Sunday, November 30, 2014

Unpacking "Chuck": The TV Series Interpreted by G. Walter Bush

Unpacking "Chuck": The TV Series Interpreted
by G. Walter Bush
Publisher: G. Walter Bush
Release Date: July 2nd 2014
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Unpacking Chuck: The TV Series Interpreted is just what the “Chuck” enthusiast has been waiting for! The first and only book analyzing the former NBC and current Netflix series, it digs beneath the surface of the dramatic elements of the show, addressing elements of the plot, characters, themes, and imagery from all five seasons. The author unpacks meanings embedded in the script, cinematography and musical lyrics of the audio-visual text while linking concepts throughout the series to aid interpretation. Not only does Unpacking Chuck clear up ambiguities regarding Chuck, Sarah, and their relationship, but entire chapters are devoted to Bryce Larkin, Orion, Frost, Ellie, Morgan, and three more on Casey! After reading Unpacking Chuck, you won’t view the series in quite the same way again.

by G. Walter Bush

This summer brought with it a first for “Chuck” fans: the publication of a book devoted to the show entitled Unpacking “Chuck”. Remarkably, its author, G. Walter Bush, never watched a single episode of the series while it aired on NBC. One of many recent converts, Bush discovered “Chuck” on Netflix long after the show finished its broadcast run, thanks in part to his teen-age son.

“I saw bits and pieces of episodes from Season 1 when I walked through the family room,” he explains, adding, “While it was entertaining, some of the things I saw actually intrigued me on a deeper level. It wasn’t your typical TV show.” Not only did it offer a unique blend of comedy, drama, romance and espionage, but the college prep high school English teacher noted the music, lyrics and cinematography worked in concert with the script and acting to create a text with substance and complexity. Consequently, he decided to sit down and watch the show from the beginning.

And Bush liked what he saw. “I was impressed with the subtle controlling metaphors and visual imagery that, on a deeper level, accented the central themes and character growth developed in the script.” Similar to his research for his master’s thesis on Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”, the deeper he looked, the more hidden links he discovered. Moreover, he didn’t find others talking about what he saw when checking elsewhere online. As a result, he decided to write a book of critical readings covering dramatic elements from all five seasons of the show. Though half of the final product—finished six months later-- is Chuck and Sarah-centric, the other half focuses on other characters and storylines.

What started out as a personal challenge morphed into something much larger. Global, in fact. With only a shoe-string budget, Bush self-published Unpacking “Chuck” as a kindle book on Amazon in early July only to find a global demand waiting for the book. “I was thrilled when my first copy sold outside the United States in the United Kingdom,” he admits. In September, the book also began selling on Amazon’s sites in Germany, Australia, and Canada. Italy joined the list in early October, followed by France and New Zealand. On his Unpacking “Chuck” Facebook page, Bush has received likes from even more European countries and even Africa (Uganda) leading him to conclude, “The show appeals to discerning fans everywhere, not just here in the U.S.”

As for the U.S., the ebook version claimed the #1 spot in Amazon’s kindle category of Television: Guides & Reviews (out of more than 600 titles). This success lead to the release of a softcover edition two weeks ago, which has made a couple of appearances in the top ten of the over-arching Television: Guides and Reviews category on Amazon (over 1600 titles). Bush sees this success as revealing something unique about the show and its fans, given the book didn’t appear until more than two years after the last broadcast of “Chuck”: “I think a large part of the fan base is still committed and hungry to relive, think and embrace something fresh about the show. They want to continue the conversation.”

Indeed, what gives the author of Unpacking “Chuck” the most satisfaction is 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 noted his initial reluctance to purchase the book because he didn’t want to ruin the enjoyment of “MY SHOW.” Instead, the writer thanked Bush for enriching that experience 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, what more can you ask?”

G. Walter Bush has spent his life analyzing texts. The author holds degrees in literature from two institutions, Westmont College (B.A.) and the University of California, Irvine (M.A.). Mr. Bush has taught college prep English at a Southern California public high school for over twenty years, during which time he has also completed stints as an adjunct professor in English at Saddleback Community College and Concordia University. Unpacking Chuck is his first book. 

Like the Unpacking "Chuck" Facebook page while visiting for updates and follow the author on Twitter @G_Walterbush.

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