Scrubs (TV series)

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Scrubs
Scrubscard.png
Genre Sitcom
Comedy-drama
Created by Bill Lawrence
Starring Zach Braff
Sarah Chalke
Donald Faison
Neil Flynn
Ken Jenkins
John C. McGinley
Judy Reyes
Eliza Coupe
Kerry Bishé
Michael Mosley
Dave Franco
Narrated by Zach Braff
Kerry Bishé
Opening theme "Superman" by Lazlo Bane (Seasons 1–8)
"Superman" by WAZ
(Season 9)
Composer(s) Jan Stevens
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 182 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Bill Lawrence
Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan (2006–09)
Tim Hobert (2006)
Tad Quill (2006)
Bill Callahan (2007–09)
Zach Braff (2009–10)
Josh Bycel (2009–10)
Jonathan Groff (2009)
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 20–25 minutes
Production company(s) Doozer
ABC Studios (as Touchstone Television (2001–07))
Distributor Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Broadcast
Original channel NBC (2001–08)
ABC (2009–10)
Picture format SDTV 480i (2001–08)
HDTV 720p (2009–10)
Audio format Stereo (2001–07)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (2007–10)
Original run October 2, 2001 (2001-10-02) – March 17, 2010 (2010-03-17)
Chronology
Related shows Scrubs: Interns

Scrubs is an American medical comedy-drama television series created by Bill Lawrence that aired from October 2, 2001 to March 17, 2010 on NBC and later ABC. The series follows the lives of employees at the fictional Sacred Heart teaching hospital. The title is a play on surgical scrubs and a term for a low-ranking person because at the beginning of the series, most of the main characters were medical interns.

The series features fast-paced screenplay, slapstick, and surreal vignettes presented mostly as the daydreams of the central character, Dr. John "J.D." Dorian, who is played by Zach Braff. Actors starring alongside Braff in the first eight seasons included Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins, John C. McGinley, and Judy Reyes. The series has also featured multiple guest appearances by film actors, such as Brendan Fraser, Heather Graham, and Colin Farrell.

In the ninth and final season, many new cast members were introduced and the show setting moved from a hospital to a medical school. Out of the original cast, only Braff, Faison, and McGinley became regular cast members while the others, with the exception of Reyes, made guest appearances. Braff appeared in six episodes of the ninth season before departing. Kerry Bishé, Eliza Coupe, Dave Franco, and Michael Mosley became series regulars with Bishé becoming the show's new narrator.

Scrubs premiered on October 2, 2001 on NBC. The series received a Peabody Award in 2006. During the seventh season, NBC announced that it would not renew the show. Shortly after the seventh season finale, ABC announced it had picked up the eighth season of the series, which began January 6, 2009. The ninth season premiered on December 1, 2009.

On May 14, 2010, ABC announced that the show had been officially cancelled.

Overview[edit]

Scrubs focuses on the unique point of view of its main character and narrator, Dr. John Michael "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff) for the first eight seasons, with season nine being narrated by the new main character Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishé). Most episodes feature multiple story lines thematically linked via voice-overs done by Braff, as well as the comical daydreams of J.D. According to Bill Lawrence, "What we decided was, rather than have it be a monotone narration, if it's going to be Zach's voice, we're going to do everything through J.D.'s eyes. It opened up a visual medium that those of us as comedy writers were not used to."[1] Actors were given the chance to improvise their lines on set with encouragement by series creator Bill Lawrence, with Neil Flynn and Zach Braff being the main improvisors.[2][3]

Almost every episode title for the first eight seasons begins with the word "My." Bill Lawrence says this is because each episode is Dr. John Dorian writing in his diary (revealed in the commentary on the DVD of the first season episode "My Hero"). A few episodes are told from another character's perspective and have episode titles like "His Story" or "Her Story". Apart from a brief period of narration from J.D. at the beginning and the end, these episodes primarily contain internal narration from other characters besides J.D. The transfer of the narration duties usually occurs at a moment of physical contact between two characters. Starting with season nine, the episode titles start with "Our..." as the focus has shifted from the perspective of J.D. to a new group of medical students, with Lucy Bennett narrating. The webisodes that accompanied season eight, Scrubs: Interns, also were named "Our...".

Cast and characters[edit]

Scrubs's original cast, seasons 1–8.
From left to right: John C. McGinley, Neil Flynn, Sarah Chalke, Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Ken Jenkins, and Judy Reyes.

For the first eight seasons, the series featured seven main cast members, with numerous other characters recurring throughout the course of the series. Starting with the ninth season, much of the original cast left as regular characters, while four new additions were made to the main cast.

  • Zach Braff portrays John Michael "J.D." Dorian (seasons 1–9), the show's protagonist and narrator. J.D. is a young attending physician, who begins the series as a staff intern. His voice-over to the series comes from his internal thoughts and often features surreal fantasies. J.D. describes himself as a "sensi", enjoying acoustic alternative music and being a lover of hugs. Over the course of the series J.D. rises the ranks of the hospital before leaving Sacred Heart to become the Residency Director at another hospital, before briefly returning to become a teacher at Winston University. J.D. has a son with ex-girlfriend Kim Briggs and a child with wife Elliot Reid.
  • Sarah Chalke portrays Elliot Reid (seasons 1–8, recurring season 9), another intern and later private practice physician. Her relationship with J.D. becomes romantic on several occasions throughout the series, resulting in them eventually marrying and having a child together. As the series progresses, despite an initial dislike of each other, she and Carla become close friends. Elliot is driven by a neurotic desire to prove her abilities to her family (in which all of the males are doctors), her peers, and herself.
  • Donald Faison portrays Christopher Turk (seasons 1–9), J.D.'s best friend and surgeon, who rises from intern to Chief of Surgery as the series progresses. Turk and J.D. were roommates when they attended the College of William and Mary as well as in medical school, and the two have an extremely close relationship. Turk is highly driven and competitive while remaining always loyal. During the course of the series Turk forms a relationship with Carla; they start dating early in the series, then get married, and eventually start a family together, having two children. In season 9 he is a teacher at Winston University while continuing his duties as Chief of Surgery.
  • Neil Flynn portrays the "Janitor" (seasons 1–8, guest star season 9), the hospital's custodian. An incident in the pilot episode establishes an adversarial relationship between him and J.D., which persists throughout the series. This tends to take the form of the Janitor pulling mean-spirited pranks on J.D., although he has shown, several times throughout the series, that he has a good side. "The Janitor's" real name is not mentioned until the season eight finale when he reveals to J.D. that he is called "Glenn Matthews". Shortly after this revelation he is addressed as and answers to "Tommy" by another member of the hospital staff, bringing his previously stated name into question. However, it was later confirmed in a Facebook video by creator Bill Lawrence that the former is indeed his true name.[4]
  • Ken Jenkins portrays Bob Kelso (seasons 1–8, recurring season 9), Sacred Heart's Chief of Medicine for the first seven seasons, after which he retires, in season 9 he becomes a teacher at Winston University. While Chief of Medicine, Kelso is seen to be cold, heartless and cruel, driven primarily by the hospital's bottom line rather than the well-being of patients. It is occasionally suggested that he has a softer side, and that his cruelty is a means of coping with the years of hard decisions. After his retirement in season 7 his relationship with staff at the hospital improves, becoming a regular at the hospital's coffee shop where he is entitled to "free muffins for life". He is married with a son and regularly comments on the poor state of his marriage and the activities of his homosexual son. In season 9, after the death of his wife, Kelso becomes a teacher at Winston University along with J.D., Dr. Cox, and Turk.
  • John C. McGinley portrays Perry Cox (seasons 1–9), an attending physician who becomes the Chief of Medicine at Sacred Heart in season 8. J.D. considers Cox his mentor despite the fact that Cox routinely criticizes him, belittles him, and calls him female names. Cox frequently suggests that this harsh treatment is intended as conditioning for the rigors of hospital life. On rare occasions, he expresses grudging approval and even pride at J.D.'s accomplishments, though his affection and respect for J.D. is apparent despite the infrequency of its expression. Dr. Cox is dedicated to the welfare of his patients, leading to frequent clashes with Bob Kelso. In season 9 he is seen working as a professor at Winston University while continuing his duties as Chief of Medicine.
  • Judy Reyes portrays Carla Espinosa (seasons 1–8), the hospital's head nurse. Carla is frank, outspoken and bossy, but continually caring, acting as a mother figure to interns, supporting them and sticking up for them when they make mistakes.[5] During the course of the series Turk forms a relationship with Carla; they start dating early in the series, then get married, and eventually start a family together. She is very close to J.D., affectionately calling him "Bambi", and despite initially disliking each other, she and Elliot also become close friends.
  • Eliza Coupe portrays Denise Mahoney (recurring season 8, regular season 9), an intern at Sacred Heart Hospital in season 8. She is very blunt and painfully honest, and struggles with patient-doctor communications because of this. In season 9, she is a Resident at the new Sacred Heart Hospital as well as a student adviser and teacher's assistant at Winston University. She is romantically involved with medical student, Drew Suffin.
  • Kerry Bishé portrays Lucy Bennett (season 9), a medical student at Winston University. She is the protagonist of season 9, initially sharing the narrating duties of the show with J.D. before taking over completely. She, like J.D., also has surreal fantasies. She loves horses and is romantically involved with fellow student, Cole Aaronson.
  • Michael Mosley portrays Drew Suffin (season 9), a medical student at Winston University. Though few details are ever given, Drew's dark past is often alluded to, including a previous burn-out at medical school. He is in a relationship with Denise Mahoney.
  • Dave Franco portrays Cole Aaronson (season 9), an arrogant medical student at Winston University whose family donated a large amount of money to get the new Sacred Heart Hospital built and as such, believes that he is untouchable. After being diagnosed with skin cancer and subsequently going into remission after successful surgery, Cole rethinks his life and decides that he will specialize in surgery. He is in a relationship with Lucy Bennett.

Season synopsis[edit]

The first season introduces J.D. and his best friend Turk in their first year out of medical school as interns at Sacred Heart Hospital. J.D. meets his reluctant mentor Dr. Perry Cox, an attractive female intern named Elliot on whom he develops a crush, the hospital's janitor who goes out of his way to make J.D.'s life difficult, the Chief of Medicine Dr. Bob Kelso who is more concerned about the budget than the patients, and Carla Espinosa the head nurse who becomes Turk's girlfriend. The characters face romance and relationship issues, family obligations, overwhelming paperwork, long shifts and conflicting pressures from senior doctors.

The second season follows J.D.'s second year practicing medicine at Sacred Heart where he, Elliot and Turk are now residents. As the season develops, money issues affect the three of them, J.D.'s older brother Dan (Tom Cavanagh) comes to visit, as does Turk's brother Kevin (D.L. Hughley). Season 2 focuses on the romantic relationships of the main characters: Turk proposes to an indecisive Carla, Elliot dates nurse Paul Flowers (Rick Schroder), Dr. Cox dates pharmaceutical rep Julie (Heather Locklear) before reigniting a relationship with his pregnant ex-wife Jordan (Christa Miller). J.D., meanwhile, attempts a relationship with Elliot, and later falls for Jamie (Amy Smart), the wife of one of his coma patients.

As the third season opens, Elliot decides to change her image, with some help from the Janitor. J.D.'s undeniable crush on Elliot emerges again, but J.D. instead begins a relationship with Jordan's sister Danni (Tara Reid), who is also dealing with feelings for her ex. Turk and Carla are engaged and planning their wedding. Turk, along with the Todd and the other surgical residents, deal with new attending surgeon Dr. Grace Miller (Bellamy Young), who dislikes Turk and considers him sexist. Dr. Cox and Jordan are doing well with their relationship and their son Jack, although Dr. Cox develops a schoolboy crush on Dr. Miller. He also struggles with the death of his best friend. Elliot gets into a serious relationship with Sean Kelly (Scott Foley) and tries to maintain a long-distance relationship while he's in New Zealand for six months. J.D. eventually convinces Elliot to break up with Sean to date him, only to realize, once he has her, that he doesn't actually love her. Their relationship lasts three days. The season ends with Turk and Carla's wedding, which Turk misses due to surgery and a church mix-up.

In season four, J.D. finishes his residency and becomes a full-blown colleague of Dr. Cox, although their dynamic does not change much. As the season opens, Turk arrives from his honeymoon with Carla, but they soon start having issues when Carla tries to change many things about her new husband. Their marriage and Turk's friendship with J.D. experience friction when J.D. and Carla share a drunken kiss. Dr. Cox and Jordan learn that their divorce was not final, but this isn't necessarily all good news. Elliot is still angry with J.D. for breaking her heart, and the situation becomes more uncomfortable still when she dates J.D.'s brother. J.D. has a new love interest of his own when a new and very attractive psychiatrist, Dr. Molly Clock (Heather Graham), arrives at Sacred Heart. Molly also serves as Elliot's mentor during her time at the hospital.

Season five starts with J.D. living in a hotel, sorting out apartment issues. Elliot has taken a new fellowship in another hospital. Turk and Carla are trying to have a baby, despite Turk still having doubts. Finally, some new interns have arrived to Sacred Heart, chief among them being Keith Dudemeister (Travis Schuldt) who soon becomes Elliot's new boyfriend, much to J.D.'s dissatisfaction. J.D. is cast in the role of expecting father, discovering at the very end of the season that his girlfriend, Dr. Kim Briggs (Elizabeth Banks), is pregnant with his child.

The sixth season sees J.D. and the other characters mature to fill the different roles required of them. Turk and Carla become parents when Carla gives birth to their daughter Isabella. Elliot plans her wedding to Keith, although she and J.D. still harbor feelings for each other. Dr. Cox, as father of two children with Jordan, struggles to prevent his foul disposition from affecting his parenting.

In season seven, J.D. and Elliot struggle once again to deny their feelings for each other, despite Elliot soon to be marrying Keith and J.D. to have his first son with Kim, whilst the Janitor may have a new girlfriend. Bob Kelso's job is also put on the line as he turns 65 years old. J.D.'s brother Dan also returns to town.

The eighth season sees Dr. Kelso's replacement, Dr. Taylor Maddox (Courteney Cox), arrive; she quickly makes a lot of changes, affecting the way doctors treat patients. Elliot and J.D. finally discuss their true feelings for each other and again become a couple. Janitor and Lady (Kit Pongetti) marry, while Dr. Cox is promoted to chief of medicine to replace the dismissed Dr. Maddox. J.D. prepares to leave Sacred Heart to move closer to his son, along with Elliot. Turk is also promoted to chief of surgery at Sacred Heart.

Coinciding with season eight, the webisode series Scrubs: Interns was also launched, focusing around the eighth season's medical interns, Sonja "Sunny" Dey (Sonal Shah), Denise (Eliza Coupe), Katie (Betsy Beutler), and Howie (Todd Bosley). The interns learn from various characters of the show about life in the hospital.

The ninth season takes place over a year after season eight's finale. The old Sacred Heart hospital has been torn down and rebuilt and Doctors Cox, Dorian and Turk are now Winston University medical school professors whose students occasionally rotate through the new Sacred Heart. Between the end of season eight and the beginning of season nine, the Janitor has left the hospital after being told that J.D. was not returning, and Elliot and J.D. have married and are expecting their first child. J.D.'s stay at the university is short and he leaves the series after six episodes, reappearing in episode 9, "Our Stuff Gets Real", as a secondary character.

Production[edit]

The origin for the show is loosely based on Dr. Jonathan Doris' experiences as a resident in internal medicine at Brown Medical School, which served as inspiration for college friend and show creator Bill Lawrence.[6]

Scrubs is produced by ABC, through its production division, even though it was aired by rival broadcaster NBC.[7] According to show runner Lawrence, the arrangement is unusual, at least for 2007: "The show is a dinosaur, on one network and completely owned by another" and, since it is now in syndication, making a "ton of money for Touchstone."[8] Lawrence confirmed ABC would have broadcast the seventh season had NBC refused to do so.[8]

Title sequence[edit]

The chest X-ray featured at the end of the title sequence was hung backwards for most of the first five seasons. Bill Lawrence has stated that having the X-ray backwards was intentional as it signified that the new interns were inexperienced.[9] During Zach Braff's audio commentary on "My Last Chance", he states that the error was actually unintentional. The error became somewhat infamous and was even parodied in "My Cabbage".

An attempt was made to fix the error in the extended title sequence that was used at the beginning of season 2 that included Neil Flynn, but the extended sequence (including corrected X-ray) was soon scrapped due to fan and network request. Finally, in "My Urologist", Dr. Kim Briggs steps into the credits and switches the X-ray around, saying, "That's backwards; it's been bugging me for years". At the beginning of season 8, when the series switched to ABC, the chest X-ray was once again backwards.

The ninth season features a new title sequence with a new version of the theme song "Superman." The new title sequences features the four new characters–Denise, Lucy, Drew and Cole, as well as Dr. Cox and Turk, while J.D. is seen at the end placing the chest X-ray. In all season 9 episodes that do not feature J.D., he is absent from the title sequence and Lucy is the one placing the X-ray. The X-ray at the end of the sequence is also not backwards and the subtitle Med School appears at the end of the sequence.

Main crew[edit]

The show's creator, Bill Lawrence, is also an executive producer and the showrunner. He wrote 14 episodes and directed 17. Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan co-wrote 13 episodes during their 8-year run on the show, starting as co-producers on the show and working their way up to executive producers; they left the show after the eighth season.[10] Mike Schwartz, who also played Lloyd the Delivery Guy, wrote 13 episodes during the first eight seasons; he started out as a story editor and became co-executive producer in season 6. Janae Bakken and Debra Fordham were writers and producers during the first eight seasons, each writing 16 episodes. Other notable writers that started in the first season include Mark Stegemann, who wrote 14 episodes and directed 2 episodes during the first eight seasons; Gabrielle Allan, who wrote 11 episodes during the first four seasons and was co-executive producer; Eric Weinberg, who wrote 11 episodes during the first six seasons and was co-executive producer; Matt Tarses, who wrote 8 episodes during the first four seasons and was co-executive producer. Notable writers that joined in the second season include Tim Hobert, who wrote 11 episodes from season 2 to 6, and became executive producer in season 5. Angela Nissel wrote 10 episodes from season 2 to 8, starting out as a staff writer and became supervising producer in season 7. Bill Callahan joined the show in season 4, writing 8 episodes from season 4 to 8, he became executive producer in season 6.

Adam Bernstein, who directed the pilot episode, "My First Day", also directed 11 episodes up until season 7. Michael Spiller directed the most episodes, 20 during the entire series run. Ken Whittingham and Chris Koch both directed 12 episodes from season 2 to 9. Comedian Michael McDonald, who also appeared on the show, directed 5 episodes. Show star Zach Braff directed 7 episodes of the show, including the landmark 100th episode "My Way Home", which won a Peabody Award in April 2007. In 2009 Josh Bycel, a writer and supervising producer for the animated comedy American Dad!, joined the crew as a new executive producer for the ninth season.[10]

Medical advisors[edit]

Scrubs writers worked with several medical advisors, including doctors Jonathan Doris, Jon Turk, and Dolly Klock. Their names serve as the basis for the names of characters John Dorian, Chris Turk and Molly Clock (played by Braff, Faison, and Heather Graham, respectively). In the season eight finale "My Finale", the "real J.D.", Jonathan Doris, made a cameo appearance as the doctor who said "adios" to J.D.[11]

Filming location and Sacred Heart Hospital[edit]

Scrubs' filming location, the North Hollywood Medical Center being torn down after the series finished production.

In the show, Sacred Heart is an inner city teaching hospital which is located somewhere in California and is owned by a pharmaceutical company run by Whitaker Chambers. It is run by Chief of Medicine Dr. Robert "Bob" Kelso until his retirement towards the end of Season 7 and then by Dr. Percival "Perry" Cox. Board members and benefactors include Jordan Sullivan (former), Mr. Summers, Mr. Swatt, Ms. Slobin, Mr. Franks, Mrs. Warner, and Mr. Zerbo.

The first eight seasons of Scrubs were filmed on location at the North Hollywood Medical Center, a real decommissioned hospital located at 12629 Riverside Drive in North Hollywood, but the location of Sacred Heart Hospital within the fictional world of Scrubs is left ambiguous. Cast and crew on the show refer to the location as "San DiFrangeles"—a portmanteau of San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles that is meant to encompass a large part of California.[12] For the ninth season the show moved to Culver Studios.[13] The building used for the exteriors of the new Sacred Heart Hospital is located at the intersection of Ince Boulevard and Lindblade Street in Culver City, California (34°01′26″N 118°23′29″W / 34.023988°N 118.391414°W / 34.023988; -118.391414).[14]

WGA strike and network change[edit]

On November 5, 2007, the Writers Guild of America went on strike, which put the production of the show's seventh season on hold. When the strike started, only eleven of Scrubs' eighteen planned seventh season episodes had been completely written.[15] Lawrence refused to cross any WGA picket lines to serve any of his duties for the show, so ABC Studios had non-WGA members finish episode twelve, which the studio had unsuccessfully pressured Lawrence to rewrite as a series finale prior to the strike.[15]

During the strike, NBC announced that The Office and Scrubs would be replaced by Celebrity Apprentice. NBC later announced that they would leave Scrubs on hiatus for the time being and fill the 8–9 pm timeslot with various specials and repeats.[16]

Episode 11, "My Princess", was eventually filmed,[17] although Lawrence was absent. Filming of episode 11 was disrupted by picketers. It was believed that Lawrence had tipped the picketers off about the filming schedule, although these beliefs turned out to be false as Lawrence quickly drove to the set to "keep the peace."[17] After the strike ended, Lawrence announced that the final episodes of Scrubs would be produced although, at the time, he was unsure where or how they would be distributed.[18]

Switch to ABC[edit]

Amid strike-induced doubt involving the final episodes of Scrubs, on February 28, 2008, The Hollywood Reporter reported that ABC was in talks with corporate sibling ABC Studios with the aim of bringing Scrubs to ABC for an eighth season of 18 episodes,[19] despite both Lawrence's and Braff's protests that the seventh season would definitely be the last.[17] Just hours later, Variety reported that NBC was lashing out and threatening legal action against ABC Studios.[20] McGinley confirmed that he had been told to report back to work on March 24, 2008 to begin production for another season.[21] On March 12, 2008, McGinley was also quoted as saying that the show's long-rumored move from NBC to ABC was a done deal,[22] and that Scrubs would air on ABC during the 2008–09 TV season as a midseason replacement.[21]

On March 19, 2008, Michael Ausiello of TV Guide reported that although nothing was "official", the Scrubs cast was to report back to work the following Wednesday for work on a season "unofficial" as yet.[23] Zach Braff posted in his blog on MySpace, on April 28, 2008, that an eighth season consisting of 18 episodes was under production but that he could not say where it will be aired.[24] He then stated, on May 7, 2008, that the May 8 episode would be the final NBC-aired episode of Scrubs,[25] which was followed by a bulletin on his MySpace, on May 12, confirming that Scrubs's eighth season would be moving to ABC.

Season eight[edit]

On May 13, 2008, ABC announced that Scrubs would be a midseason replacement, airing Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm EST.[26][27] Steve McPherson, ABC's President of Entertainment, also stated that additional seasons of Scrubs beyond the eighth could be produced if it performs well.[28] In late November, ABC announced Scrubs would resume with back-to-back episodes on January 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm EST.[29]

Creator Bill Lawrence stated in a video interview that season 8 will be more like the first few seasons in tone, with more of a focus on more realistic and dramatic storylines and the introduction of new characters.[30] Courteney Cox joined the cast as the new Chief of Medicine, Dr. Maddox, for a three-episode arc.[31][32] The eighth season includes webisodes and is the first Scrubs season broadcast in high definition.[33]

Sarah Chalke was hoping that J.D. and Elliot would end up back together, comparing them to Friends characters Ross and Rachel, which has been addressed a few times on the show. In the early episodes of the season they did rekindle their relationship, and continued dating through the end of the season. Several actors who guest starred as patients at Sacred Heart during the course of Scrubs returned for the finale.[34]

The double-length season eight finale, "My Finale", aired May 6, 2009, and was expected to be the series finale as well. However, it soon became clear that the show would return for a ninth season.

Season nine[edit]

On April 16, 2009, Bill Lawrence wrote on the ABC.com message boards that a season 9 of Scrubs was still "50/50."[35] On April 28, 2009, it was announced that ABC was in talks to renew Scrubs for another year,[36] but if this were to happen, some of the cast may or may not be back [due to other commitments], or only back part-time.

Bill Lawrence also stated that Scrubs as we know it is over, for the show to move forward with a new cast in an ER type role on ABC, or take a new title completely. In response to criticisms that the change would tarnish Scrubs' legacy, Lawrence defended the decision, as it would allow the Scrubs crew to continue work through a recession: "'Legacy shmegacy.' I'm really proud of the show, I'll continue to be proud of the show, but I love all of those people..."[37]

On June 19, 2009, it was announced that the reformatted ninth season of Scrubs would "shift from the hospital to the classroom and make med-school professors of John C. McGinley's Dr. Cox and Donald Faison's Turk." According to Lawrence, the ninth season will "be a lot like Paper Chase as a comedy", with Cox and Turk's students occasionally rotating through the halls of Sacred Heart and encountering former series regulars. McGinley and Faison were joined by "a quartet of newbies (most of them playing students)" as full-time regulars, while one of the freshmen "will be fairly famous".[38]

The biggest change to the show for the ninth season is a major cast revamp. Of the seven actors who have appeared in the show since the pilot, only Donald Faison and John C. McGinley were set to retain their roles as regulars. Zach Braff returned part-time and was absent for the majority of the season, while retaining first star billing for the six episodes he attended. Sarah Chalke returned for four episodes as a guest star; Although credited as a guest star, Ken Jenkins appeared in the majority of the season, appearing in nine of the thirteen episodes; Neil Flynn appeared in the season premiere in a brief cameo; and Judy Reyes was absent the entire season, making her the only former star not to return to the show. Her character Carla is only mentioned occasionally and Turk is seen speaking with her by phone in the end of one episode. The new main cast included Eliza Coupe[39] returning to the recurring role of Denise "Jo" Mahoney from season eight, Dave Franco as Cole, a charming, confidently stupid and incredibly entitled medical student whose family donated the money to build the school,[40] Kerry Bishé as Lucy, who shared the starring role with Braff in the beginning of the season and eventually became the show's new narrator,[13][41] and Michael Mosley as Drew, a 30-year-old med student on his last attempt at school.[41][42]

Another major change is the setting of the show and where it is filmed. For the first eight seasons, the show was filmed at the North Hollywood Medical Center but production for this season took place at Culver Studios. As a result, in the show, the existing Sacred Heart hospital was mentioned to have been torn down and re-built on the "Winston University" campus.

Cancellation[edit]

On May 14, 2010, it was announced the show was officially canceled. The season nine finale, titled "Our Thanks", aired March 17, 2010. Five days later, on March 22, 2010, Zach Braff announced, via the official Facebook page, that the ninth season of Scrubs would be the last, commenting that; "Many of you have asked, so here it is: it appears that 'New Scrubs', 'Scrubs 2.0', 'Scrubs with New Kids', 'Scrubbier', 'Scrubs without JD' is no more. It was worth a try, but alas... it didn't work."[43][44]

Crossovers[edit]

Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Judy Reyes, John C. McGinley and Neil Flynn reprised their roles as J.D., Elliot Reid, Carla Espinosa, Perry Cox and the Janitor to make a cameo appearances in the 2003 Muppets film It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, trying to reanimate Miss Piggy. Eventually, Piggy and the Scrubs cast break the fourth wall, with the actors portraying themselves and Bill Lawrence appearing as himself/the director of the current episode.

Sam Lloyd reprised his role as Ted Buckland in the season 2 finale of the Lawrence series Cougar Town. In the episode, written and directed by Lawrence, Ted is in Hawaii and says his girlfriend, Stephanie Gooch, has run off with Dr. Hooch.[45] Lloyd reprised his role once again in season 3.

Cinematography and delivery format[edit]

The show is shot with a single- instead of multiple-camera setup more typical for sitcoms.[1] The season four episode "My Life in Four Cameras", has a brief multi-camera style, since it includes J.D.'s fantasies of life being more like a traditional sitcom.

John Inwood, the cinematographer of the series, shot the series with his own Aaton XTR prod Super16 film camera. Despite the fact that some broadcasters, such as the BBC, consider Super16 a "non-HD" format,[46] John Inwood believed that footage from his camera was not only sufficient to air in high definition, it "looked terrific."[47]

Except for the finale of season 5, "My Transition", which was broadcast in high-definition,[48] the first seven seasons of the show have been broadcast in standard-definition with 4:3 frame aspect ratio. After the show was moved from NBC to ABC, the broadcast format for new episodes changed to high-definition. John Inwood opined that older episodes could be re-released in HD as well. From the very beginning he filmed the show with widescreen delivery in mind so the whole series could be aired in high-definition when the market evolved.[47]

All nine seasons have been released on DVD in 4:3 format. However, the eighth season was also released on Blu-ray Disc in original widescreen format.

Music[edit]

Music plays a large role in Scrubs. A wide variety of rock, pop, and indie artists are featured, and almost every episode ends with a musical montage summing up the themes and plot lines of the episode, and the music for these montages is often picked even before the episodes are completely written.[49]

Members of the cast and crew are encouraged to contribute song suggestions, with many ideas coming from series creator Bill Lawrence, writer Neil Goldman, and actors Zach Braff (whose college friends Cary Brothers and Joshua Radin appear on the Scrubs soundtrack) and Christa Miller Lawrence (who selected Colin Hay and Tammany Hall NYC). According to Bill Lawrence, "Christa picks so much of the music for the show that a lot of the writers and actors don't even go to me anymore when they have a song. They hand it to her."[49]

In addition to music being featured as a soundtrack to the show, the cast themselves also sing on a frequent basis, such as in the episode "My Best Friend's Mistake" when the entire cast had the Erasure song "A Little Respect" stuck in their heads and would sing it repeatedly. Producers expanded Scrubs' musical emphasis with a musical episode early in the sixth season, called "My Musical". This episode aired on January 18, 2007.[50]

Theme song[edit]

The theme song of the series, performed by Lazlo Bane, is titled "Superman", and can be found on the album All the Time in the World, as well as on the first Scrubs soundtrack. Lawrence credits Braff for finding and suggesting "Superman" as the theme song.[9] The lyric "I'm no Superman" refers to the show's theme of its characters' fallibility.

The Scrubs main title is performed at a faster tempo than the original recording of the song. The original, slower recording was used briefly at the beginning of season 2, played during an extended version of the title sequence, as well as the opening for "My Urologist", and a special edit of the title sequence for resulting in roughly 1–2 seconds of music, followed by the line "I'm no Superman", accompanied by a quick flash of credits. The original intro from season 1 was used through most of season 3 and then used for seasons four through eight. Beginning with season nine, a new version of "Superman" is used which is performed by WAZ.[51]

Soundtracks[edit]

Three official soundtracks have been released. The first soundtrack, Music From Scrubs, was released on CD on September 24, 2002.[52] The second soundtrack, Scrubs Original Soundtrack Vol. 2, was released exclusively on iTunes on May 9, 2006.[53] The third soundtrack, "My Musical" Soundtrack, featured the music composed and performed in musical episode "My Musical"; it was released on Amazon.com and iTunes on August 7, 2007.[54]

Featured musical contributors[edit]

Colin Hay, the former frontman of Men at Work, has had music featured in at least seven episodes, and has appeared in the episode "My Overkill", performing the song "Overkill" as a street musician, and in the episode "My Hard Labor" performing "Down Under". Hay also sings "Where Everybody Knows Your Name", the theme from Cheers, in the episode "My Life in Four Cameras" and the episode "My Philosophy" features Hay's song "Waiting For My Real Life To Begin", sung by several members of the cast. He also appeared in "My Finale".

The music of Joshua Radin, who is a friend of Scrubs star Zach Braff,[55] appeared in six episodes.

Music by Keren DeBerg has featured in 15 episodes, and she appeared in "My Musical" as an extra in the song "All Right".[56]

Clay Aiken appeared in the episode "My Life in Four Cameras" and performed the song "Isn't She Lovely?" by Stevie Wonder.

The "Worthless Peons"[edit]

The Worthless Peons (also known as Ted's Band, The Blanks, or in the "My Way Home" Director's Cut as "Foghat") are an a cappella group made up of Sacred Heart hospital employees from different departments. They are a cover band, and often sing songs from a specific genre (for example, cartoon theme songs or commercial jingles). They have appeared in several episodes.

The Worthless Peons are played by The Blanks, who are a real-life a cappella band made up of Sam Lloyd (who plays Ted), George Miserlis, Paul F. Perry, and Philip McNiven. The Blanks' album, Riding the Wave, features guest appearances from Lawrence and members of the Scrubs cast. This band was put on the show when Sam Lloyd brought his a cappella band to the Scrubs cast Christmas party. Lloyd told Lawrence about his band, and Lawrence got the idea of putting them in the show.[57]

The Worthless Peons also sing the theme song to the web series Scrubs: Interns, which features the new interns from season eight learning about the hospital in the same way that J.D. did in season one. Interns is aired on the ABC website.

Reception[edit]

Zach Braff's portrayal as J.D. received critical acclaim, earning him one Emmy and three Golden Globe nominations for his performance.

Critical reception[edit]

First eight seasons[edit]

Scrubs first seasons received critical acclaim, with many critics praising its cast, characters, and humor (especially J.D.'s fantasy sequences).[58][59][60] In 2006, Entertainment Weekly's website EW.com gave the overall series (the review was made early after the fifth season premiere) a grade of "A-", with the author saying "Scrubs is the trickiest comedy on TV [...] A likable, daffy, buoyant series that would be a big annoying mess if it weren't done just right, Scrubs is the very definition of nimble".[58] IGN gave the first season a perfect score of 10. The seven following seasons were rated, respectively, 9, 9, 9, 8, 7.5, 8.3 and 7.5.[61]

Common Sense Media, which mainly rates series in terms of violence, sex, and profanity, gave Scrubs a positive review and awarded it 4 out of 5 stars despite having rated both "Sex", "Language" and "Drinking, drugs, & smoking" 3 out of 5, stating "this show can be screamingly funny but is very adult-oriented".[59] The Truth About Nursing, which checks the realism of the medical series, gave Scrubs a "Nursing rating" of 1.5 out of 4 stars, but an "Artistic rating" of 3 out of 4 stars, praising that "despite the nasty and surreal elements, its characters are not above learning or growing, as they try to cope with the very real stresses of life and death at the hospital". However the reviewer stated "The show's portrayal of nursing has been less impressive".[60]

Review aggregate Metacritic only assigned an average score to the eighth and ninth seasons, with the eighth season scored 79/100, based on four reviews only (all positives), indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[62]

The ninth season's new characters were heavily criticized. However, the performances of original cast members (including Donald Faison, pictured) were praised.

Ninth season[edit]

The ninth and final season received mixed reviews, with many critics heavily criticizing the new cast; it received a score of 64/100 on Metacritic, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[63] An IGN editor gave it a positive score of 7 out of 10, stating "even though this was not the best season, I'll always have fond memories of the show".[64]

USA Today reviewer Robert Bianco wrote a negative review, stating "The result is a deadly, deal-driven mistake that takes a network that has made great sitcom strides forward one unfortunate step back". He also noted that the presence of a few members of the original cast (Zach Braff, Donald Faison and John C. McGinley) "only makes it harder for the new characters to take hold" (despite his additional criticism of Braff's performance).[65] Blogcritics gave it a mixed review, criticizing the new cast, but praising the performances by the original cast members.[66]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Judy Reyes was nominated for four ALMA Awards, due to her Dominican heritage, winning two.

Scrubs has received 17 Emmy nominations, in categories such as casting, cinematography, directing, editing and writing, winning only 2. Its fourth season earned the series its first nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Zach Braff was also nominated that year for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. The series was nominated again the following year for Outstanding Comedy Series. At the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, the episode "My Musical" was nominated for five awards in four categories: Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Will Mackenzie), Outstanding Music Direction (Jan Stevens) and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics ("Everything Comes Down to Poo" and "Guy Love"); while sharing the award for Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) And Animation (Joe Foglia, Peter J. Nusbaum, and John W. Cook II) with Entourage.[67]

Braff was nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical in 2005, 2006 and 2007, but lost to Jason Bateman of Arrested Development in 2005, to Steve Carell of The Office in 2006, and to Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock in 2007.[68]

The show won the 2002, 2008, and 2009 Humanitas Prize, an award created for rewarding human dignity, meaning, and freedom. It also won the prestigious Peabody Award.

Ratings[edit]

The table below indicates the ratings of Scrubs in the US. "Rank" refers to how well Scrubs rated compared to other television series which aired during primetime hours of the corresponding television season. The television season tends to begin in September, and ends during the May of the following year, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps. "Viewers" refers to the average number of viewers for all original episodes, broadcast during the television season in the series' regular timeslot. "Rank" is shown in relation to the total number of series airing on the then-six major English-language networks in a given season. The "season premiere" is the date that the first episode of the season aired, and the "season finale" is the date that the final episode of the season aired.

The highest rated episode of Scrubs was the season 2 premiere "My Overkill" which aired on September 26, 2002, and received 22.31 million viewers.[69]

Network Season Episodes Timeslot (ET) Original airing Rank Viewers
(in millions)
Season premiere Season finale TV season
NBC 1 24 Tuesday 9:30 pm October 2, 2001 May 21, 2002 2001–02 #38 11.20[70]
2 22 Thursday 8:30 pm September 26, 2002 April 17, 2003 2002–03 #14 15.94[71]
3 22 Thursday 8:30 pm
Tuesday 9:30 pm
October 2, 2003 May 4, 2004 2003–04 #43 10.41[72]
4 25 Tuesday 9:30 pm
Tuesday 9:00 pm
August 31, 2004 May 10, 2005 2004–05 #88 6.90[73]
5 24 Tuesday 9:00 pm
Tuesday 9:30 pm
January 3, 2006 May 16, 2006 2005–06 #98 6.40[74]
6 22 Thursday 9:30 pm November 30, 2006 May 17, 2007 2006–07 #87 6.41[75]
7 11 Thursday 9:30 pm
Thursday 8:30 pm
October 25, 2007 May 8, 2008 2007–08 #115 6.38[76]
ABC 8 19 Tuesday 9:00 pm
Tuesday 9:30 pm
Wednesday 8:00 pm
January 6, 2009 May 6, 2009 2008–09 #106 5.54[77]
9 13 Tuesday 9:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 pm
December 1, 2009 March 17, 2010 2009–10 #116 3.79[78]

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External links[edit]