Of all the shows I watch, this one seems to evoke the most ire from people. Every time I casually mention that I watch and enjoy Chuck, people proceed to inform me that it’s “stupid” and they couldn’t get into it. I find this really intriguing, because I think that a lot of things on television are stupid, and I’m not sure why I don’t feel that way about this show. As a general rule, I can’t stand comedy shows (with the exception of The Daily Show, which I alarmingly find myself quoting more and more these days), and Chuck is definitely comedy, but it’s also…strangely good. High art, no. But, darnit, I like it, and I’m trying to figure out why, since people with tastes similar to mine seem to uniformly loathe it.
For one thing, I love the actors in this show. (I mean, Adam Baldwin, people!) And I think that some great characterization work is going on. They really are somewhat complex and interesting people, and you really can see Chuck struggling with having this huge responsibility thrust upon him.
Yes, it is silly. And, you know what? I laugh when I watch it. Often a lot. Because it is silly, and fun, and yes, the wit is simple and not sophisticated and crafty, but I don’t really care. I enjoy physical pratfall comedy, I enjoy French farces, and that’s the kind of comedy that you see in Chuck. It’s not trying to be something it’s not, it’s just trying to get a smile out of the viewer. I don’t necessarily need intelligent entertainment. (Look at all the mysteries I read last year!)
I also enjoy action, and spies, and nerds. And maybe that’s what it’s really about. Fundamentally, this is a show about a nerd. A nerd who tries to wear action pants, and usually fails miserably. And I like that.
The Daily Show
I just have to comment on the much-touted/discussed Stewart vs Cramer interview. It obviously got heavily hyped by the media, but it did make me wonder about the world we live in. A world where a comedian is the only one who appears to be holding people accountable in public for their irresponsible actions. The Daily Show is most definitely promoted and treated as a comedy show, but at the same time, it’s providing some of the most astute and accurate commentary on political and economic issues, and that’s a sobering thought.
Personally, I thought that Stewart skewered Cramer. Cramer was a cowering, meek little pussycat in this interview, which kind of surprised me, because he’s so aggressive in other venues. And he was making repeated lame excuses like “well, people lied to me,” and Stewart (rightly) said “well, it’s a journalist’s job to check facts.” Cramer also definitely seemed to be owning up to some responsibility here, but I got the sense that it was appeasement, not genuine remorse or a desire to change.
And, as Stewart said, Cramer and people like him gambled with the lives of others, repeatedly, and they do need to be held accountable for that.
I kind of don’t like the way that Fox/Joss have been promoting the first five episodes, with the “oh, just wait and it will get better” stance. If Fox really thought they were this bad, they shouldn’t have aired them. It kind of seems to me like they were hoping that their meddling would result in something watchable, and when it didn’t, they washed their hands of it. (As did Joss, who spent months fervently avowing that all of the changes were his idea and he was cool with them, and the last five weeks going “just wait, fans.”)
I have to say, this episode did feel really formulaic and stale. I can’t say that we learned anything new or particularly interesting, as the characters hashed over old ground again. Ok, so we learned that they have access to some sophisticated/creepy technology, and the head of security obviously hates Echo a lot, and the dolls aren’t totally innocent, but none of this is new or noteworthy.
And, with all the hype, next week had better be the game changer it has been touted to be, because if it’s not, Fox is going to have a major problem on their hands. I think that the episode has been so built up at this point that it’s going to be difficult for it to live up to expectations, and Joss fans are more forgiving and flexible than most, but even they have a limited.
I’m a sucker for two-part episodes and submarines, so I am pretty much one hundred percent on board with “Today is the Day.” A lot of things are building to a head here, and I really like the direction that they are going. And, again, I think that the show is brilliantly subtle in the way that it shows without specifically telling, forcing viewers to connect the dots. Alas, I suspect it’s too intellectually demanding for many people; people seem to want to sit down and not think when they watch television these days, which is pretty much the opposite of the way I approach the medium.