I’ve been watching Scrubs on Netflix recently, because somehow, despite E4 showing it nearly every minute of every day for several years (the other minutes being taken up by Friends) I’ve never actually seen the whole thing all the way through. I’ve seen most of it, but I’ve not seen the later seasons in particular.
Scrubs is an interesting show in that it strikes a good balance between comedy and drama. It’s not a show that you can particularly pigeonhole easily, because it’s experimental and strange and isn’t afraid to have one-off episodes exploring interesting, weird concepts. In many ways, it’s a bit like earlier shows that took a similarly experimental approach in a fairly mundane setting — I’m thinking stuff like Ally McBeal here — but it very much has a feel that is all its own.
One of the reasons I’ve been enjoying it so much recently is because I’m finding protagonist JD to be quite relatable, in a number of different ways. In particular, his naiveté and hesitance to truly join the “adult” world — even when confronted with challenging situations, such as those that he faces in his job as a doctor every day — are very familiar feelings to me, and as JD gets older over the course of the show’s complete run, it’s almost comforting to see that he doesn’t really get any more comfortable with being a “grown-up”; although he’s only a fictional character, it’s nice to know that the way I feel sometimes isn’t entirely unfamiliar to others!
Scrubs is also fun for the fact that it captures the atmosphere of working in a stressful environment rather well. There are people who handle stress with aggression and impatience — particularly if, like in Dr. Cox’s case, they’re dealing with other issues alongside anything that crops up at work — and there are people who deal with it using humour. There are some who take the humour further and confront difficult concepts by making use of black humour, and there are others who, at times, allow emotions to get the best of them. And then there are those who are able to leave all the troubles and difficulties of the working day behind them the second they walk out of the door; while this is arguably the best approach for one’s mental health, is this really the best thing for those you are taking care of?
To cut a long story short, then, watching Scrubs on Netflix has given me an appreciation of why this show has remained so consistently popular since it first appeared in 2001. I haven’t yet seen the notoriously different final season, though I’m curious to, even if it’s as much of a shift from the original format as it apparently seems to be. Even if it’s rubbish, though, there’s plenty of good stuff in the preceding seasons, and it remains timeless television that I can see remaining relevant to many people for many years to come yet.