Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jumping the Shaw-arc: Succeeding in the New Season

Most know that the idiom "jumping the shark" is a bad thing. Some know what it means; many think they know what it means; and many more have no clue what you are talking about when you say it. So, what does it really mean? Specifically, it references a HAPPY DAYS episode where Fonzie water ski-jumped over a shark.

Jumping the shark is the moment where you realized that the show had lost the foundation of its creativity that had kept it a quality show up to that point. It is when the writers diverted from the established logic of the show and entered into the realm of absurd-show-logic Consider it the sign that things were going down hill. The writers were fresh out of good ideas and were now just milking the episodes for as long as possible so they could keep the money coming in. People can argue when or where a show jumped the shark, but these arguments should be saved for AFTER the show has either gone off the air, or it has been in a downward slide for many seasons. Declaring that something has "jumped the shark" after one episode is ridiculous, even though people enjoy doing it.

For CHUCK fans, there is a different idiom that is pronounced very similarly: "Jumping the Shaw-arc" is when the show righted its path and rediscovered what made people love it. I know quite a few hardcore fans who were questioning their love for the show during the Shaw/Sarah romance arc, who felt rejuvenated once it ended. Though, there are still those who abandoned the show during that time who might want to revisit it in season 4. I think it is safe to say that the final six episodes of the season, post jumping of the Shaw-arc, were the type of quality, fun, drama, and storytelling we expect from this show.

So, gather up your friends and enemies and tell them the good news: CHUCK jumped the Shaw-arc. Everything is fine now. It is safe to swim in the water again. No large piece of wood will harm you ever again, nor splinter poor Sarah "Sam" Walker.

*Let me add that I loved Shaw as a bad guy and would welcome his return as one.

112 comments:

  1. Well said Magnus. For me personally, as much of a block of wood Shaw was as a romantic interest, watching the angst play out made it that much more fulfulling when Chuck and Sarah finally got together. If things are to easy there's no investment and Chuck may as well be a sitcom.

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  2. I never had problems with potential or actual love interests for Chuck and Sarah. The problem was this one was terribly constructed.

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  3. And even more poorly executed.

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  4. Hi Guys,

    I was talking to my girl the other day and she came up with a unique view on shaw and sarah's relationship that I never thought of, it was this: maybe the bad chemistry between the two was intentional, bare with me. Chuck had good chemistry with hannah because he thought he lost sarah and was trying something new, sarah had bad chemistry with shaw because deep down she always loved chuck and hated seeing him change. I think in American Hero the two kisses best showed how sarah really felt (and BTW great acting for Yvonne) when she kissed shaw she was leaning back the whole time and it looked so uncomfortable it was like the last place she wanted to be, when chuck said I am going to kiss you she did not even wait for him to kiss her before she went in and kissed him first (again great moment for Yvonne), it was as my girl said all about intent, Sarah was never into shaw and it showed because she never looked at him like she looks at chuck. One thing I think the writers did miss doing though was showing in more detail that chuck did actually sacrifice a perfectly acceptable relationship because he loved sarah, so the fact it took sarah so long to respond well one of those things.

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  5. I agree with all of the above - Shaw would make a great reoccuring villain. CHUCK needs one. Hell, bring Jill back - she doesn't stand a chance against Sarah but it would make for some great story telling!

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  6. Why did the ratings tank after putting Chuck and Sarah together? Emotionally "The Other Guy" was still is my favorite episode. It put C/S together and showcased Shaw as a villian. The writers have an uphill task to bring people back. In doing this I hope they do not turn this season into Monty Pythons quest for the holy Mama B, but make the spy world the drama and suspense paramount. Unfotunately I have to agree with Magnus about telling friends and ememies about Chuck but not because it is safe due to the resolution of the Shaw-arc, but because they will see a suspenseful action comedy with romance that will take you through all the emotions and leave you happy wanting more.

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  7. I do think Chuck needed to grow over the course of Season 3 so that he could go into the relationship as more of an equal, but I don't think the angst of Season 3 was necessary to make it MORE fulfilling when Chuck and Sarah got together. We had two seasons of angst. A third - especially the agonizing Shaw arc - was over the top. I bet that most fans would have felt as much fulfillment if Chuck and Sarah had really run away together in Prague in episode 3.1. But the painful Shaw arc made it almost more satisfying that Shaw was gone than that Chuck and Sarah were together. (Okay, so I exaggerate, but you get my point.)

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  8. Great title for the post. Agree about the use of 'jumping the shark'. Very much remains to be seen with Chuck. Despite the missteps in the first 13 episodes they did still turn out some of my favorite episodes of the show's run (Tic Tac, The Beard & The Other Guy) and the season finale was excellent and much good stuff was set up for the future. I didn't get a sense of treading water bar a slight worry about what they are going to do with Sarah as a character now that she seems all loved up and content. Can't be having that.

    Personally I think it would be good if we'd seen the back of Shaw for the time being and ideally I'd like him be barely referenced this season. If by some chance Chuck returns for a S5 then maybe then but I think we could all do with a break from the wooden one for a while. Time may improve the impact when he returns and we wouldn't want villain decay to creep in (i.e. Heroes - Silar).

    I think we can mostly agree that it could have been better. There does seem to be something resembling a consensus on that, or as much as you are likely to see in a fanbase. We also got more than I expected from the show runners in terms of an admission this was the case. Maybe they have learnt something which would be great as JS & CF are very talented guys and I'd like to see at least one JS show get past a third season at some point without making a mistake like this. Chuck S3 didn't go wrong as badly as the OC S3 did or Gossip Girl but some of the same elements were there. All writers have crutches, devices they use consistently to drive things along. JS shows tend to have love triangles and relationship angsty moments with plenty of faux romance, which is fine and can work well. But there does reach a point that it gets tired, especially if you don't change it up much from season to season (brunettes and superspies). There also becomes a sense that the characters should have developed beyond this. In Chuck S3 I think this problem was compounded by the hard reset at season 3 start, which fans never like, how dire and unconvincing Shaw was as a LI and how Sarah's journey, in so far as it intersected with Shaw, wasn't as developed as it should have been. The length of Shaw's presence was also a factor. Plenty of people didn't much care for the Hannah sub-plot (yes I agree Kristin is lovely), but she was fairly self contained as a character, likeable, only four episodes, and not part of the spy biz. Shaw by contrast seemed to sprawl across most of the season without adding much in several episodes and screwing up the flow of the show and that's not just limited to Chuck and Sarah although that was the major part of it. I really think they didn't know what to do with him some of the time so for default stuck him in the van/Castle with Sarah, which of course meant Sarah was also stuck doing nothing.

    Part of me kind of admires the bravery of throwing a new character into the mix and then having the balls to stick him with Sarah for several episodes. The other, larger, part of me thinks it was a risk not worth taking and that if you are going to do it the conception and the execution need to be spot on and this case they weren't.

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  9. Bree, the ratings didn't tank AFTER Chuck and Sarah got together. They hit their lows. But they were still never more than 0.3 from the ratings prior to them getting together.

    The ratings took the biggest dive following Beard. Why? No clue. Perhaps they wanted to see if Shaw and Sarah would stay together. Or if Hannah would come back... or if Chuck and Sarah were finally going to get together. But I have no idea. All we know is that after that, the ratings struggled along until the end.

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  10. I’ll take a differing view and see what happens.

    Like quite a few, I didn’t mind Shaw in episodes 3.04 & 3.05, but his character went sideways in 3.07 and never truly recovered. That he brought Sarah along and made me unsympathetic towards her journey didn’t help. I’ve seen a lot of people say that Shaw should return as a villain but I respectfully disagree. Shaw as a villain doesn’t carry any weight – he doesn’t make me want to hate him. When I look at the 2 “major” villains in the season finale(s), Justin is scarier and more devious and much easier to get a good “hate on” for, probably because he’s using Chuck’s or Casey's family to get to Chuck. Mauser in Santa Claus, when he ruthlessly tells Chuck that he will kill Ellie if he doesn’t tell him where the intersect is and that Chuck will never see the light of day, again, in a split second becomes a villain that’s easy to get a good “hate on” for. These are good villains you (read “I”) can hate. I never got a good “hate on” for Shaw, at least not the way the showrunners wanted me to, and that probably goes back to the poor character and questionable relationship that existed in the middle arc. If he had been playing the members of Team B like a violin from the start or shortly there after, then I could have hated the Shaw villain.

    It’s hard to describe (and I’m sure I’m doing a poor job) but storywise I’m sure Shaw returning as a villain could make sense. But audience-wise (again “me”) the character doesn’t bring a good “loathing factor”, I like in a good evil-doer.

    I hate the character Shaw for reasons that would make me sound like a crazy shipper and for the fact that he sucked the “life” out of the show. But I don’t have a good “hate on” (I never felt it) for the villain Shaw and likely never will. I hope he doesn’t return.

    JAB

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  11. It's hard to say why the ratings go up or down, since this season there was no clear pattern in that.

    For example the biggest rating rise was after episode 11 (Final Exam), the episode i peronally loved, but many ppl criticized for being too dark.

    And about drops, there were some pretty big drops after episode 5 (First Class), when KK was still around, episode 7 (The Mask) was actually the lowest rated episode until Tic Tac.

    And the biggest drop of the season was after The Beard, which many ppl consider their favorite (i liked it, but there was at least 6 episodes i liked more this season).

    Also after Honeymooners we seen small drop, despite it also being many ppl favorite and maybe it's because some ppl were happy where things are between Chuck and Sarah, so they didn't feel like they need to watch anymore.

    And what was the lowest rated episode of the season - finale. Also hard to say why.

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  12. Magnus: A decent attempt at getting past the Shaw-arc. But I think an absolutely terrific explanation of what the Sarah/Shaw arc could and should have been is here: http://bit.ly/abdapu It's a brilliant deconstruction of what went wrong with a good idea.

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  13. Anonymous, I have read that before and it is an attempt to explain what was intended. It does not help me in any way feel that it WORKED. See, it doesn't matter what they intended to do, or intended for us to feel, it only matters whether it made us feel the way they intended. It didn't. Failure.

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  14. I am mixed honestly. I agree with the girlfriend that Sarah was not really into Shaw. It was rebound thing. Someone that had more in common with who she thinks she is. Shaw had similarities to Bryce and I think that is why she was kind of testing herself; to see if she could go back to the 'old' Sarah. I like the transformation of Shaw to a villain. If he had started out that way it wouldn't have been nearly as effective. I only wish they could've shown more how that incident shattered him. Maybe with more flashbacks of the story he was told when she was killed.

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  15. I think their biggest failures were:

    1. Chuck and Sarah at the train station in episode 1. It was poorly plotted. His reason had no impact on the audience. We needed to see why he made the decision. Her reaction was understandable... but I always had a problem with how we arrived at that point. It was too paint-by-numbers. They need to break up so they do. Next.

    2. We needed a moment early on where Shaw truly speaks about his wife and his love for her (with a montage). And then, we needed a similar moment for Sarah (which we got later on) that binds their grief together. They should not have toyed with their romance. They should have made it real and obvious.

    3. They missed out on the biggest opportunity for romanitc fun on the show. Chuck and Sarah having a secret relationship under the noses of the CIA. In 3.13, for that brief scene where Chuck asks Sarah if Shaw knows... I loved that. Hell, they could have survived on that for half a season, maybe a whole season. Yet they mined the terrible chemistry between Shaw and Sarah but missed out on the fun of seeing Chuck and Sarah hide their real relationship. Sneaking hand holding... kisses... moments alone. Then, after some time, you make it so they can't keep it a secret anymore.

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  16. I think that if in season 3 shaw knew sarah killed his wife and did everything to mess with her then that would have been more interesting, bare with me: chuck left sarah to be a spy because the government found out about sarah plans to run away with him and so they threaten chucks famillies life and sarahs family and life too if he runs and so they tell him to cut ties with Sarah. Now that I could buy him not beeing with her to protect her because he loves her. Now the reason the government found out was because shaw told them, so throughout the season shaw is messing with sarah and taking everything away from her and the big reveal could be you killed my wife and so I took everything away from you including the love of your life because he is a killer and she finds out that chuck did what he did in prague to protect her. Now I believe this story line would have made the whole shaw arc better and at least a bit more believable and some of the things our characters did would play off a little better with higher stakes and a more coherant story. Just a thought.

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  17. So what your saying william is that even before shaw was introduced to the team he already knew about sarah's involvment in his wifes death and that he knows all about chuck and sarah and so the whole of season 3 is him messing with her life so that he can exact out his revenge (getting casey her partner fired, turning chuck in the man she could no longer love, etc)so that she ends up all alone like him. Then the big reveal is that we find this all out and team b has to come together and take him out. Interesting idea your right I think that would have been a better story, because I would actually would believe he would do this because I actually believed that he loved his wife and he did make a great villain.

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  18. I think Nathan and William are saying what a lot of people know and that was referred to in the comic con panel when sepinwall and fienberg asked about the shaw arc all the actors looked at swartz and even adam said josh. I think originally they planned it to be that kind of arc but josh changed it.

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  19. It was actually Zachary Levi who said "Josh" - not that it's important, just small correction ;)

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  20. Shaw as a villain has two problems.

    Great villains are hated because of what they do to the heroes not because you're sick of the character or actor. You love to hate them.

    His villain turn had no impact. Nobody cared about him or his wife. He didn't come off as heroic or sympathetic so him becoming a villain wasn't shocking.

    Honestly they should've used Eve Shaw as the villain in the back six like Wendey mentioned on one of the podcasts. None of the baggage his character carried with the fans and she would've had generally the same motives.

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  21. JC, he makes a great villain because he has motive to kill both Chuck and Sarah, so it makes him far more dangerous in the mind of the audience than some other villain you might introduce. And you might not agree, but many people do.

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  22. I'm with you on having motive to kill Chuck and Sarah makes him more dangerous.

    I was open to him coming back in the finale and it didn't do anything for me personally. I didn't hate it but I wasn't blown away either.
    My concern was or still is, no matter how good of a villain he is a lot of fans will hate his return no matter what.

    That's why I brought up Eve again. She has just as much motive to kill Chuck and Sarah, plus you get another pretty lady on the show.

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  23. Is Shaw better as an honest-to-God villian? Would it be equally compelling if he were a tragic-hero, ala Anakin Skywalker? I guess the only way to make that a feasible is to work an angle where Eve is still alive. Is that not plausible enough? Could we tie Mama B and Eve together somehow? As in finding Mama=finding Eve. Too much back-story, too late to tell it?

    I just think Shaw was so good in the last two episodes. Maybe it'd be cool to explore. Then again, I like the creators' promise to be lighter and funnier in S4. Should be fun to watch.

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  24. I believe what the writers are delivering is the humor of season 1, with the family atmosphere of season 2, with the payoffs for all that happened in season 3. So, it has the potential to be AWESOME... or it could suck.

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  25. I completely don't agree that Shaw was a bad villain. I do think they could have made him a more effective villain. Shaw was a villain made by his circumstances. Yes it could have absolutely been more effective. More with Eve, more with Shaw's relationship to Eve. Mike's suggestion of Mama B and Eve is an interesting one but I don't see it happening. I'd actually like to see that, and it would allow that development.

    In the side B of the Shaw Arc was Hannah. you know for all the hype of having Kristin Kreuk on the show I was like eh... I kept expecting her to turn out to be a spy or something but nothing.. wth happened with that? Or did they address that in the Chuck panel?

    I loved them bringing Anna back! Though sad it was only for one ep. The Buy More needs a female employee again.

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  26. Kel, they didn't address Hannah on the panel, as far as I know. But there was a slightly different arc planned for her at one point... the same for Shaw. In fact, prior to Bomer getting his show, he was supposed to be the Shaw character (well, as Bryce of course).

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  27. Guy's shaws in the past, done and dusted, does anyone want to spec on what Nicole Richie and Stone Cold's characters could do this season to make our beloved character uncomfortable. For me when looking at cougars Heather can only really shed light on sarah's high school experince I do not really see her knowing too much, since sarah moved around a lot. Stone cold, again he hardly spoke in first class and so I have no idea what he will be able to bring since he really was not that high up in the ring hierarchy, unless he was not always ring and heather worked privately on other projects that may connect to chuck and sarah, hum. It would be interesting if heather and stone cold had vital information and the only way to extract that would for chuck and sarah to delve into their past in order to gain a competitive advantage, hum, the plot thickens.

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  28. Tim, don't bet on Shaw being dust just yet. ;)

    As for what those two characters can bring to the story... how about pure, unadulterated REVENGE?!

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  29. I agree with William. I think Shaw should have been the one that tipped off the CIA about Chuck running away with Sarah in the season 3 opener. Chuck is warned to cut ties with Agent Walker or Ellie, Awesome, and Papa Burton get put into CIA custody... So Chuck would have been protecting her and his family.

    I also wish Chuck would have thrown up his hands with Sarah's shit in at the end of American Hero and got on a plane and went to Italy only for Sarah to get the big reveal that Chuck didnt pass his red test from Casey and for her to find out Shaw had manipulated her since the very begining including why Chuck didnt run with her.

    That would have made Shaws Arc a lot better. The sheer shock and devestation that Sarah would have felt that Chuck had her back the whole time and yet she pushed him away all the way to Italy would have been epic.

    Then Chuck could have seen the footage of Shaw pulling his punches from his Castle in Italy and showed up in Paris with Casey to save Sarah. It would have made the hotel scene even that more epic...

    I also agree with you Magnus in that they should of had a secret romance all season. I was saying this a while back on one of the boards. In the real world, Sarah would have forgiven Chuck after seeing his confession in 3 words. They may have had a big blow up / emotional fight in 3x3 but after that... they are secretly together.

    Would have loved to see them hiding their romance not only from the other characters, but from the audience to a degree. So all of us would have been speculating on how serious the relationship really was all season. Imagine the jealosy while they were on missions all season while trying to act like they dont care when seducing a mark. Would have been great!

    HJ

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  30. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Enough about S3. Magnus, I’m curious about your take about some of the stuff we know (or think we know) about S4. What are your thoughts on:

    1. It appears that Chuck is still withholding information from people, or more specifically Sarah. This aspect quickly grew tiresome in the back 6, but seems to be hanging around for S4.
    2. It appears that Team B, all of them, will be broken up for a while. I was kinda hoping they would all be together. They were apart for long enough in S3.
    3. After discovering Chuck’s secret, the Woodcombs seem to be expecting a little bundle of Awesomeness. Does this effectively remove them from the spy world?
    4. A different Greta each week.
    5. Will Mama B be someone we like - at first.

    JAB

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  31. Magnus,

    Shaw only had the intersect in his brain for a short while and at the cia conference when he flashed without the governor he did not look too healthy. Now if time has past between season 3 and 4 and he has no govenor and he is in prison I am pretty shore not having a special brain like chuck the next time we see him he will be climbing the walls going insane and near death. Nirvana !

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  32. Bomer, was going to be in season 3. Well based on his comic con interview he may try and find time for chuck this season if schedules permit, that would be awesome. He does seem to love the cast and well of course especially zach so it would be cool. I have seen matt in real life he seems like such a nice guy.

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  33. JAB, since you were so respectful about it:

    1. Welcome to CHUCK.
    2. "Appears" being the operative word.
    3. See answer to #2.
    4. It looks like it but for how long will Greta last?
    5. That really depends on what your definition of like is.

    You are very welcome.

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  34. Man if Bomer was suposed to be the shaw guy this season would have been so much better, first of all his presense would definately raised the stakes because he did have chemistry with yvonne, not the same as zach but still. As fans we would definately have felt a real competition going on, but to be fair we also knew that Bryce deep down was an ok guy which shaw was not and Bryce would never have betrayed the team like Shaw did so it would have been good. Too bad that we could not have matt he is such a cool and nice guy.

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  35. A lot has been said about Shaw, and I'm not going to repeat it, save to say that I think he was one of the most ill conceived, poorly written and unconvincing characters I've seen on TV, and he nearly took the entire season down with him. For that to happen on my favourite show, and one that has been so sure footed with most of what it has done, really surprised me. From a writing point of view, I would love to hear some day exactly what the intent was and how it changed as scenes were added/deleted and extra episodes were ordered. If for no other reason that it could then be used as an example of what not to do on a show of this type.
    As far as LI's go, the thing that I found disappointing about Shaw in particular and also Hannah was that the show had already been here. Chuck falls for perky brunette civilian. Check. Sarah falls for quintessential spy/work colleague. Check. I would have been much more open to the idea of LI's if they had tried something different - Chuck falling for another spy (a Carina type?) or Sarah falling for a civilian who worked for the Govt, and that she didn't have to completely lie to.
    I think the problem is that JS/CF are on record as saying that they already knew the final scene of the Season, and in effect wrote the Season backwards. So in order for Chuck and Sarah to be reunited in Paris in the final scene of 13, they had to find 13 episodes of angst and roadblocks, regardless of whether that felt natural in the context of where the characters were. That's my theory anyway!
    Magnus, I do agree that Shaw was a serviceable villain, but I'm with Strange World on this one. By the time we got to Paris, I thought he'd done so much damage to the show, and his arc had done so much damage to Sarah's character, that I just wanted him gone. Even after Subway/Ring II I'm still thinking that. Even bringing him back from the dead did huge damage. It completely pulled the rug out from under the emotional climax of Other Guy, and cheapened the whole Season-long exploration of Chuck's first kill. Then, when I'm watching PapaB get killed, in the back of my mind I'm thinking, "they could just bring him back anyway". You'll gather I'm not a big fan of the "back from the dead" device, and I really hope they don't do it with PapaB. As for Shaw, I just never want to see him on my TV screen again.
    But you know what? As awful as the Shaw arc was, I still loved most of the season, and I'm incredibly excited about some of the setups that they have in place for Season 4. But please -no more Shaw!!

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  36. Wilson, the story was a bit different with Bryce involved. He didn't die in the white room and came back to make Chuck a better spy, or something like that. But Chuck's Intersect started to experience trouble (as you saw in the back six) and Bryce convinced the government that Chuck was a double agent. Bryce was the bad guy and was "killed" in the confrontation with Chuck. Chuck Versus the Three Words was actually the original finale, as pitched to NBC, but it did not end as hopeful as Other Guy did.

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  37. Diane says to:

    "The ratings took the biggest dive following Beard. Why? No clue."

    Wasn't that the "clocks change" week? The ratings for all 4 networks took a tumble. Even House went from a 4.8 to 4.0 (A18-49)

    The Daylight Savings Time decline is as predictable as the calendar. Same thing happened to the 8PM shows in 2009. Watch for it to happen again to whatever show is airing in 2011 in the timeslot.

    There are aspects to the ratings that are seasonal and relate to overall TV viewing levels and not what's happening within the shows.

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  38. But the other shows didn't return to the same rating the next few weeks, did they?

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  39. Do you know any more details of the original Bryce arc? Or just the rough outline of the story.

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  40. Watching recent batch of interviews from CC got me thinking. Since actors are getting scripts on per episode basis and they say the creators never go into details with them where things are going, i wonder if during filming of those early episodes of season 3, there were some serious rewrites of both Shaw character and his story, because i got this strange feeling of disconnect between episode 5 and 7 in terms how the character is portrayed and since actors don't get the script until a week before they start shooting the episode, they didn't really know where the story would go two episodes later - at least if we take what they are saying as truth.

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  41. I think now we lucky with the Shaw story , because if Bryce Came back in season 3 , I do not think Chuck and Sarah ended up together. and a seson 4 is still would be a WT/WT story.

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  42. Kisku... I am sure SOME of the actors have no idea what is going to happen more than two episodes down the line. Others know a lot more than they let on. I think they just use the excuse to deflect questions about the season. But I think the disconnect comes down to writing. The writing just wasn't up to the usual standards of the show... and my ninjas tell me that the writers acknowledged it internally, though I would be surprised if they ever admit to that.

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  43. Anonymous, if that even is your name, you are right and wrong about that. The 13 episode arc DID have Chuck and Sarah together (in fact, one of the episodes was called Second Date). But Three Words had Sarah confessing her love for Chuck and Chuck telling her he didn't know who he loved, Sarah Walker or the real girl, Sam (though, her name was not mentioned in the outline). It ended on a cliffhanger with Casey seemingly blown up.

    Now, was this just a pitch outline that they didn't intend on fully making a reality? I guess that is possible. But it was very different from some things that ended up in season 3 and not so different in others. The back six probably resembled that outline more.

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  44. Oh, my name is Tomi from hungary, with bad english :D
    and thanks for the answer. :)

    Well I like it , mostly tath part
    "
    But Three Words had Sarah confessing her love for Chuck and Chuck telling her he didn't know who he loved, Sarah Walker or the real girl, Sam (though, her name was not mentioned in the outline"

    Something similar missing me after Sarah told Shaw her real name and Chuck and Sarah never talk about

    and Bryce want to kill Sarah? And Chuck needed to kill him to save Sarah life ?
    .
    And BTW, do you know about anything the famous bracelet? I mean we see again? You know Mama B. and Sarah and The bracelet?

    And the Name thing the Sam thing. I do not think this is to big spoiler , but if you do not want answer I understand

    Thanks your time and your answer :) And sorry the bad englis

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  45. Good post Magnus, and good posts in a lot of the comments.


    Will you be doing some podcasts in the next few weeks to get ready for the start of the new season?


    Thanks.


    Jason

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  46. FYI, I do not allow discussions here about the actor's personal lives, even if it is a suggestion about the business. Only because some nutbag will think it an opportunity to attack.

    Anyway, JEDEPY, there will be a number of podcasts leading up to the season. But the next one will be about SDCC, the TweetUp, and Zac and Yvonne's events following the SDCC panel. I will be talking to people who were involved in all of them... or that is the plan.

    Then, the following week, we will try to get the normal CYT crew back together for a season 4 news and speculation podcast. But that schedule could change if some big news drops. Also, in between that might be some GPITW episodes.

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  47. Hi Magnus,

    Sorry, I understand. Is it my Imagination or did Fedak look very stressed at comic con. I know that he looks pensive a lot of the the times but he just looked different that day. In fact a lot of the panel seemed subdued.

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  48. Zach, I have no idea. People can look a certain way and feel nothing like what you think they are feeling. If you are asking me for some inside knowledge... if I had any, I wouldn't be able to share. At least not now. Maybe in a year. ;)

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  49. Since it's Shaw topic, let make it funnier and nothing makes me laugh more than Shaw face at the end of Mask...i think he was trying to look romantic : http://yfrog.com/jtshawj

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  50. Hope you make fun of a certain group of girls for getting into Zac's business about who he chooses to follow on twitter and the aftermath of that. lame

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  51. I am sure I will talk about Follow-Unfollow-Gate. ;)

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  52. I hope shaw does not return, his re-appearance will cause topics from 3.1 thru 3.13 to be rehashed, the best thing for the show, is to put those episodes away and get ALL of the fans pulling in a positive direction together. I think shaw succeeded in getting many fans pulling in the same direction, unfortunately that direction was not good for the show. Chuck's status is just too dicey to make that kind of play, the bringing 'shaw back' payoff is simply not big enough, like making a $100 dollar bet to win $2.

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  53. I will continue to pull for a Shaw return... and I operate under no illusions about the show's future. I expect 13 episodes... and nothing more. So, it makes no difference what they do. I don't think there is much of a chance of a boost in numbers whether they go for a more fan friendly storyline or something more like the first half of season 3.

    Though, I am more than ready to be wrong. I am sure if WB sends me screeners for every episode that I can do more for them than sending it to established critics. :)

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  54. It is amazaing how after a great back half of season 3 where all the main characters especially Zach and Yvonne were killing it while being a couple. The had great moments, I mean that moment when she gave the spy will, wow. And all people are talking about is shaw! Who cares about shaw man that guy is rotting away somewhere in a prison and his brain too. The next time we see shaw will be wearing a toilet paper cape in a mental asylum because he thinks he is superman, ha, I am so smart, lol.

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  55. If you are going to shorten his name, then spell it ZAC, not ZACH. And if you don't like the Shaw discussion, go to another. If you didn't notice, this blog posting is about him.

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  56. I think it's funny, tath some ppl still not over the Sarah/Shaw story. And that's why they not accepted the truth :). And the truth is Shaw was the best enemy in the Chuck history ever. Every Hero has an nemesis, like
    Batman vs Joker, Superamn vs Lex Lutho, or Bizzaro, Spiderman vs Green Goblin or Venom.
    And you know what ? I think enough Sarah/Shaw analyse, it's over now. Chuck and Sarah are together now , I hope forever of course :) .and it's time to look the future.
    And Shaw need to came back, my dream scenario : Eve Shaw is still alive , and she is realy a double agent , and now she help escape to her husband. And they came back together for revenge. Just imagine Chuck & Sarah vs Evelyn and Denial Shaw. :)

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  57. To be honest why I do not like shaw has nothing to do with his reasons for being a villain, I get it the CIA killed his wife and so he is angry and wants revenge. But what I really hate about him and I always have loved about chuck is this: When either casey or sarah were vunerable emotionally chuck always put their feelings first and his second in undercover lover I am sure chuck would have wanted to know more about casey's past or even tic tac but no he put his personal feelings aside and helped casey do what he needed to do. In cougars and delorean there were chances chuck had where sarah was vunerable and he could have exploited that and tried to make a move but he did not, he always like break up puts other peoples feelings first that is the greatest thing about chuck. Whereas shaw the first time he had a chance in fake name where he saw sarah was vunerable he took his chance and only thought about his needs and wants what a douche as soon as he did that I hated this guy. I hate shaw because deep down he is a character who will always put his own interests first, I do not lioke that at all.

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  58. Diane says:

    I too, sadly, think 13 episodes is all we'll get. Out of curiosity, I looked up what rating NBC got at 8PM on premiere Monday last year. Heroes was the show and it got a 2.8 A18-49 rating. So, Chuck will have to match the ratings it got for Pink Slip/3 Words to beat what aired last year in the timeslot.

    Just a benchmark for ratings watchers to keep in mind...and the fact that despite that rating Heroes is no longer around.

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  59. Diane, I hear different things from different people. Though, every single one of them agrees... this is likely the final season of CHUCK... at least on NBC.

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  60. Shaw's return could be epic. Imagine Chuck going through all of his father's files realizing the pure genius of the man. The more Chuck gets through the angrier and more resentful Chuck becomes against Shaw for murdering his father. Chucks emotions sets off the evil emotions and Chuck sets off to find the excaped Shaw for the ultimate revenge. Meanwhile Shaw is only looking to cure himself becoming a broken and disturbed man. In the end Chuck creates a governor that keeps Shaw alive but will not allow him to flash.

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  61. Hey Magnus ,

    Just read ur comment above . If it's likely that this would be the final season , at least on NBC . What other network would pick it up ?? I couldn't see it being ABC,FOX,CBS. Are you thinking more of a cable network if that would be the case , like USA or FX or something like that ?

    Ron

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  62. Ron, I don't think any network will pick it up. But if one would, it would either be DirecTV, CW, or TBS. I think what is more likely is that WB could make a direct-to-DVD movie either immediately or at some point down the line which would be sold as part of the syndication rights to extend the total episode count to 70.

    But it probably wouldn't make a huge difference and WB might just decide to cut its losses at that point. It will probably depend on DVD sales.

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  63. I'd be fine with this being the last season of the show as long as they got 22 episodes to tell the story . We all saw how well they did with 13 last year that they thought would be the final of the series . Luckily we got those back 6 ....

    I know 22 is a long shot , but I'd be fine if they got to shoot them and then NBC can air them when ever . It's not like anyone wouldn't tune in to them. They could put them on the back burner for the winter and the spring if all there shows succeed and air the final eps of CHUCK in the summer .

    I kind of get the feeling that even Schwartz and Fedak feel like this is going to be the last year as well , pending a miracle . Just with all the guest stars that they have announced so far just feels like they are trying to go out with a bang. The borderline " crazy " shipper in me just hopes that they have enough time in the season to have a wedding for Chuck and Sarah . I can just imagine all the hilarious comedy that would come as a result of the build up to it. C/S bickering over registering for gifts , and all that kind of stuff.

    Look forward to the next full CYT with Lou ( Capt'n Grumbles ) and the gang .....:)

    Jules

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  64. Magnus,

    I see that the new NBC schedule has a lot of new shows slated to appear in the fall. What if they all tank in the ratings and chuck maintained a 2-3 in the key demographics. Would that have any impact on chucks chances of more episodes. I mean I do not see after last year it being out of the relms of reality that the new shows may not work out.

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  65. Jules, I don't think they are prepared for a 22 episode arc. I don't think they expect it. Crazy shippers will be happy... but maybe not ecstatic.

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  66. Jacob, I don't like to deal in ridiculously impossible scenarios... but I will humor you. IF that happens, then yes. CHUCK could not only get more episodes but could also get picked up for a 5th season.

    But I expect ratings to start OK and quickly drop. I also expect that some NBC shows will do well and others will tank. CHUCK has the worst possible slot. Mondays at 8PM on NBC SUCKS.

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  67. Hi Magnus,

    If this were to be the last season I would not be too unhappy since what the chuck people have given so far has been pretty special. especially for me the chuck and sarah relationship. I know there were times when Chuck would get frustrated (understandably) at not having the chance to be with the girl he loves and looking elsewhere. But on the whole I really have loved how pure they have made the relationship, I have watched all 3 seasons and I really like as a women how chuck when it comes to the intimace (kissing) he has never taken sarah for granted if you see all their kisses (major ones) sarah has been the one to lean in first, or kiss him first, or give him permission to kiss her or he has asked her permission. It really is adaroble and cute and i am really going to miss that, plus they make a very cute on screen couple, they look really perfect together. I also liked how the other characters last season like morgan and casey knew that chuck and sarah never like you know ... and they still both said hey man you love her go for it, it is like they knew it was a pure love. Oh well enough of that, sorry, i am a girl.

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  68. Hi Magnus,

    First thing, Georga, Awww, I really like your take on the relationship that is so cute. I must admit they do both look cute and I am going to say this and I know it is weird but they both have those big two front teeth and whenever they smile my heart melts because it looks so cute and adorable. sorry magnus I am a softy.

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  69. Thanks for the reply Magnus ! Well , like you I have my suspicions about this being the last season . But as long as they continue to show Friday Night Lights with barely a 1.0 , I'll hold out a little hope for a few more than 13 eps .. lol

    Since this is supposed to be a Shaw post , I'll say that I can understand why the Shaw character was necessary in Fedak and Schwartz's mind . It's like when you watch a wt/wt kind a show where you want the two people together but they can't make it work until like the very final episode of the series and the characters work everything out and get together and end a series on a happy note. Having the couples love for each other beating out all the odds and all other circumstances/obstacles .

    Having said that if F&S believed and I'm sure they did that the 13 eps would be it for the series , they tried to do the same thing , which obviously didn't work out how they thought it would . " A " for Effort , but that's about it.

    Higher up on this page , you mentioned that Bryce was supposed to be the " Shaw " character . That I could've got behind because he and Sarah had a past and that could have been touched upon in great detail throughout the season . Though I couldn't see all the " Shaw " details that we got with Routh's "Shaw" being the same for Bryce's character . There was to much mutual respect between Chuck and Bryce for that , so I suspect they changed some of the initial story there. I can only imagine how much more enjoyable the season would have been with Bryce rather than Shaw. ( Damn you White Collar :) )

    Sarah and Shaw would have worked more for me , say ... Shaw and Sarah had a little back story ... " Sarah , who's this Shaw guy " ? " Some hot shot spy I did a couple of missions with before Bryce " or "something like that. Just a few lines like that would have gone a long way in making the fauxmance easier to believe. Well for this Chuck fan anyways .... :)

    Jules

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  70. Jules, DirecTV pays for FNL's production. NBC essentially gets the show for free. So, it is a win-win for them. They don't pay for the show and they make ad revenue from it. Free money.

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  71. magnus - I will make this prediction, chuck will beat the two shows that follow it on mondays, maybe not with 'awesome' numbers, but chuck will win. If I am right, will NBC pick up the back 9?

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  72. Jason, I don't see any way in HELL that will happen. THE EVENT is probably the best reviewed pilot episode this year. And CHASE has no competition from FOX. So, it is very likely going to do better numbers than CHUCK.

    But if it somehow happens (AND IT WILL NOT), then sure... back 9 could happen.

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  73. Interesting !

    What would you estimate the price difference is between the 2 shows to produce an individual episode ??

    Jules

    Just out of curiosity , anyway chance NBC would move Chuck to Fridays later on ?

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  74. Jules, NBC doesn't produce either show. So, the only thing that matters is what NBC pays for the rights to air them. FNL is free. CHUCK probably costs them $1 million or so per episode.

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  75. Jules asked... "Just out of curiosity , anyway chance NBC would move Chuck to Fridays later on ?"

    Networks move shows if they feel there is a ratings advantage by doing so. If Chuck does so poorly that they think they could move another show into its timeslot and do better, it could be moved or removed. But, if they feel they don't have anything else they can run that would do better, the show will stay where it is.

    I saw the Event pilot at SDCC. I thought it was good. It will probably premiere well. My only skepticism about it is that it will require an effort on the viewer's part because it is dense. Sometimes viewers will go along for the ride (example: Lost). Other times, they won't (example: Flashforward). The SDCC audience tends to have more willingness to commit to serialized shows. We'll have to see.

    Diane

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  76. I wouldn't mind Shaw coming back but not right away in the 4th season if that is there plan I would say wait for the middle or at the very end like the last 2 episodes. what do you think Magnus?

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  77. Hi Magnus,

    Based on the comic con panel and the actors reaction to shaw where some of them referenced it as jumping the shaw-arc do you feel that maybe it is not only some fans that do not want shaw to come back but also the actors. I mean do the actors have a say in this kind of thing, I know that fans do not (based on last season lost and chuck), so can JS and CF just go ahead and bring Shaw back.

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  78. The actors have no real say. And I doubt any of the actors were projecting a dislike for the character or for the actor. I think it was an acknowledgment of the romance arc being a failure.

    That is not to say that some of the actors would be upset if Shaw never returns to the show... but I would be shocked if they ever made their true feelings known. Doing so can be damaging to ones career.

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  79. (this post could have too many spoilers)
    I'm not really seeing a lot of sense for having a Shaw comeback in these 13 episodes. They already seem to have an "old villains come back for revenge" episode in the works with the Nicole Richie/Steve Austin re-appearance. How many of those types of episodes can they do in a 13-episode span?

    Diane

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  80. Diane, you could toss it all into the same episode but have old escaped enemies appear throughout the season.

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  81. The one character I'm hoping for is Jill. Her story never felt finished and her reactions to the new dynamics on the show would be great.

    If they do bring back Shaw, it'd be interesting if Chuck and him had to work together. Like during a prison riot with all of Team B's old enemies were trying to kill them. And of course we know Shaw would turn on him in the end.

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  82. Hi Magnus,

    I mentioned before in one of my posts that the chemistry between all the main actors -Gomez, Baldwin, Levi and Strahovski is so potent that I had hoped that JS and CF had learnt their lessons from season 3 and straight away they put them together on the same page in the first episode of season 4. It seems from the comic con panel that Fedek said they undersood how important team Bartowski is but I have this sinking feeling that they will do what they did with sarah's name they are going to be way to loosy goosy with this and play on the fans nerves, if this is true and you would know better than me but if it is true and they are not on the same page when are they going to learn what works for the majority of fans and what does not?

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  83. Based on what I know... fans will still be complaining this season, just like they have with every season.

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  84. I'm sure team B will all be back on the same page at some point , but when the season kicks off everybodys on a different page RE: the spy world , so to me it will be fun to see how they all get back together professionally. I'm sure there will be tons of comedy and scenarios to play out.

    With all the interviews that have come out from Comic-Con and recently from the NBC party on Friday , all the questions seem to be in regards to Chuck's mom and the buy more. That's what kind of bummed me out about the loss of the Q&A at CC , was so many other questions could have been asked , rather than just the same over and over again from different people conducting the interviews.....

    For instance , now that CIA controls the buy more , will the Orange Orange still be part of the show ?

    Ron

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  85. Well I think castle is stll there so I suppose it should. Also I think they would not keep the buy more CIA run for just casey and Morgan, chuck has to be there as the intersect otherwise it is a waste of resources because most of their missions are based on chucks flashes. I think what might cause the not on the same page issues is chuck and Morgans search for mom, I think the CIA may turn around and say to chuck we need you and he will use their resources to find mom and not tell Sarah and casey, loads of speccing

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  86. So, the general consensus (feeling) is this is the last season...so are they writing the show that way?
    Or will they continue as always and write as if they will get another season?

    I hope it isn't.

    ac

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  87. ac, figure they are writing a 13-episode arc with closure that has room for more.

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  88. Hi Magnus,

    I just wanted to post a comment on how insightful and awesome your podcast is, I have listened to all your podcasts and I decided to also give sarah walker fan girls and chuck stable of hos a chance and they are alright but nothing compared to you because they just do not seem to get the characters at all. I think you mentioned in your American Hero podcast that they do not get sarah's character and i have to agree with you on that. Examples of this are when they questioned why sarah in honeymooners would want to go back to Burbank they do not realise that casey, awesome and Ellie is now her family as well as chucks and that she has always wanted a family and they did not understand why sarah in role models had no personal stuff apart from pictures of her and chuck, they do not get at all that she had not home or normal life before chuck and that her first song, any thanksgiving or christmas or any special event or tv program will come through her being with chuck. So thank you for your podcast I look forward to your next one and keep being awesome!

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  89. Andy, it often amazes me how a group of people dedicated to one character are so totally at a loss about her actual motivations.

    Thank you for listening and for the comment. :)

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  90. Hi Magnus,

    Thank you for your kind words, plus they got way too personal and commented way too much on the actors personal lives, not cool. As podcastors they should know better then do pull that kind of thing.

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  91. Hi Magnus,

    I saw an inteview by matt bomer he seemed to really taken by zac and yvonne, mostly zach, he really seemed to love zac's graciousness under pressure and thought he is one of the coolest people he ever met is there a chance they can get him back on chuck in any capacity this season.

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  92. I am sure if they could get Matt Bomer on the show, they would jump at the opportunity. They would have to explain his death and cremation away, but I doubt that would be a problem for them. :)

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  93. Hi Magnus,

    I suppose even if they cannot do that I still like how Sarah loves chuck more than she ever loved Bryce, that is sweet on some level, lets hope they can get Bryce back in some form such as a flashback or dream like they do on dexter.

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  94. Magnus,

    A question on the casey/chuck relationship. I know that we kind of saw that casey at the beginning of season 3 that really wanted the team together and as the season progressed that he started to not only respect chuck (he said he was proud of him) but also care about him (went to Doc's house and said we will get shaw buddy). But my question is that if in final exam he knew that ultimatly chuck could not execute someone and pass his red test, then how was he going to be a spy, do you think that casey all along was going to kill for chuck? Or he thought at the end of tic tac that maybe the idea of chuck being a spy was good in theory but seeing how much he loved sarah he realised that chuck could not do it and he wanted to perserve chucks innocence so that he could have a chance with sarah?

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  95. Hey Magnus,

    You said earlier that at one point there was a slightly different arc planned for the Hannah character. Can you say what was suppose to happen with her character in the original plan?

    AB

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  96. Mike, I think you have thought your question through far more than the writers thought through the character's motivation in its regard. ;)

    AB, I don't even remember exactly how different it was. I could find out for you... but the answer I will get is "Who cares?!" ;)

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  97. Hi Magnus,

    Rumour has it that Sarah will not be in the orange orange uniform much this season if at all. Can we get her in the nerd herd uniform she had in Tom Sawyer, sarah really needs to keep an eye on the new female Gretta's lol. She needs to make sure they do not make a move on her man, threaten them like she did to lou and jill, lol.

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  98. Matt Mitovich, I think he interviewed Yvonne and she said since everyone knows that Sarah is a spy there is no need for a cover

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  99. English is not my first language appologies, but still Sarah in a nerd herd uniform, that would be awesome. Come to think about it have Hannah, Anna, Jill, And Lou all work in the nerd herd. Oh great times.

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  100. Your English is fine... and we have seen Sarah in a Nerd Herd uniform. So, we KNOW it is awesome. :)

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  101. Hi Magnus,

    Based on Mike's question on the chuck/casey relationship one thing that amazes me is how much more casey knew chuck then sarah did, I mean he knew that chuck could not kill perry like the way he was asked to kill perry (an execution) that shows great character growth and really demonstrated how confused poor sarah was at that point that she did not realise it.

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  102. yeah Arthur I have to agree with that I also love how they have handled Morgan as well. I really liked in American Hero how he was sitting in the van between two men that probably have seduced and had more women then Morgan has had meals and yet he stuck up for his point of view and told chuck the best way to win sarah was to be charming, man I love Morgan.

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  103. Arthur,

    I think Sarah may have been confused but in terms of the shows history I kind of accept that she was confused and upset because all season long she has what she thinks see's a man that she loves is changing so I accept her confusion, because at that point in Final Exam I think she may have been testing chuck like she always tests him when she is fishing for something for chuck, I think she was kind of hoping he would not kill Perry. I know in other guy I had heard that when chuck asks if she loves him she just kisses him but the fact that she did say something and did say she fell in love with him in the pilot I hope fans realise that this has been just as hard on her then it has been on chuck, I know people always identify with chuck but I hoped that line made fans give her character a break.

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  104. Yeah as much as I love the chuck and sarah relationship I also love Casey and so from 3.11 to 3.13 and even in some other episodes earlier I was a little dissapointed that Casey was sidelined a little, I know Lou on the podcast had said that he was looking forward to him and shaw butting heads and the fact that did not happen was a little dissappointing for me so when Honeymooners came up and as I said I loved the chuck and sarah part I also loved that casey was back being casey with the grunts and the best line when the terroist was trying to speak casey says shut up was the best moment for me. I also like that they have now given him morgan to play and mess with, now that chuck is with sarah and is pretty much gaining casey's respect we may not see as much of him teasing chuck so I am also happy about that.

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  105. Yeah Tim she does do that a lot the fishing, even when she is happy in honeymooners she is fishing from chuck, aw so cute. When she says to chuck I do not want you to choose me over something you really want, like chuck is going to say oh yeah I want to be a spy, epecially since the show had made a point of letting the fans know that chuck and sarah had spent a few days in the train room (not playing scrabble) so he was never going to say no to her, but still cute.

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  106. I think a lot of fans might of missed the point in honeymooners where sarah went from I do not want to be a spy with chuck at the beginning of season 3 to I now want to be a spy with him in that episode. I think I am guessing but I think the point is in the beginning of season 3 sarah did not know what being a spy would do to chuck but in honeymooners she knew that it would not change him, he would not do some things that would ultimately change him from the man she loved so I guess that was the point.

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  107. Maybe it's just me but I loved the confidence that Chuck exuded when confronting Shaw in the finale. I want him back on the show for that reason only. Also, I think it would be interesting if Shaw was Chuck's step-brother. Oh, the ensued angst.

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No flaming, baiting, trolling, expletives, or racism allowed. And NO DISCUSSIONS of the actor's personal lives ever.