In Appreciation of Bill Lawrence
Sometimes someone you have never met before just gets you. The internet exists, so nowadays you can find out everything about that person and pretend you are best friends. I’m not talking favorite boy band covering every inch of your adolescent bedroom, I know them so well they are my everything type of fandom. I’m talking inside jokes, similar interests, my group of besties would vibe well with your group of besties, down ass homies for life.
For me, that person might not be easy to guess. It’s not Aubrey Plaza (although, love her), it’s not Sarah Silverman or even Mindy Kaling. Those are all fine, fine choices for the ideal imaginary bestie, but my connection goes deeper. My choice for number one ‘they don’t know it but we are the greatest of friends’ is a wild card. It’s Bill Lawrence.
You might not even know who Bill Lawrence is and that’s totally acceptable. I won’t hold it against you in public (but I will silently judge you for the rest of my life). He’s a behind-the-scenes kind of guy; not getting the type of screen time that his buddies Courtney Cox and Zach Braff revel in. But there’s no doubt about it, he’s at least one reason why the thought of those actors doing the damn thing in their respective sitcoms brought a smile to your face.
Emerging as a sitcom writer to be reckoned with in the early 1990’s, Lawrence dabbled in the finer shows (Friends, Boy Meets World, anyone?) before nabbing his first Co-Creator credit with Spin City. While that show struck a chord with many, bringing Michael J. Fox back to television and running for six seasons, it’s not where BLaw and I found each other.
In 2001, my favorite sitcom of all time premiered lead by Bill Lawrence as Creator and Executive Producer: Scrubs. Scrubs is basically the be-all and end-all for me when it comes to good television. It made you not only laugh but feel as you ride along J.D.’s mystical version of life. But more than that, the show’s quick wit and inside jokes make it something worth revisiting and becoming invested in, like any good piece of media strives for.
But then my main man took it one step further and created my favorite cartoon of all time, say whaaaaaat? Premiering in 2002, the late, great Clone High survived only one season in an MTV world where Laguna Beach reigned supreme. With the help of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (the writers of the 21 Jump Street remake– ever wonder how that movie actually turned out good?), Lawrence created an alternative world where famous historic figures’ DNA were used to create high school versions of Abe Lincoln, Cleopatra, Gandhi and the like. So crazy it works.
More than the ridic concept, the show’s wit was fierce and quick, leaving you no choice but to become enamored. The jokes were so absurd that Michael J. Fox voices Gandhi’s remaining kidney for one line in episode one– a fun fact that I know well because I own the Clone High DVDs and revisit the show on a regular basis. Just as someone else might breathe or blink, Clone High gives me life. But this anecdote is important as it draws in one of my main reasons for over-the-top fandom: Lawrence working with the actors and actresses from his shows over and over again. He is literally creating a rabbit hole of funnies that you can go down forever, picking up new tidbits and facts with every voyage.
Basically the entire cast of Scrubs played at least one voice on Clone High including super cool stuff like Neil Flynn playing the janitor on both shows. Each series also featured a solid bromance and a musical episode worthy of a listen on Spotify. And want to get super inside? Lawrence’s wife is Christa Miller, aka Jordan, Dr. Cox’s significant other on Scrubs and the unapologetic Cleopatra on Clone High. Lawrence has created a new universe for his shows to live in, one we are lucky to have a ticket to.
And the best part about being besties with Billy is he’s not going anywhere. He also created the Cougar Town universe, full of the same vibes and merry-go-round cast One Lawrectioners have grown to love. The show has been an underground hit and season five premiers on TBS January 7th. He’s even responsible for the brand new show Ground Floor, starring Skylar Astin who we all have a crush on after watching Pitch Perfect.
There is so much I love about Bill Lawrence that it can get pretty embarrassing. This fangirling freak out must come to an end, thanks for riding along on my ‘Eagleeeee’ of emotion. And thank you, Sir Lawrence, for making television worth watching.