More Than a Victim of Circumstance

My favorite show this year of is Chuck.

Disclaimer: While the violence (people are shot, occasionally) is incongruously “clean,” the producers haven’t tried to shift away from the standard draw of the sexy female spy, so if that’s gonna bug you, know yourself.  Nevertheless, I appreciate that the male MCs are remarkably appropriate in their spectrum of reactions to her.

This show is a delight both comedicly and for the storytelling.  Our sweet, bumbling, ah shucks title character is smart enough to think on his feet, even when the computer in his brain (roll with me here) doesn’t give him any practical answers for getting out of the trouble “knowing too much” gets one into.

Latest great line: “Wow.  Those 7 years of MacGyver finally paid off.”

Every episode this season (and I do mean every episode– I checked) has had me embarrassingly on the edge of my seat and has resolved (however implausibly) from elements solidly presented beforehand and belonging in that world.

The interesting thing to me is how Chuck (the character) has grown from the first season.  At the very beginning he was little more than a victim of (highly improbable) circumstance.  Anything he did well was basically stopgap (“It’s never. safe. in the car!”) or a fluke.

Now the writers have matured him into a mostly pro-active component of the team, allowing his actions to be both effective and detrimental to the case of the week.

~ ~ ~

I am thinking of this just now because I’ve been mentally compiling a collection of information that highlights my novel’s biggest weakness just now.

Linnea (my MC) is in this folktale where stuff happens to her: throwing her world wildly upside down anytime she starts to get comfortable.  I would despair at how ever to reconcile this to the “proactive” model of MC if I didn’t have the example of Chuck.

Trust me, the stuff he’s yanked into is improbable– but his reactions and what he precipitates as he talks his way out of them most definately is his own.

So as cheezey as it sounds (to the TV snobs), I have been using the examples of planting and set-up from Chuck to remind myself I can have both improbability and cohesive “self-determination” in the same story.  It’s becoming a fun combination.

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