Friday, November 02, 2007

“There's nothing like scoring a Caddie and mowing down street hoes”: Scrubs

So, an interesting thing. I watched episode four of Grey’s Anatomy right after watching this episode of Scrubs, and that really drove home for me how much Scrubs is wasting no time in tying up its loose ends. In Grey’s land, the whole George-Izzie-Callie saga is showing no signs of going anywhere any time soon. Scrubs, conversely, is wiping away its past missteps as quickly as possible. Last week, the JD and Elliot possibility was swiftly swept under the carpet (although I’d be surprised if it didn’t crop up again soon). Now this week sees the end of JD’s disastrous relationship with Kim. Again, this doesn’t mean the absolute end for these two, as they’ve just had a baby together; but it still reeks of the Scrubs writers tossing away one troublesome plotline (Kim as a romantic interest) and only keeping the other (their baby) out of sheer necessity.

This is a shame on one level, and one level only: Elizabeth Banks is excellent. She really is, and she proved it this episode with a great performance. Honestly, it’s the first time I can remember her getting anything decent to play since the end of season five. Basically she freaks out while giving birth, screams and J.D. a bit, and then breaks up with him. Banks has fun with it, sticking to a lighter approach even in the darkest of moments, and mostly I found it believable. Plus Kim has become a dead weight lately anyway, so it’s a wise move to push her into the background. (Also, Kim’s bad side was highlighted once more when she claimed J.D. had broken up with her after she really broke up with him. She hasn't been very likeable since the beginning of season six.)

Meanwhile, funnier stuff happened. Turk’s on a desperate mission to complete Halo 3 before Carla gets rid of it. He plays with J.D. (of course); then the Janitor, who gets a suitably bizarre monologue/eulogy to a dead alien along the way; and finally Carla, who turns out to be a dap hand at X-Box 360. I liked the reveal that Carla was actually a video game addict, and the stuff between her and Turk really rang true. Not that it doesn’t usually, but it felt especially poignant this time round. Kelso made some wry comments about his mess of a family (apparently Enid has kicked him out), and even he produces a touching yet hilarious moment in comforting Harrison about breaking up with someone who stole his fillings. Elliot just dipped in and out, but had some funny lines. The only thing that didn’t work was Cox’s searching for someone to give his daughter an injection, although I liked the idea behind it.

All in all, better. The comic stuff was funnier, and the dramatic stuff was much more effective. There’s still an element missing that made the earlier seasons so much better, but maybe Tom Cavanagh, returning as J.D.’s brother next week, will bring the old charm back with him.

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