E4’s new Thursday line up sees the welcome return of a comedy favourite and the introduction of a new sitcom in the appropriately titled “Funny Thursdays” slot. Just when I was starting to wonder whether the channel had much more to offer besides endless reruns of Friends (which I have to admit I have returned to) we see the return of “Scrubs”.
Now in its fifth and possibly final season the screwball medical show opened with something of a full circle approach. When we first met J.D, Elliott,Turk and Carla they were wet behind the ears rookies cutting their teeth in the unforgiving environment of the Sacred Hearts hospital. What we got for our thirty minute attention span was slick yet off the wall comedy delivered on occasion with messages of morality that questioned the ethics of the American medical system without ever becoming overly schmaltzy, sentimental or preachy.
The show’s success worked on the fact that these characters may have been pursuing careers in medicine but they had not yet been ground down by the system. As individuals they were fallible, likeable and still dared to hope they could make a difference against the insurmountable odds that faced them.
Series five rejoins them as more seasoned veterans of the medical world. They’ve grown up (a little), moved on (a little) and managed to iron out some of the rough edges and insecurities that have plagued them (a little). Nowadays it is J.D who is showing a new group of interns the ropes in the hospital, in Thursday’s show he was the potential perpetrator of the fears he faced when he started out and it was here where I had some worries that it was these forward steps that might have robbed the show of some of its more inspired content.
Thankfully although the characters have been rewired a little the chemistry for the most part remained. Characters like Cox (John C. McGinley) and The Janitor (Neil Flynn) took something of a back seat this time round and Elliott (Sarah Chalke) now has something of a reduced role now she is working for a neighbouring hospital. However J.D (Zach Braff) maintained that degree of wide eyed innocence he possessed before and Carla (Judy Reeves) and Turk ( were still together only now they were deliberating over whether to start a family. The visual gags which made the show such a hit in the past were still in place albeit a little clumsier this time round but given the fact that this was the series’ opening shot I’ll let this one slide. Definitely a must see for your Thursday night.
War At Home fancies itself as a new contender for the comedy crown. Despite lacking the sophistication of Scrubs this show looks like it might have some promise. Sure its a family sitcom (again) which deals with the well worn nuclear family dynamic. Essentially revolving around a host of low achiever parenting gags (a la The Simpsons) with a somewhat slack everyman father (David Rapaport) and a careworn mother (Anita Barone). Add to this the rebellious daughter (Kaylee DeFer)and a hormonally rampant teenage son (Kyle Sullivan) and you pretty much get the picture. With a mixture of sexual ambiguity jokes (is the son gay, or is he a transvestite) and the mixed race relationship of the daughter you had something which felt like it was running on the same rails as Married With Children, nothing superbly original and in place very handed but one that I might find myself giving a little more airtime over the next couple of weeks if only to see how it beds in.
In rerun terms I’m presently watching Becker on Channel 5, previously only available to Sky viewers on the Paramount channel the sitcom about a curmudgeonly Doctor and his close circle of friends still has mileage and while we won’t see any fresh outings for Ted Danson’s character these old episodes aren’t yet old enough to have dated and still offer a pretty solid thirty minutes before the “real” evening TV kicks in.