HTF Review: Scrubs Season Five - Highly Recommended

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Neil Middlemiss, May 20, 2007.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer

    Nov 15, 2001
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    Neil Middlemiss
    Scrubs Season 5

    Studio: Touchstone Television
    Year: 1996
    Rated: TV14
    Film Length: 530 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
    Audio: English DD 5.1
    Subtitles: Optional English, French & Spanish subtitles

    US Release Date: May 22, 2007

    The Show - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    "I started an 'I Hate Cox' chatroom. It hasn't worked out the way I planned. It's me, two interns and 14,000 lesbians."

    Scrubs is a unique combination of exuberant comedy, bizarre fantastical flashes and elements of drama in which the lives of the characters jaunt and jest throughout their days at the Sacred Heart hospital. The interns at this fictional hospital have grown up; becoming the Doctors they have been laboring for since the beginning of the show.

    JD, the narrator and central character of “Scrubs” is played by the extremely likeable Zach Braff. His character is a soft-hearted, lovable goof with an overt effeminate view of the world and love for all things. He banters with his best friend, Turk (Donald Faison), a talented surgeon who, with his wife Nurse Espinosa (Judy Reyes) spends the season trying to become pregnant. Fellow ‘intern-now-Doctor’ Elliott Reid (Sarah Chalke), a clumsy, speed-talking relationship ‘train-wreck’ and ‘The Todd”, a substantially endowed surgeon with a chronic ‘sexual harasser’ round out the new doctors. Each of the characters and the actors who portray them, are as comfortable and well defined as they can be. Donald Faison’s Turk and his beautiful onscreen wife played by Judy Reyes, light up the scenes they are in with a genuine affection, chemistry and comedy rich partnership that often steal the show.

    The lives of these newly anointed doctors are caught between the joys and trials of the job and the gruff, ‘rich with sarcasm’ Dr. Cox (John C McGinley), the man who worked to grind them down verbally and physically when they were interns which helped them become the Doctors they are today. Bain to everyone’s existence, however, is Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins), a selfishly narrow-minded, chauvinistic old fart who runs the hospital and revels in making each of their lives difficult.
    Adding to the struggles of JD’s world is the Janitor (Neil Flynn), who manages to find some of the most ingenious ways of exploiting JD’s whimsical approach to life and everything in it.

    Our new doctors are now mentors to a new set of interns. This new crew of ‘newbies’ is filled with an array of pathetic, over and under-achieving characters, most notably of which is Keith, brief nemesis to JD and booty-call to Dr Reid.

    The spitfire jokes on scrubs, enhanced by the often elaborate fantasy and daydream sequences, often succeed by sheer volume alone. Not every joke or fantasy cut-away works well or at all, but no sooner is it over, another is conveniently lobbed your way. In an of itself, that would and should make for a very funny show, a near endless stream of humor possibilities that come at you as quick as lightning and as often as breaths you take, however Scrubs offers something more. Embedded in the foolish character quirks and ridiculously absurd flights of fancy that bounce around the minutes of the show like bingo balls in the spinner, is an enormous heart and a real courage to go to the reality of hospital life in all its pain.

    This willingness to take a walk down a darker lane creates a depth to the moments and the characters that your average sitcom doesn’t have the strength or capital to pull off.

    I am not sure if the capitol to do these dramatic scenes is earned from the barrage of ambitious lunacy sewn throughout the show, but “Scrubs” has it and is expert in using it. A great example of this is in ‘My Lunch’ an episode featuring the return of a suicide patient, Jill (guest star Nicole Sullivan (Mad TV)) and her ultimate passing. In this episode, after dealing with the potential missed signs when Jill has died, Dr Cox and the staff of Sacred Heart fight to keep several transplant patience alive using her organs. There are more than a few dramatic and emotional scenes in this episode that compete with great ease against popular dramatic television. And even while it is succeeding at great television drama, it never forgets it’s a comedy, and manages to find a way to keep you laughing in the midst of showing sad events. That to me is great television.

    The well defined characters and the interplay between them is another strength of this show. Dr. Cox and his infamous lengthy rants at his underlings; Dr Reid and her emotional tightrope walking; Turk and his nerdy-cool mix or JD and his ‘inner-child on the outside’ existence in the world, every member of this hospital family manages to rejoice in the parameters of their character while growing too, just as we all hope to in the real world.

    The Episodes
    Disc One -
    1: My Intern's Eyes
    2: My Rite of Passage
    3: My Day at the Races
    4: My Jiggly Ball
    5: My New God
    6: My Missed Perception
    7: My Way Home
    8: My Big Bird
    9: My Half-Acre

    Disc Two
    10: Her Story II
    11: My Buddy's Booty
    12: My Cabbage
    13: My Five Stages
    14: My Own Personal Hell
    15: My Extra Mile
    16: My Bright Idea
    17: My Chopped Liver
    18: My New Suit

    Disc Three
    19: His Story III
    20: My Lunch
    21: My Fallen Idol
    22: My Déjà Vu, My Déjà Vu
    23: My Urologist
    24: My Transition

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    “Scrubs” is filmed and broadcast on NBC in full frame, and that is how it is presented here on this three disc collection. Color balance is reasonable, grain is minimal and all things being equal, “Scrubs” season five looks pretty good. The second act of the 100th episode, ‘My Way Home’, directed by Zach Braff, is much brighter than the other episodes, as Zach describes in the audio commentary for the extended version of the episode (see special features), with the colors really popping off the screen. Overall, a good presentation of this show on DVD.

    The Sound - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on “Scrubs” is another plus for this 5th season set. While not active for much of the time, the surrounds are put to good use during the multitude of musical numbers that this show uses to great effect (usually as JD narrates the closing of the episode), and the zany sound effects that accompany some ludicrous and very funny fantasy sequences can be heard at times pinging around the speakers. As with most comedies, the center channel gets the most work to day. Speech is clear and free from distortion.

    The Extra’s - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    I was very impressed with the bevy of special features included.

    Extended Cut of 100th Episode Directed By Zach Braff (with optional audio commentary by Zach Braff) – With an added 6 or so minutes to the original running time, this extended version of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ themed episode works just as well as the original version. Some of the jokes work better trimmed, while others are allowed to grow and become funnier in the extended version. The audio commentary provided by Zach Braff is insightful yet a little subdued. Zach seems very different from his energetic onscreen character, but provides some good information about the construction of many of the scenes, the evolution of some of the jokes and how he feels the tribute to the ‘Wizard of Oz’ wasn’t as strong as originally intended. I second that observation. Of particular interest is the number of single shot scenes used by Zach in directing this episode and how they can enhance or impede the comedy at hand.

    My 117 Episodes: Five Seasons of Scrubs – This 17 minute featurette, with a primary focus on season five, is a fairly entertaining look back over the course of the show and was of special interest to me, having only recently become familiar with the show. It highlights some of the change in focus of the show and the freedom felt by this latest season of Scrubs on DVD to let loose and go that one step further with the off the wall comedy.

    Optional Audio Commentaries for ‘My Big Bird” with Produce Randall Winston and Neil Flynn, and ‘My Lunch” with Director John Michel and John C McGinley – Again, the commentaries are interesting even if they are a little subdued. Each participant over these two episodes provide some good background to the genesis of certain guest stars or jokes (such as the difficulty they had convincing the Gospel choir to sing the word ‘bitch’ in the ‘Payback is a bitch’ segment).

    7 deleted scenes – These seven deleted scenes present a mixture of good to okay jokes that, given the quick-fire nature of the show (and occasional hit-and-miss quality) seem to be mostly cut for time. One in particular (pillow talk) I think works better than the version included in the final cut of the episode. The presentation of these deleted scenes each comes with the version as presented in the episode that allows for a direct comparison.

    19 Alternate lines – As with the deleted scenes, each of these 19 clips comes with the original version of the scene and allows for a good and entertaining peak into the development of some of the funny lines. Here, multiple versions of the same moments roll one after the other, highlighting just how much work goes into a single joke and the effort to hit it just right. ‘Turk’s the one who’s drowning’ and ‘No in-fighting’ in particular are great exercises in the growth and versioning of a segment and the evolution to getting it just the way the director or the actor wants it.

    Final Thoughts
    I am very impressed with “Scrubs Season Five” as a show and as a presentation of that show on DVD. The irreverence and zany outbursts of genuine slapstick and bizarre flights of the imagination blended with a dramatic core to the show makes it stand far out from the crowd. The excellent casting and actors that walk with confidence inside their well established characters is a thing of genius.
    The show also throws in a few notable guest stars, such as the talented Jason Bateman & the beautiful and surprisingly funny Mandy Moore.

    I highly recommend this show and DVD set as a cure for the common sitcom. It is a great example of how a show, obviously loved by the fans and the cast and crew, can be treated with such care and affection when presented on DVD.
    Exceptional comedic and dramatic talents from the actors partnered with a talented writing and directing staff converge to create one of the most original and entertaining shows in a long time, reaching the heights of the short-lived “Arrested Development” as a favourite of mine.

    Highly Recommended

    Overall Score - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Neil Middlemiss
    Kernersville, NC
  2. John Carr

    John Carr Stunt Coordinator

    May 25, 2004
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    Great review, Neil! Can't wait to pick up my copy tomorrow at Best Buy. Scrubs has become one of my favorite sitcoms of all time.

  3. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer

    Nov 15, 2001
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    Thanks. I find myself looking for the first four seasons to buy on DVD now so I can enjoy every episode of this utterly fantastic little show!
  4. Firebee

    Firebee Supporting Actor

    Aug 26, 2006
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    Alexandria, VA
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    Thanks for the review, Neil. I didn't need it to want this set, tho. Since I love ``Scrubs'' and season five just showed up on my doorstep today! [​IMG]

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