Gather around boys and girls, it’s trope analysis time. And by analysis, I mean rant.
There is a little show that is one of my favorite shows of all time and it goes by the name of Chuck.
Super spoilers ahead.
The synopsis of Chuck is that a nerdy dropout from Stanford who is now working at the Nerd Herd (Geek Squad) in Buy More (Best Buy). He has no discernible future and then one day he receives an e-mail from his ex-bestfriend. This e-mail contains all of the intel from all the intelligence agencies ever in a nice sublimal message format.
Chuck opens up this e-mail and then knows pretty much everything about anyone whenever the story calls for it.
Now Chuck is an asset for the CIA and NSA and helps them stop terror from happening.
And this is great.
Random guy, no future, stumbles upon greatness. In my book, this is grounds for a great story.
And that’s season 1
From there it gets discovered that his dad was a spy and his mom was a spy and his ex-bestfriend who was a spy also knew his spy mom and dad.
And his mom and dad planned for him to be a living government computer.
And all of this is feels like an after though.
Chuck is a great show with a lot of humor and cheesily great action writing, but this sort of child of destiny syndrome really irks me.
I am okay with child of destiny plotlines. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion you are a prisoner destined to save the kingdom, this is one of my favorite games of all time. Child of destiny plotlines are great, the idea that no matter what happens to the main character they are destined for greatness.
My problem is when a show adds the plot afterwards. It cheapens the power of luck.
Supernatural is another great example. Two brothers go on a quest to find their father. They are supernatural hunters, people who hunt all sorts of mythical beings. They learned this from their father (who learned from one other person), who went on a hunt for all mythical beings after their mother died to a demon.
This was an awesome dynamic, the idea that there is approximately 3-4 people who even know of the existence of mythical beings.
And then as the seasons went on it was discovered that they were both reincarnations of angels and demons. And their mom was a hunter, and all of their mom’s family were hunters. And there are whole swathes of hunters around the US. There are bars of people dedicated for supernatural hunters.
This is ridiculous. The idea of two brothers using their own hardened savvy to eliminate swarms of demons is awesome. The idea that they were destined from birth to do anything really just cheapens the blow in my opinion.
These shows are great and I still watched all of Chuck and probably about 6 seasons of supernatural. All I’m saying is that shows that don’t have to resort to saying that this was all planned from the start win huge props in my book.