This summer finally brought “Chuck” fans something long overdue: the first book devoted to the show, entitled Unpacking “Chuck”: The TV Show Interpreted. Ironically, author G. Walter Bush, like many recent converts, watched his first episode of the series on Netflix, long after it finished airing on NBC, thanks in part to an assist from his teen-age son.
“I saw fragments from Season 1 when walking through the family room,” he explains, adding, “While it was certainly entertaining, I actually saw some things on a deeper level that really intrigued me. I immediately recognized it wasn’t a typical TV show.” Aside from recognizing the unique blend of comedy, drama, espionage and romance, the veteran Southern California high school English teacher noted how the music, lyrics and cinematography worked together with the script and acting to create an audio-visual text of substance and complexity. That’s when he decided to sit down and watch the show from the start.
And Bush liked what he saw. “I was impressed with the subtle controlling metaphors and visual imagery that, in the subtext, accented the surface themes and character development.” The deeper he looked, the more hidden links he discovered, reminding him of the research on his UC Irvine master’s thesis analyzing Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” . When reading blogs and reviews elsewhere online, he didn’t find others talking about what he was discovering in his research either. As a result, he decided to put his thoughts to the word processor, creating a 180-page book of literary analysis that focuses on dramatic elements of the show and covers all five seasons. Though half of the final product—finished six months later– is Chuck and Sarah-centric, the other half emphasizes other characters and storylines.
Bush’s initial personal challenge has grown into something much larger along the way. When he self-published Unpacking “Chuck” as a kindle book on Amazon in early July, he did not anticipate the global reach the book would achieve. “I was thrilled when my first copy sold on the Amazon site in the United Kingdom,” he admits, the first of many sales that have since followed there. Then in September the book began selling on Amazon’s sites in Germany, Australia, and Canada. And he thinks more countries will follow, reasoning, “’Chuck’ appeals to thinking fans everywhere, not just here in the U.S.”
In the U.S., the ebook (which can be downloaded to a phone, computer, or kindle with a free app) made its entry into the rolling top 100 of Amazon’s Television: Guides & Reviews kindle category (out of 591) by the end of its first month and has since made multiple appearances in the top ten, even briefly reaching as high as #3 in September. Bush sees this success as revealing something unique about the show and its fans, especially since the book didn’t appear until more than two years after the last broadcast of “Chuck”. “Just like a large part of the fan base is hoping to one day have a movie that carries the story beyond the Season 5 finale, most fans remain committed and hungry to relive, ponder and embrace something fresh about the show. They want to continue the conversation.”
Indeed, that’s what gives the author of Unpacking “Chuck” the most satisfaction: letters from die-hard fans like one he received from a viewer who caught the “Chuck” bug in Season 1 and still regularly re-watches the show on DVD. The writer confessed his initial reluctance to read the book because he didn’t want to risk ruining his enjoyment of “MY SHOW.” Far from damaging his experience, the writer went on to instead thank Bush for enriching it by helping him to see the deeper meanings embedded in the show. A “Chuck” latecomer, Bush takes that as the ultimate compliment, conceding, “When an original ‘Chuck’ fan tells you that, it makes your day.”
You can order the book here on amazon ——->