Has Chuck Stretched its 'Will They or Won't They?' Thread to the Breaking Point?
If you aren't a regular commenter on the blog of Newark Star-Ledger television critic Alan Sepinwall, then you probably haven't realized that Chuck, of all series, has become one of the most polarizing shows on television. The perennial bubble-dweller (where it dwells once again) is well into its third season, and yet lead couple Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) are still playing a game of will-they-or-won't-they-or-what-other-obstacle-can-they-throw-in-their-way. And you thought the courtship of Jim and Pam was drawn out.
For the uninitiated -- and judging by the ratings, that means most of you -- the second season of Chuck ended with the couple finally consummating their relationship, only to have it put on hold when Chuck became an even more important spy. Or something. Season three began with some more convoluted attempts to keep them apart -- Chuck isn't the man Sarah thought because he wants to be a spy! -- and took a turn for the worse when new love interests were introduced for both characters in the form of Superman (Brandon Routh as Agent Shaw) and Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk as Hannah). In fact, the mere possibility of new love caused such a ruckus amongst the Chuck faithful that co-creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak had to literally explain themselves. They even went so far as to promise that the star-crossed lovebirds would eventually become uncrossed. Phew!
Like Bones -- another series that has been loath to connect its two main characters -- Chuck has tried so hard to keep the sexual tension alive that the series has suffocated everything that made it so much fun in the first place. Watching last night as Schwartz and Fedak found new ways to keep Chuck and Sarah apart (e.g. now Sarah has been kidnapped by a revenge-crazy Shaw because she killed his wife years before) felt like sitting through the contrived third act of a Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy.
Chuck and Sarah getting 2gether 4eva should be a triumphant moment for Chuck, but instead, it has become increasingly harder to care. Even the cast can't get excited anymore. At this point, Levi has better chemistry with his on-screen sister (Sarah Lancaster) than with his supposed true love. And, well, that's just gross.