Scrubs is back for its seventh and final season. This is a bittersweet time for me, because I'm glad the show was picked up for one last season by NBC, but I know this is the end. Of course, lots of people say the show has fallen in quality over the last couple seasons, and seven seasons seems like a good number for a TV show to go out on without getting too stale. So perhaps this is a good thing.
Now that I've convinced myself that it's okay Scrubs has only 18 episodes left, let's move onto talking about the first of those 18. The season premiere starts where last season ended, with J.D. and Elliot in the on-call room (assumedly) about to kiss. For Scrubs fans, the summer discussion was about "will they or won't they" (or more accurately, should the show put these 2 characters together for good or simply let this on-again off-again relationship finally die).
I'm not sure if we got a definitive answer on that one, but for now anyway, it's a "won't". But while J.D. and Elliot don't lock lips, Elliot still realizes that she doesn't want to marry Keith and breaks up with him just days before their wedding. Then the episode takes some odd narrative turns, first by jumping ahead briefly and then going back to show what led to that scene, and secondly by "teasing" us that we might be getting into the heads of both Elliot and Turk before it cuts to them talking to other people. I'm still not sure why Bill Lawrence decided to throw those devices in.
Anyway, after calling off the wedding, Elliot is getting called some nasty names by Keith, and she can't see why he can't get past it and be friends with her. This leads to Elliot and Keith hooking up and briefly getting back together, which she of course doesn't want. Poor Keith ends up getting dumped in the parking lot TWICE in one episode.
J.D., meanwhile, is realizing he is a "self-saboteur" in all facets of his life and sets out to change his ways. He naturally fails miserably, putting his foot in his mouth frequently. He even calls Janitor out on his lying more than once, only to find out that our nameless friend actually DOES have a girlfriend named "Lady". We don't see much of the very pregnant Kim (at the beginning in the brief flash-forward, and then at the end when we return to that scene) but by the end, J.D. realizes he is with her because she's having his baby and not because he loves her. He doesn't tell Kim, of course.
I know it's just a television show, but I'm getting quite tired of both J.D. and Elliot always flip-flopping on every relationship decision they make. Maybe it's just that the writers don't have any idea where to go with these characters, so they just keep putting them back in the same situation to try and generate some drama. Scrubs is at its best when the characters are both off-the-wall funny and very realistic, so when they act like they belong on a teenage soap, it dampens all the great funny moments.
With both J.D. and Elliot taking up a lot of the screentime, we saw very little of the rest of the characters. Turk, Cox, and Kelso were all concerned with finding what was wrong with an incredibly nice patient so that he didn't have to be discharged, while Carla spent some time talking to J.D. and Elliot about their problems (and how they shouldn't feel sorry for themselves so much). Since Dr. Cox is my favourite character, it's always disappointing when he's only a minor character in an episode. He's not only funniest of the bunch, but John C. McGinley is the best dramatic actor on the show. We need more from him. Oh, and where were Doug and Ted?
It may sound like I didn't like this episode. I definitely did. But I have high standards when it comes to Scrubs. I have noticed that the show usually starts off slowly at the beginning of the season and then picks up from there, so I have no doubt things will improve as this final season progresses. They have a fairy tale episode coming up which sounds incredibly promising (they're doing a big "feature episode" this season, much like they've done in previous years with the musical and Wizard of Oz episodes). But I just hope they don't cloud the hilarious bits with too much melodrama.
Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of ShowbizMonkeys.com. When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found at The Purple Room in Winnipeg, where he is Artistic Director. (@comedygeek)