Show: NBC’s Chuck
Featured Characters: Ellie and Chuck Bartowski
There are quite a number of phenomenal sibling relationships on television but none compare to the Bartowski kids. Chuck is home to some of the most uniquely wonderful friendships and relationships, but it wouldn’t be as special without the closeness between brother and sister.
When you’re born into a family of spies, it isn’t easy to understand why your parents leave, and before they even learned the truth about their parents’ identities, Chuck and Ellie Bartowski chose to never abandon each other. We often forget that blood isn’t what makes people a family, but rather the effortless and endearing adoration we choose to give each and every day. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have family members who love them in spite of all their flaws, but those who are fortunate enough, know that at the end of the day, through loyalty, care, and immense adoration, there will always be a safe place to come home to.
Once upon a time, Ellie promised their father that no matter what happened, she’d take care of Chuck—she’d always protect him. And to the very end, Ellie had kept that promise. As much as I’ve attempted to find an eloquent definition for the word “loyalty,” nothing has stood out to me as I’ve wanted it to. I then came to realization that much like, “love” and “adoration,” for these two, it is a word with unprecedented value. There aren’t many beautiful ways to simplify the intensity of loyalty—the sentiments behind knowing that the person you’re devoted to is worthy of a colossal amount of your time, energy, and heart. And the way in which the Bartowski siblings were loyal to one another had me captivated from the start.
huck and Ellie hated (despised, loathed, etc.) lying to one another, which seamlessly showcased the fact that honesty and adoration were always the solid foundations of their relationships. From the time they understood the profound importance of their sibling, it became unwavering. As viewers we knew that Chuck and Ellie weren’t loyal to one another because they had to be, but because they wanted to; thereby, revealing the depth of their adoration and respect for one another beautifully. They each constantly made sure the other was proud of them because they were worthy of that. They wanted that.
Ellie went through more than any 12-year-old should, but she did so because it was her decision to make sure Chuck was always taken care of. When you’re the older sibling, there’s a natural, instinctual desire in you to always make sure your younger sibling is safe. Ellie took care of Chuck from the time they were teens to the very moment she and Devon moved away for work. And frankly, I’m pretty sure she’d still be taking care of him from miles away because it never stops. It’s funny because despite the fact that little brothers feel the need to protect sisters when they grow older, for us, they never stop being the little brother we need to take care of.
A mom has a special place in a son’s life, but a sister’s position is different. As the kids of the house, siblings understand one another in ways parents aren’t able to, and for that reason, they’re often able to provide the necessary care needed in certain situations—the necessary advice and comfort. And as all families, the Bartowskis had their fair share of battles, in light of which Ellie always made sure Chuck knew he could come to her first.
It’s for this reason that Chuck’s choice to lie about his life as a spy hurt Ellie the most, and undoubtedly, it pained Chuck from the very beginning that he’d have to lie to the one person he was supposed to trust the most. However, as much it hurt the two of them, this was essentially Chuck’s way of protecting his sister. In order to take care of her, he needed her to stay out of the spy life, and he needed her to know as little as possible in order for her life to go on as it should.
Additionally, taking care of one another doesn’t just equate to the two of them—by choice, they took care of their significant others as well. Chuck’s choice to have a personal relationship with Devon gave Ellie the blessing of knowing that the two most important men in her life would always be there for each other. And in doing so, they’d be helping her out immensely. If Chuck ever needed someone and Ellie couldn’t be around, Devon would be there in a heartbeat, and he was for the first few seasons when he knew about Chuck’s secret before Ellie did.
In the same way, Chuck was there to offer Devon moral support when he needed it, choosing to continuously protect him amidst missions because of how much he meant to both him and his sister. Additionally, adoring and befriending Sarah was something that came naturally to Ellie—as someone who didn’t have reliable family and friends, Ellie became the closest person to Sarah after Chuck.
As we grow older, we learn more about ourselves through our mistakes and experiences, but we also learn a great deal through those we love. While experiences teach us pretty much everything we need to know, when we know steadfast adoration, we can be content with the fact that whatever happens, we’ll always strive higher. We often want to make those we love proud and not because they force us to, but because we genuinely want to rise to the image they have set for us. An image which isn’t unrealistic, but rather often times, those closest to us can see our worth before we can. When we doubt ourselves, they’re there to remind us of who we truly are.
Ellie never wanted Chuck to work at the Buy More because she knew his mind was equipped to take on a lot more than what retail could offer. He was always special and for that reason, she knew he deserved something with higher rank. And continuously choosing to remind him of this wasn’t her way of looking down at him, but rather her way of making sure he didn’t go through life selling himself short. In the same way, Chuck chose to selflessly put his needs aside and convince Ellie to take the job in Chicago. Chuck knew that the experiences Ellie and Devon would have taking the job offer would lead them somewhere great.
Chuck and Ellie have time and time again chosen to always remind the other of the immense greatness they’re capable of. They’ve always been there, near or far, to remind the other of the fact that they’re a Bartowski, and there’s nothing they can’t do.
As one of the strongest sibling duos on screen, Chuck and Ellie contributed profoundly to each other’s lives, as well as to Team Bartowski beautifully. There was never a single scene between the two that wasn’t purely comforting or just an all around delight to watch.
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.