by Grace Donahue
As someone who is about 17 seasons late to “Grey’s Anatomy,” I never bothered to catch up with the rest of the world. However, as someone who adores oddball, workplace sitcoms of the mid-2000s, I had to watch “Scrubs.”
“Scrubs” has easily become my comfort show in my first semester of college and 2021 in general. It’s a medical “drama” that doesn’t take itself too seriously while feeding into the success of its NBC contemporaries such as “The Office” and “30 Rock.” The show features a cast of medical students starting their internship at the teaching hospital, Sacred Heart, centered around John Dorian or J.D. (Zach Braff), his friends, family, bosses and a few zany co-workers.
The series is mostly narrated by J.D. and life in the hospital is told from his perspective. It gives the show a unique style and offers hilarious vignettes through J.D.’s elaborate daydreams. Their parody episodes — including “My Musical,” an episode featuring a patient who only hears people singing — may have influenced shows like “Community” that often pay homage to other shows and movie styles.
What I love about “Scrubs” is its balance. It can include a deadpan exchange with the irritable chief of medicine, Dr. Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins), right alongside an emotional lesson from one of the many patients who come to Sacred Heart. The duality of the whole show just makes me happy I don’t have to choose from an hour-long medical drama that is far too long to catch up on or a half-hour sitcom I’ve seen too many times.
The ability “Scrubs” possesses can be traced back to its great cast. Characters like the senior attending physician, Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley), who presents himself as a no-nonsense doctor with a god complex and who refuses to let J.D. view him as any sort of mentor, can also be the man torn up for weeks after multiple patients died under his care. He is a multi-faceted person just like everyone else, with all the arrogance, cynicism and compassion that comes with being a seasoned doctor.
Each character is the same way — except for a few new interns and side characters whose sole punchline is based on one trait. There is so much heart put into these characters that I quickly became invested in their lives. “Scrubs” can pull the best traits from serious medical dramas and quirky sitcoms and create something satisfying and worthwhile to watch.
I have not yet finished the series, but I still feel like my thoughts and opinions are fully realized. No matter what happens to J.D., his surgeon best friend Turk (Donald Faison), his rival, on-and-off girlfriend and good friend Elliot (Sarah Chalke) and the rest of the eccentric characters at Sacred Heart, I am drawn to the show’s ability to make me cry tears of laughter and occasionally, of sadness.