December 2, 2009

Episode Review: SCRUBS, "Our First Day of School" and "Our Drunk Friend"

I've not hidden the fact that I'm skeptical about the revised version of Scrubs that debuted tonight, and while I cannot say that I'm totally won over, I can say that tonight's two episodes did not suck. To be honest, the back-to-back episodes made me laugh more than most of Season 6 combined. Some of tonight's elements worked, and some didn't.

The Newbies
For example, it's going to take some time to warm up to the newbies. Lucy (Kerry Bishé) is the heir apparent who will become the new voice of Scrubs, and she's pretty much an amalgam of J.D., Elliot, & Sonny from last season. She's a cute, quirky, blonde go-getter that may be in over her head, but she's likable for the most part. I don't know if she has the legs to carry the show for the rest of its run, but I'm sure not everyone immediately fell in love with Zach Braff back in 2001.

Former med school burnout, Drew (Michael Mosley) might be the break-out character of the bunch. He's distant, standoffish, and damaged, but he also shows a softer side when he stands up to Dr. Cox and enters into a "relationship" with Denise (aka "Jo"). I can definitely see Drew and Dr. Cox having some pretty interesting scenes together, and I like the idea of Denise having someone (although I think their tryst happened way too quickly). Drew is probably the most layered character of the bunch, and he has the most potential.

Then there's the resident bad-boy/douche bag/spoiled rich kid Cole (David Franco). You really cannot make a judgment about Cole after only two episodes, but right now he's just a one-note character. Franco plays the entitled asshole role pretty well, but it's going to get old really fast. I'm sure Cole is going to be taken down a few notches as the season progresses, and his character will hopefully become tolerable.

The Vets
While so many things have changed like the addition of new characters and a new setting, the show was smart to keep series regulars Dr. Cox & Dr. Turk around because they help create a warm, fuzzy, narcissistic brown blanket for the fans mostly because they haven't changed. Sure, their jobs are different, but that's about it. Dr. Cox still belittles everyone, and Turk spends too much time goofing of with J.D. Same old stuff.

J.D. is still J.D., but I think he's really going to have the chance to shine this season because teaching is in his wheelhouse. Some of the best moments last season involved him mentoring Denise, and we're going to get to see a little bit more of Dr. D as he takes Lucy under his wing. Braff is still a little broad and slapsticky, but he's still the J.D. we've all grown to love. It's going to be sad to see him go...again.

One of the breakout characters from Season 8 was Denise (Eliza Coupe), so I was really excited when I heard that she was upgraded to a series regular (although I think Sonny would have been a better replacement for J.D.), but I'm a little confused by her role on the show. She's supposed to be a student advisor, which I'm guessing is like an RA. I don't know. Denise is a great character because she's also multi-dimensional, and she plays well off of J.D. & Turk, but it's going to be interesting watching her relationship with Drew since they're very similar.

Also, I think I like the lack of other vets, especially Carla. I was never a big Carla fan, so not having her around is a nice little bonus. To be honest, I'm surprised at how many people are upset that Carla's gone as well as some of the minor characters. I do admit that it's going to be odd not having the Janitor or Elliot around as much, but I'm sure I'll be able to handle it.

The School
Another big change was the shift from Sacred Heart to a medical school setting, which I don't think is going to make much of a difference since Scrubs has always been about new doctors learning the ropes. The new sets will take some time to get used to, but having a new environment to work in is not always a bad thing.

The Mentor/Mentee Relationships
Tonight we got some really great J.D. & Lucy moments as he helps her transition into being a medical student. Like I mentioned earlier, J.D. is at his best when he's guiding the younger doctors, and this relationship has a lot of potential, especially as he passes the torch on to her once and for all.

Dr. Cox has also found himself a new "Newbie" as he handpicked Drew to be his "favorite". We got to see a pretty funny running gag in the first episode where Dr. Cox had Drew wear a #1 sign all the time, and J.D. was obviously jealous and willing to be humiliated just to get on Cox's good side. Good stuff. Also, in a lot of ways Drew is mini-Cox, and I'll bet we'll see them butt heads more than those tough love scenes we saw with J.D.

Change is never easy, and a lot of people cannot stand it, and I get that, but I'm a little surprised that so many "fans" are trashing the new season on the Internet, and already jumping ship. Sure, the first two episodes weren't perfect and some of the changes are a little hard to swallow, but I'm willing to give one of my favorite shows a fair shake. Will I stick around for the entire season? I don't know, but all I can really say is I am planning on catching next week's episode.


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