Chuck Official Site

The Time:
Mondays, 8:00 PM, NBC

The Show:

Bartowski is just an average guy who works at the local Burbank,
California Buy More (think Best Buy) store and lives with his sister,
Ellie and her fiance, Captain Awesome.  Chuck’s life has
stagnated since his best friend Bryce Larkin framed him for cheating,
resulting in his getting kicked out of Stanford.  However,
Chuck’s life changes when Bryce, who’s actually a rogue CIA agent,
chooses Chuck into which to download the only copy of the CIA / NSA
computer database called The Intersect.  Now, until the
government can find a way to get the Intersect out of his head, Chuck
is an unwilling secret agent, able to access the data whenever he sees
or hears something that causes a mnemonic “flash” of the Intersect in
his mind.  Chuck is protected by CIA Agent Sarah Walker, a hot
and lethal CIA agent on whom he has a crush, and NSA Agent John Casey,
of whom he’s constantly afraid.

The Stars:

•  Zachary Levi – Chuck Bartowski
•  Yvonne Strahovski – CIA Agent Sarah Walker
•  Adam Baldwin – NSA Agent John Casey
•  Joshua Gomez – Morgan Grimes
•  Sarah Lancaster – Ellie Bartowski
•  Ryan McPartlin – Captain Awesome
•  Vik Sahay – Lester Patel
•  Mark Christopher Lawrence – Big Mike
•  Julia Ling – Anna Wu
•  Scott Krinsky – Jeff

The Episode: “Chuck vs. the Suburbs”

Chuck and Sarah go undercover in a suburb community suspected of harboring a terror cell and from which a missing undercover agent has returned comatose.  Meanwhile, the easygoing Big Mike disappears and is replaced by a heartbroken Big Mike obsessed with driving his workforce to actually work in the midst of his divorce.  Since this doesn’t sit well with Morgan, Jeff and Lester, they help rekindle the flames of passion for Big Mike by going the online dating route.

The Lowdown:

It tends to happen on hip shows like this where there are secret agents or law enforcement types who have sexual tension between them: they gotta go to the suburbs.  The X-Files did a good one where Mulder and Scully went undercover in order to root out a tulpa.  Now it’s Sarah and Chuck’s turn.  Unfortunately, the experience is somewhat underwhelming.  Chuck is at the forefront of making the most of situational comedy, especially when Chuck is either way out of his element or it happens to bring him and Sarah closer together. And one would think that the comedic possibilities of placing them into the ‘burbs would be rife with possibilities.  But it doesn’t really turn out to be that great an experience. 

Chuck of course finds himself in an idyllic situation, for a while at least: living a “normal” life with the girl of his dreams.  And he and Sarah at first embrace the roles of man and wife, with Sarah even cooking breakfast for him and the two of them hosting their new neighbors in a barbecue.  Among those neighbors are Brad (Andy Richter), who works at a business card company and Sylvia (Jenny McCarthy), a housewife desperate for attention.  Of course things are not all as they seem and when Chuck discovers the secret of what happened to the agent who had gone missing, he realizes that they’re in for much more than they suspected. 

There is a fairly humorous bit where Chuck has to escape Sylvia’s house where his assignment was to seduce her and gain access to information on her computer.  He ends up seeing way more on the computer than he planned, which has a lot to do with both Fulcrum and the Intersect.  That spurs a hurried eit in his underwear with a fuzzy cuff still on his wrist.  Jenny McCarthy is still looking good and plays the suburban minx well, but Andy Richter is completely wasted here, with the producershardly making any use of his comedic talents. 

As for the Buy More, this was only so-so as the Three Misfits have to get Big Mike off their backs by getting him back on his.  This involves getting him computer dating so that his sexual energy will be redirected back where it belongs rather than to working.  The woman that they come up with has seriously awkward implications for somebody at the Buy More.  Seriously.  Awkward. 

This episode felt like more missed opportunity than anything else.  The mission did have ramifications for Chuck and Sarah and the Intersect gets a new dimension to it involving Fulcrum.  Casey does his usual skulking around as the cable guy, but the whole suburban experience just comes up short. 

5.9 out of 10