The show may be called Chuck, but more and more it's about Captain Awesome. When Ryan McPartlin's character dives into the spy world, he finds life less awesome than he expected. McPartlin, who got a bit of hazing in our interview with co-star Zachary Levi, discussed the new nemesis played by Angie Harmon, whether Awesome's marriage can remain awesome, and whether fans should worry about any impending goodbyes.
TVGuide.com: Zachary Levi had a very serious question for you. He said to ask you when you're going to stop dragging down the show.
Ryan McPartlin: I don't think he was kidding. There's some truth behind all those mean jokes that he makes. [Laughs] Some of us can act for a living and rely on our acting, some of us have to rely on our abs for a living, OK? So I spend my time in the gym doing crunches, while he goes to his acting coaches and gets into character. [Laughs] There you have it.
TVGuide.com: How does Awesome step into the limelight this season?
McPartlin: Awesome doesn't just step into the limelight, he does a 40-yard dash into the limelight this season, because unlike Chuck, who was reluctantly pulled into the spy world, Captain Awesome is dying to get a piece of the action and get some excitement in his life. As most people who are married can relate, you have to compensate, you have to pick up some hobbies because chasing single girls used to consume a lot of your energy. Now Captain Awesome wants to get in the spy world to use that leftover energy he has now that he's married. He gets involved in the most fun, cool, awesome ways.
TVGuide.com: He really has to step up being a spy and grow into it. How does that change or shape him in a way?
McPartlin: What's interesting is that Awesome has never had to lie about anything in his life because he's a perfectionist and he's lived life to the fullest that he possibly can, so now that he has to actually lie a little bit, it's very foreign to him and he's not very good at it. You find out that Chuck did a much better job of it than Captain Awesome did.
TVGuide.com: Will Awesome step a little too far into the spy world?
McPartlin: Yeah, hence Angie Harmon. Sometimes you look into the face of death and you don't expect Angie Harmon's face to be the one you're looking at. There's kind of a Catch-22 in that regard. The danger element of it is what he's looking for. However, he doesn't realize how serious it is to try and save the world and how much jeopardy he's putting himself and his family into.
TVGuide.com: Will Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and Awesome be able to make it as a married couple now?
McPartlin: Yeah, as long as we can make it through this spy garbage and if he can find a way to balance his knowledge of the spy world, and really remove himself from it once he gets in too far. That's the problem, it's like, once you open that Pandora's Box, you can't really close it — as Chuck found out — you can't just walk away from it. Some things can weigh on a marriage and it's tough to keep a healthy relationship going in normal circumstances, let alone with the fact that terrorists and bad guys are trying to kill you and you can't tell your wife about it.
TVGuide.com: Do you think Awesome ever actually worries that Morgan (Joshua Gomez) may take Ellie away from him?
McPartlin: In all seriousness, I don't think he worries about Morgan taking Ellie away from him, but I do think there is a level of concern about Morgan actually being able to understand Ellie and communicate with her in a different way, and maybe in a little bit of a deeper way than Captain Awesome can at times. That's why guys like Josh Gomez took girls away from Ryan McPartlin in high school. He was able to use his brain and his heart a little bit more.
TVGuide.com: What non-spy storylines will we see for Ellie and Awesome this year?
McPartlin: I'm sure the family will come back into play. As far as our relationship is concerned, Ellie has ambitions of her own and those ambitions conflict with the safety of our world and how I feel like we need to operate in a certain way, or get away from a situation.
TVGuide.com: Do you think, down the line, that Awesome could ever be a full-on spy?
McPartlin: Absolutely. Captain Awesome definitely has the right makeup to be a spy. He just has to take the training more seriously and not just assume that he can jump into that world and know what to do and how to do it. But, with that being said, I really enjoy the comedy because the spy work is tough. There's a lot of stunt work, so I don't mind just coming in and making some jokes and going home. [Laughs] So we'll see how it evolves. It might be a spin off, The Adventures of Captain Awesome.
TVGuide.com: Chuck is really far into the spy world. It's much more dangerous for everyone. Should we worry about anyone being killed off?
McPartlin: I think that the fans do have to be concerned. Everyone has to be concerned because when you've raised the bar as much as our writers have, at some point they're going to say that it can't just be a guest-star being knocked off, somebody might go away and it might not just be through death. Awesome and Ellie may have to leave and move to get away from it all. We're still finding out. We're only half way through the season right now, so the fans aren't the only ones who are concerned [Laughs]. At some point they're going to have to say, "Guys, we've loved having you here, but we have to raise this to a whole other level," and hopefully it's Morgan and not Awesome.
Do you think Awesome will make an awesome spy? Sound off in the coments.