Aaron's Antre: Chuck, the end of an era

Aaron Chum, Author

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Editor’s Note: The opinions and attitudes expressed by the author are those of the author and not necessarily of the publication’s editorial board. This segment is part of a series of opinions by Aaron Chum entitled “Aaron’s Antre.”

Jan. 27 will be a sad day for many members of the Paly community, as a chapter in our lives comes to a (hopefully) fulfilling close. Or maybe it’s just me.

Yes, the final weeks of the NBC show “Chuck” have finally arrived. The series finale is barely a week and a half away after a tumultuous five year run that has included many weeks worrying over the imminent cancellation of the show, only to watch it be renewed after efforts by rabid fans. No such luck this year, however, as this season has been confirmed as the last.

“Chuck” details one nerd’s journey through the undercover spy life after a supercomputer is placed in his head by an old college roomate. Aided by his handlers John Casey and Sarah Walker, along with his sister Ellie and best friend Morgan, title character Chuck has transformed from bumbling asset to suave operative over the course of five seasons.

Although many people have criticized me for obsessively watching the show (you know who you are), I am not afraid to admit that tears may be shed on the night of Jan. 27 as I watch the series finale.

Admittedly, I’ve had my complaints with the show over the years.

On occasion, the action can be extremely corny and unconvincing. I still refuse to believe that one man with a sniper rifle, no matter how skilled, can take out 10 other guys with better sniper rifles (whatever the metric may be for comparing sniper rifles). And how you can jump out of a fourth story window onto a moving van without suffering even a scratch is beyond me.

Chuck contemplating proposing to his super spy girlfriend Sarah a few episodes into season four was questionable, if not portraying him as downright insecure and needy. Then the whole Morgan-with-a-supercomputer-in-his-head plot was certainly uncalled for and not in the least bit humorous, only serving to destroy the precedent established over the previous four years that Chuck was the only one with enough brainpower to store the supercomputer in his head. And I certainly had problems with the show bringing back far too many people that were supposed to be dead.

Oh, and the special effects have always been bad (or maybe I’ve just watched “Transformers” a lot). Green screens can only be used to a certain extent. After that, it just looks tacky.

But the highlights of the show more than compensate for its faults.

I have always been pulled to good plots such as those in Bioware’s “Mass Effect” series (although I would be willing to extend an exception to “Call of Duty”). And “Chuck” certainly has a good plot. While I am no screenwriting guru, I can appreciate the deftness with which the writers of “Chuck” integrate storylines into a cohesive episode that features action without wanton violence, heart without excessive mushiness, and among the funniest one liners I have ever read in a book or watched on television (although Tom Clancy is a deceptively sassy writer). By extension, the laughs, while failing to reach the level of comedic television in shows such as “The Big Bang Theory”, have always been satisfactory.

And last but not least, the music. I would like to thank whomever coordinates the sound and music on the crew of “Chuck” for about half of the music I listen to on my iPod. Incidentally, this music is playing even as I write this (Half Moon by Blind Pilot).

So yes, the show will be dearly missed. Even formerly carbon monoxide-poisoned Jeff Barnes, his creepy buddy Lester Patel, and Buy More manager Big Mike.

And with all of three million viewers nationwide (which I take to pretty much mean none in TV ratings speak), I will be watching this Friday night for the antepenultimate episode of the season.

Because in the immortal words of Robert Frost, “Nothing gold can stay.” And I will certainly watch “Chuck” until “dawn goes down to day.”