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O.C.'s latest reality show follows a team of nurses 'Scrubbing in'

October 24, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • "Scrubbing In," a reality show about nine nurses from various parts of the country who worked in Orange County over the summer, premieres Thursday on MTV.
"Scrubbing In," a reality show about nine nurses from various… (MTV )

When "Scrubbing In," MTV's new reality series about nurses, airs its first episode Thursday night, it will have a formidable act to follow in terms of media outrage and water-cooler gossip.

In short, it will have to top its own trailer.

All the general public has seen of the 10-episode series, which follows nine nurses from different parts of the country as they immerse themselves in Orange County life, is a short montage and a few clips on, the Daily Pilot reported. But those snippets have already ignited a war of words online, with some nurses lobbying to have the show taken off the air while the defenders of the show praise it as a noble effort to spotlight a heroic profession.

A petition, which had gathered 13,710 signatures as of Wednesday, calls the program an "obvious dramatization" that upholds "the senseless sexual objectification that we as nurses, both male and female, continue to endure." The Canadian Nurses Assn., among others, has gotten behind the campaign, with that group's president writing in an open letter that the show will demean the work of real nurses with "typical 'reality' show fodder."

Members of the "Scrubbing In" team have a quick response to those critics: Watch the program first, then make up your mind.

"I guess in any profession, there's just a lot of strong personalities, and people tend to judge before they actually see what the television show is all about," said Chelsey Ferri, who lives in Pennsylvania and spent the summer filming in Costa Mesa and thereabouts. "We all are experienced nurses. I don't necessarily know that those people know that."

The main trailer for "Scrubbing In" begins with a quick shot of cast members leaping nude into a swimming pool, followed by a voice-over declaring, "They're hell-raisers!" Over the next minute, it features shots of the nurses drinking, flirting, arguing and occasionally uttering torrents of bleeped-out oaths.

Maybe it's not what Florence Nightingale had in mind. But in fairness, the trailer also shows the nurses hard at work assisting patients, with one cast member, at the end, wiping tears off her cheeks and declaring, "I love what I do. I love being a nurse."

Mark Cronin, the executive producer and co-president of the production company 51 Minds Entertainment, said the Orange County setting was a happy coincidence. Western Medical Center and Coastal Communities Hospital, the two Santa Ana locations where the cast members worked, were in need of nurses over the summer. (Representatives of both hospitals, citing an agreement with MTV, declined to comment on the show.)

Cast members subjected themselves to filming six days a week, with cameras following them in and out of the hospital. Brief scenes in the first episode show the nurses boating in Newport Beach and congregating at local restaurants and clubs.

Michelle Battisti, who works her regular job at a trauma unit in Pittsburgh, brought back some choice memories from filming.

"Orange County is very different from Pittsburgh," she said. "The weather in Orange County is perfect, 75 and sunny and no humidity, whereas the summers in Pittsburgh can be very humid and hot. And we definitely don't have any beaches in Pennsylvania."


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Miller writes for Times Community News.

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