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NBC Scrubs the Finale

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As happy as I was yesterday, with television, today I am disappointed (and so it usually goes). Last night I watched the Scrubs finale, and not only did either my cable company (Comcast) or NBC affiliate (KNTV, which is owned and operated by NBC Universal) screw up and cut the audio for the final 15 minutes of the show (go closed captioning!), but it was clearly aired out of order. Seriously.

I guess they thought they were going out with the best episode that they were going to get following the writers' strike, but it chronologically had to come before last week's episode and the one that aired the week before that. Last night, after retiring two weeks ago, Kelso was back in charge of the hospital. No explanation was given, he was just there and in charge. I can't imagine that Bill Lawrence and the rest of the producers decided that they would just reinstall the retired man for the finale, I have to believe instead that this episode was supposed to appear at some other point (maybe there is an unaired one where Kelso returns to the hospital, but I doubt that).

Great. Way to go NBC. I completely understand your reasons for deciding not to give the show a huge promotional effort if it's just going to flip to another network. That makes sense to me and is, I think, a smart, shrewd business decision. I do not understand, nor approve of, your desire to air this episode as a finale when, quite clearly, it wasn't supposed to air when it did. It either had to air earlier than it did or later (after a triumphant return to Chief of Medicine by Kelso).

I know that television is a numbers game and that therefore you guys must have decided that to finish with a Princess Bride-like fantasy episode during the May Sweep would generate a good return, but I don't approve. Shouldn't you have shown at least a little bit of respect for the audience that watched the show for seven seasons? You weren't giving the show a big send-off anyway, so it's not like you could have been, logically speaking, expecting a huge tune-in; you were really only going to get the devoted fanbase and a few lookie-loos. I know that the devoted fanbase has shrunk over the years, but why go and alienate and upset them? Is that really the logical choice? Are the numbers you're getting as a network so fantastically outrageous that you can afford to upset people that tuned in week after week, year after year, to your network? No… that can't be it, aren't your numbers down year-to-year?

So, I just don't get it. NBC didn't promo the show heavily, so they couldn't have been expecting huge viewership levels, but they aired as the season finale what they must have perceived as a stronger episode out of order, upsetting the only people watching the show. What sense does that make?

I'm not heavily invested enough in the show's continuity to have been distressed by the out of order airing, I just don't understand the logic behind it. And that I find supremely frustrating.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • It was awful. They never respected the show, but showing the “finale” out if sequence was unforgivable.

  • The episode was aired out of order, it was actually the 9th episode made (Kelso retired in episode 10) so that just shows how much NBC cares. >:(

  • tiptopcondition

    This episode was terrible. Unfortunately Scrubs is being dragged out far too long just for the sake of it. They could, and should have wrapped it up at the end of season 6 or at least at the end of this current Seventh. I think it is actually episode 9. The kelso coming back out of the blue thing really annoyed me, especially as a finale. Thats completely the opposite point to having a finale. A finale is meant to be the final one, in lue of the coming season, not the one before the penultimate episode. Thats just terrible, lazy and incompetent. Hopefully season 8 will be a short season with the better quality script of the early seasons. Once they wrap up the loose ends which now is only the story between JD & Elliott it can finish with what littel dignity is has left.

  • Neva Umind

    Relax kids, the show is not over… only on NBC.

    If you didn’t already know this, ABC picked up the rights to the show and will have new episodes this fall. Playing the episode up as a “series” finale was just a little misdirection on the part of NBC