My first go-round with a pop culture article, I decided to write about something that has been on my mind a while. I grew up on scripted sitcom comedy. As fun and exciting as Survivor or Keeping Up With The Kardashians might be, it isn’t for me. I remember when TGIF meant a night full of pretty good shows and surprisingly great writing. Even NBC’s legendary lineup is something to remember before it became a place where talent goes unappreciated.
But something that has always bothered me is the constantly overlooked brilliance of Scrubs. This isn’t me writing to convince you, I already know how genius that show was. But I just thought it would be fun reasons why if you overlooked the sitcom (or if you just want to reminisce with me for a bit) you should reconsider.
- No Laugh Track, Single-Camera: When you settle in to watch re-runs of shows like The Office and Arrested Development remember this: Scrubs is a major influence on both of those great series. For starters, Scrubs was the first sitcom to ditch the laugh track. As a guy who loves comedy and sitcoms, my buddy (I’ll name him David Burke because that is his name) and I will tell you that means the writers jobs just got a lot more important. Without a laugh track, and with a single-camera focus (also the first of its kind in sitcom television) you have to develop the characters, plot, and situations in a way that is different yet compelling enough to keep the audience engaged. Plus, when you consider that most sitcoms run about 22:30 minutes, that nifty laugh track can knock off about five minutes of dialogue in some cases. Which is a big deal! Don’t believe me? Check out how painfully awkward The Big Bang Theory is when they don’t tell you when to laugh
- The cast was undeniably funny: Any sitcom that can take one man’s line from the first episode, and turn him into one of the funniest characters in the shows run is doing something right. But I think more could be said for the job that Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, Judy Reyes, and John C. McGinley do throughout the nine season run. Scrubs was revolutionary in its tone, mixing slapstick comedy with drama at a fast pace. What most people don’t realize is that this cast pulled it off brilliantly. Below are a few scenes (some of my favorites) and a Dr. Cox compilation that showcase some of that brilliance in fast-paced comedy and drama.
- The music is awesome. Period.: One of my favorite parts in the series was the music. Probably one of the more important parts in the show, it set the tone of a lot of the important dramatic scenes in Scrubs. Of course, it comes as no surprise given the shows star, Zack Braff, is known for putting music in the right places (he won a Grammy award for the soundtrack to the move Garden State which he wrote and directed). In fact, some of my favorite artists I first heard while watching the show such as Keane, Joshua Radin, and Brett Dennen. The best musical appearance? Colin Hay, who was actually recommended by Christa Miller, who plays Jordan on the show. The Men At Work Front-man made some of the best cameos on the show as well (seen below with other videos).
(I highly recommend more of his stuff)
(Keane is great stuff)
- The cameos and guest appearances. Oh man, the guests: I could ramble on here, but I’ll let the videos prove this point. Just…just enjoy.
Michael J. Fox
- They did a musical. Brilliantly:
- The spinoff, “Med School” was just as good: I don’t know how many actually tuned in, but the Scrubs reboot was just as good. And introduced us to Dave Franco!
There are many, many, many more reasons that I could give. But I think the clips and the reasons above are sufficient enough from me. Oh…and this (check reason number 5). What are yours?