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November 25, 2014

Scrubs: My Chief Concern

by Joel Keller, posted May 6th 2009 9:43AM
Scrubs: My Chief Concern
(S08E17)
After the roll the show's been on lately, it was kind of weird to see Scrubs hit a bit of a creative pothole right before the series/season/show-as-we-know-it finale. Lots of personal character movement happened during this one, but the laughs were few and far between. And, despite the upheavals, we're still dealing with some of the interns, signifying life goes on at Sacred Heart. It was just a weird mix, and it made for a decent but not great episode.

Like I mentioned two weeks ago, J.D. is finally starting to make decisions like an adult, and the consequence is that his relationship with Turk is going to change forever. Sure, they'll still be friends, but not to the same super-close degree that they had been since the first day of college. Once you start having kids, that 37-minute drive to your friend's house starts feeling like 37 days, and usually communication goes from in person to phone to text messages and an occasional visit. That's just the way it is.

And J.D. seems to be accepting that reality; he took the job at Kim's hospital (after hitting it off with Dr. Mantoots -- heh) because he knows it's the right thing to do for his son. This was one of the rare occasions where Turk was the hurt party, throwing his new chief of surgery job in his pal's face as a way of acting out. At least they got to get some blueberries that were cultivated from human poop while figuring it all out...

Notice that there was no drama between Elliot and J.D. about his job switch and move. The only thing that came close was Elliot saying that they should just go for it and live together, like Gooch and Ted are about to do. Bill Lawrence is really sticking to his guns on this one, making it so not about Jelliot, you barely even remember they're a couple half the time. I like that.

Janitor seems to hate change, doesn't he? "Change begets change" was how he described it. Of course, it's because he's not happy with how Lady is changing his life; he may actually have to live with actual people -- Lady's sister and her son -- rather than stuffed woodland creatures. And that just freaks him out. So all the change going on around him makes him even more nervous. Janitor needs his Braintrust, his punitive non-cleaning measures, and needs to be in charge, and Lady is disrupting all that. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out in tonight's finale.

More fun stuff:
  • Only one big fantasy sequence, but a fun one: J.D. and Turk in charge of the hospital. For some reason, I laughed hard when Turk smacked the bowl of pudding out of Carla's hands.
  • This ep was definitely a Neil Flynn improv show, between Janitor's speech to his nephew-in-law about keeping the anger in to his antics as Caged Janitor in Turk and J.D.'s fantasy.
  • Loved Turk's multiple Chief of Surgery ID badges... the one with the Chief hat, the one with the scapels...
  • Forgot to mention the intern story. There was really no resolution to Elliot taking the blame for Denise, was there? Maybe we'll see more of that tonight, but usually the intern or the doctor learns a lesson from his or her actions, but that didn't happen here.
  • The only thing that came out of the Denise story (besides her thinking that Derek was named Eric) is that there's an inkling that Cox is going to miss J.D. We've seen snippets of how he's really felt about Newbie in the past, but I hope tonight it comes out in that gruff but stern way Cox always displays and he doesn't become a blubbering mess.
  • Who did the failed backflip for John McGinley? It was odd to see any physical humor coming from him.
  • Man, Ted and Gooch are adorable together. And we get to hear another cutsey song from the cutsey Kate Micucci, which is always welcome.
  • The Todd finally has reached swinger status. That seemed to be the final frontier for him. He was definitely born in the wrong decade, wasn't he? But he also seems to have found a partner in Jimmy the Overly Touchy Ordely... they make Janitor seem normal.
  • Ted having sex... ugh, right? It's gross even to Ted.

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bruce

Okay I concede that scrubs doesn't have to be hilarious to be good. Some of my favorite episodes are not the funniest ones. But the couple of eps they've let Braff direct have all been horrible - and unfunny. I did not like last night's episode, nor the other few they've let Braff direct. It could be a concidence that all the eps he's gotten to direct have just been subar scripts. Maybe. I think he's just not a good director.

And yeah, Garden State was lame. It was just an excuse for him to make out with Natalie Portman. I could do that too. But I'm not famous so nodoby will greenlight my "Bruce making out with Kaley Cuoco and Evangeline Lilly" movie.

May 06 2009 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment
jonathan

The Wizard of Oz homage and 100th episode of Scrubs, "My Way Home," is my favorite episode, and it was directed by Braff.

May 06 2009 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bruce

Anyone notice that whenever they let Zach Braff "direct" an episode, it's always a really horrible, miserable, tremendously unfunny episode? Last night's episode was no different in that respect. Really horrible. Not a funny moment. Zach just needs to focus on talking like an effeminate manchild and give up on the directing. He's no good at it. They have professionals for that sort of thing.

May 06 2009 at 1:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bruce's comment
ryno2626

Wow, i guess not a Garden State fan, huh? I think your missing the point of Scrubs. It's not funny all the time (although how could you not laugh at the Cox flip and Turk smacking the pudding?) This episode felt more like the first seasons. I liked it and can't wait until the season finale. I could wait on a series finale though...

May 06 2009 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rahul

i like that they went back to the pudding, if you remember your Scrubs history back in season1 or 2, JD and Turk stole a whole trunk full of pudding when they were still broke.

May 06 2009 at 1:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jimchig

Despite all the varied story lines, the key for me has always been Cox/JD and to a lesser extent Janitor/JD. Whenever an episode keys on scratching below the surface of those relationships is a highlight for me.
Just seeing Cox, his look and posture, as JD is walking out speaks volumes.

May 06 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jimchig's comment
Dan

Yeah, Scrubs has always been about Dr. Cox for me, I could easily see the show continuing without JD+Eliot if Turk and Dr. Cox stayed at Sacred Heart with the Janitor and Ted. Those are the four characters that I enjoy the most. JD actually annoys me a lot of the time, but the story development and the other characters are all so well done that I LOVE the show and don't want it to end. JD Can even come back once in a while to hang out with Turk and bring back the old feel to the show if needed.

May 06 2009 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hotdogjack

Come on Joel, give the writers some credit. As brilliant as Neil Flynn is, not everything he does is improvised.

May 06 2009 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joel Keller

Oh, a note to cdawg... I deleted your comment by mistake so if you want to repost it, go ahead.

May 06 2009 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joel Keller's comment
cdawg

Oh I wondered! Whatever - just everyone should google "pregnant women are smug" to see Gooch's beautiful singing voice - as the FIPS blog says, someone get these two a record deal ASAP

May 06 2009 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dkaarma

I really like this episode, it felt like the first season again.

I love how the Janitor was telling Ethan that if he hit the other kid all the anger goes away, you have to keep the anger inside like an 'anger baby'

That really explained a lot about the Janitor.

Also some more great music at the end
Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson "Winter Song"

Finale tomorrow! - Cant wait to find out how it all ends

Joel, Thanks for your great recaps and interviews with BL over the years.

May 06 2009 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dkaarma's comment
Joel Keller

Thanks. I wish I could have interviewed Bill before the finale, but stuff in my personal life (good stuff!) has gotten in the way. Maybe I'll talk to him before the start of Cougar Town and/or whatever a ninth season of Scrubs might look like.

May 06 2009 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony

Or here's an idea...proof-read before you hit the post button. Or is that not public enough for you?

May 06 2009 at 10:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tony's comment
Joel Keller

Thanks, Tony! Never thought of that before. Anyway, if you've read Bash's history of comments, you'll understand why I made that reference. Though he's been pretty nice to us lately, so I have to give him credit for that.

May 06 2009 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

Orderly. Overly touchy Orderly.

And there's a couple of spelling errors, maybe read through it again Joel. I like your take on the episode, although I don't like the Okulele songs.

We'll see how it all turns out. I have high hopes for the finale (but I had those too for ER and it was just so-so... *sigh*)

May 06 2009 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to StillBash's comment
Joel Keller

Fixed them. Thanks.

You ever used our corrections link, Bash? Or is that not public enough for you?

May 06 2009 at 10:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CTK

Also, you spelled 'ukulele' wrong.

May 06 2009 at 11:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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