Dear American Broadcasting Company (ABC):
Please please please… cancel “Scrubs.” It has officially jumped the shark and it is time for it to peacefeully ride off into the sunset, and quickly.
I am not the “biggest fan.” In fact, I never say stuff like that. I am not the biggest Everclear fan or the biggest Michael Connelly fan, nor am I the biggest Scrubs fan. I don’t believe in those monikers. Instead, I am a loyal fan. I buy the new Everclear CD when it comes out, I read the new Michael Connelly when it comes out, and I loyally watch every episode of Scrubs when it airs. And I am telling you that it is time to end it, despite how much it pains me to say it.
It has jumped the shark, and you at ABC know what that means. (For those of you who don’t know, it is a reference to an episode of Happy Days when Fonzie, in leather jacket and swimsuit, on waterskis, jumped over a shark to prove his bravery. Many people point to that episode as the beginning of the end for the show, when it irrevocable spun off course.)
In case you at ABC do not see it coming, then may I please offer you some examples of other shows that horribly jumped the shark:
1) Laverne & Shirley: It just was not the same when the girls moved to Los Angeles; they should have stayed at the brewery, where madcap hilarity ensued (even to this day, when I have shampoo in my hair I think that if the water turned off I would just stick my head in the oven, because isnt’ that what Shirley did?)
2) LA Law: The show took a turn for the worse when it brought on the female partner, Rosalind Shays, in the show’s 4th season. The producers tried to rectify the mistake when it dropped her down an elevator shaft two years later, but the show was far off the rails by then and limped towards a finale three years later.
3) Saved By The Bell: Can anyone explain to me what happened to Jesse and Kelly in season 4 and why they felt it was necessary to bring on Tori, Saved By The Bell’s imitation of Leather Tuscadero from Happy Days? Well, after 7 episodes, that experiment expired and Jesse and Kelly were back at Bayside. Phew! Catastrophe averted, until such time as graduation came along and they thought Saved By The Bell The College Years was a good idea… (A show that jumped the shark twice? Further examples of that phenomenon to follow…)
4) Beverly Hills 90210: First, they let Scott shoot himself. Then they had Dylan and Steve talking about steroids and shrinking gonads. Neither of those were enough to sink the show. So, they had the kids graduate and go to college. So far so good. The downfall of the show, though? When Brandon and Brenda’s parents, Jim and Cindy, mysteriously left the show. In my opinion I had no reason to watch any longer once Jim the accountant was off. Where was the parental supervision? Not even bringing Kelly Kapowski on could save it for me or the viewing public; only a few excruciating years remained.
5) Full House: Did we really need to hear little Michelle Tanner speak? It was bad enough when she was mouthing gibberish and some voice over artist mimicked a baby’s speaking voice. But when she started speaking for real, it was all over me. More speaking parts for Michelle meant less speaking parts for Kimmy Gibler and I was having none of that!
6) Married With Children/Happy Days/The Love Boat: I group these three into one entry because they all suffered the same downfall. Don’t remember? His name is Ted McGinley and he was virtually single-handedly responsible for the downfall of all three of these shows. (Married with Children jumped the shark a second time, see below.)
7) Gilligan’s Island and Scooby Doo: These shows also suffered the same downfall. Why oh why would you think it was a good idea to put the Harlem Globetrotters on either of these shows? (Congratulations to CBS by the way, The Amazing Race this season with the 2 Globetrotters on it was excellent.)
8) ER: (No Rob, don’t go there, ER is untouchable!) I beg to differ. George Clooney is the coolest guy in the world and when ER let him go to pursue a small acting career (who has seen him since?) the show lost it for me and I did not watch it anymore. But, to refer back to #3 above, the show jumped the shark a second time when it sent Dr. Carter to Africa. Really? Come on…
9) Friends: When Monica and Chandler got married, the show about fun-loving thirty-somethings in New York acatually became ThirtySomething, a show none of us wanted to admit hit close to home. They should have instead had Ross and Marcel elope to Africa or something. That would have been fun, huh? (Of course, after Marcel infected all of those people with that disease and Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding, Jr. had to come up with an antidote, I was off the Marcel bandwagon.) (Friends jumped the shark a second time, see below.)
10) Wheel of Fortune: Game shows are not exempt! When Pat and Vanna stopped allowing the contestants to shop for their own prizes, they certainly jumped the shark. Next thing you know Vanna will stop turn the letters and it will all be computerized… what? It has already happened?? (Just tell me that your answer still has to be in the form of a question and Alex Trebek still has that rockin’ stache…)
11) Family Feud: This one jumped the shark so many times it isn’t even funny. Richard Dawson is and always will be the host of Family Feud. He was so cool because he got to make out with all of those chicks! But he left and then Ray Combs came on. He was ok, until he hung himself… (RIP) Then Louie Anderson (umm, no). Then Richard Karn from Home Improvement (yeah, no). And then John O’Hurley from Seinfeld (ouch, no). I will start watching again when the Geico Gecko hosts.
12) Scrubs (sniff): I would like to say that the show jumped the shark this season with the addition of the new cast of medical students. In fact, however, it jumped the shark last season when JD became a father. It slowed the story down somewhat and he was absent for many shows, but it just put a damper on things. Of course, the show did redeem itself with the best show finale ever (I could not stop crying it was so awesome), but then here we go again. Just when I am out, they pull me back in!
13) Any time kids are introduced, the show hits the fan. Without going into details, I offer these shows that all jumped the shark when new children come on: Family Ties, Growing Pains, Married With Children, and Friends, just to name a few.
ABC: Scrubs is my favorite TV show of all time. All of the characters were lovable, idiosyncratic, but dynamic in their own way. And more importantly, they had heart and sensitivity. I was just as apt to cry during an epsiode as I was to laugh. But all of that changed this season with the addition of new characters, all of whom are one-dimensional (that one dimension being annoying) and the dumbing down of the main characters, many of whom are slowly leaving the fold. This is not the way I want to remember my favorite show and while it pains me grievously to say it, I support youth in Asia… It is time to let it go.
To use a medical metaphor in tribute to Scrubs: Just rip off the band-aid, don’t slowly peel it away, it only makes it hurt more.
Scrubs’ Most Loyal Watcher:
Rob Cohen, MD