New things are only new so long. That goes for everything from a new house to a new car smell to new innovative ideas. This seems to have ben what happened to the series Scrubs initially. When it first debuted on ABC it was very innovative with the humor that seems to slap you in the face and excessive pop culture mentions. Yet by season eight, it wasn’t so innovative anymore, and they went through a series of changes that had the comedy coming back for season nine, but not very recognizable. The question is if new again is better than old and worn out?
The ninth season of Scrubs, also known as Scrubs: Med School, opens with the previous Sacred Heart Hospital having been torn down, and a new hospital opening up on the Winston University campus. Most of the series’ stars had already moved on to bigger and better things, since season eight was intended to be the final season. John C. McGinley and Donald Faison resume their roles as Dr. Cox and Turk, and Zach Braff returns as J.D. for only the first six episodes.
Four new characters are added, however Eliza Coupe technically started portraying Dr. Denise Mahoney during season eight. Kerry Bishé joins the cast as Lucy Bennet, who takes over the narration duties of the episodes from Zach Braff, and Michael Mosley and Dave Franco are added to the series portraying Drew Suffin and Cole Aaronson. Seeing Franco, I was amazed how much he looked like actor James Franco, only to watch the credits and find out he was indeed his brother. They speak the same and have the same smile.
J.D. has come back to Sacred Heart to teach classes alongside Dr. Cox, Turk, and Denise, who acts as a student/teacher liaison as well. Turk and J.D. of course resume their comedic antics with each other, including seeing each other again after J.D. had originally moved away. They see each other from across the campus, then run to each other for a bro hug, and after being caught in their embrace, mention the last time they saw each other was just that morning.
Dr. Cox resumes his role as antagonist of everyone. Lucy, Drew, and Cole are among his new med students, and he makes it a point to humiliate them as much as possible. He announces he assigns random numbers to them, just so they can know how poorly they are fairing in his favor. While Lucy’s number keeps going down no matter how hard she tries to impress him, Drew is Dr. Cox’s number one, something he doesn’t enjoy, and it’s only made worse when he’s forced to wear a “#1” taped to his chest. Cole doesn’t care how badly he does, as his family made a sizable donation to get the new hospital built, so he believes he won’t ever be kicked out.
Denise taps Drew to be her assistant advocate to the students, but doesn’t tell him it’s really her job that she’s dumping on him. They begin a sexual relationship where they fully admit that’s all there is to their relationship, yet it isn’t long before they start treating it like a real relationship with sharing and feelings, something which she detests, but goes along with. Cole’s using Lucy for sex as well, but she doesn’t seem to be in the same place, seeing them as a real relationship. Even when he takes advantage of her, like snapping naked pictures of her, she always goes back.
The new cast is definitely likable, but they’re not exactly “improved.” What was once a new and refreshing show began to get a little stale, so they ended it when they should have originally. Deciding to do a ninth season may have ben ill-advised. It’s not that it wasn’t still a good show, as it was, it was just never going to capture that magic Scrubs had in it’s first handful of years when it was more groundbreaking. On top of that, our favorite characters are gone. Scrubs isn’t really Scrubs without JD, just like ER wasn’t the same without Dr. Carter. Both still good shows, but definitely not the same.
Catch Scrubs: The Complete Ninth and Final Season out on DVD now.