"And now, on to our next patient. Let's go, bitches!" -Fun-Size InternI went with four quotes instead of one for a couple of reasons. First, I really couldn't choose between Fun-Size Intern (whom I guess is now Fun-Size Resident) and JD's obstetrical interest in Dr. Maddox. Second, I thought these four very neatly captured the depth and breadth of the "My Jerks"/"My Last Words" double feature. There were moments of extreme silliness and moments of great pathos -- and, in the last quote, more than a bit of both. These episodes -- "My Last Words" in particular -- are what "Scrubs" is capable of when the writers are focused and rein in their weirder impulses.
"Did you deliver vaginally?" -JD
"No, I know what you guys are trying to do. I just can't get over the fact that one minute I'm here, and the next I am not." -George Valentine
"I'm over here dying! That's all you can come up with?" -George Valentine
I wrote at length about the shift back to a slightly more realistic universe (where JD's fantasies are clearly delineated as such) in yesterday's column, so I'm going straight to the bullet points, bouncing back and forth between the two episodes:
• Taran Killam, one of the stars of "Nobody's Watching" (the twice-unsold pilot from top "Scrubs" writers Bill Lawrence, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan) pops up as Jimmy the Overly-Touchy Orderly, and his hands-on approach to the job was one of the premiere's better running gags, the sort of thing that actually gets funnier the more it keeps going.
• The entire "Facts of Life" sequence, with JD not wanting Turk to take credit for comparing Katie to Blair and Ed offering to be Tootie, neatly encapsulated both JD's late '70s/early '80s pop culture obsessions and his competitiveness with Turk. And I liked that JD continues to switch between Denise and Jo in the second episode, suggesting they're not done with that yet.
• Ed's rising popularity, and his ability to spread trends and catchphrases so quickly through the hospital was another great runner, and led to...
• Every word out of Sam Lloyd's mouth in both episodes just killed. In many weeks, I'd give first prize to "MY BALLOON!" or "NOT G!" But Ted's glee at George's praise of the fun font, and him incorporating Ed's new "Recognize!" chant takes the win.
• Because Glynn Turman's been doing a lot of great drama work recently (Mayor Royce on "The Wire," Blair Underwood's dad on "In Treatment"), it's easy to forget that he has a lot of comedy experience (notably several seasons on "A Different World"), and in between the sadness of George's death, he got a number of funny moments, whether it was his reaction to JD discussing his effeminate mascot outfit or the look of sheer terror on his face as Denise kept going and going with her one-night stand story. ("I think I just saw the Devil!") In that moment, it almost looked like he was ready for death to come immediately. Of course, he also was amazing in the dramatic moments, making a character JD and Turk (and the audience) had never met before into someone whose death we justifiably mourned.
• I'm sure The Janitor will be back soon, but I like that they were willing to keep him out of the second episode. (Then again, Cox, Kelso and Elliot were also completely absent, and Carla only turned up in the fantasy scenes, so this may have been a budget saver, or something to accommodate a modified shooting schedule.)
• Which is funnier: JD's vision of being stuffed in the apartment next to Rowdy, or his description of his first day in Heaven with Turk? ("When Carla dies, it is gonna suuuuuuuuck!")
• I like how it went completely unnoticed by Turk and JD that the convenience store guy could have very easily assumed that JD was buying all those condoms to use with his chocolate bear.
• Courteney Cox has a tendency to sometimes try too hard -- this was particularly obvious in the later years of "Friends" -- and I think we got a bit of flop sweat in "My Jerks." (Plus, the moment when she punches JD in the arm for thinking she and Mr. Hicks were lovers sounded exactly like she was playing Monica Gellar.) But I liked her frustration with Cox at the end of "My Jerks" and her interactions with fellow cougar (and chief slag-smacker) Jordan in "My Last Words."
• Still another good runner: the various shots of guys in the background of scenes carrying red balloons as they waited for HotGirl99. My favorite was the brief glimpse of Colonel Doctor.
• So where does the use of Death Cab for Cutie's beautiful and sad "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" over George's final moments on this earth fall on the list of all-time great "Scrubs" musical choices? As if the episode wasn't already going to inspire a run on Kleenex, they go and play that delicate ode to an eternity of nothingness. Bastards.
• Turk dances! As always, I need little excuse to link to the greatest Turk dance ever, and if there was a disappointment to the Steak Night shuffle, it was that it obviously had to be choreographed so the funk-impaired Zach Braff could keep up with Donald Faison.
• Even though the wackiness has been toned down, I'm okay with Turk and JD still being able to read each other like they had telepathy, whether it was JD kicking Turk in the leg at the end of the riff about lying to George about the tree falling on the restaurant or Turk knowing why JD was trying to touch his face.
• One thing that was definitely different from the NBC days: no way, no how does Ben Silverman let a perfect product integration like George praising his last can of beer go by without cutting a deal with Bud or Coor's or PBR or somebody. Instead, George and Turk's hands were always covering up most of the label.
What did everybody else think?