Friday, November 15, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Why Scrubs is the Best Show Ever


My husband has always said so, and I scoffed until I watched it all the way through. And yes, it is the best show ever with the exception of MASH (similar shows though, in many ways). Check it (spoilers!):

The Janitor

Much has been said about the character simply known as "the Janitor," JD's arch nemesis. The actor tended to add-lib, to the show's general improvement.  The writers did not intend on him becoming a major character, but who can deny destiny? 

The Treatment of Sex

Let me be clear: it's not exactly a show I'd watch my grandma, and there's plenty of fornication to go around. However, the show's treatment of sex is different from that of most TV shows in the past decade or so, because it treats it seriously, as a part of life that changes your relationships and even who you are. When JD and Elliot decide to become "sex buddies," it backfires, and JD is faced with the fact that sex is tied to emotional attachment. When JD and Kim fool around but avoid actual intercourse, they are shocked to discover that Kim is pregnant, and JD must grapple with the burden of unexpected fatherhood. And one of the most beautiful scenes in the show is when Dr. Cox and Jordan realize that they have "grown up" and need real, genuine intimacy that is not hidden by sarcasm and irony.

Grief and Pain 

There are some episodes that hit me in the gut every single time and make me bawl. Others make me just quiet, thoughtful, in need of a walk alone outside. And just like real life, the mood can turn on a dime. This is one of my favorite instances of this technique:

Relationships within Families

Scrubs has a lovely way of delving into the characters' pasts without being Freudian or weird about it. The treatment can be subtle: Elliot has a truly dysfunctional past, as does Dr. Cox, but JD's past is a little more nuanced. Best of all, it shows how part of growing up is seeing our parents as people in their own right, not just how their lives affect ours. In this wonderful episode about parents, JD reflects on his father as a person separate from the father role: 

The Philosophy of Sickness and Death

Scrubs throws a light on this crazy world we live in, where death comes in sterile hospital rooms and patients die surrounded by medical personnel instead of their families. Scrubs talks about the elderly, dying pregnant mothers, suicides, the death of children, the fear of death, and the macabre humor that medical staff must use to keep their sanity. One day, I want to have the perspective of this wonderful woman:

It is the funniest damn show ever

If you can't laugh at Scrubs, you are unconscious. It has something for everyone, whether you like snark or dry wit or slap-stick or pop culture references or relationships or just the zany craziness of life. And by the way, this show is considered the most realistic of all doctor shows, by other doctors. My father in law, a pediatrician, adores this show because it shows what it's really like for residents at public hospitals. Y'all, people complain about how much doctors make, but they deserve every penny. Consider the following: long hours, insane student loans, 4 years of med school, 4 years of residency with poverty-level pay, and unbelievable anti-law suit insurance. It is impossible to have your own practice in some states due to insurance rates (but that's a rant that I won't go into...).

So folks, appreciate your doctors. They have a hard job, especially now that folks go in thinking they know a lot because they looked on Web MD. Give them a card at Christmas or something, especially the pediatricians. There are bad doctors of course, but the good ones really care about their patients.

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