This is Chuck’s opening credits sequence, and it actually lets us deal directly with a TV-theme-genre that only includes two (2) shows. The genre is “instrumental versions of songs by the band Cake.”
This song is Short Skirt/Long Jacket, and if you’re anything like me, a friend recommended the song in like 8th grade and you thought it was pretty good and then didn’t really think about it again. Lyrically, it has nothing to do with Chuck, but the instrumentals here are just a lot of fun, and Chuck at its best is the same. It’s a peppy beat, the kind that might make you skip just a little if you heard it in your headphones while walking down the street.
The visual sequence (by Karin Fong, Jonathan Gershon, and Dana Yee)complements it perfectly, and also is a great little animated representation of the plot of the show: Chuck is a regular guy, an interchangeably cog in a suffocating machine (represented here by a little fat stick figure, basically the AOL guy [remember him? remember AOL?]), who suddenly has to DODGE BULLETS. Animated sequences of a character doing exciting things are extremely exciting, you guys. And there’s a reason for that.
In his book Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud explains that the less descript a comic character is, the easier it is for us, the audience, to project ourselves onto him or her. Without a specific ethnicity or gender or size of nose or whatever, we think, “Oh, hey, that little stick figure is me!” That’s why the animated sequence of a stick figure doing exciting things is so effective for starting stories like this. We look at it, and we’re like, “Oh snap! I’m doing exciting things! Me! And I’m just a barista!” Consider the following:
Yes, the cool music helps.