Review: Scrubs - Our White Coats / Our Couples
by Joel Keller, posted Jan 6th 2010 10:09AM
(S09E07 / S09E08) I don't usually do a joint review when two episodes of a show air in the same night, but both these episodes were so interestingly similar in tone, that I felt it was better to discuss them together than separately. Also, I've got a case of the winter lazies.
But back to that first point: Many of you couldn't understand why I hated the episode on New Year's Day so much; many of you felt that it did a nice job of showcasing the med students as well as a maturing Turk and Elliot. But there was something so off about how those characters were written last week that it didn't sit well with me. This week's episodes showed me why. They also gave me a good indication of the pace and tone that Med School should settle into. Just hope it's not too late.
Here's what I took from these two episodes:
-- That once Turk separates from J.D., he becomes quite a compelling character on his own. In the second half of "Our White Coats," when he stopped being a stand-in for J.D. and started to counsel Drew on forgetting about his decade-old med school meltdown, we saw a wise side of Turk that suited him quite well. Then, in "Our Couples," his ability to rise above Cox's pettiness and have his back over the failed surgery on Al the Peanut Guy made me realize that Turk really is the chief of surgery and he's taking his position seriously.
-- Sure, it's all well and good for Elliot to be near cocky, especially since she seemingly has her life in order. But there needed to be a little bit of the old Elliot in the mix. And we saw more of that, namely her ramble about being a gunner in med school, her desire to see Denise glam it up for Drew, and her desire to trade five years of her life -- if she lives into her 80s -- to keep her pregnancy boobs. All the while, she was a great mentor to Lucy. So we see both sides.
-- Centering the show on Lucy was a mistake. She's a fun supporting character, but isn't funny enough or has enough personality to carry the show. Though I did like her reluctant admission in "Our Couples" that she actually liked Cole and he wasn't just a booty call to her anymore. Cole, on the other hand, should be given to us in smaller doses. Maybe being with Lucy will ease his character off a bit -- the credit tag where Lucy lists all of the phrases he's no longer allowed to say was pretty funny -- but the current toolish version is just taking up too much screen time. Though it's interesting to see that he's a massive Golden Girls fan.
-- I was right when I thought the show should be centered around its misanthropes. Diving into why Drew snapped in med school ten years ago was an interesting character study we haven't seen on Scrubs before, and Michael Mosely can pull off the subtleties of his character with ease. I wanted to see more. And he and Denise make a fun couple; first she dresses up for him (hubba hubba, Eliza!) then, in "Our Couples," they scheme to mess with the dopey security guards (who I still think aren't necessary... they feel like stand-ins for Janitor and Ted but are just cartoons) by stealing their golf cart. They just have good chemistry together, and we're seeing Denise grow right before our eyes, while still maintaining that hard edge.
-- Without J.D.'s needy zaniness in the mix, the pace of the episodes slowed down. That's a good thing; the performances and stories weren't suffocated by joke after joke and it let the characters shine. I see the same thing in Cougar Town; when episodes aren't all about Courteney Cox, they slow down and actually tell a good story. In fact, the pacing felt more like early season one Scrubs, before the writers fell in love with J.D. and his flights of fancy. Both episodes settled into a nice rhythm that I hope becomes the personality of Scrubs Med School, whether there are only five episodes left or not.
-- I like seeing Kelso as the dirty old grandpa of the group, but damn do I miss the days when he was making interns wet their pants.
-- I'm more intrigued by a Turk - Cox friendship than a Turk - Denise friendship. They're the hospital's bigwigs now, and no one else knows what's on their shoulders. "Our Couples" showed that the two of them can work as friends, even if it's friends who try to one-up each other in the alpha male department -- "Doctor Coxie is Foxy".
What do you folks think? Are they going in the right direction?