Friday, February 02, 2007

"What is it, Slagathor?": Scrubs

The "His/Her Stories" on Scrubs are always a highlight, and here they finally got to the under-sung Bob Kelso, who's always been one of my favorites. I just love that mix of twisted childishness and real-world pragmatism, and his internal monologue had it down just right. Whenever they do these monologue episodes, they tend to just deliver something we already know about the character--i.e. that Dr. Cox does care about JD, that Carla is insecure about the future, that the Janitor is insane, and so on. So the insight gleaned into Kelso (that it's his job to be the hospital bad guy to keep it running smoothly) was hardly revelatory. In fact, the setup for this revelation seemed slightly specious to me--it was news to me that Kelso had been slacking off or softening up. Cox trash-talking him that badly and Kelso just taking it on the chin was particularly out of character.

Thankfully, that wasn't the only plot of the episode, or even the major plot. By bringing a wounded Iraq solider into Sacred Heart, Scrubs went somewhere it never goes--political humor! It was a fun conceit, considering that Scrubs tends to exist so far out of reality most of the time, especially in the case of JD. His little moments in the episode show how great a scene-stealer Braff can be when the burden of the plot isn't placed on him. His conversation with Turk about Marmaduke and The Boondocks ("they really hate honkies!") was a highlight. The political divisions of the hospital (Cox's right-on liberalism, Elliot's proud Republicanism, Ted agreeing with everyone) made sense, too. In fact, the political humor was in general pretty smart, considering how alien it was to the show. The writers did a good job not heavily treading on anyone's toes, but getting a lot of fun jabs (for both sides) in there. The only complaint I have is the Janitor: couldn't he have been crazier. Revealing him as some sort of anarcho-fascist would have been funny!

Also:
--Some great callbacks, especially on Kelso's part. His military buddy Johnny, his fascination with cupcakes, and best of all his Vietnamese mistress (the double Officer and a Gentleman sequence was hilarious).
--The Janitor's globe, in case he gets lost. "That's China." "You're China!" "That's an outrageous accusation!"
--That dude from Garden State and The Last Kiss was pretty good as Private Dancer. I'm not his biggest fan, but Zach Braff clearly is!

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