Television Review: The Premier of "Scrubs: Season 9"

12/10/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Todd Larkin

Okay, to start this off, I have to say that “Scrubs” is one of my top 10 shows of all time. The relationship between J.D. (Zach Braff) and Turk (Donald Faison) is something you don’t find in a lot of shows. That perfect buddy system of theirs is something that keeps me tuned in. I watch reruns of “Scrubs” as often as my grandfather watches reruns of “Sanford and Son.”

As anyone who watches the show knows, "Scrubs" is an off-the-wall comedy about a group of doctors that suggests what would happen if “ER” collided into “The Office." After being abused on NBC for seven seasons, "Scrubs" moved to ABC last year for a supposed final season. After mediocre ratings and poor reviews, the show is now back for a ninth season--revamped, recasted and relocated.

This season’s premiere does little for “Scrubs” fans. Really, this is more like “Scrubs Band Camp”--a half-realized spin-off that’s been lumped together to cool the tempers of “Scrubs'” fans, who contend that last May’s finale wasn’t the best stopping point for the series.

This season, Sacred Heart Hospital has been torn down and rebuilt on the Winston University medical school campus, where the focus has shifted to a new class of students. It’s been a year since the finale, and Braff's J.D. (who returns for a few episodes to “smooth” the transition for the show's new female lead) is back to teach, as has his best friend and man-crush Turk, as well as his mentor, Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley).

Our attention is then directed to the new cast--Lucy (Kerry Bishé) is the new primary protagonist, who already has taken over J.D.’s narration duties--and it's driving me crazy because it is abrupt and disappointing to see someone taking over J.D.’s duties. Sorry, but I just can’t see someone taking over the lead roll that’s been held by Braff for so many years. It's sort of like Hilary Swank taking over duties for Ralph Macchio in “The Next Karate Kid.”

The doe-eyed and naïve Drew (Michael Mosley) is slightly older than the rest of class, having previously bombed med school; and there's Cole (Dave Franco), a surfer-tongued brute taking advantage of his family’s deep pockets (which financed the school and the hospital’s building). Eliza Coupe returns after being upped to a series regular from a recurring role last season as Denise, a sourpuss tough girl with a secretly soft heart who is an adviser to the students. Her character gets old quickly for a specific reason. She hates everyone during the bulk of the show and then, in the last five minutes, she suddenly learns her lesson and becomes tolerable. Rinse and repeat for the following week's show.

In the premier, the opening half-hour strains to get the ball rolling, clumsily setting up a climax that seems cheap. It’s as if the show picked everything up and moved to the office down the hall.

I agree with weary fans--the eighth season's finale was a comfortable resting place for the series. While I don't view this new season as a betrayal, I do see a rather unfortunate willingness to ride this show into the ground. It plays heavily from the "Scrubs" playbook--fantastical flashbacks, pop-culture references, and heartfelt, message-heavy montages. But instead of springing forward with a renewed energy, this “new” “Scrubs” feels tired--even Dr. Cox’s usually brilliantly scathing takedowns are winded.

Perhaps by the time J.D. departs (Braff is only committed to six episodes), the show will have fleshed out its new cast and maybe even settled into a format that better suits it than rehashing the “Scrubs” of old.

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  1. Mike said...

    I have to agree, but with more a little more disdain for the new season. I tried watching the premiere, but the jokes were (badly) recycled and well, to put it bluntly, not all. Several scenes were so painful I literally couldn't even watch. I changed the channel and came back twice just to see if it had done something to redeem itself but in the entire total 10 minutes or so I watched, I didn't laugh once. And I'd like to point out at this point that Scrubs is in fact my favorite TV show of all time. However I'm going to put the end of the series at season 8. That was the impression I was under and I thought the ending was good enough, especially considering the lazy and pitiful stuff that tried to follow it up.

  2. Edward29 said...

    The series is just not the same.
    "Scrubs: Med School" will be canceled within 1-2 seasons.