“Chuck Versus the Tango”
October 8th, 2007
I don’t have too much to say about Chuck, but I haven’t formally discussed a single episode thus far and felt this was a good time to do so. The series emerged out of its first week with a decent second stanza, but I feel the need to point out that this week’s episode was just plain good: it maintained the energetic pace of the pilot without any of the large-scale action pieces, and after last week’s repetitive fare added some new elements to the mix.
Chuck was the highlight here, as Zachary Levi delivered a great comic performance as the perpetually in danger government secret keeper. The situations in the episode, while technically stretching the show’s premise, were perfect: it put Chuck in conflict with his friends, in awkward and new situations with the tango, and to new points in his relationship with Sarah. It was essentially an episode of Alias but played for comedy. Chuck had to learn new skills and techniques, but instead of doing so to great effect he klutzed his way throught it.
And it was funny: Alias always had its humorous side, and played to full effect it’s allowing Chuck to come into its own. Having never purported to being a plot-driven series, the character-building is great: the villainness was portrayed well, the plot was simple enough to follow, and it felt like the kind of adventure that we actually like watching. I can only hope that tonight’s episode of Reaper can convince me just as well as Chuck did.
A Note on “Aliens of America”
I watched the second episode of The CW’s new comedy last night, and I’m confused. I knew the second episode went for broad comedy (The apparent homosexuality, according to the school, of Raja and Justin), but it still felt a bit off compared to the subtlety of the premiere. Raja was played just a bit too culturally lost for me, and it felt a bit too simple.
However, on the other side of the coin, the episode displayed a bizarre schizophrenic sense of comedy. On top of the broad comedy, the episode contained a Willem Dafoe joke and a reference to “Say Anything.” Normally I’d view these as signs of the series maintaining a sharp perspective, but within the overall tone of the episode it felt off. The people who would find the broad comedy funny, in other words, would be unlikely to have been a fan of early Cameron Crowe or Willem Dafoe, Spider-Man notwithstanding.