"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chuck - Chuck Versus the De Lorean

Where are the Jim Andersons and Steve Douglases of the world? In TV's yesteryear, you could count on the Father Knows Best and My Three Sons patriarchs to be there as positive role models and responsible parents. You can't say that about either Sarah's dad or Chuck's father, although at least in this the former showed up to visit his daughter.

Jack Burton would never win a father of the year award, but he might qualify as a fun dad. Starting with a flashback, I quickly learned that Sarah was a grifter-child, lead astray by her charming, conman rogue of a dad, Gary Cole. Well, better a rogue con artist than another rogue spy.

The casting of Gary Cole as Jack helped make the character so winning. Cole must have the best agent in Hollywood. This guy has been on everything lately, Entourage, Desperate Housewives, Psych, and he brings instant interest to whomever he's playing. Jack has just wrapped a successful sting, selling an Arab sheik Nagamichi Plaza in L.A. Of course he doesn't own the building, but that's just a technicality. After all, this is a shell game to Jack, and as says -- and Chuck understands -- "The bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe."

Not surprisingly, when the deal hits a speed bump, it's Chuck that steps up to save the scam. Dubbed the "schnook" by Jack, he impresses by not only being quick and clever -- all that CIA experience paying off -- but he also shows that his feelings for Sarah are sincere. Jack isn't a good father, but he does love his daughter and wants her to find the right man to love.

While Chuck was the "schnook," Jack sticks Casey with "cop face." The scam to convince the Arabs that the building is really for sale reminded me of Burn Notice, especially the way Jack, Sarah, Casey and Chuck infiltrated the building and redressed it for the con. Even the voice over by Jack was Weston-esque, explaining the details.

Not surprisingly, Jack double-crossed the others and took the $10 million. You could see that one coming, couldn't you? However, I did not see that Jack would stash the $10 million in Chuck's bank account. Nice twist.

But even better was the twist on the twist, with Chuck and Casey tricking the mark into giving over his account number to the CIA. Again, it was a stunning surprise, but I liked it. And when the bad guy tries to escape in Morgan's "Demorgan," the stolen DeLorean becomes more valuable than before. Morgan can get blue book value for the car, pay back Awesome and make enough to move in with Anna. Except for the fact that the Dukes of Hazzard car turned up in the auto bay.

Anna is not going to domesticate Morgan, let alone get him to grow up. Awesome's faith in Captain Morgan (great line!) was misplaced, but really sweet.

The moment I heard the Ferris Bueller music and saw the Back to the Future DeLorean you knew Awesome's $2500 loan was going to be spent fulfilling Morgan's dream to own a piece of Marty McFly's time machine, even though this had no flux capacitor, stalls out over 22 MPH and is a gas guzzler. With images of Michael J. Fox dancing in his eyes, and a reason not to commit to Anna, Morgan cannot resist the buy. His vanity plate for the new ride, "Demorgan."

Chuck and Sarah bonded over their daddy troubles. I learned a little more back story about Chuck's father walking out on him and Ellie. Rather than let Jack get arrested, Sarah opened the door for him to leave her again. The rocky road ice cream run was code for Jack hitting the road. As Jack realized that Sarah was some kind of cop, he gave the shnook his seal of approval, whatever that's worth. Then he was gone again. Sarah couldn't see him coming back, but I do. Gary Cole has a great agent and is probably booking it right now.

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