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August 5th, 2007

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11:14 am - a tale of two hospitals
Remember "Diner", the song yesterday that I said'll get embedded in your head for years to come? Yeah, still there, though it's a happy kind of song that invites apartment dancing.

Turns out the song was featured in an episode of Scrubs, and there's at least one fan video compilation on YouTube featuring clips of the cast members dancing around and such. While watching, I realized many similarities to Scrubs and the British comedy series Green Wing.

Well, sure, okay, I had already known that the two are surreal hospital comedies featuring eccentric doctors and staff. Both hospitals are teaching hospitals, and as such each series began as seen through the bewildered eyes of a newcomer who gradually becomes acclimated to the bizarre lifestyle (this is nothing new in terms of story devices but hey, it works.)

Both use dynamic devices that make their presentation unique: Scrubs uses the time-honored flashback and daydream joke, albeit with a "whoosh" sound effect; Green Wing separates scenes with ethereal time-lapse photography as the crew moves locations within the actual working hospital set. Both featured relationships both expected and surprising that garnered much fan reaction and speculation, and both have at least one Endearing Bastard Character who gains sympathy and character development even while remaining an asshole (Dr. Cox, meet Guy Secretan. On second thought, don't; I don't need to give anyone crossover ideas though I'm reasonably sure I didn't have to.)

There's a lot of differences, too: Scrubs features a voiceover narrative. Green Wing was smutty often to the point of repulsiveness while Scrubs, in keeping with American network television standards and practices, keeps things reasonably cleaner though still rife with innuendo. Green Wing also featured a healthy dose of improvisational scenes (much like the McKenzie Brothers material, Stephen Mangan and Michelle Gomez would shoot a whole batch of short scenes between Guy and Sue White all at once; these scenes would be used as interstitials whenever needed.) Scrubs treats its characters reasonably sympathetically; Green Wing was nihilistic and spared no one. Finishing after two seasons, its Christmas Special finale provided amounts of closure and finality not seen since Captain Blackadder and his men went over the top at the end of Blackadder Goes Forth.

But both, well, apparently feature dancing. Lots of it, and not always in the context of a musical number. Just characters bopping around with the hippin and the hoppin and a celebratory Cabbage Patch every now and then. What can we learn from this? That people in hospitals apparently love to dance.

Why am I writing about being amazed with such a picayune thing as dancing in hospital sitcoms? Well, what else is there to write about today? Exactly. I rest my case. Now run outside and play, because I sure can't.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 5th, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC)
My favorite Scrubs involving music had to be the Colin Hay - Overkill episode. Or Erasure. Or the Shins. Crap. I like their writers. Damn them.
[User Picture]
Date:August 5th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
That compilation of dancing clips to the tune of 'Diner' was actually from the show (and the DVD extras) itself.
[User Picture]
Date:August 5th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC)
Well they didn't very well advertise that fact on YouTube, and there were multiple fan videos on the sidebar. How was I supposed to know? I just watched the damn thing.
[User Picture]
Date:August 5th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
Unfamiliar as I am with Green Wing, I'm intrigued by the concept of Mackenzie Brothers improvisational material.

"Doctor, his appendix has ruptured!"
"Take off, hoser."

It's like a very small segment of my high school.
[User Picture]
Date:August 5th, 2007 06:39 pm (UTC)
Guy was an anesststetetstststhsologist; Sue White the increasingly bizarre staff liaison (HR, pretty much). The scenes were blackout bits which took place in Sue's office. I'd describe the one where he brings a toddler in under his arm, but they really are You Had To Be There moments.

(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:August 6th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
I tried to loop the shot of Sue displaying "FUCK OFF" on her LED sign to Mac's ex-wife, but it didn't loop right.

I got a nice still of it, though, perfect for the right image macro occasion.
[User Picture]
Date:August 6th, 2007 05:55 pm (UTC)
I've only seen bits of Scrubs, it seems to be Good Televisions.

Then again I think Lucid TV should be a dark-comedy sitcom, so who am I to judge what is and is not Good Televisions?

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