Know Your Show: Zach Braff & Scrubs #AtoZChallenge

by - April 30, 2016

This post is part of my #AtoZChallenge for April 2016 where my theme is TV Sitcoms.
For the letter Z, I choose Zach Braff & his show that still changes lives today, Scrubs.


Simultaneously humorous and heartfelt, the show by Bill Lawrence follows the lives of the new doctors at Sacred Hearts Hospital as they deal with their patients and their own lives, viewed from the eyes of a quirky young intern.

10 reasons you will love it:

1) It is easy to try to fit this show into the 'comedy' segment but that would do a tremendous disservice to the writing that went into this show. Scrubs seamlessly blended hilarious moments with true life issues. The comedy included classic gags, accentuation of character eccentricities and even dream fantasies. And yet, there were moments in this show that made you cry. The show would envelop you with 20 minutes of hilarity and laughter and suddenly throw an emotional gut punch, leaving us stunned and forced to introspect.

2) Very few shows have successfully used the "voice of the narrator" play successfully. Scrubs nails it as we are privy to the inner monologue of over-analysing dreamer Dr John Dorian which ranges from hilarious fantasy sequences featuring himself to heartbreaking lessons in life.

3) The art of screenplay writing is at its peak here. Each episode often followed two to three different issues - be it a personal life dilemma, a medical conundrum or a silly gag. And yet, invariably Scrubs managed to tie all three storylines together by the end. As a one time thing, it is applaudable. To be able to consistently do that successfully is an art.

4) The life lessons. No show truly imparted life lessons as brilliantly as the final moments of episodes of Scrubs. From learning to cope with death to dealing with the aftermaths of your own poor choices, the show was brilliant in imparting advice in beautifully crafted episodes.

5) Zach Braff as the young 'newbie' intern grows in front of our eyes to become a true professional by the time the final episode arrives. Goofy and insecure, Zach embraces the tricky role of Dr John Dorian with nary a hint of bashfulness, mocking his characters flaws as a doctor who constantly needs the approval of his mentor, his lady love and even his best friend. It is a role that you cannot imagine another actor portraying.

6) The show revolved around John Dorian but it would not have gone very far if it were not for the brilliant star cast that lit up the show around him.

  • Donald Faison as Dr Chris Turk, a surgical intern and JD's best friend. Their friendship is so silly and yet heartfelt, it even leaves Turk's eventual wife jealous. And not without good reason. Best bromance on television ever. 
  • Judy Reyes as nurse Carla, Turk's love interest is the mother hen of the gang, stern yet caring, if a tad exasperated by the doctors she works with.
  • Sarah Chalke as Dr Elliot is neurotic and hilarious. JD falls for her from the very first episode. But love, like life, is a long and winding road.  
  • John C Ginley rocks as Dr Perry Cox, the physician under whom JD & Elliot work. JD 'adopts' him as his mentor, a fact that Cox hates. But through all the insults, taunts teasing him by constantly calling him girl names and the rants, his admiration for the man JD eventually becomes is evident.

  • Ken Jenkins as Dr Bob Kelso is the chief of medicine, a 'terror' who loves to pick on the students and especially his poor lawyer.
  • Neil Flynn is the Janitor who JD mistakenly annoys in the first episode of the show. The feud between the doc and the janitor would continue for the next 169 plus episodes, the janitor winning every 'battle'!

7) The show has some of the best collection and overall use of music on television (with the exception of Supernatural!) Over nine seasons, 445 songs have been played! 

8) Zach Braff was nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical thrice. Scrubs won the Humanitas Prize thrice, an award created for rewarding human dignity, meaning, and freedom. It also won the really competitive Peabody award, reflecting excellence in quality, rather than popularity or commercial success. It would have 17 Emmy nominations, winning twice.

9) 9 seasons, 182 episodes. Rewatchability? This show should be religiously re-watched annually so that you don't forget the lessons you need in life.
P.S. The (real) ending for most of us is Season 8 as John Dorian leaves the hospital. Season 9 was a fair attempt but just did not stick the landing. The last lesson in Season 8 is arguably one of the best endings ever for a show. As a doctor, it really resonated with me.

10) Personal opinion: To me, this show is less about medical knowledge and more about life. And it excels at that. Since MASH back in the 70's, there has been no show till date that has made such a perfect blend of humour and realism. I actually consider this more brilliant because in addition, Scrubs used clever writing to impart life lessons that touched a chord. And in Zach Braff's version of JD, I found the television character who resembles me best.

If aliens were to judge us based solely upon this show:

They would realize that true love can be found among friends too.
They would also worry about what weird dream fantasies we have of them in our heads.

Trivia (lots & lots of trivia!)

  • Turk and J.D. are actually named after real-life doctors Jonathan Doris and Jon Turk on whom the show was based. 
  • The lawyer Ted’s a cappella band, The Worthless Peons, is actually the actor Sam Lloyd’s real band, The Blanks.

  • With Bill Lawrence being the mastermind behind both the shows, it was only a matter of time before there would be a crossover between Cougar Town and Scrubs. The Worthless Peons would be the set who played their original selves, with lawyer Ted freaking out seeing everyone from Scrubs on the new show!
  • The stunt doubles that played J.D. and Elliot in the season 2 episode “My First Step” met on the set of Scrubs that day and eventually got married.
  • The Janitor was initially intended to be a figment of J.D.’s imagination. This is why no one but J.D. interacts with him through the entire first season.
  • Zach Braff and Donald Faison have remained best friends ever since the show. 

To see all the shows  I have talked about till date, please CLICK HERE.

You May Also Like


  1. What a great education this was Doctor R. Just what everyone needed. I found many lacunae in my sitcom viewing so I really have a lot of catching up to do. Thanks to your detailed analysis I now know which sitcoms are worth catching up with. Cheers .

    1. This really has been an experience for me too. writing, researching... was glad to successfully complete it in the end!

  2. I never watched the show but hopefully I can very soon. Really enjoy your take this A to Z: The sitcoms and your love for them.

    1. Thanks Vishal... yes, some people are gifted with prose. I'm gifted with the more inane TV trivia :D
      Finally found a way to put it to good use :)

  3. I have watched a few episodes, but don't remember them clearly. Will have to watch it soon!

    Congratulations doc, on completing the #AtoZChallenge with your wonderful theme! I'm guilty of missing out on a few posts because I clearly don't know much about TV shows and serials, but the few posts that I have read were amazing. The research that you've done for the posts, coupled with your own analysis (the alien part is too amazing!) makes for an amazing post! Cheers :D

    1. Thanks for dropping by so often Mithila... in the coming days, will have to go back and see if I can beat my high score of 1.5/23 at your site too :D

  4. Another one which I should watch. I will be watching a lot of shows from your list. I loved all of your AtoZ posts. Frankly, how did you manage to research and write so much?

    1. What can I say? This was something I really wanted to write about. Thus, the extra effort to seek out the trivia and relevant numbers

  5. A fab finish to the A-Z, doc! I absolutely loved this show. How do you manage to find time for all of this? Truly admirable! :)

    1. Thanks Monica. As I mentioned above, was something I was eager to write on and share :)

  6. What a mind-blowing series you created here Roshan! Hats off for pulling off this magnificent feat! I haven't watched Scrubs but it does sound exciting. I do hope you are thinking about the poll I suggested for ranking the favorite post, it will be fun! Congrats once again!
    @KalaRavi16 from

    1. I wonder if many would have read all 26 posts to poll on it. But yes, definitely a post on that should be due soon...

  7. I watched this show once in awhile, but it didn't really become a favourite. Not sure why....
    You've done a great job with this interesting theme. Congratulations on completing the challenge!

    1. Thanks... same to you. Its been a pleasure :)

  8. I have watched a few episodes of Scrubs. Your post gave more insights and clarity!!

    Your posts this April, gave so much of inside dope on so many sitcoms. Have made a TBV list, hope to check out them out soon! :)

    1. Touchwood you will find a new show to love and enjoy from this list :D

  9. I love Scrubs, it's one of my favourite shows! JD is brilliant, they all are, but I think my favourite character has to be Dr Cox, I love how every now and again the guard comes down and he shows his human side, plus his one liners are just hilarious!

    1. I agree... Dr Cox is a brilliantly written character, a lot more complex than just someone who rants on JD.


Let me know what you think.