On October 18, The Quad participated in a conference call with the creator of the hit NBC series, “Scrubs”, Bill Lawrence, as well as its star, Zach Braff. Braff and Lawrence, who have been involved with the show since its inception, spoke to The Quad about the upcoming seventh and final season of the show, as well as fascinating details about themselves and the series itself.In talking about the inspiration behind the series itself, Lawrence told The Quad, “The original idea of Scrubs was there is a guy named Jon Doris who is a medical advisor on the show and his name is J.D. And we call him Real J.D. when he’s here on the set. We call him Real and he’s one of my best friends from college. And he became a doctor.
“.we were just drinking some beers and he was telling me about his internship. And, you know, he’s one of the funnier guys I knew in college and it just struck me that, you know, here on American TV we like our doctors to be very serious and they yell the word stat a lot and they burst through doors a lot. And when I was talking to him, you know, he’s still the same funny guy and he was just talking to me about all the weird personalities and situations and [.] how they use humor to get by in the hospitals. And I just thought it would be a good TV show. And I have since, systematically stolen every funny medical story I can from all my friends that are physicians. And one of the things we take pride in on the show is that all the [.] medical stuff — even though we exaggerate it for comedy — is real.”
Both Braff and Lawrence shared with The Quad their method for using improvisation in the show. “We always do what’s written and then often we’ll riff on different punchlines that either Bill comes up with or one of the writers comes up with, or one of the actors comes up with,” said Braff.
Lawrence added, “the one thing you miss in a single camera show is in classic sitcoms that I worked on, you get immediate audience feedback if something works. So here, it’s usually let’s see if we can make the crew laugh. It’s something different that we say. And if they do, more often than not it ends up in the show.”
When asked if the popular but nameless janitor, played by Neil Flynn, would ever get a name by the end of the series, Lawrence responded, “I always promised (Flynn) two things. That by the end of the show, he’d have a name and he’d eventually get to have a girlfriend. So I had to make good on both of those this year. He’s the one character that hasn’t ever had a romantic interest as well.”
When talking about the final scene of the series finale, Lawrence said, “Our one responsibility is for people that like the show to watch the finale and leave satisfied and happy about what they saw.”
When Braff was asked if he had to choose between only directing or only acting, he responded, “I’d pick directing because I really enjoy acting a lot; [.] there’s nothing that makes me happier in life than making people laugh. But I really [.] find that directing asks so much more of me because [.] you have to be a little bit of a writer, a little bit of a photographer, a little bit of a [.] a set designer.
And I just love working with lots of creative people. So when you direct something, you hire all these really creative people and artists, and actors. And then you’re sort of the conductor to that orchestra. And I really, really love doing that more than anything.”
Talking about individual characters on the show, Lawrence told The Quad about the inspiration behind the very popular Dr. Perry Cox, played by John C. McGinley. “(While) forming this show, I was just then engaged to my now wife Christa Miller, who plays Dr. Cox’s wife. Her father [.] is named Dr. (John Marino). When I talked to him and talked to people that worked with him, (he) was one of the scariest doctors in the history of Lenox Hill Hospital. And all the nurses were afraid of him.”
“.they all found him to be an incredible doctor and (were) incredibly loyal to him, but they all still — even though he had long since retired — whispered about him and wanted to be very careful not to say anything that would ever make him mad.”
When talking about how the show will end, Lawrence stated, “…there’s two things (that) people fall into when they do finales; [.] they wait for the finale to tie up every single loose end. ‘We’re having a baby. We’re running off together. We’re getting married,’ you know. And I think that what we’re going to do is kind of spend the year tying up any loose ends between characters and, you know, and dynamics and stuff. And at the end, just do something that we hope is kind of a sweet, funny goodbye to the people that actually watch the show.”
“.I think we’re allowed to do that because [.] I don’t think people are sitting on the edge of their chair going ‘oh my God, is J.D. finally going to get killed at the end’, you know?”
The season premiere of the final season of “Scrubs” debuts this Thursday night at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
Chris Pierdomenico is a fourth-year student majoring in Secondary English Education with minors in Psychology and Film Criticism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.