Thursday, May 7, 2009

The End of Another TV Era

Scrubs: The episode that will always be "My Last Day" to me, because I like parallels and I think it was dumb that they titled it "My Finale" instead...even if that was the only imperfect thing about the whole episode.

Let's just start with the end, because...because I'm a sucker for a good ending. I'm a sucker for any ending, really, good or bad, because I'm a nostalgic person and because the tiniest smidgens of nostalgia can make me totally, outrageously weepy, but whatever. This was a good ending. It was an ending that followed with the entire nature of the show (that we see this world through JD's eyes, that JD's got a wildly romantic imagination, that maybe what we wish for will come true and that maybe it won't, but we can always hope for the best), and that gave us hope for the best possible future. Plus, it was set to the perfect song (as Scrubs was always wont to do) and it was both nostalgic and funny (I'm talking about Sam and Izzie's engagement, here).

I thought at first that the song was Colin Hay (I mean, this is Scrubs after all...and he did make an appearance in JD's Hallway of Memories), but it turns out it was Peter Gabriel.

This was only the ending of the perfection, though. The episode was arranged to trace JD's goodbyes through the hospital, so we were treated to one of those goodbyes every few minutes, but it did a good job of reminding us that, though this is JD's story and JD's world, things at Sacred Heart will go on after JD has left. There were still patients to see, the interns (who I adore, btdubs) had their own issues to deal with, and new things were introduced to the canon (Ted getting stuck on a thought, for example, and Glenn Matthews)...though I'm in the camp that hopes the series really will end here, that they won't try and carry on without the MAIN CHARACTER, it is nice to know that this world is not entirely in JD's head. The image of JD pulling away in his Prius as another patient pulls into the hospital (and an instrumental version of "Superman" plays) was so perfect...a reminder that life goes on.

JD walking down that hallway was what really got me. I knew that several past guest stars would be making appearances and I was really hoping to see Brendan Fraser and Kathryn Joosten. I guess if I couldn't have the first one then I'm glad I got the second. "My Old Lady" was the first Scrubs episode to ever make me tear up--it's a perfect example of how a good comedy is about more than just making you laugh. That's something The Office does on a semi-regular basis.

And there were other faces that I'd practically forgotten about. Tasty Coma Wife, Jill Tracy, Hooch and Mr. Cropper among them.

It's always nice to see Tom Cavanaugh.

I guess what it comes down to is that I like a finale that acknowledges that it is a finale. Whether that's returning guest stars or some iconic final image or even a self-conscious narrative/fantasy about the sitcom finale being a sitcom finale. And Scrubs did all three. We had that long walk, we had JD's dream future actually projected before his eyes, we had his fantasy about turning out all of the lights and the pandemonium that ensued (another nod to the fact that things have to keep turning there when he's gone, really).

We even got a moment between JD and Dr. Cox that made me tear up. (Reminiscent of the time that he told JD that he was proud of him.)

There was a brief period during the summer of 2006 where I was mildly obsessed with Scrubs (and it was quickly replaced by my desperate love for Doctor Who...that was the summer of "Doomsday," after all), but since then I've been more of a casual fan. I adore it, it makes me laugh, and season 8 has been perfect, but I wouldn't say it was my favorite show of all time.

But that doesn't mean I won't miss it. I hope to miss it anyway, because I can't see a ninth season working the way it should.

Anyway, I probably have more thoughts, thoughts that would require a third and a fourth viewing...probably a rewatch of the entire series, but those will have to wait. Instead, some highlights:
- Glenn Matthews (if that is his name)
- Music choices/cues
- Both of JD's great love stories (Turk and Elliot) seen through to the end.
- His final scene with Carla
- The Carla/Elliot hug
- Elliot being so Elliot (all season I've felt like Stella might have taken Elliot's place a bit, but, no, she was here for real in the finale)
- Keith!
- The penny
- Muh Night. (Made me think of M'Fashnik and Mmm'cookies.)
- Sunny
- Jordan and Ted
- Kelso
- Have I mentioned "Book of Love"?
- Dr. Cox's big book o' rants
- The Cox/JD goodbye--and then the (almost) willing hug in JD's dream future.
- Elliot and JD's wedding
- The Christmas sweaters!
- A reminder of how Jordan and JD met
- Bill Lawrence as the janitor at the end
- Jo
- Ted's cup filled with dirt
- Sam and Izzie getting married (and that JD and Turk have barely aged)
- really just all of it. Really.

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