Scrubs: Tugging at Your Heartstrings


While the 2000’s marked the critic proclaimed “Golden Age of Television” with the likes of The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, LOST, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, etc., comedy also carved out its own corner of the small screen zeitgeist.  90’s powerhouses like Seinfeld and Friends were quintessential laugh-track, ha-ha shows that made a concerted effort not to venture far from the cushy, jokey middle.  But the more cynical, dealing with harsh reality mood of the post-9/11 culture allowed comedy to step into emotional dimensions far from humor.

Scrubs debuted in 2001, right at the dawning of this media transition.  By no means the best comedy show of the decade, it still ranks as top title contender.  That debate with The Office (most likely), 30 Rock, Entourage, Always Sunny, How I Met Your Mother, etc. is one for another day.  For Scrubs the unique funny derived from the banter, internal monologues, quirky relationships, and awkward situations will always be the show’s core.  But for a outright comedy, the program executed great depths in other emotional directions besides funny.  It was able to expose the flip side to the lower moments of life that make comedy and humor all so necessary in the first place.

So without further adieu, my personal top 5 “Tugging at Your Heartstrings” Moments from Scrubs:

Honorable Mentions

“My Old Lady”

Episode 1:4 “My Old Lady”


Episode 3:4 “My Lucky Night”


Episode 6:15 “My Long Goodbye”

Top 5

5) Scrubs Series Finale

Episode 8:19 “My Finale Part 2”

This one is just for the compilation of sentimentality for the show.

4) My Cold Shower

Episode 6:19 “My Cold Shower”

Mr. and Mrs. Coach will always be the best acted and realistic relationship on television.  Jim and Pam will always be the cutest, most fun, and most rooted for ‘ship.  And nobody wound up caring who the Mother was for Ted’s children that had to wade through 8 years of random stories before being disappointed.  (Note: Ted is my Gold Medal winner for Most Disappointing/I Can’t F*&king Stand This Guy/Woman TV Show Character of the past ten years, topping Josh Lyman from The West Wing, Eric Forman from That 70’s Show, Andy from The Office, and anyone that has been on a USA Network show).  Anyways, the JD & Elliot love marathon that the writers were able to pull off for 8 years really spawned from this episode.  So while not the best couple on TV, they sure had enough to pull it off for two presidential terms.  And while the audience or characters may not have always rooted for these two, you can’t help but feel for JD when the moment of realization hits him like a ton of cold water.

3) Ben’s Funeral

Episode 3:14 “My Screw Up”

Probably the saddest of all the episodes and the only moment in history Brendan Fraser will be missed.  62% of this scene is the soundtrack, “Winter” by Joshua Radin.

2) That Damned First Day

Episode 1:15 “My Bed Banter and Beyond”

The episode blends the central arc of flashbacks where JD and Elliot spend a whole day in bed slowly nom-ing away at a pizza box while the rest of the episode jumps back into the real time (downward) progression of their nascent relationship.  The into the camera speeches by JD and Elliot are all too close to home on how all relationships move from honeymoon to hornets nest moments, with only the strongest couples surviving those early sh*t storms.  And in Scrubs fashion, after JD and Elliot tell the camera about their parting of ways, the last scene comes back to that Damned First Day where everything ahead seemed so limitless and happy leaving us with a reminder of how special falling in love is even if we eventually fall out.

1) Dr. Cox Walks Away 

Episode 5:20 “My Lunch”

It seems like The Fray song “How to Save a Life” was handcrafted for the slew of medical dramas on television, so its inclusion in Scrubs was inevitable.  While JD and most of the characters express their moments of self-doubt/deprecation/denial publicly and all too often, Dr. Cox’s moments of weakness really let the show go to another level.  Unable to save the lives of 3 of his patients, including one with a personal kinship, Dr. Cox’s inabilities expose the characters’ (and our) ultimate weakness where even the strongest among us are as vulnerable as the next.  When the mighty fall, they fall hard…


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