Scrubs Ep. 8.15: ‘My Soul On Fire, Pt. 2′ / Better Off Ted Ep. 1.5: ‘Win Some, Dose Some’ Reviews

Posted on April 16, 2009



TVSummary: A double dip of speedy zaniness.
Rating: 8/10

Review Trailer
The quick skinny on the episode.

Scrubs wraps up the Janitor’s-wedding-in-paradise story begun last week with an abundance of the touchy-feely that was a bit limited in the previous episode. The states of the three core couples of the show are brought into simple relief as the Janitor and Lady exchange vows in a ceremony only they could have. In counterpoint, Better Off Ted turns a corner into fast-paced screwball comedy and highlights the gifts of the entire ensemble. The well-worn school charity drive shtick is given a boost by the energetic rivalry of Ted and Veronica while Linda is given an unexpected pep boost with blithely silly results.

Feature-Length Review after the jump.

Feature-Length Review
The in-depth review.

** Note: Review contains spoilers if you have not seen the episode.**

The Janitor and Lady tie the knot on Scrubs in the second part of the “My Soul On Fire” story. While we find out that Lady’s name is actually Lady, the years-long tease of learning the Janitor’s name comes up short. It’s a moment, though, that plays just as it should. Part of the Janitor’s payback to everyone for actually showing up for the wedding is to have them all remain standing as the marriage service is performed in seats by the main participants, which includes a justice of the peace named Van (“Vaaan”) played by none-other-than series creator Bill Lawrence himself. It’s a funny bit capped by a trademark sweet moment between the Janitor and his new bride as he tells her exactly what she means to him.

This touching moment forces the other three couples – Sorry, no Bob-Ted ‘shipping this episode – to address their current relationship woes. Previously on Scrubs… JD had disappointed Elliot by deciding he didn’t need to make some grand declarations of love because she expected it; Turk was left high and dry by Carla because of her maternal concerns; and Perry and Jordan were arguing because Perry decided to fake working all day to avoid doing things with Jordan, which is what he believed she wanted. Each is given both a confrontation scene and a nice reconciliation scene.

By far, the most poignant of the three is Perry and Jordan, if only because their characters and hatred are often played so broad for humor (and they often get the well-deserved laughs) that the soft moments between them really ring true. It’s always been great work on Christa Miller’s and, especially, John C. McGinley’s parts to make those sudden shifts believable. McGinley’s declaration earlier in the episode that Perry and Jordan drop the whole ‘hating one another because that’s their thing’ was tender and also very true to his character. It brought a big smile to my face to see Jordan drop her guard in the end and Perry jump both of them into the pool.

That poignancy takes nothing away from Turk and Carla. I still believe that these two represent one of the best marriages on television. They go through their troubles – as they do in this storyline – but they always find their way back to one another, together. There is a lot of give-and-take in their relationship and the chemistry Donald Faison and Judy Reyes have as well as the ease they bring to their roles continues to astonish me. Turk is the best part of himself when he’s alone with Carla and, despite being exasperated often, Carla falls in love with Turk again each time she sees him. It’s a very special relationship the show has created and, as I mentioned last week, they tend to get more of the more “serious” relationship arcs as a result. I could certainly see where Turk was coming from in his frustrations but I was happy that Carla spoke up honestly about where she was coming from. And in the end, we find them back where they belong.

Which leaves us with JD and Elliot. We’re given a nice little moment between the two where he tells Elliot just how much she means to him. “I love you more than Turk” he admits, making sure to note that he’s surprised himself that he’s saying that. In fact, he’s taken Turk’s faux Brady idol and gives it to Elliot. Zach Braff and Sarah Chalke have both become such gifted comic actors that they instill the scene with the proper small beats to sell both the feeling and the smiles that come from seeing a couple connect.

Speaking of gifted comic actors, my hats off to the complete cast of Better Off Ted. This episode solidifies for me just how splendid this group of people is and gives them two relatively connected storylines that allow all to play in the same sandbox together.

Ted’s daughter, Rose, has an annual charity drive at school, this one revolving around selling gift wrapping paper. Any of us can relate to this, either as parents, students or as office dwellers whose co-workers have school-aged children. I’ve certainly bought my fair share of kitchen utensils and Girl Scout cookies from a number of co-workers in the past. It’s a familiar trope and has been covered pretty extensively on TV. And yet, the competitive repartee between Ted and Veronica makes it fresh to swallow.

It baffles me in hilarity how Portia de Rossi can play Veronica in seemingly one mode and yet present such a multi-facted creature. She’s like a piece of chocolate that you discover is actually made of three chocolates, has a tinge of mint and a caramel covered truffle in the middle of it. I revel in her as much as that sinful concoction and marvel at how sly de Rossi is in the part. A slyness matched by Jay Harrington’s Ted. Their pseudo-sexual, pseudo-sibling rivalry is played to perfection in this episode and both actors seem to marinate in the glee of playing opposite one another.

A glee that is matched by the three other points of their pentagon. Malcolm Barrett and Jonathan Slavin step up their game even further from the last episode, becoming a side-splitting comic duo. They continue to blow me out of the water with their timing and their energies meld so well. Interacting primarily with Andrea Anders’ Linda this go-round helped to create a strong feeling of connectedness between all five main cast members. They’ve each had their moments throughout the first few episodes but this, to me, felt like the first time the proper whole cohesively fit together.

Linda’s manic reaction to the “energy patch” created in the lab was a wonderful touch of screwball, exemplified in the moment Lem and Phil run after her to take the patch off. I actually found myself giggling in that way you do when someone is chasing you in fun. The eventual hormonal down cycle was bit old-hat but I really enjoyed the moments when Anders was shifting back and forth between moods. This led to a great collaborative moment when all five are clustered together. To see the five play off each other in that scene nailed this series for me.

I thought the libidinous “don’t ask don’t tell”-flaunting general was a bit much for the episode but it gave Harrington a couple of moments for funny reaction shots. I also liked how Ted was able to piece together the military oven problem with Veronica outselling the disabled girl in the paper contest for a clever solution. Yes, if I was presented the same thing in another show I’d almost feel insulted, but it worked for me here. And it led to that great closing scene between Ted and Veronica still trying to trump one another.

Better Off Ted is fast becoming my fave comic stop in the week. The spry cast and spunky writing haven’t bored me yet. I suddenly find a half-hour is gone and I’ve got a good number of chuckles to account for it. I certainly feel better off afterward.

Now, to find a copy of Scrubs‘s Ted’s (Sam Lloyd) amazing rendition of Outkast’s “Hey Ya“.

Posted in: Comedy, Television