Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Scrubs, "My Full Moon": Let's see how far we've come

Spoilers for tonight's "Scrubs" coming up just as soon as I do the Hivvy...

In looking back over last week's review, I feel like I came down too harshly on what's overall been a pretty good victory lap season. The problem is that the show came back from a long hiatus with a pair of below-par episodes, and that made it easier to forget that there's been a lot more to recommend this season than just the introduction of Denise and the Glynn Turman episode. And one of those recommend-worthy things has been the way the episodes will occasionally slow down and give the characters a chance to reflect on the long journey from who they were in the pilot to who they are now.

"My Full Moon" was pretty much wall-to-wall reflection, with pauses for the occasional fart joke, and it was a nice showcase for Donald Faison and Sarah Chalke, the only regular castmembers to appear this week. Despite being (or perhaps because they are) JD's best friend and his sometime-girlfriend, Turk and Elliot don't get a lot of shared screentime together without other characters present (the episode that featured this dance is one of the few I can think of), but the characters and the actors have enough of a shared history that their bond was obvious, even as they came to different conclusions about what the experience has meant for them: Turk loves being a surgeon, while Elliot might give up her career if she ever has kids (not in an anti-feminist way, but in a "I've realized medicine makes me miserable and I just need a good excuse to quit" way).

And there were some good jokes other than the fart ones -- though, as an overgrown 12-year-old boy, I'll never object to a good fart joke, and Turk's obsession with proving that women do it was a very good one. With all of the regulars taking the week off for budget reasons, the interns picked up the comedy slack nicely. We've come to expect good things from Denise, but Howie had a bunch of nice moments as he tried to deal with the patient obsessed with exact replicas(*), Sunny was again funny, and for a guy who only turned up last week (as a belated Aziz Ansari replacement, I suppose), Derek fits in nicely.

(*) And was I the only one reminded of the classic Steven Wright routine about coming home to find that everything in his apartment had been replaced by an exact replica?

And, of course, Turk also got to do a great rant about JD going to Disneyland without him (a much better joke about Zach Braff's absence than the cell phone running gag from "My Absence"), while The Todd tried to assert his high-five supremacy, so the veterans can still bring the laughter when asked.

A low-key episode, and not a laugh riot, but a very satisfying one. It has me in a much better mood about seeing the rest of the season out.

What did everybody else think?

28 comments:

Eric said...

I agree - better than the last couple, and one that has me leaning towards wanting the show to go on with the new interns.

Was this the first episode with no narration from anyone?

Billiam said...

I was actually kinda surprised by the fact that I didn't mind the lack of narration. I actually preferred it quite a bit to the mixture of narrations they did last week.
If the show does continue (and I doubt it will), perhaps they should omit the narration entirely, rather than handing it over to one of the interns

Jon T said...

as with most of the episodes from this season, I loved it. I was pleasantly surprised with how strong the episode was even without so many of the cast regulars--only Turk, Elliot, and the Todd showed up.

if the writers and actors can churn out material this good--classic Scrubs good in its balance between comedy and drama--I will gladly tune in for season 9 or a spinoff.

Alan Sepinwall said...

If the show does continue (and I doubt it will), perhaps they should omit the narration entirely, rather than handing it over to one of the interns

Yeah, as I said last week, I think the narration only works with J.D., because he has such a distinct and skewed point of view. I'm generally not fond of the His/Her Story episodes.

Pamela Jaye said...

I liked that Turk had a fantasy and I didn't even notice it till Elliot told him that when he came out of it, his weird comment should be better. (something like that) But then, I'm partial to Gnomes.

Anthony Strand said...

I thought it was a great episode for the two leads (in the episode, I mean - Turk and Elliot), and your linking to that video reminds me of exactly why. Scrubs has always been a show built on the richness of the relationships between all of its characters, and it's remarkable how real Turk and Elliot seem as friends, shining through all of the silliness with fart jokes and Elliot's pride about her slammin' booty.

Jeff L said...

You know, I really want to be snarky. Tonally, tonight felt a lot more like ER with guitar riffs than an episode of Scrubs.

But I'm so invested in these characters, I enjoyed it. It's great to see Turk & Elliot get so much screen time -- it felt like sitting down with a couple of old friends.

DonBoy said...

So...did I miss the explanation of "the clue's in her admittance chart", or was it just not there?

BigTed said...

Strangely, the fart jokes were almost identical to the ones in tonight's completely unfunny episode of "South Park."

Henry said...

I may be the only person to have a little trouble with the "Hivvie" joke and Turk's "car mechanic" fantasy where he mentions that he has trouble with Japanese models. I found both a little tasteless and offensive, but the rest of the episode was very good. I like that Elliot and Turk do learn from their time at Sacred Heart. I do hope that JD makes Elliot happy and they ride off in the sunset together by the end of the season. They seem to fit, since JD, like Elliot, cares a lot about their patients.

And I liked the low-key comedy with the Todd as well.

dez said...

I liked that Denise and Derek got jungle fever cuz for a moment, I thought it was a "what if?" scenario with Elliot and Turk. Pretty nice ep--kinda made me feel warm & fuzzy.

Anonymous said...

The HIV joke and dance were really disappointing.

Dan said...

We've had similar comparisons to Elliot before, once when many of the characters were imagining life if he was married to different people, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NahK_eXlAiY,

and once where Turk had a risque dream involving Elliot as a naughty nurse, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OMGA_h_jcc

Just some food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I think last night's episode proved once and for all that Scrubs has run out of material for most of the main characters on the show. Not only did I not miss most of the regulars, I was glad so few of them were around. I'm not saying the new interns are enough to carry their own show (and I was surprised that Turk really didn't get a chance to shine since I think Donald Faison is one of the best actors on TV whose never gotten his own showcase). And I like Elliot a lot better interacting with Turk than with JD (or with the idea of the absence of JD).

Q Ball said...

I liked this episode as much as Alan did. Scrubs hasn't always needed to rely on jokes to be a good show. Season 1 is one of my favorite seasons and after rewatching some reruns on Comedy Central, I realized while season 1 is good, it wasn't as funny as seasons 2-5.

The point is the show has heart and episodes like this proves that 8 seasons of characterization has given the show an opportunity to do this kind of episode. I didn't have a problem with the HIV joke and thought the Turk mechanic fantasy was very funny. But I'm usually not very touchy when it comes to jokes.

On another note I thought Better Off Ted was good last night. For the first time I feel like it's not just a decent buffer between Scrubs and Lost, it could become a very funny show. Portia de Rossi's character is surprisingly likable.

Jordan said...

A victory lap is a good way to describe it. This has been a very nice season to go out on.

And I also really liked this weeks Better Off Ted, mainly because of Portia de Rossi.

Edward Copeland said...

Did anyone else notice that on the outside of Sacred Heart there was a painting including all the regulars?

Pamela Jaye said...

I know there is a mural n the wall. Is that who is in it?

timb said...

Loved it and STILL feel the interns could carry this show. Too bad, Billy Lawrence didn't feel the same way.

Pamela Jaye said...

Bill's back blogging

ABC's website will only let me comment once (although it will accept a second comment and pretend to have posted it)

his previous blog contains "a shoutout to" the person "who explained paragraph breaks"

Sad that ABC's site is so bad that the commenters can paragraph by hitting enter twice but the blogger has to use the html code...

anyway, there's a blog and who knows how many pages by ow of Bill answers your questions, over in the forums, should anyone wish to address the source.

So Cal said...

I have really enjoyed this season and i think you sum it up perfectly as a victory lap, Alan.

I didn't really notice all teh missing regulars as i thought Turk and Elliot did a very good carrying the show and the interns have really started to grow on me.

First time i've really looked forward to this show for about 2 seasons.

krysumn said...

The Famous Jett Jackson???

Derek = Lee Thompson Young

Disney Channel, anyone? That's where he broke out!!

55 said...

I also recognized Jett, krysumn! Long, long time ago...good to see his career is still going.

srpad said...

I liked this episode. Turk and Elliot work well together. One of my favorite sub plots had to do with Turk not being on elliot's speed dial.

I must say though that until a commenter above mentioned it, it did not even occur to me that this episode had no narration. I guess that means I wouldn't miss it.

srpad said...

I wanted to point out I meant favorite sub plots from a past episode....

miranda said...

I actually really enjoyed this episode, definitely much better than the past couple of episodes.

It felt less cluttered, and I surprisingly found all of the new interns to be fun and funny to watch, possibly better to watch than the usual gang. Somehow, focusing on Turk and Elliot (and the Todd!) only from the old gang worked for me, and how nice these two characters can work together.

I kind of feel bad that I wasn't sorry at all not to see in particular Dr. Cox, Janitor, and Ted. I used to love these characters, but for a while now they've really been grating on me, and I enjoyed not having to sit through their usual 'funny' bits in this episode.

BTW, is that Wallace from VMars as the new surgical intern?

Anthony Foglia said...

Edward Copeland said...
Did anyone else notice that on the outside of Sacred Heart there was a painting including all the regulars?

That mural has been there since one of the early seasons, most prominently when Kelso used it to hide from Cox I don't think all the regulars are in it though.

Heather said...

I agree with how the show handled JD's absence. It was hillarious to see Turk react like a true man-child to JD not telling him he was going to Disney.