Judge Ryan Keefer asks if you can possibly unjump a shark?
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 Eighth Season (published September 2nd, 2009), 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.
"God, Perry how many times do I have to say it? We're tired of your speeches! If you can't stop, I'll hire an orchestra to play that award show music they use to hustle longwinded Hollywood fruitcakes off the stage."
So when we left the fine staff of Sacred Heart Hospital, the two unattached stars were seemingly on the cusp of another physical rendezvous which would have left many devoted fans of the show feeling emotionally lied to. But by the end of the season, hope sprang anew for a new flavor of sorts, and this upcoming season (the show's eighth) finds them on a new network. So how did they go out at their last employer?
Facts of the Case
Scrubs finds Doctor John Dorian, a.k.a. J.D. (Zach Braff, The Last Kiss) in the strange position of almost being a Dad, with the help of Kim (Elizabeth Banks, Spider-Man 3) . His friend Christopher Turk, a.k.a. Turk, (Donald Faison, Clueless) and his wife Carla (Judy Reyes, Bringing Out the Dead) help him transition to this new phase of life. He also manages to reestablish a friendship with Dr. Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke, Roseanne). The gang works at Sacred Heart Hospital, home of doctor Perry Cox (John C. McGinley, Platoon), Chief of Medicine Dr. Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins, The Sum of All Fears), and a whole host of hospital staff full of nuance. Season Seven's strike-shortened season spans eleven episodes spread out over two discs, and are:
• "My Hard Labor"
• "My Inconvenient Truth"
• "My Identity Crisis"
• "My Growing Pains"
• "My #1 Doctor"
• "My Bad Two"
• "My Dumb Luck"
• "My Waste of Time"
• "My Princess"
One of the things I didn't like about Season Five of Scrubs, and consequently was the main reason I tuned out of just about all of Seasons Six and Seven was that there was a little too much focus on J.D., and trying to get him a relationship, just because everyone else was in relationships on the show, and had a kid or two to boot. And when J.D. would act goofy, it was sad to watch, because Turk wasn't around to play off of it, and he seemed like one of those aging prizefighters who stuck around the game a little too long.
Imagine my surprise when I started watching Season Seven and, lo and behold over the course of the show, the writers decided to try and get J.D.'s newfound paternal status out of the way as quickly as possible, which has got to be why the first two episodes of the season were of him trying to figure out what to do about Elliot and Kim's impending pregnancy. From there, it was almost like a reset of sorts for the cast. J.D. and Turk both had kids now, they could both relate to each other again and be the goofy kids we've all grown to know and love, and even when they were dealing with issues like "should be still be doing this? We're supposed to be responsible parents…," it was done with all humor intended. This was beneficial for not only the reason I mentioned earlier, but it also helped weed out a little more of the peripheral cast members a bit, as their contribution was no longer needed. Goodbye Keith and Lonnie, for instance. The more prominent cast members like Janitor and Ted were given a little more screen time, which made for some of the funniest jokes of the season, and The Todd was rationed out in smart, appropriate doses. As it should be.
The star of the season? Far and away had to be Kelso. In his last season (or is it?) with the show, he still didn't have all that much to do, but he eagerly took on the funnier gags and lines for the season. The "free muffins" gimmick was a subtle multi-episode quirk, and he didn't hesitate to check Cox when needed (the opening lines of this review are Kelso's), and Jenkins got a chance to let Kelso's character leave not with a mushy goodbye, but with some quiet recollections and a muted poke in the eye to all involved. That's how Kelso goes out of anything, baby.
Technically, this show is still in full frame, which is a bit trifling, but at least it's now in Dolby Digital 5.1, which has the occasional speaker pan or subwoofer fire-off for an "action" scene. From a supplement point of view, I was surprised to get commentaries on every episode from members of the cast and/or crew, including Braff, Flynn, Lloyd, but just about all of this tracks are pretty dry and not many recall things that occurred on the day, if you will. A series of deleted scenes and alternate lines are next, though they're not really too funny. Nor is the blooper reel, for all that matter. Jenkins sits down for an interview which is topical at best, and the making of look at "My Princess" is decent. As you can see, most of the extras fall under the "meh" side of things.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
This might sound weird, but maybe one of the reasons why Scrubs was so funny during Season Seven is that, for most of the season, they didn't expect to be around for Season Eight. So why not include things like breast milk fights and testicles with central heating? There's a part of me that thinks because they're coming back like this, it's like being told to come back to finish a chore you thought you finished already, and the season will suffer for it. I hope the bite and goofiness they regained doesn't dissipate over on ABC this year.
After a season and a half lapse in creativity, humor, and just general fun, Scrubs seemed to regain its footing in Season Seven. It did a little bit of streamlining while maintaining the core elements of its humor, and showed hints of past elements of success to, with clever nods to continuity in many episodes. The newer viewer might feel slightly lost when it comes to some of these references, but I'm still encouraging them to give it a try, and don't forget, it's on ABC now, so you might actually see it in a semi-regular basis this year.
Still vital five? Not guilty.
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