Just last year we were saying goodbye to the staff of Sacred Heart Hospital because NBC had decided that Scrubs had run its course. I was not happy about this decision. Luckily my new BNFF (best network friend forever) ABC picked it up and brought it back. The premiere episode of Season 8 is titled: ‘My Jerks’. I wondered how much the show would change with the new bosses and was pleased to see not much! Even the opening title-credit sequence was the exact same as it has been for the last 7 seasons.
The New Interns Suck
We open with JD’s new batch of interns, who are not a promising lot. There is Katie, a self-centered, annoying kiss-ass; Denise, an abrasive woman to whom compassion is a completely unimaginable concept; and Ed, who has far more interest in surfing the web and texting than anything JD has to say. JD has to leave the interns to tend to the floor while he runs some tests for a patient. He gives them specific instructions but when he gets back, a patient codes because none of them did what they were supposed to do. He refuses to accept their weak apologies and excuses, and tells them he’s done with them.
Cox and the Jerk Factor
We also meet Taylor Maddox, the new Chief of Medicine, played by Courtney Cox. Her entrance is in fan-blown, cleavage-revealing slow-motion, of course, since we see her through JD’s psyche. Once even JD realizes this has gone on uncomfortably long he finally snaps out of it and we see she is a friendly, gregarious sort who has an open door policy and a big problem with spiders. Dr. Cox is the only one leery of her and refuses to be nice. So, thankfully, he hasn’t changed at all either. Maddox takes the initiative to take a patient to radiology herself, which Carla thinks shows she must be a pretty nice lady, but Cox declares himself an expert on jerks and she, he tells Carla, is a jerk. After a ton of cajoling from Carla he finally goes to talk to her. She has seemed like she really cares about this one patient especially but when he gets her alone he discovers that all she is really interested in is racking up a big load of tests since his insurance is spectacular. Just when we, and Cox even, had a glimmer of hope for the humanity of the new chief, Cox’s cynicism proved to be pretty accurate.
JD’s Boss Obsession
JD attempts to get in good with the new boss-lady. He tries bonding with her parent-to-parent by finagling it so she will catch him looking at a picture of his son, and it looks like it’s working when she pulls out a picture of her daughter. I guess JD doesn’t have a plan that gets this far because the only thing he can think of to ask if she delivered vaginally and to comment that it must have hurt. He later tries to compliment her by telling her she’s like a naughty…(she’s interested) structure (‘Like a shed?’She’s no longer interested.)
Elliot’s ex-fiancé Keith is back, and he throws out jabs at Elliot every chance he can get. When Katie runs past them, Keith lets Elliot know that everyone calls Katie ‘Mini-Elliot’. Dr. Cox reiterates to Elliot that she is indeed self-absorbed, which sets Elliot off on a little story all about herself, thus proving Cox’s point. A short while later in ‘Coffee Bucks’Carla tells Elliot in a ‘I would want to know if I was doing something I would later regret’way that she is indeed very self centered. Elliot doesn’t see how that is at all friendly so she storms off. Eagerly watching this exchange is Bob Kelso, ex-Chief of Medicine. I had figured that with the arrival of Dr. Maddox we would not see Beelzebob again, but I had forgotten that he has a lifetime supply of muffins coming to him at the coffee shop, so of course he’ll be there. Elliot continues to assert that Keith is doing just fine after the breakup. Finally Ted, once his anti-anxiety meds kick in, brings Elliot to the locker room and shows her that people who have been dumped never want the person who dumped them to see how miserable they really are. Elliot finally gets her head on straight and apologizes very sincerely to both Keith and Carla.
The Janitor’s Story
The Janitor is still around, tormenting JD as always. He sets up a broom handle to trip JD and Dr. Maddox confronts him about it. She demands to know from him, ‘Do you think it would have been funny if he had broken his neck?’To which he answers, ‘I feel like you want me to say no.’She doesn’t think that’s so funny and fires him on the spot. Later, he is still working in the hallway. Maddox pulls him aside to ask why he thinks he she wasn’t serious when she fired him. He doesn’t notice she has walked him right out the door. Defeated, he hands over his set of key. Yes, singular. He got tired of walking around with a whole bunch of them so he made one that will open anything.
JD and Cox… Bonding?
Sitting in the cafeteria, JD explains to Cox that his interns suck and he doesn’t want anything more to do with them. Instead of reaming him a new one, Cox just sighs and says he can understand that. He had been avoiding Maddox because if and when she’d turn out to be a jerk he’d be forced to yet again become ‘that guy,’the one who has to be in her face all the time. He’s tired of that. He also points out to JB that they are in a teaching hospital, and he needs to teach these kids no matter how annoying and incompetent they are. In fact, he tells JD, he remembers having a student that drove him so crazy he was on both a suicide and a homicide watch. JD is so thrilled that Cox is treating him like an equal that he scrambles to think of something that equals do. Make a note: They do not share the same cup of coffee, as I, and JD, discover here. JD returns to the interns, takes command of them and in the end becomes the teacher he needs to be.
Funniest Non-Plot Related Scenes
- Ed the Intern tells JD that he couldn’t finish some reports because he was busy chatting with a chick on a Lost website. He tells JD that when he figured out the girl was really a dude, he signed up a new account to get back at the guy. He called himself HotGirl99 and claimed to look like Kate. He convinced the guy to meet him and to be holding a red balloon to identify himself. Throughout the whole show various characters, including Ted and Dr. Colonel Sanders, are seen walking around with red balloons.
- JD wants to give the interns funny nicknames, and has settled on calling Denise ‘Jo’after the ‘street-wise, mannish girl’on The Facts of Life. Turk suggests he call Katie ‘Blaire’since she’s blonde and perky. JD claims that’s stupid but secretly thinks that’s a great idea. He vows to only call her that when Turk is not around so Turk won’t be able to say ‘You’re Welcome’in that smug way of his. Of course, as soon as he calls her Blaire Turk pops up out of nowhere and says… Well, I’ll let you take a guess. Ed offers to let JD call him “Tootie,” reassuring him that he won’t consider that racist one bit.
- In the last scene of the episode, JD says to his friends that now that they are in their 8th year they should still strive to be as good as they were in there first and second years, since so many people rely on them from week to week. Even though they never do very well during the ‘Medical Award Season,'(Dr. Shaloub always seems to win) he still thinks they are as good as anyone else out there. Turk tells JD that Mr. And Mrs. Nielsen begs to differ, and gestures to a couple glaring at them and shaking their heads. It was a really fun meta-reference for those fans that have been watching lo these many years.
I give the episode a solid nostalgic glad-you’re-back 10 out of 10. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about it. I’m really looking forward to this season now. It will be interesting to see what a new network will continue to do with this fan favorite.