A year after John Ritter's death, NBC's Scrubs will pay tribute to the late actor next month in an episode that deals with the passing of J.D.'s (Zach Braff) father — a role Ritter originated in 2002. But unlike most sitcom memorials, this one will not be slapped with a VSE (Very Sappy Episode) rating. After all, this is Scrubs we're talking about.
"We're not going to be maudlin about it," concedes series creator Bill Lawrence, who says it's unlikely he'll flash back to Ritter's two previous appearances. "[We're doing this] more for us — partly because we wanted to dedicate an episode to John."
Lawrence will also use the opportunity to reintroduce J.D.'s brother, played by Ed's Tom Cavanagh. "Elliot (Sarah Chalke) ends up having a fling with him," he previews. "He'll stick around for a couple of episodes."
Other Scrubs All-Stars on Lawrence's most-wanted list include Scott Foley, Tara Reid, Michael J. Fox and... Brendan Fraser??? Didn't his character die? "A friend of mine talks to her [deceased mother]," Lawrence says. "So, we've got a story where Molly (Heather Graham) convinces Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) that there's nothing wrong with talking to your best friend if you need to work through something."
Speaking of Graham, Lawrence is hoping the Austin Powers babe will stick around beyond her eight-episode commitment. If she does, "we're going to see [Molly's] personal life — just to see how messed up it is." And if that doesn't persuade Graham to re-sign, maybe this will: "Assuming she stays longer," Lawrence says, "there'll be some kind of love/hate thing with her and J.D."For more scoop on Scrubs and all your other returning favorites, pick up the new issue of TV Guide magazine (on sale Thursday).