A Chat with Bill Lawrence: The “Scrubs” Exit Interview

By the time you read this, “Scrubs” will have completed its eight-season run. Or not. That’s kind of still being decided, actually. But for all practical purposes, the series has still come to some sort of a conclusion, since even the rumored continuation of the show – which is still under discussion by ABC – would almost certainly be a new permutation that might or might not resemble the existing series. As such, we decided we’d check in with “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence and chat with him not only about this season but, indeed, to offer a few random questions about the series as a whole. Mind you, it took for-freaking-EVER to finally get him on the phone, but we decided to let him slide. After all, the dude’s got a broken leg and he created the best blend of comedy, drama, and medicine this side of “M*A*S*H.” That kind of thing tends to earn you a little slack from TV critics.

Bill Lawrence: Hey, Will! How’re you doin’, man?

Premium Hollywood: I’m good, man. How are you doing?

BL: I’m good. Sorry to keep you waiting.

PH: Not a big deal. The beauty of working at home: I’m always busy. So how did you break your leg, and why didn’t it make it into the gossip rags?

BL: I know, right? I was just playing basketball. It’s kind of a drag.

PH: Recovery going all right?

BL: Yeah, I’m just doing rehab for a couple of months. I can’t tell you how boring having a broken bone as an adult is. (Laughs)

PH: Well, I dared to ask my Facebook friends for questions, and the predominant one seemed to be, more or less, “Why does my favorite show have to end?” But, then, at last report, it was still undecided if it actually was ending.

BL: Well, you know, we’ll see, right? Yeah, it’s definitely a “we’ll see.” It’s 50/50. But either way, Will, even if the show goes on past this, it won’t be the same show. And to me, the thing is, after nine years, there’s no way that we wouldn’t get repetitive next year, so even if it does go on, this’ll feel like the end of “Scrubs.” To me, it’s the end of “Scrubs” as we know it either way.

PH: So have you been happy with the show’s performance on ABC? I presume, at the very least, ABC has been happy with it.

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Old Show, New Season: “Scrubs”

Q. Is “Scrubs” funny?
A. It’s a matter of opinion. If you ask Peter Griffin, the answer is “no.” (“You ever watch that show ‘Scrubs’? Lois had it on the other night, and I was kinda fading in and out, you know. I was watching and wondering: which one is the funny guy?”) Personally, though, it’s one of my favorite sitcoms, with a great ensemble cast and an ability to move from laughter to tears without making it feel forced.

Q. Has the writing on “Scrubs” maintained the same level of quality since its premiere in 2001?
A. I think even those most die-hard fans of the show would have to say that the answer is an unequivocal “no.” And so, for that matter, would the show’s creator. Bill Lawrence said outright in his chat with me for Bullz-Eye, “I let it get too broad and goofy in the middle, and, y’know, we got a little lazy sometimes and were a little bit of a caricature of ourselves.”

Q. So given that “Scrubs” just finished up seven seasons on NBC, isn’t the show outstaying its welcome by moving to ABC for an eighth season?
A. Oh, hell, no. And if you think otherwise, then I ask you to at least check out the first two episodes of Season 8 before you make a final decision on the matter, because I’ve seen them, and they’re good.

There’s an immediate change in “Scrubs” from the moment Dr. Dorian…or J.D., if you like…steps onto the screen, sporting what the Janitor describes as a “pre-pubescent ‘Miami Vice’ beard.” (“There are some who say I look like a young Kenny Loggins,” claims J.D., though you’d be a fool to believe him.) Taking a coincidental cue from “House,” the show finds Dr. Dorian dealing with a new class of interns, including Katie the know-it-all suck-up (Betsy Beutler), the incredibly callous Denise (Eliza Coupe), and the awesomely inappropriate Ed, played by Aziz Ansari from “Human Giant.” The powerhouse within the list of guest stars, however, is Courtney Cox, who plays Dr. Taylor Maddox, Dr. Kelso’s replacement as Sacred Heart’s Chief of Medicine.

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