Another auto-post as I romp through the Happiest Place on Earth which, alas is not the Playboy Mansion, that’s the other and probably even better happiest place on earth. [Note: When I wrote that little crack I had no idea about Hef’s engagement. I guess 84 is when a boy decides it’s time to settle down.]
Moving along, below, it-boy and certain Oscar nominee James Franco teaches an important acting lesson to his brother, Dave, using a key scene from “Rebel Without a Cause.”
The funny part about this is that I used to think that the widespread assumption that poor old Pluto (Sal Mineo) was definitely and for sure non-platonically in love with Jim Stark (James Dean) was reading a bit more into things than was actually there in the film. Sure, I thought, Pluto might well be gay, but that wasn’t something we could be sure about from what was actually onscreen. I thought that people were making assumptions from our modern vantage point based on what we now know of the actual sex lives of Dean and Mineo. Okay, but then there’s the jacket cuddling and sniffing. Also, if Pluto’s so cold, why not just put it on rather than the childlike but kind of odd caresses? Also, he’s got a cardigan on and Dean/Stark just has an undershirt — and then he asks to keep it. What would Dr. Freud make of my obtuseness?
When “Scrubs” wrapped its eighth season earlier this year, it did so with the presumption that it was offering viewers a final farewell to its characters. J.D. (Zach Braff) and Elliott (Sarah Chalke) spent the season finally settling into a groove as a couple, and in the 2-part finale, we watched J.D. make the most mature decision of his life: to leave Sacred Heart in order to take a job which would allow him to live closer to his son. If you followed the show throughout its run, it’s hard to imagine that you didn’t get misty as he took his final stroll down the hospital’s corridors, revisiting the memories of former friends, lovers, colleagues, and patients, and even if you did somehow make it through without dry eyes, the combination of having Peter Gabriel’s cover of the Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love” play over a montage of J.D.’s possible future was enough to kickstart anyone’s tear ducts.
It was, most fans agreed, the perfect way to close out the “Scrubs” story.
As such, when it was announced that 1) ABC had offered Bill Lawrence the chance to continue “Scrubs” for a 9th season, and 2) he had accepted their offer, fans immediately split into two camps: those who felt that Lawrence was betraying the legacy of the series by not leaving well enough alone and leaving them with their perfect ending, and those who were excited at the prospect of seeing the series continue. The phrase “legacy shmegacy” quickly became a staple of Lawrence’s interviews (such as, for instance, this one), and he soon revealed that Season 9 of the show would feel almost like a spin-off, taking Drs. Cox (John C. McGinley) and Turk (Donald Faison), turning them into med school professors, and exploring the world of first-year medical students…or, as he said to Michael Ausiello when the announcement was first made, “It’ll be a lot like ‘The Paper Chase’ as a comedy.” But while that’s a great reference to endear TV critics to its premise, is the concept enough to bring back those who were quite happy with the show reaching its logical conclusion at the end of Season 8?
If it isn’t, then maybe Zach Braff will be.
At first, it was implied that Braff would only be returning for a few episodes, with rumors abounding that ABC was pushing for the show to add a “big name” to its cast to keep the ratings momentum moving along; instead, he will actually appear in half of the episodes this season, with Lawrence rationalizing that, all things considered, Braff is a pretty big name in his own right. At the very least, his presence will surely inspire some of the on-the-fence fans to give the new version of the show a shot, and the same goes for Sarah Chalke, who will be turning up on a semi-regular basis as well. Although we saw Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins) drive off into the sunset at the end of Season 8, he must have turned around at some point, since he’ll also be teaching a class at the medical school, and as the ever-abrasive Denise (Eliza Coupe) was deemed way too good a character to leave behind, she’ll be working with Professors Cox, Dorian, Kelso, and Turk as a teaching assistant.
But, wait, now you’re wondering about everyone else, too, so I’d better get them out of the way, too.
What of Carla? Well, since Judy Reyes was reportedly only interested in reprising her role in a full-time capacity, we apparently won’t be seeing her for the foreseeable future, but we were given the impression that Carla was probably going to be transitioning from nurse to homemaker, anyway, so it’s easy enough to buy that. Christa Miller’s pretty busy over on “Cougar Town,” so there’s no sign of Jordan at the moment, but given that she works for the same network and that she’s married to the man behind both shows, let’s just say that it wouldn’t be impossible that she could turn up. (In fact, the word probable might even be appropriate, but you didn’t hear that from me.) Neil Flynn’s gig on “The Middle” is keeping him hopping, too, but The Janitor will rear his head briefly tonight, and Ted the Lawyer (Sam Lloyd) will turn up in the near future, with his significant other, The Gooch (Kate Micucci), in tow.
Okay, now you know that there’ll be plenty of old faces around to make you feel at home. So how about the new faces? ABC kicks off the return of the series with two new episodes, but if you can’t wait ’til then to find out if “Scrubs: Med School” – yes, Lawrence won his fight with ABC to add an era-differentiating subtitle to the series – will permanently taint your memories of the preceding eight seasons, then you’ll probably want to read on. Be forewarned, however, that there are SPOILERS in your immediate future, so those who wish to remain blissfully ignorant until 9 PM should bail out now. Just be sure to come back later to offer your thoughts about the show’s return.
Back in July, when every broadcast network other than CBS was being stingier than Ebeneezer Scrooge about sending out screeners of pilots (or, in NBC’s case, first episodes, since they don’t do pilots anymore), I was pleasantly surprised when Fox stepped forward and provided us with the pilot for their new sitcom, “Do Not Disturb,” which focuses on the staff of a high-class hotel.
But then I watched it.
After enduring the viewing experience, I was still surprised that they’d provided us with the pilot…but, now, instead of being surprised that they had finished product with which to provide us, I was simply surprised that they felt like the show was worth showing to us, let alone put on the air. I don’t know if you remember my posting after sitting through the TCA panel for the show, but if you don’t, then this one sentence should provide you with sufficient insight as to my feelings on the pilot:
I was perhaps one of the few fans of Jerry O’Connell’s previous series, “Carpoolers,” and hearing that Jason Bateman directed the pilot episode of this hotel-based sitcom, I walked in ready to love it, but sweet Jiminy Christmas, this thing sucked so much that it might as well have been sponsored by Oreck.
Yes, it was just that good…and at least one other person agreed with me: my esteemed evil twin, Bill Harris of the Toronto Sun, who described it as the least funny sitcom pilot to cross his path in a couple of years. I think it’s safe to say that this dissatisfaction was shared by others beyond just writers named William Harris, however, since Fox soon made the decision to air an episode other than the pilot when the series premieres on September 10th. As a result of this move, the network proceeded to send us an advance screener of this episode as well…and after more than a week of having it sitting in my house and taunting me, I’m finally going to steel myself and watch it. But know this: I’m doing it for you, dear readers. People say that critics sit on high and look down at everyone else, deciding what’s good and what’s not, and maybe that’s true sometimes, but let’s not forget the sacrifices they make for the people who read their work…and while we’re at it, let’s not forget to ask God to have mercy on my soul for at least the next 22 minutes or so.