Series finales are extremely tricky. They can either leave you with no closure and ruin character development that was built throughout the show. But on the other hand, it could show you the characters that you grew to love get the happy ending they’ve always dreamed of. Personally, I hate both of those types of endings. The finales I adore most are the ones that leave us with something to think about. They make you ask “what if” and give the audience the option of deciding the fate of their beloved characters’ lives.
The series checked out after ninety-one episodes, leaving its mark on television and igniting a spark in fans everywhere. “Chucksters” were outraged that they would no longer get to cozy up with their favorite intersect every week. Much like Agent Bartowski, CHUCK had more to it than meets the eye. CHUCK wasn’t just a comedy or an action packed primetime series; it was so much more than that.
It was clear from the beginning CHUCK wasn’t just about a computer nerd who accidentally downloaded a classified government computer in his head. The show’s main plot was the love story of Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah. (Yvonne Strahovski) Mission after mission they would try and put off their obvious attraction towards each other until there finally was no more back and forth or on and off. Every fans dream had come to life, Sarah and Chuck were finally going to get their perfect ending, or so they thought.
It sounds like a broken record, when critics say, “this show was ahead of it’s time.” when trying to justify why it didn’t last as long as it should have. With CHUCK the longevity of it was not the problem, CHUCK had a great run, and an episode count that network execs today would kill for. The problem was not many people knew about this wonderful little show. CHUCK developed a cult following almost immediately after it started airing and still has a tight grip on its fans three years after it left the air. There’s a reason people still talk about this show and are ferociously devoted to it. This show never strayed from its true form; it was always a comedy but it also had such intense dramatic elements. More than anything this little show that could, had heart; This show could have easily taken the cheesy route like most shows often do, but it didn’t. It was new, exciting and addictive. It gave the audience what they wanted and then ripped it out from them, but somehow found a way to give it back to them in an even better way. CHUCK had the ability of making the audience happy while not giving them full control of the story, a quality that’s very hard to find nowadays on TV. This show was one of a kind and was a true gift to television, in honor of the 3rd anniversary of the shows beautiful and brilliant finale I caught up with some of the shows most beloved cast members. I chatted with Actors, Scott Krinsky, Mekenna Melvin, Ryan McPartlin, Joshua Gomez, and Vik Sahay about their favorite CHUCK moments, a possible movie, and why the finale worked so well.
What was your initial reaction when you signed on?
Vik Sahay: Well, when I first signed on, Lester was a speck of dust in the pilot. I had just lost the part of Morgan to Josh Gomez. So I honestly thought okay, nothing ventured nothing gained kind of thing. Then I found myself on set with McG directing and there was a palpable crackle that day, and I salivated right there. I improvised a button for the scene I was in, he and Josh (Schwartz) and Chris (Fedak) totally got it and we were off. I left Canada and followed the trail into the Buy More. And no, I had never been a part of something like that. I mean there was a special pulp quality to the characters in their dead end jobs that I did find hilarious and lovable. The creators gambled right in such a deep way. People swooned. It was a beautiful thing, so innocent and open hearted, the opposite of cynical.
Joshua Gomez: As soon as I read the pilot, I knew it was awesome and I was in! It’s hard to know though, what will resonate with people and become a hit.
Mekenna Melvin: I had seen a few episodes of the show, and then when I signed on I had a weekend where I marathoned all of the episodes and I fell in love with the whole storyline. It was kind of a gift for me because I became such a huge fan.
Scott Krinsky: No, just because I didn’t know too much about the direction of the show as far as my character wasn’t originally a series regular. Everything that happened to me and Vik (Sahay) with Jeffster, and a few others weren’t regulars to begin with, so we had no idea what was to come.
Ryan McPartlin: My first reaction was to call my agent to get me another job because I thought there was no way that NBC would take a risk on a show that was so outside of what I thought was typical broadcast programming. I give everyone who was at NBC and Warner Brothers television a lot of credit for keeping CHUCK on the air for five seasons.
What was your favorite Chuck episode?
Vik Sahay: I have to say the birth of Jeffster in “Chuck VS The Best Friend,” because of all that it wrought. It brought the band out of the garage and into the world. How many people have these secret creative lives that never see the light of day? The whole thing was like a fantasy of what could happen if those parts of us were unleashed.
Joshua Gomez: This is always an interesting question because I probably view episodes with a different criteria than a fan may. For me, I recall certain memories or episodes that were particularly fun to make. “Chuck VS The Beard” was really exciting. Zac (Levi) was directing, and I was thrilled for Morgan to finally find out Chuck’s secret. So many stand out to me. Shooting the Pilot was magical, “Chuck VS The Honeymooners” and “Chuck VS The First Fight,” are a few more that come to mind.
Mekenna Melvin: I had a lot of fun doing “Chuck VS The Curse” with the pants box. That was a really fun episode for me because I felt like it was one of the first episodes where I really got in on the spy stuff. It was one of the first scenes where I got to hold a big gun. (laughs)
Scott Krinsky: When we got into Jeff’s background and his history those ones were always my favorite and the first time Jeffster performed, where we did “Africa.” That one always kind of stays in my mind, and the Pilot, I still remember the first day showing up and shooting scenes with Vik, Zac, and McG our director. I still vividly remember it and have great memories of that day.
Ryan McPartlin: The one that stands out is “Chuck VS Operation Awesome.” We all loved getting in on the spy action but what I miss most is the laughter and the tears in the Woodcomb/ Bartowski household. It was a pretty special place whether the cameras were rolling or not.
What was your favorite Jeffster moment?
Vik Sahay: Pretty impossible to narrow it down to one, but just thinking in the moment, today I’ll say the experience of shooting the Blaze of Glory video, it really took us into some pretty surreal territory. Whenever I see it, it shocks me with its absurdity and its glory.
How was doing the first Jeffster performance?
Vik Sahay: When I sang ‘Africa’, I was nervous, finding my way, much in parallel to Lester, but nothing compared to ‘Fat-Bottomed Girls’ ~ Our first appearance at Comic-Con was mythic. I was terrified and sick with terror. The crowd swelled, the cast rallied behind us, I barely remember it, but it was beyond reality in a good way.
Scott Krinsky: It was great it was a rush! It was nerve wracking though because we didn’t know how it would be received.
What storyline surprised you the most during your time on CHUCK?
Vik Sahay: Well, I would have to go behind the “limelight” of the band and recall the moment when Lester realized he was going to lose Jeff as he grew brilliant with health and resorted to trying to keep poisoning him with exhaust to keep him close. That’s when you know you love someone, when you secretly expose them to noxious fumes.
Joshua Gomez: More importantly, what surprising storyline didn’t make it into CHUCK? Morgan and Ellie – helllloooo?
Mekenna Melvin: I think that was the coolest thing about the show. It’s such a testament to the writing that every time I got a script I was so shocked by it. Just when you thought the characters could go one way they surprised you every time!
Scott Krinsky: There are so many great storylines. I loved when we started getting in on the surveillance and learning about Chuck. The bachelor party episode was great. The Christmas episode where we were all stuck at the Buy More was great!
Ryan McPartlin: I was delightfully surprised when Morgan became the Intersect. I could’ve watched him act like that douchey jerk for an entire season. It was hilarious!
In the final episodes we saw Chuck make some tough decisions regarding Sarah. Do you think the ending would have worked the way it did if Chuck had used the last intersect upload on Sarah? What was your initial reaction when you read the finale?
Vik Sahay: I loved it. I loved that they meet again and there is a mystery, a vague sense of something that has happened before. In life, when we meet a soul mate for the “first” time, it feels like that anyway, that we have shared a whole lifetime with them before, and it’s like THERE you are! I’ve been looking all over space and time for you! They have to trust that mystery.
Joshua Gomez: I was a little surprised by the ending when I read the finale, but I’m not opposed to stories that end a bit ambiguously and leave things to the imagination. Maybe the kiss on the beach triggered an intersect-like flash of all her memories with Chuck. If not, at worst, she gets to experience the joy of falling in love all over again. To have a second “first kiss” is something we’ve all wished for at some point, no?
Mekenna Melvin: I thought it ended beautifully! I remember closing it and having a really emotional moment because A. the show was ending and B. because everybody’s character really got a beautiful bow at the end. That was the whole thing, that Chuck is going to love Sarah forever and he is going to sacrifice everything for her. I thought the finale was perfect I loved it.
Scott Krinsky: I love the way the show ended. I think mainly the finale was well received; I really loved how the show concluded. I’m happy that we knew when the show was going to end and were able to give the fans a proper ending.
Ryan McPartlin: Personally, I loved it the way the show ended. Watching Chuck and Sarah fall in love all over again was very poetic and possibly left a door cracked for future storytelling.
What do you think your character is doing now?
Joshua Gomez: Team Bartowski is still together and taking down bad guys but maybe with a few more additions? Spy Kids: Burbank edition!
Mekenna Melvin: I think her and Morgan would be in a house somewhere with babies. Morgan would be fighting crime; I’d like to think that Alex got in on the action. (Laughs)
The fans really helped launch this show do you think their power can give us a CHUCK movie? If there ever is a CHUCK movie what would you like to see happen in it?
Vik Sahay: I would believe anything of CHUCK fans. I would want Lester to end being the villain of whatever the new world order of CHUCK would be. It would have to be a script that really took the mythology of the series and the characters to a whole other level.
Joshua Gomez: Our fans are amazing. If there’s any one factor that could tip the scales, it would be our fans! They are the reason we got to make 5 seasons.
Mekenna Melvin: Everyone always talks about it, I have no idea but what I do know is if there ever was a CHUCK movie I would be so excited and so on board. I’d like to see a lot of big action scenes; it’d be really exciting to see where all of the characters have been. I feel like there are so many different ways it could go!
Scott Krinsky: Yeah, I think anything’s possible, there’s talk about that but I kind of just read and hear what everyone else hears. Ultimately it’s up to the studio and Warner Brothers. I’d be all for it though, I think it would be great a lot of fun to get everyone together. Something would obviously have to bring us all together, some big spy story that’s going to somehow lead us all to each other. What would the condition of Jeffster be being they’re touring (Laughs) what would we look like? It would be fun to kind of revisit the characters a little down the road and see what they look like and how they’ve held up
Ryan McPartlin: It’s pretty difficult to go viral these days because there is a lot of content out there but our fans pretty much invented the renewal campaign with their Subway strategy so I don’t see why not. However, it’ll probably have to be a new approach that nobody has done before to grab the media’s attention. My bet is that one of our CHUCK fans can figure it out. I’d love for Morgan, Ellie and Devon to have opened a Chicago brewery called “Awesome City Brew” and of course, Devon has really packed on the pounds. This is why we leave the writing to Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak.
Is there anything specific you remember your character saying? Favorite line from your character?
Vik Sahay: I do recall Lester saying, “My biological clock is tick-tocking…” It was a line that I had improvised, but they kept it in. I like to think that it still is, that he’s out there, scheming and dreaming.
Joshua Gomez: Does singing count? Singing “The Imperial March” with Zac (Levi) and then getting to walk into the actual John Williams score was a dream come true.
Mekenna Melvin: My favorite line would definitely be my first line ever, “Mom” that was how I go the job. I had one line in the audition room, it was supposed to be one costar and then it turned into twenty-four episodes.
Scott Krinsky: I had a line “My mom used to say knowledge is powder” which I thought was really funny.
Ryan McPartlin: Besides a heartfelt “Awesome” with a teary eye when Clara was born, I loved that our writer, Ali Adler let me pay homage to Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward in “Chuck vs. The Broken Heart” by saying to Ellie, “Why would I go out for hamburger, when I have steak at home?”
You can should watch all five seasons of CHUCK on Netflix.