I watch "Scrubs"


Speaking of cultural decay (er.... like 5 posts down) - I confess that I watch "Scrubs."

If I were to flatter myself, I'd say that I wish to engage the culture, and a show such as "Scrubs" provides ample fodder for criticism.

That would be a lie, however. I watch it because it is just about the funniest thing on television (and it is definitely the funniest thing on broadcast TV after 10 PM in east central Illinois). It's the closest that a live-action sit-com that I've seen has ever come to the pacing and craziness of the Simpsons - and it's well-writted, well-acted and very well-cast.

That said, I do have one observation to make. Despite being a comedy, "Scrubs" treats medical issues very realistically. (I usually don't agree with their conclusions, but whatever, I'm not looking to them to form my conscience.) The one exception is abortion. I've seen them approach that issue twice, and both times it was treated extremely frivolously.

In one episode, JD, the main character on the show, has gotten another doctor pregnant, and they're considering abortion. That itself doesn't bother me. Art is supposed to imitate life, and for many young people whose intellectual formation has come from peer groups, institutional schools and MTV - that's what you're supposed to do. It's "responsible" to determine if you should have the baby at all. That's not my "worldview," as the kids say, but I can't deny it's a widespread and generally accepted point of view.

So fine, they sit down to decide whether to have the baby or kill it. They make a list of pros and cons, and the whole thing is unserious (con: "babies are sticky"). A talking statue of Jesus tells them not to do it, while female pal Jordan tells them all about her abortion and how it saved her life (Jordan's son Jack finds out about it somehow, my memory's kind of hazy, and ends up running around the hospital waiting room screamin "my mommy had an abortion"). In the end, our smart, responsible protagonist couple melts when they see JD's friend Turk's newborn and decides to go through with the pregnancy. To hell with rationality, in the end it's all emotions.

On second thought, it's interesting that their thoughts about abortion end when they see that what they're debating isn't a choice - it's a child. Sure, that's a pro-life bumper sticker message, but it's also true. That scene alone demonstrates why the ultra-sound is such a powerful weapon against abortion. When confronted with the reality of what the fetus actually is - a human being at a very early stage of development - it's hard not to choose life.

I don't think it was the intent of the writers to have a pro-life message; that's obvious from Jordan's story, which serves to establish abortion as a reasonable and sometimes necessary option. (Jordan's response to little Jack's waiting room abortion chant is a proud and unremorseful, "She sure did.") But sometimes the truth pokes through despite our efforts to reject it.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on January 31, 2007 6:41 PM.

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