'Scrubs' - 'Our Driving Issues' Recap
by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 11th 2010 11:01AM
(S09E12) With our illustrious leader away on a covert mission for the state (you didn't hear that from me), I agreed to step in for this penultimate episode of 'Scrubs.' Hopefully, he'll be back in time for next week's finale as it may be his last chance. Still no word on the fate of 'Scrubs' 2.0 beyond these two episodes; I suspect ABC is holding out just in case ratings go up with the show as part of their successful "ABC Comedy Wednesday" block.
The episode itself was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm still just not able to get into Cole as a character. He's far too cartoonish for my tastes. At least J.D.'s antics were tempered by the sense that he was a person we could believe in, while Cox showed a vulnerable side underneath all his venom. I'm still struggling to believe in Cole as a sympathetic character.
Luckily, some moves were made to correct that as the episode wound down. Words of wisdom from one Bob Kelso making the difference in that one; what an interesting progression Kelso's character has had over the seasons.
This new iteration of 'Scrubs' is still struggling to find its own identity, even though it's now probably far too late. They're so close to finding the perfect balance between douchebaggery and humanity in Cole needed to make him watchable. Cox and Kelso were able to be bigger dicks from the beginning because they were in the roles of foils for J.D. and the original batch of interns so we didn't need to "root for them," though many of us did.
I've been told I'm overly critical of the Cole character, and I can accept that possibility. Maybe it's that I'm not seeing much range in Dave Franco, though that could be the limitations of the role he's been given. He still can make me laugh, though, as I thought his T-Payne rap about his mole (prepared for both results) was spot-on hilarious.
But we've been down this "why doesn't anybody like me?" crap with him before. That's why it was refreshing to see Kelso show up and sit by him in bed. Kelso's storyline was surprisingly real, though the ending wasn't so much. Losing one's independence in old age is something that so many people experience; I can still remember when my grandmother was stripped of her own ability to drive. It's a huge blow.
But Kelso was right. True friends will be there even when you're a dick. You just can't be a dick all the time. It's as if Bill Lawrence and the gang realized that the character of Cole needed to be tempered with some decency for people to stand behind him as a character they can like despite his constant jackass demeanor. Yet another case of a course correction for an improving series perhaps too late.
At the same time, when Denise and Cox realized they were both too much alike, while I appreciated the comedic potential in that scenario, I couldn't help but be struck by how much Drew was like them as well. His speech to the pair of them when he brought them together was delivered in a very Coxian manner, which might have been intentional but either way seems ill-advised. Especially if you're going to openly decide two of your cast members are similar.
The big difference between Cox and Kelso through the years was that Cox cared about his patients and his doctors under his gruff demeanor. The difference between Cox and Denise is ... gender? One of them can sleep with Cox's "#1?" Well, I guess technically it's possible for -- you know what? I'm just going to leave it. Let's leave that right there.
It is a disappointment that the new 'Scrubs' seems to have been a failure on launch. If it had truly been launched as a spin-off series, a la 'Frasier,' it may have stood a better chance as the audience would have been better prepared for the stark differences from last season to this one. Unfortunately, it looks as if time has run out on 'Scrubs' with only one more week remaining.
After an amazing not-series finale last season for 'Scrubs,' I'm definitely intrigued to see what they bring to the screen with next week's installment, 'Our Thanks.' It's certainly a title worthy of a series finale, and you have to imagine Lawrence knew the writing was on the wall going into this one. Hopefully, it can at least provide a bit of closure for these new characters.
[If you're not ready to say goodbye just yet, you can find clips and full episodes of 'Scrubs' with our friends over at SlashControl.]