Zachary Levi of CHUCK: Before They Were TiVo'd : Give Me My Remote

Before They Were TiVo’d: Zachary Levi of CHUCK

September 15, 2009 by  

I am not a pickle person. Unlike many Americans, who use various cuts of dills and gherkins to accessorize their Labor Day paper plates, my limited taste buds make little room for fermented cucumbers. With the long summer months behind us, and after passing on a host of potentially pickled entrees, I feel comfortable revealing a secret. There is one stop on my takeout rotation that allows me to break my taboo…


My sandwich artist must add pickles to my foot long turkey sub before their latest masterpiece is ready for public viewing. Unlike traditional backyard favorites, like burgers or hot dogs, my turkey sandwich relies on pickles for distinctive flavor and a hint of spiciness. The lesson I have learned is that a pickle buried behind a wall of dominant flavors cannot be fully appreciated.

Long before his name became irrevocably linked with Subway, Zachary Levi was an underrated pickle on ABC’s sitcom, “Less Than Perfect.” The program, a thinly written workplace comedy, was launched as a breakthrough vehicle for likable star Sara Rue, known better to most GMMR readers as Stephanie, Leonard’s cohabiting girlfriend from Season 2 of “The Big Bang Theory” and before that Carmen from “Popular”.

The cast and crew of “Less Than Perfect” produced 81 episodes, placing it alongside “According To Jim” and “JAG” as the longest running series that neither myself nor any of my friends have ever watched. The TV gods provided mixed blessings to the Less Than Perfect cast, which also counted Sherri Shepherd and Andy Dick among its ranks. Who would have guessed that this little sitcom would have given life to “Chuck”, “The View”, and “Celebrity Rehab”?

In his role as Kipp Steadman, Zachary Levi was given a cookie-cutter role as the “snarky elitist” to darken the optimism of Rue’s character, sunny side up executive assistant Claude Casey. Though the dialogue lacked subtlety or punch, Levi made the most of his opportunities to shine.

Did you know the man can sing?

Next, a look at one of Zach’s under appreciated features, courtesy of the good folks at

During the Save Chuck campaign, I recall seeing a few posts about Mr. Levi being easy on the eyes. If I’m allowed to gaze adoringly at Jenna Fischer, then fair is fair. Sorry for the poor picture quality on this one. I searched far and wide, and this was the best sample:

At the risk of repeating myself, I offer these closing thoughts, originally included in the discussion thread of Kath’s Chuck set visit piece in March, and edited for clarity:

Persistence is tragically underrated in show business. The sheer force of will that powered Zachary Levi from his acting debut in the 2001 “Untitled Sisqo Project” to his role on Sara Rue’s “Less Than Perfect,” all the while filling in his resume on whatever TV/film project came his way, has been the best possible preparation for his first starring vehicle.

Zach’s appreciation for the Chuck experience reminds me of Steve Carell, who was thrust into the entertainment stratosphere after twenty years of diligent (and brilliant) comedic work. They appear to be the guys next door because, for a very long time, they actually were.

If one were to choose an engine to drive a television show, I think we would all hop aboard the Zachary Levi train. (That’s what she said)

Erik’s summer was wasted with marathons of The Next Food Network Star and MTV’s 16 & Pregnant. After weeks of comparing risotto dishes and dishonest baby daddies, he is eager to get back to writing about House and Parks & Recreation for GMMR.


2 Responses to “Before They Were TiVo’d: Zachary Levi of CHUCK”

  1. Remy on September 15th, 2009 1:42 pm

    …was Zach Levi really on the Untitled Sisqo Project?!

    *goes on Google search*

    OMFG. You just made my life.

    Anyways, he really is the boy next door. He’s got such an ease to him, and he seems grateful for everything he’s gotten thus far. Plus he’s appreciative of his fans – my friend met him over the summer, and he took time out to talk to her and send me a video message. Sweetest guy ever.

    Great writing. 🙂

  2. Erik on September 16th, 2009 10:05 pm

    Remy: Thanks for the kind feedback. Kath was on the Chuck set earlier today, and sent a tweet that said he greeted her with a hug and kiss. Would any of us hold our breath for Hollywood’s biggest stars to do that for us?