Category Archives: Scrubs

Season Premiere: Scrubs – “My Jerks” and “My Last Words”

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“My Jerks” and “My Last Words”

January 6th, 2008

When I heard that Scrubs was given an eighth season, I was frustrated: this is a show that has been proclaimed dead more times than I can count, and was quite actually creatively dead at a certain point in its seventh season. But if I had to give you a single reason why I fail to find much enthusiasm for the ABC premiere of Scrubs, it’s simple: fatigue.

It’s one thing to say that I grew tired, through particularly rough sixth and seventh seasons, of the show’s inconsistency of tone, allowing a pervading wackiness to overwhelm the heart that drove the show forward; that’s pretty understandable, and even partially acknowledged by Bill Lawrence and Co. behind the scenes. But I also found myself growing tired of the course correction: just as the initial problems were becoming too common, the solutions were becoming their own internal cliches, and the show’s structure was beginning to wear thin. I was ready to say goodbye to Scrubs as a show not because of its fixable struggles, but because whatever show it tried to be in spite of those problems wasn’t really holding my attention either.

What “My Jerks” and “My Last Words,” the first two episodes of the series to air on ABC following the show’s off-season move from NBC, represent for me is a test: to what degree can the show, now hyper-aware of fan desire to return to the tone of the first few seasons to the point of a meta-commentary during the credits of the first episode, rely on its old formulas without wearing thin the nostalgia of those watching the show. If you are someone who has always held out hope for Scrubs to get back on track, I can see how this episode could provide substantial hope for the future; similarly, for viewers tuning in after a long hiatus or for the first time, they will stand out as solid comedy episodes which balance slapstick and sentiment like few other shows can.

But as someone who was ready to call Scrubs a dead horse and send it off into the sunset, I’m not sure how long my nostalgia will be able to hold out; I was charmed and entertained by these episodes, but they felt alarmingly rote. They’re enough to get the show out of the television dog house, but are they really enough to reinvigorate the emotional connection some once had with the show?

As if to answer my question, Dr. Cox and J.D. discuss how they’re tired doing the same thing over and over again, a bit of foreshadowing to potentially spin the series off without its major stars but also a shrewd commentary on the show’s paradox: the network might be new and the energy might be higher than it’s been for a long time, but what’s old is all that’s new again.

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“Season Finale” – Scrubs – “My Princess”

“My Princess”

May 8th, 2008

It is, perhaps, the most confusing finale in recent years: Scrubs is ending its seventh season tonight, and NBC has no plans on bringing it back. So, there is the thought of series finale in the air, but this is not true: although it won’t be confirmed until after the show concludes its run on the peacock, ABC has already ordered 18 episodes of the series that are filming now, and that will air next season. The result is an episode that exists purely in limbo, a false goodbye for a series we’ll be seeing more of.

As I’ve noted, I really am not that enamoured with the series as of late, but the last few episodes have showed potential – if anything, their only major flaw is their decision to continue the forced march towards J.D. and Elliot reconnecting romantically. I like the sendoff given to Ken Jenkins’ Dr. Kelso, I’ve enjoyed our time spent with the Janitor, but with a certain lack of faith in the show’s central romantic storyline I certainly need to be convinced that those 18 episodes next season will be worth my time.

If there is any way to do it, though, perhaps this is it: Zach Braff’s second epic take-off of a classic fairy tale, this time cult classic The Princess Bride, and if his work on the charming Wizard of Oz episode that signaled the show’s 100th episode was any indication this kind of thing is right up his alley. Scrubs is a show that often works well within event formats (The Musical episode was a highlight dramatically, if not perhaps musically, for the sixth season), but has Braff managed to do the inconceivable?

Has he actually created an episode of Scrubs that cuts through my jaded cynicism for the future?

Not so much.

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Le Cheval Mort – Lamenting the Immortality of ‘Scrubs’

I had time to watch Scrubs’ return episode live on Thursday of last week, but I turned off the T.V. after The Office ended. There were a lot of reasons for this, most directly that I’ve been watching Scrubs on DVD for the past couple of weeks and was perhaps Scrubbed out. Or, maybe I was too afraid that the relative lack of quality in recent episodes would make me even more frustrated with ABC’s inevitable decision to keep the show for an eighth season (Thus making it a dead horse, which is what the title means in French – no, I don’t know why I wrote it in French, it just sounded better).

Watching the DVDs has been a quick process, almost too quick: I know the tragic turn of the 5th season is coming, and I’m stopping before it starts just to maintain what appreciation I have of Bill Lawrence’s sitcom. And it is an appreciation: the first and second seasons are great television, and it was really unfortunate the show got no Emmy attention until the “dark ages” beyond season four (Which is itself a bit of a mess).

But I decided I was going to give the show a shot, and say down on Sunday night to watch the show’s return following the Writers’ Strike. And, for a good nineteen minutes and fifty seconds, I have to admit it: Scrubs was in good form.

And then reality kicked back in.

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Cultural Learnings’ Fall 2007 Lineup: Thursdays

Yes, I am aware that there was a delay in posting Thursday’s lineup, but there was a reason for this. I’ve been anxious over this day in particular because, as per usual, it remains the most packed night of programming on the Fall Schedule, especially for me. And last night, I decided to see whether I might (finally) be able to cut Survivor out of my Thursday lineup. And, well, see below for whether or not that worked.

The Office

Airing four hour long episodes early in the season before Scrubs premieres, The Office is taking on Grey’s Anatomy single-handedly this year. It hopes to sustain last year’s ratings, and certainly has a decent shot at it. There’s some exciting developments heading into this season (Ryan as the boss, Jim/Pam, etc.), so even some uneven episodes won’t keep me away.

Cultural Learnings’ Review of The Office Finale 

30 Rock

This Emmy-winning comedy has the unfortunate circumstance of being located within a rather difficult timeslot: sure, it belonged to The Office last year, but it’s also against two other shows I’m interested in covering. Still, it gets this particular spot regardless of that development: the show was too good last season to consider putting on the backburner, although it doesn’t debut for a while yet.

Cultural Learnings’ 30 Rock Coverage 

Survivor: China

Yeah, I’m weak: as much as I might claim I can disconnect from this series in its 15th season, it just isn’t happening this time around. The cast of characters have already had a chance to make their impact, and the challenges despite repetition are usually enough to suck me in. I’ve tended to skip the Tribal Council sequences more now, but the point stands: I’m covering Survivor.

Cultural Learnings’ Survivor Coverage 

The Other Shows

Ugly Betty and Grey’s Anatomy are in a tough spot for me, one in terms of time period and the other due to a weak third season. Ugly Betty ended its first season on a high note, and certainly has a lot of momentum moving forward. But I never feel like I’m “caught up” in it, which is the way I perhaps felt about Grey’s Anatomy before a frustrating last stanza. The George/Izzie relationship took out a lot of steam, so it’s going to be wait and see for the series.

I’ll also be watching Scrubs when it returns late in the year, although my interest in that series has also wained.

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Filed under 2007 Fall Preview, 30 Rock, ABC, Grey's Anatomy, NBC, Reality TV, Scrubs, Survivor, Television, The Office, Ugly Betty

2007-2008 Fall Premiere Dates – FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC and The CW

This fall, all of your favourite shows will be returning, and some new blood will join the pack. Which nights should you be scheduling off? Here’s the full calendar list of premiere dates for the Big 5 Networks.

NOTE: New shows are shown in blue.

September 6th

8:00pm

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader [FOX]

September 11th

8:00pm

The Biggest Loser [NBC]

September 12th

9:00pm

Kitchen Nightmares [FOX]

September 14th

9:00pm

Nashville [FOX]

September 17th

8:00pm

Prison Break [FOX]

9:00pm

K-Ville [FOX]

September 18th

8:00pm

Beauty & The Geek [Two Hours] [The CW]

Bones [FOX]

September 19th

8:00pm

Kid Nation [CBS]

America’s Next Top Model [The CW]

Back To You [FOX]

8:30pm

‘Til Death [FOX]

9:00pm

Gossip Girl [The CW]

September 20th

8:00pm

Survivor: China [CBS]

September 23rd

8:00pm

The Simpsons [FOX]

8:30pm

King of the Hill [FOX]

9:00pm

Cold Case [CBS]

Family Guy [FOX]

10:00pm

Shark [CBS]

September 24th

8:00pm

How I Met Your Mother [CBS]

Chuck [NBC]

Dancing with the Stars [ABC]

8:30pm

Big Bang Theory [CBS]

9:00pm

Heroes [NBC]

Two and a Half Men [CBS]

9:30pm

Rules of Engagement [CBS]

The Bachelor [ABC]

10:00pm

CSI: Miami [CBS]

Journeyman [NBC]

September 25th

8:00pm

New Amsterdam [FOX]

NCIS [CBS]

Dancing with the Stars (Results) [ABC]

9:00pm

House [FOX]

The Unit [CBS]

Reaper [The CW]

9:30pm

The Singing Bee [NBC]

Boston Legal [ABC] [Special 90 Minute Premiere]

10:00pm

Cane [CBS]

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit [NBC]

September 26th

8:00pm

Deal or No Deal [NBC]

9:00pm

The Bionic Woman [NBC]

Criminal Minds [CBS]

Private Practice [ABC]

10:00pm

Life [NBC]

CSI: New York [CBS]

Dirty Sexy Money [ABC]

September 27th

8:00pm

My Name is Earl [NBC]

Smallville [The CW]

Ugly Betty [ABC]

9:00pm

The Office [NBC]

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [CBS]

Grey’s Anatomy [ABC]

10:00pm

ER [NBC]

Without a Trace [CBS]

Big Shots [ABC]

September 28th

8:00pm

Ghost Whisperer [CBS]

Deal of No Deal [NBC]

9:00pm

Moonlight [CBS]

10:00pm

Las Vegas [NBC]

Numb3rs [CBS]

September 30th

7:00pm

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2 hours) [ABC]

9:00pm

Desperate Housewives [ABC]

9:30pm

American Dad [FOX]

10:00pm

Brothers & Sisters [ABC]

October 1st

8:00pm

Everybody Hates Chris [The CW]

8:30pm

Aliens in America [The CW]

9:00pm

Girlfriends [The CW]

9:30pm

The Game [The CW]

October 2nd

8:00pm

Cavemen [ABC]

8:30pm

Carpoolers [ABC]

October 3rd

8:00pm

Pushing Daisies [ABC]

October 4th

8:30pm

30 Rock [NBC]

9:00pm

Supernatural [The CW]

October 5th

9:00pm

Friday Night Lights [NBC]

October 12th

8:00pm

20/20 [ABC]

9:00pm

Women’s Murder Club [ABC]

10:00pm

Men in Trees [ABC]

October 15th

9:30pm

Samantha Who? [ABC]

October 18th

10:00pm

Viva Laughlin (Preview) [CBS]

October 21st

8:00pm

Viva Laughlin [CBS]

October 25th

9:30pm

Scrubs [NBC]

November 27th

10:00pm

Cashmere Mafia [ABC]

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The Highlights and Lowlights of the 2007 Emmy Nominations

The nominations for the 56th annual Primetime Emmy awards have been released, and the result is a whole lot of frustration. While there are certainly some attributes in these categories that certainly warrant some sort of positive feelings, the overall impact is limited with some rather vile mistakes made by the voters. Yes, I said mistakes. Let’s take a look at the Best and the Worst of the nominations.

Best Category

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

This one is simple, really. While there were some other categories that had either too many familiar faces or the wrong mix of people, Supporting Actor in a Comedy gets it just right. Jon Cryer is the token nominee for the popular vote, but then you’ve got four awesome comedic talents: last year’s winner Jeremy Piven along with new (And fantastic) fresh faces in Rainn Wilson, Kevin Dillon and Neil Patrick Harris. I really can’t argue with any of these selections. I would have liked to see Justin Kirk in there, but it’s still a great category.

Runner-Up: Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Worst Category

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Three Grey’s Anatomy actresses, two Sopranos actresses, and perennial Emmy favourite Rachel Griffiths. It is clear that the men are where the new talent is making an impact, because these nominees couldn’t be much more predictable. The lack of new talent (Elizabeth Mitchell for Lost, Hayden Panettiere for Heroes) is the biggest problem, and I really hope that this can change in the future.

Runner-Up: Outstanding Drama Series

Most Surprising Nominee

Michael Emerson (Lost) – Supporting Actor in a Drama

I had written off Michael Emerson, one of my early picks, after Elizabeth Mitchell failed to crack the Top 10. However, it appears that Emerson was able to make it in, and with 6 nominees in his category worked his way into the fold. This was likely supported by Terry O’Quinn’s tape, which featured Emerson heavily. It is most deserved, and the most pleasant surprise of the morning.

Runner-Up: Boston Legal – Outstanding Drama Series

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The 2007 Emmy Awards Nominations: Lost Snubbed, Sopranos Praised

After months of coverage and more than a little bit of analysis, it is has finally come down to this: this morning, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have officially announced their nominations for what their voters believed to be the best in television over the past year. Are they right on the money, or are they off the mark once again?

The Big Stories

– Lost and Friday Night Lights snubbed, although Lost dominates in Supporting Actor with Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson! Woo!

– The Sopranos leads with 15 nominations.

– Battlestar Galactica and Lost each garnered writing and directing nods on the Drama side, while 30 Rock and The Office dominated the categories in terms of Comedy series.

– There’s a lot of snubs all over the place, I’ll go into more detail tomorrow, but Michael C. Hall is the worst one. Yes, worse than Lost.

– Rainn Wilson and Jenna Fischer break through as supporting contenders for The Office, which garnered a whole lot of nominations once you factor in writing and directing.

And the Nominees Are…

Oustanding Drama Series

The Sopranos

Heroes

Boston Legal

Grey’s Anatomy

House

Oustanding Comedy Series

The Office

Entourage

Two and a Half Men

30 Rock

Ugly Betty

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TCA Summer Press Tour: NBC gets smart with ‘Chuck’, ‘Friday Night Lights’ (Plus Premiere Dates)

When NBC revealed their schedule in May, I was critical of them for a few things. One of them was sending The Bionic Woman to die on Wednesday nights, but considering that the show is in considerable retooling and is casting Isaiah Washington (Action Star? Uhh, really, NBC?) I don’t really care too much about its fate. But I did care about two other shows sent to die: Friday Night Lights in its graveyard 10pm slot on Friday nights, and Josh Schwartz’ Chuck facing off against similar Reaper on The CW…oh, and HOUSE. And now, NBC has rectified these two mistakes.

Zap2it – NBC Shuffles Schedule, Sets Premiere Dates 

– Chuck moves to 8pm on Mondays, a slot that certainly won’t be simple (Prison Break is the main competition), but it’s not the insanity that was Tuesday. This will give the show a chance to build an audience amongst young people who will be tuning in for Heroes anyways.

– Friday Night Lights moves down an hour to 9pm, which make complete sense. They’re also going to emphasize the family drama as opposed to the football drama, which is more representative of the show as a whole. It will also be receiving a lead-in from Deal or No Deal, which will be moving from Chuck’s Monday slot to 8pm on Fridays. Poor Bob Saget: His 1 vs. 100 appears to be cut for the fall season.

In other NBC news, The Singing Bee will be paired with The Biggest Loser on Tuesdays in an attempt to cut into House’s audience with reality programming. Except that The Biggest Loser is not America’s Got Talent, and The Singing Bee will get old. FAST. I do hope they realize that sooner, rather than later.

Here’s the premiere dates for the fall season, so mark your calendars!

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Words and Pictures: Emmy Writing and Directing Contenders (Comedy)

Every year, writers and directors kind of get the short straw, if you will, when it comes to Emmy night. In the past, these categories have served as catch alls for the Academy to recognize series that aren’t getting the same level of attention at higher levels. Two years ago, House won for Best Writing in a Drama Series while Lost swept Directing/Drama Series; last year, My Name is Earl won writing and directing despite being otherwise shut out. This year, these categories will be yet another chance for shows to be recognized.

Today, I want to highlight five comedy episodes in both directing and in writing that, I believe, should be recognized by the Academy and its voters this year. [For my list of Drama candidates, click here]

Oustanding Writing in a Comedy Series

30 Rock“Hard Ball” (Writer: Matthew Hubbard)

It’s hard to believe a former staff writer on Joey was capable of writing such a fantastic episode of 30 Rock, but it happened: this episode made Jenna tolerable, had some great moments from Jack and Liz, and gave Tracy and Kenneth an engaging storyline. It was satirical, it was funny, and while it isn’t perfect I think it’s as close as 30 Rock came to achieving it in its first season.

Entourage“Manic Monday” (Writers: Doug Ellin, Marc Abrams & Michael Benson)

I think that Entourage had a few well-written episodes, but Manic Monday caught me eye for being so focused on Ari. Jeremy Piven knocks all of his material out of the park, but this particular episode showcased a human side, just briefly. The writing allows Ari to progress naturally, and features perhaps the best overall arc of the show’s eligible episode within his character.

Desperate Housewives“Bang” (Writer: Joe Keenan)

Joe Keenan did the impossible: he took a character that was seriously just there to be annoying, and by the end of the episode you actually mourned her death. While Laurie Metcalf and Felicity Huffman certainly elevated the material to a different level, Keenan’s bones were structurally fantastic and resulted in a tense, engaging hour of television.

The Office“Business School” (Writer: Brent Forrester)

A former writer on The Simpsons, I think Forrester absolutely nailed so many characters in this episode that I don’t see how it can’t be nominated. Michael was funny, Pam was crushed, and Jim and Dwight were as ridiculous as ever. It was an episode that has emotional sentiment and a lot of universal themes…and a bat in the office. That’s inspired writing.

How I Met Your Mother “Slap Bet” (Writer: Kourtney Kang)

From the episode ending 80s-inspired Robin Sparkles reveal to the initiation of the Slap Bet, this episode is a slow build to a conclusion that is basically just a music video…but it works. We spend the entire episode wondering what Robin’s secret it, and its reveal is about as perfect as you could imagine. This is the episode that could have garnered the series an Emmy nod; it’s also a strong writing candidate.

Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series

The Office“Business School” (Director: Joss Whedon)

The Buffy/Angel/Firefly creator was one of two guest directors in the month of February, and I think that he personally nailed the comic timing of the series for me. The show felt the same, but the angles were really a lot of fun. He had the classroom, the art show and the office to play with, and he used some dynamic camera moves and really cool angles to get the most out of them. Listening to commentaries that he does shows he has an eye for direction, and it was proven here.

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The Leak: Emmy Top 10s for Drama and Comedy Series Hit the Web

Well, thanks to Tom O’Neill over at TheEnvelope.com, the Top 10 Drama and Comedy Series according to the popular voters of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences have been revealed. These 10 shows will then screen an episode each in front of blue ribbon panels, and the Top 5 with the two processes combined will be nominated. If they didn’t make this list, they’re screwed.

Top 10 Drama Series

Boston Legal
Dexter
Friday Night Lights
Grey’s Anatomy
Heroes
House
Lost
Rome
The Sopranos
24

Biggest Surprise: I’m much happier about Friday Night Lights making it, but arguably Rome is the bigger surprise. The show had much less critical hype and aired such a short 2nd season that it was unexpected to get much attention. It appears that it got the period costume sex drama buzz as opposed to Showtime’s The Tudors.

Most Glaring Omission: Brothers & Sisters had good ratings, buzzworthy stars, but apparently voters didn’t feel the love. The aforementioned Tudors was also quite a shock considering how hard Showtime had pushed it, but Brothers & Sisters probably deserves one of those spots. And, even though it had no shot, Battlestar Galactica deserved better. Le sigh.

Network Breakdown: ABC leads with three series, while HBO, NBC and FOX all perform well with two a piece. Meanwhile, CBS is completely shut out while Showtime grabs the 10th spot.

Who Will Do Well: Lost and the Sopranos are riding the most buzz right now, and Grey’s and 24 both submitted strong episodes.

Who Won’t Do Well: Heroes, having submitted their pilot, will be EATEN ALIVE by these other shows. And Friday Night Lights, unfortunately, might have hit a roadblock against such tough competition. But it’s made it in, and that’s what matters.

Top 10 Comedy Series

Desperate Housewives
Entourage
Extras
My Name is Earl
The Office
Scrubs
Thirty Rock
Two and a Half Men
Ugly Betty
Weeds

Biggest Surprise: Eh, not much of one. We knew there were two spots up for grab, and it appears that voters liked British comedy (Extras) and American commercial success (Two and a Half Men) out of the remaining candidates.

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