Monday, December 17, 2012

Yuletide TV Day 17: Scrubs

Series: Scrubs

Episode: S1E11 "My Own Personal Jesus"

Original airdate: December 11, 2001

Santa? Neil Flynn in a Santa hat

Other holidays mentioned: None

Availability: Netflix 

Unique Christmas Story:
So far, I've dealt with a number of shows dealing with characters who lose their Christmas spirit, but "My Own Personal Jesus" is perhaps the first where a character deals with a real crisis of faith. This also is the first Scrubs episode to really take the focus off of J.D. Later episodes in the series will have someone else take over the narration, but even with Zach Braff still providing the voice-over, what happens with J.D. in this episode is simply not as interesting as what is happening with Turk. In fact, I had to think really hard about what J.D. even did in this episode, and I just watched it yesterday.

Despite, being on for nine seasons, Scrubs was always battling for more episodes, so it has very few Christmas episodes since the writers never knew when the season would get to air. This actually works in their favor as they were able to produce one good Christmas episode that helps define the series as whole.

Donald Faison is able to pull of a pretty terrific feat of acting in this episode. Turk is perhaps one of the more demanding roles in the series. There are so many different hats he is forced to put on: J.D.'s goofy best friend, the cocky surgeon, the loving husband. He plays them all admirably, but there are too few other episodes in the series where he is able to play Turk this earnestly.

Turk is excited for Christmas. He's excited to go to church and he's excited to get in the spirit. Carla and J.D. don't share his enthusiasm and do their best not to bring him down. His resiliency is put to the test when he is placed on call on Christmas Eve. Here's a taste of what he is put through:

Just like that his spirit is broken, and his faith is put to the test. How can he be expected to believe in God who doesn't watch out for people? It's a fair question, and one we probably ask ourselves more than we care to admit. Some say believing in God is easy and others say there is nothing harder. Faison does an excellent job of a man struggling with his beliefs. He demonstrates that it can be just as hard to give up a belief as it is to believe in it.

But what kin of Christmas story would this be if there wasn't a happy ending? Another subplot more memorable than J.D.'s is Eliot trying to find a pregnant girl who walked out of the exam room. The girl has a complication with her pregnancy she is unaware of and needs to deliver right away. On the roof, Turk is hit by some divine inspiration and rushes off to the park and finds the girl sitting under the Christmas tree.

Turk's faith is restored, like so many others during the holidays, by going out and helping someone in need. As a doctor he helps people everyday, but they are always brought to him in the hospital. Here, he is going out into the world to help someone who is not only in need of medical assistance, but needs some guidance as well.

Unique Christmas Message:
None of us are Superman.

A special triple-feature featuring a television staple.

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