Although Scrubs was described as a comedy-drama, it had many of the earmarks of a situation comedy (sitcom). The unique half-hour show premiered October 2, 2001 on NBC, and later switched to ABC at the beginning of its eighth season.
The multi-awarding winning show followed main character and chief narrator Dr. John “J.D.” Dorian (Zach Braff) as he worked his way up the ladder through his internship and residency at Sacred Heart Hospital to become an attending physician.
Several other employees of the teaching hospital were also followed as they went about their lives, often offering commentary. The show used a single camera to follow J.D. through his day, and used numerous plot devices such as fast-paced dialogue, slapstick comedy, and J.D.’s comical daydreams providing hilarious results. Although the show was written using a script much like a sitcom, the writers provided plenty of opportunity for improvisation by its talented stars during filming of the show.
Music played a large role on the show, particularly the special episode early in season six call “My Musical” that aired January 18, 2007. Often individual cast members sang, and on the episode “My Best Friend’s Mistake,” the entire cast sang the Erasure song “A Little Respect” throughout the show.
Created by Bill Lawrence, the show was picked up by ABC after the seventh season. The eighth season premiered January 6, 2009 and the finale aired May 6, 2009. Show stars Zack Braff and Sarah Chalke committed to six episodes in what Lawrence promised to be a restructured show for the ninth season.
J.D. began the show as a staff intern. He became close friends (and more) with fellow intern Elliott Reid (Sarah Chalke) and continued his close relationship with former college and medical school roommate Christopher Turk (Donald Faison).
Other main characters included Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes) head nurse at Sacred Heart and later Turk’s wife; Dr. Percival Ulysses “Perry” Cox (John C. McGinley), senior attending physician and Residency Director; and Dr. Bob Kelso (Ken Jenkins), Sacred Heart’s Chief of Medicine. Neil Flynn played the hospital custodian known only as “Janitor” throughout the run of the show. Numerous other recurring characters and guest stars appeared through the years.
During the show’s eight-year run, J.D. became an attending physician with his own class of interns to mentor, and Elliott became a private practice physician. During season eight, Turk became the new Chief of Surgery, Cox became Chief of Medicine, and Kelso’s replacement Courtney Cox-Arquette) arrived due to Kelso’s retirement after he was forced to step down during season seven.
Unique to Scrubs was the launch of Scrubs: Interns, a webisode series from ABC based on the season eight interns at Sacred Heart Hospital. The original webisodes ran between January 1 and April 8, 2009. Created by Bill Lawrence, the webisodes starred Sonal Shah, Betsy Beutler, Eliza Coupe and Todd Bosley. The series followed the four interns during their first year at the hospital and included most of the main Scrubs characters at some point throughout the run. Even former Chief of Medicine Dr. Kelso joined the action by holding court in the coffee shop.
Already in syndication, this unique and creative show far exceeded original expectations. Avid fans can now follow their favorite characters by reruns, webisodes, DVDs, and videos.