When Scrubs first came around in 2002, I had no interest in it. The way the show was promoted by NBC made it look a little to weird and so I did not watch until the final episode of the first season. But I realized that the show was actually really good, and before long was a serious fan watching right through season 8. ‘To be honest, I had stopped watching in Season 8 after the show left NBC but did see the final episode which was fantastic. And if you’re wondering why I am not talking about that awful season 9, well I have decided that never happened!
I think this show worked the same way MASH worked in my opinion. Ok, Sacred Heart wasn’t the Korean War but working as a doctor can be depressing anywhere, and this show was about how these characters cope every day and in the end come together as a family in the face of tragedy.
The show has a lot going for it, including the silly slapstick style of humor. But if you get past that you find a well written show which knew how to be serious, and gave us some very memorable characters. There was as much drama as laughs, and the way they incorporated music into each episode was fantastic. The main character is J.D. who narrates every episode, and is usually the center of the odd daydreams littered through every episode. Sarah Chalke was great in this making people forget she was ever on Roseanne, and what can you say about John McGinley and his character of Dr.Cox? His rants were hilarious and really made that character.
But rather than talk about the characters, especially since I did so in depth in a sitcom face off with Night Court, I decided to discuss my five favorite episodes of this series. One notable episode missing is the classic Season 2 episode, “My Screw Up” featuring Brendan Frasier since I talked about it in depth in a different article. Let’s call that an honorary sixth spot. Here are five more episode I loved.
#5.”My Butterfly” (Season 3)
Yeah this episode is a little gimmicky, but hey it still really works. It’s basically a take on the Butterfly Effect. When a butterfly lands on a woman we see the events of the episode that unfold afterward. After the halfway point, the episode literally rewinds back to the start. This time the butterfly lands on someone else, which creates a totally different series of events. This is a clever idea which really works, especially in the end when we find out even with the change the tragic outcome was inevitable.
#4.My Lunch/My Fallen Idol (Season 5)
Scrubs can do good drama, and that is not more clear than in this episode. Here is the setup. A patient comes in who dies from a drug overdose. JD feels bad he missed the signs but Dr.Cox talks to him and he feels better. Cox then he approves organ transplants from the deceased patient to three separate patients. All is fine until it’s revealed that the patient in reality died from rabies. The three patients end up dying, and Dr.Cox takes it very hard. He loses it in one of the most powerful moments anywhere. He takes it so hard he falls right back on the bottle and his friends have to rally to help him. These two episodes are just remarkable, some top notch acting and character moments. I love how the group rallies to help Dr.Cox, and the thing that finally brings Cox out of his depression is J.D. telling him how proud he is that Cox still takes death of patients so hard after he has been a doctor for so long. The scene between the two is one of my favorites. Powerful stuff which worked and doesn’t feel forced like later episodes would.
#3.My Musical (Season 6)
What a fun episode! You would expect this to be stupid, I mean the very idea is kind of absurd. How do you make the show into a musical? The setup is simple, a patient has a brain aneurism causing her to constantly hear music, and the musical numbers are seen through her point of view. That’s why it works, much like the movie Chicago did. The music numbers are made believable and even more than that, a lot of hard work went into these. These are fun songs with decent choreography. They even make the guest actress a good character we actually care about through the course of the episode. The episode works because, unlike something like the live episode of ER, the gimmick didn’t take away from the usual storylines in the series. It’s another episode. just with singing and dancing. Seriously, if you enjoy musicals then this episode is a must watch.
#2.”My Way Home” (Season 5)
Just a beautiful episode. Done as an homage to The Wizard of OZ, rather than just outright copy lines and scene the homages are incorporated into the story. J.D. is trying to get home because it was his day off, he has Toto playing on his Ipod. Elliot needs to give a lecture on a topic she doesn’t understand so she feels like she has no brains. Turk needs to convince a family to let their son off life support so he can perform a heart transplant. Carla is being cowardly about being a parent. There all kinds of little jokes littered through the episode, but it doesn’t distract from the story. Some are less subtle like J.D. having red shoes and the yellow line in the hospital. We even get Jordan as the wicked witch of the east wing (it works better than I make it sound). Wizard of Oz has always been one of my favorite movies, and this series pays homage to it in a very respectful and entertaining way. The ending is perfect, including a soft rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
#1.”My Life in Four Cameras” (Season 4)
Seriously, does it surprise any one that this would be my favorite? Now I will admit, I am not saying this is the best written episode, or the most dramatic, or heck even the funniest. But for me, it touches on a subject I can’t get enough of. Cheesy sitcoms and how much fun they are. I have always said I love sitcoms because it’s a way to distract from real life, and that is what this episode is all about. J.D. fantasies about what the hospital would be like it it were a sitcom, and for half the episode that is what we get as the usual dark setting is changed into a bright and cheery sitcom. It has a live audience laughing, silly puns, unnecessarily skimpy clothes on the girls, and is just a lot of fun. It reminds me of an episode of Saved By The Bell. It just works, and in the end when we go back to “reality” the show seems that much darker and sadder. I also like how in the fantasy the characters are still the characters, it’s the environment that changes not them. Sitcoms are a way to get away from the pain of real life. There is a reason why drama’s and action shows kind of fade away, but people always cherish the sitcoms they watched growing up, The episode touches on this so well, how could I not love it?
Honorable mentions include the great “My Last Day”, “My Cake” for its tribute to John Ritter, the two episodes with Michael J.Fox which were fantastic, and “My Personal Jesus” which was a decent Christmas episode.
So did forget one that you think should be here?