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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 First Season DVD Review

Buy Scrubs: The Complete First Season from Amazon.com Scrubs: Season One (2001-02)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Directors: Adam Bernstein, Marc Buckland, Lawrence Trilling, Michael Spiller

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

Recurring Characters: Neil Flynn (Janitor), Christa Miller (Jordan Sullivan), Robert Maschio (Dr. Todd), Sam Lloyd (Ted the Lawyer), Aloma Wright (Nurse Laverne Roberts), Charles Chun (Dr. Wen), Brendan Fraser (Ben Sullivan), Elizabeth Bogush (Alex), Nicole Sullivan (Jill Tracy), Scott Foley (Sean), Kelli Williams (Kristen Murphy), Matt Winston (Dr. Jeffrey Steadman), Michael McDonald (Mike)

Notable Guest Stars: John Ducey (Will Forte), Kathryn Joosten (Mrs. Tanner), Travis Wester (David Morrison), Liliana Mumy (Samantha Tanner), Louie Anderson (Himself), Jimmie Walker (Himself), Sean Hayes (Nick Murdoch), Paul Collins (Dr. Benson), Carrot Top (Himself), DJ Qualls (Josh), Adrian Wenner (Philip Chambers), Eric Saiet (J.D. #1), John Ritter (Mr. Dorian), Hattie Winston (Margaret Turk), Markie Post (Mrs. Reid), Lane Davies (Dr. Reid), R. Lee Ermey (Janitor's Dad), William Daniels (Dr. Douglas), Ed Begley Jr. (Dr. Bailey), Stephen Furst (Dr. Franklyn), Eric Laneuville (Dr. Lamar)

Running Time: 540 Minutes (24 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital Stereo Sound (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: May 17, 2005
Season 1 Airdates: October 2, 2001 - May 21, 2002
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Six-sided fold-out Digipak with semi-transparent plastic slipcover

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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

A star () denotes my ten favorite episodes from the season.

The interns are excited to be getting their own students. Kelso likes to strum a guitar and sing. Who knew?! Turk and Elliot present their research paper at a conference in front of their parents in "My Old Man."

Disc 3

17. My Student (22:25) (Originally aired March 5, 2002)
The interns are feeling their groove even more now that they are assigned medical students. J.D. scolds Josh, his inept student, after he makes more work for J.D.
Elliot's student is the son of the hospital's CEO, which makes her unsure of how to treat him. Dr. Cox takes an interest in Turk's student, but has trouble asking her out.

18. My Tuscaloosa Heart (22:09) (22:09) (Originally aired March 12, 2002)
Dr. Cox struggles in his new relationship with the med student and the return of his ex-wife Jordan only complicates things. J.D. worries he might have erred with a cranky patient. Elliot must find out more when she learns that Dr. Kelso used to sing when he was younger.

19. My Old Man (22:09) (Originally aired April 9, 2002)
Elliot and Turk are presenting their research paper, which brings their parents into town. J.D.'s father (guest star John Ritter) also shows up and like the others, he creates some emotional unease for his son. Carla gets along with Turk's mom so well that it worries her. Meanwhile, Dr. Kelso makes Elliot second-guess her decision to become a doctor. R. Lee Ermey makes an inspired cameo as the janitor's father.

20. My Way or The Highway (22:09) (Originally aired April 16, 2002)
J.D. and Turk don't see eye-to-eye on a patient, depicted with some "West Side Story"-like musical moments. Elliot is bemused by Sean, her dreamy, fellow neurotic patient (Scott Foley of "Felicity"), but she struggles to find the nerve to ask him out. Dr. Cox fights with Dr. Kelso to get some laid off nurses rehired.

William Daniels and other regulars of '80s medical drama "St. Elsewhere" show up in "My Sacrificial Clam." Brendan Fraser guest stars in two episodes as Dr. Cox's brother-in-law. J.D. shows some sass in an early Season 1 episode.

21. My Sacrificial Clam (22:09) (Originally aired April 30, 2002)
J.D. gets stuck with a hepatitis patient's needle and he suddenly fears the sickness that surrounds him at the hospital. After Carla makes a joke about Turk's gained weight, he begins to work out with Dr. Cox. Elliot and Sean try to work their new relationship out. Four cast members from the '80s medical drama "St. Elsewhere" (including William Daniels of "Boy Meets World") have tiny guest roles as a group of sick doctors.

22. My Occurrence (22:15) (Originally aired May 7, 2002)
Brendan Fraser guest stars as Jordan's brother who gets along better with her ex-husband than with her. He also hits it off with J.D., who hopes that there isn't something seriously wrong with him as tests might indicate.

23. My Hero (22:08) (Originally aired May 14, 2002)
In a continuation from the last episode, Dr. Cox struggles to deal with Ben's situation, and so does J.D. Elliot submits a scathing anonymous evaluation of Dr. Kelso. Turk is disappointed he doesn't get picked to do the procedure he wanted, and he's even more surprised to learn who's doing a better job than him.

24. My Last Day (22:47) (originally aired May 21, 2002)
Things come full circle for J.D., Turk, and Elliot on their last day as interns. Realizing they've been shunning a patient, they band together with Carla and Dr. Cox to plea for an optional surgery for an uninsured man. Dr. Cox's ex-wife Jordan goes about stirring things up, and it looks like J.D. and the Janitor's hostile relationship might be changing. All in all, an encouraging season finale which recalls many things that happened throughout the year without resorting to flashback clips.

Recalling Turk's college antics, J.D. is reluctant to have his best friend operate on him. That's not really the Fonz, it's just J.D. in one of the many brief comical fantasy asides "Scrubs" contains.


On DVD, "Scrubs" is presented in a 1.33:1 "fullscreen" transfer, matching the dimensions it is shot and aired in. For episodes that first aired just three seasons ago, you'd expect terrific picture quality. While it's not perfect, it's pretty good. In comparison to television broadcasts and other DVDs, this video seems a bit darker, grainier, and softer than I anticipated. There appears to be a bit of compression artifacts too, whether that's the result of cramming 8 episodes per disc along with some bonus features, or more likely, just a shortcoming of the medium. In any event, most will find no problem with the visuals, which convey the fairly limited color palette of the hospital with little incident in a clean and sharp digital presentation. You won't mistake the show for a feature film based on its production values and minor shortcomings, but at the same time, this is a reasonably strong recreation of a contemporary television program.

Audio comes by way of a Dolby Stereo track. It's rather subdued in comparison to feature film soundtracks, but hey, that's television for you. As mentioned on the previous page, music figures more importantly here than it does in most sitcoms. The theme song and other selections are conveyed clearly but only softly echoed in the back speaker rather than being employed in a more dynamic way. Dialogue recordings are less crisp than those on standard multi-camera sitcoms shot on soundstages, but all of it is intelligible, and if it's not for you, there are English subtitles thankfully provided as well. There are some wacky sound effects as part of the fast-paced offbeat comedy style which are dutifully represented and lessen as the series progresses.

"Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence" discusses his show in the documentary "Newbies." Cards outline the plots of different episodes to develop arcs. Sarah Chalke in "Newbies."


While Buena Vista has finally embraced releasing their popular sitcoms on DVD, most of these have been modest in their offering of bonus material, with the best often providing just a handful of commentaries and perhaps a trivia game.
"Scrubs" is really the studio's first comedy series to get deluxe treatment in the way of extras, which are present on each disc. Altogether, there are six episode audio commentaries and about eighty minutes of video bonus features.

The highlight extra of Disc 1 is "Newbies", a 28-minute documentary on the show. It's broken into chapters which focus on creator/producer Bill Lawrence, the first season, the writers, and eleven cast members. Everyone profiled was interviewed for the DVD and they share their thoughts on the show. It's clearly a segmented piece, but entertaining and well-edited. Alternatively, most (but not all) of the documentary is available as individual shorts from the Newbies menu. Viewed this way, the 13 vignettes run as follow: Season One (2:23), The Writers (2:03), Zach (3:09), Sarah (2:04), Judy (1:37), Donald (1:22), Ken (1:13), John C. (3:30), Christa (1:16), Robert (1:50), Neil (2:32), Aloma (0:49), Sam (2:14). Those last eleven pieces are also separated by chapter stops in the documentary, which makes the "Play All" option useful and preferred. The actor profiles are really a mix of discussion on both the characters and the actors. Overall, "Newbies" is a light-hearted but sincere look at what makes the show unique and special.

Bill Lawrence, the creator/producer/frequent writer of "Scrubs", appears on all six commentaries, in spite of the flu he's dealing with. On the pilot episode "My First Day", Lawrence goes solo and winds up hating himself over the mistakes he spots and points out. He also shares a bit about the series' origins and network fears. The latter also comes up in "My Old Lady", where Lawrence is joined by star Zach Braff (also dealing with the flu), and the pair recalls how NBC was not keen on such a downbeat, dramatic episode so early on. They also comment on the actors, from the leads' changing looks and hairstyles to the extras in rotation. "My Fifteen Minutes" is the third and final Disc 1 episode that's accompanied by commentary. Here, Neil Flynn (the unnamed janitor) reflects with Lawrence on his willingness to improvise and the nature of his character.

Breakthrough star Zach Braff discusses "Scrubs" in "Newbies." More interview footage can be found on Disc 2's featurette "The Doctor Is In." Donald Faison of "Clueless" fame in "Newbies." Ken Jenkins is reportedly the least like his fiery character.

Disc 2's lone commentary again features the sick creator/star duo of Lawrence and Braff, who spend most of the episode just listening and laughing. They acknowledge this and apologize, fearing what the reviews will say. Fear not, guys, it's quite entertaining in spite of the spots of quiet. They do lend some insight regarding the show's inspirations and sets and changes that have occurred throughout its run. It's also amusing to hear Braff declare Five for Fighting "lame-o" for not letting their song remain in the episode (actually, you can hear it softly in the background of the commentary).

The final two commentaries turn up on Disc 3 and team up Lawrence with additional actors. "My Sacrificial Clam" brings Robert Maschio ("The Todd") and Sam Lloyd ("The Lawyer") and they discuss their supporting roles, their function as part of the "B team", cast members faced with stages of undress, and some ideas for the Todd character. Lawrence again seems to find something to loathe, pointing out the whip sound when heads turn quickly that was used early on but abandoned. Lastly, John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox) collaborates with Lawrence for a discussion on "My Hero", the second part of the near-season-end Brendan Fraser arc. They compliment Fraser's ability to fit into the unique style and among their discussion of the regular cast, take time to point out how attractive the female cast members (including Lawrence's wife Christa Miller) are.

The cast participation on the commentaries and the fact that one-fourth of the season is accompanied by the discussion tracks make for a very nice DVD presentation. There is some overlap between the featurettes and the commentary, and of course it would have been nice to have other cast members (like leads Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, Judy Reyes, and Ken Jennings) partake. But their thoughts are at least shared in the other extras, and while the commentaries are not always overflowing with information or priceless nuggets, it's wonderful to gain some understanding of the creators' perspective on the early episodes of their show.

Lazlo Bane performs "Superman" in their music video. Neil Flynn's ability to improvise is seen in the "Alternate Lines" footage. The cast talks during a break in shooting, as seen in "Not Just Another Medical Show."

Moving onto the non-commentary bonuses, the first extra on Disc 2 is pretty cool. It's a music video (3:34) for the show's theme song "Superman." There's an excerpt of just 12 seconds that actually makes it into the show's opening, so it's neat to hear the rest of the song, which also accompanies each disc's Main Menu. The lyrics pertain to the series as does the video, which features band Lazlo Bane performing outside Sacred Heart Hospital. It's an elaborate and well done montage,
employing some dialogue-less clips from the show and plenty of split-screen of the band and black-and-white behind-the-scenes set footage. A short supplement, to be sure, and one which really doesn't call for this much discussion. But it's a really wise and welcome inclusion.

"The Doctor Is In" is a brief 5-minute interview featurette with Zach Braff. In it, the star recalls getting cast and meeting his fellow actors. It's more or less a compilation of footage not used for the Zach section of the "Newbies" documentary, so while not the most polished piece, it's easy enough to enjoy.

"Alternate Lines: A Second Opinion" (9:05) illustrates the cast's ability to improvise lines. The differences in these takes here are mostly miniscule, but a few deliveries crack up the cast and crew. Turning up most often in this section are Neil Flynn (the Janitor) and John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox). It's not a standout bonus feature, but like the rest of the extras, it's interesting.

Disc 3 provides four remaining extras. "Not Just Another Medical Show" (6:15) is a brief but fascinating featurette on the series' unique style, from filming in a real abandoned hospital to staying true to medical realities (but not at the sake of comedy) to a certain candid policy not fit to print here. Comments come from the same set of interviews seen elsewhere, but we hear more from crew members than the cast.

Ladies man Johnny C. is joined by Christa Miller and Sarah Chalke in the "Favorite Moments" bonus feature. Sarah Chalke has trouble maintaining a straight face in the Outtakes Reel. Dr. Cox finds comfort in a teddy bear in this deleted scene.

"Favorite Moments" (8:32) is a nice featurette in which the cast and crew reflect on their favorite episodes, guest stars, and yes, moments. "My Old Lady", "My Bed Banter & Beyond", and the 2-part Brendan Fraser arc get discussed a bit, and it's interesting to hear what the creators remember most about the season which by this point you've presumably seen in full.

The Outtakes Reel (3:55) presents an amusing montage of flubbed lines, bloopers, and uncontrollable laughter. They've clearly picked the funniest of what was captured on film, and these outtakes (like most) are just plain fun to see.

Next, there are 10 minutes and 38 seconds of Deleted Scenes. Actually, most are extended scenes which is useful, since otherwise it's very tough to tell where they fit in. There are certainly some funny gags involving newsies, "Jesus" and "Satan", a therapeutic teddy bear, an empty Christmas gift, and an homage to "Peanuts." While the way of presenting these might be improved in some way, they work surprisingly well in a montage like this and their inclusion is wholly welcome.

Surprisingly there are none of Buena Vista's trademark "Sneak Peeks" at the start of any of the discs. A booklet inside the case does a more thorough job of illustrating available and upcoming season sets of the studio's television programs.

A still from Disc 1's animated main menu. Disc 2's Main Menu opts for a green palette.


The catchy 16x9 menus show more effort than other Buena Vista televisions releases as well. Each disc's Main Menu features a different animated montage of Season 1 clips set to the full version of the series' theme song "Superman." Secondary menus feature instrumentals from the show's occasionally-employed score, and there are inspired transitions which take you around the different parts of the hospital representing the different menus. With the exception of one "supersized" episode, each installment of "Scrubs" runs between 21 and 23 minutes without commercials. Unfortunately, there are no chapter breaks offered within the episodes. Those who make use of these on TV DVDs to skip through opening credits sequences need not worry since that of "Scrubs" comes after a scene and runs just 12 seconds long.

There's even some especially innovative packaging. While the six-sided Digipak resembles Buena Vista's other 3-disc sets in design (Discs 1 and 2 share a side, overlapping), the whole case is pretty neat looking. The outer slipcover is mostly transparent aside from the colorful cast photo it features, the title logo, and the back. This slides over the Digipak, which is designed like a clipboard with an x-ray slip on front (that gives the package its teal color). The x-ray is only attached by some of that sticky goo, which makes it slip off rather easily; maybe it's supposed to come off, but I don't think so.

The rest of the package maintains the clipboard look, with pictures of medical supplies and the cast (looking like they've been attached with bandages) decorating it. The inner left side contains a flap which holds a sweepstakes form, Buena Vista TV on DVD catalogue, and a 4-page booklet which provides the episode listings (these are also on the disc) and a picture of the six regular characters and their names. J.D., Elliot, and Turk adorn the three discs, and when you remove them from the case, you're left with skeletons where their pictures cover. Nice little touch on an ingeniously-designed package that you may want to admire for hours or at least several minutes.

Turk, Carla, and J.D. endure some synchronized frustration. "Scrubs" = teh funny!


A funny and clever show which aptly treads through both bizarre comedy and sincere drama, "Scrubs" comes to DVD in a wholly satisfying First Season collection. In just about every way, Buena Vista has surpassed their previous box sets of television seasons here. The presentation of the show is solid, the design of the menus and package is inspired, and the impressive amount of bonus material lends the insight fans would hope for. Most important, of course, is the program itself and while many enjoy it (including me), it's a blend that will not delight all. The easiest way to decide if it's to your liking is to check out an episode or two, when it airs Tuesday nights (9:00/8:00 Central) on NBC. For established fans, this set may yield a few minor quibbles (along the lines of a couple of music replacements and no chapter stops), but it is still clearly something that presents the show you love with high quality and special care from its creators.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

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

More Buena Vista TV on DVD Reviewed:
The Golden Girls: The Complete Second Season Popular: The Complete Second Season
Home Improvement: The Complete First Season Boy Meets World: The Complete First Season
Felicity: The Complete Fourth Season Ellen: The Complete Second Season

Page 1: Show 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 15, 2005.