Thanks to STAR, a new universe of Disney +, all the episodes of “Scrubs” are available on a SVOD platform in France. And it would be a shame to miss out on this funny, tender and unmissable series.
Has the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the world and plagued the entertainment industry for a year rush things? Or is it a natural evolution, symbol of the way in which streaming and its dematerialized works take precedence over the physical medium? Little by little, several cult series from the 90s and 2000s land on SVOD platforms, like Buffy the vampire slayer, The X-Files or Parks and Recreation last year, or even 24 hours flat. and Dawson since January. A trend today amplified by the arrival of STAR, a new universe allowing Disney + to integrate Fox films and several titles broadcast on ABC. Including the integrals of Alias and Scrubs, launched at the same time at the start of the 2001 school year.
Created by Bill Lawrence, who had previously made his classes as a screenwriter on The Incorrigible Cory, Spin City or an episode of Friends (the fourteenth of season 1), Scrubs debuts October 2, 2001 on NBC. Which will broadcast the series until 2008 and then pass the baton to ABC for the last two seasons. Renamed Doctor or not doctor during its passage in France (on the late bouquet TPS, then M6, late at night), this sitcom plunges us into the medical world and follows three interns (two in medicine and one in surgery) who take their first steps in the Sacré-Coeur hospital. A classic but effective way of making us discover a whole universe, colorful, through the eyes of new recruits. And in particular those of John Dorian, alias JD, whose voice-over guides us for eight seasons.
“This is my story”, tells us the character played by Zach Braff after the credits illustrated by the song “I’m No Superman” by Laszlo Bane, which has become cult thanks to the series. But it will also be that of Turk (Donald Faison), his best friend and roommate. From Carla (Judy Reyes), the latter’s future wife. Elliot (Sarah Chalke) and his desire to do well. Of Doctor Perry Cox (John C. McGinley) and his submachine gun flow. From Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins) and his trickster methods to spend as little money as possible in the hospital he runs. Or the strange janitor (Neil Flynn) who makes the hero his pain-reliever at the end of the pilot. It’s no secret: a good sitcom can be recognized by the writing quality of its characters, more than by its tone and its universe, because they are the ones that allow us to attach ourselves to the whole. And on this point, Scrubs does not fail.
WHAT’S UP DOC ?
From its pilot, the series defines the personalities of each one with a formidable precision but makes them quickly evolve to give them depth. And that’s how the show, hilarious as it is, tells us about loneliness, addictions, depression, marital and family issues or parenthood. Like many others before them, of course. But she does so in a setting where death is part of the characters’ daily lives. JD, Turk and Elliot are all confronted with it from episode 4 of season 1, where they learn to cope with the death of a patient and how to manage the repercussions. It may seem paradoxical for a sitcom, but it is from the flaws of its protagonists and the grief they face that some of its most memorable scenes are born. Or when they are forced to recognize that they are not supermen, as in the title song, and cannot save certain lives.
Fans of Emergencies will argue that they didn’t have to wait for Scrubs to see this on the small screen. And they won’t be wrong. But what strikes at the outset in the series of Bill Lawrence, and is only confirmed thereafter, it is its great accuracy. In emotion as in humor, which she combines admirably well, capable of making us cry with sadness as with laughter. Because it is an understatement to say that hilarity is often in the show, which offers us one of its funniest gags from the pilot, with a humor that develops and shines on several tables: the burlesque and the physical comedy, which are embodied in the falls and waterfalls which multiply with the seasons, when the actors take a liking to it; the nonsense that emerges from lunar exchanges with the concierge; the Cox valves that fuse as much as the nicknames he gives to JD; or the diversion and parody, which are born in the mind of the latter.
Like That ’70s Show or Ally McBeal before her, Scrubs superimposes several levels of reality and regularly transposes a situation into another context, thanks to JD’s very vivid imagination, and his wandering mind more than reason. This is how he compares Turk’s unifying power to that of a gospel ceremonial priest, sees himself dancing on “99 Luftballoons” to communicate with a German patient who does not speak a word of English or that an entire episode, the hundredth in the series, comes across as a replay of The Wizard of Oz. On arrival, we can no longer count the number of parodies and references contained in the show, and some even ask to know very American-American personalities to seize them. But never do these winks give the impression that the writers are trying to furnish, since these gags are at the service of the story, the characters and their emotions. Including when guests come to participate.
If the popularity of a series is also measured by its guests, then this one is undoubtedly at the top of the basket. In the space of 182 episodes spread over 9 seasons, it will have indeed hosted: Brendan Fraser, Heather Locklear, Ryan Reynolds, Dick van Dyke, Michael J. Fox, Julianna Margulies, Keri Russell or even a Colin Farrell then in full hype , since he appears in the show between the releases of Miami Vice and Le Rêve de Cassandre. Not to mention the two former Friends of Matthew Perry and Courteney Cox, who will then become the heroine of Cougar Town, Bill Lawrence’s next project. Not content with being funny, touching, and endearing, Scrubs also proves she’s cool. And Turk’s dances are no stranger to it, nor is his soundtrack, with indie titles that strongly recall the universe that Zach Braff will develop on Garden State and The Role of my Life, his first two feature films. as a director.
A REMEDY FOR MOROSITY?
At the time of its launch, at the dawn of the 21st century and the new boom of the small screen, Scrubs faced a major double challenge: to establish itself in the very demanding world of sitcoms AND that of medical series. What she managed to do. With brio and an identity of its own, composed of a formidable and inventive humor, a real care in the writing of the characters and the relations that unite them (the bromance between JD and Turk in mind), a great accuracy in the emotion and the alternation of tones and even… a touch of realism. Yes. If the show voluntarily enlarges the line and goes to the end of its delusions, as in the musical episode, many viewers evolving in the hospital environment have underlined how the representation he made of it was fair. And especially when he shows it as a basket of crabs and talks about the spirit of competition and the sleeping arrangements between interns. The aberrations of the American health care system. The few resources from which the sector suffers. Or the fact of being a woman there.
In substance as in form, in humor as in emotion, the term “fair” is perhaps the one that best applies to Scrubs, whose journey looks like a faultless for 8 seasons, with a final episode that acts as the perfect conclusion … until the 9 is born, and not be massively disowned by the fans. Which is a bit excessive. But she clearly denotes, if only with her approach to “soft reboot”, namely a way to relaunch the series with new main characters, supervised by some old ones in the background. Far from being ashamed, the result does not live up to expectations and fails to attach us to its heroes. For lack of satisfactory audiences, the series will therefore be canceled after these 13 episodes, which somewhat tarnish the brilliance of this jewel of comedy, which has become essential over the years. And the ideal remedy for the prevailing gloom.