‘Scrubs’ Still Lives — Why Not Exactly Clear

“Scrubs” has risen from the dead so many times that it’s starting to resemble a zombie movie, “Night of the Living Comedy.” The show resurfaces Dec. 1 on ABC, reloading with new cast additions and a revised format that shift the focus to medical students. (The subtitle “Med School” — which series creator Bill Lawrence wanted — has been left off thus far, presumably for syndication purposes.)

ScrubsZach Braff is back for the first half-dozen episodes, but he’s going to pass the voiceover baton to another self-doubting young doctor to be, Lucy, played with stammering cuteness by Kerry Bishe. The real draw, though, remains John C. McGinley as the now brutal-on-the-med-students Dr. Cox, in what amounts to a kind of “The Paper Chase” reboot.

The show still possesses amusing flights of fancy, from a reference to former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo — which certainly wins points for sheer obscurity — to Lucy’s fantasy Lifetime movie in the second of Tuesday’s back-to-back half-hours.

Still, now that the one-time NBC show has been saved (again), I sort-of wish ABC had put the paddles away and let it pass gently into the night. “Scrubs” was never a great comedy, but it was a pretty good one; that said, the series never really possessed the must-see qualities — or for that matter, the kind of ratings — that would warrant trading off the name in this fashion. Moreover, now that ABC finally has a little traction in the comedy arena with “Modern Family” and Lawrence’s “Cougar Town,” keeping “Scrubs” on life support seems more unnecessary than ever.

In his message to journalists at the front of the online screener, Lawrence talked about bringing the show back and, to those scribes who were going to give “Scrubs” a second chance, said, “Thanks for bothering.”

The episodes were pleasant enough, so watching them was no bother. Even so, it remains something of a mystery why ABC did.

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