Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Of Sandworms and Silicon

Last night's Chuck was a strange combination of funny and frustrating. On one hand, it was easily the funniest episode thus far, but it still trips over the recurring trust theme. I realize the spy world is ripe with trust issues, but the plot of "Chuck doesn't trust his handlers and screws up as a result" is going to get old (if it hasn't already). Schwartz brings the funny in loads this week, however, so all is forgiven, and previews for next week hint that there might be some mythology-building for Chuck's character, with a flashback to his Stanford dorm days.

Our first musical entry is appropriately enough a reference to the game Guitar Hero, shown here as something called "Guitar Shredder" -- Morgan and Lazslo face off to Free's "All Right Now." GH3 came out this week, so it's an easy reference that works as a nice intersect for both Morgan's and Lazslo's storylines. The next reference is odd, however, as Chuck mentions Arcade Fire's Funeral (42:15 is about 5 minutes too short for the album, by the way) as his album choice for romance, but then plays Editors' "The Weight of The World." Was Funeral's opening track, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)", supposed to play here? As Paul Haggis found out last year with The Black Donnellys pilot, you may write a scene for the indie now band in mind, but that doesn't mean that they'll license the song for you. But with lyrics like "keep a light on those you love" underscoring Chuck's surveillance, the blow of having Editors as a substitute is lessened.

Meanwhile, the choice of A View To a Kill as the Bond movie to watch seemed curious at first, given that it ranks easily as one of the worst in the 007 oeuvre. However, A View To A Kill actually is a pretty good reference when you think about another movie/book referenced: Dune. Both plots deal with sand as a sought after commodity (as silicon for Kill's Zorin, and the sandworms' spice byproduct for Dune's Baron Harkonnen) and the destruction involved in attempting to gain a monopoly in distribution of these products. Lazslo sees himself turned into a commodity, so it's appropriate that Chuck and Morgan unconsciously embrace the notion, dressing up as sandworms as their Halloween tradition.

The other interesting music choice has Schwartz spoofing his own The O.C. using the Finley Quaye/William Orbit song "Dice" to back a scene-for-scene take off of the new year's episode from season one. It seemed familiar to my wife (The O.C. season 1 expert in my household) and Alan Sepinwall confirmed her suspicion this morning. Even if you're not familiar with The O.C., it still worked as a spoof of modern day romantic scenes. If that wasn't enough, ending with the 'sandwich on a deserted island' discussion for Casey's surveillance torture cemented it as the funniest episode yet for the young series.

Elsewhere on Monday night, Weeds ended with Nancy knockin' boots again, this time with Conrad to Page France's "Chariot." Meanwhile, on the season finale of Californication, Becca gets her period and then sings "Only Women Bleed" (in the style of Alice Cooper, thank goodness) at her mom's wedding (instead of the agreed upon Cheap Trick's "Surrender"?) The series ends with Tommy Stinson (The Replacements, Guns N' Roses) covering The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want" adding a touch of irony to the already unbelievable ending.

Playlist: Chuck - Ep106
1. "All Right Now" - Free - Morgan plays Lazslo at Guitar Hero knockoff
2. "The Weight of The World" - Editors - Pretending to get some action in Chuck's room, plays in lieu of Arcade Fire's Funeral
3. "Dice" - Finley Quaye and William Orbit - Slow-mo of Chuck racing in to find Morgan
4. "It Takes Two" - Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock - Chuck and Morgan perform the Sandworm dance

Playlist: Showtime's Monday night, 10/29
1. "Chariot" - Page France - Weeds Ep 3.12 - Nancy and Conrad finally do it
2. "Reconsider Me" - Steve Earle - Californication Ep 1.12 - Hank's wedding dream
3. "Only Women Bleed" - Alice Cooper - Californication Ep 1.12 - Becca sings this at her mom's wedding
4. "High Flying Bird" - Elton John - Californication Ep 1.12 - Hank dances with Mia, Becca and Karen
5. "You Can't Always Get What You Want" - Tommy Stinson - Californication Ep 1.12 - Hank drives off with Becca & Karen

Previously: The Wounded Raccoon (Ep 1.05)

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Anonymous said...

After Chuck gives Sarah the statement that Arcade Fire's Funeral is the best make-out album, he says that she is probably not ready for it. (So it is explained that the song playing is not from Funeral.)

~~~hechter said...

I just figured out "Chuck" reminds me of the lead singer of Bishop Allen. Maybe it's the tie and shaggy hair combo?

Aritul said...

Thanks for posting the music.