicole Richie and many, many more. The casting directors were absolute geniuses.

I work tonight - as I do every Friday night - so I will be watching the two-hour season finale after I get home. I will probably shed a few tears, especially if Chuck and Sarah finally get their Happily Ever After. And I will do a little boppy dance as the opening theme ("Short Skirt/Long Jacket") plays one last time.

Also in honor of five years of "Chuck," creator Josh Schwartz wrote some thoughts on the show. Go read them here.

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