Buena Vista // 2002 // 479 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Joel Pearce (Retired) // June 7th, 2006
"Sometimes the hospital seems like a big, hungry monster that feeds on our personal lives."
Although this review is a bit late (our review of Season Three is already available), it's not too late for you to pick up your very own shiny copy of Scrubs: The Complete Second Season. If you do, you won't regret it.
This is probably unnecessary by this point, so let's do it quickly: J.D. (Zach Braff, Garden State) and Turk (Donald Faison, Uptown Girls) are roomie sophomore doctors who work at Sacred Heart hospital. J.D. is put through the ringer by senior doctors Perry Cox (John C. McGinley The Rock) and Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins, Clockstoppers). Along for the ride are socially awkward but attractive Elliot (Sarah Chalke, Roseanne) and Turk's older nurse girlfriend Carla (Judy Reyes, Washington Heights). Hilarity ensues.
But they are also growing up. As the second season begins, Turk and Carla's relationship is developing. J.D. and Elliot are still reeling from their short, failed shot at love, and Cox learns something scary about himself. All 22 episodes of the second season are here:
* "My Overkill"
* "My Nightingale"
* "My Case Study"
* "My Big Mouth"
* "My New Coat"
* "My Big Brother"
* "My First Step"
* "My Fruit Cups"
* "My Lucky Day"
* "My Monster"
* "My Sex Buddy"
* "My New Old Friend"
* "My Philosophy"
* "My Brother, My Keeper"
* "His Story"
* "My Karma"
* "My Own Private Practice Guy"
* "My T.C.W."
* "My Kingdom"
* "My Interpretation"
* "My Drama Queen"
* "My Dream Job"
With excellent reviews of the first and third season already up on the site, it feels a little redundant to be writing this review. That said, I think I bring a slightly different perspective to the table.
You see, I hate sitcoms. On a whole, I find them painfully predictable, catering to the lowest common denominator with generic, overused stock characters dropped into the same situations in order to squeeze out the same laughs week after painful week. I've tried to watch several after other people have given them strong recommendations, but none have left me satisfied.
Over this second season, which is even more entertaining than the first, I've been trying to piece together why I enjoy it so much. After all, it is a sitcom and contains everything that makes me hate sitcoms so much. It has a small cast of stock characters, who live out their lives in a few locations. Somehow, though, this series rises above the genre, creating a winning mix of elements that allowed me to watch 22 episodes in one weekend without once getting bored.
There are a few possibilities. Most of them are the usual laundry list of accolades that the series has received. The presence of Zach Braff certainly helps, as he brings a humanity to J.D. that is rarely seen in television comedy. He is surrounded by a top notch cast, who work together to elevate the writing into a consistently hilarious assault on the senses. Since we get to look into J.D.'s imagination, there are nearly limitless sources for jokes. It is bizarre what we sometimes visualize in out most private moments, and Scrubs does a very good job turning completely private moments into public spectacles without losing the humanity of the characters. The soundtrack is great too, using music to perfectly capture the tone of the situations.
None of those are the main reason that Scrubs actually works for me. In most sitcoms, stock characters are only there to produce laughs, and as an audience we only have to care about them as people enough to find their situations funny. Scrubs isn't a pure sitcom, though. It also has the blood of a hospital drama running through its veins, and some of the conventions that go along with that more serious genre. These characters genuinely progress and develop as the series unfolds. When Turk and Carla get engaged, it's not done simply to find a source for more jokes (though it does that as well). It's also a way for the two characters to develop and change, as they grow into their new roles. There is a progression of plot that is rarely seen in comedy, and it presses us to care deeply about these people and the world they inhabit. The moral lessons here are straightforward, but they are never trite or simple. Scrubs makes us frown and think and question ourselves, which places it far outside the normal boundaries of the television sitcom.
And that's why I -- Joel Pearce, who hates sitcoms and everything they stand for -- can write this review and offer my highest praise for this particular series. It sometimes goes for the easy laughs, but goes for the harder laughs often enough to make it stand out from the crowd and sometimes leaves that crowd completely behind. It is not only a great sitcom, it is a great television series that will come to be considered a classic. This second season is slick and clean, maturing as its characters do.
Fortunately, it's also a sweet little DVD package. The transfer is on par with the other seasons. The video is sharp and clean, with a few minor errors and issues that are almost always present in network television shows. They are shot quickly, prepared quickly, and it generally shows in one way or another. The audio is better, and the Dolby 5.1 track delivers clear dialogue from the center channel, a nice mix of music in the front soundstage, and not a whole lot anywhere else. It does what it needs to do, and is never distracting.
There are also a massive pile of special features here, spattered across the three discs. Commentary tracks accompany "My Overkill," "My First Step," "My Sex Buddy," "His Story," and "My T.C.W." They are amusing, but have obviously been recorded long after the episodes have originally aired. There are oodles of featurettes as well, covering almost every aspect of production. There are featurettes about stunts, music, rehearsals, sets, and J.D.'s imagination. All of them are funny, and transport us behind the scenes to see how sitcoms are made. These extras are supplemented by the requisite collection of bloopers and deleted scenes. There are hours of extras to keep fans of the series busy.
And there you have it. Even if you aren't normally a fan of sitcoms, you owe yourself to check out Scrubs. It does everything that a sitcom normally does, and well. The real surprise is how many other tricks it has up its sleeves, which it always pulls out at just the right moment. When I first heard about the series, I thought it was a terrible idea for a sitcom. Now, it has a prominent and proud place in my DVD collection.
I'd rather be yelled at by John C. McGinley than miss out on this series.
Review content copyright © 2006 Joel Pearce; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Buena Vista
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 479 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Commentary Tracks
* One on One with John C. McGinley
* Music Featurette
* Casting Featurette
* Stunt Featurette
* Location Featurette
* Alternate Takes
* Deleted Scenes
* DVD Verdict Review of Season One
* DVD Verdict Review of Season Three