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November 23, 2014

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Review: The Middle - The Front Door

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 5th 2009 1:22AM
The Middle: The Front Door
(S01E06)
Something big is going to happen with Axl, and I can't wait for it. Yes, he's doing the same bored, sleeping, lazy teenager act that we've seen a million times before, but I like the way he works off of both Neil Flynn and Patricia Heaton. And I think there's real potential for him to break out into something unique; like when he put his clothes on for the bus in two seconds.

The writers have already crafted both Brick and Sue into wholly unique, and bizarre, children. By comparison the only thing odd about Axl so far is his name. He's just so ... ordinary! Ordinary was enough, though, for him to be part of a pretty funny storyline that pitted him at odds with his father.

It also makes me terrified of the upcoming teen years. Maybe I'll just ship mine out to some other family to deal with. Maybe he can move to Orson, Indiana and I'll just let Mike and Frankie take care of him. Better send him with an extra coat. You never know when a door might go missing.

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Review: The Middle - The Block Party

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 29th 2009 1:10AM
Atticus Shaffer(S01E05) Things are starting to settle into a familiar and comfortable pattern. There was nothing particularly groundbreaking in the presentation or even the subject matter of this episode, but it was still enjoyable. It's the love within the Heck family, even within Axl, that makes this a heartwarming comedy.

It doesn't have the sharp wit and cleverness of its follow-up Modern Family, but it's still leaps and bounds better than its lead-in -- Oh, that's right. ABC went with a re-airing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown instead of Hank. Didn't they air that last night, too. That's okay, Kelsey. It'll be just fine. You'll get that back nine order any day now.

This week, we focused on Brick. The more I see of the little whispering weirdo, the more I like him, and while I hate to keep bringing this up, the more I need the show to address his physical ailment. Commenter 'Jeremy' said he has found evidence pointing to it being osteogenesis imperfecta. This is the same thing Carnivale's Michael J. Anderson has.

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Review: The Middle - The Trip

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 22nd 2009 1:08AM
The Middle: The Trip(S01E04) Okay, there's clearly something going on with Atticus Shaffer's legs, or leg. It's not a big deal, but at the same time I can't help but notice it when he's limping around. I wish the show would just address whatever it is, so I can stop thinking they're trying to pull a fast one over on us and pretend there's nothing there. It's like when How I Met Your Mother was horribly trying to cover up two pregnant bellies all last season.

Brick can have a medical condition, and we'll still love him as much as ever. In fact, it would make the family even more "just like the rest of us." Regardless, Brick was hilarious this week with his new girlfriend. I remember when my son was getting his first little girlfriends, and it seemed to go down about the same way. Not the point where his new girlfriend gives me a verbal beat-down on my own front porch, but maybe we're just not to that point yet.

The other main plotline had us finally finding something that Sue is good at! I'm as shocked as you are.

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Bill Lawrence: Judy Reyes won't appear in season nine, and other Scrubs news

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 16th 2009 3:02PM
Scrubs: My FinaleFigured today was going to be a good day to publish the Scrubs-centric part of my conversation with Bill Lawrence last month. Here we talk about what's going to happen during the first episode or two of the new season of Scrubs.

The biggest piece of information? That Judy Reyes, who played Carla during the first eight seasons, won't appear at all in this new-direction ninth season. She's the only regular of Scrubs Classic (my name for it) who won't appear at least once during the upcoming season. "I think she was either going to be a regular on this show or looking to go do other things with her career," Lawrence told me, citing that he "totally respect(s)" her decision.

Of course, with the new med-school-centric direction of the show, there's less of a need for some of the other semi-regulars; Sam Lloyd (Ted) has already shot his last episode, for instance.

Other info from Bill: How the season premiere will open, how the transition from Zach Braff's voiceover to another voiceover is going to work, and more about the new character directions for Classic regulars John C. McGinley, Donald Faison and Eliza Coupe.

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The Middle: The Floating Anniversary

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 15th 2009 5:03AM
The Middle, Patricia Heaton & Chris Kattan(S01E03) We already know that Sue Heck has no discernible talent, but a ton of enthusiasm. This week we learned that her cluelessness goes even beyond physical activities. She's as earnest in her social endeavors as ever. Unfortunately, she's also as oblivious to the reality of her actions and their consequences. I love everything about it.

The moral of this episode, I guess, is that a mother is never allowed even fifteen minutes of time alone. Granted, it appears that Frankie's fifteen minutes happened to coincide with the worst chain of events possible, but the moral remains the same. A mother's job is never done, and she's never off the clock. At least she has the love of her husband to help her when the time comes, and he came through in a big way for her.

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The Middle: The Cheerleader

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 8th 2009 2:30AM
Atticus Shaffer, The Middle(S01E02) I didn't realize it as much in the first episode, but the Hecks are living the exact Midwest life that I had growing up. Okay, not exactly, but our run of luck and struggle went about like theirs did. I even remember when our dryer leaped across the room and died, though it wasn't nearly as melodramatic as theirs was.

The Middle surprised me last week by premiering with a really strong debut episode. Maybe, I thought, it's because I just watched Hank. Watching my grandmother shave her armpits would be high entertainment compared to that.

Well, Hank was so horrible I managed to convince myself that ABC's comedy lineup didn't start until 8:30 on Wednesday, so I tuned in fresh and ready to see how The Middle came out of its pilot. And it actually got better. Just about everything that happened in this episode was funny, and it was absolutely packed with things happening.

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Bill Lawrence: The TV Squad Interview (Scrubs 2.0 edition) - full transcript

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 20th 2009 11:18AM
Bill Lawrence at the TCA 09 session for Cougar Town Here's the full transcript of the interview I did with Bill Lawrence on the last day of the TCAs. It's goes into some of the financial nitty-gritty of the Scrubs deal and drops a few other details. I also asked him to repeat what was going to go on in the new Scrubs a few times, just so I could understand completely what was going on. Enjoy! The main post, where you can leave your comments, is here.

Well let's start with the obvious. You've been thinking about doing another season of Scrubs for like a year now.
(laughing)

Because you told me...when'd you talk to me about that? About a year ago?
We're the only people who shot the shit about it. I thought there was a chance it would happene. I just saw the landscape, you know.

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Bill Lawrence: The TV Squad Interview (Scrubs 2.0 edition)

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 20th 2009 11:18AM
Bill Lawrence at the TCA 09 session for Cougar TownOn the last day of the TCA press tour, as the stars of ABC were yukking it up at a crowded party at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Bill Lawrence and I were out in the courtyard talking about what the new season of Scrubs -- or as I'm calling it, Scrubs 2.0 -- is going to look like.

Essentially, it's going to be like a medical version of The Paper Chase, with Turk and Cox being the professors. We'll be following the lives of young medical students who will shuttle back and forth between classes and their rotations at the "new" Sacred Heart, which is being rebuilt on the med school's campus. While in the hospital, they'll run into a lot of the characters from Scrubs 1.0, including J.D., as Zach Braff is scheduled to be in the first six episodes.

It all sounds a bit confusing, so I'll let Bill lay it out for you folks. An edited transcript is after the jump. The full transcript can be found here. And I'll be getting on the phone with Bill to talk Cougar Town sometime next week, so stay tuned. Oh, and at the end of the interview, we talk about the role Bill's wife, Christa Miller, had on Scrubs that didn't involve any acting.

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Scrubs goes back to school

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Jun 22nd 2009 11:45AM
Scrubs
As it's been speculated in the last months, Scrubs will not be the same when entering its ninth season. We know that Zach Braff and Sarah Chalke have both inked deals to appear in only six episodes and that, since Donald Faison's pilot wasn't picked up, rumors were going around that Scrubs 2.0 could revolve around Turk and medical school.

Confirmation has finally arrived and the show will indeed go through an extreme makeover that will take the action from the hospital to medical school.

Slight spoilers coming up!

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A new season of Scrubs would get half a dozen Chalkes and Braffs

by Jason Hughes, posted May 15th 2009 9:02AM
Sarah Chalke and Zach BraffIt looks like we're creeping closer and closer to ABC bringing Scrubs back for a ninth season. Now comes word that Zach Braff and Sarah Chalke have both inked deals to appear in six episodes, most likely at the beginning of the season to help set up the new J.D.-less Sacred Heart. Creator Bill Lawrence said that he responded well to Eliza Coupe's crotchety Denise (the intern with no bedside manner). He didn't seem to say much about the rest of the cast, but I think this could work.

Imagine transitioning Scrubs fully into a teaching hospital show. Instead of following one batch of interns, you can bring in a new batch every year or so. We can keep some of the good ones from prior classes, like Denise, but other than that it's new interns and we focus on the "teaching" staff, which would now include Turk. Donald Faison, Neil Flynn and John C. McGinley are on board for a full season, so that direction could definitely work. It would be a different kind of show, but if Lawrence stays involved it can still be a very funny show.

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Scrubs: My Finale (series / season finale)

by Joel Keller, posted May 6th 2009 11:25PM
Scrubs: My Finale
(S08E18)
Since I have no idea whether this is truly the end for Scrubs or not, I hedged my bets on the season vs. series finale label. I will say this, though: If this is indeed the end for the folks at Sacred Heart, they couldn't have gone out any better than they did tonight.

Tonight's finale hit on all the same themes that have carried the show for eight years: people grow and change, but life at the hospital just keeps going. Someone leaves, someone dies, someone makes a life-changing decision, and life keeps going. "It's just a day," as Cox almost-convincingly said during one of J.D.'s attempts at getting an emotional goodbye from his mentor. He's right. And as Sacred Heart didn't make such a big deal out of J.D.'s departure, neither did the show. He didn't even turn to look back at the ICU as he turned the lights off. Well, he did, but I'll talk about that after the jump...

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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.

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Memo from a Scrubs fan: please let the show die

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 28th 2009 1:02PM
JD and Turk(Update: Bill Lawrence himself responds to my plea in the comments.)

Oy, not again.

First we heard, straight from Bill Lawrence's mouth, that Scrubs could get a ninth season. Then we heard it was definitely done at the end of this current eighth season. Now, The Hollywood Reporter is hearing that talks to renew the show are back on, with Lawrence and company trying to figure out how to bring back most of the cast, at least in a recurring fashion.

They have to be recurring, since Zach Braff has vowed that he's done with the show, and Neil Flynn, John C. McGinley, and Donald Faison are all attached to new pilots, with Scrubs being a second option in case they're not picked up. Heck, even Lawrence is busy on the new Courteney Cox show Cougar Town.

I'm here, as one of the show's biggest fans, to beg ABC and Lawrence to let the show die. Please. It's the best thing they can do for it.

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Scrubs: My Cuz

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 23rd 2009 11:04AM
Scrubs: My Cuz
(S08E16)
We're in the homestretch now, folks. Things are advancing in the world of Sacred Heart. And when characters who've been living more or less the same lives for eight years all of a sudden get new jobs, urges to return to old ones, or pangs to move away, you know a finale is a-comin'.

It's kind of too bad, since this season has been pretty satisfying for the most part. As Bill Lawrence and his crew have gotten down to basics, the show has gotten funnier, more personal, and more dramatic (when drama is called for). In fact, this has probably been the best season since season four, and it's good to see that the show still has hilarious episodes like this one still in them.

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Scrubs: My Soul on Fire (part two)

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 15th 2009 10:24PM
Scrubs: My Soul on Fire (part 2)(S08E15) There's a reason why you don't see too many sitcoms do two-parters or one-hour episodes more than once every couple of years; the comedy momentum set in the first half-hour usually doesn't continue during the second. Although the second part of Scrubs' Bahamas adventure was still pretty good, it definitely wasn't as funny as last week's first part.

But two interesting things came out of this episode, one character-based and the other actor-based. And, even though I had an inkling the latter was coming, it still surprised me when I saw it. More after the jump.

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