This blog entry is my review of the fifth best episode of the TV series "Scrubs." You can read my write-ups of the sixth, eighth, ninth and tenth best episodes to get caught up. Number seven will be provided last.
Michael J. Fox guest stars as Dr. Kevin Casey, a doctor whose obsessive-compulsive disorder caused him to spend 24/7 studying health and medicine during his early years at Sacred Heart. Such drive led him to become both a physician and a surgeon, a rarity in the land of "Scrubs"...and real life. Our favorite doctors are startled by the capacity of the new sheriff in town.
The premise as described above is pretty simple, but the execution is off-the-charts amazing. Michael J. Fox had left Bill Lawrence's "Spin City" due to Parkinson's disease. Lawrence was able to talk Fox into making a two-episode appearance on "Scrubs" and he just nailed the character. Even though the series was in the middle of its third season when "My Catalyst" aired, Fox provided even more star-power to the show it had yet to achieve.
The acting prowess of Fox in these episodes reminded the viewer of how much his fans were robbed of a fantastic artist. He marks his arrival in such a state of total confidence and likeability, but because it's Michael J. Fox it's an easy role for him to play. Throughout the episode he is approached by JD, Cox and Turk about medicine. They initially come away impressed with him and marvel at his awesomeness. (Yes, I used the word "awesomeness"; it's the only word to accurately capture him in their eyes.) At a simultaneous point in the episode, these three doctors become threatened by Dr. Kevin Casey's abilities and "cool-as-a-cucumber" attitude. They go from awed to shaken to threatened to accepting the full picture in the course of this episode.
What do our heros learn from Dr. Kevin Casey? Turk is proud of how proficient he has gotten at performing procedures. He then watches Casey operate on someone and is stunned at how exponentially more proficient Casey is than he is. Cox discusses with Carla how important he is to the hospital as its best physician. Later he made the mistake of challenging Casey to a game of rounds, where the residents threw questions at each of them. Surprise - Cox lost. And JD thinks Casey can finally be the mentor he has sought in two-plus years at Sacred Heart, but Casey makes him question why he needs so much approval from a superior.
In real life there are several reactions to feeling threatened. JD, Turk and Cox decided to fight back and confront Dr. Kevin Casey. Little did they know that he himself has his own demons to battle. Specifically, OCD drove him to perform surgical procedures at light speed while being able to diagnose patients with the rarist of diseases. That same OCD also causes him to wash his hands two straight hours following an operation. It's not that he wants to do this; he simply can't help himself. The guys recognize that Dr. Kevin Casey did nothing more than show up and do his job; it was how they reacted that they need to change. They had to re-examine what is important in their lives.
Michael J. Fox handed in a spectacular performance in this episode. I don't know who else could have pulled this off.
Cox: "When I was a resident, I had problems with metabolic diseases so I grabbed every case I could get my hands on until I had it down pat." JD: "You REALLY had problems with metabolic diseases?" Cox: "No...no I'm a GOOD doctor."
Dr. Wen: "Turk, have you been working on your dexterity?" Turk: "Well, I have been playing a lot of John Madden Football on my XBox." The Todd: "I'd like to play John Madden Football...on HER XBox!" Turk: "On who, Todd? There are no women here." Todd, feelings hurt: "It's still funny...?"
Ted: "I doubt the pigeons will be back, sir. You know, unless someone who comes up here every day trying to find the courage to jump passes the time by throwing bird seed on your car's hood." Kelso: "Stop babbling, Ted, no one's ever listening."
JD: "You're unflappable!" Dr. Kevin Casey: "It's true. I can't be flapped."
The Todd: "See, the reason the XBox joke should work is because "XBox" is the perfect word for a girl's party zone!" <Dr. Kevin Casey is initially speechless> Casey: "Uh, 'The Todd,' is it?" Todd: "Oh yeah..." Casey: "Can you make a very important phone call for me?" Todd: "To who?" Casey: "To anyone." <Todd shoots fake guns at Casey and walks away in supreme confidence>
Dr. Kevin Casey to Ted: "Hey 'Hair Club!' Did that suit come with the flop sweat?"
Kelso: "Dr. Dorian, I'm far too irritable to pretend I don't hate you, so let's cut to the chase."
The guys blame Dr. Kevin Casey for exposing their insecurities. They soon realize that their insecurities are their own and they need to address them themselves rather than blame someone else. Dr. Kevin Casey forces them to ask this question - what is really important to them? We hadn't seen our protagonists so vulnerable at the same time, and all it took was a spectacular performance by Michael J. Fox to do this.