Molly Cubed

I actually wasn't much of a couch potato growing up. A hyperactive child, it was hard for me to sit still for more than five minutes at a time. Television was an occasional diversion, not an end in itself. At some point though the kids in school would be talking about one show or another and, not to be left out, I began watching as a means of being able to join in conversations. Eventually they outgrew some shows while I did not, and viewing became an end in itself.

A lot of good shows have come and gone over the years. Whenever shows are canceled well before their prime, such as Firefly, John Doe, and the animated Clerks, it's a little upsetting. When the announcement came last year during one of its best seasons that the WB had pulled the plug on Angel, it was definitely a shock. These days it seems shows are shuffled around to bad time slots and not given a chance, or bumped in favor of “reality” TV. To some degree I don't mind, since it gives me more time to catch up on movies, surf the web, read, play video games and other diversions. Each season I'm resistant to add new shows but occasionally they wear me down, more often than not from hearing those around me discussing them or from commercials.

Three years ago there was a show on against Smallville when it aired on Tuesdays, a sitcom one of my coworkers raved about. It was on at a bad time and I was again at a point where I was trying to cut down on shows, so I didn't really give it a chance until the Summer of 2002. I was hooked by the end of that summer and followed the show to a more wise Thursday time slot and back to Tuesdays when its network inexplicably buried it once more. Yet despite the harsh environment shows contend with these days, it has somehow survived. Perhaps it's the brilliant writing and wisdom of dispensing with canned laughter. A smart show knows it doesn't NEED to tell us when we should laugh. Perhaps it's the endless parade of major movie stars who make memorable and lasting guest appearances. Or maybe it's the way the show can take death and illness and some of the worst things we can face in life, and manage tastefully to be silly and remind us to laugh and live even in the face of adversity. That show is Scrubs.

The show can make you laugh and cry, often switching gears without warning. In tonight's episode J.D., played by Zach Braff, begins a possible romance with hospital psychiatrist Molly Clock, played by the lovely Heather Graham. Heather joined the cast at the beginning of the season but their romance was ultimately not to be, as tonight was her last appearance on the show, her character moving to take a job elsewhere. Watching Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles early on in the episode leads to a make-out session between the two and J.D., whose thoughts narrate the show, to think, “God bless ALL Mollys!”

Molly Shannon also guest-starred tonight as a VERY annoying EMT worker that J.D.'s boss Dr. Cox is forced to ride with. Throughout the episode, he's constantly irritated by her endless droning about this picture of her son, and how he likes baseball, and how he'll always be ten to her. She talks nonstop and babbles about words and songs and yet he doesn't fully listen and finally, after she crashes the ambulance into a parked car, tells her off. As he's leaving her hospital room, someone brings him a baseball card they found in the ambulance and asks if it belongs to him. He recognizes it as her son's favorite card and recalls her saying he never goes anywhere without it. For the first time he weeds through everything she told him and finally HEARS. He turns and walks in and asks her point blank what happened, and she tells him how her son died in an accident and how the paramedics were so inspirational that even though they failed to save him, she decided to become one herself.

It's a great show if you haven't seen it, and can really pull a 180 like that at any time. Perhaps sometime I'll blog about Brendan Fraser's unforgettable appearances. Life. Death. Laughter. Tears. It's nice, and increasingly rare, to see a really good show like this continue to air.


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