I’m no superman, is the title track to Scrubs, and it’s an opening sequence that perfectly encapsulates the incredible amount of time and effort everyone involved with the show put into it to give it such amazing soul and character.
But that alone wouldn’t be doing the show justice: Scrubs is not the sort of show that immediately comes to mind when you’re probing your hard drive for something to binge-watch, it’s a brilliant show that occupies a place in the heart of everyone who loves some great TV.
Scrubs charts the careers of four young medical professionals as they begin their internships at the fictitious Sacred Heart hospital. The story is (primarily) told through the eyes of John ‘JD’ Dorian, portrayed by Zach Braff (Chicken Little and Oz the Great and Powerful), who begins the series as a medical intern, and is roommates with his best friend, surgeon Christopher Turk (Donald Faison from Remember the Titans and Sesame Street).
The two of them have been thick as thieves ever since they were children: JD was always the soft, sensitive one while Turk often leads with his macho side, and their goofy sense of humour has sparked a bromance that always puts a smile on your face.
The duo always have each other’s backs, and in a field as hypercompetitive as medicine, that’s a good thing: One of JD’s competitors is Elliot Reed, whose parents were so sure she was going to be born a boy they went ahead and named her Elliot anyway.
Elliot is played by the brilliant Sarah Chalke (How I Met Your Mother, Cougar Town, and American Dad), and while the three of them are very raw in the unpredictable, roller-coaster ride that is the world of medicine, they do have nurse Carla Espinosa to oversee their first steps into the real world.
Played by Judy Reyes, who’s previously starred in NYPD Blue and Law and Order, her character is kind and compassionate to the three newbies, and believes that mistakes are made in order to learn.
That’s not the overview shared by the man who is teaching them though.
John McGinley plays the hilariously cynical, sarcastic Perry Cox. The former Frasier and Another World actor portrays a washed-up, burned-out, but brilliant doctor who’s seen it all and realises that medicine is little more than a waiting game against death. But he is very good at his job. Few people ever die in his care, and he demands the same endless pursuit of perfection from everyone else. For all of his wacky rants and lashing out at those who botch up, Cox is someone who genuinely cares about both the hospital and his patients and is a great mentor to those under his wing.
If only his boss shared his opinion, though. Ken Jenkins is Dr Bob Kelso, Chief of Medicine at Sacred Heart hospital. Universally loathed by nearly everyone at the hospital – his soul, as Dr Cox puts it, is filled mostly with “pure evil, muffin bits and the souls of dead babies” – because he’s got the very (un)enviable job of making sure there’s always enough money to keep the hospital afloat.
And sure enough, the first person to see a rich patient with a generous trust fund who’s been wheeled into his swanky, state-of-the-art room is none other than Kelso himself, who’s looking to (metaphorically, I promise) bleed them dry of their insurance to inject more funds into the hospital.
Veteran Hollywood star Ken Jenkins portrays Kelso with the perfect amount of smarminess and sarcasm, and the Gone in 60 Seconds and Air America actor injects an amazing amount of side-splitting hilarity into the role.
As do the others. Scrubs offers a very real take on the trials and tribulations doctors face in the wards, whether its balancing their personal and professional lives — never the easiest of tasks — or dealing with high-pressure situations that require life-or-death decisions to be made in a matter of seconds with patient’s lives hanging in the balance – also not a nice situation to be in.
But what makes the show so amazingly and hilariously brilliant is the way all of this has been portrayed, because not once do you feel bogged down in the realities of becoming a doctor, and to put a comedic spin on such a serious subject is something producer Bill Lawrence has carried off brilliantly.
Scrubs is a comedic masterpiece, with plenty of wacky, hilarious moments liberally sprinkled with insights that do tug at your heartstrings. Watching an episode of the show is like opening a bag of crisps. You can’t stop with just one.
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The Short and Skinny
Produced for: ABC and NBC
Produced by: Bill Lawrence
What it’s about: A hilarious take on the ups and downs that every doctor faces as they enter the incredibly competitive world of medicine
Starring: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Neil Flynn, John McGinley, Ken Jenkins, Judy Reyes, Robert Maschio,
Sarah Chalke, Aloma Wright
Runtime: 30 minutes
Where to Watch: Amazon video, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, YouTube, ABC On Demand
IMDB Rating: 8.4/10