Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dispatch from ABC: 'Scrubs' on the move

After the jump, some developments from the "Scrubs" press tour session and the scrum with Bill Lawrence afterward...

I don't have time to transcribe anything right now, so bullet points...
  • Whether or not this will be the final "Scrubs" season, this will definitely be Zach Braff's final season. The season finale is being written as JD's farewell from the hospital, but Lawrence is shooting two slightly different versions of the very end of it: one for if the show is being renewed and will come back without Zach, one for if this is the series finale. (The latter version would feature Janitor's real name, as Lawrence has been saying forever that when you find out Janitor's name, the show is over.)
  • Every actor's contract is up by mid-September, and they're free to pursue whatever jobs they want. If the show comes back, they're welcome but not obligated to come back with it. John C. McGinley said he'd like to come back but what if, hypothetically, he's landed a part in a Martin Scorsese movie around the time production for a season nine would begin? Lawrence said he has no problems with any of the cast moving on if they want to.
  • Though the season won't debut until some time in early '09, they should wrap production by the end of August, which gives them flexibility both within the show and without. Aziz Ansari from "Human Giant" will be playing a new doctor this year, even though he's under contract for "The Office" spin-off; since "Scrubs" was in production and the new show wasn't, Greg Daniels said it was cool. And if "How I Met Your Mother" wants Sarah Chalke back a lot -- "They don't want me to say it, but she's the mom," Lawrence cracked -- she'll be available.
  • In part to freshen up the series, in part to set things up for a potential post-Braff incarnation of the show, there will be a number of new doctors this year. In addition to Ansari, Eliza Coupe (who was one of the better things in the never-seen HBO show "12 Miles of Bad Road") will be one of the rookies. Chalke said that when Lawrence announced he was adding young doctors, she and the other regulars said, "But we're the young doctors!" and Lawrence told them something like, "Go look at the opening credits and get back to me."
  • Ken Jenkins is not leaving the show, even though Kelso no longer works at the hospital. "Kelso won free muffins for life on the show, which gives him an excuse to hang around the hospital and be a different character," Lawrence said. Courteney Cox will do a three-episode arc as the hospital's new chief of medicine. (It was a part written for Lawrence's buddy John Cusack, who wasn't available due to a movie shoot.)
  • Lawrence admitted that many of the shots people (including me) took at the last season on NBC were deserved, and that they got lazy telling the same jokes over and over again, and then telling jokes about their own jokes. (All that meta stuff about how JD's long fantasies are never worth it, etc.) The tone of the new season will be much more in keeping with the serio-comedy of seasons 1-4 -- "Though I don't know if Steve McPherson wants me to talk up how there's going to be more tragedy in the show."
  • Getting back to Janitor's name -- which Neil Flynn kept trying to claim was Zanzibar Duck Duck McFake -- there's some debate in the writer's room about what it should be, with several writers insisting that it has to be "Neil Flynn," since they established that Janitor played Neil Flynn's role in "The Fugitive." (UPDATE: I was mistaken. Flynn said "Zanzibar Buck Buck McFate," which is the name of a Dr. Seuss character, a Sneetch, I think.)
  • And, the most important question as far as I'm concerned: Lawrence promised much more of Donald Faison dancing.
  • The episode in the Bahamas -- where Lawrence will make his acting debut on the show -- will be about Janitor's wedding (presumably to his girlfriend, Lady), and is part of Lawrence's attempt to prove old mentor Gary David Goldberg wrong that you can't do a funny sitcom episode where you take your cast and crew to another country.

18 comments:

Pamela Jaye said...

thanks, Alan!

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does Zach Braff look like he's pushing 50 in that photo?

Anonymous said...

"Mercy Flush"

More Donald Faison dancing? That makes Scrubs worth tuning into, all by itself.

LA said...

Awesome info, Alan. Thank you so much. And three cheers for more Turk dances!

anon - I think Zach looks as good as I've ever seen him there.

Anonymous said...

I didn't even recognize the guy on the left in that photo as Zach Braff until the original "anonymous" pointed it out (I'm "anon" number two simply because blogger won't work for me no matter what I do).

Jesse said...

What's more striking to me is how much Braff looks like John Ritter, who played his dad in several episodes.

Added to the physical comedy similarities, it really spotlights the show's masterful casting, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I think the janitor's first name should be Guy. Guy and Lady would be a perfect couple.

Matthew L said...

I enjoy Scrubs, and was happy the show has the chance to actually finish as intended, but the talk about dragging into another season just fills me with dread. When JD leaves, the show should end. 8 years is long enough.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I saw that picture of Zach Braff, and thought, what is Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords doing up there? The Hip-hop-o-popotamus is getting around! (Not just a large, water-dwelling mammal anymore, indeed.)

dez said...

^I thought that was Jemaine, too!

Thanks for the great scoop, Alan!

dez said...

Oh, and I second that Janitor's name should be "Guy," but pronounced the French way ("Guee").

Matter-Eater Lad said...

In the final episode of the season, the whole series should turn out to have been the daydream of Michael Boatman's son.

Anonymous said...

I would have loved to see John Cusack. Sad face

Anonymous said...

I've always enjoyed the show for the most part even though I don't really like Braff or the over the top McGuinely shtick. I always thought that they should have consistently been updating the cast of doctors almost like the volley ball game rotation of ER. As long as Kelso, Ted and the Janitor stay constant you can cycle in 4 or 5 new doctors with different relationships, personalities and foibles to make sure the humor doesn't go stale.

Alan Sepinwall said...

BTW, I was mistaken about Flynn's claim about Janitor's real name. It was Zanzibar Buck Buck McFate, which is from Starbelly Sneetches, I think.

Anonymous said...

What...and lose the masterful Braff? He'd never stand for it.

How does Bill Lawrence stay so trim? He doesn't look any different than 8 years ago. But he's no Rhymenocerous...

katie h. said...

I totally thought he looked like john ritter too!!


i think the only way scrubs could continue would be with elliott as the new narrator (and j.d. coming back once in a while).

and if it does END end, i think elliott brother rob should meet and hook up with dr. kelso's son harrison. and it should end up that scott foley's character and mandy moore's characters met somewhere and hooked up (they are the outside jd and elliott), and hugh jackman ends up in the mix with dr. cox. (o:

dutch84 said...

Thanks for this. I have been looking for info on my fav show