Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It Takes Two Teddybears

Whew! I have to admit I was worried that Chuck was going to bomb after seeing what Josh Schwartz did with Gossip Girl, but I'm happy to report that the premise of The Office meets Alias seemed to really work. There are a lot of bones to pick, I'm sure, but the pilot did an adequate job setting up the worlds in which Chuck lives. His job as manager of the Nerd Herd at the local Buy More chain (a clever variation on the Geek Squad/Best Buy relationship,) at home living with his sister (and boyfriend Captain Awesome,) and the introduction of his new role as human data miner for the NSA and CIA.

That world is the one that requires some coating to swallow, that Chuck could download the CIA and NSA's entire data points to his brain from watching a series of images. Luckily, there is some nice sugary jelly to make it go down easy. That's the beauty of this being a comedy, those plot points are a little easier to forgive. Unlike Alias, where in the third and fourth season certain plot points provided some unintentional laughter, Chuck can get away with it, because there's a low level of farce working here. And even though they have black comedy specialist Adam Baldwin (as Major John Casey) playing his role straight as a board, it's still funny, in part due to the baggage he carries from past characters on Firefly (as Jayne) and Angel (as Marcus). It's (I thought his role as Special Agent Danny Love on the short-lived series The Inside was similarly unintentionally-intentionally comedic, ever so slightly lightening that dark series.)

Anyway, about the music, the pilot deftly utilized the song "Cobrastyle" by Teddybears for an action-theme music. The song is a bit like teddybear Baldwin himself, in that it can add comedy to a scene regardless of how it's played. Of course, it helps to have the facial expressions that Zachary Levi (as Chuck) provides to give the repeated fish-out-of-water appeal that the show provides. Which reminds me of a thought I had while watching him freak out with CIA agent Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski.) It seems that the premise of Chuck might well have been inspired by the episodes of Alias where tech geek Marshall Flinkman was forced into the field with Sydney Bristow. I always thought Marshall was the only character who could have an interesting spin-off to that series, and perhaps someone else thought so as well.

Back to the music, as that's what we're here for, there's more to be had then just Teddybears. Beck's "Cellphone's Dead" makes an appropriate appearance, playing through some Nerd Herd work, including the fixing of Sarah's cellphone. And speaking of cellphones, Chuck's cellphone ringtone (Journey's "Any Way You Want It") provides comedy in a tense moment (just like Marshall Flinkman!) But it's really The Shins "A Comet Appears" that best captures a scene in both mood and content of lyrics. The song is about the struggle to find one's place in the world, and having to shake of a bit of the naivete of boyhood, which encapsulates Chuck's realization at the end of the episode.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't at least acknowledge the use of Ennio Morricone's "For a Fistful of Dollars" to comedically dramatize Chuck's show of ambition (applying for assistant store manager.) It was a bit forced, but just about any use of Morricone is going to get my attention (well played Patsavas/Schwartz.)

Playlist: Chuck - Ep101
1. "Cobrastyle" - Teddybears - Used as an action theme throughout episode
2. "Cellphone's Dead" - Beck - Chuck details a virus, fixes Sarah's cellphone
3. "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" - Jet - Getting dressed, contrast of Chuck to Sarah
4. "See the World" - Gomez - Dinner music
5. "Into Your Dream" - Foreign Born - Band playing in club
6. "Any Way You Want It" - Journey - Chuck's cellphone rings during bomb defusing
7. "A Comet Appears" - The Shins - Chuck contemplates his current situation
8. "For A Fistful Of Dollars" - Ennio Morricone - Chuck goes to submit his resume
9. "The Missionary" - Brothers Martin - Chuck has a flash of a Sarah mission

Previously: Don't Care About the Old Folks (Schwartz's Gossip Girl)

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1 comment:

teddyboy said...

Gotty love the hair! lol