Scrubs Creator Is Very Unhappy About Vulture’s Review of Zach Braff’s Play

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 25:  Actor/playwright Zach Braff attends the "All New People" opening night after party at HB Burger on July 25, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 25: Actor/playwright Zach Braff attends the "All New People" opening night after party at HB Burger on July 25, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) Photo: Jemal Countess/2011 Getty Images

Last week, New York Magazine theater critic Scott Brown reviewed Zach Braff's new play All New People. In the review, Brown explored the extent to which Braff's 2004 film Garden State looms large over his subsequent work, All New People included, often to that work's detriment. Upon reading the review, Bill Lawrence, the creator of Scrubs, the long-running sitcom in which Braff starred, and now the executive producer of Cougar Town, was moved to defend his friend. He sent the following letter to Scott Brown, care of Vulture. Mr. Brown's response immediately follows.

As a TV writer, I’ve gotten plenty of negative reviews. Not just regarding things I’ve written: When it comes to my day-to-day behavior, my wife has oft been quoted saying she’s “not a fan.” Why, then, did your review of Zach Braff’s play All New People bum me out so much? Because it’s not really a review, it’s a snark-a-thon.

As a TV writer, I’ve gotten plenty of negative reviews. Not just regarding things I’ve written: When it comes to my day-to-day behavior, my wife has oft been quoted saying she’s “not a fan.” Why, then, did your review of Zach Braff’s play All New People bum me out so much? Because it’s not really a review, it’s a snark-a-thon.

What’s weird is that the first half of your piece is about Garden State, a movie from 2004. The second half of it is you crapping on Zach as a person. Then the last half is the review of the actual play. Yeah, I know this is bad math — who cares? You over-hyphenate. We all have shortcomings.

You hate Zach Braff. You hated him before you saw his play. You say it in your first line. Is it fair, then, that you evaluate his new work? Let’s say I hate cherries. I hate the taste, plus a girl named Cherry broke my heart and, I don’t know, killed my pet turtle by feeding it too many — you guessed it — cherries. Should I be the one to tell everyone how your Mom’s homemade cherry crumble tastes? What am I supposed to do, Scott? May I call you Scott? I can’t talk about how much I liked Zach’s play. I know and love him; I’d be too biased. See the irony there? My only option, then, is to indulge every bitter writer’s fantasy. I’m going to review your review.

Scott Brown’s latest work opens with an Ally McBeal reference, a joke that hasn’t been fresh for a solid twenty