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An Old-Fashioned Tag


 

I don’t think the producers of Chuck have been reading my pleas for them to become more old-fashioned in their story structure, but last night’s episode, intentionally or not, was one of the episodes that brings back the idea that an hour-long drama could have a tag scene at the end. That is, the plot was satisfyingly resolved with a few minutes left to go, and the final “act” was not really an act, but just an easily-detatchable scene that contains some light comedy and ends the story on a happy, smiley tableau.

It’s actually a pretty decent way of dealing with the absurd number of act breaks required by modern TV networks: you secretly follow a more traditional structure and just use the last segment the way sitcoms use the 30 seconds before the closing credits, by having a scene that relates to the main story but isn’t 100% essential. They can’t always end the main story with 10 minutes left in the hour, but the ending of the Chuck/Jill story was more effective because it happened so fast, without wasted time or wasted words. Compared to the ending of the last episode, which ended in a more “normal” way (a long musical montage that dragged the big revelation out for several minutes after we’d figured it out), it was much snappier.

Speaking of story structure, they did get the Best Buy subplot (I refuse to call it “Buy More” any more, all right? We all know what it is) tied in with the main plot, so props for that.


 
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