Chuck 1.09: Chuck versus the Imported Hard Salami

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Broadcast Date: 19 November 2007
Director: Jason Ensler
Writers: Matthew Miller and Scott Rosenbaum
Cast: Adam Baldwin, Joshua Gomez, Sarah Lancaster, Zachary Levi, and Yvonne Strahovski


© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

Sarah: “It’s hard to have a real relationship in this line of work.”
Chuck: “Apparently, it’s hard to have a fake one.”

Meet Lou Palone. Actually, you met her in the previous episode, but never mind. She’s available; she’s willing; and she speaks sandwich. Apparently, that makes her and Chuck an official item, even though they’re just now going on their first and second dates. Lou moves mighty fast on those too: steamy make-out sessions in the car, experimental orgasm sandwiches, and a terrifying story about her ex, a career criminal, harassing every new beau in her life. Is that what dating is like in LA?

Of course, Chuck has baggage of his own. I tend to harp on our hero’s jealous fits, but in “Chuck versus the Imported Hard Salami” (is that a penis joke?) Sarah proves just as petty, dishing out the psycho “treat my ex well” speech (ever had one of those? It’s like, “Bleep you too, you pretentious bleep!”) and blowing a mission just to interrupt her asset’s date. Seriously, if she hadn’t barged in at the club, Lou would never have left, Chuck and his guitar pin would still be in the VIP room, and the whole spy plot, involving the illegal importation of a mysterious time-sensitive package, would have been resolved in a jiffy. Now, is that what dating is like in LA?

The thing is none of it bothered me, at least not the way Chuck’s tantrums often do. Maybe I’m having a double standards moment. Maybe the series is: even before the fake breakup, Sarah is allowed to show hurt, which helps sell her side of the story. The implication is the life-long spy doesn’t know how to deal with mushy feelings. In other words, the writers acknowledge her poor behaviour and excuse it with a compelling character trait. Chuck never gets that courtesy, which is why my palm hit my forehead when he started following Lou around and dishing out angry accusations like a lunatic.

Anyway, all that drama pays off with a passionate smooch that, to me, exemplifies what differentiates this show from any other. Chuck moves fast. I’ve read a lot of complaints about the allegedly slow progression of the “will they, won’t they” subplot, but most TV romances take up to six seasons to reach this point. We’re at episode nine. To boot, the creators do everything in their power to make this early development a milestone, removing any distraction like baddies, ambiguity, or even music. This is Chuck and Sarah’s moment.

That is, until the final shot, at which time it becomes a setup for some deliciously soapy drama (I apparently like the taste of soap). “Chuck versus the Imported Hard Salami” delivers a whopper of a cliff-hanger, one that promises to alter the would-be couple’s dynamic whether Agent Larkin’s secrets from beyond the grave, or rather life-sustaining pod, pull Sarah away from the Intersect or Chuck finds himself forced to deal with his Bryce issues at last. In fact, the twist thrilled me so much the first time around, I thought for sure I was watching the season or at least mid-season finale.

Morgan versus Anna

This week’s Buy More B-plot sees the union of Morgan and Anna, though the way they go about it strikes me as rather odd: first, Anna rejects our favourite sidekick; then he suffers a bit of post-strikeout paranoia (who can’t relate to that?); she takes pity on him; and they become an item. Call me nitpicky, but that doesn’t seem like the basis for a healthy relationship. In fairness, it’s possible Anna fancied Morgan all along, as evidenced in “Chuck versus the Sandworm”, but he leapt on her without wooing, turning her off at that moment. I can’t say I blame her.
What bothers me, though, is Morgan’s motivation for hooking up with Anna: the green shirt wishes for him and his best friend to live through the same experiences at the exact same time. He even goes so far as to break up with Anna on the Buy More PA system upon hearing Chuck might be single again. I think the writers misfired a bit here because that isn’t so much funny as it is creepy, weird, pathetic, creepy, incredibly mean to Anna, and creepy. Please tell me that’s not what dating is like in LA.

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures

© Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures


Bits and Pieces

  • No Ellie or Devon in this episode.
  • The second “buh-bye” Chuck left on Lou’s voice box made me laugh out loud.
  • Sarah played a dangerous game, pretending to get sexually aggressive with Lester. Some of us wouldn’t have backed down.
  • She also used CIA resources to find out Lou’s favourite flowers. Your tax payer dollars put to good use!
  • I don’t get the whole sandwich makeup scene. I really don’t.

Quotes

Lots of birds-and-bees talk this week:

Chuck: “Is it just me, or does our government never want me to have sex again?”
Tell me about it.

Casey: “Hey, lover boy! Has that mirror not suffered enough already?”

Lester: “Right girl? What does that mean?”

Morgan: “We need to talk about our emotions and all that crap.”
Ah, male bonding.

Lester: “Dude, the guys at the Sbarro even named a pizza after you!”
Jeff: “No sauce, no topping, nothing but pure cheese. It’s called the loser.”
Ah, male bonding.

Chuck: “you’re going to shoot me to stop me from getting blown up? Yeah, good plan!”

Casey: “By the way, miss, your pastrami’s delicious.”

I don’t know that I want to date in LA.

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Category: Chuck, Verdict: 3.5 | Tags:

          
Editor in Chief / Movie Critic: When he started this site, Dimitri never thought he'd be writing blurbs about himself in the third person. In his other life, he works as a writer, translator, and editor for various publications in print and online. His motto is, "Have pen, will travel."