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Scrubs: The Complete Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Seasons (June 29/06, October 8/06, May 21/07, November 4/07, October 13/09, September 28/10)

Scrubs remains one of the few sitcoms in television history to effectively blend extreme comedy with unflinching drama, something that's all-the-more impressive when you consider the show's reliance on extraordinarily wacky cut-aways and an all-around vibe of silliness. The note-perfect performances certainly go a long way towards fostering an atmosphere of realism, even in the face of some seriously broad bits of humor.

Scrubs stars Zach Braff as John "J.D." Dorian, a doctor fresh out of medical school who must contend with a whole host of quirky, thoroughly eccentric figures - including best friend Chris Turk (Donald Faison), crusty mentor Perry Cox (John C. McGinley), and an arch-nemesis known only as The Janitor (Neil Flynn). When not dealing with his various patients, J.D. spends his days working out personal issues and engaging in one broadly comedic daydream after another.

Scrubs premiered in 2001 to decent ratings and critical acclaim, and although it's remained slightly under-the-radar in the years since, the show has just gotten better and funnier with every passing season. And although the jokes are far more outlandish than they ever were, creator Bill Lawrence and his team of talented writers have done a superb job of ensuring that there's always a certain amount of realism to the characters (the sole exception to this being Flynn's Janitor, who generally comes off as a purely comedic figure).

Scrubs: The Complete Third Season collects every single episode from the show's stellar third season, including such highlights as: My American Girl (in which Sarah Chalke's klutzy Elliot finally earns the respect of her peers following a radical makeover), My Catalyst and My Porcelain God (a two-parter featuring Michael J. Fox as an obsessive-compulsive doctor), and My Screw Up (wherein Dr. Cox must deal with the revelation that his closest friend, played by a returning Brendan Fraser, has cancer).

The fourth season is represented by Scrubs: The Complete Fourth Season (obviously), and contains a wealth of hilarious episodes, including: My Cake (in which J.D. learns that his father has died from his brother, played by Thomas Cavanagh), My Last Chance (directed by series star Braff and featuring a one-off appearance by J.D.'s former roommate Shinski), and My Unicorn (guest starring Matthew Perry and his father, John).

Season five, appearing within the context of Scrubs: The Complete Fifth Season, continues the silliness and contains a number of standouts: My Intern's Eyes (in which J.D. must contend with his own interns), My Five Stages (J.D. and Dr. Cox are forced to cope with the death of a beloved patient), My Bright Idea (Carla discovers she's pregnant), and My Fallen Idol (Dr. Cox turns to booze after inadvertently causing the death of three patients).

Boasting one of the flat-out silliest collection of episodes of the series to date, Scrubs: The Complete Sixth Season features such instant classics as: My Friend with Money (in which Dr. Cox and the Janitor become temporary roommates), My Musical (the infamous all-singing, all-dancing episode), and His Story IV (Dr. Kelso encounters Michael Weston's Iraq War veteran).

The eighth and final season is collected within Scrubs: The Complete Eighth Season, and boasts such highlights as: My Jerks (in which the gang meets a whole new gang of interns and Courteney Cox's obnoxious chief of medicine), My ABC's (J.D. substitutes characters from Sesame Street for the various doctors and patients around him), My Soul on Fire (the characters head to the Bahamas for the Janitor's wedding to Lady), and My Finale (which wraps up J.D's saga in a surprisingly effective and affecting manner). (And although the season aired in the 16x9 format, this set presents all of the episodes 4x3.)

Despite the fact that season eight wrapped up the Scrubs saga in a completely satisfying manner, the series returned for yet another go-around in the fall of 2009 - with the twist being that many of the show's regular cast members, including Zach Braff's J.D. and Sarah Chalke's Elliot, have been relegated to supporting roles (or have vanished entirely). Scrubs, or AfterScrubs as some snarky commentators dubbed the new iteration, now follows several students, including Kerry Bishé's Lucy and Dave Franco's Cole, as they attempt to make their way through an arduous year of medical school. Though there is an adjustment as one moves from the old Scrubs to the new Scrubs, the show ultimately grows on the viewer and becomes just as entertaining as its predecessor - with the uniformly likeable performances proving instrumental in establishing a consistently watchable and pleasant atmosphere (Franco is particularly good as the entitled and less-than-brilliant Cole).

Though Scrubs will probably never achieve the sort of success as fellow sitcoms such as Friends or Seinfeld, there's no denying that it's often just as funny as either of those shows. Whether you're an ardent fan or a Scrubs virgin, these sets are surely a worthwhile purchase.

 

About the DVD: Scrubs arrives on DVD courtesy of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, and there's no denying that the show looks great. Each set also comes with a surprisingly impressive amount of bonus features, including a whole host of behind-the-scenes featurettes, commentary tracks, gag reels, and much more.
© David Nusair