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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scrubs’ Zach Braff and Bill Lawrence interview (Part One)

As the final season of Scrubs gets ready to launch Thursday at 9:30 p.m. on NBC, show star Zach Braff and creator Bill Lawrence recently participated in a marathon conference call with journalists and bloggers.

Braff and Lawrence seem to still love Scrubs as much as we do. The duo was funny and witty, as you’ll see in the following transcript.

I pretty much begged Lawrence to bring back Turk’s air band, which he claims he’d forgotten. So, I’ve done my job as Tube Talk Girl to get Turk rocking again. Hopefully, Lawrence will remember our conversation when writing future episodes.

Here’s how our exchange went down, followed by questions and answers from other journalists on the call. (The transcript has been edited for clarity and length.)

Jennifer Biller: The fans loved the musical episode and Turk’s air band performance. Will we see any sort of musical moments this season?

Bill Lawrence: I forgot about Turk’s air band performance. That made me laugh. Maybe we should bring back that air band.

Jennifer Biller: Please! We would love it.

Bill Lawrence: That was funny and you can take credit for it.

Zach Braff: Bill’s a giant fan of Ted’s a cappella group.

Bill Lawrence: Oh, yeah, they sing "Who Are You" by the Who this year in a way that’s really, really funny. We always do big musical things in this show partly because I’m a musical theater nerd and Zach is, too, but also partly because there’s a ton of talented people on the show as far as singing and dancing goes. So without a doubt, we’ll do it again before the end of the year.

Jennifer Biller: Great! And I can’t believe no one has asked this question, but what projects do either of you have lined up after Scrubs is finished?

Bill Lawrence: Zach, go.

Zach Braff: I don’t know. I mean, it’s hard - I want to direct something, so I’m working on directing my second movie, whatever that’s going to be. I’m not quite sure yet whether it’s something I write or something I adapt. And then Bill and I are talking about doing a - producing a television show together, so that’s something I’m really excited about.

Bill Lawrence: I’m contractually obligated to do for the next four years to try and create TV shows for ABC, and so initially I’m thinking about something maybe with cave women. I think that might be funny and interesting.

Jennifer Biller: Bill, I have one request. If you get Scott Foley back (as you mentioned you’d hope to do earlier,) please put him back in that wetsuit!

Bill Lawrence: Oh, yeah you like that? I like Scott. Man, he was funny on our show. He’s such a good dude. The only thing that’s kept us from having him back on the show is he’s got his own show that they’re out shooting guns and on location all the time, you know?

Jennifer Biller: I have one final question. Zach, since my site is a TV-related site, what do you watch on television?

Zach Braff: I watch a lot of guilty pleasures, so I don’t know if I can reveal of them to you.

Jennifer Biller: Oh, come on. It’s a shame-free zone.

Zach Braff: I love Lost. I’m going to start with the reputable stuff. I really love Lost. I watch every night now my new ritual is I watch Keith Olbermann on Countdown.

Bill Lawrence: Oh, now you’re just trying to sound smart.

Zach Braff: That might reveal my politics. So those are the reputable shows I watch. Oh, and also I love 30 Rock and I love The Office. I watch those every week.

Bill Lawrence: Zach was going to give you guilty pleasures, I think. I’m waiting to hear America’s Top Model.

Zach Braff: No. Well, I love the Tim Gunn Design Show - Project Runway.

Bill Lawrence: And I want to give props out. The entire writer’s room is obsessed with Dexter right now. It’s really well-written. It’s a cool show.

Story tidbits and revelations

Question: Bill, I'm just wondering if it's possible that the janitor will get a name and if it's possible to clear up two mysteries at once? We'll find out his real name is Jimmy Hoffa?

Lawrence: Yes...oh yeah, that would actually be funny if he was actually him. I could steal that and take credit for it. I always promise Neil Flynn, the guy that plays the janitor, two things: That by the end of the show he'd have a name, and he'd eventually get to have a girlfriend. So I have to make good on both of those this year.

Question: There was talk in the beginning that he was in Zach's imagination...

Lawrence: Well, yeah. I always thought this show was only going to run for one season so - in "Fight Club," it happened, you know? He was a figment of Zach's imagination and then, Neil Flynn, the second year, he's like, "This show keeps going on, I'd like to talk to some of the other actors, you know?"

Q: I’m just wondering for the final scene, if you’ve thought about it - and just tell me it’s not going to take place in the cafeteria, there won’t be onion rings and that Elliot won’t have to learn to parallel park.

Lawrence: No, you know what, that show (The Sopranos) earned doing that because they, you know, that had such gravitas. Our show - our one responsibility is for people that like the show to watch the finale and leave satisfied and happy about what they saw. You know? And it’s a burden, but that’s all we’re shooting for.

Zach Braff: You’re never going to please everybody, but…

Lawrence: Zach, I’m going to please everyone, you watch.

Q: What’s the status of (actress) Aloma Wright on the show? The rumor had gone around for a while that she would be playing Laverne’s alcoholic sister, but I’ve heard…

Lawrence: Well here’s the scoop, man, and you can totally help me out with that because, you know, I have a feeling that I’m going to get a lot of crap from our fan base. So, I wanted to get this story out, which is basically when I killed Aloma last year, I would never take work away from, you know, an actress that we consider part of the family. We thought last year would be the last season. So when I killed Laverne, it was because we basically said "Hey, what’s a good, dramatic arc for the end of the year since we’re kind of ending up the show." And once we got there, we had already written the stuff, but we had been told by our studios that the show would continue for another year. So I promised her that she would come back. I don’t want people to get mad at me. She returns as a nurse named Shirley. She looks slightly different but she still looks like the same actress. But the only thing we’re doing is that only Zach’s character thinks the two of them look alike.
Braff: I wanted them - there was talk, and we haven’t done this yet, but she would be a coquettish atheist.
Lawrence: And then there’s a lot of talk too that because she’s a new character that some of the writers think that we should kill her yet again - but this time nobody cares.
Braff: Yeah, "Did you hear (Shirley) got run over by a car?"
Lawrence: It was "She got hit by a bus. Hey do they have any donuts?" ... I figured "Bewitched" had two different guys play her husband, so I can have someone as a joke come back as a different character.

Q: Zach, is there any side of J.D. that hasn’t been explored in the show yet that you’d like to see explored in the final season?

Braff: That’s a good question. I feel like there’s seven years worth of sides of J.D. I don’t know. I think we - I like it when we explore his love of (Donald Faison as Turk). I think we can always have more of that.
Lawrence: Zach’s already doing it even though he’s not saying it - (the) ending of this show will be unsatisfying for people if they don’t feel like his character has finally grown up, you know? And, you know, one of the things it’s tough about being lucky enough to go on this long is that you can only do the young, you know, the young kind of man child who hasn’t matured yet for so long before, you know, Zach’s coming to me and be like Bill, I’m - you know, my character is 30 years old now. I think he might not wear cartoon t-shirts or jammies to bed, you know. And so we’re trying to make him a little more mature.

Q: What was your favorite episode or moment on the show?

Braff: There’s so many - I mean, that’s a really hard question to ask. But I guess because it’s most recent, I would say the musical was the most fun to do. And then I - and then, you know, I really like the ones I direct just because I have so much more invested in them. And so I really like the Wizard of Oz and the one that - I don’t know which one it was called, but the one where Donald and I go on a quest to find Heather Graham so I can - so J.D. can have sex with her.
Lawrence: I like it when we bridge the gap between kind of broad, goofy comedy and emotional episodes, so my two faves - I like the one at the beginning of the the first year of the show, that has so much meaning to me because we had three different patients and they all died. Each character had a patient. We killed all of them. And - because I thought it was a way to tell people that might watch the show early on that it was going to be different than your average sitcom. And I liked the same way where we killed Brendan Fraser. I like it when we kill people. ... And then I have a favorite joke. I don’t know why I’m just rattling this off. My favorite joke is Sarah Chalke is putting on red - bright red lipstick and she says to John McGinley -- Dr. Cox - she says, “Does this lipstick make me look like a clown?” And he says, “No, it makes you look like a prostitute that caters exclusively to clowns.” And that was one of my favorite jokes of all time because of how sad Sarah looked when he said it to her.

Q: I know there’s like a huge fan contingent that wants J.D. and Elliot together. Bill, how do you and the writers feel about it? Do you think that they belong together?

Lawrence: Zach always says there’s no way you can satisfy everybody because, you know, if you go on to our fan sites there’s a lot of people that want them together and then there’s a lot of people that say that’s not what this show is about. And so they don’t want them together. And what I think - I think the answer is right in the middle, which is we pride ourselves - this show was never a will they or won’t they show, you know? It was not Ross and Rachel or, you know, Moonlighting - are these characters ever going to end up? And I think that if we were to end this series on, you know, Zach going to the airport to keep Rachel - or to keep Elliot, you know, from flying away…
Braff: Even better, Rachel.
Lawrence: Yeah, everybody would feel cheated, you know, because that’s not, you know, what this show has been about. It’s been about all the relationships. That being said, you know, Zach and Sarah as actor and actress, have made people invested in this. So I am going to resolve it, but I’m not going to make that the end of the series. I think that it’ll happen before people expect it to happen. I think I put a lot of clues what I’m going to do along the way.
Braff: You’re giving away too much right now.
Lawrence: And I think that I’ve found a way that might - you know, that people will be, I think I’ve found a way through it that people will be satisfied. Zach always says you can’t make everybody happy, but…
Braff: You’re going to.
Lawrence: …that’s my psychological weakness. I’m going to.


Anonymous said...

Great job! Can't wait for the next part. Thanks for asking some good, relevant questions.

Becky said...

TTG I am sooo jealous I heart Zach....

belinda said...

Awesome, Jen. Yeah for Scrubs!

tube talk girl said...

Hey Belinda!!!! Wow, it's been so long since I've seen you in these parts. Thanks for dropping by.

tube talk girl said...

Bec, I heart him, too. :)

Kate said...

AWESOME interview. I love the bit about no one thinking the new nurse looks like Laverne. I can't wait to see that.

I'm so glad you suggested the air band. I've kept that on my TiVo for more than a year!

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