Chuck Final Countdown: Scott Krinsky on Playing Normal and JEFFSTER 2.0

Back in December, on the second-to-last day of filming Chuck, was included among a group of reporters invited to the set to talk with the cast about the finale and look back at the previous five seasons. We’ll be releasing those interviews this week as we countdown to “Chuck vs. the Goodbye” on January 27.

WARNING: Minor spoilers!

Scott Krinsky played dumb, creepy yet somehow still lovable Jeff Barnes for four seasons, until early this season when Captain Awesome diagnosed him with carbon monoxide poisoning. Once he quit sleeping his van, it was a whole new Jeff. Will it stick? What happens to JEFFSTER! and his friendship with Lester? Scott gives us the scoop.

On Jeff’s complete 180 into a smart, rational, quinoa-eating human being

Scott: Yeah, it’s great. It’s fun though, because my character has been such a substance abuser, and then we find out that it’s not the substances at all; he can keep doing those. Those weren’t causing the problems. The doctor said, “Keep drinking. Keep taking pills. Actually, just don’t sleep in your car.” But it’s been fun. As an actor, it’s great to do something different, to have a change in your character and it’s been great for the relationship with Lester. Just something different; a different dynamic with us. I was so excited for it. It was very welcomed.

Q: Are you allowed to say whether you stay that way?
Q: His hair is nice and normal right now.

Scott: I’ll leave that to you guys. You’ve seen my hair.

On the future of JEFFSTER!

Scott: Well, I’ll put it this way. We’re in a concert hall. I’m not saying what’s going on, because this is… We’re shooting in a concert hall and that’s all I’m going to say.

Q: How would you feel about a spin-off for Jester?

Scott: I always said if Vik and I had a spin-off, it would be Jeff and Lester and it’s like ‘The Odd Couple’. It’s a modern day ‘Odd Couple’. Then Jeff would have to go back a little bit to his old self, right? We could be living together because now, of course, we have our band and everything. I think it would be a funny dynamic, seeing us live together as roommates. And having parties.

On his future and whether he feels that he’ll be typecast

Scott: I don’t look at it that way. I just think about new challenges and you’re only typecast if you think that, if you create that in your own head that this is all you can do. But if you have it in your mind, then you can do other things. I think that’s the kind of energy you put out there to other people and that’s the way they see you. It’s interesting because before Chuck, I was working on The O.C. for Josh, so I feel like, in some ways, Jeff is…Darryl was the name of the homeless guy. I feel like Jeff is a reincarnation of Darryl, who was homeless, and now he’s gotten his life together and he’s gotten a job and changed his identity to Jeff.

Q: So in the next Josh show…

Scott: I’ll be a doctor. Yeah, I’ll either be a doctor or a lawyer.

On whether he prefers movies or TV 

Scott: I like the medium of work. I would love to do more films. And another great TV show. It’s going to be hard to top Chuck. To do a show that has this kind of fan base, I hope it’s not once in a lifetime, but sometimes it feels like a relationship we’ve had with our fans and how can you top that? It’s been amazing. I don’t feel like that relationship is going to end, with Twitter and Facebook and shows being able to live on through online. I just feel like we’re going to have new fans. All the people that didn’t listen to you guys are going to discover the show.

On how he feels about the conclusion of Jeff’s storyline

Scott: I’m really, really excited. I think they wrote an amazing ending. I think it’s going to be very satisfying for the fans and for my character and for the show in general. For anyone who’s been there from the beginning, I think it’s really going to tie it up in a really nice way. I wish I could say more about why I think that.

The way we get to end the show – where we get to have an ending that’s written, that’s been planned – I think is because of our fans. Because they’ve been here. NBC said when they picked us up for these final thirteen episodes, they specifically said because they want to give this beloved show a proper send-off. I think that says it all right there. It’s for the fans.

On seeing fans at Comic Con

Scott: I love when I go to ComicCon and see people dressed as the Nerd Herd, like wearing what I’m wearing right now, doing this interview. I think that’s the greatest thing. I’m so flattered when I see that.

On making nerds sexy

Scott: Yeah. The whole nerd culture came about with Chuck and I think people, not because of me, think nerds are sexy. Jeff Barnes has contributed to that, maybe more Zachary Levi, but I like to think that I have 5% to do with that.

On what’s next

Scott: I just shot an indie road trip comedy, American Idiots, and right now, I’m just starting to look at some pilots and projects. It’s kind of weird to say that. You kind of read stuff and hope it’s challenging and exciting and something you would want to spend five years working on, like Chuck. I knew we had something magical in the pilot. I was like, “This is different.” The concept was different. When I saw the pilot, I thought, “This is a damn good pilot.” A lot of times, the pilots aren’t great. You stick with a show because you hope it’s going to get better. Chuck was amazing right from the start.

On his cast mates

Scott: They are amazing. The chemistry. Working with Vik, we have such a yin and yang, but he’s such a talented guy. You can’t create that; you can’t create that chemistry with someone and it’s a gift. I think this whole cast, it’s fate. Bringing a cast together like that and we have so much fun. We don’t all always get to work together, because there’s the spy story and then there’s the Buy More, so it’s great when we all get to work together and I’m going to miss these guys.

On what he’s keeping from Chuck 

Scott: Right here, baby.

Q: You’re going to keep the shirt and tie, really?

Scott: Yeah, I want the whole outfit. I’m going to frame it in a glass case and put it on my ceiling. I already stole a sign from the Buy More. An ‘Employees Only, Restricted Area’ sign. Come sue me, come get it.

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  1. I was just thinking about the change in Jeff in Season 5. It echoes the changes we’ve seen in the characters of Chuck, Sarah, Morgan and Casey when you compare season 1 to season 5 for these particular characters. Chuck from nice guy to spy. Sarah from spy to a “real girl” – lol. Casey… well he grunts more happily now and tolerates his friends so much better. Morgan has actually come along way from being irresponsible and a tad overbearing to a dependable resourceful guy. Ellie and Awesome though have been pretty much anchors with who they are outside of the spy game, of course baby changed them a bit. Lester and Big Mike are the only characters I can think of who seem to have remained who they were and are from seasons 1 through 5. (That could be open to debate.) Lots of character growth in the main cast. You’d expect that of course. The Jeff change though was curious and made me wonder if something else wasn’t up at first.

  2. I loved the Jeff Barnes Character too. I cant wait to see his next incarnation, and the seeing all the cast memebers on thier next projects. Something Scott mentioned inthe interview struck me as one of the reasons this show did so well; all the cast memebres seemed to have really good chemistry. Alot of shows never get that and having it is one of the main reasons I think CHUCK was successful.

  3. Great interview Scott and I hope to see what you have in the Works for the future Jeff Barnes is the heart of the BuyMore.
    I’ve been thinking about the changes in Jeff and how he has become more responcible over this last season and the way he can handle Lester is a miracle.
    My hopes for his charactor is to be rewarded for his years of service to the BuyMore (he as been there from the first opening some 30 years ago).
    what would be better then Jeff becoming the new manager of the BuyMore after Carmichael Industries no longer needs as cover with Big Mike as the Assistant Manager of course. Did you think That I would even suggest that it be Lester.

  4. I find Jeff and Lester absolutely hilarious! I remember back in season 1 I hated their characters but now they have grown into two of my favorites. The show would not be the same without them. A Jeffster spinoff would be the greatest thing ever and I will definitely miss this duo.