Chuck

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Chuck TV Poster Image
Fun spy show is more about comedy than danger.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 33 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Chuck is a reluctant spy who becomes a pawn in a turf battle between the CIA and the NSA. It’s typical good guy/bad guy stuff, with some gray areas thrown in for good measure. He consistently prefers not to use weapons and is often motivated by his love of his friends and family members and desire to help them and keep them safe.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some good guys who work for the government turn out to be bad guys, but Chuck is a relatable everyman who consistently tries to do the right thing. He's got to do some fibbing to keep his spy life a secret, but it's for a good cause.

Violence

Frequent martial arts fistfights and stylized hand-to-hand combat featuring knives and other weapons, but there's little blood or gore. Other fights involve guns and are more graphic. The spies carry guns and sometimes use them, but Chuck typically handles conflicts without weapons. Some explosions, car chases, and the like during missions. Some dead bodies shown, but the camera doesn't linger, and there's not too much blood.

Sex

Nothing graphic, though there's plenty of flirting and kissing, and some scenes show scantily clad women (who are ogled a fair amount). Some innuendo/discussion of sex, but it's generally light, with little shown. In one episode, Chuck has to access a porn website to disable a bomb (nothing graphic shown).

Language

Fairly infrequent use of words like "damn," "hell," "crap," "oh my God," "idiot," etc.

Consumerism

Some video games/platforms are mentioned by name, including Xbox and Call of Duty, and there’s some blatant product placement from Subway. Chuck also works at an electronics superstore called "Buy More."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action-driven comedy makes espionage look exciting and fun. But even when Chuck is involved in life-or-death missions, the danger seems unrealistic. In the beginning, Chuck doesn't use weapons, but the people trying to help or hinder him do (and as the series develops, Chuck goes to “spy school” and learns how properly defend himself). Some conflicts involve guns and shooting, although the violence is never really graphic. There's also some romantic tension between Chuck and his "handler" Sarah (who later becomes his girlfriend), as well as some social drinking.

User Reviews

Adult Written bytackettgibson July 15, 2014

We love it, but...

My kids (12 and 13 yo) and I are watching this on netflix this summer. We are finished with three seasons and we all love it. There are some things though that... Continue reading
Adult Written byluffy900 August 6, 2009

Chuck is a hit with teens!

This a great comedy/spy show, I love it, the only part that gets me is the sometimes crude comments made by some of the characters, and some shows show one of t... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byRelleeStar May 17, 2011

XD

Chuck is loyal and determined with a quirky smile and a nerdy attitude. He is always funny and never fails to make me cheer him on! Action and comedy mixed tog... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old March 26, 2012

What's the story?

When electronics-store employee CHUCK (Zachary Levi) opens a message from a spy whose dying act was to send him a trove of top-secret intelligence, every seemingly unrelated scrap of data about global espionage is subliminally implanted into his brain. But when the CIA and the NSA track the email to Chuck’s inbox, they can't decide whether to take advantage of his newfound knowledge or try to scrub his mind clean. As Chuck slowly starts to connect the dots, his ability to spot dangerous plots as they unfold makes him an invaluable asset, and the government recruits him to join their war on terror.

Is it any good?

Chuck is a completely improbable but highly entertaining romp through two worlds that rarely meet on TV: secret agents and high-tech nerds. And there's good reason to keep those worlds separate. After all, at first, Chuck's biggest concerns are playing video games and finding a date, preferably with his CIA handler, Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski), who eventually becomes his love interest. Meanwhile, Sarah has other things on her mind, including protecting the world and mourning her late boyfriend, the same spy who emailed the secret data to Chuck in the first place. But it's the contradictions between these two worlds that make Chuck a whole lot of fun.

 

Even though Chuck's spy life is obviously a farce, the interactions between Chuck and his tech-support pals ring true and are often quite funny, particularly his relationship with his best friend, Morgan (Joshua Gomez), who, if anything, is an even bigger nerd than Chuck is. Add in the element of “geek chic,” and your kids will have plenty of reasons to pay attention in computer class.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about this show’s distinctive style, particularly its uncommon blend of action and comedy. How do Chuck and the agents he interacts with compare to other spies you’ve seen on television and in the movies? Would the show be more or less enjoyable if the tone were entirely serious?

  • Do you think real-life spies are more like James Bond or more like Chuck, an average guy who tries to make sense of seemingly unconnected bits of data? Why do most movies and TV shows about espionage tend to romanticize life on the job?

  • How has Chuck’s view of the world changed over time? Does the show paint the world as more or less of a dangerous place than it actually is?

TV details

For kids who love action and laughs

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