Today’s cuppa: English afternoon tea, in the morning. Maybe I’ll have more in the afternoon, or maybe I’ll have Irish breakfast tea. Or morning blend coffee. Depends how dangerous I feel…
Yesterday was a busy day, starting at the the dingy abandoned hospital in the Valley that is the longtime home of the former NBC — now ABC — medical comedy "Scrubs," watching creator Bill Lawrence direct the very, very last scene of the very, very last episode (yeah, I’ve heard this one before too). In it, the name of the Janitor may or may not be revealed. And it’s … nah.
Since the show doesn’t come on until 2009, fans have a good long time to speculate.
Anyone who’s ever left a longtime gig that they enjoyed knows what the mood was like on set. But I did learn some interesting things, like the special "Scrubs" term for a certain part of the female anatomy (nope, not sharing here), that the actors’ gym is in the morgue, that there has been talk of ghosts in the hospital ( no one said they’d actually seen or heard one), and that 50 children have been born to cast and crew since the show began eight seasons ago.
But it was fascinating to watch Lawrence — who may be mainlining the water from Dick Clark’s Fountain of Perpetual Boyish Good Looks — simultaneously direct a scene, rewrite the dialogue for the scene and plan camera angles for the next scene.
At one point, he asked star Zach Braff to pull focus for him. Braff quipped that at least part of the show would then be in focus, to which Lawrence replied, "Oh, no, he didn’t!", to which Braff replied, "Yes, Bill, I believe he did."
I had the distinct impression that this exchange was not a first-time occurrence.
The "real J.D" — medical consultant Dr. Jonathan Doris — then arrived in the middle of shooting for the last scene. Lawrence asked me if I thought he looked like Braff — and, not so much. They’re about the same height and both have brown hair, but nope (although Doris admitted he was a bit skinnier when the show began). Each is good-looking, but not in the same way.
Along the way, I talked dogs with Ken Jenkins (he recently lost one to old age), shared hot-dog-cooking tips with Sarah Chalke and met her dog — which co-workers acquired for her — and made best pals with Braff’s sweet, scruffy pooch (which immediately forgave me for nearly sitting on him on the couch in Braff’s dressing room).
(Dogs are a theme on the "Scrubs" set, which is very canine-friendly.)
There will be a syndicated feature story to come and perhaps more, but it will take a while to get through my material and finish up some outstanding interviews.
I’ve been to "Scrubs" several times over the years and always encountered the same playful, genial atmosphere, apparently populated by people who enjoyed what they were doing and enjoyed each other — even after eight seasons.
Say what you like about the virtues of combative, highly competitive work environments, but I often think that life’s just too short to live in a place like that for too long. In the end, the damage to health and peace of mind will likely outweigh whatever financial or career benefits one may get.
On the other hand, financial and career benefits are very nice, so it’s all a a trade-off.
Considering how long "Scrubs" has been on and how widely it’s syndicated, the cast of this show just may be among the lucky few who wind up with the fun and the rewards — and good for them.
Also there were Sprinkles cupcakes for all — but I didn’t indulge, because…
…I spent the evening atop the London Hotel in West Hollywood, at the Fox Eco-Casino Party (where the food was taaaasty, but I don’t know if chef Gordon Ramsay, who has a restaurant in the hotel — and two Fox shows, "Hell’s Kitchen" and "Kitchen Nightmares," was responsible).
Among those I saw and/or chatted with (and I’m sure there were plenty more I didn’t see, as I wound up standing in some long conversations — lesson learned, if you plan to do that, don’t wear new shoes) were executive producers Hart Hanson and Steven Nathan, and stars Emily Deschanel, David Boreanaz and TJ Thyne of "Bones"; Jodi-Lynn Keefe and Robert Knepper (with dark hair and a mustache) of "Prison Break" executive producer Josh Friedman and star Garret Dillahunt of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles"; Fox animation czar Seth MacFarland; and Fox Network honchos Peter Ligouri and Kevin Reilly.
(During the two political conventions, I live-blogged, among others, the season premieres of "Bones," "Prison Break," "Terminator" and "Kitchen Nightmares." Scroll back through the blog to have a look.)
A few people asked me what I thought of the new Fox series "Fringe," which premieres tonight. I’ve seen
two versions of it — one at a screening a while ago and another on DVD — but I have yet to watch the final air version. I have one issue in particular which had yet to be resolved by the DVD version, but I’m not going to say anything about it until I see the air version (and even then, it may be more of an issue in my mind than in the minds of viewers).
I did a syndicated feature story on "Fringe," but had a bit of trouble locating it on the Internet (it was offered as a cover for Sunday TV supplements, and those covers aren’t always posted on the newspaper Websites).
But thanks to the Brantford Expositor in Ontario, Canada, here’s a link.