Of last night's episode, one of my Twitter followers wrote, "I think that was the 6th time I watched a new scrubs thinking it would be the last ever."
I don't know if the number could actually be that high (it was only the last couple of NBC seasons where the show began to seem like it was living on borrowed time), but I understand the larger feeling. "Scrubs" has been close to ending for what feels like forever, and this isn't even automatically the ending. As Bill Lawrence said at press tour, ABC might air the two episodes left in the can on Wednesdays (if they do, my guess would be during the rerun-heavy March/April period). And because ABC owns the show and therefore (unlike the situation with "Better Off Ted") makes money off the DVDs and other back-end items, there's still a chance (however tiny) that we could see another season.
But since I don't really believe in the renewal scenario, and since Bill told me that the last episode in the can won't be a real finale-style episode like we got last year, I can treat "Our Dear Leaders" as the end of the line, and anything that airs afterwards as a bonus. And in that context, the episode summed up the strengths and weaknesses of "Scrubs Med School."
On the plus side, it made the Cox/Drew parallels even more explicit with Perry's plan to make Drew realize being a leader is a good thing, it had more fun with Denise (as played by a sore-throated Eliza Coupe) learning to accept that she has emotions other than hatred, it gave James Franco's Brother Dave Franco more funny bits of business in the margins (along with similar stuff from The Todd), and it let Donald Faison dance, however briefly. (And on a night when I randomly put on WGN long enough for them to show a "Scrubs" promo featuring Turk's greatest dance ever!)
But the Turk story overall gave us a character who, like JD in the season's earlier episodes, should have grown up more by now. As we saw with last week's lesbian patient story (and as Myles McNutt also observed in his review), in trying to force all the stories to work around a parallel theme, it feels like they've had to regress Turk too much to make his plots match those of the med students. And Lucy's insanity was only funny to a point.
When Lawrence told me back in the summer that the new main character/narrator would be a woman, he called it a "dynamic shift." But Lucy is so tonally similar to JD that the shift never felt that dynamic. In retrospect, I wonder what a Drew-narrated version of this season would have been like. We probably would have had to ditch the fantasy sequences, but we actually haven't had that many from Lucy, and that's an aspect of the show that hasn't been essential for a long time.
Back in the summer, Lawrence said:
"It very well may suck. But don't say it sucks until you see it. And my pledge is that if it sucks, it's not going to suck in a fizzly way. It's going to suck in a giant, 'Oh my god' kind of way, because we're really swinging for the fences and trying to do some big stuff.In the end (if this is the end), this new incarnation of "Scrubs" only occasionally sucked in an "Oh my god" way, and usually when JD was on screen. But there were enough interesting moments, and good discoveries (Franco, Michael Mosley), that I'm glad they gave it a shot. And if ABC somehow decides to keep "Scrubs" as The Show That Won't Die, then it sounds like (and, based on these more recent episode, seems like) Lawrence and company have a better idea of how to make this version of the show work going forward.
And if we don't get a real finale this time, so what? We already got "My Finale" last spring.
What did everybody else think?