The Pantheon: Scrubs (My Half-Acre / Her Story II)

Netflix doesn't have the greatest catalog for instant streaming right now, but it does have a fair collection of "Laundry Shows". That is, television shows you've already seen and enjoyed, and can put on in the background to pay the barest amount of attention to while you fold laundry or balance your checkbook or whatever. Scrubs is a good example of a Laundry Show, and with a lot of things to do around the apartment lately, I've essentially been able to shotgun the entire series. Freed from the restriction of one episode per week, it was easier to see the overall series as a big picture, and to pick out when it hit its peak. For Scrubs, the pinnacle came in a two-episode arc midway through the fifth season:

My Half-Acre (Season 5, Episode 9):

J.D. gets set up on a blind date with Julie, played by Mandy Moore. I confess that when Mandy Moore first came to my attention, I dismissed her entirely as another bland pop princess. In the time since, though, she's really come into her own as an actress, and I really enjoy her performance here, from the very first moment.

In the B-plot, Turk, Ted, Lloyd, and the Janitor form an air band, and when Turk disrespects Kelso, air-banding is forbidden in the hospital. Turk eventually apologizes, and the band is allowed to reunite. The C-plot is inconsequential, but inoffensive. Dr. Cox has issues showing affection to his son, now that Jack isn't an infant anymore, but he eventually comes around. This storyline is mostly used to fill time, but doesn't drag down the episode, while the air band scenes lead to some fun musical interludes. J.D. inevitably starts sabotaging the relationship with Julie, and reluctantly takes Elliot's romantic advice to slow down, which improves things dramatically.

J.D. wouldn't be J.D without a streak of childish immaturity, though, and he decides to eventually disregard Elliot's sage wisdom by rushing into buying the titular property with Julie, rushing their relationship forward.

Her Story II: (Season 5, Episode 10):

One of the rare episodes where J.D. passes off narration to another character (Carla, in this case), this episode also wraps up the Julie arc. Carla spends the episode obsessing over her inability to get pregnant and her anxiety about her encroaching age. The Janitor tortures her by comparing her unfavorably with a hot, young nurse, and she's embarrassed to admit to the dreamy hospital gynecologist that she fears she's too old to get pregnant. Being self-conscious about her age also drives her to defiantly drag Julie, Elliot, and Jordan out for drinks, protesting that she can still handle a bender like she used to. She cannot.

Meanwhile, J.D. introduces Julie around to everyone. She impresses everyone at the hospital, whether it's sharing embarrassing stories about J.D. with Dr. Cox or revealing to Turk that her godfather is Billy Dee Williams. Things go sour when J.D. starts to become annoyed that Julie always says "That's so funny!" instead of laughing at anything. Turk sees him going down a bad road, and immediately stages an intervention so that J.D. doesn't ruin another ideal relationship over a trivial detail.

The advice doesn't take, and Turk's second attempt to help by trying to overload J.D.'s system with "That's so funny!" by watching Uncle Buck with Julie just drives him crazier. He and Julie get into a blowout fight, but before any lasting damage is done, he manages to dig deep for some emotional maturity, and assures Julie that the trivial stuff doesn't bother him anymore. Their joy is short-lived when they realize that they want fundamentally different things out of life, and they break up for good.

As is often the case with Scrubs episodes, both J.D. and Carla learn life lessons. But enough about all that accepting who you are and what you want out of life! These two episodes are jam packed with zingers, and if you enjoyed this show at all, this is the point that your funny bone will be the most ticklish.


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