Thursday, May 07, 2009

A Few Words About Scrubs

As I've said before, I don't watch much t.v. but one of the shows I've never missed is Scrubs, which had its possible series finale last night. During its first season, I accidentally stumbled into the show and it has become my favorite program over its last eight seasons. The show was completely mistreated by NBC with changing days, time slots, or take off the schedule altogether. Thankfully, ABC stepped in for this season and with constant play in syndication or Comedy Central, it earned a respectful finale.

No matter how much I like the show, it's been obvious over the past two or three seasons that the show is struggling to stay consistent. First it fell into the standard sitcom traps of babies and marriage, one of the main reasons why I hate most sitcoms. Plots also got to ridiculous or fantastical (the season finale from season 7) or characters that really made no sense (Hooch) or ones that I simply hated (Lloyd the delivery guy). The first part of this season saw a return to past strengths, blending smarter jokes and the pathos of everyday reality in a hospital, what endeared me to the show in the first place. The past few episodes, aside of Neil Flynn's riffs as the Janitor (he has been unbelievable), it seemed the right time to end the show.

Last night's finale was what I've come to expect out of latter-day Scrubs: some good janitor moments and jokes but overall underwhelming as a whole (and a great song selection, "Book of Love", a Magnetic Fields cover by Peter Gabriel). The end treads into sentimental remembrances and bringing back old characters, traditional television finale territory. And yet the actors and creator Bill Lawrence don't make it feel schmaltzy even though it followed all the standard Scrubs cues. It was a finale that never really finalized that much. These characters will still be moving on in their lives. The show just happens to be stopping in a certain point in the timeline. There were no weddings, no twists, no more new babies, no feeling of clear resolution. Now some of this leaves the door open to the show coming back next year in a modified form, something ABC hasn't ruled out. But I think it's best to allow Scrubs to go out now, to keep it in my mind a show that was well worth my time.

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