Friday, October 26, 2007

"Suck on that, Tony Shaloub!": Scrubs

Within seconds, it all went wrong. As JD and Elliott were closing in for a kiss, one of them wisely pulled back. But it wasn’t JD, it was Elliott. No! Wrong! One of the main complaints now levelled at Scrubs is that JD has become immature, obnoxious and generally irritating. So here the writers have presented themselves with a perfect opportunity to advance their main character’s maturity hugely within a single moment, and all they had to do was have JD be the one to pull back! Apparently not. So already, a disappointing opening to what I really, really hope won’t be a disappointing season.

You see, I love Scrubs. I love the characters, I love the ideas, and I think it has maintained itself season after season better than many shows. But the sixth season was undeniably bad, and ended on a very weak note with a return to the whole JD & Elliott thing. Last we heard, the writers were divided over where the two should end up together, with half the room for it and half against. For me, ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ was proof that the two have become annoying as a couple, and that the wisest move would be to conclude their whole saga within the next few episodes. If the writers have decided to end with them together, personally I’m going to find it a tough sell.

Aside from JD’s drama, ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ actually had plenty of funny stuff going on. I enjoyed all of Dr. Beardface’s scenes, everything with Kelso (his cynical quips are an increasingly essential antidote to the show’s more saccharine tendencies), Cox commenting wryly on the melodrama going on around him (although he's become less effective, simply because we’re so used to him by now). Elliott and Keith’s break-up was reasonably well-played, and allowed Sarah Chalke a lot of killer moments which she totally sold (I especially liked her inappropriate jokes to a heartbroken Keith). Some other choice gags: the entire hospital watching Elliott reject Keith’s proposal, everyone falling in love with Joe, and Carla agreeing that perhaps Elliott is a pig whore. Bits that fell flat: the whole awards show thing, the Janitor’s girlfriend (who I hear we’ll be seeing more of) and the references to Occam’s Razor, simply because House had already done it.

Overall, not an encouraging start, but I’m still optimistic about this season. I’m just not connecting emotionally with these characters at the moment, especially JD, who has never been more unsympathetic. Still, it’s way too early to judge.

(By the way, if anyone’s interested you can see a video of this episode’s table read here. Worth watching for anyone interested in the page to screen process, or because it’s about as close as you’re going to get to hanging out with the cast of Scrubs.)


Kenny said...

I agree with all your sentiments about JD, but I still think it was right that Elliot pulled back; she was making the bigger, less understandable mistake. JD was about to cheat on a girl whom he had mixed feelings about, who lied to him about his baby after he accidentally knocked her up, while Elliot was about to cheat on a perfectly nice guy who had never done anything wrong.

The show did well by moving past the moment as quickly as possible, and by allowing Elliot to be the bad guy and having sympathy for Keith. But the turn still rings false - all through last season, the Elliot/Keith relationship seemed perfectly sincere, and they had great chemistry and really did seem right for each other. There is no reason for Elliot to doubt it, certainly not in favor of JD, who fucked her over so badly before. This feels like a writer-imposed turn that contradicts the character. Yes, Elliot is neurotic and might doubt herself, but I don't buy at all that she never loved Keith.

Kenny said...

Oh, and the Beardface gag felt like an exactly-the-same version of the Dudemeister explanation of Keith's last name.

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