Scrubs not so spectacular

Fans who bought Season 6 of the TV series Scrubs and were expecting the usual may be disappointed. More serious and less amusing, this season is definitely a difficult one to watch in comparison to its predecessors. But don’t worry; the theme song is still as good as you remember.

Facets that once kept the show funny and original are wearing thin to reveal repetitive comedic attempts. The only thing keeping the show worth watching is the dynamic between the actors and their abilities to energeticallydeliver banal lines.

Although I probably would have proclaimed Seasons 3 and 4 to be spectacular, the quality of Scrubs is sliding down the standard bell curve that most long-running shows experience.

Light-hearted humor that once wove seamlessly through the plot is overshadowed this season by a strange attempt to cram in more drama than one comedy can handle.

The excessive drama that plagues the main characters this season, in a nutshell, comprises three pregnancies and their respective complications, post-partum depression, in-womb surgery, war politics, the existence of God, the death of a co-worker and a proposal for engagement.

Even though other seasons did manage to incorporate some realistic drama into the offbeat comedy, the writers’ attempts to be well-rounded (beyond the bedside, where viewers are used to patient-doctor problems of varying degrees) make the scope of Scrubs too broad.

The show’s previously perfect balance of laughs and surrealism with tears and tension has tilted too far toward over-the-top and rather forced melodrama, with a few glimpses of the former farce that made it charming.

Elements that hold fast to Scrubs tradition are the characters’ personalities that undergo minimal development, with few exceptions.

J.D. (Zach Braff) is still a nerdy, whimsical and wishy-washy doctor who spends an unhealthy amount of time conducting fantasy sequences in his head. His love life isn’t nearly as full this season, but that comes as no surprise, as he’s still pretty emotionally undeveloped and flaky.

Elliot Reed (Sarah Chalke) stays true to her neurotic ways. She’s still a perfectionist who talks too fast and too much. And much to the chagrin of her head nurse/best friend, Carla (Judy Reyes), she even tries to commandeer her own proposal and bachelorette party.

She has finally established herself as a capable female doctor, and Dr. Cox has cut back on calling her “Barbie.” Any intelligent woman who has been discredited for being attractive and overly ambitious can relate to Elliot’s struggle to gain respect from her superiors.

As for the higher-ups at Sacred Heart Hospital, Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) loses some of his biting sarcasm as he and ex-wife Jordan (Christa Miller) start looking more like a family, with their son and a child on the way.

The once-feared and communally loathed Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins) discovers this season that he’s actually quite useless as the Chief of Medicine, serving him a slice of much-deserved humble pie.

Two characters who offer an unfalteringly strong performance are Turk (Donald Faison) and Janitor (Neil Flynn).

Turk’s energy saves the episode on more than one occasion, but I would have liked to see more dance moves and celebrity impressions from him, like in the earlier seasons.

Janitor has taken his signature – being weird – and perfected it to an art form, exemplified by his attempts to bring muttonchops back in style.

Near the end of the season, J.D. and Elliot’s rekindling (after Elliot’s engagement) lacks chemistry, and is clearly a forced development meant to add to the drama that prevails in season six. Even Elliot’s engagement isn’t properly approached, as she and Keith Dudemeister (Travis Schuldt) go from bickering and role-playing to planning a wedding, with no baby steps in between.

Scrubs hits a record low with “My Night to Remember.” Basically it’s a recap of all the previous seasons; the only positive thing it offers is to show how the characters have changed in physical appearance over the past six years. The relived jokes are funnier in full context, and the sequence is exceedingly over-nostalgic.

The season’s saving grace comes in the form of a musical. When I selected “My Musical” from the menu, my first thought was, “Oh, here comes a hokey song-and-dance performance.”

To my surprise, it turned out to be the season’s best episode.

Personal favorite number: J.D. and Turk’s “Guy Love” routine, where they perfectly sum up their relationship with a catchy tune. I was even humming it in the shower, post-show.

According to creator Bill Lawrence, Season 7 is scheduled to be the last. I hope the final season can finish the show strong – but surreal, chaotic and corny humor can only go so far, and the Scrubs writers have exhausted their elements.