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September 2, 2014

Chuck: Chuck Versus the Suburbs

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 17th 2009 9:55AM
Chuck(S02E13) Memo to NBC: Idea for product placement on Chuck. All the computers and cell phones are great, but what about Excedrin, Tylenol or Advil? In this episode alone, Chuck's brain activated the Intersect so many times that he should have needed something extra strength to deal with the killer headache he had to have had when he finally got out of the top secret Fulcrum initiation lab. I was ready to reach for two tablets myself, what with all the flashing and colors and weird old stock footage.

Anyway, this was the Happy Valentine's Day show, which is why last week's pre-empted episode was re-slotted so this one could land in closer proximity to the holiday. It made sense, then, for there to be some good Chuck and Sarah flirting. Not flirting with each other, just flirting with the idea of them flirting with a real relationship. It looked good there for a while. More after the jump.

The domestic bliss in suburbia was meant to look like another world, but for the life of me, Meadow Branch didn't seem all that different from Ellie's house. The main thing was the tract houses with the Twilight Zone smiling neighbors all out in their yards and waving mindlessly. It turned out that there was a method behind than mindlessness. There wasn't just one Fulcrum agent in the cul de sac; the entire block was filled with baddies.

But before Chuck and Sarah figured that out, they were seemingly digging the lifestyle. I don't think Sarah was faking that Martha Stewart glow. Every now and then, she lowers her guard just a smidge to show that she cares about Chuck, and not just in that "let's be friends" way. Still, by the time the case is over, she's back in her pro mode. As the dog was escorted into his travel crate and the house was cleaned, Sarah's romantic vibe was back in check. Sigh.

Chuck was right at home in the suburban lifestyle, although he did seem too young for the role. Jenny McCarthy was a cougar on the prowl when she had him handcuffed to the bed.

Over at Buy More, the employment imperative for Morgan and company was getting Big Mike out of work mode. Getting served with divorce papers on Valentine's Day was cold indeed, but would you take dating advice from Jeff, Lester, Emmet (nice rug) and Morgan? In his defense, Big Mike voiced that very question, still he let them create his online dating profile -- Lando Calrissian. Despite the fact that they're idiots, Big Mike did make a love connection. But aye carumba, Morgan's mom!

There were pop culture references galore, including Lando (Empire Strikes Back), as well as an homage to A Clockwork Orange (which is also a nod to the Dharma Initiative, i.e. Lost), plus the Desperate Housewives vibe with the whole cul de sac. The opening song, Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" was from Down and Out in Beverly Hills and The Family Man. Chuck's Tron poster. And The Cable Guy, of course, but how funny was it that Casey was supposed to be a cable guy when he was shown with the satellite dish.

Then, the climax, with Chuck and Sarah keeping their eyes closed to avoid seeing the Fulcrum mind-altering/ mind-melting data reminded me -- and you, I'm sure -- of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy tells Marion not to look at the contents inside the ark of the covenant. No melting faces, but still, a similar scene.


Chuck' Show & Cast Photos
    CHUCK Adam Baldwin as Major John Casey stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Adam Baldwin as Major John Casey stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Michael Clarke Duncan as Colt and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski, Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker and Michael Clarke Duncan as Colt star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Zachary Levi as Chuck Bartowski and Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker star in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC CHUCK Yvonne Strahovski as Sarah Walker stars in the episode "Chuck vs. the First Date." Airs Monday, September 29, 2008. NBC

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NYC Strong

Another reference I felt was Superman 2. Aside from the Raiders of the Lost Arc thing I thought scene was also paying homage to the end of Sup 2 where he tricks Zod and crew to put himself, Superman, inside the crystal that was supposed to take away his powers, but it really was reversed so it effected the people on the outside,

February 18 2009 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ac

I have a feeling this won't be the last we've seen of Andy Richter. He will probably return with the head of Fulcrum: Conan O'Brian.

Also did this episode seem familar to a season 4 episode of Alias or is it just me?

February 17 2009 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
burningchrom3

"skinjob" lol

February 17 2009 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Key Rick

Whoever's styling Zachary Levi's hair should be shot. It's looking more and more like a wig glued to a helmet. I know the actor's older than your everyday relatively recent college dropout working at a big box store, but there' no excuse in making him appear too old to play the part altogether. I personally hope this season speedily gets to that alleged bringing the Morgan character into the spy fold storyline soon. I agree the scripts are dwelling too long on the tired will-they-or-won't they dynamic. That plot device was exhausted before Moonlighting hit the airwaves twenty+ years ago. oH! and I wish Awesome could be in every remaining episode.

February 17 2009 at 1:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Menachem

When was the last time we saw Anna? What's up with that? The last time we saw her was in the Delorian episode.

February 17 2009 at 1:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RevJonathan

"Charles Carmicheal always comes quickly!"

February 17 2009 at 12:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

PREFACE: I LOVE LOVE LOVE CHUCK! Best thing on TV, hands down. That's why I'm going to be hard on how this season is shaping up! Don't want to come across as angry fan boy b/c seriously I LOVE this show. But I do offer up these thoughts to contemplate.

At this point in the Chuck mythology I'm starting to have a hard time with the suspension of belief necessary when it comes to Fulcrum.

It just doesn't make sense to me that they haven't figured out that Chuck is the intersect. Or at the very least that he's affiliated with the CI freakin A. Throughout seasons 1 and 2 we've had countless run-ins with Fulcrum agents. INCLUDING Chuck's ex Jill. Why no one at any point has reported back to Fulcrum HQ to report in that Chuck is involved with the CIA and NSA baffles me. Fulcrum was supposed to be employing elite spies from within the CIA ranks. I don't understand how NO one has made this connection yet.

Chuck vs. the Suburbs makes it even harder for me to understand this "Fulcrum is naive" angle. For pete's sakes Sarah, Casey, and Chuck infiltrated an ENTIRE Fulcrum suburb. You can't tell me that there isn't intelligence, video surveilance, etc. being transmitted to Fulcrum HQ all the time. A simple recon check would show Sarah and Casey as agents. Chuck can flash on every Fulcrum agent in existence. Why does Fulcrum have no intelligence as to who is CIA/NSA?

The second part of my annoyance is a result of the midseason break and how I feel like they're changing story line for no apparent reason. I'm speaking specifically to how Chuck and Sarah's relationship is being handled. The Christmas episode was phenomenal. Chuck and Sarah were at the height of their closeness. Describe that as friends or as want to be lovers, however you want to define it. But they were close and enjoyed spending time together. They cared for each other as family if nothing else. This couldn't have been made any more apparent than the GORGEOUS tree farm scene when Sarah killed the Fulcrum agent jeopordizing her own career and risk being sent to jail. Now in this weeks episode and Chuck Vs. the Third Dimension, I feel like they've written Chuck and Sarah to where they feel awkward being in the same room together. So weird to me. Even Sarah made reference to them cover dating for over a year. You'd think they'd be past the awkward, hey what are we going to do this Friday night. It just doesn't make sense. These two are close friends, and potential lovers. Since when are Chuck and Sarah awkward around each other? Certainly no point leading up to the Christmas episode. This just felt so weird and out of place for me. Hard for me to understand where it's coming from.

February 17 2009 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
Suntzu

Chuck vs. the Suburbs makes it even harder for me to understand this "Fulcrum is naive" angle. For pete's sakes Sarah, Casey, and Chuck infiltrated an ENTIRE Fulcrum suburb. You can't tell me that there isn't intelligence, video surveilance, etc. being transmitted to Fulcrum HQ all the time. A simple recon check would show Sarah and Casey as agents. Chuck can flash on every Fulcrum agent in existence. Why does Fulcrum have no intelligence as to who is CIA/NSA?

It was a trap. The had gotten the other CIA agent and couldn't use him. They knew the CIA would send more

February 17 2009 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe

I really thought this was a good episode. They seem to get closer and closer to letting Chuck and Sarah be together, so I'm sure that the season will end with something like that happening, leading into next season with the confusion and problems it causes. Great show.
http://www.joeonthetube.com

February 17 2009 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan

Every week this question keeps coming up when I'm watching :Why isn't Chuck getting paid?

They refer to him as an agent. They keep telling him it's his job to take these missions, but I think a job means getting paid. I assume Casey and Sarah aren't working for free.

February 17 2009 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby O\'B

What intrigued me was that his exposure to the Fulcrum program apparently killed Andy Richter's character. And yet as he was zipped up in that body bag, Casey ordered that his body be shipped to headquarters; that they weren't done with him yet.

Could it be they may be using some Massive Dynamic technology on him to extract the info from his head, even though he's dead?

I wonder if that wasn't meant as an in-joke tip of the hat to 'Fringe'?

February 17 2009 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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