‘Scrubs’: The Real-Life Inspiration for J.D.’s Inaccurate Nicknames

Scrubs is a quirky TV show that is nearly impossible to explain. There’s virtually no way to describe the show that doesn’t make it sound ridiculous, yet it was a pure delight to watch.

Not only did the show enjoy a solid viewership while it was on the air, but it also remains many people’s favorite show to this day.  Doctors even claim that it does a wonderful job of showing what working in a hospital is like.

While you might be able to quote entire scenes, sing along to Ted’s a cappella group, and explain the strange plot points, likely, there are still a few Scrubs secrets you’re not familiar with, including who the real-life inspiration was for J.D.’s inaccurate nicknames.

The show was filmed in a hospital

Zach Braff as J.D.
Zach Braff as J.D. | Richard Cartwright/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

If you think that the Scrubs‘ sets looked realistic, that’s because they were. According to an OBN article, the real-world version of Sacred Heart was the North Hollywood Medical Center. At the time the show was filmed, the hospital was no longer being used as a medical facility.

The show didn’t simply move into the hospital. Filming couldn’t begin until some fairly major renovations were made. The North Hollywood Medical Center stood proud through the entire run of Scrubs. Sadly, the building was demolished in 2011.

Neil Flynn made up the janitor’s dialog


How ‘Scrubs’ Managed to Get So Many of Its Medical Storylines Right

Neil Flynn used Scrubs to prove to the world that he was pure comedy gold. As soon as the janitor appeared on the screen, fans knew that something funny, often uncomfortable, and usually downright weird was about to happen.

One of the interesting things about the janitor is that while he was surrounded by characters who often over shared, he was secretive. No one even knew the character’s name, he was simply called the janitor, until the final episode.

It turns out that many of his great, quotable lines were thought up by the actor himself. According to Zach Braff, the writing team seemed to have collectively decided that Neil Flynn was more than capable of handling the work himself. 

“Neil is hilarious. He made up most of his lines,” Zach Braff said in an interview that was published to UPROXX. “Sometimes a script would show up and when Neil enters it would just say (Neil makes up something and then exits.) A true genius improviser…”

In the same interview, Braff confirmed that the janitor wasn’t supposed to be an integral part of the show. “BTW, Neil wasn’t even supposed to have such a big part in the show. He was so genius in the pilot that Bill added him permanently.”

According to an interview Bill Lawrence did with NPR, had Scrubs only lasted for a single season, the janitor would have been nothing more than a figment of J.D’s overactive imagination.

The real-life inspiration behind Dr. Cox’s names for J.D.

Throughout the series, Dr. Cox routinely called J.D. girls’ names. It was something that amused the older doctor and got under the skin of the younger one. It turns out that it’s a real habit of John C. McGinley, who played Dr. Cox. One that he developed while teasing his good friend John Cusack.

This is just a small sample of the interesting things many fans don’t know about the hit medical comedy, Scrubs.