I don’t usually write about popular culture, partly because it’s a bit off-topic (yes, I know, I’m not exactly known for staying on topic in a single post, much less for producing a coherent blog experience, though I did read yesterday that it’s easier to eat a banana if you open it from the bottom by squeezing, and was delighted to find that that was true, at least on the a-bit-too-ripe bananas I had, though further experiments will be required on bananas that are perfectly ripe, which, by my estimation, is not “fleck with brown and has a golden hue“, which is stage 7 on the official Chiquita ripeness scale – the optimal banana is stage 6), but I’m going to make an exception this time.

Good comedy writing is rare, so when I come across something that I like I stick with it. Scrubs was great the first season, but has wavered a bit in previous ones, but this season is back on track. A recent episode had a “Wizard of Oz” theme, but mostly managed to make it subtle rather than overt. The best scene in the episode, however, doesn’t have to have to do with that theme at all.

As part of a pan, the long-suffering hospital lawyer Ted is seen through a window singing “Maniac” from the 1983 movie Flashdance with his barbershop quartet. That’s the kind of quirky thing this series does well, and it’s only amusing. But about 30 second later, in another pan, we see them continuing the song, and halfway through the pan, Ted picks up a pitcher of water and pours it over his head as he continues singing.

Brilliant. Not because it’s a great comedic reference, but because it’s done as a throw-away part of the script, put in there for the enjoyment of the people who will get the reference, but not really set up as a joke. That shows both passion and craft, and you don’t get good comedy without it.

For those of you who didn’t get it, there’s a classic scene in Flashdance where the dancing character sits on a chair, pulls a chain, and water dumps all over her. So Ted is paying homage to the movie by re-enacting the scene as part of their rendition of the song.

Comments (6)

  1. Ed Kaim says:

    I love "Scrubs". Sadly, it and its fantastic cousin "The Office" are destined to go the way of "Arrested Development" and be cancelled because sitcom ratings seem to suffer when there’s no laugh track. I think they should consider having a SAP track that includes canned laughter so people with Nielsen boxes know when to find things funny.

  2. Ahh, and given what you said in the second-to-last paragraph, I would think that you would have omitted the last paragraph and left the reference to those who truly "get-it".

  3. heaths says:

    I love "Scrubs" for much the same reason – the often obscure references and the way that even in the background there are jokes. Reminds me of many "Monty Python" sketches.

    I have to disagree with Ed, though. "Scrubs" was threatened with cancellation but made a come-back and is getting more attention. NBC is even making sure to air all the episodes that would’ve played had the Olympics not taken it’s slot in the near future. That’s a good sign, considering they didn’t opt to just not show them.

    This is, what, the 4th season? That’s the magical number (or was last I checked) for syndication so I think it’ll have some life in it yet. They also brought Sarah Chalke back so it must’ve been important enough to have her to keep viewers. It all seems to add-up fairly for "Scrubs"’ future.

  4. Bertrand Le Roy says:

    Shrek 2 has the same reference to the water dumping at the end of the movie.

  5. I too LOVED that episode. The number of subtle little touches (like painting his shoes red) that were "thrown away" was amazing. I even saved it for my wife and said something like "you really need to see this episode."