“Scrubs” Recap: My Finale

By Stacey Harrison

Like his leaving Sacred Heart, most of the Scrubs finale sure felt like more of a big deal to J.D. than it did to me watching at home. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. They treated it in a unique way, like your last day at a job you really loved. J.D., however, was expecting some momentous, tear-filled departure ceremony, replete with stories of all the wonderful times they all shared together, and how their lives were forever changed by the past eight years. Or at least a cake. A cake would have been nice.

He can’t even get Elliot to give him morning sex for the occasion. Instead, he has to guilt her into it by pretending to be mad over her surreptitiously moving her stuff into his apartment. That’s her mattress they’re sleeping on, after all. Turk gets things started off right, with a “Goodbye J.D.” banner that’s so big it blocks the entrance to the hospital. It also brings to mind the “Goodbye” spelled out in rocks during the M*A*S*H finale, which was a nice touch. Turk also throws in some passionate man-hugs and Chocolate Bear growls in order to send his friend off right. Only problem is it’s the beginning of the day. They’ve peaked. But they vow to not let it ruin their day, and decide to embrace passionately every time they bump into each other. They make it for awhile, but eventually, they just don’t have enough hugs in them.

But at least Turk is trying. None of the interns seems to care — perhaps J.D. being just another set of scrubs applies to his students as well as his teachers. Janitor is intent on finally getting J.D. to admit he did indeed put a penny in the door on his first day, and Cox is simply ignoring him. This despite J.D.’s gift of cataloging every single Cox rant toward him into a doorstop-size, pleather-bound tome, which also includes a rating system of 1 to 5, 5 being the most hurtful. Cox is moved, but not enough to think of any new rants. He simply searches the glossary (shouldn’t it be index?) to state his profound feelings of indifference.

J.D. actually does have patients, but there’s one guy whose name and ailment he can’t remember. He does smell like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, though. The other patient is an elderly woman with Huntington’s disease, a horrific Alzheimer’s-like sickness that robs the mind and alters the personality. There’s no cure, and J.D. informs the woman’s son that he has a 50-50 chance of carrying the gene that causes it. He offers to give him a test to find out, but it won’t divulge when it might hit him.

In happier news, J.D. finally finds out the Janitor’s name. How? He simply asks him, something Glenn Matthews insists he’s never done before. That’s right. Glenn Matthews. Apparently that’s the name of a character Neil Flynn voiced on another Bill Lawrence project, Clone High. Nobody wants to know the name of the guy who cleans up after them, ole Glenn reasons. In fact, J.D. is a little fuzzy on the name almost immediately after hearing it. It’s only fitting that after J.D. leaves, another doctor walks by and greets the janitor with a nice, “Hey, Tommy.”

Kelso decides to return to practicing medicine, driving off and telling J.D. to have a nice life and “get all the tail you can.” We’ll miss you, Bob-O. He also gives J.D. a handshake, which makes J.D. feel slightly better about the fact that his banner has been covered up by not one but two other names, including a one-armed woman in accounting who took eight days off to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

At his lowest, J.D. asks the Huntington’s patient’s son why he didn’t want to have that test. The answer changes his outlook. If he finds out that one day he will lose his mind, then the rest of his life becomes a joyless march to oblivion. This way, his future is still his. On his way out the door, J.D. imagines all the people who have affected him at Sacred Heart lining up to wish him well. They include his brother Dan, Keith, Dr. Beardface, Laverne (where’s Shirley?), Snoop Dogg Attending (he’ll always be Snoop Dogg Intern to me), Leonard and his old lady, Colin Hay, Dr. Mickhead (“I didn’t kill her”), The Todd (“Goodbye Five”), Tasty Coma Wife (“You never called”), that chick who stole drugs from the hospital (I think), and Hooch (who’s still crazy). Kudos on getting all those people to return, and hey you really couldn’t have a Scrubs finale without a mega-fantasy sequence like that.

The sweetest reward comes when he tells Cox goodbye, only to be met with indifference yet again. But the intern Sunny chimes in that she didn’t see what the big deal was, J.D. wasn’t all that special. Which leads to a treacly monologue from Cox about how special J.D. really was and how he was his friend — something I thought for sure he was faking for the benefit of J.D., who was lurking behind him soaking it up. But no, apparently Cox meant every damn sappy word of it, which gives J.D. the courage to lean in for the hug he’s waited eight years to get. “You smell like a father figure,” he says. Cox, at least, doesn’t hug back, sitting there taking it like a champ.

Outside the hospital, J.D. imagines what the future holds, as it plays out in movie form against his “Goodbye J.D.” banner. He sees his and Elliot’s wedding, her having their baby, Sam and Izzy announcing their engagement, and the Turks, Dorians and Coxes all getting together for Christmas. A lanky-looking janitor is outside to give him his final goodbye. That would be show creator Bill Lawrence, who probably should have made his one and only appearance on the show here instead of popping up during Janitor and Lady’s wedding a few weeks ago.

Still, it’s all wrapped up very nicely, and once The Worthless Peons’ version of “Superman” starts up, it really starts to feel like an ending. Yeah, it may be back next year, but despite optimism from Lawrence & Co., it’s going to be hard to get past the idea it will be little more than After Scrubs or Scrubs: The Next Generation.

Regardless of the future, it’s time to forgive any missteps and flat-out bad episodes along the way and remember that without Scrubs, it’s hard to see shows like Arrested Development or How I Met Your Mother existing. After a disjointed Season 7, and some dry patches this year (for which Lawrence gives some good explanations to The Onion), there were plenty of times in the past couple months when Scrubs showed why it garnered such a devoted following. Whimsical fantasy and heartfelt drama have rarely lived in such harmonious balance. Maybe it’s time I bite the bullet and finally get that Season 7 DVD set, because I know I’ll be getting Season 8.

Credit: © 2009 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

1 Comment

  1. Cool. I missed this, so now I don’t have to watch it, and I can free up space on my TiVo.

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