12 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 8: Buy More, 'Til You're Poor


The biggest character on the show is a bright, shiny, loud, and sinister place. Where evil resides, waiting to ambush your hard earned money. Sucking up your will to live while enticing you with new gear that promises coolness and fun but only delivers heartache and broken promises as it inevitably stops working.

And when that happens, you have to bring it back to this hell hole and give it to any number of dimwitted underachieving nerds who enjoy gathering into herds.

Welcome to the Buy More, bitch!

For five glorious seasons, this enemy to Large Mart was home to Chuck and Morgan; Jeff and Lester; Big Mike and Emmet Milbarge; green shirts; nerd herds; some hotties; lots of Subway sandwiches; debauchery; a job interview featuring super models; GRETAs; a spy team; the CIA; the Intersect; and dozens of deadly fights.

The store also acted as a host to a bachelor party; Christmas celebrations; Halloween parties; a fan meet and greet with a druggy rock star; and various other events I have likely forgotten.

Mostly, the Buy More was where the writers tossed in the wackiest of jokes, or geekiest of references, and allowed for the most slapstick of story lines. And while some fans found ways to have a problem with it, even after it burned down to the ground, it was simply resurrected by the CIA and weaponized.

What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger.

Eventually, the Buy More was taken over by a secret, silent, not-so-deadly owner named Chuck Bartowski and his much deadlier wife Sarah. Morgan Grimes would become store manager. The Bartowski's would use the store as both a cover and a revenue stream for their private spy operations.

I always rather enjoyed the Buy More and would have loved to have seen it utilized more. The antics of the crew and how Team Bartowski negotiated around their cover jobs and their spy world was often my favorite little side elements of the show. In later seasons, these things became less of a focus but we still got great episodes like Chuck Versus the Beard, which occurred mostly in the store. Granted, some of my least favorite episodes also had a heavy focus on the Buy More or its underworld, Castle. But I don't blame the store for the misdeeds of the writers. Everyone has a bad day or five.

Were you a fan of the Buy More? What was your favorite episode centered around it? Who were you favorite Buy More characters? Comment below or I will cut someone!


32 comments:

  1. I loved the Buy More. It's one of the elements that made the show unique.

    I noticed, though, that at least one prominent TV critic--Matt Roush of TV Guide--hated it with a passion and it seems to have soured him on Chuck generally.

    You wrote earlier about whether the name "Chuck" was a hindrance. I wonder how many casual viewers out there had the kind of vehement reaction to it that Roush had.

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  2. I always loved the Buy More, and the Buy Morons in it, except maybe for a couple of weak moments (the poetry slam in Cubic Z for instance...).
    And I think that I am not the only one: I know that many people don't like it, or even hate it, but at the same time, don't forget that for the "rabid fans" (courtesy Mr. G.) even two extras like Skip and Fernando have become part of the Chuck family...
    About the favorite moments, off the top of my head I would say the "rebellion" of the Buy More in Truth (including Casey's speech) and the comeback of the Buy Morons (Feed my Frankenstein...) in S4. But there are more, I just have to think about it...

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  3. ok ok I'll comment! Comments people or we'll have to get Head GF on suicide watch :)

    I loved the Buy More and often played in my mind how many times Chuck was in and out of his NerdHerd uniform thru an episode. How much time could he spend there when he was constantly being called away? I guess it's a symptom of watching and rewatching an episode so much that I try to figure out how much time has passed/hours/are we on the same day?
    I think the Buy More characters grounded Chuck and Morgan and to watch what Casey had to deal with all day was so comical. The NerdHerders were the pratt falls and spit takes to the other characters straightman. It was fun to see them deal with these wacky nuts and their classic oneliners.

    Then there was Jeffster - afforded a seemingly limitless amount of free time for impromptu performances, employee challenges and, naturally, cage fights. Jeffster wasn't the reason I loved Chuck but they were fun to watch.
    Finally, I have to give thanks to Schwartz and Fedak - begrudgingly - for ruining all Best Buys, and the like for me. Now when I am in the stores, I case the place for that one tall, handsome, loveable and available Nerd who wants to play Chuck with me. Haven't found one yet... no one can match Zachary Levi's Chuck.

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  4. BuyMore = Albatross around the neck for the series.

    Financially could not live without it. Creatively became mired in a rut because of it.

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  5. Enjoy the Buy More, Big Mike and the Buymorons for the most part, but storywise it wasn't really needed after it was destroyed in season 3. Absolutely HATED it how they brought it back up in season 4, it felt SO contrived I just rolled my eyes. Sigh. But I know why they did it. Weakest Buy More season was 4.

    My favorite Jeffster performances happened there: Blaze of Glory and Africa.

    Some cool fights too.

    S.

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  6. Oh and yes the brilliant VS the Beard episode happened there -and castle- too.

    S.

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  7. I love the Buy More and I love it more now that the years of it's flimsy use as a cover is being blown wide open by Jeff & Lester...it's fitting. The Buy More is the place where Anna Wu gave attitude, where Jeffster first performed, where Morgan learned the truth, where both Chuck & Ellie Bartowski kicked Daniel Shaw's ass, where Jeff & Lester started a fight club, where Casey lost a toe, where Big Mike taught us how to use a crock pot, where Rush's Tom Sawyer forever won a place on my iPod, and where a hostage Christmas crisis gave us one of the show's sweetest Chuck & Sarah Moments (see 21DOC Day 4)...not to mention their first meeting where the Buy More became a little girl's ballet recital which ultimately doomed Sarah Walker into becoming Mrs. Bartowski. And last but not least...I love the Buy More for it's unabashed use of wind machines to signal the entrance of a hottie and for never changing their out-of-date inventory or signage. Goodbye old girl...I'll wave my Buymoria flag proudly on January 27th and forget the times when your use felt awkward and forced. Remember the good times...remember to Buy More.

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    1. i couldn't agree with you more and your comment was perfect i can't even think of ne thing to say now and i definitely couldn't have said it better myself viva la Buymore and all it's crazy kooky quirks, you def will be missed along with the awesome epicness that is CHUCK!!!

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    2. Wendy, awesome post. See, How could I not love this show?! :)

      S.

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  8. One of my Fav Buymore momenets occurs in Chuck V. Beard:

    Del: [as the Buy More crew is singing] What the hell is that noise?
    Neil: The Buy More Employees have staged a revolution.
    Del: So that's the sound of liberty?

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  9. Since you linked BuyMore with its "underworld" Castle, I'll mention that I really did like Season 4's "v. the Muuurder". That episode rarely (if ever) left the complex. Castle was dealing with its "And Then There Were None" parody, while the BuyMore crowd had the Kevin Bacon separation down pat.

    I'm one of those folks who will likely never admit to NOT liking a Chuck episode, but the slippery slides that Chuck, then Morgan, take through the chutes from BuyMore to Castle (with General Beckman's help) seemed silly even to me.

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  10. Muuuuurder ranks as my least favorite episode ever.

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    1. My least favorite is probably Fear of Death. That could be a topic. :D

      S.

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    2. Fear of Death doesn't even rank in my bottom 20.

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    3. I loved Fear of Death. Murder, no, but not my least favorite. Fear of Death had the great scene where Sarah calls out Chuck for not being a real spy, very well acted by both Z&Y.

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  11. I just realized that blogger has updated how the comments section works. Now you can directly reply to someone. Cool.

    Also, the writer of the article has a nice little pencil icon next to their name when they comment. I LOVE UPGRADES!

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  12. Yeah, very nice upgrades!

    I have loved the Buy More! Some of my favorite episodes to rewatch ("Tom Sawyer," "Santa Claus," "Beard," "Ring II," and "Santa Suit") have all utilized the store heavily. I'm sure there are more episodes I loved where it placed heavily into the story line, but I won't know that until I start my rewatch of the series after the finale later this month.

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    1. Funnily enough, Beard was the last episode before [redacted] and I stopped being buddies because [redacted] had to be a douche for no reason.

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  13. I love the Buy More, and the Buy Morons. Like you, I have enjoyed many of the storylines that have happened there- "Chuck vs the Aisle of Fear" comes to mind, as well as Awesome's bachelor party.

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  14. I've always liked the Buy More, but more so in the first two seasons. Having characters like Harry Tang, Emmitt and Anna around gave it more of a mix of personalities, which is what a traditional work place comedy like The Office would thrive on. Once it got narrowed down to just Jeff and Lester, and occasionally Big Mike, it somehow felt smaller to me. Not a terrible thing, mind you, but I do find myself missing the season 1/2 era Buy More on occasion.

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  15. The Buy More had some good moments, but I never a fav for me. The trio of Vic, Scott and Mark are terrific and funny, but I guess it gets too wacky for me there. I kink of liked it better when it functioned as a real store with people like Harry Tang and Anna around, so I agree with the above.

    And when it blew up, I wish it blew up. Also, I don't understand why Casey and Chuck have kept their covers all season. They should have just come out that they inherited money or something to the rest of the crew and Chuck & Sarah bought it, no need to have the Nerd Herd and Green shirt outfits anymore. Always has made me chuckle that someone decided Chuck didn't need to tuck in his shirt anymore (say maybe around Season 3?). I guess they though too much nerd? No way a store would let you do that with the uniform!

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  16. @Lev: "I loved Fear of Death. Murder, no, but not my least favorite. Fear of Death had the great scene where Sarah calls out Chuck for not being a real spy, very well acted by both Z&Y."

    And that's EXACTLY why I dislike the epi. They regressed Chuck's character too much and it was pathetic. Where was the confident guy from season 3 finale? Even Casey said on Subway that 'Bartowski is a spy' to Sarah. Chuck was already a spy. Granted, not the most professional one but he had grown a lot and even defeated his big enemy. Ugh, the Intersecless arc from season 4 was just awful for me.

    S.

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  17. They didn't regress his character "too much." Now you're being hyperbolic.

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  18. Chuck wasn't a spy without the intersect that was Sarah's point.

    All the spy training he had in Season 3 had to do with him having the intersect.

    Without the intersect he was in danger.

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  19. He acted like a coward to me. He already knew how to use a gun and he showed in several occasions that he was very smart and could think fast and was brave like a CIA agent should be. Sure he still needed training on how to protect himself in a fight but other than that he had been in more than enough missions like Shaw said at the start of season 3. Very poor story to set up Sarah as a badass. That's all. Oh and he still seemed insecure on her love for him? Not believable after all they have been through in previous seasons? Meh, to each their own.

    S.

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  20. Like I said, you are being hyperbolic. Was it a great episode? No. Were there the annoying backtracking of the established story line to move to story in the direction the writers wanted? Yep. But one of the worst episodes of the series?

    Fear of Death won't make my top or bottom 20. It is somewhere in the bottom of the middle, though.

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  21. I have a question ?. The Weinerlicious was across the parking lot from the Buy More. Where was the Orange, Orange ? Did that replace the Weinerlicious? Because if it did, that means Castle was under the parking lot all the way to the Buy More. That in itself would be a mini mall under the parking lot. Any thoughts ? Something I missed ?

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  22. Of course I love the Buy More. It's the place where Chuck Bartowski first met Sarah Walker. It's also the birthplace of Jeffster. And last but not least, what would the show be without Big Mike Tucker?

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  23. The Buy More has some of the funniest scenes and characters that weren't always utilized well. Buy More Season 1 and 2 were great and season 5 is turning out to be great also. Buy More Season 3 and 4 were inconsistent - from one of my all time favorites (Beard) to least (Aisle of Terror). All in all, the show just wouldn't have been the same or as memorable without Jeffster and Big Mike.

    Side note: for some reason I couldn't access this blog yesterday. Everytime I clicked on it (multiple times from various sources), it would flash on the screen and disappear. Happened again today, but then finally worked. Just wondered if anyone else had that problem.

    Sg

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  25. Some of my favorite moments taking place in the Buy More:

    - The very first scene between Chuck and Sarah in the pilot
    - Jeffster performing 'Africa'
    - Chuck beating Missile Command with a little help from Rush
    - Chuck giving Sarah *the* bracelet

    Overall, the store is a mixed bag for me. Too many scenes of Big Mike eating a sub.. or something else.

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  26. Viva La Buy Moria. "When you buy more, you save more. And when you save more, you can buy more. And when you buy more, you save more. It all starts when you BUY MORE." I will miss this little store that could. :|

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