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Scrubs

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.

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Episode 3 - My Saving Grace

26 March 2012

Synopsis: Carla takes Katie aside and tells her not to make everyone hate her. Dr Maddox is so vigilant that no one can work the system and treat their patients. Dr Cox goes to Dr Kelso to get help and the board fires Maddox.

The Good: The theme of back to basics continues with Carla giving “Mini-Elliott” the same advice she gave real Elliott in the first episode of the show. And Dr Cox butts heads with Dr Maddox over the nature of the American medical profession as he did with Kelso back in the fifth episode of season one. Unfortunately neither story is handled nearly as well (see The Bad).

Still they aren’t bad stories to try and tell. Dr Cox’ fair assessment of Dr Kelso’s behaviour as Chief of Medicine is nice to see and well acted. In general it casts the main characters as good guys trying to help people which is a positive message to send. Some nice jokes flow from those stories too. JD’s psyche suggesting Maddox might leave if he told her he loved her is a nice joke and plausibly self deprecating. Elliott betraying Carla just after Carla said she could trust her was funny because the information she gave (about sex dreams) was harmless and informed another joke (as the cafeteria lady leans over Carla). Donny the invisible CoffeeBucks employee developing affection for Kelso is a nice touch (as he throws a muffin at Dr Cox’ back). JD getting carried away with his Shield-informed threats to the MS patient was fun and even the janitor surprised me with a silly joke (see Comic Highlight).

The Bad: But neither the “make some friends” or “money v patients” stories are fully developed. Or even well developed. Carla takes Katie aside before we have really gotten to know Katie at all. And in the bad tradition of modern Scrubs episodes there is no sense of time passing or Katie learning the lesson on her own. She is mean, Carla tells her off, she is not mean anymore. There is nothing interesting or authentic about that.

The Dr Maddox story lacks any definition at all. Did they really bring in Courteney Cox just for this? For the bit part of all bit parts? She is ruthless in enforcing the rules at the hospital and takes a perverse pleasure in denying treatment to ill people. Why? There is no thought given to why she takes joy in this. Dr Kelso was given much definition over the years, but even in the first episode you could have guessed that he had a privileged upbringing and prioritised his own status and wealth above the needs of others. Dr Maddox is just a caricature and when she plays the sympathy card over her daughter and having relocated it is difficult to know what to think. She tries to claim the medical profession forced her to be this way but the glee she took in her work (“I love playing the bad guy”) makes nonsense of that. Ultimately it’s just another ill thought out idea from the writers.

Much of the janitor’s humour falls flat as usual. His pretend emotions during the “break in” are just obnoxious to watch. The joke about Veronica wearing the same clothes as Elliott just isn’t funny. What is the joke? Ha ha some woman magically wears the same clothes as Elliott. It’s so unreal that I can’t imagine who thought that would be funny. Again the humour should be in Veronica’s motivation for copying Elliott but there isn’t a hint of it.

Finally Scrubs has pretty childish humour most of the time. JD and the Janitor provide the bulk of the jokes and their humour is very silly. So when the writers throw in a line about Mickhead, choking and erections, what are we supposed to think? It jars against the otherwise juvenile humour and we barely know Mickhead so why should we react to that joke? Even if it were funny and not an attempt at shock humour.

Comic Highlight: For once the Janitor’s mindless rants made me laugh. The real credit goes to Dr Cox who bookends the speech so well that I was waiting for something truly silly to be said and got it: Dr Cox asks for plans to get rid of Maddox and the Janitors “Photoshop” idea is this: “We build an actual Photo Shop or a chain of Photo Shops. We each manage one. We let time pass. Eventually Maddox has to have her film developed. She comes in, we all hop out – yell ‘Surprise!’ and beat her to death with pool cues.”

Diagnosis: The story tries to make a point and the jokes do try to make me laugh. Neither work very well but it’s about all I can hope for at this stage.

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  • You may have noticed that major characters have been written out of certain episodes. In 806 for example Carla was away while in 809 JD was having a day off. As far as I know this is for budget reasons. I imagine since moving networks to ABC, the producers were asked to keep costs to a minimum to prolong their existence.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 20/02/2009 2:47am (11 years ago)

  • Where the hell was Turk?

    Posted by Bub, 17/02/2009 10:59pm (11 years ago)

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