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"Scrubs" The Complete Third Season DVD Review

Buy Scrubs: The Complete Third Season from Amazon.com Scrubs: Season Three (2003-04)
Show & DVD Details

Regular Writers: Tim Hobert, Eric Weinberg, Bill Lawrence, Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan, Mike Schwartz, Debra Fordham, Mark Stegemann, Gabrielle Allan, Janae Bakken

Regular Directors: Chris Koch, Bill Lawrence, Gail Mancuso, Ken Whittingham, 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: Tara Reid (Danni Sullivan), Scott Foley (Sean Kelly), Aloma Wright (Nurse Laverne Roberts), Christa Miller (Jordan Sullivan), Sam Lloyd (Ted Buckland), Robert Maschio (Todd), Bellamy Young (Dr. Miller), Michael J. Fox (Dr. Kevin Casey), Freddy Rodriguez (Mark), Johnny Kastl (Dr. Doug Murphy), Martin Klebba (Randall), Charles Chun (Dr. Wen), Frank Encarnacao (Dr. Mickhead), Jason Baumgard (Chet)

Notable Guest Stars: Sean Whalen (Laddy), Maureen McCormick (Herself), Christopher Meloni (Dr. Norris), Matt Winston (Dr. Steadman), Tom Cavanagh (Dan Dorian), Erik Estrada (Himself), Nicole Sullivan (Jill), Bernie Kopell (Mr. Moran), Barry Bostwick (Mr. Randolph), Mike Starr (Mr. Iverson), Brendan Fraser (Ben Sullivan), Embeth Davidtz (Maddie), Julie Warner (Allison), Nestor Carbonell (Dr. Ramirez), Alexander Chaplin (Mr. Thompson), Richard Kind (Harvey Corman), Larry Thomas (Himself), George Takei (Priest)

Running Time: 477 Minutes (22 episodes) / Rating: TV-14
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned
DVD Release Date: May 9, 2006 / Season 3 Airdates: October 2, 2003 - May 3, 2004
Three single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Six-sided Digipak with semi-transparent plastic slipcover and lithograph inside

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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

The Janitor hopes to keep his security guard dream alive. Dr. Cox butts heads with Harvey Corman (guest Richard Kind) over a full body scan in "My Fault." A year after almost getting abruptly married, Carla is finally ready to walk the aisle in season finale "My Best Friend's Wedding."

Disc 3

18. His Story II (20:45) (Originally aired April 6, 2004)
With a couple of days off and the research project he had freed the time for reassigned, J.D. passes the narration along to Turk, who hesitates in sending out his wedding invitations and bonds with a young patient.
Dr. Cox warns Dr. Miller about the danger of cooperating with Dr. Kelso. J.D. fills in for Elliot as pediatrics ward's clown and gets thanked in an intimate way.

19. My Choosiest Choice of All (21:03) (Originally aired April 20, 2004)
Hurt by the fact that Elliot has quickly reunited with Sean, J.D. reluctantly gets back together with Danni. The Janitor realizes his dream to become a hospital security guard but finds himself in a pickle. Dr. Cox fights an attraction to Dr. Miller. All the while, Turk and Carla are there to comment on things as the perfect couple.

20. My Fault (20:47) (Originally aired April 22, 2004)
With their wedding quickly approaching, Turk and Carla deal with stress-inducing minutiae, such as food accommodations and overbooking. The latter leads to Turk's boss getting uninvited and, as a result, Turk being assigned undesirable tasks in the operating room. When Dr. Kelso brings full body scans to Sacred Heart against Dr. Cox's advice, Cox makes it his personal goal to keep the overly concerned returning Mr. Corman (guest Richard Kind) from getting one. Elliot gets ready to move in with Sean, which troubles J.D., who again breaks up with Danni.

21. My Self-Examination (20:44) (Originally aired April 27, 2004)
With the seemingly perfect Elliot all his, J.D. can't figure out why he isn't in love. As Jordan isn't fighting anymore, Dr. Cox seeks battles elsewhere and picks the wrong day to pick on the Janitor. Turk flounders in writing his marriage vows for Carla, but her brother offers help.

22. My Best Friend's Wedding (21:18) (Originally aired May 4, 2004)
The season finale brings the long-awaited wedding of Carla and Turk, taking this episode outside of Sacred Heart Hospital for the most part. J.D. tries to make things okay between Elliot and him, by getting Sean to attend the wedding. Turk's surgery presents complications, not just for the patient but for him as the hour approaches.

"Kimble!" Is the Janitor really the transit cop from "The Fugitive"? Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) is somewhat attracted to Dr. Miller (Bellamy Young), a new attending surgeon who shares his passion for speechifying.


Video quality is, as you'd hope, awesome. The 1.33:1 fullscreen transfers present the show with none of Season 1's grain and no other noticeable shortcomings either. I noticed a moiré effect in two instances, but that's about as much of a flaw as I could find. Some may wish that "Scrubs" would make the jump to 16x9, but as far as I know, it hasn't ever yet been filmed for those increasingly popular dimensions. Through Season 5 at least, the show has not been aired in high definition either. Still, as far as content that can (and should) fill your standard 4x3 television set, this is about as good looking as it gets.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack also yields no complaints. An obvious observation to make is that this season's sound mixes certainly don't rival theatrical output in terms of pizzazz. While not very demanding or engulfing, the audio presentation certainly gets the job done, clearly conveying the sharp dialogue, steady score, and occasional well-timed prerecorded tune.

Creator/producer Randall Winston talks about getting a chance to direct an episode in "Twist and Shoot." He also provides an audio commentary (with two cast members) on his episode. As seen in "Don't Try This at Home", a blue screen is used for a stunt that looks much more dangerous than it was. This "Scrubs" writer explains what inspired the gradual development of Tara Reid's recurring Season 3 character.


All bonus features are limited to Disc 3. The supplemental slate is a bit lighter here than on the past two seasons, but it's still several notches above most TV shows' DVD treatment. Once again, almost all of the footage appears to emanate from the same sitdowns on the last two sets, illustrating that there is a lot to go around. By this, the third time around, the short but very interesting featurettes tend to move away from the serious and onto the goofy, but that's merely a testament to the fun nature of the show's production. Creator/executive producer Bill Lawrence again appears as frequently as any individual, but oddly, he is absent from the audio commentaries for the first time.

First up is "Twist and Shoot" (6:53), a mildly interesting piece on crew members who made their directorial debuts, such as John Inwood and Randall Winston, in Season 3. We hear about how they capitalized upon their previous experiences in making the leap and what the process was like. There are a lot of clips from the last few episodes of the season here, so if you're encountering these episodes for the first time (which I largely was), skip this one until having watched them all (something I narrowly failed to do and regretted).

Next is "Don't Try This at Home" (5:43), which looks at the stunts on display in Season 3. This isn't the first time the show's elaborate stunts have merited a featurette, but based on the pains taken in the name of comedy, a new featurette is merited and since this one focuses on Season 3's stunts, it doesn't feel much like retread ground. As you'd expect, certain sequences (like Turk's dangerous driver's seat-to-highway roll) are broken down. Other revelations range from somewhat obvious (stunt doubles are cleverly disguised) to interesting (the origins of the ambitious work in this field is traced back to Zach Braff's flair for physical comedy). Neatly, it ends with an impressive montage set to that lovely banjo music.

The third supplement is "Long-Term Residents" (7:10), which focuses on the noteworthy guest cast list of the season. None of the guests themselves are interviewed, which makes this largely just a highlight reel of the impressive visiting roster. Nonetheless, it makes for an interesting viewing and includes anecdotes about a few participants, such as the devolution of Tara Reid's character from a female J.D. to an embrace of the actress's own party girl image.

"Scrubs" creator/writer/producer/director Bill Lawrence again appears in just about every featurette on the set. Zach Braff appears with his pet Terrier in "What Up Dawg?". Get to know the man behind The Todd in "Robert Keeps Talking."

"What Up Dawg?" (6:01) discusses the cast and crew's various canines, from a $7,000 charity auction acquisition to Zach Braff's gay Terrier. While this is clearly a silly piece, it offers a welcome departure from most DVD bonus features and conveys the sense of family which is afforded to the "Scrubs" gang by having a hospital to shoot in, a floor of which lets the dogs roam mostly free while the show is in production.

Like at least one featurette on a past season, "Scrubs Factor" (4:45) wanders a bit into the gossip territory, but this leads us to learning about the disgusting/challenging things that are proposed and accepted on dares/bets involving the cast and crew. The stories range from having magic marker on a face for an entire weekend to spending two hours in one of the actual morgue boxes. Gladly, no one has taken up that last dare.

Following the extended interviews with Zach Braff and John C. McGinley on the past two seasons, "Robert Keeps Talking" (4:52) gets us closer to Robert Maschio, who plays the recurring character Todd, also known as "The Todd." Maschio talks about his background, his role on the show as a joke runner, the difference between him and his character, and so on. His history in stand-up comedy comes through in his sarcastic responses.

"The New Elliot" (5:49) explains the reasoning behind the female resident's Season 3 makeover: the network wanted a hot young actress in the mix. So, after two years of making her career-oriented and down-to-earth, the gang began emphasizing Sarah Chalke's sex appeal, something they seem to have mixed feelings over. Through interview clips, a number of concerned parties recall what the character transformation entailed, from visible bra straps to time-consuming rock star makeup. We discover that the look was toned down over time primarily to suit the needs of the filming crew, in this candid and compelling short.

This split-screen image illustrates the variations of "The New Elliot" in Season 3. Sarah Chalke is at the forefront of both "The New Elliot" and "Is There a Doctor in the House?" featurettes. Dr. Cox's shirt has J.D. captivated in this deleted scene.

"Is There a Doctor in the House?" (4:17) explores the muddled friend/lover relationship of J.D. and Elliot. The actors behind the characters reflect on their experiences and how the show has attempted to turn the convention of "will they or won't they" on its head. Alas, it doesn't amount to much more than a collection of relevant clips and stating the obvious, rather than pondering or analyzing the relationship.

At 4 minutes and 40 seconds, "Scrubbed Out: Deleted Scenes" continues the downward trend from Season 2. Here are seven brief sequences, originating from five different episodes. Most involve Dr. Cox and J.D. and most seem more like alternate lines. That makes the distinction of the separate collection, "Alternate Lines: A Second Opinion", minimal. This area offers eight very brief segments stemming from seven different episodes. Altogether, the alternate lines run just three minutes, also lighter than the past two seasons.

Rounding out the video bonuses, a gag reel (4:06) delivers a collection of bloopers. It's curiously matted so that the top and bottom portion of the frame is covered, but that's the biggest surprise. Uncontrollable laughter, improvising on goofs, plus the passing of gas and things that sound like it are all featured here. It's hardly groundbreaking or must-see, but gag reels are always good for a viewing and the inclusion is especially welcome after Season 2 didn't offer one.

Finally and most substantial in terms of running time are two audio commentaries with the cast and crew. "His Story II" finds actor Donald Faison (the episode's primary narrator) and writer Mark Stegemann laughing a lot and pointing out things that most will either already know (like actors' names) or not much care about (like extras' names). Serious insights are pretty much absent and there's a little dead air, but even an unfocused, unrevealing track like this is better than nothing. Plus there's some amusing promotion of Chicken Little found here.

Randall, a bald midget with a penchant for crotch kicks, is one of the most curious characters introduced in Season 3. In this deleted scene, he rubs out his fellow janitor's campaign poster. All part of democracy, I suppose! An inebriated Bob Kelso says something slightly different to "The Turkletons" in this alternate line. Zach Braff and Donald Faison crack up (not literally) in the matted gag reel.

The second commentary, on "My Self-Examination", presents Faison with co-star Judy Reyes and show creator/episode director Randall Winston. This discussion is quite a bit more focused and reveals quite a bit that's interesting about the cast, the episode, and so on. At times, it's little more than superficial banter, but it still handily beats the previous track and merits a listening.

"Scrubs" commentaries tend to be a lot of fun, which makes the downsizing from six-a-season on the first two sets to only two more than a little disappointing. (Though Region 2, which got the set a couple of months earlier, fared even worse; it lacked a single commentary.)
Episode commentaries should be relatively easy to churn out, especially with the number of cast and crew members willing to participate on other bonus features and the fact that "Scrubs" often goes further for laughs than most series.

It's essential for me to now note that two other Season 3 commentaries exist, only not on this DVD. If you're reading this review this carefully, then you might already know that after treating the fifth season of "Scrubs" to a late start (this past January), NBC has doubled up on the show for Tuesday nights. In the winter that meant two new "Scrubs" episodes a week, but with things winding down, the extra half-hour became devoted to a "Scrubs" rerun. To make the reruns from Seasons 3 and 4 more worthwhile than most recycled programming, NBC's website offered downloadable audio commentaries from the cast on their favorite episodes. Two of these covered Season 3 episodes.

John C. McGinley and Neil Flynn teamed up for an insightful commentary on "My Lucky Night." (Download it here.) Unfortunately, it was on a supersized episode that was recut for the standard 30-minute time slot. As such, the track runs 20½ minutes, over six minutes shorter than the initial broadcast preserved on this DVD, and it loses the funny riddle subplot (which was largely recreated for this week's clever episode "My Déjà Vu, My Déjà Vu"). Linking the MP3 up with the DVD playback is quite a chore, but the commentary easily surpasses the two that actually made the DVD. The pair reflect on technical things, behind-the-scenes information, and even alternate lines that aren't anywhere to be found on the DVD. Naturally, this definitely seems like something that should have been recorded for the full episode and included here.

The second online-only commentary track might have you experiencing déjà vu yourself. It is on the episode "My Self-Examination" and features just Donald Faison and Judy Reyes. (Download it here.) With all the great episodes that have gone uncommented upon, one wishes that this duo could have picked a different one to discuss for NBC. At least, this one synchs up right with the DVD cut. It's also a little different, but not really for the better; with Winston out of the picture, the two stars are less informative. At the risk of starting a fourth paragraph on bonus features that aren't on this DVD, let me wrap up by pointing out that obvious. It's baffling that even though both the DVD tracks and the online ones appear to have been recorded around the same time (in the middle of Season 5's filming), the NBC.com ones (especially the fine McGinley/Flynn one) didn't make it to the DVD. I suppose that this, coupled with Best Buy exclusive DVDs for Seasons 1 and 2 makes it more difficult (but ultimately more rewarding) for the "Scrubs" completist than a fan of a typical hit TV series.

As usual, sneak peeks play automatically at start of Disc 1. These promote Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Touchstone "TV on DVD" (a spot well in need of an update), "Dinosaurs" Seasons 1 and 2, "The Golden Girls" The Complete Fifth Season, and Annapolis. Additional previews on the Sneak Peeks menu advertise Shadows in the Sun/Everything You Want, "Grey's Anatomy" Season One, "Grey's Anatomy" on ABC, and "The Golden Girls" The Complete Fifth Season.

Two television screen shuffle through images in the animated main menu of each disc. This is a page from Disc 2's Episode Selection screens.


The 16x9 menu screens once again take you through the hospital via computer animation, though this time there is a more cartoony look. Also returning is the complete, non-sped up version of Lazlo Bane's theme song "Superman", which again accompanies the Main Menu, with the lyrics kicking in as you end up at the ultimate destination -- a supplies closet. Other instrumentals liven up the episode selection and bonus features (the human beatbox!) pages (or perhaps drive you mad, if you leave them on). Even if, like me, you're only interested in viewing episodes on an individual basis, you should use the "Play All" button to see an interesting transition (the same on all three discs). While the design and music is identical on each disc, different montages show up on the televisions, which are in the supplies closet where they are set. As on Season 2, chapter stops have been inserted at commercial breaks; each episode is equipped with four breaks for quick scene access.

Season 3's packaging is simpler and less impressive than the first two seasons, but still shows more thought than most box sets. A mostly transparent slipcover slides off to give the effect of the cast bursting through hospital doors. Inside, there's the usual six-sided Digipak holding the three discs and featuring episode and bonus feature lists in addition to a colorful collection of imagery. One of these images is replicated in a light but nice cardboard lithograph. One hundred of these are said to be signed by the seven cast members they feature, which puts your odds of getting one of these random copies not the highest. Unfortunately, though the packaging looks pretty slick, it's not the most effective. In the course of just a few days of the Digipak being left outside the plastic slipcover, it became very difficult to get the two pieces back together. It was even harder to pull the Digipak back out a day later. Maybe this is partly due to the humidity of the season, but I'd guess that blame lies more readily with the two items being too close in size.

With flashbacks... ...and other quirky asides, the third season of "Scrubs" will have you laughing heavily and regularly.


While the volume of bonus features on "Scrubs": The Complete Third Season dips a bit below the first two seasons' DVDs, the show increases in quality and more than makes up the difference. The few complaints I could muster for the first two years no longer seem applicable here. In the series' third year on television, the cast and crew seem to have gelled even better than before, enabling "Scrubs" to reach thus far its comic apex. Season Three entertains steadily and supremely with a wide sense of humor and no shortage of involving contexts to showcase them. As video and audio are as good as can be expected, the price is reasonable, the design is suitable, and the bonus content still complements well, this three-disc set garners a strong recommendation. On the merits of one of the best comedies on the air and the decreased but still satisfying digital treatment, this can be considered one of the finest television DVDs on the market.

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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

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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


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Reviewed May 11, 2006.