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"Scrubs" The Complete Fifth Season DVD Review

Buy Scrubs: The Complete Fifth Season from Amazon.com Scrubs: Season Five (2006)
Show & DVD Details

Repeat Writers: Janae Bakken, Tim Hobert, Aseem Batra, Kevin Biegel, Garrett Donovan, Neil Goldman, Debra Fordham, Bill Callahan, Mark Stegemann, Tad Quill

Repeat Directors: Bill Lawrence, Michael Spiller, Victor Nelli Jr., John Inwood

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: Christa Miller (Jordan Sullivan), Robert Maschio (Dr. Todd Quinlan), Travis Schuldt (Keith Dudemeister), Sam Lloyd (Ted Buckland), Aloma Wright (Nurse Laverne Roberts), Johnny Kastl (Dr. Doug Murphy), Michael Learned (Mrs. Wilk), Mandy Moore (Julie Quinn), Elizabeth Banks (Dr. Kim Briggs), Christina Miles (Gloria), Jordan Zucker (Lisa), Shaughn Buccholz (Jason "Cabbage" Cabbaggio), Michael Hobert (Lonnie), Aaron Ikeda (Rex), Charles Chun (Dr. Wen), Frank Encarnacao (Dr. Mickhead), Philip McNiven (Roy), George Miserlis (Crispin), Paul F. Perry (Randy), Andrew Miller (Baby Jack), Jay Kenneth Johnson (Dr. Matthews), Yvonne Arias (Nurse Martinez), Randall Winston (Leonard), Bob Bencomo (Colonel Doctor)

Notable Guest Stars: Alexander Chaplin (Sam Thompson), JP Manoux (Charlie), Josh Randall (Jake), Cheryl Hines (Paige), Gary Busey (Himself), David Downs (Mr. Bolger), Jason Bateman (Mr. Sutton), Peter Jacobson (Mr. Foster), Allison Smith (Millie), Billy Dee Williams (Himself), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Himself), Nathan Lee Graham (Eric, Devin), Dave Foley (Dr. Lester Hedrick), Janet Carroll (Mrs. Cooke), Maria Menounos (Tamara), Robert Clendenin (Dr. Zeltzer), Paul Hipp (Marc), Jeffrey Stubblefield (Frank), Tom Cavanagh (Dan Dorian), Jerod Mixon (Herbert), Markie Post (Lily Reid), Nicole Sullivan (Jill Tracy), David Warshofsky (Dave Bradford), Paul Adelstein (Dr. Stone), Sarah Lancaster (Gift Shop Lisa)

Running Time: 524 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround (French) / Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007 / Season 5 Airdates: January 3 - May 16, 2006
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Six-sided Digipak with cardboard slipcover

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Page 1: Show and Season 5 Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

The Janitor, here showing off a spaghetti-ready drill, bonds with a patient who can't communicate in "His Story III." For the fourth time, Nicole Sullivan plays Jill Tracy, a troubled but annoying former patient in "My Lunch." Dr. Cox is thrown into a major funk in "My Fallen Idol."

Disc 3

19. His Story III (21:49) (Originally aired April 18, 2006)
With J.D. trapped in a water tower, it's the Janitor's turn to narrate. While questioning his worth at the hospital, he bonds with a patient whose speech computer is out of order.
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Carla protects one of Elliot's interns after a patient is accidentally overdosed. Turk does some pained self-reflection when Dr. Cox disputes his blackness.

20. My Lunch (23:04) (Originally aired April 25, 2006)
J.D. blames himself when an annoying former patient (Nicole Sullivan) dies of an apparent drug overdose shortly after their shared lunch. The death paves the way for Dr. Cox to shine in overseeing organ transplants to three patients in need, but something goes wrong. In a lighter storyline, The Todd's sexual orientation is called into question.

21. My Fallen Idol (21:30) (Originally aired May 2, 2006)
Dr. Cox's closest friends take turns consoling him while he grieves over last episode's events in silent drink. Turk has trouble relating to his sensitive attending doctor.

The Janitor and his lunchroom worker pal Troy (Joe Rose) once again try to figure out J.D.'s two-coin, 30-cent riddle. J.D. connects with urologist Kim Briggs (Elizabeth Banks) in the final two episodes of the season. Ted's a capella band The Worthless Peons (in real life, the Blanks) sing a Chili's commercial jingle at Carla's baby shower in "My Transition." I want my baby back, baby back, baby back, baby back...

22. My Déjà Vu, My Déjà Vu (21:41) (Originally aired May 9, 2006)
J.D. notices things seem to be repeating themselves, as memorable lines (and his 30-cent riddle) from past seasons are reused in a clever alternative to a clip show. Meanwhile, Carla won't let Turk do anything her pregnancy prevents her from doing and Elliot worries that Dr. Cox might need help in returning to work.

23. My Urologist (21:41) (Originally aired May 16, 2006)
J.D. takes interest in Kim (Elizabeth Banks), a urologist long at the hospital he's only noticing now. Carla urges Elliot to give her relationship with Keith another chance. In doing a favor for Kelso, the Janitor profits.

24. My Transition (22:57) (Originally aired May 16, 2006)
Elliot throws Turk and Carla a baby shower. Dr. Cox and Jordan find out she's unexpectedly pregnant. J.D.'s first date with Kim goes awry. And there's a shocking cliffhanger in the final seconds.

J.D. imagines video-gaming with his ideal roommate by combining the qualities of Turk and Elliot. Floating Head Doctor engages in karaoke with Kim (Elizabeth Banks) on an imagined first date. J.D.'s recurring Season 5 fantasy poses the ability to be in two places at once, with comedically disastrous results.

VIDEO and AUDIO

All the episodes of "Scrubs" are presented in 1.33:1 fullscreen. Though the season finale did air in high-definition 16x9 as a test, it was apparently deemed unsuccessful, as "Scrubs" remained one of the few network series to not air in HD this current season.
Picture quality is largely very good, though it's a bit short of perfection. Those merely watching for the show probably won't notice it, but there are a few moments that seem a bit off, due to grain or softness or perhaps even compression ("My Déjà Vu, My Déjà Vu" seems most suspect for the last). "My Way Home" is a little brighter and more saturated, though the commentary confirms this is a deliberate choice. On the whole, there's a little room for improvement, but "Scrubs" still fares well in the visual department.

Sound-wise, "Scrubs" once again serves up a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. It's appropriate and relatively lively for what is today considered a sitcom. Compared to syndicated reairings and the original broadcasts that I saw on merely a stereo television, the leap to 5.1 is definitely noticeable. The mixes provide a more satisfying range, a distinct depth, and more "oomph" to the usual palette of whimsical narration, fast and funny dialogue, occasional bickering, rare sound effect, and closing montage independent rock selection. For the first time in Region 1, a French language track is also offered for the show, in Dolby Surround.

They're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz. Elliot, Turk, J.D., and Carla follow the yellow paint line in an extended cut of "My Way Home." "Scrubs" creator/executive producer Bill Lawrence and his wife, actress  Christa Miller, are among those celebrating the comedy's 100th episode on the red carpet in "My 117 Episodes: 5 Seasons of Scrubs." Elliot unwittingly violates Sacred Heart's No Air Banding policy in this deleted scene.

BONUS FEATURES

Three episodes are offered with optional audio commentaries. "My Big Bird", on Disc 1, features actor Neil Flynn, producer Randall Winston, and writer Debra Fordham (who only joins in near the end). It's a silly track which amounts to little more than watching the episode with them. That's fun enough but there are also a few pieces of information for those looking for that. On Disc 3, "My Lunch" teams up actor John C. McGinley with director John Michel. Their discussion is more informative, covering techniques, shooting locations and sequences, actors, and other observations they make.

The third and final commentary is on another bonus altogether. It is an extended cut (29:17) of "My Way Home", the series' Zach Braff-directed 100th episode. What is perhaps the season's best episode gets even better with alternate edits and several extensions.
As usual, the show benefits from having a little more runtime than its usual 20 minutes plus credits. The additions are numerous and include some funny moments. This extended cut, which is presented in Dolby Surround, is also provided with an audio commentary by Braff. He speaks very much from a director's perspective, identifying various technical and dramatic challenges, pointing out differences between this cut he submitted and the trimmed version that aired, and highlighting little aspects that might otherwise be overlooked. It's clear that he's very passionate about the show, the episode, and directing in general. As such, though solo and uncharacteristically serious, this track is a real treat.

The lone featurette, "My 117 Episodes: 5 Seasons of Scrubs" is a 17-minute look at how the show has developed over the years. There are lots of short clips from over the five years, which offer neat comprehensive perspective and are accompanied by comments from cast and crew. Much attention is given to the 100th episode, a celebration for which is the source of some talent interview clips. While not outstanding, this is a fairly entertaining and succinct retrospective of the first five seasons. Something longer and more detailed would be better suited to the final season box, but this is still one of the series' longest and best general documentary bonuses.

Next, seven deleted scenes are presented. Running just over 8 minutes altogether, these brief excisions/alternate cuts of existing scenes are set up with a look at where they'd fit into the relevant episode.

Donald Faison comes up with alternate directions for backpack-contorted J.D. Zach Braff tries various rifts (and not to laugh) in this Alternate Lines sequence. A rescripted bit of J.D.'s vampire movie "Dr. Acula" is part of Disc 1's animated main menu montage.

Rounding out the set, Alternate Lines are offered on 19 different sequences, which the menu identifies by episode and key phrase. Each segment opens with the final version as seen on air, followed by a variety of alternate takes that illustrate cast members' ability to improvise and occasional difficulty in fighting laughter.
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There are some funny lines that were not used, but the best is usually the one that was chosen. Most run between 1 and 2 minutes, making them easy to take and interesting to see. A couple of longer montages, running in excess of 4 and 5 minutes, do become a bit repetitive. With the "Play All" option, this footage amounts to just under 35 minutes.

Disc 1's Main Menu holds two Easter Eggs. For directions on accessing them, consult our Guide to DVD Easter Eggs. As for their contents, they are as Easter Eggs should be -- short, silly clips that are neat to see, but no great loss if you don't find them.

Outside of the "My Big Bird" commentary and Easter Eggs, all bonuses can be found on Disc 3. In a nice and rare touch, they're all subtitled, even the commentaries and brief Easter Eggs. An animated episode which was mentioned in promos for this DVD release is nowhere to be found.

Disc One opens with previews for Ratatouille, "Kyle XY": The Complete First Season, and "Home Improvement": The Complete Sixth Season. No additional promos are included.

MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

This season's menus abandon the animated hospital tour motif of past DVD sets. Instead, each Main Menu opts for a simple fullscreen clip montage with occasional transitional effect, set of course to the full cut of Lazlo Bane's theme tune "Superman."

Packaging, if a little less inspired, is still consistent. The front cover offers, once again, a composite group photo of questionable worth. Inside, more standard and strange set-ups of J.D., Carla, Turk, and Elliot form the front and back covers of the six-sided Digipak. An episodes/extras list is found, the three discs share two sides (requiring two to overlap), and the spot for an insert holds only a booklet promoting other Disney TV shows on DVD. The final side offers more pictures, including snapshots of some of Season 5's guest stars.

The entire cast and crew of "Scrubs" poses for a Sacred Heart Hospital staff photo. Ironically, though the card reads "2005", it and all the rest of Season 5 did not air until 2006. Clockwise from top left, Turk, J.D., Dr. Cox, Elliot, and Dr. Kelso notice telltale signs that a dreaded staff photo is about to take place.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

A lot of the time, charting the artistic success of a television show merits a bell curve. "Scrubs" seems destined to end a year from now after seven seasons. That feels appropriate and points to this often hilarious medical comedy as joining the majority of shows that reach their creative apex in the middle -- where characters have been sufficiently developed and writers aren't yet struggling to avoid repetition. Fortunately, "Scrubs"' curve has a gentle slope.

The Complete Fifth Season finds Touchstone's rather brilliant series just a small step below its best. By now, its 3-plot structure is plenty apparent and the demands of U.S. network television (lots of episodes, but short enough to allow for about a third of airtime to go to commercials) do manage to stifle the show slightly. Still, Season 5 emerges as another clear, consistent success for "Scrubs." It goes a little heavy on random silliness and the multi-episode dramatic plotlines don't always gel with their surroundings or resonate as much as they hope to. But these are minor complaints next to the huge doses of laughter and smarts that easily establish the show as one of television's best. "Scrubs" may continue to draw ratings in the mid-single-digit range and I'm sure that those who haven't caught up on the show's past are probably a little lost trying to jump in now. But these facts just make the millions who "get" this show and appreciate its sense of humor feel all the more privileged.

Buena Vista's three-disc set is another easy one to recommend. It may not be quite as loaded with extras as previous seasons (which is strange since it's the first season to enter production since "Scrubs" started turning up on DVD), but its three commentaries, extended episode, unused footage, and featurette are enough to satisfy fans of the show. Of course, even now that "Scrubs" is easy to find in syndication, the DVD's presentation easily surpasses reruns (especially Comedy Central's) with network-bug-free, at-your-own-pace, better-picture-and-sound viewing undoubtedly justifying the reasonable asking price. Just as long as you already have Seasons 1-4 of "Scrubs", do not hesitate adding Season 5 to your collection.

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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

Related Reviews:
Scrubs: The Complete Fourth Season (2004-05) • Scrubs: The Complete Third Season (2003-04)
Scrubs: The Complete Second Season (2002-03) • Scrubs: The Complete First Season (2001-02)
Home Improvement: The Complete Sixth Season (1996-97) • Dinosaurs: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons (1992-94)
Ellen: The Complete Season 4 (1996-97) • Desperate Housewives: The Complete Second Season (2005-06)
The Golden Girls: The Complete Fifth Season (1989-90) • Home Improvement: Season 5 (1995-96) • Boy Meets World: Season 3 (1995-96)
Invincible (2006) • Remember the Titans: Director's Cut (2000) • Chicken Little (2005) • Balloon Farm (1999)
The Princess Diaries (2001) • Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) • Brother Bear 2 (2006) • Felicity: Senior Year DVD Collection (2001-02)
Night at the Museum: 2-Disc Special Edition (2006) • The Shaggy Dog (2006) • Dreamgirls: 2-Disc Showstopper Edition (2006)

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | DVD & Blu-ray Release Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Page 1: Show and Season 5 Discussion, Disc 1, and Disc 2
Page 2: Disc 3, Video/Audio, Bonus Features, Menus & Packaging, and Closing Thoughts

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Reviewed May 17, 2007.