Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Scrubs, "Our Role Models": JD, Drew

A review of last night's "Scrubs" coming up just as soon as I come watch you build a deck...

Early in "Our Role Models" JD tells Lucy he's preparing her to get by in med school after he leaves very soon, just as "Scrubs" will have to survive once Zach Braff finishes up the second half of his six-episode commitment. But watching that scene, and most of this laugh-light episode, I once again felt like the show, if not Lucy, would be much better off if JD were gone already.

I think there's potential there with the new characters, Drew in particular. But so long as Braff is around, we have to spend so much time on tired JD jokes that no one else is getting a chance to really establish him or herself as a source of humor. Even Turk is still largely being defined by his relationship to JD, and as I watched him yelling at the incompetent suck-up, I wished we were getting more of that and less of Turk rolling his eyes at JD's misunderstanding of sports(*).

(*) Though I can't hate too much on a scene in which Turk admits he cries at the end of "Rudy," can I?

With Lucy feeling too much like a female JD, and with Cole still a fairly two-dimensional character, it's weird to see the show being carried by three characters (Cox, Denise and Drew) who are sarcastic misanthropes, but they're also the three best-defined, funniest characters we have right now. (John C. McGinley's weary delivery of "No Candy Perry!" was the episode's one big laugh for me.) It feels like the writers are aware of the sarcasm build-up and are trying to compensate by softening Denise, as two of the three episodes so far have been about her opening her heart a little to other people. I think that'll work in small doses, but I don't want to lose the essence of the great character Eliza Coupe and the writers created last year. The solution isn't to change Denise too much, but to do a better job with Lucy and Cole, Aussie Supermodel Doc and maybe even Ugly Don Cheadle. (Though I suspect he's going to be a Snoop Dogg Attending or Colonel Doctor-esque extra who rarely, if ever, speaks.)

I still enjoyed the first two episodes enough that I don't regret the show having come back. Again, even if the show were awful all season, it still wouldn't take away from what I loved of the series, any more than the last couple of NBC seasons did. But these episodes are making me retroactively dislike JD a little. He was a great character for a long time, but if he's not going to grow up and/or work more in support of the newbies, I'd rather he not be here. I guess we'll find out after three more episodes if a completely JD-less "Scrubs Med School" works. Right now, though, the show's not quite there.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I liked this episode a lot more than last week. I may just end up liking this show. Funny thing about what you said in your review, I was counting how many more JD episodes were left last night. I think it is time for him to go.

Anonymous said...

I watched the first two last week though I thought all along that the premise sounded like a bad idea when they announced it. This week, I gave up after the first half and I don't think I'll be back.

Zac F. said...

I hope the green and white uniforms that everyone was wearing in the fantasy dodge ball scene was an homage to Freaks and Geeks.

Stav said...

Show is stuck in neutral. No laughs last night. JD has got to go, he really has no role right now. Am willing to give it 3 more eps (1 hour on the TiVo) based on it's track record....but

Anonymous said...

It was good for a few laughs (the dodgeball, the horses, candy hands, James Franco's little brother Dave's random scalpel) and I did like Denise a lot last night, but there weren't *enough* laughs and even though warm Denise was good to see, I prefer her surly and sarcastic. Still, I'm sticking with it. I like Drew, I think Lucy does have promise and JD will be gone soon so maybe it'll sort itself out before it's too late.

It would help to get a guest spot or two from Ted or Carla and maybe another visit from Kelso, but it's 13 episodes, so I'll take what I can get. All I ask is that they do something to make Cole less of a tool because why they'd fire Ed last season but keep Ed.2 around doesn't make sense.

MikeNJD said...

Is it just me, or is Cole just doing a bad Tom HAverford impression?

Anonymous said...

Why didn't they just do Legal Custodians (Ted/Janitor adopt kid)? Or how about Jordan (Jordan's Oprah show with mini-jordan)? Both were better ideas.

Benjamin Standig said...

Braff is ruining his legacy as JD more than anyone on TV since Magic Johnson's ill-fated talk show. At least they had the good sense to end that after a week.

Sooooo disappointing. I mean the character had shown "some" growth over the final season, enough to think of him as a man an not an overgrown 8-year old still looking for his daddy's approval. If they wanted to keep the silly, Braff and the writers needed to at least come up with some moments like The Office did for Michael where we are reminded /shown why he has his job in the first place.

I guess one question I would have for Alan is why is this happening? I mean, I would think Bill Lawrence/writers would realize this issue, how it does not make for enjoyable TV. Therefore I conclude that ultimately the choices are made by Braff, which would tie in with the over acting gooeyness he displays on those sappy commercials

Sophietje said...

MikeNJD- I thought the exact same thing! I was pretty certain that most of those lines would have me rolling on the floor if they came out of Tom's mouth. But Cole? meh. the character isn't self-aware enough for the lines to be funny; they're just grating.

Unknown said...

I think what got me about JD last night was how happy he was to swoop in and help Dr. Cox when the patient was crashing. His facial expression showed an emotion he should have felt as a young doctor, not as a med school teacher with a good job at another hospital. I'm okay with him needing Cox's approval -- though I agree with those who say the finale should have been enough to satisfy him -- but this felt like such a regression. I'm cool with JD being goofy and weird and a little feminine, but this was a level reserved for season six.

The episode was fine, but I didn't like it as much as last week, and I found the setting shift a little more jarring this week. That said, I'll stick with the show because I still like these people, and I think there's some good waiting to be uncovered.

Really, the problem seems to be a lack of focus. I know they'd probably be sort of screwed if they tried to focus too much on the new cast, but I feel like we're splitting our time so much that it's giving us whiplash to move back-and-forth.

Jim said...

I thought Drew was turning into teh likable heart of the show leaving Denise and Cox to be their gloriously misanthropic selves. Regression JD is a freakin' disaster, I was watching a rerun from last year, and all the jokes about how everyone was sick of talking/hearing about JD and Elliott were pretty funny, and had me wondering where that awareness of a worn-out bit had gone. Lucy can work if they stop the freakin' voice-overs.

Is it just me, or is Cole just doing a bad Tom HAverford impression?

Nope, not just you. Part Tom, Part Ed, all wannabe Asiz Anzari.

dez said...

I got more laughs from the show this week than last, but I agree with the prevailing opinion that JD has to go. As does Lucy's voiceover, although I didn't find her as annoying this week as I did last.

Pamela Jaye said...

@vdoozer (how did Bill get that name?) was answering Qs re 9.03 on twitter least night and is working on the West Coast Qs now, I think.
(no place to post this last night)

Anonymous said...

"I don't regret the show having come back. Again, even if the show were awful all season, it still wouldn't take away from what I loved of the series"

You should cut and paste the above passage Alan. I think you are going to have to use it trying to defend every lame episode.

ABC, Bill Lawrence, and Zack Braff have made good and bad choices over the years and will continue to do so. Chalk this up as a bad one and move on.

Pamela Jaye said...

I'll watch it, cause there is a hospital AND a med school -- though I still really want to know: do first year med student work on the wards? seems wrong.

I'm also getting POed at JD not having grown up. Bromance is cool, some silliness is okay, and I LIKE voiceover, but the Pining for Perry show should be over. He got his virtual hug at the end and he should be more of a grownup now.

Instead he's more silly than he needs to be and too needy. Not only did he get his validation, he got the girl. and he's an attending/teacher. At times I feel Ally McBeal was more mature.

Lucy is a cross between an insecure little girl and a sex kitten. That oxymoronic to me. Ally could pull this off, as she has a strong/intense/fierce/whatever side to her, but I don't see that in Lucy.

The thing is... is this show still shooting? cause if it is, complaining might help, but if it's not...

That's the Gray's Anatomy Conundrum (which sounds like a Big Bang title): how much should you listen to the fans - now that you can have instant (if delayed a few months) feedback, and can communicate directly - where is the line?
Grey's fans would have Shonda write a show where everyone is in love and happy, but the audience would fall asleep cause happy is boring. Scrubs problems lie in other - non-romantic - places.

Couple years ago, when Scrubs aired in Grey's timeslot (can we say sacrificial lamb?) the only time I watched it live was when it parodied House. (maybe it should just go ahead and parody Grey's - though I don't know how, it's already "like they took our lives and put it on TV")

In any case, I watched it twice, and it held together better (for me) the second time.
And Cole is as much of a joke as having 1st yr students run a code.
But at least the scrubs machine is back. :-)

Kensington said...

I like Lucy's voiceover stuff. I think it's nice to have a central character who lets us into his or her head the way JD did and Lucy now does. To me, this is an essential element of Scrubs, and I hope it doesn't go away.

WilforkForFood said...

The JD regression didn't bother me in the first episode at all but it was excruciating to watch last night. Otherwise it was a likeable episode and they've created a foundation for a watchable show going forward. I think Denise is one of the funnier TV characters created in the last couple of years (though I hope they don't soften her too much)and Cox and Turk are always consistently good. I like what I've seen so far from Drew and Lucy, and I agree with Kensington above that I hope they keep the voiceover.

Two issues that worry me:

1. Cole seems to be a one-note joke, and an unfunny one at that. His presence in the opening credits is troubling since I assume that means his role will increase. Although, I did laugh at his ivory handled scalpel (it's mad illegal yo).

2. Whats the deal with the security guards? Are they trying to just recreate the Janitor? Why do they need two of them? I hope they drop the guy behind the hat and glasses and keep Windell Middlebrooks.

Unknown said...

JD being jealous of Drew was a great idea, executed pretty well, and it would have worked fine... four seasons ago. Now, it's just ridiculous.

They really need to get rid of JD fast, and without too much fanfare or another finale-type episode.

Scott said...

I can't stand Lucy. I wish the main focus was on drew because he is actually interesting. Double voiceovers are really annoying. When it's not john damn Dorian it doesn't seem right. I agree with the rest of you that it would be better off without braff. It was nice of him to help launch the show, but he adds nothing and takes away from developing new characters. Him staying half the series doesn't seem like it's going to help, at least from what we've seen

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think JD is in this season too much already. The first episode suggested to me that we were only going to see JD and Turk as we followed the new students/cast, instead we have a flanderized JD eating up screen time. He seemed to grow up quite a it last season, what happened, man? It would have been better if he had taken a smaller, cameo-style role as a teacher over the whole season, rather than a big part of the show for only 6 episodes, but we haven't seen him teach for two episodes. There's a lot of potential to the new setting, but I don't think we'll get to see it until Braff is out. You were good to us ZB/JD, but now it's time to go.

On a positive note, loved The cox/drew bits, and Mahoney's growing on me, though I hope she doesn't soften up too much.

Scrubs is dead. Long live scrubs!

Jim said...

I don't think Braff is the problem, it's the people writing (down) his character. A mature-- if still a little insecure and needy-- JD would have been a much better transition

WV: singsmod -- Marianne Faithful?

Anonymous said...

Indeed-JD looks like he came from the wayback machine ---from season 4--he needs to be in the background not the foreground---maybe one of the ABC suits dictated how he is presented

Unknown said...

I was disappointed with this episode. It feels like they are trying to make Scrubs: Interns more than they are Scrubs: Med School. I want them to give this show it's own unique flavor. To me, that's showing us med school life. The best comedies are those that come from life experiences. Show us students dealing with tests. Show us students dealing with classes.

The redeeming part of the show was the relationship between Drew and Dr. Cox. The fact that Dr. Cox recognized that he found a student he had high hopes for seems real to me, and their interaction showed character development for both. Sure, Drew is sort of written, personality wise, as a cross-b/w of Cox and Turk (IMO), but he's getting a chance to show his personality.

So far, the Kerry Bishe character is too much JD with a dash of Eliot. I don't mind her doing voiceovers ... but let her be herself. It's as if she's being forced into a mold. In some ways, the neurotic character would work better for school than it would be residency, IMO. Let her be herself.

I don't really care for JD anymore. He seems an annoying side show more than the former main character. For every attempt they show him maturing (talking to Cox about Drew), they mix in a dash of idiocy (whining about the pat on the back). It's as if ABC ordered them to put old JD back. I did like the nice little touch where they had JD whining about Drew and Turk showing some maturity and telling him that he needed to talk to Cox.

JD should be in the recurring role, like Eliot, Carla, and others- occasionally popping up, but not the focus. Actually, I'd like to see Jordan and Carla and how their relationships are handling the husbands semi-new career path. Of course, Judy Reyes is probably unlikely, but I imagine Jordan could be available.

I'd like to see more Kelso. This actually seemed like a good way to go with his character, as a teacher, after the way he ended last year, going with that group whose name is slipping my mind. In general, I think they need more students and teachers. HAve Cox and Turk as the core teachers, with Denise, and have the students interact with them, but they need other people. The Aussie model should be given more lines. Have the students interact more with each other.

Btw, I hate the Cole character, and I don't see any way that I will like the character. None of the potential storylines they could go with intrigue me (spoiled rich kid has a heart, spoiled rich kid learns his lesson, spoiled rich kid skates by). It really doesn't. Maybe it's Dave Franco. It's as if he's Joey (Matt LeBlanc) in the goofy way... but not even remotely funny.

I do like how they are trying to touch up Denise. Sure, the misanthropic side of her is what makes her funny, but they are trying to show her growing. I'll stick with the show ... but give us some depth. Also, would it hurt Bill Lawrence to give us a bit more diversity on his shows?

Anonymous said...


What happened to the other scrubs interns in Season 8 i.e. Howie Gelder (Todd Bosley) and Katie Collins (Betsy Beutler)?

I thought they could have adapted well here.

Is there a reason goven by anyone on the show why they wern;t involved in Season 9?

JasonR said...

JD being jealous of Drew would have worked much better if they hadn't been over playing JD neediness. Instead they should have made a big deal of JD being "over" Perry, then JD's "Oh, come on!" moment would have been funnier.

Matt S. said...

i liked it. laughed in a couple of places and enjoyed watching all of the characters interact with each other--i actually think its about as perfect as it needs to be---jd wasn't originally supposed to be there--that was a last minute thing that bill lawrence (and i'm guessing the network) hammered out with Braff to come back--but i don't mind him being there---like him or hate him he is Scrubs---and doing it without him would be like doing Happy Days without Richie Cunningham--you can do it--and the show might even have been better without Ron Howard, but it'd be kinda weird to do it without him being on it at all.

When JD does officially stop popping up--you can bet it'll be weird to not see him at all---but for the record i will agree that the show can go on very nicely without him and its been very nice to observe that. (However should the show lose Turk or Cox---which i know is unlikely thanks largely to the actors' not being sick of the show yet---the show would be offcialy over and done with---you couldn't replace those guys---but man thinking about the show now i'm kinda reminded of how A Different World tried to keep going on into a 6th season after all the major characters of the previous 5 were largely gone or reduced to the sidelines---it was kinda weird right?

Anonymous said...

"I thought Drew was turning into teh likable heart of the show leaving Denise and Cox to be their gloriously misanthropic selves"

I think that's what they should do... Drew's character seems much more interesting than Lucy's character anyways.

I think maybe they could show Lucy developing and growing her self and observing in different ways how Drew is doing the same throughout the series... like how they are at different stages in their lifes but going through the same things.

I think they need to give Cox/Australian chick more interaction... not in a relationship way! but just how they have been already shown it! her snippets of lines and Cox's beligerent reactions are way too funny!

They should also take a note from when "Friends" fell apart and keep the characters from turning into an incestuous little click. where everyone sleeps with everyone else. Focus on the comedy bits, don't bring too much drama!

oh, and btw, while cole's character is there for everyone to hate, and seeing how everyone does... looks like they're succeeding on one point so far. he's just a pompous little bastard, kinda like cox was in the beginning...

Hopefully ABC will keep this show around long enough to let it develop into a great comedy again!