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Save yourself the mood whiplash and just watch the funny clips on youtube.
This show has mood whiplash like nothing else. The humour is quite good and the characters are all lively and interesting, up until the moment the creator decides that madcap is utterly below him and attempts to balance it with drama. This is a feeling akin to hitting a brick wall at 75 MPH. There are no segues, no subtlety, just "Oh, you doctors are so zany and eccentric and people are dying all around you and you should all feel terrible, how dare anyone ever feel happiness ever."

Now this would be alright if it happened once every few episodes with some sort of disclaimer so you could Tivo your way past this and keep rolling with laughter, but unfortunately this rears its ugly face in practically every single episode, and you can judge how bad the episode is going to end by how outrageous the comedy gets. Are the doctors comically unconcerned about their patients? Four people die of rabies because the doctors are inattentive.

There is no balance at all in this show. Is it a lighthearted hospital comedy ala Green Wing or a collection of the most depressing scenes from the 15 years ER was on? It's too schizophrenic to be sure.
One of the best examples of a hospital comedy being able to use drama effectively is MASH. Once you get past the extremely sanctimonious, anvilicious, strawman-fest political commentary, MASH is brilliant at the mood shifts between quirky humour and depressive sobriety. A lot of this is down to presentation. When a patient dies in Scrubs, it is often during JD's wishy-washy, life lesson monologue. The death scene is conveyed in one sentence, and is emphasised by a scant visual of people looking sad. Then the sad music cues in and the show moves on. This cheapens the death and weakens the impact. In MASH however, the morbid operating theatre scenes are devoid of music and the laughtrack. The characters still crack jokes, but the lack of mirth only exaggerates the harshness of the circumstances. When things go badly in the theatre, the camera doesn't just cut away and carry on with the plot. It lingers.
comment #5398 maninahat 10th Dec 10
Love your summary of basically episode. I recommend staying away from the later seasons where the humour tires, it's less of a Mood Whiplash, but only because it's depressing all the time.
comment #5404 supernova 11th Dec 10
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