There was a pure and pop culture savvy heart at the center of NBC's Chuck that kept fans coming back for five seasons. The show was fun, sometimes moving, and always comforting in its storytelling. It was also a spy show, but I can't help but think that Chuck would have been fine without spies — in fact, I think the show would have been better than fine. It would have been just as awesome with the spy storylines excised. Is this crazy talk? Possibly. And yet...
Having Chuck become part of the spy world is what ultimately ushered him into adulthood. Working with Sarah and Casey led Chuck to becoming a self confidant man who realized his full potential. The show would not have been the same without the spy action, but I truly believe Chuck would have found a way to be just as fun and soulful if Chuck had never accidentally downloaded the Intersect into his brain.
Imagine there is a parallel universe out there where NBC gave the world a version of Chuck sans spy action. Are you there? Good, now here are 13 reasons why Chuck would have worked just as well without any kung fu, missions, or world saving.
1. Chuck Was An Easy Character To Love
Chuck Bartowski was an exemplary human being, whose ability to bring joy into people's lives had nothing to do with the Intersect and everything to do with his natural kindness. He was smart, quick with wonderfully specific jokes, and a total goofball. A show centered around him was going to be a blast no matter what it was about.
2. The Buy More Made For A Hilarious Setting
While Chuck ultimately found his self worth through his spy work, he was beloved by his Buy More co-workers too. Transplanting his growth arc to the Buy More would have meant spending more time with Jeff, Lester, Big Mike, and Anna, while also making the most of setting a show inside of a big box electronics store.
3. It Still Would Have Been Grounded In Geek Culture
The endless stream of references to Spider-Man, obscure video games, and even Game of Thrones before Game of Thrones premiered on HBO would have been part of the fabric of the show no matter what. Chuck and his pals embraced their geeky interests, so the show would not have been missing that special pop culture touch.
4. Casey Would Have Been Super Mysterious
Imagine if Casey had still worked for the Buy More, lived across from Chuck, and behaved exactly the same. The mystery of his background could have been an endless source of entertainment.
5. Chuck And Morgan Were A Priceless Comedy Duo
Chuck and Morgan were not just best friends, they were the modern day answer to Laurel and Hardy. Without the spy shenanigans, their adventures would have been even more unexpected and hilarious.
6. The Bartowski Family Was The Show's Heart
Watching Ellie and Chuck be the best siblings on TV never got old. As long as they were together, the show's heart would have remained intact.
7. More Jeffster! Performances
There were never enough Jeffster! performances. While I love spy games, I love over the top, amateur rock performances even more.
8. Ellie And Awesome's Awesomeness
Any show with Ellie and Awesome being super doctors in love would by default be a wonderful show.
9. Chuck Was Ultimately All About Friendships
A show about such a tight-knit, but unconventional group of friends would have been a blast to watch no matter what. As long as the dynamic between Morgan, Chuck, Casey, Sarah, Ellie, and Awesome stayed the same then Chuck's fun factor would not suffer.
10. More Time For Buy More Games
The Buy More crew's games were always insane. Remember the cage match? All of the ways the staff found to goof off would have filled the gap left behind by the loss of the spy intrigue perfectly.
11. The Writing Was Flawless
Series creator Josh Schwartz proved he could make "normal" life entertaining with The O.C., and he infused Chuck with the same kind of brightness.
12. Seeing Chuck Explore His Opportunities Was Always One Of The Show's Best Assets
A show about Chuck figuring out who he was and what he could do with his life sounds entertaining to me. From job hunting to appreciating his Buy More family, Chuck's growth arc would still have been a wonderful journey to go on without spy storylines.
13. The Chuck And Sarah Romance
Whether Chuck and Sarah were spies in love, or retail workers in love, their romance was so undeniably happy and charming it would make any version of Chuck shine.
Romance, friendship, family, and all the pop culture goodness you could ask for — with or without the spy stories, Chuck was an amazing show.