I recently accidentally started a rewatch for the television show Chuck. I just finished rewatching it yesterday in a weird twist of fate on the same day it aired its final episode in 2012. The only reason I even know that is because I apparently still follow the Chuck Facebook page (who knew?) and they posted something that showed up in my timeline about that right as I was sitting down to watch the final two episodes this afternoon. It’s like it was meant to be.
I’m not someone who generally rewatches tv shows because especially in this day and age there are too many new things to watch. I’ll rewatch episodes here or there. I used to do that more when there used to be more reruns of some of my favorites on and I could just happen upon them when I had a few minutes to kill but wasn’t going to sit down and get into whatever I’m binging. There aren’t too many of those anymore so that’s rare now. The only two other shows I can think that I’ve done a full rewatch of are Veronica Mars in preparation for the movie and Gilmore Girls just because. I think I’ve actually done two full rewatches of Gilmore Girls. I am unsure if either of those was connected to the new Netflix episodes. I feel like one of them must have, but also I don’t remember doing a full rewatch that recently so maybe not.
Anyway, I didn’t really mean to do a rewatch of Chuck. I had recently just finished my crazy binge of all 14 and half seasons of Grey’s Anatomy that existed at the time and hadn’t yet got into anything new. Sometimes I like to sit with shows in my head for awhile before I move on. I was looking for something to throw on while eating lunch one weekend and decided on Chuck because I had just been talking about it on Facebook with my friend Erin in conjunction with Zachary Levi being on the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I had watched the pilot episode again with her when I visited her at some point in the last couple of years and had thought about rewatching it at that point, but I was probably in the middle of something else and then moved onto something I hadn’t seen before instead of continuing on with Chuck. Then Netflix lost it and it wasn’t streaming anywhere for awhile. I only realized Amazon had picked it up at some point when someone on one of the podcasts I listen to mentioned it in passing in an episode last fall. I figured since I wasn’t look to start a new show quite yet I would just throw on an episode of Chuck since I could again. I started with Season 1, Episode 2 and several hours later I knew that I was going to wind up doing a full rewatch.
It’s a good thing that I did because turns out that I somehow remembered only about 85% of what happened on that show. It really surprised me how little I remembered because I adored that show. It was by far my favorite show on television during its run. I nerded out about that show so many times. But apparently after 7 years I only remembered it in the broadest strokes because there were so many plotlines that I did not remember happening until they started and then I was like oh yeah I totally forgot that this happened or other ones where I never really remembered from watching it the first time. I really did not remember that Awesome found out Chuck was a spy way back in season 2. I completely forgot that Casey had a daughter. Even the lead up of the entire episode where he’s trying to save his ex-fiance who thinks he’s dead didn’t clue me until Alex walked in the door at the very end of episode. Then it all came rushing back to me that she existed and winds up dating Morgan. Also by the way I had a completely false memory of Casey and Alex’s mom winding up together but I guess my memory was conflating her and Carrie Ann Moss’s character. I did not remember that Brandon Routh was on this show at all and consequently remember very little of the Ring plot line. I also totally incorrectly remembered that Sarah lost her memory for like half a season leading into the finale. Turns out she didn’t lose her memory until the penultimate episode of the show, so decidedly less time than I thought. I think not remembering pretty much anything made my rewatch more fun because it was almost like I was watching it for the first time again.
The most important thing is that the show completely held up. I sometimes worry about rewatching shows particularly the older they get because sometimes due to times changing or just personally not being in the same place as you were when you watched it things don’t hit you the same way. I have such a strong affection for this show that I didn’t want anything to ruin it, which probably another reason I don’t rewatch too many shows. I didn’t have to worry about Chuck because I still loved it as much as I did the first time. I laughed out loud so many times watching it and it of course gave me all the feels over Chuck and Sarah’s relationship.
In 2019 it’s very obvious how over the top male gaze-y this show is, but I’m choosing to overlook it because at least all the characters being objectified are women who have their own agency and who are decidedly more bad ass than any of the men on the show. I was also a little worried about how I would feel about Casey during my rewatch now knowing what a terrible human being Adam Baldwin in is in real life (allegedly). Casey was my favorite during the initial run and I thought that might be ruined for me knowing what I know now, but it wasn’t. Casey was still the best even if the actor who portrays him is not. I was able to separate the two out in my mind. We can get into the philosophical conversation about whether or not it’s okay to enjoy great things created by not great people some other time.
Chuck is still a really delightful show with such heart that I still adore so much. The first four seasons are still aces. I remember not loving season five as much during its initial run and that held true during my rewatch as well. It’s not like it’s complete garbage like the final season of White Collar. If I ever do a rewatch of that show I’m definitely quitting before I get to that one. In fact if I ever rewatch that show it will probably only be the Sarah years. Anyway, season five wasn’t nearly as good as the seasons that preceded it, but it still had its moments and the show as a whole has definitely stood the test of time. I do kind of wonder how somebody who doesn’t know the history of how the Subway campaign saved the show would feel about all the heavy handed product placement, but I didn’t mind because I know it’s what kept my show on for way longer than it had any right to be on given its ratings.
Since it was threatened with being canceled so many times and half the time never knew if it was going to even get a back 9 for the season there were multiple episodes that were written as stand in finales. This show ultimately had five great finales including the actual one. My favorite episode of the whole series is the season 2 finale, which really is a microcosm of everything that was wonderful about the show. I know some people were mad (and are apparently still mad if you look at any of the comments on that Facebook post I mentioned earlier) that Sarah didn’t for sure get her memory back in the finale, but I really love the end of the show. Whether you choose to believe that Sarah gets her memory back through that magical kiss with Chuck like Morgan theorized or not you know that even if she doesn’t she’s totally going to fall in love with Chuck Bartowski again because who wouldn’t. And of course the end of was soundtracked to the perfect song, The Head and the Heart’s “Rivers and Roads”. They have ended every single one of their concerts that I’ve been to with that song and I never don’t think about Chuck when I hear it. The music in this show was always fantastic. I bought so many songs on iTunes back when I bought songs on iTunes because I heard them on this show. Now it would just be a Spotify playlist, but no matter what this show brought so much music that I love into my life and it’s only fitting that the show would go out on a song that fit it so perfectly.
I am so happy that I rewatched this show. It brought me so much joy and warm fuzzy feelings. I really do miss shows like this on tv. They just aren’t there anymore. Setting aside all the reality shows scripted shows just aren’t like this anymore. You either have your so-called prestige show or shows trying to be prestige shows that are all plot driven or about some anti-hero or you have your almost completely episodic shows where there is all plot and almost no character development. I miss shows like Chuck that are about characters who are allowed to grow and change while also artfully threading together season long story arcs that connect to the also episodic stories that happen each episode. It’s probably why I fell so hard into my Grey’s obsession because it too is that kind of show. These are the kinds of shows I want. I wish someone would start making them again. Otherwise I’ll just have to keep rewatching Chuck.