Online Exclusive: Scrubs extended review

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    After a half-season hiatus, “Scrubs” is back on NBC for the 2006 season.So far, we’ve watched J.D., played by “Garden State” star Zach Braff, morph from intern into resident, and Elliot, played by Sarah Chalke, struggle at her new hospital.

    As “Scrubs” has gotten older, it’s become even more surreal and zany, while still retaining the heart that makes the show work. Turk, played by Donald Faison, makes cracks during surgery in one scene, and in the next, he’s working out newlywed issues with Carla, played by Judy Reyes. And much like Braff’s other project, the series continues to provide the best soundtrack on network television. The show regularly features established artists, like the Old 97’s and Jet, while giving exposure to under-the-radar artists Josh Radin and The Churchills.

    NBC held the fear that the show would get lost in the shuffle among ABC heavyweights like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives.” It’s a lesson Fox should have learned with the now-doomed “Arrested Development,” which was finally canceled after horrendous marketing and poor time slots.

    When “Scrubs” first entered rotation, it was a breath of fresh air among a wasteland of “Friends” imitators; now “Scrubs” is the standard. The show’s influence can be felt in new episodes of “My Name is Earl” and “The Office,” which share its surreal humor and subtle heart. Entering its fifth season, this could be the last for “Scrubs.”

    Scrubs airs Tuesdays on NBC at 8 p.m.