Months before the fall television season even began, most of the buzz had been surrounding Fox”s “Undeclared,” the new college comedy from “Freaks and Geeks” creator Judd Apatow. But only a few weeks into the term, the excitement is quickly fading after its disappointing ratings, despite getting wildly enthusiastic reviews. With the top-rated new comedy “Inside Schwartz” being excluded for its lack of comedy, the surprise success belongs to NBC and those wacky doctors of the new comedy series “Scrubs.”
Smart and inventive, “Scrubs” focuses on first-year medical resident John “J.D.” Dorian and his experiences in making the transition from medical student to practicing doctor. While the show is unique and innovative, it does bare some similarities to others on television. Besides a hazy physical resemblance to Tom Cavanaugh (of NBC”s other quirky hit, “Ed”), relative newcomer Zach Braff displays a similar eccentric charm as the fresh-faced intern, J.D. The clever sight gags and fantasy sequences are reminiscent of “Ally McBeal,” only here they are more funny than annoying.
The excellent supporting cast is equally hilarious, and will have viewers constantly asking, “Isn”t he that guy from that one show?” Chocked full of versatile young actors as well as seasoned veterans, “Scrubs” also includes Donald Faison (“Remember the Titans”) as J.D”s roommate and hotshot surgical intern, Sarah Chalke (“Roseanne”) as the hyper-competitive and beautiful Elliot Reid (yes, it”s a female) and the outstanding John C. McGinley (“Office Space”) as the sarcastically unreadable Dr. Perry Cox. As J.D.”s reluctant mentor, McGinley steals nearly every scene he”s in, bossing everyone around with his biting cynicism, while simultaneously remaining the “good guy.”
The first two episodes, focus on J.D.”s first 36-hour shift at the hospital, his attempt to get under Dr. Cox”s thick skin, as well as his unavoidable crush on Elliot, provide laugh-out-loud hilarity for nearly their entireties. But after only two episodes, this show can only get better.
Written and created by Bill Lawrence, who also co-created the political-workplace sitcom “Spin City,” “Scrubs,” with its irreverent wit and indelible charm, brings a welcome change to the television landscape. The single-camera, no laugh-track style that frames their awkward encounters and embarrassing moments makes these doctors seem more human than ever. Or at least more than we”ll ever see on “ER.”