Monday, April 28, 2008

If I Ran the World

Scrubs, more so than many other sitcoms, likes to play with the notion of "real" and not real." The daydreams and fantasies that litter the show are clearly portrayed as "not real," within the world of the show, but in addition it has, through various winks and nods, made meta references to the notion that the show itself is "not real" - that is, some of the show's absurdities (the Janitor's ridiculous bizarreness, Ted's over-the-top misery, the Todd's existence as nothing but a walking innuendo), are portrayed as the kinds of things that could only happen on a TV show. In addition, the show has many times over the years played with the idea (which is, again, central to the daydreams and fantasies that are the show's bread and butter) that the stuff we see on screen is only happening in characters' heads. The musical episode is a perfect example - all of the singing was what the sick patient heard in her head, the result of a rare brain injury. Or the revelation that an entire Act of the Brendan Fraser episode was JD's panicked imagination insisting that the guy didn't have cancer.

The show has already taken this ethos to one kind of extreme by having JD imagine almost an entire episode as being a traditional three-camera sitcom. But what if they took it to the other extreme? What if they did, next year on ABC, a complete one-hour episode shot like a traditional "realistic" hospital drama? An episode that made the point that the entire show has been given to us in the form of JD's heightened perspective. So the Janitor is merely an odd guy who mumbles to himself; and Ted is depressed but not wackily so; and Kelso is bitter and mean, but not also funny; and Cox is not nearly as, in the end, as sweet as JD imagines. Film it gritty and real, like an episode of ER, with no jokes - with a typical Scrubs plot without any of the Scrubs narration, or cutaways, or exaggerations. If the show has always been about mixing the pain and real emotion of real life with the dialed-to-11 silliness of over-the-top comedy, give us one episode that shows us what it would be like without the comedy - just as the sitcom episode showed us what it would be like without the realism and emotion.

Until Whenever


Roger Green said...

Is that 8th season on ABC a sure thing?

Tosy And Cosh said...

From everything I've read, yes. I understand that they are even filming episodes for it already. There's just some reason they can't formally announce. Probably some legal thing.