Scrubs: The Best Stories and Trivia

There have been a lot of great sitcoms in the past 20 years – Friends, Modern Family, Seinfeld, – but in my opinion, none of them are as amazing as Scrubs. This show gave us the amazing bromance of Zach Braff and Donald Faison, some of the best improvised lines, courtesy of The Janitor, and of course, was the first TV show to accurately portray what being a doctor is REALLY like (we’re looking at you, General Hospital and Grey’s Anatomy.)

YouTube recently suggested a clip from the show which reminded me of how great it is. In honor of that, here are some of the best stories, trivia, and video clips from this show.

Did you know…


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Zach Braff and Donald Faison are real life besties! The two go way back, having met at a read-through and becoming instant friends. That explains why their chemistry on the show was always so real and fun!


What about that other romance? Did Zach Braff and Sarah Chalke ever get together?

Best Buds

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The other famous romance on the show is between J.D. and Elliot. In real life they’re just friends, but once, Zach Braff decided to prank his fans and posted a photo of the two of them on Instagram with the caption, “Guys, we ended up together.” Fans lost their minds, but in reality, Sarah Chalke was married.


What movie did Zach Braff work on while waiting for filming to start?

Making a Masterpiece

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Zach Braff was working as a waiter when he got the role of J.D. Filming didn’t start for another four months, however. While he was waiting for filming to begin, he wrote Garden State, which ended up being a huge hit. Those two projects – Garden State and Scrubs catapulted this funnyman into the mainstream.


So was The Todd actually gay?

Totally Try-Sexual

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The Todd is one of the grossest, perviest characters on the show, constantly making sexual innuendos and hitting on everyone (with zero success). The actor who played him, Robert Maschio, said in an interview that The Todd was “try-sexual.”

“I think he’s not homosexual. He’s not bisexual. He’s try-sexual. He’ll try anyone. I think “The Todd” would go for the hot girl at the party first, and then as the night goes on, if I may say, he may go for the fat girl, and then when he strikes out there, he’s gonna go with the dude who’s been eyeing him all night. Just take him home and say, “Just finish that off. As long as I don’t touch your ears, it’s not gay.” That’s how I take it. He’s a hedonist. He’s a sensualist. He’s addicted to pleasures of the flesh.”


Who does all the narrating?

My Stories

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In almost all the episodes, J.D. is narrating in his head, and the episodes all start with the word “My.” Once in awhile, another person will narrate, making the first word of the episode “Her” “His” or “Their.”

In order for this to happen, J.D. must physically touch the person who ends up narrating at the beginning of the episode – to pass the torch, so to speak – and they need to touch him at the end to pass the narrative back to him.


Which episode got nominated for 5 Emmy awards?

Musical Madness

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One episode was nominated for FIVE Emmy awards, and won one! One episode in Season 6 was called “My Musical” and was seen through the eyes of a patient with a rare neurological condition that caused her to experience everyone as singing all the time.

That episode gave us musical gems such as “Guy Love”, “Everything Comes Down To Poo”, and “For The Last Time, I’m Dominican.”


Who was in Ted’s band?

Real Life Rockstars

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Ted, the sad, inept hospital lawyer, has an a capella band called The Worthless Peons. In real life, the actor who plays Ted, Sam Lloyd, has a band called The Blanks, formed with friends when they were studying at Syracuse University. They had a lot of great performances throughout the show, including that epic cover of “Hey Ya.”


How many times did they film a series finale?

Always Getting Renewed

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Writer Bill Lawrence wrote both the season 6 and season 8 finales as series finales. Both times the shows were renewed and in the 8th season finale, a lot of old actors came back to join the cast, presumably to say goodbye to the show.


Were the Janitor’s lines scripted?

Improvisational Ingenuity

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The Janitor, played by Neil Flynn, reportedly ad-libbed almost all his lines. A fourth season script apparently didn’t write lines for The Janitor; saying instead “(Whatever Neil says).

Bill Lawrence has said that Neil has never spoken a line from the script. While that is certainly not 100% true, some of those lines he says are too weird and wonderful to have come from the writers room.


What other great ad-libs were on the show?

Pull My Finger

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Speaking of ad-libbing, in the scene where J.D. is hanging out with his father, (played by John Ritter), his father asks J.D. to pull his finger. He then says, “I pooed a little.” That line was totally ad-libbed and Zach Braff had to bite the insides of his cheeks to keep from cracking up.


What was the reason for J.D.’s father dying on the show?

A Sad Goodbye

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Sadly, that was the last line John Ritter spoke on the show. The plot line where J.D.’s father dies is based on John Ritter’s actual death. Ritter sadly died during a heart surgery to repair an aortic dissection.


How did the show stay medically accurate?

On-Set Consultancy

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Ever wondered how the writers chose the medical situations? They had real life doctors to consult with, and all the cases were based on real cases that had happened. The doctors who consulted were Dr. Jonathan Doris, Dr. Jon Turk, and Dr. Dolly Klock – in other words, J.D., Turk, and Dr. Molly Clock.


Was the Janitor actually just a figment of J.D.’s imagination?

An Imaginary Menace

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The Janitor was supposed to only be a figment of J.D.’s imagination. A rewatch of the first season will reveal how no one else ever seems to notice or interact with The Janitor. After seeing how great Neil Flynn was, he was written in as a series regular, and of course, began to terrorize other doctors aside from just J.D.


Is the actress who plays Elliot similar to her in real life?

Some Strong Similarities

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Sarah Chalke’s character, Elliot, is a hilarious, uptight, anxious mess at times. In real life, the actress describes herself as “a klutz”, and also speaks German and French. In the show, Elliot speaks German on several occasions.


Ever notice that the guys are naked a lot?

Equal Opportunity Nudism

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Did you ever notice that men and women were equally scandalous on the show? Creator Bill Lawrence said, “One of the things I swore to the female actors on the show was ‘You guys will have to be in skimpy lingerie and doing sexy shit, but I promise you for every time one of you guys is like that one of the male characters will be like that.'” That explains The Todd’s frequent (*shudder*) banana-hammock scenes, and the scenes with J.D. enjoying a nice bubble bath.


What inspired Rowdy?

Real-Life Rowdy

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The inspiration for Rowdy goes back to Bill Lawrence’s college days. In an interview, he said he knew a guy in college who had bought a dead dog at a garage sale, and from there, the idea took off.

The storyline where Carla loses Rowdy is based off of another real-life occurrence, too! A crew member was let go, and in anger, he took Rowdy and hid him in the ceiling.


Why did they kill Laverne?

Short-Lived Guest Stars

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The show has a history of killing off guest stars – think Nicole Sullivan and Brendan Fraser. In a particularly heartbreaking episode, they killed off Laverne, played by Aloma Wright.

Zach Braff joked, “I felt bad because she’d just bought an Escalade.” Bill Lawrence killed her character because he thought it was the last season and he thought it was an interesting story arc. They brought her back in the 7th season as a nurse named Shirley, and the joke was that only J.D. thought she looked like Laverne.


Did you know that Bill Lawrence makes some cameos?

His Name is Van

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Bill Lawrence made a few cameos on the show. In season 8, he appears as a justice of the peace that The Todd produces for the Janitors wedding named “Van.” (“Stretch it out. Vaaaaaan.”) Van is actually Bill’s fathers name.

He also appears as the janitor cleaning up outside the hospital after the season 8 finale. This breaks another one of his rules – that we don’t see any other janitors.


Was the set actually a hospital?

Bring Your Dog to Work

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The set is a real hospital. The building was abandoned, but patients used to stop by, thinking they could get medical advice there. The writers room was in the former psychiatric ward, and cast and crew members were encouraged to bring their dogs to wage battle on the local rat population. It is currently slated to be turned into a retirement home.


Is an appletini Zach Braff’s favorite drink, too?

Easy on the ‘Tini

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Zach Braff hates appletinis in real life. He told his Facebook fans recently – many were dismayed. In real life he’s a beer guy, preferring Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.


Miss Scrubs? Check out Cougar Town!

Recurring Cast

After Scrubs, Bill Lawrence went on to produce Cougar Town, which featured many familiar faces from Scrubs – Christa Miller, who played Jordan Cox; Courtney Cox, who had a cameo on Scrubs as Dr. Taylor Maddox, and Bob Clendenin, who played Dr. Zeltzer. For fun, one episode turned into a mini Scrubs-reunion. Watch it here!


How did Snoop Dogg Intern get his name?

Original Extras

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Colonel Doctor, Doctor Beardface, and Snoop Dogg Intern were all extras, originally. They got their great nicknames from how the other cast and extras referred to them, and eventually got larger roles in the series.


What’s the real-life story behind Hooch?

Hooch Criminal

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Phill Lewis played Dr. Hooch, a famously bad-tempered doctor that J.D. pays interns to follow around. In real life, the actor was involved in a drunk-driving accident, killing a different driver. He went to prison for a year, but thankfully turned his life around and is a respected actor these days.


How did the inspiration for Dr. Cox refering to J.D. with girls names come about?

Real Life Ribbing

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Dr. Cox’s (John C. McGinley) almost always refers to J.D. by girl’s names. In real life, that’s what McGinley calls his good friend and neighbor, John Cusack. A fan made this amazing list of all the names Dr. Cox has called J.D. Check it out here! Our favorites are “Girl’s Name” and “Dame Judy Dorian.”

Wait, J.D. and Elliot DID get together?

J.D. & Elliot together…kinda

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In the second season, J.D. and Elliot go bungee jumping off a bridge. The stunt doubles that actually jumped met on-set, fell in love, and even got married! At least J.D. and Elliot kind of ended up together!

Check out this hilarious video Bill Lawrence made, next!

Scrubs: The Video

Bill Lawrence is kind of hilarious. Check out this great Scrubs bobblehead theater he’s narrating.

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