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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Scrubs 2.0" leads to some head-scratching from critics

When Channel Surfing last left "Scrubs," John Dorian was tearfully transported to a glistening future courtesy of Peter Gabriel's "The Book of Love."

It was the perfect ending to a show that had its ups and downs, but rebounded nicely in a final, fitting season courtesy of ABC.

Er, not exactly.

Somewhat unexpectedly, "Scrubs" returns tonight with a new cast, a new setting and a requisite splash of old courtesy of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley), Dr. Turk (Donald Faison) and cameos by Zach Braff as J.D in six of the season's 13 episodes. While I can't imagine there are any "Scrubs" purists scoffing at this idea considering all the show went through after ABC poached it from NBC, I also don't envision anyone being too excited by the prospect of "Scrubs 2.0."

Creator Bill Lawrence seemed content with having a proper finale -- which he got, in glorious form -- but also mentioned in an interview that he wasn't about to put employees on the street if ABC still wanted to use the "Scrubs" brand. So with the introduction of new interns last season (Eliza Coupe's hard-edged Denise, among them), the seeds were planted to keep things humming with a different twist. Cox and Turk are now medical school instructors, while J.D. appears to be that loser who returns to the high school Homecoming dance even though he already graduated.

Alan Sepinwall, who has been down with "Scrubs" from the beginning, writes about how Braff's presence is a distraction in tonight's premiere, but is necessary from a marketing standpoint. That also appears to be why Lawrence lost his battle to name the show, "Scrubs Med."

According to Sepinwall: "If we treat the new season - which relocates Sacred Heart Hospital to its nearby medical school campus - as a separate show, then we don't have to take anything away from the resurgent final season, or from the funny and poignant finale. Nor do we have to worry about the new incarnation threatening the legacy of the original show, any more than 'AfterM*A*S*H' or 'The Golden Palace' sullied the reputations of 'M*A*S*H' and 'Golden Girls.'

"Which isn't to say that 'Scrubs Med' (whether ABC calls it that or not) is an abomination on the level of either of those shows. It's a solid little comedy, in which 'Scrubs' fans can recognize the spirit of the show they loved, even if it's not 'Scrubs' at its best."

That sounds like a fair shake, or at least a more realistic approach than the one taken by Robert Bianco of USA Today.

Of the new "Scrubs," Bianco writes, "The result is a deadly, deal-driven mistake that takes a network that's made great sitcom strides forward one unfortunate step back. This semi-new 'Scrubs' retains everything that had grown tired about the once sterling original (the internal monologues, the fantasies, the self-conscious absurdities) and adds on a new cast of characters who would be startlingly unappealing if they weren't so instantly forgettable.

"Time of death, 8 p.m. Call it, ABC."

Ouch.

Personally, I don't need more from "Scrubs" after that satisfying finale. At the same time, I'm somewhat impressed by the loyalty of cast members like Braff, who clearly doesn't need to work on "Scrubs" anymore, but appears to enjoy it.

Will that be enough to get you to tune in tonight? Let us know!

An hour of "Scrubs" airs at 8 p.m. tonight on ABC.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski, trozwado@greenbaypressgazette.com

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1 Comments:

I tried watching it, but gave up. The complaints lobbed against it are mostly accurate. The new lead character Lucy is almost a non-entity, and the humor level is definitely of Season 6-7 quality. Shame.

-Adam

By Blogger Press-Gazette blogger, At December 3, 2009 at 10:23 AM  

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