Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Scrubs, "My New Role" & "My Lawyer's In Love": Awww....

Spoilers for last night's two episodes of "Scrubs" coming up just as soon as I have a jum and tonic with breakfast...
"Maybe he'll let us sing for the burn ward." -Ted
You've probably noticed by this point in the season that, for budgetary reasons, not every castmember is in every episode (with the obvious exception, so far, of Zach Braff). No Turk at all tonight, for instance, and no Elliot in the second episode. And while I certainly miss Turk (and the ever-present potential for a Turk dance number), the "Scrubs" writers have very ably dipped deeper into the supporting cast to make up for their absence.

Both of these episodes dealt heavily with Dr. Cox's struggle to deal with the responsibilities of being chief of medicine(*), and as such, they were a strong dramatic showcase for John C. McGinley, and at times for Ken Jenkins and Zach Braff. The scene where Kelso explains to JD that he'll have to become the new Dr. Cox, and that Perry will hate him for it, was particularly well-played by Jenkins, but all three of them were good throughout.

(*) Fanboy nitpick: Cox was interim chief between Kelso's mandatory retirement and the hiring of Dr. Maddox, so shouldn't he be familiar with the crippling workload by now?

But because that storyline was mostly serious, and because some main characters were absent from one or both of the episodes, the comic heavy lifting got handed to Ted and The Janitor, and Sam Lloyd and Neil Flynn were more than up to the challenge.

Flynn has had license to improvise from the beginning of the series, but this season it feels like the writers have specifically constructed scenes that are about nothing but letting him riff for as long as he can. Maybe there was some dialogue written for scenes like Janitor demonstrating the value of hanging the painting from the ceiling, or Janitor on the phone in his "office," or Janitor talking about a date with Lady, but it's clear at some point that Flynn is just flying solo, and it's been really funny to watch.

And what can you say about Sam Lloyd at this point? First he almost single-handedly make a story about a man's last night alive into one of the season's funniest episodes, and tonight he was perfect no matter what he was asked to do. We got equal parts Ted as punchline and Ted as tragic figure -- often in the same moment, like when Ted explained that Kelso used to sign all of his forms on Ted's back, and that "I imagine it's what a hug feels like, is it?"(**) The hopefulness in his voice when he talked about his band getting to play the burn ward was so wonderfully-played; it's both funny and sad that this is one of the few things Ted would have to look forward to.

(**) Pointless fanboy nitpick number two: Wasn't there an episode a few years back where Carla hugged Ted and Ted held on a little too long?

And his awkward courtship of Stephanie Gooch (played by Kate Micucci) was equal parts silly and sweet. Like Bill Lawrence, I can never get enough glimpses of Ted's band, and the half-a cappella, half-ukelele rendition of "Carry On Wayward Son" was a delight. So was our glimpse, in the outtakes (which have been a tremendous addition) of Ted hijacking one of JD's fantasies so he and Gooch could get it on. I hope we see more of this couple as the season moves along.

Short of Turk running in near the end to do some pop-locking, I just could not have been more satisfied with those two shows last night. They're really back on their game this year, aren't they?

Some other thoughts:

• In case you missed my post late last week, ABC reversed course slightly on its original plan to not air another new episode until the move to Wednesday. There were obviously two on last night, and there will be two more next week. There are repeats scheduled on Feb. 17, and barring anything unusual, it should be repeats from then on until the March 18 move. If anything changes yet again, I'll do a post on it.

• I need assistance settling a minor wager with my wife: one of us is convinced that the "like-like" song that Ted and Gooch dueted on was one of the songs from "Juno," and one of us is convinced otherwise. I won't say who's who to avoid influencing the judges, but a recession-sized $5 pot is on the line. Anyone?

• Do you think this is the last we'll see of Ed? (And I don't want to hear from people running to check IMDb.) On the one hand, I've really liked Aziz Ansari. On the other, his behavior throughout the season would almost certainly get him fired, with no second chances.

• Whether or not Ed comes back, "My New Role" gave us the first televised glimpse of Howie, the boring intern who appeared in the "Scrubs: Interns" webisodes with Denise and Katie.

• If this show were more popular, I would fear a wave of "Licked by (Your Name Here)" notes in office fridges around the country.

• John C. McGinley's son has Down syndrome, so there was an added layer of emotion to Cox's scenes with long-time patient Craig.

• The kid who plays Cox's son Jack may not be the next Jonathan Lipnicki, but if anything, his age-appropriate exuberance added some extra comedy to those scenes in the second episode where he was punking his dad, and then when he was taunting JD's baby. I think if he'd sounded natural doing it, I would have been creeped out.

• I'm glad they didn't drag out the idea that Cox and Kelso's friendship had to stay a secret, as it would have deprived us of the joy of Kelso rubbing it in JD's face.

• I really enjoyed the opening of "My New Role," with the sounds of the hospital (forms being stapled, oxygen pumps huffing, etc.) accidentally turning into a percussive salute to Cox's first day on the job. "Flight of the Conchords" did a similar bit involving office supplies (scotch tape being ripped, the hum of the copy machine) in its first season, but it's a cool idea that I don't mind seeing/hearing more than once.

What did everybody else think?

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wasn't really that impressed with these episodes. My New Role was better, but it still seemed a bit off. The opening reminded me of a Season 1 opening when JD mentions that after working in a hospital for awhile things start to fall into a pattern (and then everyone started moving in rhythm to the music he was listening to). I didn't really get how this music related to Dr. Cox. It was still cool, just an odd choice. And I would guess that Ed will be back to plead his case or tell everyone that it's for the best. Something. He's been so great in these episodes that it seems odd he'd leave on such a flat note.

And I guess I'm one of the few who don't really get into the Ted and Janitor story lines that much. I think they're both great actors, but their characters are pretty extreme and fantastical.

Can't wait for Turk to come back.

Brian said...

According to Aziz's blog, he is done with Scrubs. I don't get the explanation since Scrubs finished filming months ago, but it's coming right from Ed.

Not Watching Tennis for next4Months said...

I don't think the song is from Juno but I have no clue where it's from and I'm too lazy to google it. Actually it's definitely not that Juno song at the end of the movie and not on the soundtrack but I'm not the one with $5 riding on it.

David Z said...

I thought "My Lawyer's In Love" was the best episode of the season. It was nice to see Ted get a win.

I don't think the like-like song was in Juno, you could be thinking of this little number:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBDbUVXXp-U

Amy said...

You are definitely thinking (or your wife) of Anyone Else But you by the Moldy Peaches

OMG....my googling has led me to discover the song belongs to Gooch herself. Too cute.

I love where Scrubs is going this year. They are back.

(My fan boy note....though more of a geek boy note....how the heck does Cox not have a computer in his office!??!? I know that there is a problem in modernizing medical records in this country...but still.....)

Brian said...

JD flipping out that Dr. Cox and Kelso went to a romantic comedy was priceless

the2scoops said...

The "Screw You" tune seems to be one that Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci (aka Garfunkel and Oates) wrote, but with a dirtier punchline (NSFW)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIX0I2F-CO0

Something about cute women cursing is funny everytime. Hope to see more of Kate, she fits right in.

And great write-up Alan: hit the nail on the head with the cast hitting all the right notes in these two. Janitor and Ted had been so strong here that I hadn't even noticed Elliott and Turk are absent from the second episode.

Bryan said...

Thought these were 2 more very strong eps and much of the comedy was away from JD- is it really possible there may indeed be life after Zack Braff? Who else definitely wouldn't be coming back?

Guy Who Wishes Turk Would Host SNL said...

"Flight of the Conchords" did a similar bit involving office supplies (scotch tape being ripped, the hum of the copy machine) in its first season

While Bret and Jermaine may have done something similar, "Scrubs" was actually copying off of....themselves?

Remember back in Season 1 when the exact same thing happened with the Drip Bag and the Paddles and other items from the hospital? That actually led into a song, as opposed to just a instrumental vibe, but Scrubs had already done it nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

"The kid who plays Cox's son Jack may not be the next Jonathan Lipnicki, but if anything, his age-appropriate exuberance added some extra comedy to those scenes in the second episode where he was punking his dad, and then when he was taunting JD's baby. I think if he'd sounded natural doing it, I would have been creeped out."

Isn't that Bill Lawrence and Krista Miller's actual son?

Anyways, yeah, I think that even in it's zanier later seasons, the show has done an excellent job in showing why Kelso could be such a bastard (part of that is just him), because the job kind of calls for it. So the moments when he's talking to JD about becoming the next Cox, or talking to Cox about the job seemed extremely earned this year. Kudos to them for that.

Jordan said...

I'm really enjoying this season. I loved from the first episode Cox's list of people who could enter is office with Carla under always, everyone else under sometimes and under never J.D., Jordan, and Hooch. Loved the Hooch namecheck.

In the second episode, on Cox's desk there is an unmistakable red swingline stapler that Jordan gives to Jack. McGinley was one of the Bobs in office space.

dave s said...

I loved these episodes and am a little annoyed that we couldn't have had a full seven seasons at this caliber. They're hitting this season out of the park.

I had many favorite lines (Cox feeling bad for JD as Kelso reveals their friendship - "the boy can't take it" or something like that was a close runner up) was JD offering to let Craig touch his beard, and Craig's perfect delivery of "I really don't." Awesome. After all of the Zach Braff backlash after Garden State, he remains one of my favorite actors because of how self-depreciating he allows himself to be on screen. Has to show some confidence.

Finally, in what is apparently a weekly problem for me, I couldn't understand what Jack said after he stapled his shirt to the wall. Can anyone help?

Bryan said...

Finally, in what is apparently a weekly problem for me, I couldn't understand what Jack said after he stapled his shirt to the wall. Can anyone help?

I'm pretty sure he said "I have a brother!" or something like that.

Jim said...

Finally, in what is apparently a weekly problem for me, I couldn't understand what Jack said after he stapled his shirt to the wall. Can anyone help?

"I finally have a brother!"

Speaking of call backs: "I saw your ass at Nurse Roberts's above-ground pool party". That party was first mentioned by Ted in Season 1 or 2. The precisions of "above-ground pool" got me then.

Kelso was great in both episodes. "I like to think they're my little stone friends"; "has anyone been taking care of him since I left?"

David J. Loehr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David J. Loehr said...

Trying that again...

Ted and Stephanie sing on the Scrubs website.

Kelly said...

I loved, loved, loved both of these episodes, but most especially the second one. Any episode that showcases Ted is going to be a winner. The part where they were singing together and Gooch says "screw you" while he says "kiss you" had me howling with laughter. Just the look on her face when she says "Oh" immediately afterwards. Dear god, it was funny.

I did notice that Turk wasn't in either of them but didn't notice that Elliott wasn't in the second.

The bit with the "never, ever, ever" list and having Jordan on it just cracked me up. Although I'll admit I couldn't figure out/remember who "Hooch" is? Can anyone help me out?

Also, when Perry comes running out of the hospital and Jack jumps up screaming "I'm alive" while Jordan grins delightedly had both my husband and I in tears we laughed so hard.

And finally, as someone else mentioned, Craig's delivery of "I really don't." was spectacularly awesome. I have a good friend with Down's Syndrome so I always get warm fuzzies when they're portrayed so positively on television.

ithor6 said...

Hooch is crazy

the2scoops said...

Hooch? Hooch is craaazzy.

He appeared 2 or 3 times I think. Hooch was an attending doctor who JD & Turk tormented good naturedly (Arranging a schedule so he'd be working with Dr Turner thus creating Turner & Hooch)until they drove him round the bend. Last time we saw him they sicced an intern Rex to torment Hooch and he was threatening to light Rex on fire because he almost spilled Hooch's hot coffee - "Burn for a burn". Hooch be crazy.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Isn't that Bill Lawrence and Krista Miller's actual son?

I don't believe so, even though his name is Andrew Miller. I asked the NBC publicist about it years ago because my wife thought he looked so much like Christa, and was told no.

IMDb also says he's not related.

Anonymous said...

Alan,

Aren't all the regulars sitting out 2 eps. If I am not mistaken there was a Donald Fasion less episode already , so that would be 3 he missed, correct?

By the way I think it's smart of ABC to take originals off after next week - IDOL will be 2 hours for the next 4 weeks after next.

Jeff Martin said...

These were the two best episodes of the season, and it's a high bar to jump over. After Season 7, it was hard to imagine that the writers could give Scrubs the sendoff it deserved, and they deserve kudos for making it really difficult to realize we're going to be saying goodbye to the show soon.

Andrew said...

I was a little dissapointed by the end of Aziz Ansari's run. They established previously that he is a fairly exceptional intern, but with no desire to put forth any effort. The suggestion was that he was incredibly smart nad knew medicine, but was lazy about putting in the work and becoming a "doctor." Cox even said last week that he was one of the best interns of the bunch.

Then this week he is portrayed as not only lazy but stupid (for a doctor). I wish they hadn't made it so easy to get rid of him. I liked the idea of him just being lazy. And who doesn't know that there was a lasagna loving president named Garfield?

Pamela Jaye said...

also Bill is back to bogging

with some explanations for past bad things

bsangs said...

Just two fantastic episodes. So much so that I didn't even realize Turk and Elliot were absent from the second one. (I did mention to my wife about Turk's absence from the first though.)

Loved that Jordan was on the "Never Enter" list to Cox's office. And JD's reaction when Kelso tells him he and Cox saw a romantic comedy together made me about wet myself.

You're right Alan, they are so back on their game this year. Last season I kept thinking it was time to wrap it up. Now I want more!

Bobman said...

The suggestion was that he was incredibly smart nad knew medicine, but was lazy about putting in the work and becoming a "doctor." Cox even said last week that he was one of the best interns of the bunch.

Then this week he is portrayed as not only lazy but stupid (for a doctor). I wish they hadn't made it so easy to get rid of him. I liked the idea of him just being lazy.


Being a doctor is a constant string of learning; while someone may be brilliant at one point, if they do not constantly read and learn new things they will very quickly fall behind. As an intern, he may have known all his med-school information better than anyone, but his unwillingness to read up on new things is what caused Cox to give him the axe.

Alan Sepinwall said...

As an intern, he may have known all his med-school information better than anyone, but his unwillingness to read up on new things is what caused Cox to give him the axe.

And keep in mind, again, that "My ABC's" (where Cox first accused Ed of laziness) was written as the season premiere, and therefore quite a bit of time should have passed between that one and Ed getting canned here. (Even more if ABC had run only one episode a week.)

Hal Incandenza said...

Liked the shout-out to the awesome Jackson Browne song in the 2nd episode title...

...loved Ed's bit about the bar trivia machine being broken ("I'm telling you, there was never a President named Garfield).

Two excellent episodes.

Alan: good catch. Looks like they retconned Cox's interim stint out of the show's history (which is a tad confusing, given all the other callbacks on the show...)

Granola Mom said...

As a parent, when Jack phones Cox and says "You didn't pick me up, so I tried to find you." my heart stopped in my chest.

When Cox runs out to find his son and there sits Jack with his mom, my husband and I both yelled out loud at the funny. Jordin just kills me.

I loved the interaction between Cox and the young man with Down Syndrome.

Nelly Pants said...

Aziz Ansari said he's finished the Scrubs because he's no that new Parks and Recreation NBC show. He can't be on two shows on different stations at the same time.

That "like like" song is definitely not in Juno. She does remind me of Kimya Dawson, though, who has a lot of songs on the Juno soundtrack.

I missed Turk! What's the deal with the budget/not including every cast member?

Kensington said...

I loved both episodes and laughed out loud many times. Favorite gags included the fact that the only three people on Perry's "never allowed" list were JD, Jordan and Hooch. HOOCH! Perry knows that Hooch is crazy, apparently!

My only beef? No Eliza Coupe.

More Eliza Coupe, please. I'd trade in every other intern for more of her.

So Cal said...

Loving this season so far! So glad Bill and the writing team got the chance to finish things on their terms. What a marked improvement from last year

Ben said...

Big fan of last night's episodes. Muuuuuuuuuuuuuch improved over the some times horrid shows thrust upon us the last two seasons.

And I agree with Alan, I can;t get enough of Ted and the Peons!

Yes, I noticed it was a Turk free zone and a partial Elliott one as well. You know what, it was ok. With all the supporting characters _ and that list got longer with the interns _ they have plenty of options and don't need to force a potentially square peg into a round hole just to get everyone's mug on the screen

- yes, there was a scene were Ted hugged Carla a little too long. Still, the delivery of that line last night was classic Ted.

- it was a bit odd to see Ed canned last night after the show has spotlighted him for several episodes. Still, it made sense based on his actions and showed that Dr. Cox will have to make tough calls since he is now, the man.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Cox's character back to being the Superman that J.D. has always imagined. Loved the passing the new jerk Dr. that sticks up for patient's well-being torch.

Highlight was definitely Ted singing with Kate Micucci. Sweet girl, and has that awkward humor down. Many things to say, but will leave it at that.

LA said...

Two more homeruns for Bill Lawrence and the gang.

Things that killed me:

The Worthless Peons aspiring to sing "Don't Fear the Reaper" to the pediatric ward.

Janitor's phone call in his office.

Perry and Dr. Cox "teasing" JD with their friendship.

Hooch, Jordan and JD being the only names on the "never ever list." I died laughing when I saw "Jordan" and "Hooch" on there.

Jack punking his dad and mocking JD's son.

I don't think the song was in Juno, but I can understand why someone would think it is.

I bet Kate Micucci's website gets a lot of hits today. She was delightful.

Anyone else think the set they used for Perry's office was Perry's apartment?

LA said...

I think the Ted/Carla hugging scenes from the past are being confused with Carla hugging Janitor. I don't recall Ted ever hugging anyone, but Janitor has had some awkward hugging scenes with Carla.

Kensington said...

I can solve the Ted/hugging dilemma. Whether Ted has been hugged before, he really really needed a hug from Dr. Cox last night, so he insinuated that he'd never been hugged before just to try and get Dr. Cox to hug him.

Oh, and I fell in love with Kate Micucci last night. I've never seen a real woman with such huge eyes before.

Pamela Jaye said...

not just Don't Fear the Reaper, but also... oh wait, it was Carry On Wayward Son - not Dust in the Wind. I was going to suggest they had a theme going, there, but wrong song. darn, though. It would have been kinda Ted-like

Anonymous said...

I think they should have serenaded the burn unit with Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."

David Z said...

"I think the Ted/Carla hugging scenes from the past are being confused with Carla hugging Janitor. I don't recall Ted ever hugging anyone, but Janitor has had some awkward hugging scenes with Carla."

Carla hugged Ted in the first season, its the episode they sing "Talk Dirty to Me". He finds a relative of a dying patient for Carla and she hugs him.

As she's hugging him he whispers "don't let go"

Anonymous said...

So Howie finally showed up in the show, but why hasn't Sunny, the main character of the webisodes, made an appearance? Or, better question, why is she the main character of the webisodes if she's not even in the show (at least not yet)?

LA said...

David Z - You're absolutely right. Thanks for jarring my (apparently) fading memory.

Jordan said...

The Pilot episode is currently on. Cox threatens JD that he would quickly get fired if anyone found out that Carla did some of his work for him.

Anonymous said...

i wish they kept Boone and Slagathor on.

Beebo said...

I'm totally certain that Stephanie will be back so that Hooch can meet Gooch. Why else would Hooch be returned from limbo?

On an unreleated note, is Stephanie's mom named Agnes?

Travis said...

I officially don't like any episode without a hearty dose of Denise. God she's funny. She's ruined the rest of the cast for me.

Zach Haldeman said...

Dr. Cox becomes the new Dr. Kelso.
JD becomes the new Dr. Cox.
Ted becomes the new Omar.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Dr. Cox becomes the new Dr. Kelso.
JD becomes the new Dr. Cox.
Ted becomes the new Omar.


Heh. All in the game, yo. All in the game.

Zachary said...

I may be going crazy, but I wonder if "My New Role" was a subtle nod to The Office. Three things happened in the episode that made me think of The Office:

1) The shots of the stapler, pen and keyboard in the music sequence. Weak, I know, but that's what I thought of.

2) Kelso saying "Beer Me." to Dr. Cox.

3.) Elliot and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."

Kenrick said...

I've been enjoying this season so far as well. This "back to basics" approach is really working for me. I had stopped watching Scrubs around season 3, and I'm glad I returned for the final (supposedly) season.

Pamela Jaye said...

Omar?

Mike said...

I had briefly zoned out on who Hooch was until I clicked the youtube clip that someone in the thread posted.

Thanks for the link by the way.

Once I saw Hooch, I instantly recognized the actor who plays him, Phill Lewis.

I see way too much of him these days. As a parent of an 8 year old, Phill is on my screen quite a bit, playing Mr. Moseby in the god awful Disney "sitcom" the Suite Life of Zach and Cody" lol.

To Phill's credit, he is one of the only characters even remotely funny on that show. Granted, they're playing to kids, but still lol.

At the risk of (briefly) hijacking the thread, I just wanted to mention that as far as sitcoms for kids over the years goes -- and I've seen my fair share lol -- Drake and Josh, and Life With Derek are actually pretty funny.

As far as Scrubs, over the years I think that Ken Jenkins (Kelso) has been incredibly underrated. He's fantastic, and I don't think gets enough credit.

And is Ted really singing all of the songs with his band? If so, is he also the singer of the theme song for the webisodes?

jcpbmg said...

Is the guy in the picture the same guy that played the sci-fi obsessed guy on West Wing (in Emergency/Jail)??

zoz said...

Pamela Jaye said: Omar?

Omar Little from "The Wire". If you haven't seen it, do yourself an enormous favor and Netflix it. There aren't enough words to describe the wonderfulness that is "The Wire" and Michael K. Williams's portrayal of Omar

jcpbmg said: Is the guy in the picture the same guy that played the sci-fi obsessed guy on West Wing (in Emergency/Jail)?

According to the IMDb, Sam Lloyd appeared on "The West Wing" twice (in "The Two Bartlets" and "The Crackpots and These Women") but not in "Emergency/Jail".

LA said...

As far as Scrubs, over the years I think that Ken Jenkins (Kelso) has been incredibly underrated. He's fantastic, and I don't think gets enough credit.

I couldn't agree more. This season in particular, he's getting great material and absolutely nailing it. One of the strengths of this show is how deep the bench is. Ken Jenkins is a gem.

Fat Carlos 3 said...

So who's the actress who played the singer that Ted falls in love with?

Is she in a band or something?

She's amazing.

Jason said...

The music from surroundings montage for Cox I think was a call out to the scenes in seasons one and two of "Spaced" when Tyres comes over and goes off on a little techno tangent.

Anonymous said...

The ukulele singer is Kate Micucci. Her webpage is www.katemicucci.com . Also check out this youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/rikilind , there she's singing together with Riki Lindhome (who was on Pushing Daisies) some really funny songs as "Garfunkel and Oates". Even one slightly more obscene version of the "Screw You" song she sang on Scrubs.
I didn't know her before Scrubs, now I'm a fan of her work :)