Drawing a New Chalke Line

Today's cuppa: Stash Christmas Morning tea

Hope you enjoyed yesterday's profile of "Scrubs" star Sarah Chalke, because, as promised, there's more today (and more from other "Scrubs" stars down the line). Below find a continuation of my conversation with The Canadian-born actress, as written up in this excerpt from my syndicated "Inside TV" column...

Scrubs "Scrubs" has always filmed at an abandoned hospital in the San Fernando Valley, and on this particular day, it's the last day of filming. Sarah Chalke, who plays Dr. Elliot Reed, is having a hard time dealing with it.

"I'm not going to lie to you," she says, "a little verklempt. They just called the series wrap on Ken Jenkins. That made me tear up more than anything.

"It's a lot to really take in. I think it's going to hit in a couple of weeks, we're not going to that creepy hospital anymore."

Asked what she's going to miss, Chalke says, "I feel like this particular experience is going to be really hard to replicate for all of us. It's been a rare combination of great writers and good people.

"Right from the beginning, we've had a no-jerks policy, because we're not doing brain surgery. We're making a TV show, so we should be having fun while we're doing it. We have these big picnics to start every year and epic wrap parties that go until the sun come sup at the end of the year.

"Last week, we filmed an episode, and we had 40 guest stars come back. We didn't get to have everybody, but we had a lot. These were people changing schedules and canceling trips so they could be here."

Of course, if you spend that much time with people, you can start to run out of fresh things to talk about.

"We were joking the other day, if I was start any story of my life from age two on, Zach (Braff) or Donald (Faison) could complete the story. We spend that much time together. There's a lot of downtime."

Chalke has also spent about as much time in medical uniforms as some healthcare professionals, even if she has dolled up a bit over the years.

"I can't remember what season it was," she says, "but when I went into private practice, I started wearing my lab coat and my four-inch, five-inch heels, which are very important for treating patients.

"The first two seasons, they were saying, 'Oh, they're doctors,' so pretty much no makeup, put their hair up, wear scrubs. Then season three, all right, it's a TV show. Scrubs got a little tighter. Our clothing designer has a line of scrubs, cute scrubs, like low-rise with the cargo pockets, stretchy fabric.

"They're cut, and they're more fitted and tailored to our bodies. Then my lab coat is super-fitted. I love it."

One additional risk in spending lots of time with people is that things will happen that ruin your dignity.

"I split my pants," says Chalke. "The dignity went away very early. I remember when Michael J. Fox came in, and he was my hero, and I was so excited.

"But my scene with him was on the epiphany toilet on the roof. I had to have my pants around my ankles, sitting on the toilet. I was like, 'Oh, man.'"

Every now and then, though, reality intrudes.

"When I first started coming here," Chalke says, "they would have patients come to the hospital. There was this one guy who came in with head trauma, and we're like, 'This isn't a hospital. There's one down that way, Go, go, go!'

"This poor guy's like, 'Gee, I must have really bad head trauma,' because we're all dressed up in scrubs. There's background actors walking around, and they're all dressed up with bandages, and we're all wearing stethoscopes.

"It looks like a fully functioning hospital, for all intents and purposes."