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Chuck vs. The Twist vs. Season 3 Renewal

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Chuck vs. the Twist vs. Season 3 Renewal

April 28th, 2009

Perhaps it is just that I wrote considerably less about last night’s Chuck finale than Alan Sepinwall, or perhaps it is just that there has been some extremely stimulating discussion over at NeoGAF that has had me pondering the finale more carefully, but I think that there’s a bit more to say about last night’s season finale (“Chuck vs. the Ring”) as well as what it all means for a potential third season.

First off, in case you were curious, the ratings were exactly what you would expect: consistent with the past two weeks, and at the mediocre but decent levels we’ve been seeing on the mid-range level. The show drew 6.11 Million viewers, and a 2.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic – this is nearly identlcal to last week. However, the Save Chuck campaign was never designed to gain more viewers: yes, getting the word out was a key factor, but suggesting that people watch the S2 finale as their first episode ever is kind of tough, and I think the campaign smartly focused more on showing NBC (and Subway) the power of the existing fans to band together for their show. And, on a note which requires less spin, the time period was chock-full of new episodes from every other network, and Chuck stayed steady despite facing repeats of CBS’ comedies last week – that’s a good thing.

But ignoring ratings for a moment, one of the other things facing a Season 3 renewal for the series it the show’s creative direction, and on NeoGAF and in some other locations there have been some concerns over that final sequence. Last night, in my review of the episode, I was admittedly pretty postive about it, and I find myself remaining fairly close to that initial analysis. However, I think it’s something that deserves some more discussion, and something that I am extremely disappointed was not on Chris Fedak’s list of acceptable topics of discussion in his post-finale interview with Alan Sepinwall.

But where we don’t have definitive answers we have rampant speculation, a tool I shall harness to analyze just what a season three might look like.

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Season Finale: Chuck – “Chuck vs. the Ring”

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“Chuck vs. the Ring”

April 27th, 2009

“Go with your heart, buddy – our brains only screw things up.”

Wow.

In considering “Chuck vs. the Ring,” a title with two very different meanings, I think it’s important that we acknowledge just how amazing the accomplishment of the Chuck staff is when it comes to pulling off some of the most expansive material for a dramedy of this nature.

The first half of this episode is more or less an episode in its own right, one laden with numerous jokes, an amazing appearance by Jeffster, and what feels like a climax in and of itself. What is interesting is that, by the end of the episode, that storyline felt miles away, overshadowed by an amazingly epic conclusion that potentially changed everything. However, simultaneously, it was highly memorable and containing some of the best jokes in the episode. But when those elements would have felt overbearing, such as during that epic conclusion, they faded effortlessly into the background, never feeling separate but also never feeling like they were fighting in the same space.

It’s such an amazing balancing act, and when everyone in the cast is on fire, and when the writing is off the charts, and when Jeffster soundtracks an entire sequence with “Mr. Roboto,” it’s an example of how Chuck may not aim as high as some of the stronger dramas on television, or embrace absurdity as much as some of the biggest comedies, but in doing what it does I don’t feel there is a single other show that is this capable of executing this level of brilliance.

Forget about save Chuck – let’s praise Chuck for a while, and think with our hearts instead of our brains.

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