Friday, May 09, 2008

Scrubs, "My Princess": Bad magic

Spoilers for the "Scrubs" finale -- the NBC finale, anyway -- coming up just as soon as I put some product in my hair...

You know what? I take back most of what I said in yesterday's column about not wanting to see another (mostly) full season. Because "My Princess" would have been a really lousy ending for a once-great series.

It was out-of-episode-order in a way that was far more jarring than Dr. Cox's disappearing/reappearing crew cut last year. After spending so much time building up to Kelso leaving his job, they then give us an episode that takes place before he quit? I get that the fantasy scenes might have made this seem like a more appropriate/promotable season-ender to NBC than last week's show, but this is the most annoying NBC continuity screw-up since Crosetti was dead on "Homicide" before the episode where he actually died.

Meanwhile, the promised "Princess Bride" homage turned out to be more of a generic fairy tale homage, with only one explicit reference to the movie (Cox the knight's "You're killing my friend. Prepare to die" gag). With the smoke monster, the episode was as much of an homage to "Lost" as it was to the adventures of Westley, Buttercup and Inigo.

But I would have forgiven either or both of those things if the episode was funny, and for the most part, it wasn't. (The staff finally figuring out how to deal with The Todd was a rare comic highlight.) I thought John C. McGinley and Christa Miller did a nice job with the pathos of the final moments (the revelation that, in the non-fairy tale version of the story, the beautiful maiden died), but very little in the episode lived up to or justified the effort and expense of translating all of the characters into the fairy tale world.

I don't know that all 18 ABC episodes are going to be satisfying, but I have to believe that the real finale Bill Lawrence wanted to do will be much better than this.

What did everybody else think?

26 comments:

Kyle Wasko said...

Agreed, Alan...very weak. And jarring, too. I nearly shut it off two minutes in thinking it was a rerun (didn't they say early on that it was one month since JD and Elliot kissed? Does that make any sense at all??).

In general, I found the whole thing remarkably lazy, and rather disappointing.

Anonymous said...

I really felt like this was perhaps the worst episode of Scrubs I've ever seen. It wasn't funny and the continutiy problems only made me think that I had some how missed an episode last week. Am I crazy or could NBC have deliberately taken this very weak episode and placed it out of order as the "finale" so it would limp to the finish line and lose viewers going into ABC next season?

Groovymarlin said...

I thought it really sucked. Very disappointing. This show is capable of so much more, this episode would be a real downer to end on. So now the question - has Scrubs jumped the shark?

Jackie said...

Aired out of order--that clears up my confusion with why Kelso was still there. And that was what kept me from really enjoying the episode because all I could think was "Why is Kelso there?!" So freakin' distracting.

Amy said...

I have to believe that the real finale Bill Lawrence wanted to do will be much better than this.

That is pretty much enough said. And exactly how I felt.

Kelso thing drove me crazy, and in one scene they referred to the kiss as last month, and in the very next scene said it was "a few months ago."

I liked Cox's interaction with his family, that was it.

I am totally in for next season, and at least I know...it can't get worse than that one!

Kelly said...

Oh thank God, I thought I was the only one who was confused by the presence of Kelso. Throughout the entire episode I kept muttering, "Did I miss something? When did Kelso come back? What the heck!"

Can anyone tell me what Cox said at the very end of the episode? He said his line and my husband and I turned to each other at the exact same time and said "What did he just say?" Thanks to Alan's recap I at least know now that she died but we totally couldn't figure out if she lived or died because we couldn't hear the last line. Not knowing what he said and thus not knowing if she lived or died fit right in with the overwhelming fits of frustration I was having while viewing the worse Scrubs episode in it's entire history. The Carla/Turk thing especially aggravated me.

Two bright spots (not enough to even come remotely close to redeeming the episode however) that I enjoyed or found a little funny: Jordan and Cox swearing all nonchalantly in front of Jack. That makes me giggle because I would totally be that kind of parent.

And, for whatever reason, I found the way Cox interacted with Jack to be sweetly adorable. I felt John C. McGinley did a fantastic acting job portraying his love for Jack. The end scene where they gave each other a big smooch and Cox said "Good night Jack, I love you very much.", again very nonchalantly but with obvious love and affection actually make me a little teary eyed. And I don't even like kids.

Alex said...

I thought it was really weak, too. I was expecting the alleged "Princess Bride" homage to resemble "My Way" home and I was quite disappointed, not to mention slightly jarred by Kelso's appearance (until I figured out that it was out of sequence).

I hope Lawrence and team seriously think about how to go out on a good note.

barefootjim said...

Good gods, that was brutal on every level.

Because of the continuity issue, we actually almost turned it off, thinking that NBC had decided to put in an early-season episode that we'd already seen and had mercifully blocked out.

All I could think was "Sarah Chalke," get thee to HIMYM, now!!"

Yes, there was pathos at the end, but they totally did not earn it. I can only hope that there is some kind of rebound with ABC next year, because it's increasingly difficult to watch, much less defend watching, this show anymore.

I'm just wondering if they really have anything more to say about these people.

LA said...

There were a few bright moments. I always enjoy Dr. Cox at home, especially with Jack (McGinley is great with that kid). The Todd as "the fairy" was pretty funny, too.

I just chalked up the continuity issue to NBC screwing with Bill Lawrence, et. al., one last time, and based on everything I've read, I don't think I'm too far off base. In fact, I believe there are at least two more episodes of Scrubs from this season still in the can. Didn't they foreshadow JD and Elliot getting back together in some *other* finale a couple weeks ago when Turk speaks Spanish?

Scrubs represents one less show I'll watch on NBC and one more I'll watch on ABC next season. Hear that, Ben Silverman?

Chris Littmann said...

I never like these episodes where they become other strange caricatures, if only because some of the people act like caricatures enough on their own.

And the Kelso thing drove me crazy, too. Booo, NBC! (To make matters worse, severe weather in my area bumped ALL of NBC's lineup so I had to wait for it today on Hulu.) This is what I'd describe as "not worth the wait."

Dave Sandell said...

Kelly: Off the top of my head, I believe he said "Let me put it this way, that's how I'm telling it."

I thought this was one of the best seasons the show has had, and I had written it off a few years ago, watching only out of habit the last two seasons. So I fully expect the (actual) last 18 episodes to be good. I agree that this episode was lame.

However... I've fought it for years and agreed whole-heartedly when people say the JD/Elliot relationship is over and done and should not be revisited, but I've liked their chemistry this year more than ever before. If they could continue to mature JD, maybe I could be open to that relationship as the end of the show. There's the Kim problem however...

PamelaJaye said...

Is Hulu rerunning them *that* soon?

I lost the last few eps of 30 Rock last season and it seemed some very substantial stuff happened, so I've been behind on that this year...
and my brother rebooted the wrong machine in the middle of HIMYM last week, leaving us to resort to alternate means - so I'm two weeks behind on that.
2 HIMYM
1 Big Bang
1 House
most of season 2 of 30 Rock
A couple Boston Legals
Almost all of Pushing Daisies
I have caught up on Brothers and Sisters, which I continue to love
and I always watch Grey's live, although last night was a challenge as Dennis made me pause it for about 20 minutes and I didn't catch up till Grey's was almost over.

I even made it through ER, but if it wasn't a hospital show, I wouldn't still be there. I have absolutely no investment in Tony and formerly blonde nurse who seems to have forgotten she ever had a son. Plus, I miss Ray for some odd reason. And a pox on NBC/WB for doing bad things to Abby and Luka. Not that I was invested, but how about, just once, someone - other than Doug and Carol (who took their bed hopping past to Seattle, and spread it to Seattle Grace) - living happily ever after? or at least marriedly ever after.

I take it back. There is Turk and Carla.
Kelso confused me too.

RT Murphy said...

On Kelso's continuity- I was waiting with baited breath through most of his "I am actually forcing you to go home when you're supposed to" for him to turn around and laugh, having been 'pretending' to be COM and making people aggravated that he didn't have such rules while he was actually in power.

On Carla/Turk, it was a tired high-school level joke, and I don't know about anyone else but that breastplate nipple was distracting as heck for some reason.

On the ending, the 'revelation' of how the true story ended could be seen for a mile away to anyone who's seen a half-dozen episodes of the show. A cursory maudlin cherry on the crap-sundae.

Lindy said...

I really wanted to love this episode ... but I couldn't even like it. And after reading everyone else's comments I don't think it was my unrealistic expectations. It was just really weak.

My boyfriend and I spent the entire episode discussing why on earth Kelso was still at Sacred Heart, probably to distract ourselves from the unfunny non-comedy taking place on screen. That kind of continuity mistake is SO distracting and annoying.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure someone already said this, but they should have put the Kelso says goodbye episode as the season finale and aired this one earlier. It was far and away the best episode of the season and it had a sense of finality that this episode did not have. It would have left a better taste in our mouths when we think about Scrubs

mrsb said...

There were so many, many things to hate about this episode.

The "Dr. Kelso is back" issue.

The whole bad fairy tale thing, which really just didn't work.

The crappy jokes.

And Turk fondling the boob on Carla's side of the breastplate just completely creeped me out. Huge ick factor for me.

This was the worst finale I can remember seeing in ages.

I've been on the fence about Scrubs for a while. I seriously think the switch to ABC is as good a time as any to quit it cold turkey.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Alan, you must really have rose colored glasses where this show is concerned. You admit the episode was bad, but that makes you want to see MORE? I think the show deserves a real finale too, but if it means having to sit through 17 episodes of this quality in order to get there then count me out.

Anonymous said...

I just went to hulu.com and Scrubs was front and center on the homepage. And it says "season finale." Interesting. I definitely feel like a couple of episodes didn't air at all.

the2scoops said...

We should remember that this episode wasn't intended to be any sort of "finale" and was more like "last episode aired on NBC who cut us off mid-season". It was probably intended by Bill Lawrence to air earlier in the season, I'm guessing even before the whole Kelso turns 65 thing. It was just gimmicky and flashy enough that NBC decided it would be easier to promote it.

Although that doesn't excuse that it was a bit of a "meh" episode, despite the fine work from Dr. Cox and family in the closing.

Theresa said...

As a huge fan of The Princess Bride, I was pretty disappointed. As a huge fan of Scrubs, even more so.

Anthony Foglia said...

@LA said... Didn't they foreshadow JD and Elliot getting back together in some *other* finale a couple weeks ago when Turk speaks Spanish?

Yes, two weeks ago. Just like they did last week, and just like they did this week.

Two weeks ago, it was the Spanish conversations; last week it was Turk and Carla walking away knowingly, hugging, while JD and Elliot had a fun conversation; and this week it was some narration from Cox that the two shouldn't (or was it wouldn't) put the near-kiss behind them.

Any other House fans figure out the golden/copper ring reference when they flashed back to interns playing medical Jeopardy?

Tom said...

Alan, the move to ABC will happen for sure? Or are you hearing that it's all but certain?

I'm with the majority here in the valley of disappointment, and then really hoping that that wasn't the last episode. I shouldn't be surprised that NBC would send the show off so badly, but then, given what they've done to it over seven seasons ...

Pamela Jaye said...

Any other House fans figure out the golden/copper ring reference when they flashed back to interns playing medical Jeopardy?

Totally - or partialy. for some stupid reason, I forgot the disease's name (despite it being the name of House's best friend).
How about the recent ep with the purple pee? Did you get that too? Thee odd prnounciation of Porphyria drove me nuts for the rest of the ep.

What *is* the correct pronunciation?

(and wht was Stacey's husband's PT "painful" if all he had was paralysis? (not injury to the joints or muscles)

Anonymous said...

What *is* the correct pronunciation?
Take a listen here.

Alyssa said...

We almost turned the episode off as well...I was sure it was a rerun from the beginning of the season until JD mentioned his baby, which wasn't born yet. One explanation (if true, was handled clumsily) is that Dr. Cox is an unreliable narrator. Since he called it his "worst day ever," I assume he was telling a story from earlier in the season, explaining Kelso. It just didn't make sense to me to be talking about the almost kiss after JD's baby was born. Dr. Cox could have mashed together pieces of a few of his bad days to make a single worst day...

All that said, I didn't like the episode either.

the2scoops said...

From Zach Braff's myspace page:

Dear friends,

Many of you have been understandably confused by the Fairy Tale episode of Scrubs serving as the series finale. It was not. I was not allowed to say it until today, but Scrubs will be moving to ABC for its final season. We are currently filming the 8th and final season. The true finale of the show will air on ABC in the fall. NBC merely promoted the Fairy Tale episode as the finale, as it was the last episode they owned.

Also, several of you were very confused by the fact that Dr. Kelso and Laverne were still working at the hospital in the Fairy Tale episode. Because of the writer's strike, the last remaining episodes for NBC were aired out of order. This is why Dr. Kelso was still chief of medicine. That was not Laverne however, for those of you who have been following closely; it was a new nurse "Shirley" who no one thinks looks anything like Laverne except for JD.

Hope this clears some things up.