An uproariously funny sitcom that delights in man’s most basic insecurities and how different individuals address them, “Scrubs” is as sharp a sitcom as there is on the fall network schedule. It’s an off-the-wall delight and yet so simple at its core: three hospital interns and the doctors who boss them around. The leads Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke and Donald Faison have a remarkable chemistry that never asks the audience to suspend belief all that much — they gang up, they split apart, they show good and bad sides — and it’s all done in exacting form in the first two episodes.
Competition for “Scrubs” comes directly from “Spin City,” though the hospital yuks should definitely attract a younger aud, one that can easily absorb the show’s frenzied energy and reliance on inner observations. “Frasier” auds may well stick around just because “Scrubs” is so much fun, drawing a sufficient amount of its humor from asides, inner thoughts and surrealist dream sequences that are more of the boy-meets-girl variety than hospital hijinks.
The life of the hospital intern in seen through the naive eyes of JD (Braff), who is enchanted by the oppressively competitive Elliott Reid (Chalke) and befriended by scalpel-touting Chris Turk (Faison). Reid and JD attempt to stay on the good side of the disingenuously benevolent Dr. Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins).
The emotional and comic heart of “Scrubs,” however, is pumping in the body of Dr. Perry Cox, a character that John C. McGinley has so quickly given shape and definition that viewers will eventually want him in every scene. He’s the equivalent of the wacky neighbor and he’s used judiciously as such, but the way he covers his guidance and advice with gruffness, sarcasm and a total lack of civility is mind-bending. The lines penned by Deb Fordham, Janae Bakken and Mark Stegeman shine best when paired with McGinley’s timing.
JD questions Cox’s motivations and lack of tenderness in the presence of a patient and Cox doesn’t defend himself — he shouts, “Ike was a sissy” into the ear of the unconscious veteran in the hospital bed. An attempt by JD to build a relationship with Cox backfires in episode two when he inadvertently discovers that Cox is probably gay — and very private. It will be interesting to see how producers allow the Cox character to develop.
“Scrubs” is sharp on every level, from script, direction and editing to the well-chosen, handsome cast and the employment of nonreal sequences.