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They Did What to Scrubs?!?

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Let it be said up front that it hurts me to write this piece. I remember very distinctly the first time I saw Scrubs. I know exactly where I was, I know exactly whom I was sitting with. I can almost remember what I was wearing. Through the years, even if it was never a massive ratings success, it's a show that I've cared for, that has always been there. It wasn't always treated well by NBC. It now hasn't always been treated well by ABC. All of that is true. All of that hurts me as the show has a special place in my heart. What hurts me more though is the fact that the show is now not treating us well.

Or, to put it more succinctly, what exactly are they thinking doing this season at all? What are they thinking doing this season like this? Why couldn't they have left great alone? Why couldn't they have left well enough alone? Why couldn't they have left my good feelings and memories intact? Why did they have to come back with this new, still-called-Scrubs-but-isn't-really-Scrubs season?

I'm going to keep watching the show—it would seem a complete betrayal of the other seasons if I didn't—but it hurts me a little. I imagine that years down the line perhaps I'll purchase the complete series on DVD (or Blu-ray), and that I'll quickly pull this season and any which may follow out of the set and pretend as though they never existed. The show has simply stayed too long at the party.

In case you're not watching, JD left Sacred Heart Hospital at the end of last year. Magically though he's back at Sacred Heart this year, except that it's not the Sacred Heart we've come to know and love.  No, this year Sacred Heart has been rebuilt and JD has returned to be a professor – except, of course, if you've been paying attention to the press releases (and if you haven't… SPOILER), Zach Braff isn't going to be on all season. In fact, in next week's episode he gets ready to say goodbye… again.

The entire show has shifted focus from doctors to medical students. They've changed the way they title episodes  (they used to almost always start with "My" and now start with "Our") and lost a lot of the original cast members. It is, in short, a different show. Watch the opening credits, after the Scrubs title flashes off of the x-ray it even say "Med School" down at the bottom. Let me say it again: it is a wholly different show. 

The basic problem with these massive changes is that even if the new show was funny—and I'm not at all sure that it is—it seems so much less funny because it's trading on Scrubs' former glory. It is currently taking all those great memories I have of the series and wiping them from my brain (I hope only temporarily).

This new series really only seems funny when it focuses on the old characters, every new character they've come up with is incredibly grating. The show has always been built on odd characters, but not annoying ones. With the med students that has all changed; they are all pure caricatures without depth and they are not fun to watch.

What this all amounts to isn't hate, it's love. I love Scrubs. I have loved Scrubs for years. I will always continue to love Scrubs. The show ABC currently has on the air at 9pm on Tuesday night may call itself Scrubs, my TiVo may think it's Scrubs, but make no mistake, it is not Scrubs.

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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.
  • http://willkillforfood.com Lisa McKay

    Given that this isn’t likely to succeed with the real show’s fan base, one has to wonder what they were thinking. Scrubs was one of those rare shows that could have you laughing hysterically one minute and then choking back a sob the next, and it did it well. This is really too bad.

  • http://pwinn.tumblr.com/ Phillip Winn

    Sounds silly. I’m glad I didn’t return!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/heloise Heloise

    Med students work cheaper than doctors :). Do what I did write a “What’s wrong with Scrubs?” piece. I wrote a “What’s Wrong with Grey’s Anatomy?” I don’t know if they read it but they sure took my advice by 1) killinf off Knight and his storyline by literally throwing him in front of the bus LOL and 2) giving my man Dempsey a bigger role. Now, the show is so much better.

    Heloise

  • http://www.filmcalamity.com Jonathan Sullivan

    You know, the funny thing is…I kinda like the new shift in direction. Since they had to come back, at least they switched some stuff around as opposed to sticking to the formula that got stale around Season 6. More power to them.

  • http://writer.fitzhome.com Fitz

    I’m a big fan of the seasons of Scrubs before this one… It seems they’ve sucked the life out of the show by having all the quirky characters be replaced by annoying ones. Maybe annoyance is the new funny?

  • Sharon W

    I agree completely! My husband and I just sat there stunned as we watched the first episode of this new season. It’s horrible. We haven’t watched it since. We own several seasons of the REAL scrubs. We were big fans. This season is desecrating the corpse of the dead show.