October 24, 2004
Late last night, I was trying to decide what to write about for today's blog entry. The obvious topic is the World Series, but we've got that covered over at The Hardball Times, as usual. The other obvious topic is Jason Kubel's devastating knee injury, suffered last week in the Arizona Fall League, but while I'm sure I'll write plenty about that at some point soon, it is far too depressing a subject to cover today, when the news is still fresh.
So instead, I'd to go completely away from the world of baseball and talk a little bit about one of my favorite TV shows, NBC's Scrubs. Scrubs is a great show, but the problem is that it is one of those shows where I'm never quite sure when it's on. I'm pretty certain it has a permanent time slot at this point, but NBC moved it around so much during the first couple seasons that my brain has given up trying to keep track.
Because of that, I've basically been reduced to watching the show when I accidentally stumble across it. In an effort to get caught up, I downloaded a couple dozen episodes and watched them over the weekend, in between playing poker, watching the World Series, and crying over Kubel's injury. While watching my personal Scrubs marathon, I learned several very important things:
- There's something very strange about watching a whole bunch weekly, half-hour sitcom episodes in a row. They're not meant to be seen like that, one right after another, and you start to notice very similar dialogue being repeated and even jokes being used again, verbatim.
I suppose it's a bit like going to see a standup comedian, loving them, and then going to see them again a year later. A lot of the material will be different, but it's still the same delivery and, odds are, he hasn't completely changed his act. I'm sure there's an interesting thesis paper to be found somewhere in all of this, for all you college students who actually like doing work.
- John C. McGinley is one of my favorite actors and his "Perry Cox" character on Scrubs is by far one of the most likeable bad guys in TV history.
- I know a lot of people hate cameos on sitcoms, because they usually have nothing to do with the ongoing plot of the show and are major distractions, but Scrubs does an excellent job with them. Tara Reid was very good basically playing herself (drinking, chain-smoking, making out with random guys) in a string of episodes, Heather Graham was surprisingly believable as a smart person, Tom Cavanaugh from Ed made a perfect brother for Zach Braff's character, and Michael J. Fox was outstanding as an obsessive-compulsive doctor.
Plus, although it's more than a cameo role, the wildly underrated and incredibly cute Christa Miller from The Drew Carey Show plays McGinley's ex-wife/sparring partner. And in the episodes I watched this weekend, I saw Federico from Six Feet Under playing a guy who secrectly could speak English.
- On a related note, NBC currently has my three favorite "cute" actresses, with Miller on Scrubs and Maura Tierney and Linda Cardellini on ER.
I don't really have anything brilliant to add to this comment, but I needed to get that off my chest. Maura is so cute (when she's not making that tough-guy doctor face in the picture above) that I almost saw Welcome to Mooseport. Almost.
Incidentally, I just learned that Miller is married to the creator/writer of Scrubs, Bill Lawrence, which makes him not only brilliant at what he does, but a very lucky guy (assuming she's just acting on the show).
- Sarah Chalke is so much better as "Elliot" on Scrubs than she was as the replacement "Becky Conner" on Roseanne that she has single-handedly restored my faith in the ability to improve with age and experience. If she can become a legitimately good, funny, attractive actress, perhaps even Luis Rivas can turn himself into a useful baseball player someday (though hopefully not with the Twins, because I don't think I can wait that long).
- Sitcoms -- and television in general, I suppose -- are about a thousand times better without commercials. It's such a big difference, in fact, that sitting through a dozen consecutive episodes of Scrubs on a Saturday afternoon flies by like it was just one long show when commercials aren't involved. This is reason #1,584,046 why HBO beats the snot out of network TV.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Bloody Sunday (by Brian Gunn)
- There's Always Next Year: The Coming Yankee Meltdown (by Stephen Silver)
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