I came here to write a blog, and then proceeded to spend the next hour browsing the internet, reading about one of my favorite comedy series in the last 20 years: Scrubs.
I used to see the occasional episode Scrubs because I watched ER, and the program aired on Thursday night’s Must See TV lineup, around Will and Grace. It eventually moved off Thursday nights entirely, to be replaced, ironically, by The Apprentice, which had no appeal to me whatsoever. Eventually I watched enough reruns to know that the show hit my funny bone just right, and in a good way.
The program revolves around a group of folks who work in a hospital. JD–John Dorian–is the naive young intern played as a lovable almost-geek by Zac Braff. Chris Turk (Donald Faison), his cocky young best friend, is a surgeon. JD’s on-and-off-again romance is fueled with the clumsy and overly-eager Dr. Eliot Reid, played by Sara Chalke. Johnny C. McGinley plays the groups angry sensei, Dr. Cox. The core group is fun, but the storytelling and weird mix of characters is what makes the show truly pop.
The story (at least in the earliest of the 9 seasons) is told from JD’s perspective–his unique and bizarre fantasy renditions of his friends. The extended cast is unique and hilarious. Ted the Sad Sack Lawyer. The angry, lying Janitor. Bob Kelso, the evil chief of medicine. Dr. Cox’s snarky ex wife Jordan. The Todd, who might be the most likeable sexist pig in the history of television. Leonard the Security Guard with a hook for a hand. Colonel Doctor–the doctor who looks exactly like Colonel Sanders. Doctor Beardface (“it’s Beardfasé!”) Doctor Mickhead, who may or may not have killed his wife. Doug the coroner. Snoop Dogg Intern (“It’s Snoop Dogg Attending now!”) Ok, I may have got a little out of control with the list there but you get the idea. The running gags with hospital weirdos often carry the story.
Most stories wink at pop culture and television references: Batman, Sanford and Son, The Wizard of Oz, 80s bands Erasure and Men at Work.
It fills a hole that M*A*S*H left in a lot of ways, when it went off the air in 1983 because Scrubs also didn’t shy away from deeper, more poignant stories. A co-star was killed off and became a story arc. Beloved characters died in their hospital beds. Doctor Cox once killed 4 people due to an incorrect diagnosis and a donor card. Although the program dishes out the funny, it doesn’t entirely avoid its hospital setting and go for the laughs.
In fact, an entire episode, filmed as a sunny comedy sitcom (complete with laugh track) shows how different Scrubs managed to deviate from the standard conception of sitcom.
That’s enough fanboy stuff for the day. I didn’t mean to go off the rails, but hey–a blog’s a blog. Maybe I’ll watch some Scrubs today.