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“First love is easy:” The attraction of Chuck

By Matt Fowler

Section: Arts

October 17, 2008

First love is easy. This is just a fact of life. The attraction, the butterflies, and the smiles come without effort. It’s simple. It’s when that first fire dies down that things become more difficult.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. It could be yours, it could be hers, or it could be a group of greedy network television executives who replaced the only program you were ever truly invested in with a reality television show about dim-witted adults who are less smart than fifth graders. You see me and my first love, we never broke up. We were still very much smitten with one another (yes, I used the word smitten).

Instead, “The OC” was ripped away from me. Stolen away despite the hours I had put in watching the teen soap. That’s why falling in love for the second time is so much harder for me. I don’t want to devote myself to something that could disappear without warning. But, against my best judgment, last year something wonderful and horrible happened. I fell in love again. I fell in love with “Chuck.”

Putting the conclusions that could come from that last sentence aside, “Chuck” pulled me out of a very dark place in my life. In a time when I thought I would never be able to open up again, Chuck’s witty dialogue and explosive action sequences helped me reconnect with the world of television.

Just writing about NBC’s sophomore spy comedy gets me giddy. “The will they won’t they” of Chuck (the adorkable Zachary Levi) and his handler Sarah (the knee weakening Yvonne Strahovski), the dry delivery of agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin), and my first love’s show creator Josh Schwartz (also the creator of the deliciously trashy Gossip Girl). In other words, “Chuck” is the perfect rebound. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chuck is the story of a neurotic underachieving man who works at a Best Buy like location, but, because of an old friend and a computer, he just happens to hold all of the government’s secrets. It may seem complicated (or it could be my writing) but it isn’t.

Last year, before the writer’s strike, the show was getting juicer than ever. In the final episodes the viewer learned that the government was in the process of creating a new container for their secrets. The viewer also learned that when “The Intersect” (the name for this container) was done, that Chuck was expendable (that means death). The second season premier hits the ground running without letting off any steam. The writers create a truly dramatic set of circumstances that pit character against character and culminate in a hilarious ending. That’s what makes Chuck so good. One second you’re laughing the next you’re denying the crying your suitemates heard from their room.

I have to be honest. After my first relationship I did not know if I could stomach another. I did not know if I could take another swift metaphorical kick to the stomach if in fact my show was taken away from me. How can I ever trust again? With “Chuck” I can.

Despite only average ratings (Nielson be damned), I’m not afraid when I sit down on the couch anymore. I’m not afraid to bat my eyes at the television. But, mostly, I’m not afraid to love anymore. “Chuck” did that for me. That show made me feel again. I guess we just sort of connect you know.

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