8 Things About ‘Scrubs’ That Wouldn’t Fly Today

Scrubs stars Zach Braff and Donald Faison have been revisiting the popular sitcom on their podcast Fake Doctors Real Friends. For the past year or so, the former co-stars and real-life besties have been rewatching the show that made them famous, while reminiscing about their time playing J.D. and Turk.

Along the way, they’ve admitted that some of the content is “way too un-PC.” Here are eight things about Scrubs that wouldn’t fly today.

"My Big Bird" - J.D., Elliot, Turk and Carla are brought in front of the M&M conference after a patient in their care dies unexpectedly. Carla and Janitor come up with a scheme to win the super lotto, on "Scrubs" airing on NBC
Donald Faison and Zach Braff film a scene in Scrubs | Michael Desmond/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

8. Sacred Heart Hospital on ‘Scrubs’ was no place for female coworkers

Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes) was the head nurse at Sacred Heart. But in one episode she found herself jealous of another nurse because she was “younger and prettier.” The shallow representation of the female characters had them fighting and hating each other based on appearance. Yikes.

7. Always talking about the guys

The ladies at Sacred Heart did sometimes talk about work or family. But the vast majority of conversations between Carla and Elliot (Sarah Chalke) were about the guys they were dating. Was that really all they had to talk about?

6. Laverne and the ‘mammy stereotype’

Scrubs did have representation of minorities. But, they often used stereotypes instead of portraying the characters as real people. The character of Laverne Roberts (Aloma Wright) was a nurse at Sacred Heart. She’s a devout Christian who loves soap operas and gossip. Unfortunately, the Laverne character was a pretty clear use of the mammy stereotype.

5. ‘Scrubs’ had a lot of gay jokes

Gay jokes were a big part of Scrubs, as they appeared in just about every episode. When it came to J.D. and Turk’s relationship, they were best friends. But, they were always afraid to show any affection out of fear of being perceived as a gay couple. Just look at the lyrics for the musical number Guy Love.

“Sometimes it’s easier to hide/Than explain our guy love/That’s all it is Guy love/He’s mine I’m his/There’s nothing gay about it in our eyes.”

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4. ‘Furthering the cause’

The slut-shaming was on full display in one particular scene between Carla and Elliot in season 1. The two were talking about how hard it was to be a woman at Sacred Heart.

“Well, you’re certainly furthering the cause by wearing a thong to work and hooking up in the on-call room,” Elliot tells Carla. “Word gets around.”

Carla claps right back, calling Elliot out for talking to her like that without knowing her name.

“I spend every second of my life either here, or taking care of my mom. So, yeah, maybe I needed a little closeness. I’m sure you never had a quickie at the club, right? Or snuck some skinny, flat-butted college boy up to your sorority room. And my thong? I happen to think it makes my ass look good. And some days, I need to feel good about something around here. And you judge me? Well, guess what, word does get around, Miss ‘Out For Herself,’ so you can dump on everyone here if you want; but you will not hurt me.”

3. ‘Scrubs’ and The Todd

Dr. Todd Quinlan (Robert Maschio) or “The Todd” was a skilled surgeon with a frat boy persona who was known for his sexual innuendo and harassment of females. It happened just about every time he was on screen. And, it’s one of those “cringe” moments Braff talked about with Digital Spy.

“We often cringe and go okay, you definitely couldn’t do that joke today. Sometimes even at the time things would get censored because the creators were trying to push things as far as they could on network television,” Braff said.

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2. Was J.D. really that nice?

J.D. was the protagonist on Scrubs. He was the main character and the OG nice guy. But looking back, he’s kind of creepy. The way he treats women is a bit tough to watch. He refuses to accept when women reject him. And, to make matters worse, the show implies the way to win over the woman of your dreams is unrelenting persistence. No matter what she feels or says.

1. ‘Scrubs’ and sexism

The Todd and J.D. weren’t the only characters displaying some serious sexism. All fans have to do is listen to pretty much anything that came out of the mouth of Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley). Just think about the time Elliot voiced her concerns about Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins) and his inappropriate remarks. Cox tells Elliot, “That sucks, but suck it up.”

All nine seasons of Scrubs are available on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube TV.