Recently I started listening to the ‘Fake Doctors, Real Friends’ podcast – helmed by Zach Braff and Donald Faison, who play JD and Turk in the show Scrubs which is what the podcast revolves around. As far as podcasts go, it’s nothing new: almost 90 minutes of chat that revolves around a show that has now been and gone. The pull factor, for me, though, is exactly that: said show that has now been and gone.
Since the show ended I don’t think I’ve ever gone back to it, not in the same way that I keep going back to whole seasons of Friends, for instance. There are some shows you can keep watching again and again, and then there are others that you enjoy, but when it’s gone, it’s gone. Sure, there’s a Stars Hollow sized gap inside your heart that a 4-episode feature length Netflix redo didn’t manage to fill, but you know you’re resilient enough to fill that gap with other things (like with the girls at Scarlet).
Scrubs’ humour isn’t my natural go-to, but two things, I think, kept me going back to it: the way the friendships were written in, and the music. Prodded by the podcast, I’ve been watching the episodes again and it made me feel all the things it used to, all those years ago. It’s funny how you’re no longer 28 but your body still remembers how you felt back then.
Partly I think it’s the music – I’ve reached the age where I no longer listen to new stuff, as much, but in the 90s and 00s I was much more experimental with what I liked and more open to the sounds of that time. (Which reminds me: if you’ve got a long drive coming up, check out Reply-All’s podcast on The Case of the Missing Hit. It’s about someone who swore he remembers a song from the 90s, except there’s no trace of it anywhere online and only one other person in the world has ever mentioned it. Don’t google it first for maximum impact).
Since Scrubs ended, Sam Lloyd, who played lawyer ‘Ted’ in the series, has passed away and the world has changed a bit. Showrunner Bill Lawrence recently pulled a number of episodes in light of the use of blackface – which was discussed in this week’s episode of the podcast.
You know times change and jokes that worked at one point in time do not translate well at another – a slew of what passed as jokes on Friends, for example, would probably not fare too well in this decade – and it’s hard to really predict changing trends in order to make this evergreen.
So these shows then tend to capture the spirit of the times – the zeitgeist, pardon my German – and sometimes they need to be viewed with that in mind: that this was the way things were then, and we have moved on and we have learnt from our mistakes.
We all want to claim we have been steadfast in our beliefs and consistent in our principles, but we forget life’s one constant: change.