Scrubs Goes Back to Medical School

I'm a firm believer in the six-season rule, which dictates that most TV shows should end after six seasons, because if they continue they get tired or old or stale or unfunny or irrelevant. Sex and the City ended after six seasons. So did The Sopranos. And so will Lost. Occasionally, a show will successfully make it past Season 6 (Friends, Seinfeld, Smallville)—but not without a casualty season or two. In general, it's best not to break the rule.

And that's why Scrubs has me completely baffled. When the news hit in August that Season 9 will see the show become a sort of spinoff of itself, moving from Sacred Heart teaching hospital to a medical school in which Turk (Donald Faison) and Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) are faculty members, I didn't have high hopes. Now that I've seen tonight's premiere, I'm not as skeptical. It's still Scrubs (the name hasn't changed, as show creator Bill Lawrence once hinted it might), but with a hell of a paint job. The intro is different. The janitor is gone. All the familiar characters are teachers. It's... disorienting. But it could work.

Shows typically don't attract new audiences after eight seasons on the air, but Scrubs has only been on ABC for one season so far. And now that Lawrence has completely re-imagined its setting (crusty old Sacred Heart has been torn down and rebuilt on a medical school campus) and added a slew of new cast members, Scrubs has a unique opportunity to start over—sort of. The basic elements are still present: new teachers J.D. (Zach Braff) and Turk are still incredibly immature, Dr. Cox is still a big asshole, and Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins) is still surprisingly feisty. Rumor has it we'll see less of Elliot (Sarah Chalke) and Carla (Judy Reyes), and literally none of The Janitor (Neil Flynn, who's busy with The Middle).

But in the Season 9 premiere, we'll get to meet three newbies. Lucy (Kerry Bishe) is a doe-eyed Kate-Hudson-lookalike and a first-year med student who quickly replaces J.D. as Dr. Cox's least favorite person on the planet. Denise (Eliza Coupe), also a med student, is the student adviser with more sass than sympathy. And Drew (Michael Mosley) stands out as the been-there-done-that hot older guy, back in school to earn his M.D. They're all at different stages in the ol' Scrubs coming-of-age story arc, but learning about them doesn't feel repetitive. They've got their own lives—Lucy is basically Tracy Flick with a stethoscope and Denise and Drew have a surprisingly complex relationship, considering they just met.

It's pretty refreshing to see these shiny new faces interact with the eight-year veterans. And even though the pilot practically trembles with the obvious nervousness of the cast and crew—the timing is off, the special effects are cheap, and the jokes are a little forced—the second episode of the season ditches the jitters and brings the ol' Scrubs charm. The cheap-looking dream sequences are back. The cheesy Life Lessons at the end of the episode are back. And you know what? So is Scrubs. I think.

Season 9 of Scrubs premieres with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, December 1 at 9 p.m. on ABC.

Comments (22)
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Nov 15, 2010
denise was in the last season but JD called her Jo. Remember?
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Dec 02, 2009
I saw it. I liked it. And I'll continue watching. Dr. Cox hating Lucy may be a rehashed concept, but Dr. Cox liking Drew is pretty new aand has loads of potential.
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Dec 02, 2009
It's not really working for me. It is just a paint job, but even the best paint job cannot hide the fact that it is all the same structure. And one that, as I have become convinced, should have been left alone. They (tried to) fixed it despite the fact it wasn't broken. As a result, it is broken NOW.
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Dec 02, 2009
I'm not really liking the new format
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Dec 02, 2009
I like the new version. I was really wary of the idea of it coming back because it ended so perfectly, but the new version is good. It's fresh enough to keep going now. I really laughed a lot last night watching it
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Dec 02, 2009
Scrubs lost a little of its steam last season, when the series only featured a couple of the main cast at a time. There wasn't enough interaction between characters. If they can bring that back this season then there could still be hope. Especially a whole lot of GUY LOVE!
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Dec 02, 2009
omg how can you hate the janitor you monster:O
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Dec 02, 2009
I'll miss Elliot's quirkiness but I'll watch. Didn't really like the Janitor anyway.
Hope Better Off Ted returns too. These were the only two comedies on network tv that I liked.
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Dec 02, 2009
Im sorry, but it does not seem like Scrubs to me without the janitor.
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Dec 01, 2009
Can't Wait ; D
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Dec 01, 2009
Am excited to see what they make of it. Gutted that the Janitor isn't in it though!!
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Dec 01, 2009
its not a bad idea sequoa, u just hate everything on tv and yet u still watch everything, ur sad
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Dec 01, 2009
bad idea bro..
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Dec 01, 2009
i cant wait, 2 new episodes of scrubs, this show is perfect, except for season 7, but that was because of the writers strike
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Dec 01, 2009
They should bring back Lee Thompson Young's med student character. He and Denise played off each other well.
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Dec 01, 2009
I'm hopefully optimistic that it can continue to live up to it's name.
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Dec 01, 2009
I am actually really excited to see this I wasn't so keen on the idea because the last couple of seasons were not very good but I can't wait
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Dec 01, 2009
Nice! I gave up last season, because it felt like even the writers were getting bored with the characters/setting. Sad that the janitor won't be around anymore, but happy that Denise is back. And I love the promos -- they make me really hopeful that this show is, indeed, back.
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Dec 01, 2009
Stopped caring about the show after season three, but up until then I thought it was one of the best shows on television. The lack of the janitor has me intrigued, though... The only new episodes I made an effort to watch were the ones after he was temporarily fired last season, and those were some of the best episodes in five years.
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Dec 01, 2009
I was semi OK with the idea of the show going on without JD after was is simply the BEST FINALE EVER in the history of television but now with him having even a partial role as he "hands off" his place on the show to the new cast members i'm not so sure anymore. I'll give it a shot, but to me I feel the show will be over at the end of season 8 regardless of how many seasons come. Much like how Gilmore Girls to me ended when Luke asked Loralie to marry him at the end of the season, then they went and screwed up the happy couple the next season for no good reason.
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Dec 01, 2009
I'm excited, anticipating it!
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Dec 01, 2009
I'm scared... But I'll give it a chance.
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