Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Last call at Sacred Heart. A farewell to Scrubs as it airs its probable series finale.

"They have thrilled us with their adventures, amazed us with their discoveries, and inspired us with their courage. They have been our guides, our protectors, and our friends. Now we are invited to join them, for one last adventure."

Maybe ABC will renew the show, with the new interns being the leads. Maybe we'll be watching Scrubs: The Next Generation this fall, with the old gang doing cameo appearances in each episode, with all the characters spread out so it feels like they're all still there (Zach Braff is leaving for good and many of the other leads have pilots lined up for next fall). Maybe creator Bill Laurence will still be involved in some capacity. But for all intents and purposes, Scrubs as we know it will end tonight. I've made no secret of my complete and utter adoration of Scrubs over the years. Ironically (or fittingly) for a show about the fragility of life and the inevitability of death, it feels like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend.

I'm not ready. I thought the series finale was next week. Furthermore, the preemption of last week's new episode meant that the last three episodes would air over two nights, all at once. I thought I had a few weeks to prepare. I haven't watched last night's episode, as my wife was out of town for the evening. So tonight, when we put Allison to bed, we will curl up on the couch and watch the last three episodes of my all-time favorite television show. And if the emotions I'm feeling just typing this are any indication, I'm probably going to cry harder than Allison when she doesn't want to go into the car seat.

I watered up during the series finale of The West Wing back in May of 2006. While I did and still do miss the show, it was the passage of time that got me. The show had began right when I was starting college and it was a shock to realize how quickly seven years had gone by and the ways my life had changed since then (little did I know what was just around the corner). I really got emotional during the series finale of, of all things, Justice League Unlimited. That was the end of something that I had grown accustomed to for fourteen years. From 1992 until 2006, I devoured Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Batman Beyond, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. Now there would be no more animated episodes in the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini/Alan Burnett DC Animated Universe. I was 26 at the time, so I was saying goodbye to something that had meant quite a bit to me, something that had been a part of my life for over half my existence.

There aren't any more shows that I care about that much. I adore The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, but I will not mourn their inevitable end as long as its on their own terms. I certainly won't get emotionally involved when 24 finally kills Jack Bauer and the clock goes silent one last time (although at this point, letting him survive would actually be a more shocking finale). I'll be relieved if Lost can pull itself out of its exposition-heavy cement shoes and end on a character-focused note this time next year (the Miles-centered stand-alone 'Some Like It Hoth' was a step in the right direction), but I doubt my feelings will extend past the emotions contained in said episode. Truth be told, maybe it's part of being an adult, or maybe I just don't care as much anymore, but there are no longer any television shows that hold any kind of emotional pull over me. Scrubs was the last one, and now it's gone. That in itself is another touchstone of sorts, another reason to mourn or celebrate the passage of time.

So, thank you ABC for finally poaching it from NBC and giving it the treatment it deserved, and for giving it one last season to go out on its own terms. Thank you Bill Lawrence for toning down the fantasy and shtick, thus giving us the best overall season since the first three years. Thank you to everyone involved for making one of the very finest television shows ever made, a show that was the very best, most intelligent, witty, and moving sort of comfort food (nutritious and delicious). Thank you for making the last show that I will probably ever give a damn about. I just sincerely hope that its last thought tonight is a good one.

Scott Mendelson

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