Scrubs is a show that resists being defined. Certainly there have been a ton of medical shows over the years. Recently shows like Grey’s Anatomy have found a way to balance a bit of drama with a light mood that often approaches comedy. MASH was the opposite. It was a comedy that often allowed quite serious moments to intrude upon the laughter. Any way you slice it, it turns out that pain and disease can be funny. Nowhere is that more true than on Scrubs. On Scrubs you are never left in an awkward position of knowing if it’s appropriate to laugh. Everything about the show is geared toward the absurd, and hopefully the funny.
The show exists almost exclusively in the mind of Dr. J.D. Dorian (Braff). He exists in a world where he can say and do exactly what he feels like, even if he might not actually say or do any of it. We see what he sees inside of his head. If he sees a good looking woman, he has a vision of his friend giving a sportscaster breakdown of her attributes. In this place he has none of the inhibitions his real life demands. He can ridicule a patient or fantasize a torrid affair with a nurse. Dorian is surrounded by a solid cast of crazy characters. His best friend is Dr. Christopher Turk (Faison). Turk is recently married to Nurse Carla (Reyes) and they are having a baby. She’s pretty much the straight man here and sets up a lot of the material. Dorian has an awkward relationship with his ex Elliott Reid (Chalke), now with another guy. He’s a bit jealous of her time these days, and more than a few of his fantasy moments involve her. Dr. Bob Kelso (Jenkins) is one of the better characters and actors in the show. Often underused, his tight ship exterior would make a better foil for the gang if used more generously. Finally, arrogant Dr. Cox (McGinley) does get to be the butt of a lot of the jokes, but he’s established himself as a strong lead at times instead of the typical fall guy. All in all, the cast is sharp and witty. Where I find fault with Scrubs is likely what the fans enjoy the most. It is way over the top. The moments are often ridiculous, and the writers are not afraid to make a huge stretch for a joke. Fans of the show probably went head over heels for the My Musical episode as Scrubs goes where Buffy The Vampire Slayer has gone before and the cast breaks out in song.
I have never seen Scrubs on broadcast television, and this is my first DVD experience with these characters. I avoid medical shows because of a severe needle phobia. Fortunately for me needles are pretty rare, as is almost any real medical stuff on Scrubs. I can’t speak about the show’s evolution, but I suspect there has been little change over the years. If you’ve read enough of my reviews, you know that I preach character chemistry like a revivalist minister with a tent full of followers. While Scrubs is a bit too much for my tastes, it is this cast of characters that made this an enjoyable experience just the same. Zach Braff has a Ray Romano / Kevin James thing going where you almost can’t imagine he’s a doctor. He comes off as the guy you’d take to a couple of Ray’s games or just hang out with. That was likely a brilliant piece of casting. His awkward, almost adolescent behavior might seem out of place in a hospital, but we except it because we accept Braff. There couldn’t be a Scrubs without him.
Judy Reyes Keeps Talking: Reyes plays Carla, the new Mrs. Turk. She talks about how she got the job and her approach to Carla. We get some insight into Carla’s evolution over the last 6 years, which was a welcome bit for a newcomer.
The Debra and Stephanie Show: This is another look at the My Musical episode. Debra Fordham was one of the episode’s writers, and Stephanie D’Abruzzo is the Tony Award winning actress who guests as the patient who hears everything in song. They talk together about what went into the show and share some nice anecdotes.