With the sixth season underway and the seventh (and final?) season in the works, Scrubs is a very healthy patient.
On the off chance you’re unfamiliar with Scrubs, here’s the overview. Set in Sacred Heart Hospital in L.A., Scrubs follows the lives of three young doctors: J.D., Turk, and Elliot (Zach Braff, Donald Faison, and Sarah Chalke). The show began as the three doctors started their residency at the hospital, but with the success of the show, they have grown up, survived their internships, and are now full-fledged doctors (the senior doctors call them “attendings” to keep them in their place).
Helping and hindering them along the way are a cast of memorable supporting characters. John C. McGinley and Neil Flynn have long resumes in Hollywood, but they’ve never been as good as they are as Dr. Cox (tough guy with a heart of gold) and “Janitor” (nice guy with a heart of lead). Judy Reyes and Ken Jenkins get high billing as Carla and Dr. Kelso, but they’re probably not as much fun to watch as the bit players like Robert Maschio as “The Todd,” the single-minded nymphomaniac surgeon, and Sam Lloyd as Ted, the hospital’s spineless lawyer.
Those of us who’ve been watching the show via DVD are almost caught up with the weekly fans; The Complete Fifth Season brings us within one season of being current. At this pace, we may be able to finish season six before season seven starts airing.
- Alternate takes
- Deleted scenes
This deep into a series, it’s practically impossible for a mere DVD critic to contribute much. By now you’re either in it for keeps, or you’ve given up long ago, regardless of what I may say.
Some of that same attitude seems to have seeped into the cast as well. I forget which crew member said it, but on the 15-minute documentary on Disc 3, someone opined that, after five years of making Scrubs, the studio isn’t so worried about the show anymore. By now the audience numbers have settled into a stable, steady state. For the cast and crew, it means they can finally relax. They can do things that please and amuse themselves, without worrying so much about whether the audience will turn away.
The DVD packaging has been getting simpler and simpler, and Season 5 seems to fit the pattern. It comes in a simple cardboard-and-plastic case with none of the gimmicks that the previous sets had. The extra features are similar to those on previous DVD releases, but there don’t seem to be as many, nor do they seem as labor-intensive. That’s fine by me, actually, as nothing on the recent DVDs has really added much to my enjoyment of the show. Give me a few alternate lines and deleted scenes, and that’s all I need. I’d much rather watch the show itself than the unnecessary extra features.
I’ve almost never been able to watch an episode with an audio commentary all the way through, and Season 5 is no exception. Neil Flynn (“Janitor”) and one of the producers recorded a commentary on Disc 1, and the first thing out of Flynn’s mouth is that he can’t think of anything to say, but that they will try not to leave too many gaps. Flynn comes across as a likeable fellow, and he plays one of my favorite characters, but I’m not going to give him 25 minutes if he hasn’t even prepared. I stuck it out for about five minutes of awkward meta-comments before turning it off.
Picture and Sound
Picture and sound quality are very good, and have been stable over the course of the five DVDs.
How to Use This DVD
Just watch the show. Skip the extra features. If you want a few extra minutes of entertainment, take a look at a deleted scene or two. Maybe play the documentary. But don’t feel like you have to consume every minute of DVD extras. As for the audio commentaries, don’t waste your time.