Scrubs has always had a pretty soft heart beating beneath all the goofy physical comedy and off-center sensibility. So I wasn’t surprised, or even bothered much, by the somewhat Very Special Episode nature of Thursday’s show, which featured Carla and Turk having their baby.
What has made that sentimentality palatable is the show’s willingness to undercut the shmoopy moments with well-timed jokes. Thursday’s show, though, was something different.
While Carla was having her child, and Turk was stuck in an ice machine, Homer Simpson-style, J.D. and new girlfriend Kim were talking about not having their child. And when was the last time you saw any TV series, much less a comedy, willing to talk about abortion, without it turning into a polemic? Maude, maybe (assuming you were alive then)? Nurse Laverne, along with her Talking Jesus, and the pregnant Jordan pretty much summed up the two sides of the debate, and J.D. and Kim clearly, if a little childishly, struggled with their decision.
That’s all well and good, and kudos to Scrubs for dealing with the issue without becoming a polemic for either side. But all the serious talk made for a less-funny-than-usual episode. The stuff with Dr. Cox and little Jack was pretty good, as was the payoff to Turk in the ice machine — both as an explanation for how Leonard, the hook-handed security guard (played by producer Randall Winston) got that way and as a way for Turk to help out with the birth — finally — by cooling Carla off in the operating room. And J.D. and Turk’s baby dance with the drumline? Gold, as most dance sequences on this show tend to be. And have we seen J.D. and his unicorn before? I don’t recall it, but I like that bit.
But the parallel to Turk and Carla’s wedding, at which he also screwed up massively, was a little too on-the-nose for my taste, and whether the Simpsons reference was intentional or not, I found myself a little preoccupied with it.
I know one of the show’s stated goals this season is to bring J.D. a little closer to full-fledged adulthood, and I’m confident there’s a lot of comedy to be mined from that. This episode, though, just didn’t hit the way I’m used to Scrubs hitting.
But maybe that’s just me. How’d you like Thursday’s Scrubs?