Monday, July 11, 2011

Scrubs Episode #3 - "My Unicorn"

Below is my analysis of the third best "Scrubs" episode, "My Unicorn."  You can search for the other episodes with the tag "Scrubs" at the bottom of this post.  My composition for #7 will be provided at the end of the list, for reasons that will become clear when it's posted.

In the middle of the fourth season, we find our heros trying to push their limits.  JD goes well out of his way to help a patient who needs a kidney translplant, even though Dr. Cox clearly told him to not get so involved.  Meanwhile Elliot learns how to effectively flirt (which is odd for an intelligent hottie in her mid/late 20's), but will she learn where the line is?

JD talks to his current favorite patient, Gregory Marks, who needs a new kidney.  Mr. Marks is such a likeable guy - he's handsome, genuinely charming, and just a good soul.  JD is almost brought to tears that Mr. Marks bought him a journal with a unicorn on it.  (As JD mentions twice, it's not a unicorn; it's a horse with a sword on its head to protect JD's hopes and dreams).

So JD does some research and finds out that Gregory has a son, Murray Marks.  (Murray is played phenomenally by Matthew Perry, not one of my favorite actors from his time on "Friends."  Murray's father Gregory is played by Perry's real life father.)  JD finds out that Murrary works at a small, local airport that gets one plane a day.  After their introduction, Murray agrees to go to the hospital to give his dad a kidney...for $70,000.  What?  Gregory is beloved by the entire hospital staff; how could his own son not want to help him out?

We come to find out that Murrary resents his father for illogical reasons, which is not uncommon among fathers and sons - he doesn't like being named "Murray" and he doesn't like how much more attention his father got.  JD talks him into it (finally), only to find out that Gregory is NOT Murrary's biological father.  What?  Murray leaves the hospital without the donation.  At the end of the episode, JD and Cox coach Murray into doing the right thing.

Meanwhile, Elliot is learning that Carla and Jordan get their way by using their femininity to their advantage.  She gives this a shot but comes up well short on her first attempts.  (Seriously, a woman as physically attractive as Sarah Chalke should have learned how to do this well before her fourth year as a physician.  But it's a TV show, and no one's perfect.)  With the help of a wet scrubs top, she learns that men can be easily influenced by her "charms."

Turk, who as the man is obviously the voice of reason (I think I was kidding as I typed that), warns Barbie that excessive flirting will hurt her in the long run.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and Elliot was too far gone to take heed.  She ends up unknowingly giving a terrible first impression to a potential employer, but thankfully Janitor is there to save the day.  This may be the only time you could ever say that about Janitor.

So after all this plot, why is this episode named "My Unicorn?"  The unicorn on JD's new journal had maybe 10 seconds of actual screen time.  He even states that he's given the fictional animal charge over his "hopes and dreams."  What are the three things JD wanted most throughout nine seasons of "Scrubs?"  Women, a hug from Dr. Cox, and helping patients (not necessarily in that order).  JD had just gotten done chasing Dr. Molly Clock (Heather Graham) so he wasn't back in the market yet for another woman.  Dr. Cox helped JD through the trauma of his father's death, essentially giving him a psychological hug along the way.  So that leaves his current dream of helping patients. 

I've written previously in my analysis of "My Own American Girl" that it's easy to root for these main characters because of how much they care for their patients.  I'm not going to rehash that here.  It should suffice to say that we're once again in a situation where JD takes time away from the hospital trying to help his patients by bringing a family together.  One subtle lesson Cox tries to teach JD on occasion is that he's going to burn out if he takes helping patients so personally all the time.  However, there's an entire episode entitled "My Extra Mile" where JD unintentionally teaches Cox the importance of going the extra mile.  They are a good yin and yang couple on so many levels, and this is one.

It should be noted that Matthew Perry came on set and immediately commanded his character.  You felt like Murray was a character that could have had his own show - there's just a nice depth to the character that is uncommon for a one-episode guest star.  He and Zach Braff had fantastic chemistry onscreen.  The exchange narrated below between the two of them when Murray doesn't immediately believe JD's father recently died, followed by the horror of recognizing that JD wasn't lying, is some of the best acting of anyone on the show.  Perry and his father also (obviously) had great chemistry.  For one of my least favorite actors, Matthew Perry had potentially the best guest star appereance ever.

On top of all of this, this is such a fun episode.  The journal, Gregory's singing, the airport personnel, Janitor letting on that his long term plan is to marry Elliot, slow-motion's got it all.

Memorable Quotes
Elliot: "Do you have choclate cake?" Lunch server: "No." Elliot: "Well isn't THAT the giant pickle on top of the crap sandwich that is my day today?" Turk: "Relax Elliot, I never get chocolate cake." Elliot: "Oh right, you're diabetic.  BOO HOO!  You know what, Turk?  If you want sympathy, get a diseases that people can see!" Turk, genuinely shocked: "...WOW!" Elliot, genuinely: "Turk, I'm SO sorry!" Turk, grabbing his crucifix: "No problem!  Forgive and forget, right?" <Elliot looks away, Turk whispers "GET HER" to the crucifix>

JD: "You'll never guess what I found online!" Cox: "A set of adult male shoulders?"

Cox after Murray offers a kidney for $70K: "I love this moment so much right now, I wanna have sex with it."

Elliot runs her hand across Janitor's hand and winks; Janitor races to jewelry store.  Janitor: "I wanna see THAT engagement ring." Jeweler: "That costs $10,000." Janitor, not missing a beat: "I got twelve bucks."

Murray: "You obviously have issues with your own father that you're projecting onto me.  Why don't you give him a jingle?" JD: "He's dead." Murray: "Good stuff!" JD: "I'm serious." Murrary: "Classic!" JD: "He had a massive heart attack." Murray, instantly transformed from laughing to horrified: "...I'm sorry for you loss!"

Cox, after informing JD that Gregory is not Murray's biological father: "By the by - I love THIS moment so much, I'd cheat on the other moment from before, marry this one, and raise a whole family of tiny baby moments."

Cox: "You do know he's not your son, right?" Gregory: "I figured it out, mostly because his mother was eight months pregnant when I met her, but there were other signs..."

Hopes and dreams.  Family and flirting.  Learning where boundaries exist, and learning when and how to push them.  The best guest star ever.  Everyone needs protected at times.  (JD more than most, but most dudes are more manly than him.)

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