Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My Qualm With One Particular Episode of Season Five of Scrubs

I love Scrubs. In fact, with Arrested Development no longer with us. It's the only non-PBS show I watch. Recently the Supercomputer household got Season Five of Scrubs on DVD. It's fantastic. Possibly my favorite season yet. However, there is one episode who's central plot makes the episode simply unwatchable. And because it's the first episode of one of the DVD discs, it's taints the entire disc, namely episodes 10 through 18.

The central plot to this horrendous episode is this:
"Her Story II." J.D. is dating Julie, played by Mandy Moore (no, that's not the annoying part), held over from the previous episode in which they had purchased a half-acre of land. In this episode however, J.D. begins to get annoyed because instead of laughing, Julie says, "that's so funny." She doesn't laugh, she just says, "that's so funny." J.D. is frustrated over this character trait that he agonizes about breaking up with Julie, who is, otherwise, perfect.

There are three things that I hate so much about this plot, I can't watch the episode.

1. It's the exact same plot as a Seinfeld episode! From episode #611, "The Switch:"

SANDY: So did you like the movie?

JERRY: Yeah, it was OK. Frankenstein didn't seem quite right to me.

I missed the sport jacket.

SANDY: (nods silently)

JERRY: Not that it was that nice of a jacket. I mean it didn't fit him

that well. To me there's just something about a monster in a blazer.

It shows at least he's making an effort.

SANDY: (nods silently) That's funny.

Later, in Jerry's apartment with Elaine...

JERRY: It was unbelievable. You're right the jokes kept bouncing off her

like superman.

ELAINE: See, what did I tell ya?

JERRY: And even when she did like something, she doesn't laugh. She

says, "That's funny." ... That's funny!

Scrubs ripped the plot right off! How could a sitcom (on NBC no less) do this (much less get called to task for it)? I mean, doesn't every sitcom writer aspire to be Larry David? Does Larry David watch Scrubs and if so, did he give NBC a ring? Did no one catch this? Is anybody listening to me??

This alone is an egregious enough offense to ruin the episode. But the whole "that's so funny" thing irks me for two other reasons as well.

2. No one does that. And if someone did, they wouldn't have any friends and they would eventually end up changing their habits. Too, it doesn't jibe with Julie's character at all. But that's totally irrelevant because, they fucking stole it from Seinfeld!

3. If someone were to do that, it would be totally acceptable to break up with them. Really, it would be. Eating your peas one at a time? That's probably not sufficient grounds. But not laughing? You can't be with someone who doesn't ever laugh (if such a person existed). That would suck. If Mrs. Supercomputer didn't laugh at my awesome jokes, I would have broken it off right away, all other qualities be damned.


All this is truly unfortunate, because it is an excellent season overall. And truth be told, the rest of the episode isn't half bad. But why did they have to pick a minuscule character trait straight from a Seinfeld episode and try to repackage it as original? They could have come up with any annoying character trait: warts, high pitched nose-blowing, winking issues. They could have even acknowledged that it was the exact same plot as a Seinfeld episode with a witty joke. Scrubs does stuff like that.

But no, they ripped off a silly central character trait and didn't credit the source. I'm going to Amazon them a copy of the MLA handbook so they know how to properly credit the original authors.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone else picked up on that; I was watching "The Switch" the other night and couldn't believe it. It actually was the final nail in the coffin for my Scrubs viewing, as the few episodes that aired this season were rather lacking and I've become generally annoyed by Zach Braff.

Mark said...

Thank God i am not the only other person who was bothered by this! Just put it together and decided to search to see if anybody else was bugged by it. You other brilliant people caught it as well. We all probably watch too much tv. haha! It's okay though.

Anonymous said...

I noticed it immediately. I watch Seinfeld every night (on DVD) so I know that show from beginning to end. They did take it from Seinfeld. I can't help but wonder if maybe it was a homage though. Scrubs has made several references to Seinfeld of the years. I still love both shows.

Anonymous said...

OF COURSE Larry David does not watch scrubs. You have to be the lamest moron to find that show funny. And yet there are so many of you. Scrubs is not just unfunny, it's terrible.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. Looking at the youtube responses for the scrubs version- it is just sad. More whiny kids saying 'scrubs' is better. (Not paying attention to the matter at hand, such as plagiarism / stealing / theft / unoriginality / etc... (I am actually thinking about the "Writers strike" right now - it is stealing like this that dis-credits all the hard working writers.
(see also: 'family guy'/american dad)

Thanks again for adding this here. (and you may want to delete some of the spam posts).
Keep up the good eye and brain.

Anonymous said...

The dating of someone who never laughs was not the plot of the Seinfeld episode. The plot was him wanting to switch girlfriends - his preferred to date his current girlfriends a roommate.

Anonymous said...

I do that. If something is pleasingly funny, I say, "That's funny." Now if it is completely hilarious, I will laugh.

Anonymous said...

It's actually not the same plot at all. In fact the differences suggest the episode was made as a counterpoint or even a criticism. Seinfeld characters were notorious for being shallow and judgmental, especially in their romantic relationships, as epitomized in this episode in which Seinfeld seeks to manipulate women and treat them as interchangeable.

By comparison. JD overcomes his petty gripe and when the relationship ends, it's over a legitimate reason. He's basically the anti Seinfeld.

Andrew F. said...

I know this is a really old post, but I can think of a lot more that Scrubs ripped off from Seinfeld. I'm talking almost every other episode. For example, George hitting a squirrel and his date getting upset about it. JD does the same thing. George wanting to eat food while in bed, Turk does the same thing. I could go on, but this does not make me want to stop watching Scrubs. In fact, the fact that Scrubs has an episode where JD is telling jokes and they have the Seinfeld theme playing in the background, it makes me just think that Scrubs is paying homage to one of the best sitcoms of all time.