ODONTV – Podcast 1 – A Chat With AOLTV Critic – Maureen Ryan

The first ODONTV podcast on the current state of TV!

And what a kickoff! Join me as I chat with AOLTV Critic Maureen Ryan who can be found online at StayTuned under the AOL TV Squad.

We talk about TV critiquing and what Maureen strives to do in her job. Fun stuff includes geeking out about various shows including the upcoming AMC – The Walking Dead, Terriers, Chuck, Sons of Anarchy.  We also discuss how the Internet and new Social Media are changing many aspects of how people interact with one another in regards to reporting on and being fans of TV.

Kick back and join us in our Grokside Chat:

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYKGvFkA%5D

CNN – 4.05: Chuck Vs The Couch Lock

Welcome back gang!

Celebration Time! Woohoo! Join us and our guest – dokhnutty aka Shari from the SWFanGirls podcast as we celebrate NBC’s order of a back 11 for Chuck and an excellent episode of Chuck this week!

Take a listen to our Audio Episode Review of Episode 4.05: Chuck Vs The Couch Lock:

http://blip.tv/play/AYKF7nEA

Join Jan, Karen, Joe, and myself as we embark on our next Season 4 Audio Review.

Thanks to my fellow podcasters, Jan, Karen, and Joe. Also a special thanks to Shari! Hope you listeners will enjoy!

Miss any episodes? You can find them all at CNN – Chuck Nerdposium Netcast, and every time you watch it helps to support us!

Note: my written review for Chuck Vs The Couch Lock can be found at ChuckTV – here.

As always this podcast is family and office safe.

That’s The Way, Uhuh, Uhuh – Episode 4.05: Chuck Vs The Couch Lock

Written by Henry Alonso Meyers
Directed by Michael Schultz

‘That’s The Way, Uhuh, Uhuh! I like it! Uhuh. Uhuh.’
K.C. & The Sunshine Band
OR
‘Build A Solid Spy Story And Good Episodes Will Come.’

Field of Dreams Paraphrase

After three consecutive episodes of Chuck and Sarah relationship hand holding, and BuyMore resetting, the show returned to the spy story with The Couch Lock. In a big way too. This episode did so many things right that it made me giddy with joy.

In model, ‘Show don’t tell,’ manner, this episode dramatized Chuck’s realization that his quest to find his mother is putting his immediate loved ones in mortal danger. Casey, Morgan, and Sarah were placed in harm’s way as a direct result of what Chuck set in motion. By using the supporting players to show this it is a win, win situation. Not only do we get to share with Chuck the experience of what he has caused to happen but Casey and Morgan get to grow as characters, interact with the leads more, and play off one another in both dramatic and humorous ways.

Why was this all possible? Because the episode had a solid story foundation to work from. The longevity of a series comes down to its characters. The strength of individual episodes come down to how strong the story engine is. With Chuck being a spy based show that equates to having solid missions. Those missions work even better when an emotional connection can be forged between it and the cast. The more characters with personal stakes in the mission the better. With Couch Lock the initial emotional hooks are with Casey and his former A-Team members. This one works even better because it ties in to the season arc for MamaB, Morgan’s relationship with Casey and his daughter Alex, and the aforementioned Chuck episode arc of weighing the cost of the end goal versus the means he is using to get there.

 

Casey Unlocked!

With all that to work with the episode becomes a gold mine of character beats, action set pieces, comedy, heart felt moments, and just plain old fun. Riffing off of the A-Team, Charade, Weekend At Bernie’s, and Entrapment to name a few there was very much to like about this one. This episode also makes the best use of Jeff and Lester since Dream Job and the American Hero where their unknowing participation in the spy storyline is seamless and as a result very funny. Another sign of a good episode is when the BuyMore supports the main storyline instead of detracting from it.

Episode Flashes: – so much to pick from this week! Too much. Add your own in the comments.

* The Casey A-Team: Packard, T.I., MacIntosh,
* Clinton and his mouthy wife
* Casey smelling Jeff & Lester
* ‘White Zin. Magic of the Gathering, If you have the manna.’ Jeff &Lester riffing
* Morgan with Alex while staying under Casey’s radar at the BuyMore
* great to see Chuck and Morgan talking openly at the BuyMore
* ‘You know. The A-Team.’ ‘I was the A-Team.’
* ‘Casey. We have to kill you.’
* Sarah’s look of pride at Chuck’s plan to draw out the A-Team
* Chuck’s discomfort with Beckman congratulating him on putting duty above emotion
* Fakeadeathonol
* ‘Little alone time before I die. Pay some bills.’
* Morgan’s ‘mish’ callback quickly dismissed by Chuck
* Casey ‘Charade’ funeral scene done to Oingo Boingo’s – ‘Dead Man’s Party’
* Casey freaking out Morgan when he opens his eyes
* Casey being stuck with American Flag pin and lit cigar
* ‘Forgiveness. Big gun loving. Commie hating. Forgiveness.’ Morgan’s hilarious eulogy.
* A-Team stealing of Casey from church
* Casey’s tracker on cat. Chuck’s frantic, ‘Don’t shoot it,’ to tactical squad
* Casey ordering his feet to move
* Jeff and Lester knowing the exact dumpster Casey is in.
* Red Batphone at the BuyMore!
* ‘Strait laced ones.’ ‘Every one likes to get their freak on.’ ‘Sometimes I like to feel official too.’
* ‘You don’t say uh-oh!’
* Snarky Sarah – ‘You could have told me that before I crawled under those lasers.’ – should have been a hommage to Entrapment there though
* Casey couch locked with a StormTroopers helmet to boot
* Morgan getting Alex out of harm’s way.
* Alex, like her father, prefers to be direct.
* Sarah’s, ‘Getting bored,’ to Chuck.
* Morgan trying to break Casey’s couch lock by slapping him, ‘Like slapping a car!’
* Morgan breaking Casey’s couch lock by telling him about Alex – great Casey reaction shots and loved the use of Russian themed music during this sequence
* ‘Frost is our boss.’ Volkoff’s right hand clean up specialist.
* Casey and Morgan at the Iranian bunker door. Morgan with a battery hand-held fan.
* ‘That’s 3 to 1 Casey!’ ‘Just the way I like it.’
* Holy Goldfinger!
* ‘Let there be darkness!
* ‘Is that a little girl?’
* Name: Morgan. Expertise: None.
* Morgan waking up to Sarah
* ‘I died?’ ‘Yeah. Just for 3 secs.’
* ‘We wake up in some of the best dumpsters in the city.’
* Morgan party invitation to Casey made up like a top secret document.
* Casey covering for Morgan with Alex
* Alex to Morgan, ‘You are brave.’
* ‘Break her heart, I break your everything.’
* Chuck and Sarah fountain scene. Chuck deciding to give up search for MamaB as price is too high.
* MamaB calling Chuck.

With the exception of Big Mike, everyone puts in an appearance and none of it felt contrived. Especially nice was the family gathering at Morgan’s party. Adam Baldwin really demonstrated a lot of acting range with even more minimal body movement because of his Weekend At Bernie’s Couch Lockdown. The eye emotings he did, mostly with Morgan, were hilarious. But really the episode belonged to Morgan as he ‘died’ for three seconds and proved to Casey that he is indeed a good guy. Casey and Morgan scenes are gold and this episode gave us twenty-four carat ones. Morgan and Alex continued to show their chemistry from the previous episode was no fluke. Also very refreshing to see Alex being very open and direct in her talks with Morgan.

For an episode that had so many of Zac Levi’s real life friends such as Joel David Moore and Eric Roberts in it, it was unfortunate that Chuck and Sarah were somewhat subordinate in the episode. All to the good mind you because that is what the story called for. It has been awhile since the Chuck that I really liked so much as a character has had a chance to come out but he did this episode. He learned a lesson and was willing to give up the search for his mother. Great to see his priorities back in proper order.

Fortunately, for dramatic purposes, Chuck’s activities have caught Volkoff’s attention and, no doubt, prompted him to bring in his cleaner. MamaB.

Exciting!

Superb, Sweet And Sexy! – Episode 4.04: Chuck Vs The Coup D’Etat

Written by Kristin Newman
    Directed by Robert Duncan McNeil
Everyone brings their own set of expectations to the things they indulge in during their leisure time. Even within a shared experience such as a TV show those expectations can vary widely. Even one as telegraphed as Chuck. So when I sit back, watch an episode that operates heavily in the areas which are not in my preferred pleasure zones and still come away with a big, sloppy grin on my ugly mug, it can only mean one thing; an exceptional episode.
Rookie Chuck writer, Kristen Newman of, ‘That 70’s Show,’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ background experience serves up a goldmine episode of character nugget rich moments. She displays a flair for the comedic with layered dialogue that leads, more often than not, from a character moment to another or even a scene transition in a skilled and seamless matter.
One of my favorite beats is when Chuck is talking relationships, Sarah is talking mission, Chuck flashes on one of Sarah’s intel pictures of the Costa Gravas nuclear weapons panel, Chuck switches to talking mission and nuclear, and Sarah switches to relationship talk using the nuclear comment as her jumping off point before Chuck brings them both back in synch and talking about the mission.
Funny. Clever. Witty. Seamless. An awesome bit of writing.
Kristen gives each of the regular cast and the main guest stars great lines and beats to play. Armand Assante returns with zest and vigor and Tia Texada as his embittered spouse matches him beat for beat. Casey and Morgan continue to explore their relationship now becoming even more complicated and filled with even more comedic potential with the return Casey’s long lost daughter, Alex. Mekanna Melvin makes a fetching return as Alex, made all the more so awesome that there is definite on screen chemistry between her and Josh Gomez’s Morgan Grimes.
Morgan was back on track character wise after being somewhat sublimated in the last episode to facilitate the return of Big Mike. He channeled the audience’s exasperation with Chuck and Sarah’s communication issues, indirectly led to the closing scene with Sarah telling a ‘sleeping’ Chuck what her answer would be to the big question via the seemingly ill advised selfhelp relationship book , kivitzed with Casey, was wise and emboldened enough by Alex to follow Big Mike’s advice, and went for the jam in his soul.
All this, and while we are all eager to see Casey and Morgan interaction, the little bearded one is not just entering into in-law situations with not just one powerful father figure, but two! Morgan navigating stormy patriarchal seas of not only Casey but Big Mike as well. Plus being in a romance. Plus managing a BuyMore. Plus being a spy! And we thought Chuck was doing a big juggling act back in the Season One and Two days. Talk about a busy guy!
The Chuck and Sarah dynamics were a lot of fun this week too. Especially as we got to see them played off of Ellie and Devon, the Communication All-Stars. From the awkward faux proposal opening to the still awkward surveillance van scene to the bikini decision and various types of communication scene to their shared fight scene right on to the final bedroom scene; each them of them, like real partners, had individual and shared moments to shine as they worked on being better communicators.
Episode Flashes: – an embarrasment of riches in this episode, more than I can list
  • The real Morgan is back this week! Yippee!
  • Morgan channeling audience on Chuck & Sarah being crap communicators while being the masters of precious looks
  • Morgan nailing the heart of the awkward faux engagement – how would Chuck have reacted if Sarah had said yes
  • Devon talking to baby and sharing his fab workout jams
  • wheelchair Casey in Castle for ‘fresh air’
  • Beckman back to monitor status – Boo!
  • Beckman’s – ‘Anyone who was not shot recently.’
  • Generalissmo’s hilarious Costa Gravas travelogue video
  • Smooth product placement via Devon and Goya
  • Babymoon
  • Bikinis &’Yes. That. Both….all of them.’ & ‘There are many ways to communicate.’
  • Morgan trying to take care of Casey.
  • ‘Dad.’ ‘Daughter.’ ‘Morgan, how’d the pot roast turn out?’
  • Roman Holiday movie
  • ‘Grimes, give her a five minute head start.’
  • Chuck’s cuddling needs versus Sarah’s needs for thirty minutes of silence.
  • Awesome’s awesome smile at seeing his statue
  • Generalissimo’s wife, Hortencia
  • Generalissimo’s senses immediately picking up on the fragrance of a ripe fruit aka Ellie’s pregnancy
  • ‘Way to go, marble me!’
  • ‘Follow the stink of commie.’
  • Tall and brunette versus charming and handsome. Sarah and Chuck characters captured in dialogue.
  • Red door. ‘Get me out of here!’
  • Alex & Morgan movie marathons
  • Big Mike on Casey, ‘That’s not a daddy you want to be giving you a spanking.’
  • Chuck shaking his head no but saying yes to Sarah’s question about the 101 Questions book
  • Costa Gravas = Chuck and Sarah = nuclear
  • General Beckman’s – ‘Costa Gravas is nuclear!’
  • Casey nailing the full scope of those involved with the Coup
  • a red polka dotted, laser sighted Casey proclaiming, ‘Cute. Too bad you didn’t bring enough.’
  • ‘The stench of tyranny.’
  • Big Mike talking the goods to Morgan about love via Bolognia singing like the happiest bird in the sky to knowing about being with the right one because you feel the sweet, smooth jams rise up from your soul
  • ‘What rebel leader goes to a marriage counsellor?’
  • Alex and Morgan!
  • Sarah talking to Chuck in his ‘sleep.’ Best of all it is left open to our interpretation. Was Chuck awake or asleep? Either scenario works for me. And works well.

‘Too bad you didn’t bring enough.’ – One good leg, seriously painted John Casey. Bad Ass!
Quibbles? Sure, but most of them are based on the way the season is being handled.
For this episode, the first half was stronger than the second. The resolution was cribbed far too much from 3.02 – Chuck Vs The Three Words where Chuck talked down Carina’s supposed boyfriend in a similar manner. It was great to see Chuck tell Ellie about his quest to find their mother but a continuing disappointment that he is hiding his spy life from Ellie. At least Chuck is dropping hints to Ellie. It irks me though to see the show continually under use Sarah Lancaster as Ellie. The actress and the character deserve better. I do not see the purpose or plus side to keeping both of them on a short leash. They unleashed Morgan and look what happened. Why not do the same for Ellie?
Three episodes in a row where the Chuck and Sarah relationship shaped the mission. With the exceptions of the Cubic Z and the Anniversary there has been a paucity of tension and drama to the episodes. When an episode is a good as the Coup D’etat I can forego that requirement.
Really enjoyed this episode and hope for those of you who are into the show for primarily for the relationship are happy with the season to this point. Let me know in the comments section where you want to see the emphasis placed on the future direction of the show. Do you want the focus to continue to be on the relationship? Or would you like to see the spy mythology and MamaB storyline start to rev up?
I barely mentioned how awesome Casey and Awesome were this episode too.  Another sign of a great episode.