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.