Scrubs: Season 5
May 22, 2007
Bill Lawrence, Michael Spiller, Ken Wittingham, Zach Braff,
Starring: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, John C. McGinley, Sarah Chalke, Judy Reyes, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins, Sam Lloyd, Christa Miller, Aloma Wright,
As season five of Scrubs begins, J.D. (Braff) is homeless after a tenant above him crashed through his ceiling at the end of the previous season. So, he moves back in with Turk (Faison) and Carla (Reyes). Elliot (Chalke) is working at a new hospital and yet still haunts Sacred Heart. Carla and Turk are trying to make a baby, although, he isn’t too crazy about the idea but doesn’t have the courage to tell her. Once she gets pregnant, however, tensions increase between them as she gets upset that her diet has become very restricted while he can continue to eat and drink whatever he wants. Donald Faison and Judy Reyes have excellent chemistry together and play particularly well off each other this season.
J.D. is now an attending physician and with the new position comes new responsibilities. He can no longer rely on Dr. Cox (McGinley) to protect him now that they are equals (sort of). J.D. has to decide whether he wants to be a maverick that bends the rules, like Cox, or play by them, like Dr. Kelso (Jenkins). Jordan (Miller) is now working at the hospital much to the chagrin of Cox who is living with her. She delights in antagonizing him and J.D. at every opportunity. If that wasn’t bad enough, J.D. is still being tormented by the janitor (Flynn). In one episode, he makes several life-size colour copies of J.D. and sticks them strategically around the hospital which gets the young doctor in all kinds of trouble. Elliot becomes romantically involved with Keith, one of her interns, mostly because she can boss him around while J.D. finds himself attracted to a beautiful doctor named Kim (Elizabeth Banks). These two romantic relationships will take on more significance in the next season.
The show wisely doesn’t mess with its established formula, opting instead to tweak it a little. Each episode is filled with the usual wacky humour, often in the form of absurd situations that a given character imagines, and then concludes with a poignant message. For example, in one episode we find out that Kelso actually does care but hides it under a crass exterior that is only concerned about money. However, he acts that way so that various programs at the hospital can be funded but unfortunately has to live with often making unpopular decisions.
The episode where Ted (Lloyd) and the janitor audition people for their air band provides one of the funniest moments of the season when Turk displays some awesome dance moves to “Poison” and Todd auditions with Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend” which makes perfect sense for his character.
As the season progresses, the writing gets tighter and the episodes get more anecdotal, the humour is stronger and therefore makes the show more enjoyable to watch. The pivotal, semi-dramatic arc for this season has to do with Cox and the fall-out from a work day from hell when three patients die as a result of a decision that he made. It sends him into an alcoholic tailspin that gives John C. McGinley a chance to showcase his dramatic chops. It also shows that under his gruff, sarcastic exterior, Cox cares a lot about whether a patient lives or dies and this is why J.D. admires him.
Scrubs is one of those rare sitcoms that has gotten better over time. The character development has deepened and gone to all kinds of interesting places, making the show one of the better sitcoms to come out in the last decade.
The first disc features an audio commentary on “My Big Bird” by actor Neil Flynn and producer Randall Winston. They establish a casual tone talking about the average height of the cast and John C. McGinley’s emerging facial hair. Winston is the straight man to Flynn’s dry sense of humour.
The third disc includes “My Way Home: Extended 100th Episode” with an optional commentary by Zach Braff who directed it. He points out the extra footage and explains why it was cut. He says that this episode featured the show’s most expensive stunt with J.D. disappearing into a huge pothole. He talks about the directorial choices he made, like doing several scenes in one shot without any edits.
“My 117 Episodes: 5 Seasons of Scrubs” is a featurette that celebrates the 100th episode of the show with a montage of some of the best bits from the entire run with interview soundbites from key cast and crew members. Creator Bill Lawrence says that he’s proud to see the cast growing up over the years.
Also included are seven deleted scenes and ten alternate lines that showcases the cast’s mad improvisational skills.
Finally, there is an audio commentary on “My Lunch” by actor John C. McGinley and director John Michel. The actor points out that one of the patients in this episode was a good friend of his during their New York University days. He also compliments many of the supporting cast of actors. Sadly, there are a few lulls in this lackluster track.