MEDIA: SCRUBS - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Scrubs is another salvo in the US's arsenal of quality comedy TV, Oliver Croom-Johnson says

Although there seems to be a brief bout of introspection down at Channel 4, there are so many things to admire about the station.

Since the channel's early days it has hardly seemed to have put a foot wrong in terms of its positioning and how it is sold. Even when it runs some rather suspect programming on uncomfortable subject matter, there is a brief burst of mud-slinging but none of it seems to stick for very long.

One of the sectors where Channel 4 has led the way is that of comedy.

In an age where the Brits completely lost the knack of writing a decent sitcom (estimable examples from the Beeb such as One Foot in the Grave and Coupling apart), the Americans have found a formula in which they are supremely confident. And as they roll off the production line, Channel 4 has diligently hoovered up the best of them.

Friends, Frasier and Will and Grace have been duly fed to our screens, watched and fallen in love with. And, as with any good squad manager, young cutting-edge Brit humorists such as Ali G, Dom Joly and the Smack the Pony girls have been brought along to complement them.

Well, Scrubs is another from the transpontine sitcom factory, and if you liked the others, you will like this one. In fact, as it is a little blacker and wackier than the others, you might even like it a bit more, depending on your taste. The hospital setting, where doctors and patients conspire together to create a dark insanity, provides for a lot of the naturally black ideas, and the format allows for many of the story-telling tricks that have become part of the formula. So, our young intern hero provides much of his own commentary, there is the occasional funky tune to help sit the com, plenty of quick cuts to move the action along, and there are some fantasy dream sequences a la Ally McBeal. The young doctors are spunky, the old ones are spooky, and the girls are definitely in charge of the sexual agenda.

As for the centre-break ads, Sprite, Bacardi and Boddingtons all looked comfortable, but then we went off on a bit of a tangent with Flash and B&Q, unless these two are trying to tell us something about their application in hospitals. Is it another successful import from Channel 4? Yes, it is. It probably won't quite have the legs of the wonderfully successful Friends, simply because the opportunity to develop such an easily likeable bunch of characters over a period of time is not obvious. But with the sparkiness of the script and the sureness of touch of the cast, it's a palpable hit.

Oliver Croom-Johnson is a director of RCL Media and of the sponsorship specialist SPP. He's also considering pre-empting problems from Mayor Ken's proposed congestion charges by selling one of his three Morgans.

Broadcaster: Channel 4
Frequency: Thursdays at 11.05pm
Audience: 1.9 million individuals
Share: 19 per cent
Advertisers include: Mazda, Red magazine, Neutrogena Visible Difference,
Green Isle, Goodfella

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