“Scrubs”: “My Jerks” and “My Last Words”

Posted by SH

Well, the network change didn’t seem to affect much. I guess, instead of Biggest Loser commercials, we end up with more Bachelor ads, but I can live with that.

As for what’s on-screen, J.D. and friends are still straddling that line between goofy comedy and the life-and-death drama that comes with working at a hospital. After a writers strike shortened the seventh season, during which the quality dipped precipitously at times, the creative team behind Scrubs has promised a more balanced approach a la the show’s early years. Judging by the first couple of episodes, aired back to back on ABC, I’d say so far so good.

The first episode — “My Jerks” — shows J.D. lamenting yet another batch of lame-brained interns who have personality quirks ranging from ruthless ambition to just plain ruthless. Then there’s Ed, the guy who looks at pictures of Sienna Miller’s breasts during rounds and is quick to start trends. Some of these folks were featured during the web series “Scrubs: Interns,” and feel dangerously like the future cast of Scrubs: The Next Generation. Can’t say I’m too thrilled, but who knows? Maybe they’ll grow on me.

The biggest news around Sacred Heart, though, is the arrival of Dr. Maddox, Kelso’s replacement as chief of medicine, who arrives via a fantasy sequence in J.D.’s mind that has her slo-mo walking down the hallway, hair whipping seductively in the wind. Courteney Cox has the comedic chops for the role, and she blends in well with the rest of the cast. She’s an enigma to Cox, who is convinced the nicey-nice exterior hides a penny-pinching monster; a mother-figure to Elliott, who relishes any adult approval she can get; and more of a MILF to J.D., who appreciates her positive, affirming demeanor, but also wants to do her. He’s so tripped up by his feelings that he can just never find the right words. When he tries to strike up a conversation with her by oh-so-sneakily looking at a picture of Sam, prompting her to respond that she has a daughter of her own, he can only think to ask, “Did you deliver vaginally?”

She’s only signed on for three episodes, and she hardly does anything in the second, so I’m expecting something awesome next week, guys.

Her biggest contribution in her debut is firing Janitor after one of his pranks on J.D. Like, really firing him. Asking-for-the-keys firing. Janitor doesn’t seem to take her too seriously, but you kinda get that he’s just in denial. Wait a minute. Scorned Janitor, new chief of medicine who fired him exiting after next week … do I smell a grand revenge plot afoot? Summon the Brain Trust!

J.D. confides in Cox (Dr., not Courteney) that he’s tired of dealing with snotty, inattentive interns. After their recklessness almost kills a patient, he’s fed up. Instead of Cox laying into him, which J.D. fully expects, the guy is actually pretty empathetic. He relays a story of how a few years back, he had his own maddening intern that nearly forced him to leave the profession. “Do I know this intern?” J.D. asks. “Intimately,” Cox responds. But J.D. is so taken by the gesture, that he now feels as though Cox thinks of him as an equal. So what do equals do? Take drinks from each other’s coffee. Cox is not pleased.

Elliott finally comes to terms with her behavior regarding Keith. You know, how she without explanation — like any at all whatsoever — dumped him at the altar and now feels fine making jokes about it and thinks Keith must feel the same. In fact, the Dudemeister is pretty broken up about it. She apologizes but goes too far, asking for a hug. I’ve never liked this storyline, so hopefully the less said, the better. If all you can come up with is that she just changed her mind, after several episodes of going through her having an epiphany that she is indeed ready for marriage, how are we supposed to give a damn about her love life anymore?

Kelso is retired, but still haunting the halls of Sacred Heart. Well, the cafeteria anyway. The gossip is just too good to pass up. That, and Ted is still deathly afraid of him.

“My Last Words” is much more in that comedy/drama vein, focusing mostly on one story of J.D. and Turk giving up their annual steak night tradition — where they go out and engage in a bromantic dinner — to help a dying patient ease through his last day. It was a smart decision to run it as the second part of a double feature, because it’s the perfect palate cleanser from a real broad, general episode like “Jerks,” plus it’s hard to think of it standing on its own.

Glynn Turman (The Wire) plays George, a man succumbing to a bowel disease. He’s an independent sort, even trying to shoo the guys away so they can enjoy their dinner, but is relieved when they come back, sparing him from living out his last hours on earth under the care of the, let’s say, emotionally distant intern, Denise. In order to make herself more personable, she shares a personal anecdote with George, about going to a club, picking up a fat guy, then headbutting him during sex. In a nice payoff, a chubster with bandages all over his nose meets up with her later.

While J.D. and Turk try to help George accept death, they share that even though they face it every day, the idea of dying terrifies them. George eventually falls asleep, never to wake up, and the guys retire to the roof for a Boston Legal-esque beer to end the episode.

Best moment during the time with George: J.D.’s forced admission that he doesn’t like beer, and favors the far less manly Appletinis.

It’s good to have Scrubs back, and to have its fate clear. This is the last season for J.D., and most likely the rest of the original cast. I can see supporting characters, especially Ted, sticking around for further seasons, but going through the same emotional process with a new group of doctors doesn’t sound too appealing.

Oh well. Nothing to worry about at the moment. Let’s just enjoy the last go-round.

1 Comment

  1. I was happy to see “Scrubs” broadcast in HD, finally. Something NBC never did.

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