YMMV: Chuck

  • Aesop Amnesia: After Chuck and Sarah finally become a couple in the middle of season 3, the first episode afterwards has them learning they need to actually communicate with each other in a relationship. Over the course of the following two seasons, the writers went back to this well far too often, with it seemingly being their go-to plot for Chuck/Sarah relationship angst.
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Emmett in the Season 3 opener. An Asshole Victim for sure, and there are many who would quickly say that he deserved what he got, but others think it was a bit shocking given that, by and large, the Buy More crew was a separate world from the the Spy world and any danger to them was usually done for slapstick. The flippant way Casey covered it up while pressing the Reset Button was a bit callous, even for him.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Do not, for any reason, get entangled with spy agencies. Seriously, don't.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Ellie got over Chuck ruining her wedding pretty quickly. This is a Justified Trope, as Chuck fixed her wedding rather quickly, and gave her the wedding she actually wanted, as opposed to the original, which was what her mother-in-law-to-be had arranged.
    • Viciously subverted by Shaw seemingly getting over the reveal that Sarah killed his wife. Not so much.
  • Arc Fatigue:
    Beckman: Off the record? It's about damn time.
    • Fans grew tired of the Ring, as the reduced episode count meant that the show simply didn't have time for any standalone episodes, and the entire season, aside from two episodes, featured them as the villains of the episode; and the two episodes where they aren't villains still feature the Ring as a threat.
  • Ass Pull:
    • Chuck's quite quick on his feet in dicey situations, even before he Took a Level in Badass.
    • In later seasons, if a certain skill is needed, it's probably in the Intersect. Possibly one of the few times where this trope is actually justified by the mythos.
    • Some fans view the reveal of Casey's backstory in season 3 as this, as much of it (particularly his age, but also several direct contradictions in how long he has served under Beckman) doesn't mesh with any previous details we learned about him.
    • The late season 3 plot with the Intersect slowly destroying Chuck's brain, since it literally comes out of nowhere and the characters treat it as if it had been going on for some time. The problem is largely down to NBC's decision to order an additional 6 episodes for the season, as the show was in production for the intended season (And potential series) finale when the decision was made. Subsequently, the writers had to write another 6 episodes in a story arc that had already reached it's conclusion, and the plot point couldn't really be introduced in the first two of the six episodes without putting a damper on Chuck and Sarah's relationship, as those episodes directly dealt with the ramifications of them becoming a spy couple.
    • The reveal halfway through season 5 that Clyde Decker was being blackmailed into trying to bring down the team by Shaw. Richard Burgi's performance never once gave any sign that his motivations were anything but his own.
  • Awesome Music: The show has its own sub-page.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Shaw, especially pre-Face-Heel Turn.
    • Jill, even more so than Daniel Shaw.
    • The way the series ended is another one.
    • The quality of Season 3, especially in comparison to Season 2, is a point of contention among the fans:
      • Some viewers find the third season is a step-up from the second season as well, in part because some of the story arc planned for Season 1 had to be stretched out across Season 2. However others feel Season 3 is much less even; the visual effects budget was noticeable lower (compare the air strike in "Chuck Versus the Colonel" — generally considered the show's best effects sequence — to the one in "Chuck Versus the American Hero"), many fans missed Anna's presence (Julia Ling was not retained due to budget cuts), Shaw's reception was mixed at best, several serious continuity issues arose (particularly with Casey's back story, which doesn't fit with what was established about him prior to that reveal), and the handling of the Season 2/3 transition, especially the reset button on Chuck and Sarah's relationship, were all points of contention. Many fans tired of the Ring arc and missed the occasional stand-alone missions from Season 2, and some found the Ring far less interesting than Fulcrum altogether. The rushed plotline of the "back six" episodes, combined with several weak episodes in the first half, also contributed to many fans feeling that Season 2 was the show's high point.
      • About the one thing fans do agree on in this regard, is that Seasons 4 and 5 were progressively the weakest in the series.
  • Crazy Awesome: Casey, Morgan and Steve Bartowski. Then there's Alexei Volkoff, who's just something else entirely, both in terms of being completely crazy and equally awesome.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • The CIA is forbidden to operate within US borders, but nearly all the missions Chuck and co. undertake are local. CIA operatives are actually called officers, CIA agents being native civilians who are cooperating with an officer, but Sarah is always referred to as Agent Walker instead of Officer Walker.
    • In "Chuck Versus the Muuurder" Chuck mentions that Lewis' World of Warcraft guild, "...brought down Deathwing, world first." However the episode aired eight months (almost to the day) before Deathwing was even killable. Most of the show's target demographic would have known this when the show aired.
    • "Chuck Vs. Tom Saywer'' said that Atari was a Japanese company; it was actually American, and was ironically owned by Warner Bros.' parent, Warner Communications, from 1976 to 1984.
  • Die for Our Ship: Bryce Larkin, and quite honestly, anyone else who comes between Chuck and Sarah.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Carina was so popular after her first appearance that she later made return appearances in the third season episode "Chuck Versus the Three Words" and the fourth season episodes "Chuck Versus the CAT Squad" and "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger".
    • The Director is quite popular among the fandom, despite only appearing in a handful of scenes in two episodes.
    • Cole Barker, while not a very prominent character, easily steals the episodes he's in thanks to being a charismatic, badass, Jerk with a Heart of Gold and Undying Loyalty. Being part of MI6 and a heroic British character after initially appearing to be a typical Evil Brit also help that.
    • Fulcrum agent Tommy, despite only appearing in the episode which first introduced Fulcrum (and briefly in the one before it), is quite popular among the fans.
  • Epileptic Trees: Everyone knows that Stephen Bartowski is Orion. Bryce also mentions that he befriended Chuck in college because he owed Orion a favor. Since Bryce is responsible for Chuck receiving the Intersect, is Orion the one really behind that part of the plot? Yeah, he denies it... but it seems HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS.
  • Executive Meddling: The third and fourth seasons have suffered somewhat from pacing issues, most of which can be attributed to the network holding off on ordering anything beyond the initial thirteen episodes until well after they are plotted out (which is why the thirteenth episodes of both seasons are wham episodes; they were also designed to be Grand Finales meant to end the show). The third season, while picked up, was given an additional six episodes as opposed to the standard nine, and as such required some condensation of the arc storyline into a shorter season. The fourth season had the opposite treatment, where it was been given an additional eleven episodes as opposed to the standard nine. While the awkward pacing might be bad news, one of the results was that Chuck and Sarah end up together at the end of "Chuck vs. The Other Guy", one of the show's 4 non-finalies. Viewers would be treated to Chuck and Sarah as an Battle Couple for the rest of the show's run.
  • Evil Is Cool: A lot of fans liked Shaw a lot more after his Face-Heel Turn. Probably why he came Back from the Dead...
  • Fan Nickname:
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Some fans definitely like the idea of Carina/Morgan. It also helps that she too has definitely warmed up to him, but alas, Morgan chose Alex over Carina and Anna.
      • And speaking of Anna, many fans preferred her with Morgan over Alex.
    • Despite being happily married to Captain Awesome the fans tend to frequently ship Casey and Ellie.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: "Chuck Vs. the Third Dimension" has a scene where the rock star played by Dominic Monaghan is dedicating his upcoming concert in Nelson Mandela's memory, the joke being that Monaghan's character was oblivious to the fact that Mandela was still alive. However, Mandela passed away in December 2013.
  • Growing the Beard: The second season is a nice step above the entertaining but uneven first season. This could partly be down to it getting cut short by the writer's strike.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Nicole Ritchie's performance got this surprised reaction from many viewers.
    • Brandon Routh's performance as Daniel Shaw initally received numerous criticisms over Shaw being The Stoic to an unbelievable degree. Once Shaw's Face-Heel Turn happened, Routh's portrayal became a lot more charismatic as Shaw became a Magnificent Bastard; winning over critics of his performance in the first half of the season and his earlier turn as the title character in Superman Returns.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Chuck's throwaway line to Ellie in the pilot that he'll get to work on a five year plan the next day. At the time, that's just plain funny because the next day he meets Sarah. It becomes Hilarious In Hindsight because the show ended after its fifth season.
    • Chuck's comment to Sarah, after she gives him a faked photograph of the two at Comic Con dressed as Han Solo and Slave!Leia in "Chuck Versus the Sand Worm",, that they've never actually been to Comic Con. Over the next few years, the Chuck panels at Comic Con would go on to be considered highlights of the event.
    • The first season featured Bryce Larkin engaging in a bit of Super Dickery, as he got Chuck kicked out of Stanford to protect him from being recruited into the CIA against his will. Matthew Bomer was not only a contender for playing the role of the the poster child for Super Dickery, but would go on to voice him in an animated film six years later.
      • And who got the role of Superman over Mr. Bomer? Brandon Routh, who would join Chuck as Daniel Shaw in the third season.
    • Casey displays his Osama Bin Laden targets in an episode that aired one day after Bin Laden was killed.
    • Brandon Routh now plays Ray Palmer on Arrow, where he again gets in the way of a Fan-Preferred Couple.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Jeff and Lester, so very much.
    • Morgan towards Chuck, but he grows out of it (Mostly) as the series goes on and he undergoes some Character Development by becoming less dependant on Chuck.
    • Casey and Mogan gets lots of this after Morgan becomes a member of Team Bartowski in season 3. They even move in together in season 4.
    Casey: You know, half of marriages end up in divorces. (Casey and Morgan drink juice at the same time)
    Chuck: It's nice to see yours is going so well.
  • I Knew It:
    • Who is Orion? Stephen Bartowski.
    • In season three, even Morgan knew Shaw lived. Come on, he was shot and fell in a river.
  • Iron Woobie: Sarah
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The "cliffhanger" of "Chuck vs. The Last Details"
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Carina.
    • Sarah's dad. Conning his partners, which saved his life and included his daughter, out of 10 million dollars they helped him steal? Sure, that's pretty bastardly, but managing to pickpocket the Cuban Cigar he gave Casey as a token of celebration to the success of the con, and then immediately be seen smoking the cigar while he still smokes his own?' Now that's Magnificent.
    • Daniel Shaw. At first, he was The Scrappy for Team Bartowski, until his Face-Heel Turn, whereupon he bacame a formidable threat as the 'face' of The Ring, Chessmaster outflanked the entire CIA to take it over from within, killed Chuck's father, and masterminded the total defeat of Team Bartowski. Thankfully, Morgan, Ellie, and Awesome were there for the assist.
    • Alexei Volkoff. Villainous Obfuscating Stupidity has rarely been more awesome.
  • Memetic Badass: As per the NBC site, God created Eve out of Adam's rib, because that's all that was left after Casey was done with him.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Shaw trying to kill Sarah was his Start of Darkness. He crossed the MEH when he shoots Stephen Bartowski in order to cause Chuck enough emotional pain he'd be unable to flash and fight him head on.
    • On a slightly less severe one, Emmett secures his place as the most hatable man on the show (who isn't a criminal) when he manipulates Morgan into getting evidence of Big Mike's laziness to get him demoted so Emmett can take the store manager position. Its made worse by the fact that, not only did this involve abusing the trust Mike had in Morgan, but also the trust Mike had in Emmett himself. Given his general personality, this act shows that Emmett might actually be a complete sociopath.
  • Narm: Sometimes the dialogue can fall into this.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Atroxium is this, created by Dr. Wheelwright (played by Robert Englund, who is apparently channeling Scarecrow.
    • Casey brainwashing Lester into obeying Morgan. The red dot and Casey's soft yet Compelling Voice repeating "Morgan is your boss" is just disturbing.
    • The series' final story arc involving Sarah losing her memories of the past five years and manipulated by the Big Bad to kill Chuck is just disturbing as hell.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Julius the gay security guard in "Chuck Versus Operation Awesome".
    • More of a Two Scene Wonder: The repo man in "Chuck Versus the Anniversary".
    • In "Chuck Versus the Suitcase", the bodyguard who attempts to confess his love for his boss, a female arms dealer, accidentally confessing to Sarah instead.
    • Steve the prison guard in "Chuck Versus the Gobbler". Happy birthday, Steve!
    • The woman talking on her cell phone in "Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner".
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Daniel Shaw. Some fans saw him as a knockoff of Bryce Larkin written in to cover Matt Bomer leaving to do White Collar, and not much else. Ignore his almost completely different relationships with all of the characters. And his Face-Heel Turn.
    • The Ring was often viewed as this, with many fans finding them not nearly as interesting as Fulcrum. This was exacerbated by Fulcrum's complete disappearance after Season 2, and that every episode of Season 3 directly involved the Ring, leading to severe Arc Fatigue (whereas Season 2 mixed standalone episodes with the Fulcrum arc plot). It gets a lampshade in the final episode of the series when a Fulcrum agent from Season 2 reappears in a cameo with Quinn, and disgustedly dismisses the Ring as amateurs.
  • The Scrappy:
    • It is very, very hard not to hate Emmett Milbarge. This is probably deliberate, considering his actions towards the end of the season.
    • Once again, Daniel Shaw. Or more specifically it was less the character than it was Brandon Routh's portrayal, as many fans found he had virtually no chemistry with the rest of the cast and was The Stoic to an extent in broke Willing Suspension of Disbelief. At least until his Face-Heel Turn, when Routh proved that no, he's not actually a robot.
  • Seasonal Rot: Fandom was split over whether season 3 was worse than season 2, but most agree that the fourth season isn't as fresh as the preceding two.
  • Sending Stuff To Save The Show: Fans have sent Nerds candy to the network, and in a variant, have also rewarded product placement sponsor Subway by buying footlong sandwiches.
  • Tear Jerker: Orion's death in the Season 3 finale.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • At the end of Season 3, Chuck receives his "inheritance" from his father - Orion's spy bunker located underneath the Bartowski's former family home. This is used to introduce one plot point (Chuck's mother is missing because she, like her husband, is involved in the spy business) before being destroyed, despite the potential to use it to introduce several more plot lines in future episodes.
    • The Season 4 winter finale teased us with Ellie getting the Intersect after Chuck lost it. Nope, just a Red Herring.
    • We never do learn just who it was Sarah's dad conned that led to Graham arresting him to protect him.
  • The Un Twist: Agent X is Alexei Volkoff.
  • Vindicated by History: Chuck was one of the first shows where the fans were able to take advantage of social media to facilitate "Save our show!" campaigns, and did so with such efficency that the only time they ever actually campaigned for a renewal was after season two, with every season following featuring fan campaigns on Twitter during the season to show NBC and the show's sponsors that there was an audience watching the show, regardless of what Nielsen ratings showed, which led to NBC renewing the show for it's fourth and fifth seasons before the fans actively mounted a campaign for a renewal. To this day, the cast and crew actively credit the show's fandom with keeping Chuck on the air for 5 seasons, and the model Chuck fans used has since been utilised by other fandoms since then.
  • Wangst: While not as guilty as other shows, the writers do tend to hit the "Chuck and Sarah can never be" chord a LOT. Until, of course, they are; then the writers keep going to the "Chuck and Sarah have an issue but choose not to talk about it" plots.