Friday, November 8, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Twelve - CHUCK: Pilot, "Yvonne Stahovski... you have got to be the sexiest Aussie in existence."

And I say that despite the cheese that is CHUCK. Don't get me wrong, it's a pleasure to watch the geeky spy/love story play out, but it's still cheese... and that's okay.

Set in suburban Los Angeles with its home base either being the Buy More (Best Buy analog) or the apartment that Chuck shares with his sister and her boyfriend (both doctors), CHUCK is an ode to the inner fanboy in all of us late Gen Xers/early Gen Yers. I mean, Chuck (Zach Levi) gets to live the dream and become a reluctant spy who goes on adventures while being babysat by the beautiful CIA Agent Sarah (Yvonne) and her NSA counterpart John Casey (Adam Baldwin).

The pilot sets the tone for the series by setting up disasters of the week that only Chuck, with a joint CIA/NSA database in his head (put there by his ex-friend Bryce Larkin, a rogue agent), can avert via the flashes of intelligence that he gets whenever triggered by sight, sound, or whathaveyou. Of course, he really doesn't want to be at the mercy of our shadowy intelligence services, but it sort of beats his dead-end retail/customer service job where he is either belittled by his colleagues or surrounded by weirdos that he has to call peers.

At its heart, CHUCK is a generic action series with silly, over the top spy antics contrasted with both the need for his cover to be maintained and the definite sparks he feels for the woman who has swooped into his life and changed it so drastically. For that reason, you can kind of see why it was always troubled by ratings woes and hovering on the bubble of cancellation, only being saved at the last moment several times during its 5 season run (2007-12) thanks to massive fan support and even cheesier product placement and tie-in gags from the likes of Subway (Eat Fresh!).

Still the pilot manages to hit decently on quite a few buttons for lonely, wastrel geeks such as myself, stuck in what appear to be endless ruts both in our professional careers and personal lives. I liked it when it aired and still find it appealing now as it plays on the instant stream. Granted, with almost half a decade gone by, I've changed a little and it doesn't play quite as strong as it did on its first run, but it's still fun.

And Yvonne Strahovski is still very, very hot. There's a reason she was tapped (teehee) to both model for and voice Miranda Lawson in the Mass Effect series... Rawr! (Side note: costar Adam Baldwin also voiced a character, a Quarian named Kal'Reegar).

Quick shoutout to guest star Matthew Bomer who plays Chuck's old college buddy (the one who ruined his academic career and stole his sweetheart... or did he?), Bryce Larkin. He makes a few appearances throughout the series, but never plays all that active a part other than to serve as a point of contention to spice of the love issues between Chuck and Sarah. He's shown up in a few movies like In Time and Magic Mike and is the lead on his own USA series, White Collar.

Also be on the lookout for Tony Todd who makes several appearances as a CIA director. Always love to see Tony getting work.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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