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Case Number 17173

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Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season

ABC Studios // 2009 // 414 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Patrick Bromley // September 2nd, 2009

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Bromley was once an intern at Sacred Heart. Surprisingly, nothing crazy happened.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Scrubs: The Complete First Season (published July 13th, 2005), Scrubs: The Complete Second Season (published June 7th, 2006), Scrubs: The Complete Third Season (published May 29th, 2006), Scrubs: The Complete Fifth Season (published May 22nd, 2007), Scrubs: The Complete Sixth Season (published October 30th, 2007), Scrubs: The Complete Seventh Season (published November 13th, 2008), Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season (Blu-Ray) (published November 23rd, 2009), and Scrubs: The Complete Ninth And Final Season (published October 6th, 2010) are also available.

The Charge

"I guess it's because we all want to believe that what we do is important, that people hang on our every word, that they care what we think. But the truth is, you should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone, anyone, feel a little better."
J.D. (Zach Braff), from "My Finale"

Opening Statement

After eight seasons, one network change and hundreds of fantasy sequences, Scrubs says goodbye. Sort of. But not really.

Facts of the Case

Here are the 19 episodes that make up Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season:

• "My Jerks"
A new crop of interns arrives at Sacred Heart, as does a new chief of medicine (guest star Courtney Cox, Friends) who seems nice but may be hiding some secret evil. Elliot (Sarah Chalke, Chaos Theory) realizes she may have hurt ex-fiance Keith.

• "My Last Words"
J.D. (Zach Braff, Garden State) and Turk's (Donald Faison, Clueless) traditional "steak night" is interrupted when the pair decides to spend the evening with a terminally ill patient (Glynn Turman, Aliens) who may not have long.

• "My Saving Grace"
Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley, Any Given Sunday) enlists Kelso's (Ken Jenkins, Executive Decision) help to bring down the new chief of medicine; a snotty intern gets under Carla's (Judy Reyes, Dirty) skin.

• "My Happy Place"
Cox and Turk work together on a kidney transplant; Kelso introduces the idea of J.D. and Elliot getting back together.

• "My ABCs"
J.D. attempts to teach new intern Denise (Eliza Coupe, I Think I Love My Wife) compassion; Cox is annoyed by intern Ed (Aziz Ansari, Parks and Recreation); Elliot gets manipulated by intern Katie. Several Sesame Street muppets make guest appearances.

• "My Cookie Pants"
Elliot frets over her newly rekindled romance; J.D. continues trying to instill compassion in Denise; a new chief of medicine is chosen.

• "My New Role"
Dr. Cox struggles with his new position at Sacred Heart.

• "My Lawyer's in Love"
Ted (Sam Lloyd, Galaxy Quest) falls for a musician (Kate Micucci, Bart Got a Room); Cox continues to struggle in his new role and clash with lazy intern Ed.

• "My Absence"
Elliot misses J.D. on his day off, so she spends the day with him on the phone; Carla and Turk get some exciting news, but have different approaches to sharing it.

• "My Comedy Show"
J.D. and Turk attempt to direct the interns in the annual Sacred Heart sketch show and find out how the staff sees their friendship; Elliot tries to get Denise to go out more.

• "My Nah Nah Nah"
Turk considers an experimental procedure for one of his patients; Janitor (Neil Flynn, Mean Girls) worries about the future of his relationship with his girlfriend Lady.

• "Their Story II"
In an episode told from the perspective of the interns, J.D. takes over for Dr. Cox in clashing with the chief of medicine; a cocky new intern becomes a hit with the female staff.

• "My Full Moon"
Sacred Heart gets hit with patients on the night of a full moon, with mostly the interns around to take care of things; Elliot questions her future in medicine after having to give a patient some terrible news.

• "My Soul On Fire, Part 1; My Soul on Fire, Part 2"
The gang heads off to the Bahamas for the wedding of Janitor and Lady, but everyone's got their own romantic crises to deal with: Elliot and J.D. have different ideas of romance, while Turk feels like the spark is gone from his love life with Carla.

• "My Cuz"
J.D. makes up with ex Kim (guest star Elizabeth Banks, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) only to find she's taken up with a familiar face; Turk lobbies for the chief of surgery opening at Sacred Heart.

• "My Chief Concern"
J.D. considers a big change; Turk settles in to his new role; Ted and girlfriend Gooch take their relationship to another level.

• "My Finale"
The eighth season—and this entire incarnation of Scrubs—wraps up with an important staff member leaving Sacred Heart.

The Evidence

It's nice to have Scrubs back. Having been jacked around by NBC for most of its run (multiple time slot changes, an overall lack of promotion and basically relegating the series to a mid-season replacement), Scrubs looked like it was ending its run after seven seasons—until, lo and behold, ABC swept in and gave it a stay of execution. For fans of the show, it's a good thing they did; after a pretty rocky Season Seven in which the show lost its way (the show's creator, Bill Lawrence, admits as much), Season Eight sees Scrubs returning to what made it such an entertaining show in the first place.

Scrubs was never a perfect show, but it has in the span of eight years garnered a fervent fan following. I'm proud to say that I'm part of that following, mostly because I've always admired the delicate balance (and sometimes not-so-delicate) of comedy and drama that the series was able to pull off in its best moments. For all its broad humor and flights of fancy, Scrubs had the potential to be truly moving at times. I've also always appreciated that the show had its own unique voice, distinguishing itself from the dozens of other half-hour sitcoms on the air (at least, when it began; eight years later, the sitcom is an endangered species). In later years, the show became more and more problematic, indulging some of its worst comic tendencies and going way too broad. Zach Braff went from quirky, atypical leading man to shamelessly mugging laugh whore; in fact, most of the characters lost some of their shades of grey and became caricatures of themselves. Plus, so many other medical dramas eventually hit the air and borrowed from Scrubs that the formula it created began to seem like a rip-off of other series (a fact that the show calls attention to, which I like); nowadays, the episode-ending montage accompanied by voiceover and a cool indie rock song has become a cliche. That's not the fault of Scrubs, as it essentially invented the conceit, but it affects the way we see the show in later seasons.

Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season still has major flaws that keep it from being the show it once was. For one, there were scheduling issues that kept cast members from appearing in every episode; the result is that many of the shows play mix-n-match with the cast—you'll get a show that's all Turk and Elliot and no one else, or another show that features almost everyone but Zach Braff. Since the ensemble was always one of Scubs' strongest suits, breaking them up the way Season Eight wounds the series at its core. It's not a complete deal breaker—there are enough episodes that feature everyone and even those that don't are still pretty entertaining—but it does give one the overall impression that the season is a bit patchwork and that the show may be on its last legs.

The addition of new interns is both the season's masterstroke and one of its bigger detriments. Not all of the actors cast as interns are as likable as the original cast, and some begin as such cartoons that they've got no place to go (it took the series regulars several seasons to become caricatures). At times, their crises feel shoehorned in as a way to create drama; do any of us really care if Denise agrees to go out with the staff? I suppose it gives the characters another chance to say something along the lines of "this place will eat you alive," but it's a somewhat underdeveloped dramatic conceit, to say the least. Still, I like how the inclusion of the interns allows Season Eight to come full circle, with the original staff now acting as the teachers and passing on the wisdom of their own mistakes. I appreciate that Bill Lawrence and company didn't create obvious character proxies, too; we don't get the "J.D. type," the "Elliot type," blah blah blah. And, in the few episodes he appears on (before being lost to Parks and Recreation), Aziz Ansari steals every scene he's in. The first few shows of the season, when both Ansari and guest star Courtney Cox appear, are some of the best.

The 19 episodes making up Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season are spread out over three discs (in a single keepcase, not the cardboard packaging of the first six seasons—I hate it when they don't all match, largely because I need medication. The episodes are presented in their full frame TV aspect ratio and look bright and clean—as good if not better than they do in original broadcast. The 5.1 audio track does a fine job balancing the dialogue, cartoony sound effects and the inevitable indie song that closes out each show. The Scrubs DVD sets have always been dependably sound, and this one is no different.

As usual, there's a decent amount of extras accompanying the episodes to help round out the package for fans. Though this is the final season of this incarnation of the show, the Scrubs team hasn't really pulled out the stops for this DVD; it's comparable to other season sets in terms of bonus material. Showrunner Bill Lawrence sits down for a handful of commentaries with various guests (including Zach Braff), and his talks are informative; he points out the obstacles they had with this season (scheduling conflicts, shows being aired out of order) and what it was like to be at a new network. Lawrence is a very honest and outspoken guy, meaning he's not above taking shots at other shows or NBC when it's called for. Not only is that candidness really entertaining at times, but also positively refreshing in a medium where people aren't known for speaking their minds.

The third disc contains the remainder of the bonus features. There are 12 webisodes featuring the new cast of interns, designed as a way of introducing and ingratiating the new faces with Scrubs viewers. They are, however, pretty disposable; I don't mind the interns on the show, but I'm not going out of my way to see them in their own environment—though a few series regulars, such as Zach Braff and Judy Reyes, do appear. There are some deleted scenes and alternate jokes, many of which are pretty funny—more so than the very disappointing blooper reel that's also included. Finally, there's a short featurette called "My Bahama Vacation," shot while the cast was filming the "My Soul On Fire" two-parter.

Closing Statement

Despite the fitting sendoff given to Scrubs, ABC has renewed the series for another season, this one to focus on the interns (including Denise/Jo) with only Dr. Cox and Turk returning as regulars to play mentor to the new staff. This, to me, sounds a bit like Saved by the Bell: The New Class, with Cox as Mr. Belding and Turk as his Screech, but I'll remain cautiously optimistic (despite the fact that showrunner Bill Lawrence will now be pulling double-duty between Scrubs and his new series Cougar Town). Even if the new Scrubs is a big failure, I'll still have the original eight seasons on DVD. The Complete Eighth Season may be the best way for us all to remember a show that occasionally made us feel a little better.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 86
Audio: 88
Extras: 55
Acting: 85
Story: 80
Judgment: 82

Perp Profile

Studio: ABC Studios
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Subtitles:
• English (SDH)
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 414 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Episode Commentaries
• Deleted Scenes
• Featurette
• Alternate Lines
• Bloopers
• Webisodes

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Official Site








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