Open Letter to NBC: Renew Chuck!

Dear NBC–

I have heard a disconcerting rumor: you might not renew your television show Chuck, and fans of the show have until next week to persuade you to keep their favorite of shows alive. It is my hope that this is simply a scare tactic to create an outcry that gets your show on the news, an attempt to dredge up support as you go into the off-season so that people flock to their local Buy More’s to buy the DVD set of Season 1 and anxiously await the release of Season 2. Fine. That’s fine. I told my sister to go buy it and watch it with her physicist boyfriend and give it to me for my birthday. I’m down. But I don’t know enough about TV to know if you’re serious. Are you serious? Are you serious! In case you are serious, this is my personal attempt to dissuade you:


I am not a huge fan of television shows. I mean, I watch a bunch, but only because I’m tired and lazy and avoiding more meaningful pursuits. Some seasons of some shows have some elements that keep me coming back, though, honesty, most are not on your network (Sorry! 30 Rock‘s pretty good though!) Most episodes of most shows I spend half the time rolling my eyes at the tired plots and piss-poor writing. In other words, I could do without. Then came Chuck.

Do I fall into the demographic that you already know you’ve got in your pocket? Probably. Do I have a comic book collection? Yep. Do I get more than 90% of the pop cultural allusions the show makes? You betcha. Am I a heterosexual male who wouldn’t mind being saved by Yvonne Strahovski or used by Jordana Brewster, and at one point or another wanted to be either James Bond or Neo from the Matrix. Look at you: you got me pegged! And I like the show for all the reasons a man of those measurements would like the show. But here are some other reasons:

1) Quality writing. I feel like Chuck must have the most talented writer’s room in LA. Line by line, there is wit, humor, and honesty in scenes as diverse as familial disputes to better-than-average heat-of-the-moment action-sequence one-liners. Every line is well-fit for not only the character but the actor. And, big picture, here is a show that actually feels like it knows where it’s been and where it is going. It isn’t playing episode to episode. This is one of the many reasons not having a Season 3 would be a disappointment: the final scene of the Season 2 finale is one of the best between-season forwards ever. Heroes, a show I have derided on this blog before, could take a lot of pointers from Chuck. For all its glitz and glam, Heroes has no idea what’s its doing. Does it? I mean every season starts completely over. Half the “heroes” have different powers from when they started, presumably because the writers didn’t know what to do with a character who could go back in time to unmurder people or a protagonist who could become the most powerful mutant just by empathizing with other people with powers. Heroes has no discipline. Yet it has a franchise. Of course you can’t drop Heroes for Chuck.

2) Actual morality. The reason why many people are suggesting that Chuck is a family-friendly show is that it’s trying to project a sense (or many senses) of morality. Again, this is the opposite of Heroes, which is built around the subversion of the right-and-wrong dichotomy. That’s fine for Heroes. I respect it. But it is refreshing in this postmodern world to have a protagonist who embodies a clear, uncomplicated, modern-day, non-denominational, human decency towards friends, family, and love interests. This is fleshed out even fuller with other equally valid codes of  behavior: Morgan as the almost obsessively loyal friend; Casey as the patriot; Ellie as the loving, nagging older sibling; Devon as the live-life-to-the-fullest but-don’t-be-a-douche about it friend/brother; and so forth.

3) New relationships. As a devoted older brother, I adore that the central family structure of this show is a brother and a sister, opening up some dynamics that, to my knowledge, have not been explored in a humorous honest way on television. Add Awesome to this mix, and you have a perfect example of the functional unconventional American household.

I know there are other more popular reasons to support the show, and I’m sure you know them all. Hopefully this added to the conversation. It’s a damn good show, well-thought out, well-written, super well-cast, and an f-ing fun ride. It gives me joy.

Should I not be watching it on HULU? Would it help if I watched it on Tivo. Cuz I’ll do it. I’ll fast-forward through commercials for this show! That’s how much I love it.

For all of you not working for NBC, please go watch Chuck. Buy Season 1. You will not be disappointed. And if you are already a fan, check out this site on saving the show.


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