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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 12 - Their Story II

26 March 2012

Synopsis: JD is getting a lot of kudos for talking Dr Cox into making positive changes in the hospital. Carla is impressed and Turk is jealous. The Janitor messes with some interns and tells Sunny that he won’t tease her because she is too weak to handle it. Denise convinces Elliott to do a biopsy on a patient and owns up when it leaves the girl with a scar. New surgical intern Derek tries not to say what he thinks about the behaviour of his co-workers.

The Good: The new interns do brighten the place up, though they wouldn’t have to if the regular characters were serviced with better writing.

Denise remains the star of the show. She shows the closest thing to a well rounded personality on the show. She is able to see the good things about JD and Elliott even when they annoy her. I enjoyed her pointing out how inappropriate Elliott’s dresses are for a doctor (that’s bothered me all season). Despite being wrong about Page’s biopsy she remains keen to help people and become a better doctor. The conclusion to her story shows her growing and wanting to take on more responsibility. She remains an admirable character and fun to watch.

Sunny too shows she wants to grow and get better, making her more likeable. Derek steps in to take Ed’s place (fired in 808) and making him a surgical intern gives a better balance to the new faces.

The jokes are pretty hit and miss. Elliott’s “I told you so” dance at least comes from the show’s history (118 and for her ability to speak German check out 220) and isn’t just random crap. Turk advising Derek about how to high five the Todd is so simple and yet is still kind of funny because you can imagine it being true. JD having the same fantasy (from 219) but this time being the one to go topless was again a nice nod to the past and a joke which worked. I suppose JD getting his comeuppance when the Janitor wasn’t really hypnotised was a nice predictable joke.

I also enjoyed Howie’s optimism. He and Katie are caught making out in the elevator because the janitor locked them in. As a way of excuse to Sunny, Katie says “He said we were gonna die.” And ever hopeful Howie adds “We still might.”

The Bad: Otherwise the writers messed up by cramming too much into this episode and not putting in the essential details which could have made it work.

For a start Derek is a brand new character and needs way more attention than he is given here. Basically he usually says what’s on his mind but wisely doesn’t want to antagonise his new co-workers. But the only time we see him being himself he comes out with a pretty harsh put down to JD who was being harmless enough. So he’s not off to a good start on the likeable front. Then throughout the episode he keeps refusing to tell people what he thinks. But if we had been able to hear what he thought in his head, then perhaps we would have liked him more because we could have seen what he was really like. Instead his final speech again makes him look like a fool. Being rude to your new co-workers and Chief of Medicine just wouldn’t work out in the real world. Especially as he calls them all Jackasses and then refers to Dr Cox as sick, twisted and insecure. Again way over the top and inappropriate bordering on termination and then one of the insults he hurls at Turk is that he’s bald. How does that have anything to do with him being a role model? Just bad writing.

Then there’s Denise. She pushes for a biopsy which turns out to be negative and her patient Page is left with a nasty looking scar on her face. We aren’t told before seeing the scar that that might happen. We aren’t told at any point whether the scar is definitely going to heal or not. We don’t see anywhere Elliott warning Page that there might be some scarring. So the emotional high point of the episode, seeing a young girl frightened about a scar is totally lost because we were given no details at all about what the biopsy constituted.

As for Sunny’s “plot.” It’s typical Scrubs. There is practically no story there at all. The Janitor says she is weak, she says she is not, he agrees she is not. It tells us nothing and looks like lazy writing. Of course part of why that plot gets no attention is that we have to squeeze in another JD and the Janitor story as well which could have been usefully left out.

The whole Turk and JD jealousy story also received practically no time at all. We don’t see JD getting much acclaim and so Turk’s jealous seems needless. And the joke where Derek imagines Turk overreacting and ripping out a patient’s organs seemed totally over the top. It was actually an exaggerated version of a joke in the second episode of season one. But then it made sense because JD’s imagination was in action. We have no reason to believe that Derek has the same mental images and this one is so extreme it is ridiculous.

Do I need to explain what’s wrong with the Janitors cart gaining a form of sentience?

Finally, Scrubs has often done stories where multiple characters are self narrating as they walk through the hospital and make a momentous decision which leads them to storm off for a confrontation. But it’s been a while since I remember the three characters actually lining up, literally next to one another, ignoring each other’s presence while all having an inner dialogue. It looked ridiculous and as unreal as anything in the show.

Comic Highlight: JD and Derek are talking. Carla sits down and says “Hi, I’m Carla your handsome.” But JD warns him “Be careful, she likes brown men. We both do.” Derek sells the joke very nicely with his shocked facial expression.

Diagnosis: There are the bones here of a fun episode but there is way too much going on for the morals of the story to shine through.

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