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Scrubs on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 Season 8 Season 9

"Scrubs" The Complete Fourth Season DVD Review

Buy Scrubs: The Complete Fourth Season from Amazon.com Scrubs: Season Four (2004-05)
Show & DVD Details

Repeat Writers: Angela Nissel, Tad Quill, Janae Bakken, Gabrielle Allan, five others

Repeat Directors: Ken Whittingham, Chris Koch, Victor Nelli, Zach Braff, three others

Regular Cast: Zach Braff (Dr. John "J.D." Dorian), Sarah Chalke (Dr. Elliot Reid), Donald Faison (Dr. Chris Turk), Neil Flynn (The Janitor), Ken Jenkins (Dr. Bob Kelso), John C. McGinley (Dr. Perry Cox), Judy Reyes (Nurse Carla Espinosa)

Recurring Characters: Heather Graham (Dr. Molly Clock), Sam Lloyd (Ted Buckland), Christa Miller (Jordan Sullivan), Robert Maschio (Todd), Johnny Kastl (Dr. Doug Murphy), Chrystee Pharris (Kylie), Aloma Wright (Nurse Laverne Roberts), Michael Hobert (Lonnie), Josh Randall (Jake), Tom Cavanagh (Dan), Julianna Margulies (Neena), Richard Kind (Harvey Korman), Phill Lewis (Hooch), Martin Klebba (Randall)

Notable Guest Stars: Sugar Hill Gang (Themselves), Cary Brothers (Himself), Tim Conlon (Dean), Kathryn Joosten (Mrs. Tanner), Jill Tracy (Elaine), Chuck Woolery (Himself), Molly Shannon (Denise), Biff Yeager (Pathologist), Jon Polito (Mr. Summers), Matthew Perry (Murray), John Bennett Perry (Harrison), Charles Chun (Dr. Wen), Mike Weinberg (Tyler), Colin Farrell (Billy), Marc D. Wilson (James), Tara Reid (Danni Sullivan), Christopher Darga (Homeless Steve), Clay Aiken (Kenny), Ken Lerner (Charles James), Ed McMahon (Himself), Michael Boatman (Ron), Lindsay Hollister (Nell), Chris Hogan (Mr. Gerst), Ellen Albertini Dow (Betty), James Michael Tyler (Therapist), Jim Hanks (Dr. Turner), Fred Stoller (Mr. Hoffner)

Running Time: 541 Minutes (25 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: October 10, 2006 / Season 4 Airdates: August 31, 2004 - May 10, 2005
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Six-sided Digipak with cardboard slipcover


Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

A star () continues to denote my ten favorite episodes from the season.

J.D. (Zach Braff) has his best opportunity yet to hook up with Molly (Heather Graham) in "My Best Laid Plans." In "My Boss' Free Haircut", Dr. Kelso discovers that times have changed when he dons scrubs for the first time in a long time. J.D. and Carla are uncharacteristically close in "My Lips Are Sealed."

Disc 3

19. My Best Laid Plans (21:37) (Originally aired March 1, 2005)
Carla is unhappy that Turk has been talking with his college girlfriend. With Kylie hesitant to get intimate,
Disney Movie Club (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
J.D. considers getting close to Molly, who is back in town. To win Cox's Porsche in a bet, the Janitor plots to hook up with "Blonde Doctor" (Elliot).

20. My Boss' Free Haircut (21:35) (Originally aired March 29, 2005)
Carla and Turk try to work out their marriage problems separately and with help from Elliot and J.D., respectively. Dr. Cox challenges Kelso to don scrubs and deal with patients. Look for Phill Lewis of "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody", who makes his first in an amusing string of appearances as a repeatedly-summoned (and later insane) doc.

21. My Lips Are Sealed (21:35) (Originally aired April 5, 2005)
Intending to support Turk, J.D. bonds with Carla like never before. Elliot gets mad at her colleagues for their unprofessional reactions to a patient's embarrassing situation, but she can't help laughing either. Jordan has doubts about Cox's ability to keep their son safe, and the Janitor's photographs don't help matters.

In "My Big Move", Elliot silences Dr. Cox to show him how to succesfully deal with a teenage girl. Turk and Carla try out couples therapy. They don't seem very surprised by the fact that Gunther from "Friends" is their therapist. Late in the season, Elliot meets Jake (Josh Randall), an emotionally-reserved boyfriend who gets her.

22. My Big Move (21:35) (Originally aired April 12, 2005)
Turk tries to decide who he should blame for J.D. and Carla's kiss. Cox needs Elliot's help with an epileptic teenaged girl. The Janitor gets a new uniform with a calming effect and Botox leaves Jordan expressionless.

23. My Faith in Humanity (21:35) (Originally aired April 19, 2005)
Dr. Cox helps Elliot get the attention of a guy named Jake (Josh Randall), whose guidance for a dying neighbor gets him threatened with a lawsuit. Meanwhile, Turk is reluctant to open up in couple's therapy with Carla.

24. My Drive-By (21:35) (Originally aired April 26, 2005)
Elliot tries to prolong her new relationship with Jake by avoiding sex, something she does by having J.D. tag along. Dr. Cox asserts the value of ego to Turk, who plans to keep secret a brave taco stand rescue. Dr. Kelso and the Janitor duel over a motorized scooter.

25. My Changing Ways (21:36) (Originally aired May 10, 2005)
J.D. prepares to move out, which strains his friendship with Turk and has crazy Hooch becoming J.D.'s new "Chocolate Bear." Jake encourages Elliot to apply for a fellowship at County Hospital, prompting Carla to think he's controlling. Jordan gets to use Ted's office and, to the dismay of Cox, receives an offer to work at the hospital full-time. Finally, the Janitor has a pie he really wants J.D. to try.

Newlyweds Turk and Carla sit with roommate J.D. between them. Dr. Cox's proud playground antics put him in a compromising position when this enlarged photograph gets sent to Jordan.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Once again, "Scrubs" is presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen. It's one of the few big network shows not to have made the jump to high-definition broadcasts yet, so there is at least consistency to the aspect ratio, if not forward-thinking screen-filling.
Picture quality is pretty excellent, as past seasons have led us to expect. The video is slightly soft and a tiny bit compressed-looking, but that could just be because it's a television program and not a feature film. Without doing A/B comparisons with the past seasons, this is probably as solid as the first three seasons and likely as satisfying as we can demand of the show on standard DVD. Perfectionists might take issue, but life's too short to pick nits to this degree and I don't think that's a cop-out critique.

In the sound department, as on the past two seasons, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is provided. It's got a lot of bass in its musical transitions, which is sort of surprising for a television comedy. Dialogue and sound effects come through with nary a fault, and the ever-present mix of score and music selections are also nicely conveyed. There's not much in the way of channel separation or atmospheric effects and if you compare this to Season 1, you'll notice the hospital has gotten a lot quieter. But that is merely the show's design, so let's move onto bonus features...

A permed-up John C. McGinley contemplates his character's relationship with J.D. in "Will You Ever Be My Mentor?" Dr. Cox and Jordan are one of several couples discussed in "The Sweethearts of Sacred Heart." Johnny Kastl, portrayer of the eternally nervous young doctor Doug Murphy, is one of the secondary cast members singled out in "The Weapons Chest."

BONUS FEATURES

A far cry from the six tracks offered on each of the first two seasons, Season 4 matches Season 3's total with two episode audio commentaries. Neither is completely new, since both are utilized from NBC's website, where they appeared last spring to bolster reruns that made up the second half of an hour-long Tuesday night "Scrubs" block.
On the one hand, it's good to have these preserved beyond an MP3 (an alternate and one other were left off the last set) and nice that the mildest of tinkering was needed to time the comments to the uncut show. On the other, one wishes that cast and crew recorded some tracks exclusively for the DVD, especially since they've been fun in the past.

Disc 1 has Zach Braff commenting on "My Last Chance", which he directed. This is fairly technical in nature, which makes it less entertaining but more informative than past "Scrubs" commentaries. The Garden State helmer reflects on the various challenges faced in overseeing an episode more demanding than most, and he also interestingly points out what NBC looks for in an episode promo. Disc 2 offers the second track, which has Sarah Chalke alone to discuss "My Life in Four Cameras." She explains the process of transforming the show into standard sitcom territory for this episode, a move which entailed a live audience, a fully-lit set, and assorted wardrobe changes. There's a lot of cool facts revealed, from Clay Aiken's allergies to Colin Hay's cover of the "Cheers" theme song, which has sadly been dropped here, but was one of a number of musical acts that (along with audience trivia) kept everyone entertained between filming set-ups.

The video-based remainder of bonus features are all found on Disc 3, and most of these fall within the formats established for the first three seasons' DVDs. The first of five featurettes, "Will You Ever Be My Mentor?" (4:36) looks at the J.D./Dr. Cox relationship, with comments from cast and crew and plenty of show clips.

"The Sweethearts of Sacred Heart" (11:00) explores the different romantic pairings and possibilities among the cast, from actual one-time couples (like Carla & Cox and J.D. & Elliot) to those with some kind of connection or closeness (The Janitor & Elliot and, yes, J.D. & Turk). Again, there are lot of clips and some utterly obvious observations, but in excerpts from new interview sitdowns, the cast members also provide some interesting season-specific remarks and thoughts.

Much like one of the paragraphs in each of my reviews, "The Weapons Chest" (9:22) considers the show's arsenal of secondary characters who reliably turn up to supply brief spurts of hilarity. Gladly, we get interview comments from Aloma Wright (Nurse Roberts), Johnny Kastl (Doug Murphy), Sam Lloyd (Ted Buckland), Christa Miller (Jordan Sullivan), and Robert Maschio (The Todd), revealing their insights into their "Scrubs" personas. Writers, directors, and creator Bill Lawrence all add their two cents. There are some fun facts dispatched too, such as how Kastl's skiing injury was "Doug-like" enough to write into the show. There is even a montage of the various types of high-fives Todd encounters in Season 4.

Inquiring minds want to know! "Who is That Man?" poses questions regarding "Scrubs"' mysterious janitor. Donald Faison (Turk) has the floor for sixteen minutes in "Donald Keeps Talking." Turk and Laverne stand by their fellow African-Americans in this deleted scene from "My Best Moment."

"Who is That Man?" (4:40) profiles the riddle wrapped inside a mystery that is The Janitor. It appears to be held over from Season 3, as all of the show clips come from it. Still, it's an interesting short which tries to put the pieces together from the various probable lies that have come out in the first three seasons.

Following in the footsteps of extended interview featurettes with Zach Braff, John C. McGinley, and Robert Maschio, this DVD selects actor Donald Faison for "Donald Keeps Talking" (16:04). The goatee reveals that this was recorded sometime during the filming of Season 5. Faison recalls auditioning for "Scrubs" and the cast's first read-through. He also discusses his character, the cast's chemistry, each of his co-stars, what he likes to do with his spare time, and the types of improvements he'd like to get for dressing room. That Faison talks a little slowly and without the most excitement here, coupled with the fact that this is about three times as long as the previous pieces of this type, makes this extra a bit of a chore to sit through. Without the editing it needed -- I'm not referring to censoring a word that rhymes with "bass whole", which renders his talk of the set's "No A--h---" policy an odd inclusion -- this is probably not a bonus to revisit much.

Next, there are twelve Deleted Scenes which can be played individually or altogether. Most of these are extensions and they are lengthened by the fact that before each, the lead-in it would have received is played, as is the beginning of the scene transitioned to. While this helps provide context for each sequence (and that's sort of needed, because the intended episodes aren't identified), it seems a little much, especially since a number of portions are repeated. Thus, the "Play All" runtime of 17 minutes and 24 seconds suggests there's a lot more unique content than there really is. The scenes themselves offer some funny moments involving J.D.'s Chinese Egg gum, Molly Shannon's ambulance driver, J.D. and Turk's nightclub dancing, an always-funny "Turkleton" comment, and Ted. Curiously, a third of them feature Heather Graham.

Ted and Doug have a little showdown in this deleted scene from "My Quarantine." British pop rocker G Tom Mac appears (with two shady-looking companions) in the music video "Half." Shot for a mid-season episode, this "Alternate Lines" segment actually differs only mildly from a sequence which made it into the season finale.

The slightly strange music video "Half" (3:30) features writer-performer G Tom Mac amidst a Mardi Gras mask, red and black streamers, and a shades-wearing violinist. The pop rock song is pretty good, but kind of forgettable; I didn't remember where it appeared on the show, only minutes after watching the portion in question (it accompanied the season finale's final montage).
Still, it's a nice unorthodox inclusion and as "Scrubs" has included some memorable music, more bonuses of this sort would definitely be welcomed on future season sets.

"Alternate Lines" (6:38) holds seven brief Season 4 exchanges with riffs slightly different than what made it into the aired version. As with the deleted scenes, the final version of each scene is included at the start to refresh your memory of what is changed. One listing confirms that one scene from the finale was actually part of a sequence filmed for an earlier episode.

On Disc 1, sneak peeks offer plentiful promotion for Disney properties. Programmed to play automatically at launch are previews for Ratatouille, "Alias" The Complete Fifth and Final Season, "Home Improvement" The Complete Fifth Season, The Heart of the Game, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. The Sneak Peeks menu also holds additional promos for "The Golden Girls" The Complete Sixth Season, "Grey's Anatomy" The Complete Second Season Uncut, "Lost" The Complete Second Season, "Desperate Housewives" The Complete Second Season, and "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC.

In Disc 1's animated main menu, J.D. writes ponderously in his journal...in a lunch line reflection. What episode will it be, oh high and mighty wielder of the remote?

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Though no longer 16x9-enhanced, the menus remain in line with previous season sets, with a complete, non-sped-up version of Lazlo Bane's theme song "Superman" accompanying each disc's Main Menu to a unique montage of images. This follows a brief jaunt through a cartoonish version of the hospital and overlays an equally 'toony cafeteria counter. Each episode puts chapter stops at the commercial/act breaks.

The packaging takes a slight dive in the inspiration department. The cover scatters individual shots of the seven principal cast members together against a yellow background. Unlike past seasons' boxes, there's no embossing or any clear design to this one's Digipak, as snapshots merely showcase images from some of Season 4's more memorable moments.

Being made the "Co-Chief Resident" doesn't keep J.D. from smiling. Nor does being in a cemetary prevent Carla and Turk from having a laugh.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

If you've read my reviews of the first three seasons of "Scrubs", then it should come as little surprise that the show's Complete Fourth Season DVD is garnering a strong recommendation. Even if you haven't, critical praise for this series has been near-universal. At a time when networks rely on serialized dramas and reality shows while fumbling to recreate the comedy, "Scrubs" still stands strong as one of the smartest, funniest, and most satisfying shows on television. Season 4 does not provide much of a shake-up to the show's hallmarks, but it also doesn't find them growing tiresome as "Scrubs" reaches an age most programs never get to see. Hearty quirky humor, compelling characters, and the occasional dose of poignancy all add up in just the right way here.

Gladly, Buena Vista hasn't tinkered much with the fine DVD presentation it has regularly given its best-selling comedy series. Picture and sound remain up to snuff and the bonus features are greater in both number and quality than those which accompany most comedy series, especially this studio's, on DVD. In short, do not hesitate to add this fine set to your collection if you're a fan of the show. If you're not and you're actually reading this far, then either check out some of the reruns that are now in syndication or skip that step and dive right in by buying Season 1. Either way, you're not likely to be disappointed.

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Page 1: Show Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

Scrubs on DVD: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 Season 8 Season 9

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Reviewed October 10, 2006.