Chuck versus the Shippers

Over on the NPR Monkey See blog is a contentious article about the recent changes in the TV series Chuck.


Television plot lines are not supposed to be determined by majority vote.
That shouldn’t be a controversial statement, but an interesting little mini-controversy that has broken out over last night’s episode of NBC’s Chuck — a show with a small but madly devoted audience — suggests that at least some fans are viewing themselves more and more as shareholders who get to vote on the outcome, Choose Your Own Adventure-style.
In short, last night, spy-nerd Chuck and his on-again, off-again love interest Sarah, who are currently not together for a combination of professional and personal reasons, decided to let each other go and embarked on new relationships with other people. This, predictably, has set off the show’s “shippers.” (As we’ve discussed before, these are the people whose enjoyment of a show hinges entirely on the progress of a romantic couple.)

Look, here’s the thing. What the people upset about the change in the status of the Chuck and Sarah relationship don’t seem to realize is that dynamic tension in a relationship is a GOOD thing.
Don’t they remember Moonlighting, or any other number of series that, once the romantic protagonists are together, permanently derail an entire rail of the series, and often the series itself?
Also, with all that has happened to Chuck, including the new Intersect, and his newly developing mad skills, it makes sense for him and Sarah not to pursue their relationship, at least for a while.
It will make the narrative, emotional payoff all the sweeter in the end.