The second series only strengthens the bond between Bill Lawrence's crew and the audience. What makes this hospital comedy unique is its risky business. You don't get the feeling that gags are tied to the ankles of conformity. The characters grow, change, advance from hope to despair and back again. Their lives are muddled, messed up and clinging to the wreckage. It's beautiful to watch.

J.D. (Zach Braff), Turk (Donald Faison) and Elliot (Sarah Chalke) are no longer interns at Scared Heart Hospital. They are junior doctors now, which means that Dr Cox (John C McGinley) is a colleague, rather than a tormentor, and if Dr Kelso (Ken Jenkins), head of medicine, continues to be a sarcastic, self-serving cynic, that's just the way he is. The janitor (Neil Flynn) is dry, Cox is mad and Carla (Judy Reyes), Turk's girlfriend, is wise. You grow to love them; it's not difficult.

This is a series about relationships, rather than medical malfunctions. With the use of voice-over thoughtbites and fantasy daydreams (the best being the death musical), Lawrence has created a surreal inner skin to the body of Scrubs. It means that nothing stays serious for long.

J.D. and Elliot become "sex buddies," before J.D. finds that he's falling in love and Elliot thinks it's better to call it off. Later she hitches up with a short blond guy, who looks like her brother, and happens to be a male nurse (endless jokes about "the murse"). Turk buys a ring for Carla, which is swallowed by a fat boy, and asks her to marry him. She says she'll think about it. Dr Cox gets back with his neurotic wife (Christa Miller Lawrence), who is pregnant with a Greek bellboy's baby (allegedly).

J.D. dates the gift shop girl and then the wife of a coma victim. Both are hot and both burn out, but as Carla says, "There is no Shangri La. Every relationship is messed up." These people are interesting, their foibles quirky, like J.D's running battle with the janitor and Dr Cox's insistence on calling J.D. by a girl's name and Elliot's wild insecurities and Dr Kelso's love affair with his car.

Scrubs remains on the right side of farce and never runs off the page, with the possible exception of McGinley, whose performance is verbally dexterous and Carreyesque. When Dr Kelso advises the young doctors, "Stay away from definite answers," he's not being funny. He's talking about "wiggle room," the ability to slide out of diagnoses before they go wrong and become sueable offences.

Behind the good times and the foolishness, the heart is strong. Everyone feels it and everyone remains true.

Reviewed on: 18 Sep 2005
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Scrubs: Series 2 packshot
The continuing relationships and comic diversions of doctors on the job.
Amazon link

Director: various

Writer: various

Starring: Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Donald Faison, Ken Jackson, John C McGinley, Neil Flynn, Judy Reyes, Christa Miller, Robert Maschio, Sam Lloyd, Aloma Wright

Year: 2002

Runtime: 461 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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