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September 1, 2015

Scrubs: My Absence

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 11th 2009 10:01AM
Sarah Chalke on Scrubs(S08E09) Looks like the final season cost-cutting didn't spare anyone, did it? This is the first episode in quite awhile -- if ever -- where we don't see Zach Braff on screen for even one second. We do hear him via Elliot's cell phone, but the writers wisely decided that, if J.D. wasn't going to be there in body, he wasn't going to be there in mind, either. In other words, this episode was fairly narration-free, and it was quite refreshing.

This has been a season of in-jokes and external observations about how each character deals with things around the hospital. Yes, we got the usual jokes about J.D. and how he goes off on his fantasies. But Carla and Elliot also got some of the business, and in Carla's case, it made for a well-done story.

Last year, Bill Lawrence mentioned to me that one of the episodes this year would be where Turk and Carla find out that they're going to have another kid. But because it's the second kid, "they're going to be all excited and they're going to go to work and they're going to tell everybody about it and no one's going to give a shit." This was that episode, I guess. It was funny that even Speakerphone J.D. didn't care as much about the new bundle of joy as Turk did. It was a nice shift in attitude for this show. The funniest part, of course, was the reaction of Ted's new gal Gooch when she found out Turk lied to her. Talk about turning from sweet to psychotic. "Gooch doesn't like to be lied to," said Ted. Luckily for Ted, he's such a sap he doesn't have the capacity to lie to her.

We never really find out why J.D. is on a vacation, do we? Though his insistence on torturing Cox -- or, as he thinks, giving love -- via phone made for a couple of good scenes, especially when Cox tears his office apart during the credit tag. Elliot's laments on how dependent she's become on J.D. was a nice way for Sarah Chalke to show a lot of the quirkiness that we haven't seen much from her over the last couple of seasons and gives Kelso a chance to make a nice speech, but it didn't translate well with J.D. not there. Still, it shows the continuting growth of what's likely the first true adult relationship for the both of them, which is always nice to see.

More fun stuff:
  • First appearance of webisode intern Sunny, played by the adorable Sonal Shah. This episode showed that even when jonesing for Dopamine, Sunny has a positive attitude. How sickening.
  • Kelso on Denise/Jo: "I like her. She's got girl balls."
  • Nice to see Perry Ulysses Cox apologize for once.
  • Missing cast member alert: Besides J.D., we didn't have Janitor in this episode, either.
  • "Stupid technology!" Very nice Nervous Elliot moment.
  • Ted was in prime pathetic form, even with Gooch by his side. His "second girlfriend" speech to Turk was classic, as was his making sure everyone knew Gooch was indeed a real girlfriend.
  • Lots of mini-plots this week, including Carla finally realizing that she doesn't care anymore about certain patients or helping interns out. Luckily, she recovered to the Carla we all know and love.
  • Gooch's song to Turk was pretty funny -- love seeing Turk dance under any conditions -- but was especially funny when she made a not-so-subtle reference to abortion during it.

Nice episode. The next one, though, was a little better...

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Scrubs without Zach Braff = funnier. Too bad they're killing it anyway.

February 11 2009 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Looks like the final season cost-cutting didn't spare anyone, did it? This is the first episode in quite awhile -- if ever -- where we don't see Zach Braff on screen for even one second.
I was curious about that. Since actors are paid per episode, what happens when they phone it in (pun intended)? Does he get a reduced episode fee since he only did voice work? Is this actually a cost cutting move or a new way of presenting an episode?

February 11 2009 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gooch is craaaaaaaaazy!

February 11 2009 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
taylor wolfe

I liked this episode except for one thing. How come Ted keeps going around telling people that gooch is his first girlfriend when he spent the first four seasons complaining about his ex-wife? He was even legally married for one episode.

February 11 2009 at 12:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like that even though JD wasn't narrating through the whole episode they cleverly had Elliot have JD on speakerphone going from room to room to do the final narration of the episode. JD always closes it ups and ties up loose ends and luckily they did it this episode in a very clever way.

February 11 2009 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked this episode and loved JD having Elliot put him in Dr. Cox' pocket.

February 11 2009 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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