I have reviewed what I consider to be the eighth, ninth and tenth best episodes of the TV series “Scrubs.” For reasons that will become clear, I am going to do the seventh episode last. Up next is #6 – “My Missed Perception.”
The main characters are forced to examine how they interact with others when it’s clear that they have completely misunderstood the points of view of specific people. Carla, ever the sentimentalist, tries to get all hospital personnel organized to take a staff photo. The task proves a bit more challenging than expected.
I would have to say that this TV series hit its comedic prime with this episode. I rated this episode so highly because of the comedy; the plot is insignificant. From the very start of the series there were always one-liners (The Todd) and running gags (Rowdy) that kept bringing us back to watch the show on NBC and eventually ABC. (How great a moment was it in the first scene of Season 8, the show’s first on ABC? JD says, “Well THAT’S new!” while pointing to something off-camera, when he was actually pointing at the ABC logo on the bottom of the screen. This show had such great writers and actors.)
But having watched the seasons over the years, in Season 5 the show took several more calculated risks in going overboard on the comedy. And it worked! In the first episode we see a good portion of the show from the viewpoint of a brand new intern, who turned out to be a scared-shitless Keith. I mean, the camera was literally the point of view of Keith for several scenes. The 100th episode of the series fell in this season; the second half of the episode turned into a grand production of “The Wizard of Oz at Sacred Heart.” Other gags include Turk and JD getting whupped by ostriches; JD completely shaving his head for a patient; and Janitor locking JD in a water tower for a day. The comedy had such a grandiose, wacky approach compared to the prior four seasons.
“My Missed Perception” is the best example of the most grandiose season of “Scrubs.” Every joke just killed. One of the funniest extended scenes of the series occurs when Carla informs everyone that it was time for the staff picture. To motivate the doctors and nurses, Nurse Laverne Roberts busts out a tambourine and gives it the old gospel choir try. Everyone gives excuses of why they’ll avoid the picture. Gary Busey (!) gives a cameo appearance. Turk breaks out his own tambourine and sings to accentuate the vibe of the group. Janitor explains how good he is at predicting hospital events, knowing that he’ll be right this time as well. Can you name another show with a scene that involves one tambourine, Gary Busey, a second tambourine and a janitor explaining how the hospital’s “Convicts to Cooks Program” was cancelled, let alone making that scene work without being gratuitous?
This episode also introduces us to “Dr. Acula,” a screenplay conceived by JD. As the name suggests, Dr. Acula is a vampire who happens to be a doctor. I’m sure other people have thought of this concept before, but after watching four years of JD, is the viewer remotely surprised that he came up with it? There are a couple references to Dr. Acula throughout the current season. As an FYI, the current season was broadcast in 2005-2006, well before the current vampire craze triggered by the “Twilight” series of films. Although no one ever gives “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” enough credit for being way ahead of the “Twilight” series. I’m referring to the TV show “Buffy,” not the terrible movie “Buffy.” Kristy Swanson in her physical prime was not enough to salvage that debacle. I should compose a Top Ten list of “Buffy” episodes. I just handed in a man-card upon completing that last sentence.
It’s almost as if it took the writers four years to gain the confidence to take on such zany, elaborate comedic scenes. Now that they forged their identity, the show really took off in Season 5 and peaked with this episode. It the most carefree season they had; they just let everything rip.
Elliot: “Carla, I don’t photograph well. On my driver’s license, I look like Gary Busey.” <Elliot walks away, passing Gary Busey.> Gary Busey, in a lab coat looking up from a chart with a picture of Elliot on his ID badge: “…they say the same thing about me.” <Gary Busey laughs maniacally and walks away, passing Turk.> Turk, casually: “See you later, Elliot.”
Janitor: “I’ve predicted a couple things over the years: the kitchen fire of ’97; the kitchen fire of ’98; the arson conviction of Luis the fry cook; and of course, the eventual termination of the hospital’s “Convicts to Cooks Program.”
<Turk and JD have a dialogue while walking, ending up outside.> Turk: “Where’s the donut truck? I was told there was a donut truck out here.” Elliot: “I was paged there was a handbag sale out here.” Todd: “Where’s the booby-touching booth?” JD: “It’s like we were all lured out here by the one thing we want the most.” <Cox runs up to JD looking at his pager, out of breath clearly from sprinting> Cox: “HEY! You’re not getting your ass kicked!”
I mean, Gary effing Busey showed up to take part in a gag to sort of poke fun at himself! The doctors and Carla learned their lesson on why they should be more empathetic with others. If you like silly comedy, this episode is for you.