Ken Tucker
December 02, 2009 AT 01:35 PM EST

Is this the season that will kill lots of fans’ fond memories of Scrubs? It could be.

Last night’s back-to-back new episodes showed us how the new Scrubs will work. Or not. The hospital has been replaced by a university campus, where J.D., Turk, and Dr. Cox, among others, teach. For the moment. (Zach Braff is only committed for six episodes, for example.)

Filling up time and space are new young students, most prominently Lucy (Kerry Bishe), a young, intimidated, slightly dim woman — oh, let’s just say it: she’s like the earliest incarnations of J.D. or Sarah Chalke’s Elliot, and as such is both wan and verging on irritating. So far. These things can/might change/improve. And I don’t blame Bishe, who does the best she can with the material she’s been handed.

I snickered once during the first episode: when Cox referred to Lucy as “91” — a snap at House‘s “13” — but also his ranking of Lucy, whose numbers only went further down on his scale as the half-hour proceeded. (The title of this review is, of course, the way Dr. Cox greeted his new students.)

In the second episode, it became clear that J.D.’s wacky-voiceover narration will be joined and soon replaced by Lucy’s wacky-voiceover narration. I laffed (that’s inside-my-head laughing) two times during these 30 minutes: at the way new character Cole (played by Dave Franco, the younger brother of some guy who’s guest-starring on General Hospital) puffs up his inflated ego and calls himself “King” Cole, and at the way Eliza Coupe’s Denise, now promoted to major-character status, referred to her waning sex-drive by saying, “I’m losin’ wood.” (Hey, I like such crudeness when it’s quick and emanates from an unexpected source… )

Not so funny: the two campus security guards, cliche bumblers, one of whom refers to his tranquilizer gun as “Megan Fox.” These guys would seem more at home in Paul Blart: Mall Cop II.

Now, creator Bill Lawrence has said he wanted to use a different title for this version of the show. My TV-historical suggestion would have been AfterScrubs, but apparently he had to settle for ABC allowing him to call it Scrubs [Med School]. (Is this is first time a network show has used brackets in its title? In any case, it’s not as though Lawrence is not aware that he’s engaging in a tricky transition, trying to please long-time Scrubs fans while fashioning a new series. So far, I’d say Lawrence’s writers will get a season out of this, and then join Lawrence in the now-juicier bagatelle that is Cougar Town.

In Jennifer Armstrong’s preview-post about Scrubs‘ premiere, a lot of commenters expressed the wish that Scrubs had just ended after its finale last season. That’s how a lot of you wanted to see it go out: on top, creatively, according to a lot of posters.

Now that you’ve seen the new Scrubs, what do you think?

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