New 'Chuck' romances destroy television, life itself
So, hey, when you were watching Monday's episode of "Chuck," "Chuck Versus the Mask," I'll bet you had a pretty good time with it. I'll bet you mostly enjoyed it, right? You got a few laughs, you saw your favorite characters goofing around, and you watched Sarah kick some bad guys right in their faces. Also, there was a cliffhanger that probably left you reasonably intrigued about where the show would go when it came back from the Winter Olympics-imposed hiatus in three weeks.
So maybe you thought all that. Did you know you were wrong? Did you know that "Chuck Versus the Mask" was, in fact, the WORST EPISODE OF TELEVISION EVER PRODUCED?! I can see why you might have been confused, because if nothing else, "Chuck Versus the Mask" had competent production values and a cast that gives every line its all, as opposed to anything like a man's mother being reincarnated as a car. But, no, you were mistaken.
Or so say the many legions of fans known as the Chuck/Sarah 'shippers (short for "relationshippers," or, rather, fans who derive all enjoyment of a show from watching a particular couple get together and/or dreaming of the moment when it will happen. Said 'shippers, disturbed by the fact that the episode ended with Chuck and Sarah both pursuing other romantic partners, have invaded the comments section at Alan Sepinwall's highly read What's Alan Watching blog as well as the NBC.com message boards to complain about how the show has done them wrong and how the characters have, somehow, completely betrayed everything they stand for by KISSING OTHER PEOPLE. GRR.
Here are a couple of sample comments from Sepinwall's site. The first to take a negative tone toward the episode was posted by Anonymous (they're always posted by Anonymous) at 9:07 p.m. EST Monday. (All quotes, including spelling and grammar, are verbatim.):
sorry i think you are great Alan but check the NBC Chuck forums the show fans are in revolt. Your way off here Alan that was the worst episode ever they killed the characters. A comment for one poster on NBC was 'The show runners finally killed Chuck...'
Yeah! The ... NBC "Chuck" forums are proof of ... the fans ... who want the ... wait. What are we talking about?
Later, the fans (led by another Anonymous) threaten a boycott:
When Chuck returns after the Olympics, no one should watch it on air. Rather we should all watch it online at Hulu or any other online service we can find. Failing that, DVR the show and watch it that way.
That way we can send a message to NBC and the producers of the show that we are still interested in the show but we are not prepared to settle for the caliber of show we saw last night.
Yeah, because NBC will totally give the "Chuck" producers what-for until they make the show what your small but very loud community of fans wants, rather than just canceling it outright. Good plan! (Also, I like how much this Anonymous contradicts him/herself.)
It's fun to make light of fan outrages like this, but this faux controversy has apparently become a big enough thing that Sepinwall sat down with series creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak to have them try to calm the fray.
Now, I'd say more about my personal feelings on this, but I think I said more than enough in my Monday "Chuck" recap. If you're afraid this spells DOOM for Chuck and Sarah, go read that post. Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski have one thing that Brandon Routh and Kristin Kreuk don't have. And that's called a contract.
Still, it's a weird way for the show to go on hiatus. Elsewhere, Linda Holmes and Myles McNutt chastise 'shippers, kvanaren at Telephonoscope collects more outraged fan quotes, and Jaime Weinman wonders what it all means.
-- Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)
Photo: Kristin Kreuk's Hannah is Beelzebub himself, to hear some "Chuck" fans tell it. Credit: NBC