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This Is The Exact Moment Scrubs Jumped The Shark

It isn't uncommon for sitcoms to blend comedy with serious drama, but few have managed to capture the best of both worlds better than "Scrubs." Told from the perspective of J.D. (Zach Braff), the medical comedy explores the lives of the doctors, nurses, patients, and custodians at Sacred Heart Hospital. Throughout the show's tenure on ABC and NBC, viewers witnessed J.D. start out as an intern and grow to become one of the most respected doctors at the hospital. It was an amazing journey... until it wasn't.

The Bill Lawrence-created series, which aired from 2001 until 2010, is full of absurdist humor, ongoing gags, and memorable characters who bring their own hilarious quirks to the table. Colon surgeries are presented as "Indiana Jones"-esque adventures, and it's not unusual to see heads floating through the hospital hallways. Then reality sets in, and the tears start to flow as "Scrubs" doesn't sugarcoat pain and tragedy. The death scenes on "Scrubs" rank among some of the most heartbreaking in television history, and the series' commitment to medical accuracy is more than admirable.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end eventually. "Scrubs" gave us eight amazing seasons that culminated with one of the greatest finales in TV history. Then, for some reason, the creators decided to make a ninth season that switched the setting, introduced a bunch of new characters, and almost ruined the legacy of Season 8's perfect farewell episode. Also known as "Scrubs: Med School," Season 9 is disliked by most fans for good reason, and it should be studied by historians as one of television's biggest misfires.

Scrubs should have ended after Season 8

Season 8's "My Finale" is the perfect ending to a show that made viewers laugh, cry, and contemplate for almost a decade. The episode answers some of the show's biggest unanswered questions (did J.D. put the penny in the door back in Season 1?), takes viewers on a trip down memory lane, says goodbye to beloved characters, and reaffirms the messages that made "Scrubs" such a heartwarming treat for eight seasons.

The closing moments see J.D. walk down the hallways of Sacred Heart as memories of the people who've impacted him come flooding back. We get cameos from some of the show's most memorable supporting players — both living and dead — and it's an emotional journey that scratches the nostalgia itch before the waterworks arrive. That's when Peter Gabriel's "The Book of Love" starts playing and J.D. watches the future flash before his eyes, and it's clear that good things are coming for him and the rest of the gang. The scene illustrates how much J.D. has grown since his days as a lost, nervous intern — and, more importantly, it gives him the mushy farewell he deserves.

"My Finale" is also life-affirming and unabashedly optimistic. "Scrubs" often dealt with death, sickness, grief, and tragedy, but the show was always about finding light in the darkness. The final moments of Season 8 are a reminder of just how beautiful and precious life can be, and the future can be anything we want. That should have been the show's final statement, but the creators had to go and mess with it.

Scrubs: Med School tried to reboot the series and failed

"Scrubs: Med School" might have been billed as Season 9 of the series, but it's a weird mix of spin-off and continuation that fails to work as either. Bill Lawrence envisioned Season 9 as its own separate entity, but he couldn't convince NBC to change the title to convey that. As a result, "Scrubs: Med School" tries to piggyback off previous seasons while simultaneously attempting to build something from scratch, and it's a disjointed mess.

There's nothing wrong with NBC wanting to keep "Scrubs" going per se, but the main series was clearly done by Season 8. It's clear that they didn't take enough time to finesse their ideas for the spin-off, as "Scrubs: Med School" is the TV equivalent of finishing last night's homework right before class starts. The first episode brushes off eight seasons' worth of history within seconds, as J.D. returns and reveals that Sacred Heart has been knocked down and replaced with a new hospital. These are huge changes to comprehend, but "Scrubs: Med School" expects us to accept them from the get-go. 

The Season 8 finale saw J.D. wax philosophical about the profound impact Sacred Heart has had on his life. However, he casually dismisses that history within the first few seconds of the first episode of "Scrubs: Med School." It completely undermines J.D.'s entire backstory and all of the memories that took place within the hospital. The worst part, however, is that J.D. and other original characters were brought back in the first place.

Scrubs: Med School ruins Season 8's perfect farewell

"Scrubs'" Season 8 finale gave the main cast an emotional send-off. Elliot (Sarah Chalke), Carla (Judy Reyes), Turk (Donald Faison), Jordan (Christa Miller), and Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) feature prominently in J.D.'s highlight heel of future events, so everyone gets a happily ever after moment. That's why it was disappointing to see everyone but Reyes return for "Scrubs: Med School."

With the exception of Dr. Cox and Turk, who appear in every episode, the original characters are relegated to guest spots in a small handful of episodes. The series doesn't even give viewers a chance to miss them before bringing them back into the fold as window dressing. No one can fault actors for agreeing to more work, but "Scrubs: Med School" was canceled after 13 episodes, so there was really no need for their legacies to be tainted by an ill-fated spin-off that didn't use them properly.

"Scrubs: Med School" could have been interesting if it focused solely on the interns and found ways to re-integrate old cast members back into the proceedings organically. Kerry Bishé, Michael Mosley, and Dave Franco's characters were moderately entertaining and the performers are certainly talented enough to carry a spin-off. Unfortunately, their talents were wasted on a series that was botched from the outset.