The End of Scrubs

Update 3 (1+ weeks later): The ad during tonight’s SNL 90’s retrospective billed this week’s episode as “only three episodes until the season finale. I guess that’s that.

Update 2 (four days later): So, it looks like NBC is advertising this week’s Scrubs as being the first of “the last 3.” Hmm. They even emphasized the “last 3” section. Heck, they made mention of characters making the “biggest mistake of their lives”, then showing Elliot and Keith’s wedding scene then JD looking emotive (as usual).

Update (ten minutes after posting): I guess I should check Wikipedia (of all places) before I start posting things I think are facts. Looks like NBC has yet to officially renew the show, but according to Zach Braff himself, ABC is willing to air the last season if NBC does not renew it. Media watchers, don’t worry, I’ve added the “journalistic integrity” category to this entry. Regardless, I stand by my comments about this season.

I haven’t seen this reported anywhere else online (yet), but during a teaser for tonight’s episode of Scrubs during The Office, the voice over announcer said something like, “the first of the last four Scrubs episodes.” It was said that the show’s status was up in the air, then there were stories about NBC throwing huge sums of money at Zach Braff to get him to come back for one more year. Well, I guess that didn’t turn out so hot. And that’s a good thing.

You might remember my epic review of Scrubs last year as being one of three notable parts of “the current TV landscape,” so me thinking that the show might be capital “O” Over might not make any sense. Simply, if you’ve watched the show at all this season, you understand. Not just “not quite the same as older episodes,” the first 10 or so episodes were awful. Dreadful, painful-to-watch TV. Mind you, this isn’t like the-Simpson’s-were-better-back-when thinking, where old episodes are more thought of as a collective period of time rather than individual examples of the series strengths. Just last season could be considered “classic Scrubs.” Who knows why, but this season didn’t get watchable until about episode 13, with one of the first twelve episodes being a brutal clip show and the other being a show about the newer Iraq war which served only to get politically simple people to say, “Wow, they really brought a new voice to the argument.” Oh yeah, one of the pre-13 episodes was a highly hyped musical episode. It was tedious, so say the best.

Last year, I wrote that with Turk and Carla’s baby and JD’s impending fatherhood, the characters and show were growing up, and the show wasn’t about grown-ups who acted grown-up. This should’ve been an occasion to use this season to wrap things up, but instead, Carla got an after school special version of post-partem depression, recovered from it, then the baby all-but disappeared from the show (a fair move – the show’s not about babies). Also, JD’s impending fatherhood/implied-eventual marriage was thrown out the window with the good, old-fashioned “tell the long distance dad-to-be that mommy had a miscarriage, but actually lie about it” move. It’s like putting drama in a piggy bank.

All that said, the recent episodes have been solid, but the show’s been on since 2001 (yikes, that’s a long time for a show most people have never watched), doesn’t have many viewers, became self-aware about how limited the main character was last year, and gave a potential setup for a season-long arc about JD “growing up” at the end of last season, then blew it. Of course, Scrubs is practically the template for wrapping things up efficiently and poetically (with indie music playing in the background, of course), and the series finale would pack a doozy, I’m sure [not sarcasm]. Considering that the writers did one of the tidiest jobs ever of removing a “Ross/Rachel” relationship from a show in a gutsy, (female) viewer alienating move at the end of season three, the slight (maybe unintentional) tension between JD and Elliot was a bit out of place on tonight’s episode, who knows if they’ll go that route, though Elliot’s boyfriend proposed to her to end of the episode.

****

The End of Scrubs gets four stars because it’s about darn time, but loses a star because it could’ve been setup better considering how last season ended.

I’m thinking about it some more, and maybe the voice-over lady during the promo meant they were the last four episodes of the season, but one can hope. Still, the show is responsible for one of the best ever TV moments, so I guess they’re entitled one more season…

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