Review: Scrubs 8×1-8×2


The cast of Scrubs

In the US: Tuesdays, 9/8c, ABC
In the UK: E4, some time this year probably

It has to be said that Scrubs hasn’t been what it was for some time. Originally, a comedy show about doctors that also looked at the more human side of having to cope with people who are ill and dying, over its last few seasons, it’s become something of a cartoon, in which reality has been shoved aside in favour of silliness and cartoon-like behaviour.

The strangeness of Scrubs is that it was an ABC Studios production for NBC, a network that didn’t really seem to know what to do with the programme anyway, seeming at times almost to have forgotten the show existed.

But after NBC dropped it with a literal, medieval fanfare finale last season, ABC picked it up and has decided to run with it. Will the change in management help bring Scrubs back to its former glory for its probably final season, or like a giant oil tanker, will it prove impossible to turn back on course at this late stage?

They’re trying. They’re really trying. You can see it. But there’s been such a wackiness build-up over the years that it’s very hard for them to expunge it altogether.

So while the first two episodes do have some very good moments, notably involving a one-to-one between JD and Dr Cox and scenes with a dying patient, the overt comedy moments are still very OTT and try too hard.

The biggest change to the series – there aren’t that many – is that Dr Kelso is now retired (but loitering around the cafeteria) and has been replaced by the arachnophobic Courtney Cox. She’s not exactly a female version of Kelso, and when she is supposed to be pure evil, she can’t quite pull it off, but at least she’s not there purely for slapstick.

And could that potentially be the Janitor limping off into the background, after finally being called on some of his more extreme tendencies? It could be an interesting move or simply a sign of some further reining in for the show over the next few weeks.

There’s also a group of interns who are unfeasibly useless and merely there to be laughed at or carry the show on into a ninth season once Zach Braff has left.

On the whole, while not quite a return to the show’s former glories, there are some green shoots of recovery apparent. Fingers crossed they can keep it up and turn things around before the show ends.

  • Rev

    I was very happy to see another Wire alumni appearing on screen in the second episode. Glynn Turman gave a fantastic performance and really sold the moments he was in episode.

  • Over here in the States, ABC yanked one of the last episodes of ‘Pushing Daisies’ to show the double-headeer of ‘Scrubs’ again – the night after it first aired! Angry as I was to lose one of my last chances to see the Pie-Hole gang, I was glad for the chance to check out the effects of the network transition. (I had forgotten to DVR it on Tuesday.)
    And it was because of Glyn Turman as George that I wanted to see it. He gave a deeply moving, very simple performance – a strong counterpoint to the OTT from the regulars.
    I never found ‘Scrubs’ to be must-see TV even during its peak, so it’ll depend on advance word about plot or guest stars to get me to tune in.

  • MediumRob

    I think it’s compulsory now that every US show has at least one Brit, Australian or Canadian and has a member of The Wire‘s cast in it at some point.

  • Indeed, The Wire may not be a major part of the public’s consciousness (yet) but the TV industry has noticed it. I quite like the way the show has rippled out all of these superb actors to many other series.