39. Scrubs

Creator: Bill Lawrence
Years: 2001-2010

Like Friends, a sitcom that is generally pleasant most of time making you forget that it’s actually not all that funny. That said, it is funnier and has better acting and better dramatic moments as well. I also am a pretty big fan of the single camera.

The show starts out pretty good from the get go as we follow hospital interns through their crazy stressful first years at the hospital. We watch them grow from being interns to residents to full fledged doctors. When the show focuses on the hospital it can get really good. We see interns fail in realistic ways. We see great teaching moments. And from what I’ve read it might be the most realistic medical show when it comes to procedures, medications, etc. One thing we don’t get is surgeons arguing with each other while they have someone cut open. The drama doesn’t get in the way of the medical care.

Unfortunately, the show focuses way too much on what it does wrong, mainly the entirety of the main character J.D. and his relationships. While he shows occasional glimpses of character growth early on, he stalls quickly and is perpetually annoying, something the other characters point out constantly (and their grievances match the viewers’ for sure). When you have to write in every script how much your characters hate your main character, it’s probably time to rethink your choice. The other problem with the writing is that there is way too much reliance on referential humor, which dates itself pretty quickly. It’s akin to a comedian relying on “it’s true!’ jokes.

That said, like ER I’ll fondly remember several moments.

1)The episode where a butterfly lands on one patient, leading to one series of events. After 15 minutes, they rewind and the butterfly lands on a different patient, leading to another set of events. Rashomon like, and brilliant.

2)Ted and Gooch singing. She really helps his character grow.

3)The episode where Dr. Cox has several patients die after he rushes too quickly to give them donor parts that turned out to be infected with rabies (this actually was based off a real thing, except the parts went to different hospitals). Cox’s emotional breakdown as he learns what’s happened is probably the best moment on the show.

John C. McGinley and Ken Jenkins really make the show. They’re pretty consistently funny. And despite myself I usually laugh whenever The Todd makes an appearance. TV Show Countdown high-five!

3 thoughts on “39. Scrubs”

  1. Ah, Scrubs. It was one of the first shows that Linds and I binge watched, and I did build up some fondness for it. I’d probably have it a bit higher, as a lot of the episodes from Seasons 2, 3, and 4 are more hit than miss.

    My favorite gag was the Safety Dance.

    1. A lot of people try to pretend the last two seasons (with the new interns) didn’t happen, but honestly it wasn’t much worse than the two seasons before it.

      On another day I might have this ranked higher. 25-40 are all about the same to me.

  2. This is bottom 5-10 for me, probably. As I went through more episodes I couldn’t even fathom how bad the acting continued to be (I’d put it safely below the acting on Friends, which was terrible). McGinley is wasted in a show this awful, although it seemed like the show knew what they had in him, as they consistently gave him the most affecting story arcs.

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