Friday, November 02, 2007

Scrubs: Baby mama drama

Spoilers for "Scrubs" coming up just as soon as I order the complete discography of Men At Work...

Okay, that was an improvement. Not up to vintage "Scrubs" standards, but an improvement nonetheless, if for no reason than that JD resembled an actual human being for most of the episode. (And I think we have to allow for some percentage of whimsical prima donna JD -- the guy who refused to accept that Kim could hate his hair -- because that was a part of the character even in the slightly more realistic seasons.) We even got our first mostly heartfelt scene between JD and Dr. Cox since maybe "My Lunch" and "My Fallen Hero."

The Kim/pregnancy plot was a bad idea from start to finish -- not least which because it only allowed the very funny Elizabeth Banks to actually be funny in her very first episode and this one -- but at least we've come to a reasonable conclusion to it. No dead baby angst (other than whatever JD felt during the stupid fake miscarriage portion of last season), but also no more "trapped in an unhealthy relationship" angst. The show already has two other babies in Isabel and JD Cox, so if the writers don't want to show JD interacting much with his own, they don't have to, and if they want to show how weird he would be with a newborn, they can do that, too.

The video game subplot was pretty lightweight, but it allowed for the Janitor's completely demented (and, I have to assume, improvised by Neil Flynn) monologue to his vanquished video foe, and there were other funny things on the margins like the homeless Dr. Kelso waiting for his 'za, Fun-Sized Intern struggling to speak with a normal tone, and the stealth first appearance of the late Nurse Laverne's twin sister. (For those who don't know, Bill Lawrence promised the actress that if he killed Laverne off and the show got renewed, he'd recast her as Laverne's twin so she wouldn't be out of work -- and so the show wouldn't be without one of its many comic voices.) And, of course, any episode with Colin Hay emerging from Kim's birthing canal can't be all bad, can it?

What did everybody else think?


Bobman said...

Great episode.

On a side note, I've been having an argument with some friends the past few weeks about JD and Eliot getting back together. Any thinking person can see this is a bad idea, both in terms of the characters and in terms of watching a rehashed plot that we know won't turn out well, but do you think the writers will be foolish enough to give it a try? I think not, and I think the premiere pretty much showed that, but my friend insists that they've been hinting at it the past two weeks and they're going to cram it down our throats once more.

I just think the writers are too smart for that, but I guess only time will tell.

Anonymous said...

If last season was owned by Ken Jenkins (which I think we can all agree that it was), the beginning of this season has been owned by Neil Flynn. He has been at the top of his game and really has had the greatest lines so far.

Good episode that hopefully got them out of the corner they painted themselves into in the end of season 5.

Theresa said...

Two words: Drunk Kelso. He never fails to make me laugh.

Other than that, the rest of the episode was just kind of neutral for me. JD indeed did seem to be more like a real person. Where was Elliot? Aside from her being insulted by Keith a few times, and rushing in to see Kim, she seemed surprisingly absent from the episode. (Either that, or she's faded from my memory since last night.)

R.A. Porter said...

So wait. Are the writers saying that Elizabeth Banks' bajingo is a "fried-out combie"?

Well, I always wondered what that was. Now I know.

Anonymous said...

Why is Keith still on this show? How soon until they can get rid of Elizabeth Banks?

Loved the Colin Hay gag.

Dereck said...

Did anyone else notice in the credits that Aloma Wright (who played Nurse Laverne) was credited as playing "Nurse Shirley"?

K J Gillenwater said...

It was an okay episode. I still don't get why they couldn't let J.D. be happy in his relationship with Elizabeth Banks. Why does he have to not be in love with this woman? I think that was a mistake.

Whether or not that would be 'realistic' is not the issue here. To me, it is just plain old 'satisfy your audience' time. I don't want to see J.D. and Eliot get together, because they've tried that numerous times. He and Elizabeth Banks seemed to actually be on the same page. What annoying qualities does she have that J.D. can't stand? Her goofy sense of humor matched his very well. They made a lot of sense.

So why in hell would she not be someone he could fall in love with?

I am also disappointed in the Keith/Eliot romance. That was just done so poorly. He was hilarious as her boyfriend...he put up with all her strange bedroom fantasies and was pretty much perfect for her. What a big mistake to not keep these two together for the last season.

Ugh. I can appreciate the humor on the show, but the storylines are a let down.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Kristin, unfortunately, I feel like the reasons for the break-ups with Kim and Keith are largely about giving J.D. and Elliot one last chance to get together. Bill Lawrence said during the hiatus that they were really listening to fan reaction to the cliffhanger and whether the audience wanted the two of them to get back together, and there's no good reason to dump both of their significant others this early in the season. Maybe you lose Kim, since Elizabeth Banks has a movie career, but not both unless you need both of J.D. and Elliot to be available for each other.

And if that's the case, I think it's a big mistake. The events at the end of season three -- when J.D. convinced Elliot to dump Sean, then realized he wasn't in love with her and only felt attracted to her when she was with other guys -- should have put this issue to bed once and for all. If they were still having their annual hook-up and break-up, I'd accept that (all their friends are married, they're lonely and are good in the sack together), but if the show tries to sell me on them as a couple who belong together long-term, I'm not buying.

Anonymous said...

I too have found the JD/Kim angst storyline dreary and the prospect of JD and Elliot getting together again tedious and false.

One of the things that made Scrubs so special was the fact that it was more emotionally complex than it first seemed, and I even liked the initial round of JD/Elliott's will they or won't they arc compelling. But then they moved past it and moved forward, and that was great. I like Keith. I liked Kim (at least until the goofy miscarriage plot), and it's too late in the day to be dispensing with these good characters for another rehash of Elliott and JD.

Let's face it: even if JD and Elliott get back together at the end, we all know that they'll be apart again within a few weeks of the ending, so any upbeat conclusion involving them is going to feel false (short of, say, doing some flash forwards that suggest they actually stay together and grow up).

Nonetheless, I enjoyed last night's episode, with one more admittedly geeky beef: the video game stuff was all wrong, technically.

1. Xbox 360 controllers don't have difficulty switches on them, so when the janitor looked at his controller to verify that it was on the "novice" setting, it made no sense;

2. The game was obviously a first person shooter that couldn't be played in that form by more than one person without some form of split screen;

3. All Judy Reyes was doing was frantically mashing buttons; she didn't even touch her analog sticks (which are the primary controllers for movement in such games).

I know it's geeky, but I was completely distracted by the obvious unfamiliarity that supposed video game addicts had with actual vidoe games. It would have been like someone holding a telephone upside down or placing a call without actually dialing any numbers -- odd.

Anonymous said...

Ya know, one of the best series finales in recent years was The O.C. one that indeed flash forwarded to show that Seth and Summer stayed together, got married, the whole nine yards. That's one way to show the wrap up of all the "Scrubs" characters.

I'm very curious to see how "Scrubs" wraps up even though in my opinion, last season's finale could've and should've been the series finale.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

On JD & Elliot: What's the makeup of the Scrubs writing staff? Has the show been on long enough that a significant portion of the writers' room consists of people who started out as fans of the show, and want JD and Elliot together for that reason?

Alan Sepinwall said...

On JD & Elliot: What's the makeup of the Scrubs writing staff? Has the show been on long enough that a significant portion of the writers' room consists of people who started out as fans of the show, and want JD and Elliot together for that reason?

I don't know about the entire composition, but Bill Lawrence is still there, as are longtime lieutenants like Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, and I'm sure the old-timers are the ones who are going to set the agenda, with JD and Elliot and everything else.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm mistaken, but it seems to me that the fans don't want JD and Elliot back together, at least the fans on the various message boards and blogs. Are they (are we) that far removed from the mainstream fanbase?

Alan Sepinwall said...

Bill Lawrence, back at press tour:

"We pay close attention to the fan sites, and the fans seem pretty evenly split on whether they want them to end up together."

Maybe he's reading different sites than you are.

Danny F. said...

I'm not sure Aloma Wright is playing Laverne's twin. That was the original plan, but last I heard, it was scrapped in favor of her returning as a new nurse that only JD recognizes as a Laverne look-a-like. You can read about that from an old Ask Ausiello:

Do you know which plan they actually went through with? Last night was a little ambiguous, it could be either one.

Anonymous said...

I think Bill Lawrence himself has said he's against JD and Elliot being together, and I agree with whoever said the fan base seems split.

I'm in the minority in that I'm actually fairly neutral about it. That said, I didn't like Elliot with Keith, and I didn't like JD with Kim. As far as I'm concerned, Elliot belongs with Sean.

And here's another thought. They could also be single and happy @ the finale.

Anonymous said...

I am in 100% agreement w/ Kristin's comments - she's dead on.

First, on Elliott and Keith, she's right - they were hilarious together, no good reason whatsoever to break them up.

Second, Elizabeth banks may have a solid movie career but clearly, she was making herself readily available for a great show like "Scrubs" (reminiscent of the way Paul Rudd became a "Friends" fixture and ultimately ended up with Lisa Kudrow's Phoebe) so why break them up?

Banks is absolutely gorgeous and sexy, she's zany and hilarious, what EXACTLY was JD's issue?????

Yeah, I haven't seen anything or anyone clamoring for JD and Elliott to be back together. In season 3 maybe because Scott Foley (as Sean) annoyed me and back then, I assumed JD and Elliott were supposed to be together, but these 2 break ups have now just succeeded in making me loathe these characters.

I also don't understand the notion that happy couples are less funny. I thought Keith and Elliott were hilarious as a couple, and they are far less hilarious angry.

Thank God for Cox, The Janitor, Turk, Kelso et all to save the show from the likes of JD and Elliott at this point.

So while I am upset about the writer's strike, maybe the "Scrubs" writers need a break. Hell, the "Heroes" writers have already been on break for a solid year, apparently.