Don't get me wrong, I think I'm one of the biggest Scrubs fans I know. I've seen EVERY episode numerous times, can quote lines to the annoyingth degree and make references to it in real life, to both welcoming and less receptive audiences. But watching the latest season (Season 6) I couldn't help but wondering if the Scrubs series is wearing out its welcome.
I shall now warn of possible SPOILERS!!!! These shall not happen intentionally, but I most likely will make reference to things in Season 6 which you may not want revealed right this instant.
When Scrubs first burst onto our screens, it was a breath of fresh air. Sure, the fish out water bit had been worn to death, as had the Ally McBeal-esque daydreams of JD. But we were charmed by the charismatic and awkward characters alike, which added a real likeability to the crispness of the dialogue (involving apparently a fair bit of adlibbing, in particular by Neil Flynn's Janitor) which made us look over its lack of technical originality. Season 6 entertained me greatly, but I was also made aware, in a manner I had not in the earlier season, that the jokes were wearing thinner and getting older. Every buff of a series likes the in-jokes... everything from Frasier to the OC made use of it to great effect. But enough is enough sometimes. And the very character-based comedy is starting to loop back on itselves. We get it... Dr Cox is angry.... JD's mind likes to wander... Elliot is neurotic. Having it hammered in again with a slight change in direction will eventually start to grate.
The creator of Scrubs, Bill Lawrence, said towards the beginning of the rise of Scrubs that he liked to base his plots on real life happenings in hospitals. Apparently, even such outrageous problems as people hearing everything in song were derived from actual incidents! Perhaps they've run out of such stories? It's not a great sign that we can start to point out Scrubs motifs, such as the charming patient who brings everyone together (for Season 6, read Private Dancer); the problems in the major couples culminating in the season finales; the emotional breakdown of a character, needing the the rest of the cast to help build them back up. The fact that the latter two incidents have had to happen more than once in Season 6 does not bode well for the future.
Like the most successful comedies of TV history, despite it being a comedy, the most lasting draw of Scrubs is the likeability of the characters played by a stellar cast. Yet each as had to face more than enough emotional trauma for 6 years by now, surely? The couples, as well as Elliot and JD, the series' very own Ross and Rachel (as cleverly referenced in Scrubs in an episode), have faced relationship issues, including the major plot developers of birth and marriage. And how many times CAN JD and Elliot grow closer and further apart and back again? The characters have all grown significantly professionally, emotionally and maturity wise, and more important, a HUGE part of the Scrubs' initial draw, the point of view of the fresh 'Bambis' is no longer applicable.
In summary, I think if this is not already to be the case, that the series should quit while it's ahead, so that the future continues to regard it as fondly as we do now. In deference to Mr Lawrence and the writers, they have shown their intelligence in keeping it fresh , especially over the past couple of seasons. The musical episode as a one-off was an unexpectedly brilliant treat. They realised the sheer strength of their supporting cast (as shown by the clever increase in their parts and the Season 6 "Their Story" episode). They get the best in terms of comedy, good looks and plot from their guest stars, most noticably the bevvy of beautiful and handsome stars courting JD and Elliot and the new faces such as Lonny. And they're very smart with their pop culture references, with nods to their ER, House and Grey's Anatomy medical show rivals, the omnipresent 80's references (I wonder if Bill Lawrence was a child of the 80's...) and the new bands being introduced, a mark that has been stamped on Scrubs and Zach Braff alike. And let's not forget the witty scripts, ever quotable as they are.
Here's to the hope that Scrubs never grows old, whether with a dramatic plot deviance (please NO replacements of cast!) or ending it while it's still fresh.
A Scrubs fan.
p.s. please don't lynch me, this is but my personal opinion