TELEVISION: Scrubs: A New Perspective Refreshes!

A note that appears before the premiere eps of Scrubs MKII reads:

Hello old friends;

Here’s the scoop. I see SCRUBS [Tuesday, 9/8C] as a new show [a lot of you are aware that I tried to re-title it]. I wanted to send these episodes out so you could see them ahead of time.

Scrubs S9

I think the new cast members are great and getting better each week [seriously, even if this show goes away I will take as much credit as possible for finding them even though I did nothing]. I also feel like this is a new enough world [and school] that it’s not just a retread or death march to the end. But I’ve been wrong before.

Either way, I’m prepared to take my lumps, because I’m proud of the quality of the work. If you hate it, and it makes you feel angry inside, feel free to crush me [it is my fault]. If, however, you find it tolerable or even pleasant, please give props to the cast and [new] writers. The bad is me. The good is them.

If I’m lucky, when you see the show [med school] will be chyroned on the title card to make it seem like we’re trying something new. If not, then I lost the fight.

Thanks for bothering.


So, how does the new Scrubs look? Very good, Bill, very good indeed!

Our First Day of School introduces the new regulars and Our Drunk Friend one of the new med students learns a hard lesson about lost causes and putting oneself out there.

What’s most interesting about SCRUBS MKII is that takes the proportions of drama and humor we get from Grey’s Anatomy and reverses them. Not only that, but it reverses the entire structure of the popular medical soap so that there is an undercurrent of drama through even the most far out fantasy moment and a hunt of comedy under the most dramatic moments.

John C. McGinley re-tools Dr. Perry Cox, his boss from hell character, into the med school professor from hell. When he tells first year student Lucy [Kerry Bishe´] that he addresses students by the numbers he feels represents his amount of [dis]respect, he starts at 19 and before the first ep is over, she’s down to 91. This on the heels of addressing the new students at orientation by telling them that they are not medical students but assassins who will try to kill his patients.

We also get a brief reprise of Guy Love as part of the re-introduction of J.D. [Zach Braff] and Turk [Donald Faison]; a look at the moment The Janitor [Neil Flynn] learned that J.D. wasn’t returning to Sacred Heart; the introduction of two relationship-phobic characters: student advisor Denise Mahoney [Eliza Coupe] and soon-to-be-Dr. Cox’s first favorite student, Drew [Mark Mosley], and the school’s one Teflon student, Cole [Dave Franco], whose parents donated the money for a wing in the new teaching hospital.

Our Drunk Friend gives Lucy the opportunity to learn a hard lesson about being a doctor. It also shows us an even less flattering sign of Teflon Cole and his social life [could he get any sleazier?]; gives us insight into the whys of Drew and Denise’s reticence to be too social, and features another stunningly bad Turk/J.D. duet. Who says you can’t have it all? Even Ken Jenkins’ moments as Dr. Kelso have taken on a new level of simultaneous hilarity and poignancy.

Seriously, SCRUBS MKII [sorry, Bill, I didn’t see anything extra chyroned onto the title card, but the preview eps were rough cuts…] is solidly out there as it has ever been. The gags are as character driven as ever and the dramatic moments are as achingly on target. The writing is some of the best on TV and direction is a match for it. With the new approach, it seems there are a multitude of ways to dig into the lives of the returning characters while developing a fascinating crop of new ones.

The key element is that, for the most part, the emphasis has changed from that of the characters we know and love to that of the newbies. The way they see things [including the original characters] gives us a fresh new perspective that raises all kinds of possibilities.

Final Grade: A-