After nearly seven months that included torment, harassment of NBC and subway sandwich eating followed by excruciating anticipation, on Sunday Jan. 10th, Chuck, Sarah, Casey and the citizens of BuyMoria returned to the airwaves with an awesome bang.

Many people were concerned that with the upgraded intersect 2.0, which gave Chuck new kung fu powers, the show would lose the inherit nerdiness that makes it so unique and lovable. Even I was worried that Chuck would become a less badass version of Neo, that Casey would turn into Morpheus and Sarah into Trinity, making the show nothing more than a typical heroic adventure tale.

But need not fear my fellow Nerd Herders. Chuck is just as clumsy and goofy as ever. Now he has the option, rather the obligation, to get out of the car. What Josh Schwartz, Chris Fedak and crew have given us is an upgraded version of the show we already loved.

Five episodes into the third season, the writers have proven that they can not only balance Chuck’s Buy More world and spy world with his new upgrade, but they can integrate them better than ever. With Captain Awesome’s (a.k.a. Devon Woodcomb) discovery of Chuck’s spy world, Ryan McPartlin has been able to show off his diverse acting skills in addition to his shiny abs. Both ‘Chuck vs. the Angel De La Muerte’ and ‘Chuck vs. Operation Awesome’ were able to showcase McPartlin’s talent in a way that neither season one or two accomplished.

The swap between Chuck and Devon’s roles was immediately recognizable and an instant success. Once upon a time Chuck had been the Buy More loser and Devon the brother-in-law superstar doctor with the perfect life.

Now Chuck has become the leader as the superspy and Devon the one trying to figure out how to get through the day without lying to his wife. Chuck’s entire world was flipped upside down as he took on the role of Devon’s handler and had to play Sarah and Casey’s role rather than his usual backseat. A better character could not have been picked for this story line; forcing Chuck to completely take on the job he chose and live up to the expectations of his now admiring brother-in-law.

In the same way that Devon was able to enter the spy world in a more prominent way, Chuck’s new role with intersect 2.0 has given Team Bartowski a little chance to rest. Release the Casey has a whole different meaning in a Buy More context than when he is out playing with his machine guns and saving Chuck’s ass.

In ‘Chuck vs. First Class,’ while Chuck is off fencing and flirting on a particularly classy plane to Paris, Adam Baldwin gets to showcase his grunting skills as Lieutenant ass-man (assistant manager) to Morgan proving that he truly is the most terrifying employee in that store.

These flops in roles throughout the ‘Chuck’ world have given the writers the chance to show us characters working together that we wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to see together. In the crazy amount of television that I somehow have the time to watch, I have seen many shows go dry because character’s relationships get old. With these fresh new interactions, ‘Chuck’ feels new and different each week.

In addition to the top-notch stories that have merged the action, comedy and romance just as well as last year, the ‘Chuck’ gang has lived up to the awesome guest stars that we were given last season.

From Kristen Kreuk to Brandon Routh (I refuse to believe the superman connection was a coincidence), Angie Harmon to Stone Cold Steven Austin, each guest has surpassed the other. Rather than taking away from the premise of the show, the writers are able to integrate them in a way that enhances each episode.

And in first-rate Josh Schwartz fashion, the show’s romance is still hitting all the right notes. Schwartz who is also known for his soap opera-esque hit ‘The O.C’ knows how to write romantic tension, and Sarah and Chuck showcase this better than any of the other characters he has written.

Schwartz and gang will need to alleviate the pressure at some point or it will get old quick. After the questions left at the end of season two were settled, the ‘Charah’ love was toned down and the show returned to it’s usual charming in a not-overwhelming-way state.

While ‘Chuck’ still has it’s flaws, such as the very prominent plot holes each week or the dramatic emphasis on unresolved tension between Chuck and Sarah, the show always, without fail, makes me smile. The start of the season has just proven how lucky we are to have Chuck, Casey and Sarah back in our lives after the torture of last fall. If you are one of the many who have yet to have the privilege of experiencing this show, I don’t know what your doing still reading, go watch. Long live BuyMoria.

Rosenberg is a member of the class of 2012.



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