Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Sacred Heart

After eight seasons, Scrubs, the sitcom I watched throughout high school and most of college, finally ended tonight.

For those who have never seen the series, Scrubs is an comedy-drama that premiered on October 2, 2001, on NBC (which I still remember watching) and follows the lives of the employees of Sacred Heart hospital. The show's title is a play on surgical scrubs in addition to “scrubs” being slang for the inexperienced.

The show is primarily viewed through the eyes of the central character, John Michael "J.D." Dorian (Zack Braff) and his adventures with his friends; Christopher Turk (Donald Faison), Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke), and Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes). Great characters in the show like Chief-of-Medicine Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins), J.D.'s mentor Dr. Perry Cox (John C. McGinley), his nemesis "the janitor" (Neil Flynn), and Sacred Heart Lawyer Ted Buckland (Sam Lloyd) continued to bring the laughs and added depth to the show.

Each episode of Scrubs is amazing because of the show's plot lines that always have good morals and values mixed in with overwhelming humor. It is probably why I love watching Scrubs so much. Unlike most shows it is not just an escape from reality, but instead the journeys of the characters relates to viewers in a way that inspires them with positive perspectives to make it through their own every day hurdles. By the end of each episode, Scrubs taught viewers lessons on life.

Some of my favorite episodes include "My Musical," "My Way Home," "My ABC's," "My Fallen Idol," "My Catalyst," and "My Overkill."

Another unique aspect of Scrubs is that it is filmed on location at the North Hollywood Medical Center, a real decommissioned hospital located in the North Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, Calif. However, the location of Sacred Heart Hospital within the fictional world of Scrubs is left ambiguous, leaving it easier for its audience to connect with the characters. It's probably another reason I've been able to relate with the show. It has never been about where Sacred Heart is, but the experiences of the lives within the hospital.

During the seventh season more than a year ago, NBC announced that it would not renew the show. To make matters worse for the show's future, in November, the Writers Guild of America went on strike, which put the production of the show's seventh season on hold. When the strike started, only eleven of Scrubs' eighteen planned seventh season episodes had been completely written. The show's creator and director, Bill Lawrence refused to cross any WGA picket lines to serve any of his duties for the show, so ABC Studios had non-WGA members finish episode twelve, which the studio had unsuccessfully pressured Lawrence to rewrite as a series finale prior to the strike.

Shortly after a very weak, ill-fitting seventh season finale, ABC announced that it had bought the rights to the show and on January 6, 2009, the eighth season of Scrubs premiered on ABC. Once again, Lawrence and the cast of Scrubs were able to rekindle the heart-felt reasons many viewers had come to know from the earlier seasons of the show.

Even the last episode kept true to the same themes that have carried the show since the beginning: people grow and change, but life at the hospital just keeps going. People leave, people die, someone makes a life-changing decision, and life just keeps going. To Quote:

"I'm real sorry there, newbie. But this is not a special day for me. It's just a day," Dr. Cox almost-convincingly said during one of J.D.'s attempts at getting an emotional goodbye from him. He was right. And Sacred Heart did not make much of a big deal out of J.D.'s departure.

And as J.D. walks out the exit for the last time, he reflects on the individuals that influenced his life during his years at Sacred Heart. Then he starts to daydream about the the future. And as always he sums up with an important life lesson:

"It's never good to live in the past too long. As for the future, thanks to Dan (J.D.'s older brother), it didn't seem so scary anymore. It could be whatever I want it to be... Who's to say this isn't what happens? And who's to say my fantasies won't come true just this once?"

For all of the wonderful memories, laughs, and lessons learned; I have to say thank you to Lawrence, Braff, and the rest of the cast and crew of Scrubs for an incredible eight years.

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