Bill Lawrence- A Television Maestro

I’ve followed the career of Bill Lawrence with great interest. It started with his hit NBC show Scrubs which ran on NBC (and later ABC) from 2001 to 2010. After Scrubs, I couldn’t wait to see what else Lawrence could pull out of his comedic hat. Then along came Cougar Town, followed by the hit Apple+ series, Ted Lasso. I must give the honorable mention of the underrated show that ended too soon; Undateable. Lawrence did not create the show. That honor goes to Adam Sztykiel. Lawrence was an executive producer on the series but is worth mentioning since it is comedic gold. Lawrence created some iconic TV shows that are so unique. It’s fun to dive into beloved shows by fans’ standards but that don’t always catch the eye during the award season.

Okay, these three shows are the exception.

Scrubs

Scrubs.

One can make the argument why their favorite medical drama is the best. I won’t dare argue with you. I can only say that this show has so many layers. It follows the journey of John JD Dorian on his days at Sacred Heart Hospital. I love the use of voiceover as JD documents each day with ease and as he reflects with some compelling insights. The moments when JD and the rest of his colleagues have random daydreams are laugh-out-loud funny to a nonsensical degree. The show doesn’t shy away from serious, heartfelt, and heartbreaking moments. When the tough-as-nails wisecracking mentor Dr. Cox (John C McGinley) has a mental breakdown after losing a patient. Brendan Fraser guest stars as Cox’s best friend and his ex-wife’s brother dies. It hurts because Fraser created such a likable character. Michael J Fox delivers a compelling performance as a doctor with severe OCD. 

I adore Scrubs for not shying away from the hardships of working in a hospital. They go into all aspects of the hospital and its inner workings, touching on the lives of the doctors, nurses, patients, and administrative staff who populate Sacred Heart. There is so much heart and philosophical insight which allows one to look inward at their humanity. Once you add in some whimsical supporting characters and amazing special guest stars and you have a show for the ages.

Cougar Town

Cougar town.

I have always known this to be a fact and Hollywood needs to face this even more. Women, no matter what age, can carry a show flawlessly. Cougar Town (2009-2015) embraces it in full stride.

Set in the fictional town of Gulfhaven, Florida, nicknamed “Cougar Town” thanks to its high school mascot (a very tongue-in-cheek name given the plotlines of this series), Cougar Town focuses on Jules Cobb, a recent divorcee in her 40s facing the wild adventures, hilarious mishaps, touching moments, and passionate romances with her extended friends and family.

Courtney Cox, Busy Phillips, and Christa Miller rule this show with ease. It has some elements of Scrubs in that women are enjoying the next phase of their life through friendships, romances, breakups, parenthood, aging, gender roles, and more. Courtney Cox proves she hasn’t lost her grove since her time on the global phenomenon known as Friends. Lawerence once again created a show that shows the joys and hardships of womanhood and the relentless need to overcome and I enjoy that quite much. It’s a great comedy of whimsy, wit, and lots of WINE.

Ted Lasso

I was amazed this was created by Bill Lawrence. Ted Lasso, starring SNL alum Jason Sudeikis, follows a football coach tasked to coach a football team in England. The only drawback is that Lasso has never been to England and has no idea how the sport works. It makes for some amazing comedy when Lasso is trying to assimilate into British culture, the sport, and their… um… passionate fans. What makes Ted Lasso so special is that some of the players, his superiors, and the press have either little faith or respect in him. Many don’t think he is capable of delivering a winning team. But Lasso uses every interaction as a weapon of sincerity, compassion, humorous wit, and naivety. He makes treating people with respect look so easy.

You look at Ted Lasso and you wonder if this man is related to Fred Rogers or Tom Hanks. What made me fall in love with this show was the pivotal “be curious, not judgmental” scene. Ted Lasso struggles to gain the trust of his team and his boss at times, but he constantly tries to instill insight, kindness, and inspiration in everyone he meets. It’s a rare quality that was well needed in 2020 and I hope many looks to this show as a beacon of what 2021 can be. You are enchanted with every fiber of Lasso’s being. It’s like a Baymax hug you never want to end

Bill Lawrence has created some amazing shows, all of which hit an emotional cord that lifts your spirit. I feel that the shows I mentioned, touch on how to face life’s challenges. I feel if a person today was to watch these shows for the first time, there is no doubt it would provide some well-needed mental and emotional healing in the ever-changing world. That is a pretty amazing gift Bill Lawrence has given me and I am forever grateful. 

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