CHUCK 101: The Basics - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

CHUCK 101: The Basics

January 6, 2010 by  

Hey guys – Kath & SB here. We know that most of us are big bunch of Chuck fanatics around here, but if we’ve done our job right, more than a few newbies will be tuning in when Chuck premieres its third season on Sunday, January 10th with a two hour premiere at 9/8c before moving to its permanent timeslot of Mondays 8/7c. Get those DVR season passes set up now!

UPDATE: Read our thoughts on S3 so far… CHUCK Returns to Kick a Little Ass on Sunday (and Monday Too)

Chuck Marathon on Syfy
While you’re programming your DVR, be sure to record the 8-hour Chuck marathon on Syfy from 5pm to 1am on Thursday, January 7th. Some of the show’s best episodes will be featured.

So while many of you have your B.S. in CHUCK, there are some that need some Cliff Notes help. This post is meant to serve as a quick start guide for those who may not be familiar with the world of Chuck Bartowski. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can start watching Chuck this Sunday and Monday even if you’ve never seen a single episode before. So don’t be intimidated. Plus, there are so many Chuck fans here at GMMR that we’ll be able to answer any question you may have…don’t be afraid to ask.

If you’re already a resident of Buymoria then this will be a great post to share with friends that you’re trying to convince to watch the show. So post it on Twitter* and Facebook and email it out to everyone you know that’s not watching Chuck. Let us know if you have any recent converts. Personally I know that my brother-in-law Dave is going to start watching this season (like he has a choice, my sister is obsessed). And just today @RickRUT tweeted “they’ve inspired me to check out Chuck” after listening to Kath & Dan praise the show on Who else can you get watching?

Since so many of you are CHUCKperts, be sure to add your thoughts (or anything we missed) in the comments below. And why not share the reasons YOU love Chuck. Chuck‘s got great action, humor, and angst, and there’s something for everyone to love.

Time to pay attention, kids. We’re going to do this in two ways. (1) You can watch these handy dandy recap/overview/teaser clips and get a good sense of what’s happened on Chuck during the first two seasons. Great stuff. (2) But if you want a bit of a deeper dive, you can continue reading on and find out just a bit more about all things Chuck.

Chuck Season 1

Chuck Season 2

Chuck Season 3 Teaser | VERY Spoilerific…but VERY Awesome!

Now on to the written portion of our lesson. Are you ready? Please raise your hand if you have any questions. Now where to begin…

  • The Intersect— Following 9/11, the CIA and NSA were instructed to “play nice” and share their intelligence, in turn making it easier to track and identify threats to national security. They put all the data they had into a single computer system called The Intersect. The Intersect “saw” patterns in the data that the agencies had not and cross-checked and combined both groups’ intelligence to determine the full nature of the threat. The system was originally housed in the Directorate of National Intelligence in Washington, DC, in an isolated chamber consisting of a single computer terminal. The walls were completely lined with video monitors that, when the system was accessed, displayed the data contained within the computer in a massive rush of information.

    Chuck’s old college roommate, a CIA agent named Bryce Larkin, destroyed the Intersect in an attempt to keep it from a sinister CIA splinter group known as Fulcrum. But before he destroyed the super computer, Bryce downloaded all the information. Facing near death, Bryce sent a copy of it in an e-mail to Chuck. Upon opening the email, Chuck was bombarded with images of all the data once stored in the super computer. As a result, Chuck Bartowski became the Intersect.

    Upon seeing or hearing something related to intelligence in the Intersect database, Chuck “flashes” and quickly recalls the related information (e.g., Chuck sees a face, and suddenly knows things about the person that were known only to the NSA and/or CIA).

    John Casey (NSA) and Sarah Walker (CIA) are assigned as the undercover agents who protect The Intersect (Chuck) from Fulcrum or anyone else interested in obtaining the top secret government information.

    It’s soon discovered that Chuck’s “flashes” are invaluable in helping Casey and Sarah get the bad guys, so Chuck is often brought along to assist. And while he’s mostly told to stay in the car, more often than not Chuck finds himself in the middle of dangerous situations. Sometimes he’s helpful, but often he really chucks it up.

  • The Intersect 2.0: In the S2 finale, The Intersect is finally removed from Chuck’s brain, however a new, bigger, badder Intersect has been created and is ready to be downloaded. In addition to its intelligence data (spy secrets) the Intersect 2.0 now allows Chuck to “flash” on and immediately learn new skills embedded within the Intersect.  This is revealed in the S2 finale as Chuck Bartowski lays down some nasty martial art work before declaring, “Guys, I know Kung Fu”. SPOILER ALERT: We will learn early in S3 that the Intersect 2.0 was built for a trained spy, like Bryce Larkin, who was completely in control of his emotions. Chuck Bartowski…not so much.
  • Chuck Bartowski—Works at the Buy More fixing computers with the Nerd Herd (so essentially, Best Buy and the Geek Squad). A super bright guy, Chuck attended Stanford but got kicked out his senior year for cheating on a test – which he didn’t do.  Since then he’s been stuck in a rut, working at the Buy More and living with his sister Ellie and her boyfriend (now husband) Devon.In the series premiere Chuck opens an email from Bryce Larkin that causes Chuck to download into his brain the full contents of a CIA/NSA supercomputer known as the Intersect. Unbeknownst to Chuck, the Intersect computer has been destroyed, making his brain the only location of this top-secret information. Now an important government asset, Chuck is closely protected by John Casey (NSA) and Sarah Walker (CIA).Being the Intersect comes with a price. Chuck must keep his identity as the Intersect secret not only from his family and friends, but also the evil doers (like Fulcrum) set out to destroy him/it. In turn Chuck Bartowski lives a double life – Buy More employee by day and spy wannabe by night. Being that he needs to stay closely guarded by Casey and Sarah at all time, Chuck and Sarah convince his family and friends that they are dating. Given the feelings that Chuck develops for Sarah (and her for him), neither are always sure where the ‘cover’ ends and the real relationship begins.

    While undercover on missions, Chuck is also know as Charles Carmichael –  “spy name” or “alias” if you will.

  • Sarah Walker— An experienced CIA agent and one of Chuck’s protectors, Sarah is super badass and one hell of a knife thrower. She often finds herself in sexy girl fights and has a tendency to get too close to her co-workers. Her former partner was Bryce Larkin, Chuck’s old roommate, who she was romantically involved with.Chuck and Sarah’s relationship is the premiere (but certainly not only) example of gender bending on this show—Chuck is usually the damsel in distress, and Sarah is the knight in shining armor.Very little is known about Sarah Walker. We don’t even know if that’s her real name. Although she did reveal to Chuck that her middle name is Lisa. Her father was a con artist and much of her youth was spent moving from city to city under a series of aliases as part of his ongoing schemes. She attended at least her senior year of high school—and graduated in 1998—under the alias of Jenny Burton.

    Sarah constantly struggles with her emerging romantic feelings towards Chuck. As a spy she’s learned the hard way not to fall in love with someone you work with.

  • John Casey—Chuck’s NSA protector, not what you’d call “touchy-feely”. Loves the 80’s, his ’87 Crown Vic, and Ronald Regan. All about following orders, doesn’t like talking about emotions, always carries a gun and regularly steps in to save the day. Casey has somewhat of a bromance/big-brotherly relationship with Chuck (although he would never admit it.)Virtually nothing is known about Casey’s personal life, although he did call his mother once, so one can assume she’s still alive (and if not…how morbid). Casey was a choirboy and has perfect pitch.Casey was promoted to the rank of Colonel in Season 2.
  • Castle – the code-name for the underground base facility underneath the Orange Orange, the frozen yogurt restaurant where Sarah works as part of her cover, constructed as a base of operations for “Operation Bartowski.” Castle possesses multiple detention cells, interrogation chambers and “safe” rooms. It has an extensive communications and computer database, which with proper knowledge of the systems can be accessed and even controlled from any location in the base
  • General Beckman/The General—Sarah and Casey’s boss, assigns the missions, usually shows up after Chuck has a flash.
  • Bryce Larkin – Bryce is the ex-college roommate and former fraternity brother of  Chuck Bartowski.  Bryce framed Chuck for cheating on an exam, a charge that led to Chuck’s expulsion from Stanford. For years Chuck blamed Bryce for his lot in life. Later it was revealed that Bryce was CIA even during his college days, and he got Chuck expelled from Stamford in order to keep his friend safe.Bryce was responsible for sending Chuck the Intersect via email, beginning the events of the series. He was formerly partnered and once romantically involved with Chuck’s CIA handler Sarah Walker. Bryce popped up time and again in Chuck’s life to help with missions, and to try to get Sarah back. But he gave up when he realized Sarah now loved Chuck. In the S2 finale Bryce was killed while trying to destroy the Intersect 2.0. His dying wish was for Chuck to destroy it…his friend didn’t listen.
  • Fulcrum—A rogue faction within the US intelligence community, described as a CIA splinter faction but said to have people in every agency. They’ve built their own Intersect, which Chuck now ALSO has in his head. They often figure prominently into episodes as “the bad guy”.
  • The Ring – Another mysterious faction of bad people. They too are after the Intersect.
  • Ellie Bartowski and Captain Awesome—Chuck’s sister and brother-in-law, whom he lives with. Both doctors. Ellie is motherly toward Chuck since their parents left them. Devon Whitcomb, Ellie’s husband is better known as Captain Awesome, so named because of his love of that word…and because he’s awesome – at everything. In S2, after being accidentally locked down military style in Casey’s apartment, he discovers that Chuck is a spy. Devon is the only one in Chuck’s private life that knows about his secret identity. Devon doesn’t know that Chuck is the very valuable ‘Intersect’.
  • Stephen Bartowski aka Orion – Ellie and Chuck’s dad. About ten years ago, after promising to make his children pancackes for dinner, Stephen left and never came back. He’s been absent most of their lives and went years without contacting his children.In Season 2 Stephen Bartowski returned and it was revealed that he was the mysterious Orion – the chief designer of the Intersect. He would later reveal to Chuck that he tested the Intersect on himself, and thus possesses an older version of it. At some point, Stephen learned what the government intended to do with the Intersect and knew that others would want it too. Stephen decided then that he had to go on the run, and stay away from his children in order to protect them.Stephen had asked Bryce Larkin to look out for his son, and keep him away from the Intersect project. However it was Bryce’s familiarity with Stephen and the Intersect that played a role in his decision to send it to Chuck.
  • Morgan Grimes—Chuck’s best friend since childhood, also works at the Buy More as a “green shirt” or sales guy. Likes video games and avoiding work. At the end of Season 3, Morgan quit the Buy More and moved to Hawaii with fellow Nerd Herder/girlfriend Anna Wu, to become a world famous Hibachi chef.
  • Jeff and Lester—BFF Nerd Herders who are totally socially awkward. Referred to lately in the recaps as Jeffster, because it was the name of their crappy (but awesome) band. Great comic relief, plans always go awry.
  • Big Mike and Emmett—Boss and Assistant Manager of the Buy More. Big Mike is currently violating Morgan’s mother. Emmett is a little bitch, and you will recognize him as Buster Bluth from Arrested Development.

And really, with that information in your own personal Intersection, you’re ready to watch. But be warned, you’ll be hooked.

Got questions? The comments are open…ask away!

Watch the CHUCK Pilot right now

*Share on Twitter by tweeting this: “Have friends that should watch #CHUCK? Here’s the post for them. CHUCK 101: The Basics #savechuck
(Special thanks to SB and Wikipedia for the help!)

Related Posts:

  • The Chuck Podcast: The TV Talk Podcast w/ GMMR & Ducky was on the set of CHUCK talking to Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski and Adam Baldwin about what to expect in Season 3. Listen now.
  • Chuck vs. the Network Pickup – A list of just a few of the many influential articles that were important to the Save Chuck campaign. For someone on the cusp of watching, check out some of these articles and read about the passion fans and critics have for the show.


17 Responses to “CHUCK 101: The Basics”

  1. @chiniehdiaz on April 6th, 2009 9:44 pm

    Awesome post! I adore Chuck – best show on TV. Count me in as one of the fans to help fill in the blanks as needed. 😉

  2. Ben on April 7th, 2009 6:03 am

    Man, this show is dynamic and has crosses a LOT of genres… i don’t understand how it’s continuation could be questioned… I mean from me and my friends to my grandma digs this show, haha! This week was INTENSE!

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  4. Kay Lhota on January 6th, 2010 8:53 am

    Excellent summary! Whether or not this Season of “Chuck” racks up higher Neilsen numbers, I’ve loved the series right from the beginning, and I have been doing what I could to spread the word. What Ben said in the post above is true: I’m an aging boomer and I watched “Chuck” with enthusiasm. For several years before that, I’d been disenchanted with TV, and watched no prime time. Slowly my two sons peeked out of their laptops and video games, until they wouldn’t miss “Chuck” if it were on. Last year, I introduced my Mom to “Chuck,” and she showed me episodes of “The Big Bang Theory.” Now, with “big Bang” moved to 9:30, maybe Mom will check out “Chuck.”

  5. Michele on January 6th, 2010 9:04 am

    I love all things Chuck and even though I knew everything I read – I still read it all avidly! I’m SO psyched for season 3!!!!

  6. OldDarth on January 6th, 2010 9:39 am

    If you like stories about underdog heroes or little engines that could or a common man becoming a heroic one; this show is for you.

    The cast has great chemistry and Zachary Levi does it all; drama, comedy, physical action, pathos, and romance.

    Give Chuck a chance. It will be your pick me up show of the week.

  7. StrikerChuck on January 6th, 2010 9:51 am

    Chuck went to Stanford not Stamford.

  8. littlebit on January 6th, 2010 10:53 am

    viva buymoria! oh how i’ve missed chuck, casey, sarah and the buy morons!! so looking forward to season 3. spread the word folks, this is a fun show.

  9. Joe on January 6th, 2010 11:46 am

    Great summary! This show IS the best thing on TV. Maybe, ever.

    I have only one very small nit. When you say Chuck flashes and “suddenly knows things about the person that were known only to the NSA and/or CIA”, he actually knows MORE than they do. The intersect sees patterns in the data and puts things together in a way that humans, and the agencies, can’t.

    Very cool stuff.

  10. ColoradoKila on January 6th, 2010 2:44 pm

    I’m in, better late than never. You and Ducky haven’t led me astray yet, so I trust this will be another good decision.

  11. Alison on January 6th, 2010 6:07 pm

    I am SOOOO excited!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Sam on January 6th, 2010 6:27 pm

    I am a new viewer of the show which i started watching in the summer. I LOVED IT. Better yet, i’ve gotten at least ten more people to watch it. I can’t wait for season 3!

  13. Thomas on January 10th, 2010 11:38 am

    Nice little summary. Just one thing you should change though, as Bryce says while dying, The Ring isn’t “another” rogue organization. Fulcrum is part of the Ring.

  14. PamelaJaye on January 10th, 2010 3:51 pm

    the first video is gone. just fyi

  15. shanms on January 11th, 2010 1:20 pm

    another nitpick…

    an addendum to big mike and emmett: emmett started out as a performance evaluator and liaison to the buy more brought in by what the guys call “corporate” because, as it turns out, the one located at burbank is not the only one. there is another in los angeles that poses as buy more-burbank’s rival alongside LargeMart (another frequently mentioned fictional superstore).

    as season 3 opens, the BUY MORE will look slightly different particularly because of the absence of big mike. through a very manipulative scheme of blackmailing morgan into having the rest of the “buymorians” increase sales (thus, making the store look good under his watch), emmett ended up ousting big mike and taking position as THE manager of the burbank branch. which is why we can expect to see emmett as grand pooba over there.

    that’s all that comes to mind right now. anyways, i want to be the nth person to say i love the show.

    chuck fans unite!!!!

  16. LilyAlisons on June 9th, 2010 3:55 am

    Bonjour, Nice to yoke you, I am alise

  17. TV to the Rescue: How NBC & USA Saved January — Giving Up on Perfect on October 12th, 2011 9:54 pm

    […] game-changing finale, Season Three is the perfect time to start. But you can also check out Chuck 101: The Basics on Give Me My Remote. It includes video clips that will catch you right up – and get you totally […]