Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chuck vs The Alma Mater

This is the first episode of Season One of Chuck that packs quite an emotional wallop. We get used to this later in the series but when I began this podcast, I tried to think about when liking Chuck turned into loving Chuck and this is one of the episodes of the series where I start to love it. The Series starts off with humor and action thrills and there are certainly some warm moments but in this episode we get an emotional punch. When I watched this episode before recording the podcast I found myself welling up at the Bryce Truth reveal at the end, I think it's a combination of Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski and Matt Bomer selling it along with the beautiful music of Tim Jones. It was a group effort and indeed it was quite satisfying.

It's hard to stop repeating how much I love this show, but I can't help it. I love this show. The way the music also adds to every scene is quite ingenious, when you hear a song like Don't Look Back in Anger by Oasis when Chuck is flashing back to his Stanford days it doesn't just get you humming the song but it permanently becomes a part of the Chuck universe. Much like life, we have songs that we can play and it takes you back to a time when you first heard it. The song will remind you of a particular person or a time and place - Chuck gives us songs that create a moment for us to remember and it's fantastic. I can't hear Don't look back in Anger without thinking about Chuck. And that is awesome.

When I watch this episode I am also tempted to play Zork, the computer game. I have never played it but Chuck Bartowski seems to love it so it must be good, right? When there are scenes in the Buy More, I like to look and see what's sitting on the shelves, In this episode I can see many copies of World of Warcraft and we even get a mention of Jill's favorite game Everquest in the Stanford flashbacks. It makes me wonder how big of fans of Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz are? They are Nerds after all.

Download the Podcast episode: S1Ep7 Vs The Alma Mater

This is also one of those Chuck episodes that is just loaded with great songs, as previously mentioned we have Don't look back in Anger -- Oasis, and Chelsea Dagger -- The Fratellis, Trendsetter -- Goose, Drama Queen -- Switches and Maneater -- Hall and Oates.

Again here is a Review by Alan Sepinwall in which he seemed to be rather grumpy about the whole trip to Stanford. I just don't get it guys but I am a Chuck apologist after all. What do I know? Eric Goldman's Review was more like it, he really digs Chuck Mythology episodes and it's very interesting to read his interpretation that Chuck was really good at interpreting encoded information and the reasons why Bryce may have sent the Intersect to him? Chuck could handle it. Also let's not forget AV Club's review, don't you just love the comments section? To each his own.

I love the way the series keeps dropping little hints at future story threads like Jill the ex-girlfriend and even Chucks natural gift at being able to store a massive amount of information.

I hope that you guys are digging The Chuck Series Companion and now I have to do some begging. Please go to iTunes and Rate and Review the Podcast. I would very much appreciate it. I want the podcast to show up when people search for the word, 'Chuck' and right now it doesn't. Do people still use iTunes? Apparently somebody does so do me a favor and review the show for me. I want Chucksters and new Chuck fans alike to be able to find the show and you can help.

It's funny how excited I get after I post a new episode, I'm usually tired and mentally exhausted from editing when I realize, 'Hey tomorrow, I can watch the next episode of Chuck and start all over!' This really is a lot of fun expressing my enthusiasm for the show episode to episode and I can't wait to do it again.

Until next time.

The Jastrom

1 comment:

  1. This episode has its fun moments, some nice scenes between Chuck and Ellie, but the spy part falls a bit flat for me because of some of the preposterous nature of that storyline. I can suspend my disbelief (and do throughout the series) and accept that there is super advanced tech available, but a villain who has an ordinary crossbow as his weapon of choice and student/CIA agents at Stanford with an arsenal that Chuck can mobilize by a phrase? Eh, a bit too much for me. When I tell folks to try the show I'll say to them if interested but not totally hooked by the pilot to try to get through E8 (acknowledging that I'm asking for a sizable time investment to decide on a show), in part to get through this episode that I think can turn people off midway through it, and in part because I think the test of whether you've been bitten by the Chuck-Sarah developing relationship really hits with E8 and E9. That said, your podcast did make me reevaluate my view of this episode and your absolutely right that the Bryce reveal at the end is very strong and interesting and getting back to the first season's larger story arc, plus there's some great emotion in that ending.