Scrubs 8Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season (2009, Buena Vista)
purchase from Amazon: DVD

The hospital sitcom Scrubs pulled off something rare in the television industry last year: It jumped networks, from NBC to ABC, and it revived itself after a couple years in which its comedy had become kind of stagnant and repetitive. Oh, the show had still been funny, in a slapstick, cartoony way, but gone was so much of the heart that had made Scrubs creator Bill LawrenceÁ¢€â„¢s sitcom so unique and special in its early seasons. As the show entered it eighth season, the thought was that this would be its final bow. Lawrence was very vocal about the show coming to a close as star Zach Braff was ready to go into feature films full-time and Lawrence wanted to explore new ground in the television landscape. ABC is owned by Disney, the company that actually produces Scrubs. ABC was looking for a quick hit, drawing Scrubs’ loyal audience, and Lawrence seemed more than willing to prove to his old bosses at NBC, whom, he felt gave him a raw deal, in proving that Scrubs still had some life and deserved the respect to say goodbye to longtime fans properly.

Then something interesting and wonderful happened: the show not only returned to its dramedy roots, but it also became a better show than it had been in the past three or four seasons.

As the newly released DVD collection of Scrubs’ eighth eason reveals, the focus of the series once again became about the characters as opposed to the crazy scenarios the hospital staff got into. Although Lawrence and his wonderful group of writers were allotted a smaller budget than they had become accustomed to, he was able to work out deals with his stars to appear in fewer episodes, including Braff, always the central character on Scrubs. What did Lawrence do? He did what was natural to any hospital television series by introducing a cast of new interns who could pick up the slack when Braff and his co-stars werenÁ¢€â„¢t around. The plan worked marvelously as we watched these interns take on many of the same roles we loved so much in the original characters.

The overall arc of the season was to conclude the storylines of the characters the faithful Scrubs fans had been watching since the beginning. BraffÁ¢€â„¢s JD Dorian decides what he must do in order to be close to his baby; he and Elliott (the delightful Sarah Chalke) decide whether they want to remain a couple; JDÁ¢€â„¢s bromance buddy, Turk (Donald Faison) puts his name in for chief of surgery and finally settles into the role of husband and father with his wife, head nurse Carla (Judy Reyes); and John C. McGinleyÁ¢€â„¢s Dr. Cox takes on the arduous task of running the hospital. All this and the wedding of the janitor (Neil Flynn) in a sunny, beach-filled episode — and also one of the nicest series finales in recent years as many of the guest stars who appeared as patients or key characters on the show over the entire series made a final appearance as JD moves on in life.

The eighth season of Scrubs was not only a return to its glory, but one more example of the brilliance of Bill Lawrence. His writing and steady hand on Scrubs made it one of the great sitcoms of this decade. In fact, Lawrence and his staff did such a great job that ABC decided not to cancel Scrubs and bring it back for another year. Now, we donÁ¢€â„¢t know what the show will look like in its new state. Lawrence has said it’s his intent create something that feels like The Paper Chase in medical school. What is known about the new show is that Faison and McGinley will appear as regulars and the original cast will make appearances throughout the season. As for me, I will definitely be watching because season eight rekindled my love of Scrubs.

The DVD bonus features include bloopers, deleted scenes, alternate takes and Scrubs webisodes.

About the Author

Scott Malchus

Scott Malchus is a writer, filmmaker and die hard Cleveland Indians fan. His memoir, “Basement Songs,” is available in paperback and Kindle. He wrote and directed the film “King's Highway." His family is heavily involved in fund raising to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Scott Malchus is an employee of Cartoon Network and Turner Broadcasting. The opinions expressed on Popdose are his own and do not reflect those of his employer. Email: Follow him @MrMalchus

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