Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Beefcake"

Illustration for article titled Chuck: "Chuck Vs. The Beefcake"
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

Hi. I'm not your usual Chuck blogger. Sorry about that. Steve decided to sit tonight out because he predicted he'd be too overwhelmed by the continuing greatness of Heroes to talk about any other show.

I'm assuming Steve was watching, at any rate. If not he missed a pretty good, if slightly-less-than-top-quality episode of one of the most predictably entertaining hours on television. Why less-than-top quality? I think the Chuck/Sarah relationship is starting to go around in circles, and not in a fun, merry-go-round kind of way. Chuck feels the need to get out of his fake relationship with Sarah unless he can find a way to turn it into a real relationship, which can't happen because of their spy work, even though Sarah seems to have some feelings for Chuck as well. How long can this dynamic be sustained without turning into a fun, action/comedy version of No Exit? Maybe I should just have faith that Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak know this is going somewhere, but I felt like we've been over this turf before, and recently.


That said, there was nothing really wrong with the way this episode treated Chuck and Sarah, and really nothing wrong with the way Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski played it, particularly the long sequence in which our hero is forced to listen to Sarah make out with the titular beefcake (Jonathan Cake). Hell is a dependable eavesdropping device.

Later Chuck will choose to use similar equipment to spy on Sarah twice, and get caught both times. For all his growing competence he can be a truly terrible spy sometimes. It plays into the episodes overarching theme of uncomfortable, and inappropriate intimacy. First Morgan has to listen to Big Mike attending to his mother's, um, neglected plumbing—"The man moans like a wounded sea lion”—then makes everyone uncomfortable with his own comfort with nudity. (For those keeping score, the episode used a banana as a penis substitute not once but twice.) Then there was Jeff and Lester—who've really upped their comedy team game of late; I'm eager for the return of Jeffster—treating the hiring of another Buy More greenshirt as a means to explore the potentials of the casting couch. (You have to love Scott Krinsky ability to read a line like, "“Does you building have a security access code?” with the right mix of sincerity and creepiness.)  Also easy to admire, the little rhymes the script by Matthew Miller and Scott Rosenbaum finds between seemingly unrelated plots. "Everyone talks" has more applications than might first be imagined.

While the episode held a bit like a holding-pattern installment for most of its running time, it at least ended with some developments sure to have implications in weeks to come. Sarah clearly has the hots for the now-imperiled British beefcake. And Chuck's moving in with Morgan… Or maybe he's moving in with Sarah. Tune in next week.

Grade: B


Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`