Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Couch Potato Series: “I’m No Superman”

"And even though it felt warm…and safe…I knew it had to end. It's never good to live in the past too long. As for the future, it didn't seem so scary anymore. It could be whatever I wanted it to be." (John Dorian, M.D.)

I started watching Scrubs on Comedy Central in my freshman dorm room at Howard University. Sure, the show wasn't as dramatic as ABC's Grey's Anatomy or as suspenseful as Fox's House, but it was a simple doctor show that spoke about life in a humorous matter. I didn't travel to my television set to receive a lecture on the intricacies of the endocrine system…I had my mandatory biology class to thank for that. I came to Scrubs (which I realized later that year was still being taped on NBC) for a reprieve from life's worries, fears, and confusion.

To me, J.D. was more than a character in a fictional teaching hospital. In a way, J.D. was ME.

J.D. was that awkward prodigal son, a young man timidly entering a new world filled with expectations, chaos, additional responsibility, and social growth. J.D. was that geeky teen, trapped in his comic book collection and penny loafers, searching for his place in an often chaotic and troublesome profession. J.D. was the inquisitive skeptic, a transitioning adult who sometimes got lost in his own thoughts and dreams, completely detaching himself from the outside world.

And, as a college freshman, his fantasy life fit mine like a glove.

Well, maybe not exactly. I mean, I was black and he was white. Pretty white, I might add. I had an extensive background in sports and the young doc probably couldn't name a basketball star if his life depended on it. I was born in Brooklyn and raised in the neighborhoods of Queens, he was an unknown character from an unknown town living in a make-believe city. But somehow, in some way…we connected.

I could relate to Dorian's self-conscious narration, thinking at times that the screenwriters had found a way to invade my own subconscious. Precarious relationship with coworker at job? Been there. Awkward bromance with longtime buddy? I'm there. Taking alternate forms of transportation in order to save loot on rising gas prices? Yup, I'm there.

Because of this self-reflective comedic style set in a teaching hospital, no issue or circumstance was able to elude its grasp. The show discussed depression, anxiety, interracial relationships, bromances, fear, and hope in a way that could bring elucidation to the narrowest of minds. I tip my hat to those creative artists, who boldly went where no show had gone before.

Well-scripted and well-produced, Scrubs lasted a respectable seven seasons. Every year, when it seemed like the show's cancellation was inevitable, the actors and writers would respond with an even better season. Heck, the show almost convinced me to pursue medicine. That is, until I remembered that I hated science.

Like a Christmas toy in February, my show eventually fell out of favor with the powers that be. As constant chasers of the elusive advertiser, those media managers of network television canceled my show to pave the way for the humdrum comedy of My Name Is Earl and Chuck. I witnessed the messy adoption of my show by the competing American Broadcasting Channel, a calculated gamble bearing resemblance to my football team's acquisition of Brett Favre during the accompanying year. Like any proud papa of a toddler's artistry, I feigned enjoyment in this distorted collage for posterity's sake. But as far as I was concerned, I had seen the final cut. I had read the finished script. Even though it felt warm and safe, I knew it had to end. It was time to move on.

As J.D. walked through those automated doors of Sacred Heart for the final time, I realized that my future didn't seem quite as scary anymore.

My life could be whatever I wanted it to be.


  1. Never been a fan of "Scrubs," yet this has made me want to watch.

    Oh, and you don't have to be Superman, because I already am...LOL