“Scrubs” buddies reunite as Zach Braff guest stars on Donald Faison’s new show, “The Exes”

Zach Braff is playing a sports star and a ladies’ man. To fans of Scrubs — where for nine years Braff played the appletini-guzzling, sports deficient J.D. — this is heady news indeed. Braff’s against-type performance will reunite him with “Brown Bear” himself, Donald Faison, on Faison’s TV Land sitcom The Exes, for an Aug. 29 episode.

Faison plays Phil, a sports agent who represents Braff’s character, a tennis star and a “hound dog with the ladies.” Faison wasn’t saying much about the story line beyond that, but he did talk about working with his old co-star, who is also his best friend in real life.

“It was wonderful,” Faison said one day after shooting the episode. “What’s really cool is, I’m working with some TV vets — Kristen (Johnston), Wayne (Knight), David (Alan Basche), Kelly (Stables) — and they love him, too. I don’t think anybody can love him as much as I love him, but I’m pretty sure they love him close to it.”

There was some temptation, Faison said, to begin a scene by walking into a room and shouting, “Hey, J.D.,” but he thought better of it. There was plenty else going on, like Braff having to adjust to shooting a multi-camera sitcom for the first time.

“He caught on pretty quick. He’s the man when it comes to being funny. He cracks me up. He didn’t need any help from me. … As a matter of fact, if he ever wanted to return to television and he was looking for a genre to step into, multi-camera is one that he would excel in.”

While an appearance from his buddy would have been fun anytime, Faison said he’s glad it worked out that his new show had gotten one season under its belt first.

“If he would have wanted to come on in the first season, that would have been great, too, but I think it’s a better look that he came on the second season,” he said. “We established ourselves as our own show, and it’s kind of cool to stand on your own, too, before you go out and get help from your friends.”

Technically, this isn’t the first Scrubs reunion since the show went off the air in 2010. Several cast members — including Braff, Sarah Chalke, Ken Jenkins, Sam Lloyd, Robert Maschio and Robert Clendenin — have turned up on creator Bill Lawrence’s subsequent show Cougar Town to join series regular Christa Miller for some memorable spots. But Faison has yet to get in on the fun at the cul-de-sac.

So, what’s the hold up?

“That’s a Bill Lawrence question,” Faison laughs. “You gotta ask Bill Lawrence that one. I’ll ask him through this article, ‘Bill Lawrence, when am I going to be on Cougar Town?'”

Photo: © 2001 NBC, Inc. Credit: Chris Haston