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Scrubs is a comedy about John "J.D." Dorian, a young doctor who begins his first job at Sacred Heart Hospital in California. The show is narrated from JD's perspective as he learns lessons about how to survive in a touch but rewarding career. NBC 2001-08. ABC 2009-10.


Episode 13 - My Full Moon

29 July 2009

Synopsis: Turk and Elliott are on call for the night shift and aim to help the interns see how far they still have to go. Howie gets the truth from a man who poisoned himself, Sunny helps a woman fart and Katie stops a man from scratching his sutures. Meanwhile Denise and Derek hook up and Elliott discovers that her patient Robyn has HIV.

The Good: This episode is so focussed and serious that it almost doesn’t feel like Scrubs at times. In a good way. Turk and Elliott are both fine actors who given good writing can blend the funny and the serious with ease. They do that really well here.

The focus of the episode means the viewer gets a real sense of the intern’s struggles and the different needs of each patient. We get much better comedy and character development as a result.

The interns being cocky about how good they are as doctors is very reminiscent of the constant learning JD and company had to do in season one. It provides the ideal story for us to become sympathetic and thus ultimately fans of the new characters. Katie continues her slow move from suck up to more well rounded character. She tries to find her own solution to stop a homeless man from biting at his sutures, including an amusing shot of fitting him with a cone that dog’s wear around their heads. But ultimately she comes round to Turk’s original suggestion of tying his hands down. So he spits in her face. The moment is sort of played for laughs but it makes a serious point about being a doctor, not everyone you treat will be grateful.

Then we have Howie, who so far has just been a figure of fun because he looks and sounds goofie. But here he begins to seem like a nice guy who manages to get the truth out of a psychologically disturbed patient. Howie shares a very realistic joke with Turk when he learns that his patient believes everyone in his life has been replaced by an impostor. “That’s wicked cool” says Howie and instead of admonishing him Turk says “I know dude! If we sent the twins from radiology in there his brains would explode!” He also runs foul of the Todd with amusing consequences. Having been told not to give out high fives Howie complains “but I just totally nailed the diagnosis.”  Todd with amusing sterness replies “The fact that I am not making a tremendous sex joke right now about who or what I nailed tonight should tell you how serious I am!”

Then Derek gets quite the crushing blow when he makes a bad mistake while draining fluid from a patient’s lung. He explains what he did wrong and she says “Ok but when it’s fixed; I want the procedure to be done by a real doctor.” It’s a great moment for his character, just as JD, Turk and Elliot had to go through their own humbling process. Derek’s self pity suddenly makes him attractive to Denise (consistent from 809). The jump to them getting it on is cleverly timed to make us think that it’s Elliot and Turk. Them hooking up adds more development to the characterisation of the group of interns and shows the bonds which will help them survive at the hospital.

Finally Sunny gets the sillier story as she helps a patient pass wind. But even there Elliot pops in to point out that the longer a patient stays in the hospital the more likely they are to contract another infection. All the interns stories help feed the rich variety and multitude of pitfalls of life in a hospital.

Elliot is the one who has to deal with a much more serious problem when Robyn is diagnosed with HIV. By bringing a character back (703) she seems more real. By misdiagnosing her for a while the suspense is built up of what is actually wrong with her. So when we learn what she has, the sympathy is drawn more fully from us. Robyn acts her desolation well and of course it feeds into the real purpose of the whole episode.

And that is Elliot summing up the difference between her and Turk and surgical and medical doctors. It’s amazing that Scrubs can pull out what feels like a very genuine character based conclusion about the two characters, even after so many seasons of inconsistent writing. But she points out that Turk could always be a doctor because he manages to take joy in everything he does. Where as her patients suffering weighs more heavily on her heart (404 for example). Her conclusion is that she won’t always be a doctor, one day she will walk away from it all. It’s a nice sounding conclusion to the Elliot Reid story. She has become better and better at what she does but ultimately the emotional stress she goes through may not be worth living with.

Elliot realising the inappropriateness of a HIV dance is fun. The trick she and Turk play to scare the interns was predictable but well delivered.

The Bad: Nothing much. The post-credits joke was typically lousy exaggeration but that may be why they didn’t use it.

Comic Highlight: Derek annoys Denise with his cockiness. So in now classic Denise fashion she says “Oh that’s adorable, you have a crush on yourself. I’d be careful, the guy you’re in love with is a douche.”

Diagnosis: A well written, well paced episode. Turk and Elliot reflect authentically on their careers as they see themselves in their young interns. It’s really solid television.



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