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'Scrubs': There and Back Again

Primed by recent coverage about Scrubs‘ jump from NBC to ABC and the appearance of guest star Courtney Cox, I tuned in to last night’s season premiere ready to critique the new season’s inevitable alterations. What I found instead was . . . nothing. The show is back, like a familiar friend you haven’t seen in awhile who’s returned into your life and, against all odds, honestly hasn’t changed a bit.

The fact is, I’ve spent quite a bit of time watching older episodes these past couple of years, often with a doctor friend, (and yes, what they say is true - medical professionals really do appreciate this show) and I’ve realized that I like the first few seasons better than the more recent ones - and last night’s episodes did quite a bit to return the show to its former position in my mind. 

The show is silly, it is surreal and heartwarming, and, if I may say so, slightly less whiny than it has been. It’s almost as if the characters who were the main culprits - JD (Zach Braff) and Elliot (Sarah Chalke) - traveled along a multi-season arc during which they transformed from entertainingly self-absorbed to annoyingly narcissistic to waggishly egocentric. They’ve grown up along with the show.

My one critique of last night’s first episode is about Cox’s introduction. Over the seasons, more and more female characters have been introduced with a dream sequence in which the wind blows their hair back, their shirts come unbuttoned, and they bite their lips in a classic cheesecake pose. For me, Cox’s windblown moments represented one time too many - a funny meme, repeated one time too many, became a chauvinist subjugation and I just didn’t think it was funny.

Do you know what the show did next? It lampooned that very effect in the second episode of the night. That’s right, the show that makes a habit of breaking the fourth wall, um, broke the fourth wall as JD (Braff in a voice over) narrated a prank that occurred while he was stuck in his blustery reverie. The show employed the trick so many times that it became funny again - and just like that, I welcomed back one of my old favorite shows.