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September 5, 2015

Review: Scrubs - Our Stuff Gets Real

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 13th 2010 2:17PM
Scrubs: Our Stuff Gets Real
(S09E09) While the illustrious boss-man -- AKA Joel Keller -- is off at the TCA Tour stalking creator Bill Lawrence, I have the honor of stepping in and looking at the latest episode of Scrubs. J.D. returned this week, and the opening sequence slipped back to having him hang the final x-ray, rather than Lucy, who took over the last couple of episodes.

With J.D. back, the silliness between him and Turk returned as well, but it didn't dominate the episode as it so often has in the past. It was also nice to see the old Elliot in full neurotic meltdown mode. Plus, the scene at home where she was scarfing down her meat salad instead of making sweet love to J.D. was almost too authentic to real life with a pregnant woman. It was nice to see J.D. being supportive, if frustrated. And at least Cox is there to support his neediness.

That said, I enjoyed the play between Cox and Denise this episode. Her suggestion of how to keep Jordan from getting Cox's favorite recliner (dead bird under the cushion) was great. It is great to see that the writers have transformed what was a fairly one-dimensional character last season in Denise and transformed her into a fully fleshed out character, while maintaining that hard-ass edge that defined her caricature.

If only they could do the same thing for Cole. I don't know if it's Dave Franco, the writing or some combination of the both, but I'm starting to feel the way Drew does: when Cole starts to talk, I want to punch my TV. It's also damaging the character of Lucy to have her in a real relationship with him. Lucy is supposed to be our new inside voice, and yet I can't even respect her as a person because she's chosen cheap sex with the worst person in the hospital. That she acknowledges it doesn't help matters.

I really believe that we would embrace Lucy more in the center of this show if she dumped Cole and either stayed single, or simply started dating or sleeping around. It's not that she made a bad decision by sleeping with him that's the problem; that's actually relatable and understandable. It's that she's staying with him and even calling him her boyfriend. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that union really is holding me back from being able to like her enough as my centerpiece for the new Scrubs.

At least with J.D., we knew Elliot was crazy, but she was also sweet and likable. What good qualities has Cole shown? And speaking of no good qualities, I was thrilled to see Jordan back. She manages to mix pure horribleness with a genuine affection for Perry that makes her lovably awful. Maybe if the Cole character was given an ounce of that, he'd be more palatable.

Away from him, Lucy is starting to come into her own. The fantasy conversations with her cadaver were nicely handled, and it is in those moments that I can see a good replacement for J.D. at the center of the show. She's nervous and uncertain, but capable if she only believed in herself. Turk continued in his role as mentor, and it really is a good fit on him. I'm glad they're keeping some of his quirks, but I agree with Joel that he's actually growing without J.D. into a solid character on his own.

Every time we have some of the departing cast take center stage, like J.D. and Elliot this episode, it only serves to distract from what should be the focus of the new season, the new cast members. If Scrubs is going to work with these new kids front and center, they need to be allowed to shine in every episode. I appreciated the "babymoon" that J.D. and Elliot went on, and the interaction between the old guard, but doesn't it only hinder the development of the new series? It's as if the writers are saying even they're not sure this new bunch can carry the show, so they'd better make the A-story about the old stars.

It doesn't look like it matters much at this point, as Scrubs appears to be all but canceled, but I'm glad to see this new tone and ensemble starting to work better. The sporadic guest appearances from the old cast keep that sense of history and contiuity, and the new group -- save Cole -- are starting to work as characters as well.

[Slice off clips and full episodes of Scrubs over at SlashControl.]

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I must be the only person out there who actually likes Cole, but most of the reason for that is because he's just so hilarious to me. He's not nearly as developed as the other newbies, but I think the writers handle the characterization well--he's kind of like Shawn Spencer from Psych--he's really good at hiding his emotions behind jokes and idiocy, but there are moments when we see hints at them (I remember he stayed all night with a patient instead of going to a party a few episodes ago, for example). It's less than 10 episodes into this new Scrubs, so I'm sure we'll get more from him if the show survives.

And I'm not going to lie--I look forward to a "his story" kind of episode where we get a peek inside the douche's head.

I still don't like Lucy, though. Maybe just because of her specific brand of eccentricity; her fantasy moments and little quirks rarely make me laugh, and there's also the problem that the writers didn't differ her learning path or weaknesses enough from JD. It's basically like they took the character JD, and then turned him into a girl, which did nothing other than eliminate 1/3 of Cox's possible insults to her. Actually it had a detrimental effect cause we've seen JD's growth before, and Lucy doesn't even have a "Turk" or partner in crime that makes her antics more hilarious.

January 14 2010 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What was up with the first scene in the morgue.
First 3 wide shots and Cole only comes up to Drew's shoulder. Shots after that and he is only an inch or two shorter?
Is he really that much shorter and forgot to stand on a box for the first few shots?

January 13 2010 at 8:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charles melrose III

Why on earth do you need to like the character to accept her as the voice of the show? It's her proclivity for making unconventional--unacceptable, apparently, to you--choices in her personal life that make her contrasting growth as a doctor engaging and dramatically interesting. Must the parallels with JD hit you in the face over and over again to make an impression?

Try something new--don't impose your Victorian morality on fictional TV characters. It'll open a whole new world to you.

January 13 2010 at 2:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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