The folks who make the show have long since made peace with their cult status, though, and just concentrate on making the funniest show they can. Thursday’s season premiere may not be the show’s finest effort, but Scrubs running at, say, 85 or 90 percent of its full comedic power is still funnier than all but a couple of comedies currently on television.
One of the things that makes the show so rewarding is its willingness to have characters be unsympathetic when it’s necessary, and for much of the premiere, J.D. (Zach Braff) really does act like a tool. Unwilling to face the fact that he’s going to be a father — something revealed in last season’s finale — he abandons his new girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks, who’ll be around for multiple episodes this season) and does his best to avoid any sort of responsibility.
This being Scrubs, that of course means he drinks himself into a stupor and nearly ends up married to another man in Vegas. That’s right before he ends up on stage with Blue Man Group. That looks utterly absurd sitting there in print, and it is, but within the bizarro world of the series, it ends up being a perfectly natural (not to mention perfectly funny) sequence of events.
And any show that can milk a six-year-old *NSync song for laughs, or turn a certain American Idol winner’s name into a dirty pun, I’m on board with (thank heaven for The Todd, the greatest two-lines-per-episode character in TV today).
True, non-devotees who watch the season premiere may end up scratching their heads. If, for instance, you don’t know why J.D. chooses a deck that’s not attached to a house as the place to drown his cares, and why said deck is also a big gay cruising spot, the show won’t offer you much help. Nor will it give you much backstory on the various pregnancies in the Sacred Heart family.
There’s also a plot point in which several hospital employees see themselves (literally) in patients that felt a little heavy-handed to me (though the makeup work involved was pretty impressive).
These are small quibbles, though. My Thursday-night viewing habits will be changing as of tomorrow night: That other hospital show at 9 p.m. will have to take back-seat DVR status till I’m through with Scrubs.
Are you happy about the show’s return? Check back after the premiere airs (or, you know, right now) with your thoughts.