TV

Memo to 'Scrubs': Spin Off Ted and Gooch

Scrubs is back with some of the same characters and all the old plot lines. So why did they leave out the greatest sad sack in the history of television and his ukulele playing girlfriend?

There is a show on the air right now that is claiming to be Scrubs, but it clearly is not the same show. It is like a cloned sheep that looks a lot like the original, but every time it tries to walk it falls over and starts to shudder. Something just is not right with it.

Scrubs ran for eight years. It was one of the most consistently funny programs on TV. The combination of humor and pathos was pitch perfect for the hospital setting. The characters all grew beyond their original one-note set-ups. Even the minor characters were three-dimensional. And it went off the air last spring with one of the most satisfying finale episodes I’ve ever seen. I laughed, I cried, I reached closure.

But now it is back with about half the old cast. The new version seems intent on recycling key plot lines from previous seasons, perhaps thinking that the move to a new network also means that there is an entirely new audience. The result is vaguely familiar and ultimately unsatisfying.

I wish that Scrubs had gone the traditional spin-off route instead. Take one or two minor characters, put them front and center and name the show after them (see Maude or Frasier).

I nominate Ted and Gooch. Call it Ted and Gooch.

Sam Lloyd was so good as Ted the hapless hospital lawyer that I would start to laugh every time he appeared on screen. He sang TV theme songs with an a capella group, lived with his mom, dreamed of standing up to his boss and had one particularly memorable moment where he lost a battle of wits to a dog. In Scrubs' sort-of final season, Ted found love with Gooch (Kate Micucci), a ukulele playing oddball who was his perfect match.

In the first three episodes of Scrubs Reloaded, Ted was nowhere to be seen. Then, in episode four, Ted and Gooch came back for one last goodbye before heading off in an RV to visit every state in the U.S. That’s your spin-off right there. Ted and Gooch Hit the Road. I’d watch that (but in the meantime I’ll have to settle for streaming Best of Ted clips online).

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

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