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September 2, 2015

Scrubs: My Happy Place

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 14th 2009 5:01AM
Zach Braff(S08E04) This was the better of the two episodes tonight, for a couple of reasons. One, we figured out why Kelso continues to hang out at Sacred Heart, and it's not for the free muffins at Coffee Bucks. But mostly, it's because we had a J.D. / Elliot relationship episode that was actually treated with subtlety and maturity.

This is a relationship that's been as maddening as any that's been on TV, mainly because of all the artificial blockades Bill Lawrence and his writers kept throwing in their way. Lawrence himself told me and others that he never wanted the relationship to become a focal point of the show. But by constantly trying to get away from it they did the exact opposite, giving the 'shippers as much to talk about as those that just liked the comedy and the stories about the hospital.

What I'm saying is: if J.D. and Elliot had the conversation they had tonight sometime during season three, all of that crap would have been avoided.

The B- and C-stories in this episode -- B is Cox finally trusting Turk to not slice and dice like other surgeons, and C is Janitor somehow wrangling his job back -- pale in comparison to the impact of the A story here. In the A story, we find that Kelso just likes being at the hospital in any capacity, and is just not taking to the leisurely life of retirement well. But we also found out that he's there to dispense wisdom and actually care about the people he tortured for so long, even in his gruff Kelso-like way.

Who knew that it would be Kelso's observation about how J.D. and Elliot act like a couple that sends our star-crossed lovers down the path to actually getting back together? The two of them actually talked about it like adults, dismissing all the excuses each of them had for not doing it. J.D. was especially interested in not being involved in all the drama, citing two plotlines from Friends as his examples. And when Kelso told them to just do what makes them happy, you knew the die was cast. But all it was was just J.D. reaching for Elliot's hand as they left the hospital, and Elliot saying "oh, this is going to go well." They're taking baby steps, as many couples do, and I hope we don't hear much more about this until we get closer to the finale.

More fun stuff:
  • Missing cast member alert: Judy Reyes and all of the interns.
  • Ted's face hurts when he smiles. Classic Ted. But at least he was the one who asked Kelso why he's wasting all his retirement time at the hospital. Sometimes the schlub can stand up for himself.
  • The payroll lady does a mean Oprah impression, doesn't she?
  • I thought it was interesting that we didn't see any images from J.D.'s head (except a brief shot of Guy Love that J.D. has always wanted to think about), but Elliot and Kelso talked about how J.D. goes into his head and how he comes out.
  • But we also found out about what others think of Elliot's mental gymnastics, as they await the inevitable suicide of whatever old classmate she was talking about.
  • Funny moment: Cox's demonstration of The Todd's stupidity. I mean, he just heard Cox through the glass two seconds before that, for crissakes.
  • Jimmy the overly-touchy orderly is back! Didn't realize he was played by Taran Killam of the defunct web series Nobody's Watching. Good to see that Lawrence kept one of those guys employed.
The way the J.D./Eliot mishegas was handled here gives me hope for the rest of the season. I want my Scrubs to be about life at Sacred Heart, not about on-again, off-again romances. That's for that other ABC hospital show, which I'm glad I stopped watching before all the ghostly romances started.

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Meh. The first three seasons of Scrubs were fantastic. That they brought the will-they-won't-they couple together, and then broke them up, all in 2 episodes, made this show better than so many others. The skillful, bittersweet, blend of humor and sadness was unmatched, and generally succeeded at avoiding the saccharine mess that so many shows dissolve into. Then it got goofier and goofier. Kelso, the hardass, became Kelso the joke. Think about that. A character that once represented the ugly, pragmatic truth that healthcare is a business has turned into a vaguely avuncular uncle figure, only interested in cupcakes. For the last 3 seasons, the performances have seemed phoned in (with the possible exception of the fantastic John McGinley).

It's past time to wrap the show up. The last, good, spot to have ended it would have been when Elliot didn't get married. That plot could have been written to her and JD running off together. Now, it's a disease ridden, bloated, walking corpse of a show, and like a zombie, it's refused to die, but shambled from NBC to ABC so that it could feed on the brains of Pushing Daisies. That they didn't put Scrubs out if its misery is bad enough. That they killed Pushing Daisies to do it is unforgivable. The fact that they have put off showing the last 3 episodes of Pushing Daisies until summer is just a slap to the face of fans and further evidence that all network television execs basically have nothing but contempt for their viewers.

Yes, I'm annoyed.

January 20 2009 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to AMP's comment

i totally agree with this. I am a fan of the show Scrubs used to be, but the juxtapositioning of having axed Pushing Daisies in support of a show that seriously has jumped the shark angers me.

January 30 2009 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It seems as if Elliot is working at Sacred Heart now (she has interns and everything).

When did she leave private practice?

January 16 2009 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wasn't there the head image of JD and turk doing the dirty this episode or was that the episode before this?

January 14 2009 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I dug how they used the same trumpet blare from season two when they brought up the "sex buddies" thing. Nice bit of continuity.

January 14 2009 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh I loved Nobody's Watching!

Ok so my favorite part about both these episodes is the numerous times they referred to something from previous seasons - they all skip my mind right now - but I love em anyways.

January 14 2009 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What was the song at the end of the episode please ?

January 14 2009 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Colonel.Cool's comment

Close your eyes by Young Love

January 15 2009 at 12:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"What I'm saying is: if J.D. and Elliot had the conversation they had tonight sometime during season three, all of that crap would have been avoided."

Actually the demise an utter incompatibility of their relationship was quite well addressed in early Season 4 in the aftermath of Season 3 (. Like any other popular show on television the lowest common denominator fan (shippers) is what keeps pushing us back to overdone story lines. If journalists and fans hadn't spent the last 2 years asking Bill Lawrence if the two would end up together than we never would have got to this place. Lawrence has stated many times in the past how happy he was with the original and near perfect relationship arc that encompassed the first 3 seasons.

It's not the show's fault that we're back to this, it's the fans that couldn't let sleeping dogs lie.

January 14 2009 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gill's comment


It actually has nothing to do with the fans. Zach, Sarah, Christa, and a good percentage of the writers of the show have always wanted to come back to this storyline. They sat Bill down and created a compromise of the situation which calmed Bill's fears. I, for one, thought it was extremely well thought-out and executed.

January 14 2009 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Was it me or did this episode feel like the first true Scrubs episode this season? The pacing just felt like old times, although some parts of the first three felt right. And did any of the first three episodes have the usual audio cues like this one?

January 14 2009 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"We didn't see any images from J.D.'s head." Did you forget when he imagines Elliot standing in bed half-naked? Granted, my mind stalled there for a few seconds, but it was there...

January 14 2009 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Kemp's comment
Joel Keller

Surprisingly, I forgot about that. I also forgot about J.D. talking about the music that plays in his head after someone leaves: "Bowwww..." Though I'm not sure right now which episode that was in.

January 14 2009 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The "Bowwww.." was in this episode right after Kelso leave the Coffee Bucks at the beginning

Also I really enjoyed the day dream sequence with Elliot half naked on the bed

January 14 2009 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know you probably did not mean it to be a joke, but

"...of the defunct web series Nobody's Watching."

made me laugh. Irony is cruel.

January 14 2009 at 9:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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