Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scrubs, "Our Driving Issues": Cole's mole

If you didn't have a DVR season pass set up for "Scrubs," you may not have realized that ABC snuck it back onto the schedule last night, with the final two episodes of the season (if not the series) getting an audition as part of the Wednesday lineup. It continued the show's post-Zach Braff creative upswing, and I'll have a few thoughts coming up just as soon as I take an unintended, decisive nap...

Early on in this season, I had a hard time viewing Cole as anything but a watered-down version of Ed, the Aziz Ansari character from last season. But James Franco's Brother Dave Franco has really won me over with his cheerful obliviousness. Cole preparing alternate rhymes depending on the diagnosis was a great gag leading into the main titles, as was Cole's pride as he declared, "Hear that? I'm a tool, yo!"

The writers wisely put Cole and Bob Kelso in a room together for the emotional climax of both men's stories. Ken Jenkins tends to make everybody better when he shares a scene with them, but the combination of the shallow young man who doesn't know anything and the creepy old man who knows everything has been a winning one every time they've tried it this season.

If the Denise/Drew/Cox stuff felt repetitive of material we've seen elsewhere this season, it's still funny to see the different gradations and styles of sarcasm and misanthropy among the three, and all these years in, the writers can still come up with amusing nicknames for Cox to hang on the young'uns, here with him dubbing Trang "Talking Man-Baby."

I've come around to Bill Lawrence's way of thinking that you have to think of this season as a spin-off in everything but name, and on that score, I think they've done pretty well for themselves once JD packed his bags (and even the last JD episode was good). I don't put the chances of a return next year especially high; given the lack of promotion for this episode, you could just as easily view this as Burn-Off Theatre as an audition(*), and I think the network would have to have a pretty horrible comedy development season for "Scrubs" to come back.

(*) And for those wondering why "Better Off Ted" didn't get this treatment, the answer is simple: ABC owns "Scrubs," and not "Ted." Ownership may not matter with more successful shows, but these two get such marginal ratings that the only reason to keep either around at all is if the company has potential for some back-end money. "Ted"s dead, baby. "Ted" is dead. Alas.

That said, I went into this season wondering why the hell they were continuing, given what a strong and appropriate end to the series we got last season, and the first few episodes of this year only confirmed my fears. But "Scrubs Med School" got much better as it went along, and I'm glad I got to meet characters like Drew and Cole, and to spend a little more time with Cox and Kelso and Denise, even if this is the end. (And Bill said there won't be a proper finale for this season/spin-off, so expect another regular episode next week.) Ultimately, this wasn't "Frasier," but nor was it "AfterM*A*S*H," and it was better than the last year or two on NBC. I'm okay with that.

What did everybody else think?

22 comments:

Shannon Shark, Mets Police Chief said...

I really liked last night's episode and you're dead on. Cole went from being a one-note to half-way interesting. The new characters are getting fleshed out (although Aussie Doc is invisible). Turk seems useless now. I'd love to see another season, and as you and I have discussed before how many "final epsiodes" have we watched?

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you. I thought this was one of the weaker episodes of the new Scrubs, and that says a lot since it's not a very strong series to begin with.

The jokes are becoming lame and predictable. Not to mention, as much as people have problems with the smaltzy endings to Modern Family eps, Scrubs is just plain annoying with how they try to have a "message" in each and every episode. It seems forced and, again, as they've exhausted every creative idea already, as soon as something happens in the first five minutes you can kind of tell what the inspirational message is going to be by the end.

I don't know why Bill Lawrence didn't try to mix things up and change the format so that it wasn't so rigid and predictable. The best humor comes from when you don't expect it, but at this point it seems like all the characters are just things to move the plot forward. One actor goes to his spot, says his lines, acts his part and then another actor comes in to play her role and say her lines. There's no life in this series.

And does Bill Lawrence pay Nicki Whalen by the syllable? She really stands out in group scenes when everyone says something (in one scene Cole even refers to her) but she just has to stand there.

Stephen said...

Loved the Pulp Fiction reference for Better Off Ted. I will miss that show dearly.

Pamela Jaye said...

I expected one of the med students to have a disease (as the med student on ER one year who had something that caused swollen glands) but was happy Cole was not seeing his dead fiance's ghost for months before this happened. There was a mention of some other show, I think, which made ne laugh, pause, and mention their past mentions of other shows (including Gilmore Girls, which I heard of recently - would not have cared before)

Miken said...

I'm just sad that taunted us one last time before it will most likely be cancelled. I really enjoyed this season and thought some of the characters were really funny. Even Lucy grew on me.

"I would have NEVER said that, why would I want less horses on earth?"

And to the previous poster, I don't know what you consider predictable. I know all the characters have their schtick, but it's not set up-punch like CBS sitcoms.

Zach said...

Cox told Drew to DVR the Big Bang Theory

"Everyone is watching it, and I want to know why"

LA said...

They should have brought Kelso and Cole together much earlier. Those two are great together, but the first two-thirds of the show really dragged. Finally in the third act when they shared the screen, it was golden.

I hope that Dave Franco and the actors who play Drew and Denise find themselves on other comedies. All three of them are very funny. I think JD and Lucy killed Scrubs Med. And Ken Jenkins kills me every time.

George said...

Can people stop hating on seasons 6 and 7. Sure, there were some weak episodes and story lines (fake miscarriage, anyone?), but there were some that were better than a lot of comedies on TV at the time. I count the episodes with Laverne's death, Kelso's retirement and Sam's birth among my all time favourites and there was also My Musical (memorably pulled off with a lot of humour), My Cold Shower and My Waste of Time, two forgotten gems of Scrubs' original run.

I also think this year has been pointless, and I don't fully understand Lawrence's reasoning for it, but I'm just glad Sacred Heart survives in some form. I feel safe in the knowledge that Cox and Kelso are there, although I have to agree with Shannon Shark... that Turk is obsolete these days, he's not even dancing.

I assumed Turk woold take more of a leading role this year, but it seems the writers are content to keep him as one half of the world's greatest bromance.

Cole's T-Pain infatuation was hilarious and although the similarities between him, Ed and Tom Haverford are extremely pronounced that doesn't prevent frat boy douchebags from being riotously funny.

Ben said...

Thank god for TIVO because I had no clue Scrubs was coming back on last night.

Totally agree Alan, Cole is waaaaaaay better than he was early on. At this point, the only weak link is Lucy. If there is a second season and they simply take the inner monologue gig from her, then i can probably deal.

Hope they bring it back, but based on what you are saying Alan, I won't hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

Cole ends up being the butt of the joke way more than Ed. Lucy is still pretty unfunny - a weak JD.

Couldn't this still be a midseason replacement? New shows drop like flies.

Cancelling Ted? That ain't right!

Pamela Jaye said...

@Zach - thanks!

Pamela Jaye said...

I would not have known Scrubs was on last night, as I was finishing season 6 of Gilmore Girls (with a side of Alan's blog posts back in the day where shows were all clumped together in one post - till the end of season 6)
I glanced at twitter to see @ScrubsWriters telling me it was on - thankfully, the DVR knew. I think we watched it around 9:30 or 10.

srpad said...

I don't know if it was intentional or just Ken Jenkins not being a kid anymore but you could really hear Kelso's age when he spoke which made it all work even more.

Anonymous said...

I think the past tense of sneak is sneaked, not snuck.

Rick said...

Yep, I missed it. No Season Pass, and if there were commercials for it, I missed them.

Do I care enough to hunt them down on the ABC website? No, probably not. I'm content with my memories.

Christian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christian said...

@Rick:
Hulu or
abc.com
No need to hunt them down, just click the link :)

Anonymous said...

People who think AfterScrubs was a good idea: Bill Lawrence, Alan

People who think AfterScrubs was a bad idea: Just pickup a phonebook and start reading names

Pamela Jaye said...

I'd guess most people don't even know AfterScrubs ever existed. Then again, not a lot of people knew Scrubs existed. But less.
It was okay. Better without Zach, sadly. I liked it with Elliot cause they let her grow up.

annie said...

I like spending time with the characters, even if Denise, Drew, and Cox all seem to be cut from the same cloth. And I really wish Turk would grow up a little. It seems like too often he's channeling the most childish versions of JD.

Matt S. said...

ohhh let it come back it was a fun show----i actually like the idea of it being the lead-off to abc's comedy wednesday---i think the sarcasm/underlying sweetness of it counterbalances nicely to the other 3 shows in the lineup.

its pretty obvious abc is hoping to stick a new show there, but there's no reason why abc couldn't order another 13 or so for mid-season once again.

Anonymous said...

Lucy is the worst and needs to go (in the unlikely event that this show is brought back)