Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chuck: Alas, Poor Yorick!

Oh, love... what a tangled web you weave for our dear Chuck. While I can foresee some 'love triangle' fatigue at some point, the series has put that tested tool to good use with Jill (Jordana Brewster). The Sarah-Chuck-Jill triangle was far more intense than last season's flirtation with Rachel Bilson's sandwich girl Lou, in that Jill was in on several secrets (Chuck is CIA, Sarah is beard). In that way it's similar to the Bryce-Sarah-Chuck triangle that gets employed now and then to pour water on the Chuck-Sarah sexual tension, but since Chuck is our hero, we have more invested in Chuck finding happiness, so when we pull the mask off Jill at the end, the knife twist hurts all the more.

Speaking of triangles, there was a great reference to Brian K. Vaughan's great Y: The Last Man (Chuck mentioning the Culper Ring and the poster above his bed) and that comic book series had a very similar love triangle, and brilliantly parallels Chuck. Agent 355 (Sarah) is responsible for protecting a geek named Yorick (Chuck) who's person contains secrets to help save the earth. Yorick still pines for his girlfriend Beth (Jill), and his best friend is a monkey (Morgan!). It's a great reference that loses some of it's brilliance on closer look, but Chuck is ahead of the curve here. (A film adaptation is in the works with the Disturbia team of D.J. Caruso and Carl Ellsworth, and it's expected to be a trilogy, with an initial release date targeted for some time in 2010).

Other geektastic references included The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Vogon poetry,) Brazil (Tuttle Repair on Van,) and the Looney Tunes classic "What's Opera, Doc?" which played in the background at the Buy More. There was even another more subtle reference involving Millbarge acting out a sort of Ed Rooney scenario from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Millbarge sees Chuck like Rooney does Bueller, someone who's popularity lets him get away with truancy. Millbarge ends the episode the worse for wear, and while it would've been a bit on the nose, having Jeff offer him some gummy candy from his pocket at the end would've sealed the reference for everyone.

Musically, there was the opera La Traviata, which translates as Woman who strays, which we can later understand it to mean Jill. But my favorite has to be Frightened Rabbit's "Keep Yourself Warm," which warns us about jumping into bed with the wrong person when ""you don't know who's in your bed." Even though the repeated refrain of "you can't find love in a hole" is a tiresome euphemism, I can't help playing this song over and over this morning.

Chuck - Episode 2.07
1. Selections from La Traviata by Verdi
2. "Buildings And Mountains" - The Republic Tigers
3. "Keep Yourself Warm" - Frightened Rabbit

Previously: Songs about Jill (Episode 2.06)

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