STUDIO: Disney
MSRP: $39.95

  • Commentary by: Writer Mark Stegemann and Donald Faison (on "His Story II")Unknown Format,Show creator Randall Winston with Donald Faison and Judy Reyes (on "My Self Examination")Unknown Format
  • 22 episodes on 3 discs
  • One on one with "The Todd"
  • "Scrubs Factor: How far will the cast & crew go on a dare?" featurette
  • Long-Term Residents: Behind season 3’s unforgettable guest star appearances
  • "The New Elliot:" Watch her character go from pushover to knockout
  • What up dawg?
  • Is there a doctor in the house?
  • Scrubbed out: Deleted scenes
  • Alternate lines: A second opinion
  • Gag reel

The Pitch

The season they squeezed in between two and four of the beloved and quirky medical comedy.

The Humans

Zach Braff. John C. McGinley. Donald Faison. Sarah Chalke. Judy Reyes. A host of guest stars.

The Nutshell

This is one of the easiest reviews I’ll get to write in my life. Not because it’s one of those Torque reviews where you can just puree a bunch of bad jokes in review form or one where you just toss accolades at a flick because it’s just that damn good.

It’s because season three of Scrubs is the formula at its peak. Season one laid the groundwork, season two polished it, and this third season took what worked and had fun with it. That pretty much sums up the show in a nutshell. At the risk of making your mouse click worth the effort, I’ll go on…

The strength of Scrubs is a pretty easy one to peg. Sure, there’s a great writing staff with some crackerjack gags up their sleeves and the show is edited as if by a caffeine fueled minion driven by some insane comic willpower that threatens to rip the Earth asunder with its depravity. That’s a given, but when it all boils down to sheer centrifugal force the reason Scrubs is above average and sometimes great is Zach Braff’s insanely acute radar for comedy and John C. McGinley’s boundless energy and seeming invulnerability to endless monologues, somehow arriving on the other side of them with a laugh and a little bit of idol worship from his audience.

Yes, Donald Faison sometimes blows the doors off a joke and Sarah Chalke is capable of moments where she’s too cute not to fall in love with, and a steady parade of familiar faces and minor deities (Michael J. Fox, Barry Bostwick, Richard Kind, Brendan Fraser, Scott Foley) doesn’t hurt but it’s the Braff and McGinley show. Even the terrific janitor character and a very sly bit of bite (picture Arrested Development cranked to half speed on the evil meter) cannot compete with the two and it’s a good thing that everyone seems to be aware of this. The show sometimes teeters too close to sap (though the Fraser episode is quite moving) to exist without them.

That said, this season flies rather stunningly though with only a few real “killer” episodes. The romantic triangle involving Braff’s J.D., Chalke’s Elliott, and guest star Scott Foley’s Sean gets too much attention and the quick outcome and subsequent payoff rings a little hollow. One of Scrub’s weaknesses is a hopelessly romantic soul, something that no doubt expands its audience but as far as a comedy goes, sometimes sabotages a very good thing. The show’s a Dachsund when it can be a Rottweiler, most of the time choosing to soften its edge rather than go for the jugular and the only character allowed to retain ferocity most of the time is Ken Jenkins’ Bob Kelso. I’m projecting what I want on the series, though. It’s just why it’s good and not great most of the time for me. It has the smarts, cast, and writing to be a genre buster but oftentimes would just rather be sweet. I can’t really fault it for that. I’m a cold prick.

The customary dream sequences and little visual sleight of hand maneuvers are still here but they don’t seem as prevalent as before, almost as if creator Bill Lawrence and his team fell in love with their characters and their arcs and chose to allow the humor to come more out of situations rather than the easier jokes that appeal to lunkheads like me. I like firebreathing John McGinley’s, sue me.

The bottom line is that this is a show in its prime and enjoying it. For prime time comedy, it’s pretty stout and whether it’s the somewhat poignant Michael J. Fox and Brendan Fraser episodes that turn your screws, the hospital antics, or just seeing Zach Braff absolutely rule, it doesn’t really matter.

Plus, it totally showcases Tara Reid as the black hole of talent she really is, which is enough.

The Package

This is a surprisingly stacked little DVD set, though the commentary tracks are just about useless. You need to either unload on these tracks with a lot of participation or not do them at all because shows like these are kept bouyant by the ensemble and their offscreen chemistry is almost as fun as their onscreen chemistry. The rest of the stuff is fluffy fun, nothing that’s going to make the Criterion folks wet the bed, but fun stuff.

I am so not the target audience for this kind of stuff, a lot of which is suited for the time slotted before and after the show during its broadcast, but it does help provide a comprehensive package. A really good one.

May I suggest for season four a documentary that goes a lot deeper and isn’t quite so… perky.

8.0 out of 10