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Dramatic Techniques

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My Long Goodbye
One of Scrubs' most emotional episodes, "My Long Goodbye".
Captain PriceAdded by Captain Price

Although Scrubs is a sitcom, it still dabbles with many serious themes including life and death, family, and love. It utilizes several well-established dramatic techniques to tell the story and to move the audience emotionally.

ConfessionsEdit

8x15 JD and Elliot kiss
J.D. opens his heart to Elliot. ("My Cuz")
Ohmyn0Added by Ohmyn0

The drama in Scrubs revolves around the characters and the different themes that recur in their careers and lives. Many of the relationships between the characters can result in secrets and repressed emotions. The narration can help guide the audience through what the character is feeling. In many episodes Scrubs, after struggling with a problem, a character will confess their true desires or feelings to another character. The vulnerability associated with these confessions, as well as their subjects, typically lead to a dramatic and emotionally moving result.

ExamplesEdit

Dramatic ironyEdit

My Cabbage
After fully recovering, Mrs. Wilk falls deathly ill. ("My Cabbage")
Chrisis123Added by Chrisis123

Dramatic irony is similar to comedic irony. It occurs when the audience knows something that a character does not, and this lack-of-information has repercussions on the character. It also occurs when the audience or character expects one event to occur, but the opposite happens. Another example of dramatic irony would be when something happens as a result of a character trying to prevent that something from happening.

ExamplesEdit

  • Just as Patricia Wilk is leaving Sacred Heart fully healed, she gets an infection from a handshake. ("My Cabbage")
  • After debating about the existence of a "greater plan", Laverne falls into a coma after an auto accident. ("My No Good Reason")
  • After exploring an unfortunate reality where everything goes wrong, an alternate reality explores circumstances where everything falls into place, only to have the patient still die. ("My Butterfly")

MusicEdit

My Lunch
The Fray's "How to Save a Life" sets a somber mood. ("My Lunch")
Chrisis123Added by Chrisis123
Category: Music

Bill Lawrence himself has said that the use of music in Scrubs can set the mood of a scene better than any other technique. (The Complete Second Season DVD) Typically, at the end of every episode, one or multiple main characters will confront their problems face on. This is also tied deeply to education as a narrative theme.

ExamplesEdit

  • The song "Hey Julie" by Fountains of Wayne sets the cheerful mood of J.D. and Julie Quinn's relationship. ("My Half-Acre")
  • The Fray's "How to Save a Life" sets the sober mood of Dr. Cox's depression. ("My Lunch")
  • "The Rescue Blues" by Ryan Adams sets a tone of reconciliation while Dr. Cox accepts himself as a father and Elliot helps a patient. ("My Clean Break")

NarrationEdit

1x23TurkCarlaJDsad
J.D.'s narration explains multiple character's dilemmas at the same time. ("My Hero")
Ohmyn0Added by Ohmyn0
Main article: Narrators

Just as the narration can make the audience laugh, he or she can direct or shape the story to convey certain emotions. This technique is used most frequently during the voice-over at the end of the episode, showing the lessons the different characters have made or need to make.

ExamplesEdit

  • J.D. narrates as Dr. Cox, Ben, Turk, J.D., and Carla all feel alone. ("My Hero")
  • J.D. puts on a polite facade while competing with Nick Murdoch, but internally he thinks about his incompetence. ("My Super Ego")
  • As Elliot and Keith get engaged, J.D. thinks to himself that it should have been him. ("My Cold Shower")

SurpriseEdit

3x14 Cox realizes
Both Dr. Cox and the audience are surprised when they realize what is actually happening. ("My Screw Up")
Ohmyn0Added by Ohmyn0

The element of surprise can easily catch a character or the audience off guard. Several emotions can spring from surprise, including anger, sadness, and shock. Surprise can also be used as a comedic technique.

ExamplesEdit

  • Dr. Cox isn't actually attending Jack's birthday party, but in reality Ben's funeral. ("My Screw Up")
  • Dr. Kelso quits his job immediately after being allowed an extension on his contract. ("My Dumb Luck")
  • Dr. Cox is torn between two women, and while the editing leads up to believe he chose one, he actually chose another. ("My Fruit Cups")
  • After donating multiple organs to patients, it is discovered that the donor had rabies and the recipients all died. ("My Lunch")

SuspenseEdit

My Five Stages
Dr. Cox and J.D. know Mrs. Wilk is going to die, but waiting for it to happen is shaking them. ("My Five Stages")
Ohmyn0Added by Ohmyn0

A cousin of surprise, suspense is when the audience or a character is expecting something to happen. The act of anticipation and waiting causes suspense, which can be slightly uncomfortable. It can be waiting for something good to happen or for something bad to happen.

ExamplesEdit

  • Dr. Cox and J.D. must go through the five stages of grief when Mrs. Wilk is dying. ("My Five Stages")
  • The audience knows J.D. doesn't want to be in a relationship with Elliot, but do not know when he will reveal it to her. ("My Self-Examination")
  • J.D. waits for his son to be born. ("My Hard Labor")


SCRUBS FORMAT & NARRATIVE
Comedy Comedic TechniquesPratfallRecurring gagsSlow Motion GirlsNicknames
Drama Dramatic TechniquesMusic
Themes ApprovalEducationFamilyFriendshipLife and DeathLoveMentorshipRivalriesSex
Narrative
 Techniques 
Alternate realityBreaking the fourth wallClip showCultural referencesFantasiesFlashbacksJanitor storyMeta referencesNarratorsStory episodes e

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