2GuysTalking Television Review Blogs

Scrubs: My Musical

January 20th, 2007 by bigorangemichael

At long last, we finally see the musical episode of Scrubs.

At the risk of sounding like a Joss Whedon groupie–Buffy‘s musical episode was better.

I really had to work to turn off the analytical side of my mind that immediately began comparing to the two episodes.  I tried to enjoy the musical episode for what it was worth, but time and again, the genius that was the Buffy musical kept coming up in my mind.  And how desparately Scrubs wanted to emulate that — and wasn’t.

Buffy‘s musical found a spell cast upon the town that forced characters to express deep, internal desires and thoughts in song.   So, the central conceit of a many musicals that characters will say things in song and dance they wouldn’t in ordinary conversation had a legitimate, well-established reason.  Also, the point at which all the characters were, such revelations were needed to propel the season’s storyline.

Scrubs tries to do the same thing.  Only this time it’s a patient who due to an anuryism is hearing everyone sing.  Some of the songs reveal things about the internal monologue of the characters, but then you’ve got the song about poo that ruins that whole idea.  The big issue was that it felt like Scrubs was trying too hard to energize and reinvent itself.  Each year, we have a couple of big episodes that each will spin the show in a new direction in terms of the character arcs.   Watching some Scrubs on DVD, I’m reminded of just how often in the past the show did this exactly right.

Which is why the musical episode came off as so wrong.  Again, it’s trying too hard.  Musically, it’s rather sound and the dance numbers all look great.  Technically, there is nothing to fault.  What I do fault is that the numbers were trying too hard to be funny.  Also, to go back to Buffy, the musical palate of Buffy was very broad, allowing for a vareity of musical styles to suit the characters and their particular situations.  Here, the musical palatte was a bit too narrow, seeming to be a low-rent version of Rent or Les Mis.  Indeed, the Les Mis roots showed time and again.

The biggest difference–once the Scrubs musical was over, I shrugged, said that’s nice and moved on.  The songs are available for free on iTunes but I’ve not bothered to download them.  Unlike Buffy‘s musical episode where within minutes of the episode going off the air, I scoured the Net to find bootleg copies of the songs and listened to them for weeks, driving friends, family and co-workers crazy.

So, if you want to see a true genius take a musical episode and work magic with it, get to season six, disc two of Buffy.   If you want to see a musical episode that is nice but just trying too hard, watch Scrubs.

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