Certainly one of the finest sitcoms since "Seinfeld" and one of the best ensemble casts in a good ten years, I've often said "Scrubs" is one of network televisions few bright spots since its debut in 2001. For those unfamiliar with the series, it focuses on a group of new medical interns at a local hospital, including John Dorian "J.D." (Zach Braff), Turk (Donald Faison) and the attractive, yet utterly neurotic Elliot (Sarah Chalke). They're looked over by the near-psychotic Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley in an utterly classic performance), cost-cutting head Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins), nurse Carla (Judy Reyes) and others, including Janitor (the brilliant Neil Flynn).
During the first year, "Scrubs" launched with an unusually high degree of confidence. The show's mixture of the real and the surreal is often brilliant, as the random dream sequences are at their best during some of the first season episodes. The show's ability to mix comedy and drama is downright remarkable, such as the incredibly touching season 1 two-parter "My Occurence"/"My Hero", which stars Brendan Frasier as Cox's best friend and his ex-wive's brother, who finds himself admitted to the hospital for a serious issue. I won't give away any more than that, but while "Scrubs" had been terrific up until this point, it's this exceptional two-parter where the show really showed what it was capable of and it showed non-believers that it deserved to be around for a long, long time.
"Scrubs" is a delicate balance, and yet creator Bill Lawrence ("Spin City") manages to get it right nearly all of the time. The show's dream sequences are remarkably funny and add even more punctuation to nearly all of the show's bits. It helps that two of the show's writers, Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan, were picked up from the king of surreal dream sequences, the animated "Family Guy". The performances by the leads are also first-rate, as Braff makes for a likable "everyguy" and Faison somehow balances a frat-guy sense of humor with a lot of intelligence and heart. Sarah Chalke is also makes what could be an unlikable character charming. Finally, John C. McGinley rips into the role of Dr. Cox, who terrorizes everyone but occasionally lets a caring side show.
The show's supporting cast is simply priceless, lead by Robert Maschio as Todd (aka "The Todd") a "frat boy" surgeon who turns every sentence into something sexual, yet he also somehow is a good doctor. As we learn in the first commentary on the second season DVD, "The Todd"'s high-five "whoosh" is the only sound effect left in a show that used to have quite a few. There's also Ted, the hospital lawyer who is a reluctant servant of Kelso. Johnny Kastl plays a wonderful target for Kelso and Cox, as Dr. Doug Murphy, a resident Cox refers to as "nervous guy."
Finally, there's Christa Miller ("Drew Carey Show" and creator Lawrence's wife), playing Cox's ex-wife, who's as much of a rage-a-holic as he is. The cast works together perfectly, especially Faison and Braff, who are completely believable as long-time friends. One of the best character elements of the series is that everyone's flawed and the mistakes that people make here aren't sitcom cliches, but feel real. It's one of the reasons why "Scrubs" can manage to be so touching at times, and why the characters are so engaging.
Season 5 continued the evolution of the relationship between Turk and Carla, who discuss her desire to have a child and his reluctance to become a parent. While Turk eventually warms up to the idea, there's more obstacles for two on the road to having a child. Meanwhile, J.D. continues on the search for the right one, screwing things up one more time with the girl all his friends like: the klutzy Julie (Mandy Moore, Braff's real-life ex.)
Season 6 of the series makes a big mistake and a few minor ones, but despite some concerns, the series still surprises at times with some episodes that are just as hysterical and moving as some of the show's best early episodes. The season's worst decision comes early in the season when JD (Braff) finds out that the girl he's seeing, Dr. Kim Briggs (Elizabeth Banks) is now pregnant.
The series never quite figures out what to do with the storyline, as it doesn't go anywhere interesting before the Banks character leaves for much of the season. When she returns, I didn't quite buy it, and the last moments of the season makes things unnecessarily complicated and sets up what seems like a predictable open of season 7. Banks, a deeply funny comedic actress, finds herself stuck in a largely straight role. The season's other mistake is Keri Russell, who is brought in late in the season as Elliott's friend who JD falls for briefly. Russell is a funny actress and fits in, but the character's underdeveloped and her storyline really doesn't lead anywhere.
While a few things don't work this season, a lot still goes right. "My Road to Nowhere" is a great episode highlighting hospital lawyer Ted (Sam Lloyd), who takes Dr. Kelso's massive RV, offering to drive Carla, Elliot, Janitor, Keith and and JD on a road trip. When the group piles in, Ted yells out the window to no one in particular in a pathetically perfect "Ted" moment, "Whoo-hoo! I have friends!" Needless to say, the RV is not in the same condition by the end of the episode.
Also very funny is "My Musical", which is a very funny all-singing episode where the hospital has to treat a patient who hears everything in song (which, according to the commentary, is an actual condition.) The highlight of the episode is the painfully funny song about the friendship between JD and Turk, "Guy Love" (JD: "...and when I say I love you, Turk...it's not what it implies.")
Other highlights from the season include the two-parter "My No Good Reason"/"My Long Goodbye", which focuses on the loss of a supporting character and the group having to say their goodbyes, which is especially difficult for Carla. There's also the amusing "His Story IV" (Dr. Kelso befriends a war vet and a political debate breaks out, splitting the hospital into two sides on the war in Iraq), "Their Story" (the hospital as seen from the eyes of Jordan, Ted and Todd), the bizarre "My Rabbit" (JD is given advice by an imaginary rabbit) and the season opener, "My Mirror Image" (JD, Cox and Janitor see themselves in their patients.)
118. 6- 1 601 30 Nov 06 My Mirror Image (2)
119. 6- 2 603 7 Dec 06 My Best Friend's Baby's Baby and My Baby's Baby
120. 6- 3 602 14 Dec 06 My Coffee
121. 6- 4 604 4 Jan 07 My House
122. 6- 5 605 11 Jan 07 My Friend With Money
123. 6- 6 607 18 Jan 07 My Musical
124. 6- 7 606 1 Feb 07 His Story IV
125. 6- 8 608 8 Feb 07 My Road to Nowhere
126. 6- 9 609 15 Feb 07 My Perspective
127. 6-10 610 22 Feb 07 My Therapeutic Month
128. 6-11 614 1 Mar 07 My Night To Remember
129. 6-12 611 8 Mar 07 My Fishbowl
130. 6-13 612 15 Mar 07 My Scrubs
131. 6-14 613 22 Mar 07 My No Good Reason (1)
132. 6-15 615 5 Apr 07 My Long Goodbye (2)
133. 6-16 616 12 Apr 07 My Words of Wisdom
134. 6-17 617 19 Apr 07 Their Story
135. 6-18 618 26 Apr 07 My Turf War
136. 6-19 619 3 May 07 My Cold Shower
137. 6-20 620 10 May 07 My Conventional Wisdom
138. 6-21 621 17 May 07 My Rabbit (1)
139. 6-22 622 17 May 07 My Point Of No Return (2)
VIDEO: "Scrubs" is presented in the show's original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by Buena Vista. Presentation quality is generally very good, as the episodes as a whole look as good as they did when they were originally broadcast. Sharpness and detail are never really exceptional in any way, but the picture does at least maintain a consistent level of definition, and always appears at least crisp.
Some minor grain and edge enhancement appear at times during the proceedings, but mostly, the presentation appeared clear and free of flaws. No wear was present on the elements used. The show's color palette is mostly fairly low-key, although bright colors occasionally show through quite nicely. No smearing or other faults are spotted. Black level appeared solid, while flesh tones looked natural.
SOUND: "Scrubs" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 here. Despite the 5.1 presentation, the sound still remains fairly front-heavy, with dialogue and music remaining crisp and clear throughout.
EXTRAS: Whereas previous season sets have included commentary from cast and crew on a few episodes, the "Scrubs" production team has gone all-out for the season 6 set, as there are commentaries on every episode from various members of the cast and crew. Additionally, there is a "Play All With Commentary" option on the main menu for each disc.
The third and final disc offers up a few additional bonus features, including: "The Third Tier" (a featurette devoted to highlighting some of the show's supporting cast), alternate lines, "The Debra and Stephanie Show" (The producer and actress chat about working on the musical episode), "My Making of: My Musical" (an 11-minute "making of" for the music episode), "Judy Reyes Keeps Talking" (the actress chats about her role), alternate lines and 15 minutes of alternate scenes (the scene as aired is played, then the alternate scene).
Final Thoughts: "Scrubs" becomes a little more inconsistent in season 6, but while the series misses with a couple of sizable storylines, there are still many very funny episodes this time around. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality and more extras than prior seasons. Recommended.