Since Leigh doesn’t start work until the end of June, and I’m a shiftless lay-about all the time, we’ve spent a good deal of time watching T.V. We recently bought the first three seasons of “Scrubs” and watched every episode in a little over a week’s time. I’ve mentioned the show before, but I don’t think I’ve ever written up proper post about it.
As a rule I generally don’t like medical shows. This probably stems from the traumatization I experienced from watching the final episode of “St Elsewhere.” After several seasons of faithfully following the show that final episode revealed that an autistic boy had dreamed up the entire staff and story of St. Eligius as he gazed into a snow globe. I felt robbed.
This betrayal, combined with the fact that Leigh’s medical training makes her insufferable when watching medical shows, usually causes me to steer clear of traditional medical dramas like E.R. and the ilk.
Fortunately, “Scubs” isn’t the typical medical show. For starters, the half-hour show isn’t a drama; it’s a comedy. And not the typical laugh-track laden, multiple-camera angled comedy we’ve all grown accustomed to watching. No canned laughter tells you when the jokes are funny, and frankly the rapid-fire pace of the dialogue leaves no time for a laugh track anyway. Gone, too, are the multiple-angles of the traditional sitcom. On “Scrubs” you get one camera that floats around our characters as if they were on a reality-show.
Critics usually single out the comedic chops of the mop-headed Zach Braff, but I gotta say, I can’t remember any show with a stronger ensemble cast. “The Office” comes extremely close, but I’d give the final vote to “Scrubs.” Each character possesses their own unique idiosyncrasies and personalities, as opposed to goofy stock characters like most shows (Friends, I’m lookin’ at you). This makes for extremely funny recurring jokes, which very nearly outnumber the one-liners, the stock-in-trade of other sitcoms. Mixed in with character-driven jokes are the numerous occasions of physical comedy. Zach Braff’s J.D. kills me with each pratfall, and when Donald Faison’s Turk screams like a girl I fall to pieces.
The show follows the young doctor J.D. and his friends as they enter their first year of residency. They move up the medical ladder with each season, so that currently J.D. works as an attending medical doctor and Turk seeks a surgical fellowship. The audience is privy to the inner monologue of J.D., a young man who daydreams constantly. Several times an episode we see the daydreams and fantasies of J.D., and these little sequences are usually hilarious.
One of the most surprising and delightful things about “Scrubs” is that when the show does decide to delve into poignant or moving story arcs they do an outstanding job. Okay, I’ll admit it, I cried several times while watching the show. I defy you to remain dry-eyed while watching “My Screw Up,” probably one of the single greatest episodes of any show. The broad comedy provides a nice juxtaposition for the times when the show becomes serious, making those solemn sections that much more poignant and moving. And because I closely identify with characters that daydream about Kung Fu Fighting their co-workers or fantasize about being inside the Star Wars universe, I feel much more empathy for them than say, George Clooney.
I found the 100th episode of “Scrubs” on YouTube in three parts: I II III. Watch those, and then click on the images of the DVD sets above and order each season from Amazon and get your Scrub on. You won’t be disappointed.