Jeffster!

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Jeffster! performing, with Scott Krinsky as Jeff Barnes on the left, and Vik Sahay as Lester Patel on the right.

Jeffster! is a fictional cover band on the television series Chuck. Its principal (and only) members are Jeff Barnes (Scott Krinsky) and Lester Patel (Vik Sahay), both of whom work in the Nerd Herd division of the Buy More. As of the end of Season 3, both Jeff and Lester are on the run as the prime suspects in the destruction of the Buy More; their names are soon cleared but the pair remain oblivious while in hiding until "Chuck Versus the Suitcase". In Season 4, they are represented by Big Mike. As of the series finale, Jeff and Lester are pursuing a music career in Germany where they will be loved by women and men.

The band[edit]

The principal (and only) members of Jeffster! are Jeff Barnes, providing backup vocals and performing as the band's rhythm section, and Lester Patel on vocals. The duo primarily acts as a cover band, performing in local venues around the Burbank area.[1] It is revealed in the Chuck Season 3 DVD and Blu-ray special feature 'The Jeffster Revolution' that Jeffster formed when at a bar on Karaoke Monday Jeff urged Lester to sing, Lester did this while Jeff kept time. They sang Dolly Parton's 'Mommie, Ain't That Daddy' several times and according to Lester "Jeffster was born".[2]

In "Chuck Versus the Best Friend" Jeff and Lester attempted to audition for Devon and Ellie's wedding, and have since made several performances on the show. Although the audition did not go well, they still got the chance to perform at the wedding in "Chuck Versus the Ring" when Morgan used them as a stalling tactic before the ceremony. The duo later performed in "Chuck Versus the Beard" as part of Big Mike's revolt when the Ring infiltrated the Buy More disguised as corporate executives from a rival chain seeking to buy the store. The duo invited themselves to Devon and Ellie's going away party in "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners," where they performed "unplugged" after Jeffrey blew out the amp in rehearsal.

Jeffster! briefly broke up into solo acts in "Chuck Versus the Living Dead," however the duo quickly reconciled and Big Mike was taken on as manager. In "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II," Jeff and Lester convinced their new manager to premiere their music video (which took them two weekends to make) at the Buy More's going out of business sale, but are interrupted. After the store is evacuated, Chuck inadvertently starts up the video during his confrontation with Shaw. At the end of the episode, Big Mike expressed significant disgust with the duo, in particular Lester's vocals.

In addition to episodes of the series, actors Scott Krinsky and Vik Sahay made a special appearance in-character to perform at San Diego Comic-Con International in 2009.

Development[edit]

The concept for Jeffster! first appeared after Sahay mentioned to the writers Lester's "rock star" hair and swagger. Jeff and Lester first revealed they had a band in "Chuck Versus the Best Friend," and Jeffster! has since taken on a life of its own outside the show, including merchandising on NBC.com and its own page on Facebook. On March 18, 2010 Michael Ausiello confirmed that Jeffster! would be appearing in their first-ever music video as part of Chuck's two-hour season three finale.[3] The full-length version of the video used in "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II" was posted by Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune on May 27, 2010.[4]

Series co-creator Chris Fedak revealed at the 2011 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo that the series would focus less on the band than on Jeff and Lester's "other obsession" as amateur film makers, saying that the "two young "au-teurs" will "ma-ture" right in front of [the audience]."[5]

Fedak revealed at the 2011 Comic-Con that Jeffster! would break up in the fifth and final season of the series:[6][7]

This is the season where it all falls apart between Jeff and Lester... It's going to be a great war and...very dramatic... We’ll definitely do another Jeffster number before the end of the year. They'll go out with a bang.[6][7]

Discography[edit]

Individual Performances[edit]

Song Appearance Date
"Africa" "Chuck Versus the Best Friend" February 23, 2009
"Mr. Roboto" "Chuck Versus the Ring" April 27, 2009
"Fat Bottomed Girls" Live Performance at San Diego Comic-Con International July 23–26, 2009
"Fortunate Son" "Chuck Versus the Beard" March 8, 2010
"Leaving on a Jet Plane" "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners" April 26, 2010
"Love Hurts" "Chuck Versus the Living Dead" May 17, 2010
"Blaze of Glory" "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II" May 24, 2010
"Blaze of Glory" (Full Video) The Watcher at the Chicago Tribune May 27, 2010
"Bad Romance" Live Dance Performance at Comic-Con July 22–25, 2010
"Is This Love" "Chuck Versus the Balcony" January 17, 2011
"Push It" "Chuck Versus the Push Mix" January 31, 2011
"Send Me On My Way" "Chuck Versus the Masquerade" February 21, 2011
"Send Me On My Way" (Full Version) Audio file at Picosong February 22, 2011
"Eye of the Tiger" Video at Comic-Con July 21–24, 2011
"Take on Me" "Chuck Versus the Goodbye" January 27, 2012

Jeff Barnes[edit]

Jeffrey Barnes
Chuck character
First appearance "Chuck Versus the Intersect"
Last appearance "Chuck Versus the Goodbye"
Portrayed by Scott Krinsky
Information
Nickname(s) Jeff
Aliases Jefferson
Gender Male
Occupation Nerd Herd
Musician
Family Mother, sister
Expertise Apple Products, Keytar, Missile Command, Guitar, Sitar, Keyboard

Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Barnes (frequently called Jeffrey by Lester) is a member of the Nerd Herd.[8] An alcoholic in his forties, he was champion of Missile Command in 1983 and is significantly older than his coworkers, aside from Casey and assistant manager Big Mike.[9] Jeff can be seen as the Buy More employee of the month in the episode "Chuck Versus the Three Words" despite his actions and attitude towards working there (Chuck, the usual recipient, was away at spy school). He has a ferret named Roscoe as a pet.[9] It has also been revealed that he has only eight toes and does not pay for toilet paper.[10][11] His father is evidently part-Native American, allowing Jeff to satisfy a quota at the Buy More.[9] His mother is in prison,[12] and his sister works (at least part-time) as an exotic dancer and performed at Devon's bachelor party.[10][13] Jeff reveals he is deaf in his left ear in "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II." He shows pyromaniacal traits, frequently suggesting that he should burn down the Buy More as a response to solving any store-related problem.

Jeff's best friend on the show is Lester, and the series frequently involves the two scheming together. In "Chuck Versus the Marlin" he was responsible for the theft of Big Mike's fish, Norman, with Lester which contained a FULCRUM bug receiver. He and Lester frequent the Bennigan's bar across the street from the Buy More, presumably picking up women there.[11] Jeff is frequently shown to be a pervert. He once left his underwear in the back of a company Nerd Herd vehicle, and because of this, the assistant manager pulled all the Herders out of use to have them re-upholstered.[14] Several episodes have shown that Jeff is attracted to Anna Wu, calling her his muse, but the feeling is not reciprocated; he made a musical montage of Anna featuring several candid (i.e. stalker-like) photos.[9] In addition to Anna, Jeff frequently targets (and repulses) other attractive women at the store, but also indicates preferences for the "dumpy housewives"[15] and heavily pregnant women.[16] Jeff has on several occasions expressed a disturbing obsession with Chuck, starting when Chuck interviewed Jeff for the position of assistant manager (the details were not disclosed but were so disturbing that Morgan picked up Jeff's resume napkin with tongs to dispose of it and both Chuck and Morgan refused to allow the interview to go any further, additionally stating that Jeff playing footsie with him was unwelcome) and even going so far as describing Ellie as a "dream come true" because she's "like Chuck, but with lady parts." Commenting on the accurate rumor of her pregnancy, he asked a disgusted Ellie, "Is there room in that womb for two?"[17]

The majority of his Buy More paycheck is spent on alcohol, and spy gear used to outfit his van.[18] "Chuck Versus the American Hero" reveals he has named his van "Loretta," and that Jeff and Lester are such skilled stalkers they were even able to tail Ring operatives — professional spies — without being detected. Jeff also has an "office" set up in stall 2 of the Buy More employee men's room in which he takes a daily nap from 3pm-5pm.[19] His "office" was first shown in "Chuck Versus the Predator," and contained a toilet used as a cooler for his alcoholic beverages along with an easy chair, lava lamp, and various wall decorations. Jeff carries keys to the store (at least up until the NSA and CIA rebuild the structure as a secret base) and, according to Morgan, is the only employee who knows how the store's registers work.[20] When interviewing with Chuck for the assistant manager's position he reveals he was the store's first employee.[21]

According to the card Jeff carries which reads, "My name is Jeff and I'm lost", his address is 1629 Handley Avenue, North Hollywood, CA 91601.[9] Dr. "Woody" Woodcomb mistakes him for the late Sam Kinison.[22]

In Chuck Versus the A-Team, Jeff is said to be psychic. When trying to find the Orion laptop, he predicts that it is with the CIA (dismissed as the name "Cia"). The CIA did indeed have it when it was revealed to be in the NCS section of Castle.

Series[edit]

Jeff is generally a supporting character throughout the series, however he has periodically contributed to the main plot of an episode. His most prominent role was in "Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer," where he was targeted by a terrorist as the only person who could potentially reach the "Kill Screen" in Missile Command and retrieve the launch codes for an orbiting missile-armed satellite. In the episode Chuck convinced Jeff to come out of "retirement" in an effort to stop the terrorist launch, but Jeff choked, forcing Chuck to attempt to recover the codes himself.

He has indirectly and unwittingly been involved in several other missions as well. His and Lester's theft of Big Mike's marlin in "Chuck Versus the Marlin" initiated much of the plot, as the entire episode centered around locating the stolen fish and the FULCRUM receiver planted inside it. In "Chuck Versus the Colonel" Jeff helped Devon investigate Casey's unusual behavior regarding Chuck, and expressed professional admiration for Casey as a stalker. Jeffster's impromptu performance at Ellie and Devon's wedding in "Chuck Versus the Ring" bought the team time to protect Ellie and capture Roark.

Along with his other co-workers Jeff was inadvertently involved in a Ring attempt to take over and destroy Castle in "Chuck Versus the Beard," when several Ring operatives posed as executives for a rival chain looking to purchase the store. While high on chloroform, Jeff saved Casey's life by knocking out a Ring agent who was strangling him. When the closing of the Burbank Buy More becomes imminent in "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II," Jeff advocates burning down the store as a solution to protect their jobs. When the store is blown up by bombs planted by Daniel Shaw he becomes a prime suspect alongside Lester. Ironically, Jeff unwittingly helped save the lives of the employees and patrons prior to the store's destruction by triggering a store-wide evacuation. While on the lam, he and Lester are unaware when they are cleared as suspects. Morgan Grimes and John Casey confront them at their hiding place (a mere seven minutes from Burbank, with traffic), and use tranquilizer darts to return them to work at the Buy More in order to enhance the store's viability as a cover for government agents. Jeff's size and tolerance for narcotics result in Casey having to fire 6 tranquilizer darts into Jeff before he loses consciousness.[17]

Jeff is revealed to be somewhat psychic in "Chuck Versus the A-Team" when he blindly scribbles the letters "CIA" when trying to remember or 'see' the name of the customer he and Lester incorrectly believe has Ellie Bartowski's laptop. Indeed, the CIA had the laptop several stories below them, in Castle, at the time.

While Lester is, arguably, the brains behind the duo, Jeff is undoubtedly the talent. Jeff's musical aptitude is surprisingly high, as he is able to play guitar, sitar and keyboard with skill that is massively undermined by Lester's inability to sing. When the band was (temporarily?) discontinued and they tried their hand at film making, offering their "undisclosed" footage of Chuck and Sarah, while Lester's montage horrified and appalled Devon and Ellie, Jeff's montage was tasteful and elegant (so much so that a surprised Ellie kissed Jeff in gratitude.)

In "Chuck Versus the Frosted Tips", Devon finds Jeff sleeping under his van while the engine is running, inhaling a huge amount of carbon monoxide. After diagnosing him, Devon tells Jeff to not sleep under his van any longer. The next day, Jeff comes in with a groomed haircut and much more mature personality, as he refuses to help Lester try a life-threatening dare with one of their co-workers. In the next episode, "Chuck Versus the Business Trip", Lester tries getting the old Jeff back by pumping the exhaust from his van into the lunchroom. However, Big Mike was also there and passed out first, forcing Jeff to wheel him out. The next day, Jeff had Lester arrested for attempted homicide. Jeff offered to drop the charges if Lester refrains from attempting to poison him in the future, terms that are refused. Therefore, Morgan and Jeff make Lester jealous during a video call, by hiring an Indian singer, whose services they paid with an iPad.

With his intellect unimpeded, Jeff becomes more aware of something going on in the Buy More and illustrates his suspicions with a note chart similar to the ones Chuck created (behind Chuck's TRON poster and before mounting an attack on Volkoff.) He accurately deduces that Casey and Sarah are spies and Chuck is their asset but has yet to identify the fourth member on their team. Morgan walks in on him and Lester during their discussion and claims that the fourth member is Devon. Devon then tries to lure the duo off the scent by pretending that he goes underneath the Buy More to exercise. Unfortunately, Jeff realizes that Devon's exercise room is fake when he spots wet paint on the back of Lester's shirt. He then lifts a dumbbell and throws it through the wall, exposing Castle. Morgan is then forced to tranquilize the Jeffster! duo and Casey uses a gas that wipes their short-term memory. Much to the team's aggravation, this proves, initially, ineffective as Jeff keeps writing notes on his arms that keep leading them back to the revelation of the team's spy life; they finally give up after Casey finally learns from his mistakes and edits the notes on Jeff's arms. However, they both have dreams about Castle, and quickly are brought into the fold after they save Morgan, Devon and Casey's daughter Alex from agents of Nicholas Quinn. They proved quite useful in saving General Beckman when she was sitting over a bomb during a concert, set to go off when the music ended. Afterwards, an attendant offered to sponsor Jeffster!, an offer they readily accepted.

Jeffster![edit]

Jeff is the band's keyboardist, composer, rhythm section, sound technician[18] and manager,[23] until Big Mike took over the role in "Chuck Versus the Living Dead." Jeff's interest in music began as a child when he first heard Jethro Tull's Aqualung (on vinyl of course). After showing great promise as a vibraphone player in his high school's jazz ensemble, he went on to play in a variety of rock and roll bands; Jeffster! is his current project. He claims as influences Herbie Hancock, Greg Rolie, Rick Wakeman, and John Cage.[1]

Development[edit]

Beginning with the second season première, actor Scott Krinsky was listed in the opening credits as a series regular. Krinsky was offered the role of Jeff by producer Josh Schwartz largely due to Krinsky's previous work on Schwartz's series The O.C., although he was still required to read for the role for network approval. He describes Jeff as a "lifer," who was at the store before the other characters and will be there after they are gone.[24]

Reaction[edit]

Jeff's bizarre behavior throughout the series has garnered significant attention from critics and viewers. Eric Goldman of IGN.com particularly cited his approval of the writers' willingness to find strange things for Jeff to do in his review of "Chuck Versus the Third Dimension",[25] though he also found Jeff overcoming his fear of playing Missile Command again in the final moment of "Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer" touching.[26] Alan Sepinwall of the New Jersey Star-Ledger has praised many of Jeff's antics, including intentionally knocking himself out with a bottle of chloroform to "get himself right,"[27] hiring his own sister as a stripper for Devon's bachelor party,[28] and his "office" in the men's room stall.[29]

Lester Patel[edit]

Lester Indira Golda Patel
Chuck character
First appearance "Chuck Versus the Intersect"
Last appearance "Chuck Versus the Goodbye"
Portrayed by Vik Sahay
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Nerd Herd
Musician
Expertise Apple Products
Lead vocals

Lester Patel (full name Lester Indira Golda Patel) is a member of the Nerd Herd.[8] Little information on Lester's family has been given in the series, however "Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon" reveals he has a cousin familiar with legal work, and helped Morgan compose his Morganuptuals. Lester was born in Saskatchewan, and is a Jew of Indian descent,[22][30] (or, in his vernacular, a "Hin-Jew.")[30][31] Several episodes have shown Lester keeps kosher, however he frequently takes advantage of other aspects of his faith, such as scamming his coworkers with a dreidel. However "Chuck Versus the Crown Vic" shows he's proud of his heritage, as he several times corrects Big Mike when he refers to the store's holiday party as a "Christmas Party." He is mistaken for a lesbian by Dr. Woody Woodcomb.[22]

Lester's best friend is Jeff, and the two are frequently seen scheming together in many episodes. Stealing Big Mike's marlin was Lester's idea,[32] and he conspired with Jeff to break into the Buy More and steal a high-tech computer he mistakenly believed was a new gaming machine.[11] He frequents the Bennigan's bar across the street from the Buy More with Jeff, presumably to pick up women there.[11]

Series[edit]

Lester's primary use throughout the series is in the secondary plots at the Buy More, and he has rarely contributed to the main plot. His antics with Jeff are frequently a source of comic relief. His most important contributions to the main plot came in "Chuck Versus the Marlin," when he decided to steal Big Mike's fish after breaking into the store. The resulting hunt for the fish became a major focus of the plot. His performance of "Mr. Roboto" during Ellie's wedding also indirectly helped Chuck save her life.[22]

In the second season Lester was promoted to Assistant Manager of the Buy More after beating Jeff in a cage match organized by Morgan.[21] Much like Harry Tang before him, his tenure was initially highly unpopular with the rest of the employees due to his tyrannical tendencies, prompting a walkout led by Morgan.[19] He voluntarily returned to his former position with the Nerd Herd at the end of "Chuck Versus the Cougars". Despite his previously held position of assistant manager, he holds a strong aversion to anyone in power in the Buy More and very often attempts to sabotage and humiliate them when possible.

Lester has on several occasions shown a willingness to sell out for personal gain. In "Chuck Versus the Alma Mater" he betrayed Morgan's revolt against Harry Tang for a monogrammed Buy More polo. He also attempted to suck up to Chuck when Big Mike assigned him to interview for the assistant manager position.[21] However Lester freely acknowledged to Emmett Milbarge that when faced with a difficult decision he asks himself "What would Chuck do?" He also followed Morgan's lead in an attempt to sabotage Emmett's efficiency rating.

He is terrified of Casey, and when he attempted to hit on Sarah after Chuck "dumped" her, he panicked when she responded aggressively to his advances. Lester nearly got Chuck sued for sexual harassment when he and Jeff organized a "casting couch" to hire a new Buy More "Greenshirt," and used it as an opportunity to hit on women.[33] As a result they mistakenly believed a FULCRUM agent who kidnapped Chuck was a police officer taking him into custody.

Lester proposes Big Mike run a "going out of business" sale in "Chuck Versus the Ring: Part II," when the store is on the verge of being closed. Although the sale turns into a smash success, it was unsanctioned as their merchandise was to be transferred to the Beverly Hills Buy More. Lester attempted to stop Jeff from proposing arson as a resolution to the problem, but subsequently became a suspect after the store was blown up by charges laid by Shaw to force Chuck into a final showdown. While on the lam, he and Jeff are unaware when they are cleared as suspects. Morgan Grimes and John Casey confront them at their hiding place (a mere seven minutes from the store, with traffic), and use tranquilizer darts to return them to work at the Buy More in order to enhance the store's viability as a cover for government agents.[17]

Jeffster![edit]

Lester is the lead singer in the two-man band. He has written dozens of pop songs as well as "Virus/rebuild," an experimental symphony for monophonic synthesizer. His stylistic influences include Morrisey, Kurt Cobain, Bon Scott, Billy Joel, and Madonna.[1]

Development[edit]

Beginning with the second season première, actor Vik Sahay was listed in the opening credits as a series regular. During the audition process actor Vik Sahay originally read for the role of Morgan, eventually coming down to between him and Joshua Gomez. After Gomez was selected for Morgan, Sahay was offered the role of Lester. Sahay has described Lester as "fancying himself a superstar and he just does not have the nervous system to back it up." He further goes on to describe Lester as "...He wants to be respected, right? He wants what Chuck has—that effortless charm and likeability. He wants it so bad that the last thing he is is effortless. He’s effort-ful." A significant amount of improvisation and riffing also occurs between the actors, which Sahay attributes to the "electric environment" resulting from the strong working relationships and friendship between the cast members.[34]

Sahay issued a "thank you" to fans of the series following the completion of a deal between NBC and Warner Bros. to pick up the series for a third season.[35] Discussing Sahay's performance in "Chuck Versus the Goodbye", Chris Fedak said, "...Vik hit all those notes. Usually in seasons past, we will pop out of the song and go back to the original recorded performance. This was the first time that Vik has done the entire thing. And it's amazing, the notes he hits in there. We were shocked when we heard his and Tim Jones' performance. It speaks to his growth as a musical performer."[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The New and Improved Official Site for Jeffster!". NBC.com. 
  2. ^ "Chuck Season 3 DVD - The Jeffster Revolution". 
  3. ^ Ausiello, Michael (March 18, 2010). "Scoop: 'Chuck' finale mystery solved: Find out what the [bleep] is going on in this photo!". The Ausiello Files. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ryan, Maureen (May 27, 2010). "Exclusive: The full Jeffster! video from the finale of 'Chuck'". Chicago Tribune. 
  5. ^ Jester, Alice (2011-03-21). "C2E2 Report: Interview With Chuck Executive Producer Chris Fedak". TV For the Rest of Us. Retrieved 2011-05-12. 
  6. ^ a b Mitovich, Matt Webb (July 23, 2011). "Chuck Scoop: Mark Hamill Is a Force of Evil In Final Premiere, Plus Morgan's Training Video". TV Line. TV Line Media, LLC. Retrieved July 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b "Chuck Panel: Comic-Con 2011". NBC. July 25, 2011. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Chuck Versus the Helicopter"
  9. ^ a b c d e "Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer"
  10. ^ a b "Chuck Versus Santa Claus"
  11. ^ a b c d "Chuck Versus the Predator"
  12. ^ "Chuck Versus the Truth"
  13. ^ "Chuck Versus the Broken Heart"
  14. ^ "Chuck Versus the DeLorean"
  15. ^ "Chuck Versus the Tooth"
  16. ^ "Chuck Versus the Push Mix"
  17. ^ a b c "Chuck Versus the Suitcase"
  18. ^ a b "Chuck Versus the Best Friend"
  19. ^ a b "Chuck Versus the Seduction"
  20. ^ "Chuck Versus the Nemesis"
  21. ^ a b c "Chuck Versus the First Date"
  22. ^ a b c d "Chuck Versus the Ring"
  23. ^ "Chuck Versus the Honeymooners"
  24. ^ One on One with Scott Krinsky: December 20, 2007: Hobo Trashcan
  25. ^ Review: February 1, 2009: IGN.com
  26. ^ Review: October 28, 2008: IGN.com
  27. ^ "Review: April 20, 2009": What's Alan Watching
  28. ^ Review: March 30, 2009: What's Alan Watching?
  29. ^ Review: March 23, 2009: What's Alan Watching
  30. ^ a b "Chuck Versus the Colonel"
  31. ^ "Chuck Versus the Crown Vic"
  32. ^ "Chuck Versus the Marlin"
  33. ^ "Chuck Versus the Beefcake"
  34. ^ Interview: April 12, 2009: Sahay on Jeffster, geekiness, and saving Chuck
  35. ^ Interview: May 18, 2009: Vik Sahay thanks fans for saving 'Chuck'
  36. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (January 27, 2012). "Interview: 'Chuck' co-creator Chris Fedak on the series finale". Retrieved February 9, 2012.