In this heartwarming seasonal series, the Crossfader staff will be running you through some of the media-related things that they’re most thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!
I started watching CHUCK in middle school and it’s safe to say that no show will ever matter to me in quite the same way. It always brought a smile to my face; it made me laugh, it made me cry, and for five years it was there for me. It spurned the beginning of what would become a lifelong love of television.
The first thing I love about CHUCK is, well, Chuck himself (played brilliantly by Zachary Levi). I loved how he was clumsy, spastic, and he babbled when he was nervous, something my middle school self intensely related to. However, he was also a hero. He didn’t ask to have an interest of top secret government intel uploaded into his brain, he was just a guy who fixed computers for the BuyMore. But he rose to the challenge and risked his life going on dangerous spy missions, simply because it was the right thing to do. And that’s my favorite thing about Chuck: He’s a genuinely good person.
He did absolutely anything to protect his friends and family, including lying to them about his spy life even though he hated every minute of it, because that’s what it took to keep them safe. He was also sweet, openly sensitive, and unashamed to admit it. In a world where the heroes are supposed to be chiseled, smooth-talking men who don’t express emotion, Chuck was the guy brave enough to wear his heart on his sleeve. I remember looking up at him on the screen and announcing to anyone who would listen: “That’s the kind of guy I want to marry.” Now, I may have been 12 and lovesick and misguided in most areas of life, but this I got right. Chuck is the guy you can’t help but love.
I mean, c’mon
That brings me to the second reason I love CHUCK: It tells an epic love story. It’s the kind of love that spans over several seasons, evades near constant threats of cancellation, and you never, ever forget. It all started when Chuck met Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) in the pilot. Sarah was the perfect foil to Chuck in every way. She was a spy who was smart, pragmatic, and stayed cool under any situation. She was a total badass and I also happen to remember thinking that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen (another statement I stand by today).
Sarah spent her entire life moving from place to place so she had trouble connecting with people and opening herself up, at least until Chuck came along. He was patient, he stuck around, and he was there for her no matter what. And in my eyes it doesn’t get better than watching a loveable nerd and an emotionally stunted super spy fall in love.
That awkward moment when you think you’re going to die so you start making out
In a world that reveled in its own absurdity, their relationship was always handled with the utmost care. There were grand gestures and crazy adventures, yet I always remembered the quiet moments that seared with their genuine connection and a sweetness that stayed with the show, always. It was the way Sarah would look at Chuck sometimes, completely disarmed despite all her best efforts, or the way Chuck kept proclaiming his love for her, proud and earnest, no matter how high the odds were stacked against him.
I remember when Chuck asked Sarah to marry him: He spent weeks planning an elaborate proposal, and of course, it all went completely wrong. Yet at the end of the episode, he bent down on one knee on the dirty floor of a hospital waiting room, as a janitor cleaned a few feet away from him, and it was perfect because none of that other stuff ever really mattered. Chuck and Sarah may have been spies living in a crazy world, but at the end of the day, it always boiled down to the two of them.
*And cue squeals*
To round off the-best-love-story-of-all-time was a stellar supporting cast, from Chuck’s neurotic sister Ellie, to her husband Awesome (yes he really was called Awesome and yes, he really was awesome), to Chuck’s moronic but loyal best friend Morgan, to the stone cold spy Casey, who gradually softened over the series. Everyone was delightful, weird in their own way, adding something to the fabric of the show.
Throughout its five season course, CHUCK remained true to its voice and never wavered. The specificity of this voice brought a unique combination of levity, earnestness, and a disarming sweetness I have not seen before or since. CHUCK made me love television because it taught me just how much a show can mean to a person. For when it gets it right, it isn’t just a program you tune into every week, it becomes an entire world with stories you invest in and characters you think about long after it’s over. The very act of it existing makes you feel a little safer. That’s what CHUCK was to me: a constant.
It was never a hit or won big awards, but it was loved by its fans, who kept it afloat each time the network wanted to cancel it. And by doing so we got a series finale for the ages, that I think will go down as one of the best endings in television history. I’ve rewatched every episode more than once and I was heartbroken when it was taken off of Netflix this month. But hey, now I know which box set of DVDs to ask for Christmas this year, because it’s just simply a show I’ll always want to keep with me. So thank you, CHUCK, for everything — I love you.
Some things just can’t be topped