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December 22, 2014

Chuck: Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp

by Varun Lella, posted Oct 23rd 2007 8:24AM
Chuck versus the sizzling shrimp
(S01E05) "This is the part where we hide" - Chuck


I am still on the fence about Chuck and this episode does not do anything to knock me off in one direction or the other. It is still a humorous, character-driven show that isn't too messy or overwrought, but at the same time it seems to have no continuing plot that makes me want to keep with the show. Everything manages to tie up neatly at the end, which isn't bad, but just merely not all too compelling.

With that said, I was a fan of "Chuck Versus the Sizzling Shrimp." The episode was sweet in the way that makes you say "awwwww" out loud in a room full of guys.

Chucky is seeing problems in his domestic and professional life. He can't cope with juggling friends and family which causes him to abandon them when they need him most. Meanwhile, he has to figure out at gunpoint how to help a Chinese spy (Mei Ling) save her brother. Talk about work pressure.

It was good to see a Morgan-heavy episode. I was surprised that it came so early, but it is still good, nevertheless. The entire sub-plot of Morgan fighting for his job in a sales competition was actually more enjoyable than the main story line. It also gave us a chance to spend more time with Lester and Jeff, the Nerd Herd employees that are creepy like an undergrown mustache.

The arc did a great job at provoking feelings i didn't think existed for Morgan. I laughed at his "An evening of Morgan" suggestion. I got angry when he got his pity sale treatment. I welled up with tears when Ellie came and bought a mess of electronics just for him. I was actually just mostly shocked. I was sure that it would be Chuck through some government connections that would save the day, but I predicted wrongly.

Ellie really came through in this episode. She bonded with her brother and Morgan and just came off like a genuinely lovely girl. It almost makes me feel bad for questioning Sarah Lancaster's acting abilities. Given her huge aversion to Morgan in the first couple episodes, I was taken aback when she opened up to the Seth Green-clone and really treated him as a human.

The episode was rather simple. It followed the straight-forward plot. Even Chuck's flashes weren't that prevalent in this episode. Rather than focus on the plot as a whole, I will highlight a couple of key moments that really stuck in my head.

Every week, I mention how Chuck manages to use one spy movie convention or another that adds subtly funny layers to the narrative. This week we are hit with another Bourne parody with Mei Ling's phone call to Chuck. If you haven't seen the trilogy, there is a running scene where Jason Bourne makes phone calls to people who he can see, but can't see him. Chuck was on the receiving end of such a phone call, but I was expecting a different punchline out of the gag. I was really hoping that it would pan or rotate to show her right next to Chuck (I thought it would be funny in my mind), but the writers decided to go with an ominous remark about a mustard stain, which was humorous in its own right.

This week's guest character Mei Ling is not as hot as Karina from last week, but had her moments. Is it some requirement that all spy girls have to dress in skimpy outfits when they go undercover, because if I were Chuck, the short shorts on the delivery lady would have tipped me off that something was not quite right. Mei Ling proved to be a capable fighter and now a side character, with the potential to return in future episodes.

One of the things I really enjoyed about Chuck was its action sequences, but not so much this week. The kitchen fight scene with Casey, Sarah, and Mei Ling was edited awkwardly with still frames right before any punches thrown. The choppy, stylistic choice really lessened (rather than emphasized) the impact of the kicks and punches thrown by our trio of spies.

Speaking of punches thrown, what about making Mei Ling defect before helping her out with her kidnapped brother? You would think that our guys would go after a Triad gangster, who got away because of Chuck, but they demanded she switch over before considering giving any assistance. That is awfully harsh to make someone leave their job and their country behind to help them with a problem that you help create. They really underplayed what it meant to convert a Chinese spy and I was surprised that even Sarah was so insistent about making her switch sides.

This may seem like a completely off-topic gripe, but how lame are those Seinfeld Bee Movie TV Juniors? I think the conversation is pertinent, because they really lessen my enjoyment of Chuck... that is how much these commercials suck. They feature Jerry in random skits that aren't funny, even by Carlos Mencia standards (and those are some mighty low standards). For some reason some advertising executive convinced Jerry Seinfeld that he needs to tap into the Youtube market with non sequitur, poorly-produced clips.. I have never abhorred a commercial so much that it interfered with my perception of the show. Hopefully this torture doesn't last too long and since Bee Movie is releasing on Nov. 2, I may find relief soon enough.

Two last notes about the episode. They haven't really discussed how Chuck's parents passed or what happened to them and it made me very curious about the truth, but I worry it may be one of those mysteries that the writers never bother answering. Secondly, I don't know if it is the first time for certain, but Morgan revealed the name of Chuck's ex (Jill). Jill, Sarah these names are the two most boring female names ever. This is feeding directly into my conspiracy theory that Sarah is secretly Chuck's college girlfriend after an extreme makeover. I know it is way out in left field, but a boy can hope, can't he?

Oh Snap Award
This week's award goes to the lovely Mei Ling for her double-pistoled gun fight in sketchy bar. Some one had to dethrone Casey, but I didn't think it would happen so soon. Casey almost notched another victory with a vicious door slam to a thug's face, but there is so much head-hurting one can do before it gets stale. Come on, Casey! Let's see something new.

I question Mei Ling's victory simply because she managed to miss almost everybody she aimed at, but her antics were enough to squeeze her past the Major. I am sure Adam Baldwin will take home another Oh Snap-y sometime soon, but this week it goes to the guest star.

Will Morgan ever get with Ellie?
Yes49 (9.9%)
No340 (68.5%)
No, but he will get with Captain Awesome107 (21.6%)

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chadwick hansford

This show rocks. Entertaining! Action, comedy and hot chicks! Thought this show was stupid before I even saw the pilot. Now it's probably the best new show on TV. If you wanted another CSI or medical drama than your the most boring person ever.

October 24 2007 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

I fast forward through most of the bee movie things, but I landed on the 'This is where we keep the color yellow' which at least made me snort.

And I *LURVED* that he was named Lo Pan.

Now *that* is a movie that needs a sequel. Screw these remakes, lets sequelize Big Trouble in Little China and Buckaroo Banzai.

Well, ok, I like the sequel for Goonies.

October 23 2007 at 11:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CaptainAmericaHatesHippies

"Jill, Sarah these names are the two most boring female names ever."

That's the kind of in-depth analysis that lets even the most casual reader know this is an AOL employee and an AOL website.

"Oh Snap Award"

Give me a break. What are you, Raven Symone or maybe 12? People old enough to have jobs just do not say that, at least if they want to be taken seriously...and considered sane.

But the worst of all is that you are still on the fence about Chuck. By now you should've been able to make up your mind. I don't care if you like it or hate it, but grow up, get a pair and make a choice already.

October 23 2007 at 11:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony Scida

I'm surprised no one mentioned the Glengarry Glen Ross take off with the sales competition.

October 23 2007 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
George

@ William J., and others --

Glad to see I'm not the only one who caught the 'Big Trouble in Little China' reference. That's the sort of thing that's going to keep me watching 'Chuck'.

October 23 2007 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric

I was thinking about dropping this show but come on, Lo Pan from Big Trouble in Little China with the same name on Chuck. How amazing is that.

October 23 2007 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
procrastinator

Yes, without reading the spoilers, I do think there's plenty of fodder there for a little extended story, chuck and sarah's romance, the mystery that was bryce, the missing parents, in addition to the ongoing 'i'm keeping this secret and saving the world' and yes digme, that he is underappreciated... but i do like that it's a single episode event. Not that I don't love my Lost and Heroes but sometimes you just need some fun.

October 23 2007 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amanda

Get off the fence its a great show. I was wondering about the chopiness last night. Couldn't tell if it was sloppy editing or Comcast digital cable!

October 23 2007 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ajb26

I'm surprised that no one's picked up on the references made to Chuck's parents at the end of the episode. The whole Mother's Day thing was about her leaving them, and Chuck then says that his dad was here, 'but he wasn't really here'.

To me this just seemed an obvious hint from the writers that Chuck isn't the only member of his family involved in the spy business and that later in the series one of his parents is bound to show up in an intersect flash. Just a thought!

October 23 2007 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
strahotski

You can find more pictures, interviews, and exclusive Yvonne content at her new fan site Strahotski.com:

http://www.strahotski.com

October 23 2007 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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