Nice threefer on “Chuck” tonight

April 20, 2009

Warning: Spoilers
(spoilage factor: about the same as the remaining drops of beer in the freshly abandoned cans in the drive-in)

Without giving too much of tonight’s episode away, I was really impressed by the barrage of geek references concentrated in the drive-in movie operation that Chuck & co visited.

Having Tron as the midnight show was obvious, but none-the-less cool.

Then, perhaps slightly less obvious for those who don’t remember the late 80’s – or those who are still trying to forget them – but still rather awesome was having Chevy Chase’s underground bunker beneath the drive-in. That was good for a hefty Spies Like Us flashback. Admittedly, Chase’s character didn’t go into the bunker in that movie, and it was Dan Ackroyd’s character who was more of the computer-tech nerd, but Chase and the drive-in occupied the same film regardless, so the reference counts!

Hidden even more deeply, and you’ve really gotta be a fan of 80’s sci-fi for this one, was the drive-in’s sign: “Starbright” which seems to me to be a subtle nod to The Last Starfighter. Sure, the movie’s hero Alex Rogan spent his time in the Starlight Starbright trailer park, not a drive-in, but the style of the text on the sign was the same as that used for the drive-in in this episode of Chuck, and at one point in the episode when Chuck’s wandering around, there’s a camera angle that’s looking down at chuck with the Starbright portion of the sign in the foreground that looks very, very similar to a shot from TLS where a frustrated young Alex is pondering his fate one night. Bit of a stretch? Maybe. But given Chuck‘s penchant for going for subtle SF allusions along side of the obvious ones, maybe it isn’t a case of reading too much in to the drive-in scenes.

How about you? Did you notice any other nods to SF in the drive-in scenes of tonight’s episode of Chuck?

harrysaxon’s addendum: While I can’t see any other SF nods you missed – and the TLS one is a bit of a stretch, I must admit – feel I must point out how much I enjoyed the secondary motif to the episode: The Godfather, as it applied to Morgan and Big Mike. From the classic strains of the theme playing as they loaded up into the car, to the spot-on echo of the final scenes of Godfather II as Morgan asks that his family be taken care of, Chuck continues to show it can nod to the geeks and the snobs alike.

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  1. Starbright was, of course, the project where Al and Sam first met on Quantum Leap as well, so perhaps a double callback.

  2. I never liked Spies Like Us. I couldn’t even make it through one viewing. But Chuck does a great job of including pop culture references that don’t hit you over the head. If you get it, cool. If not, no biggie. The show is great whichever way you lean.

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