Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Scrubs Funniest Moments Ranked

"Scrubs" was a television series that ran from October 2, 2001, to March 17, 2010, on NBC and later ABC. The show was a medical dramedy that centered around the life of John "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff), a young physician working his way up the professional ladder after starting out as a medical intern at Sacred Heart Hospital. Along the way, J.D. meets an assortment of zany characters that help or hinder his progress.

Seen as a "niche" show, "Scrubs" would later prove influential on many subsequent television comedies. It was one of the earliest comedy shows to not feature a laugh track, was filmed inside an actual hospital instead of on a sound stage, and made pioneering use of music to mix its comedy with heartbreaking moments. Although "Scrubs" was a comedy, it never made fun of serious illness, and showed characters suffering from emotions including depression and grief.

Over the years, "Scrubs" has gained a cult following and garnered a renewed audience in the digital streaming era. The show's use of surrealist and slapstick comedy, usually in the form of J.D. daydreaming about something outrageous, has also resulted in some classic TV moments. Here are 14 such bits, ones that will put a smile on the faces of fans of the show.

Kelso goes on a rampage

Later seasons of "Scrubs" revealed Dr. Robert Kelso (Ken Jenkins) to be a sarcastic but well-meaning Chief of Medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital, trying to run the hospital to the best of his ability in the face of too much bureaucracy. But in the first few seasons, Kelso was a villain through and through, which yielded a hilarious bit where he goes on a violent rampage across Sacred Heart in "My Case Study" (Season 2, Episode 3).

The trouble starts when Turk (Donald Faison) misses the deadline to ask Kelso for expensive hospital equipment on the one day of the month when the Chief of Medicine is actually in a good mood. When Turk braces himself to make his request the next day, Kelso is clearly in a bad mood again. In a surreal sequence, we see him Kelso marching down the hall with a black scowl on his face. He headbutts a nurse, kicks a patient in a wheelchair out of his way, socks an unsuspecting orderly and a doctor across their faces, and tosses another nurses' papers out of her hands.

What makes the whole thing even more hilarious is that the entire sequence is set to the soothing tune of "What a Difference a Day Makes" by Dinah Washington. It ends when Kelso reaches Turk and smiles at him. For a moment it seems Kelso is calm now, but then he knees Turk, dropping him to the floor. 

"Man cards" for J.D.

A running joke on "Scrubs" is that J.D. is always striving for Dr. Cox's (John C. McGinley) approval. Dr. Cox, meanwhile, does everything he can to insult J.D. to his face, including calling him girl's names. This joke reached new heights in "My Intern's Eyes" (Season 5, Episode 1), when Cox gives J.D. five "man cards", which will be taken away one by one if J.D. says or does something too feminine.

Naturally, this being J.D., he finds it very difficult to hold on to the cards. He loses the first one in seconds when he gets excited over the writing on the cards and admits to practicing calligraphy. Over the course of the episode, Cox continues taking a "man card" away from J.D. for such misdemeanors as throwing a hissy fit in public, testing positive for birth control pills, and listening to Alanis Morissette songs. 

But in a case of "Scrubs" getting genuine emotion out of comedic bits, J.D. willingly gives up his last card to Cox when the latter refuses to trust J.D. with a patient's medical procedure. In the end, Cox gives J.D. a "man card" back for standing up for himself ... which J.D. promptly loses yet again when he asks for a hug.

Dr. Kelso avoiding Dr. Cox

For the longest time, Dr. Kelso and Dr. Cox were archenemies on "Scrubs." Kelso was the Chief of Medicine who ruled Sacred Heart Hospital with an iron fist, while Cox was the best doctor at the hospital who was always standing up to Kelso and his tyrannical ways. Since Cox was the only person at the hospital unafraid of him, Kelso generally tried to avoid any confrontations with Dr. Cox.

The most hilarious instance of this occurred in "My Jiggly Ball" (Season 5, Episode 4). Dr. Cox wants to get a hold of Kelso so they can talk about one of his drug trial patients. At first, Kelso manages to avoid Cox by quickly walking out of the hospital. When Cox chases after him, he sees Kelso has lined himself up against his own painting on the wall in an attempt to look like he is a part of the painting. 

This leads to a hilarious exchange in which Kelso stubbornly keeps on pretending to be a painting while Cox stands in front of him, remarking "Bob, I can see you," "For god's sake, you're three dimensional," and finally "I'm physically touching your arm now." To cap it all off, Kelso then straightens up like nothing weird had just happened and greets Cox cordially.  

Fighting an army of ninjas

"Scrubs" wasn't the first show to do surrealist comedy scenes, but it did elevate them to new heights, both in terms of budget and ambition. No better example of this exists than Turk fighting an army of ninjas in "My Day at the Races" (Season 5, Episode3).

Trouble begins when Turk tries to get into the good books of the Chief of Surgery at Sacred Heart, Dr. Wen (Charles Chun) by bringing Wen's briefcase that he had left back at the hospital. It soon transpires that Turk is not alone in his desire to impress Wen. As the song "Kung-Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas starts up in the background, an army of Turk's fellow surgeons spring up kicking and backflipping, all intent on being the one to give Wen his briefcase.

This leads to an elaborate martial arts fight between Turk and his friend Todd (Robert Maschio) against the rest of the surgeons. Flying kicks are unleashed, battle cries are yelled, and shirts are torn off for no reason at all. The icing on the cake is when, after defeating everyone else, Todd betrays Turk so he can be the one to give Dr. Wen his briefcase.   

J.D. and Turk keep missing each other

J.D. and Turk had a bromance that fueled the show for its entire run. Even Turk's wife has admitted he probably loves J.D. more than her. What bonds the two together is the silliness that Turk and J.D. indulge in when around each other, and one of the best examples is in "My Old Friend's New Friend" (Season 4, Episode 1).

J.D. is minding his own business at Sacred Heart when he hears a car honk, which means Turk is finally back from his honeymoon with his wife Carla (Judy Reyes). Beside himself with joy, J.D. runs to the entrance of the hospital to greet Turk, only to discover that Turk had run inside to greet him, both missing each other in the process. The two keep running frantically across the hospital to different rooms and corridors shouting each other's names, but somehow keep missing each other. This goes on for so long that Carla even has time to change out of her civilian clothes into work clothes. 

At one point, Turk and J.D. are shown standing on different rooftops, and marking out a floor plan so they can finally figure out why they keep missing each other. Carla's resigned reaction to the whole thing is summed up when she remarks about Turk: "Maybe someday he'll love me like that." 

Trying to understand Jiggly Ball

Despite being a mere janitor, the Janitor (Neil Flynn) is possibly the most diabolically clever character on "Scrubs," one who enjoys tormenting the other characters, particularly J.D. One of the Janitor's most elaborate ruses that J.D. ever fell for occurred in "My Jiggly Ball" (Season 5, Episode 4).

All through the episode, J.D. hears references to a mysterious new game that the hospital staff plays called "Jiggly Ball." Not wishing to make it seem like he is not "in" on the new trend, J.D. tries to make it seem like he knows what Jiggly Ball is all about. 

In the end, it turns out there is no such thing as "Jiggly Ball." The whole thing had been an elaborate lie cooked up by the Janitor to make a fool out of J.D. To make matters worse, the entire hospital staff had agreed to get in on the lie, just so they could throw hundreds of tennis balls at J.D.  

Elliot cursing like a sailor

Dr. Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke) is one of the nicest, but also one of the most unstable characters on "Scrubs." Although Elliot generally tries to be helpful and polite, she is a tightly-strung person liable to go off after the slightest provocation. Like the time Dr. Cox forced her to measure her weight in "My Inconvenient Truth" (Season 7, Episode 3).

At first, Elliot is secure, telling her patient that she is malnourished. This draws the attention of Cox, who notices that Elliot also seems to weigh less than a healthy amount based on her height. To confirm his suspicion, Cox physically lifts up Elliot and drags her over to the new hospital scale. The moment Elliot realizes Cox intends to weigh her she flips out, struggling to get out of his grasp while screaming bloody murder.

To top it off, Cox asks for an intern named "Boon" (Tyler Poelle) to read Elliot's weight on the scale. This causes Elliot to redirect her rage at Boon, threatening to kill his family if he dares to read the number on the scale, and even following up that threat with: "Say goodbye to Baby Boon!"  

Beating a corpse to death

One of the saddest characters on "Scrubs" is Doug Murphy (Johnny Kasti). Although he started out as a medical intern in the same year as J.D. and Elliot, it soon became clear that Doug was simply not competent enough to be trusted with living patients. Fortunately, Doug found a second calling as a pathologist, dealing with deceased ones instead.

In this new capacity, Doug provided one of his most memorable moments in "My Way Home" (Season 5, Episode 7). J.D. had a rare day off from the hospital, but unfortunately was called back again due to a prank Dr. Cox played on him. J.D. is determined to spend his day off away from the hospital, and makes various attempts to leave without anyone noticing. 

One idea that J.D. hits upon is to hide inside a body bag that Doug is taking to the morgue. Inside the elevator, J.D. politely asks Doug to press "lobby." This completely freaks Doug out, and he screams and starts hitting the body bag with a fire extinguisher. After getting hit multiple times, J.D. finally unzips the bag and demands to know why Doug was trying to beat him to death, to which the latter tearfully replies: "Dead people should be dead."    

Everyone dances to "Bye Bye Bye"

The staff of Sacred Heart Hospital are shown in a realistic and professional manner when it comes to the work of treating sick people. But that professionalism goes out the window when the staff is left alone to their own devices. Exhibit A of this trope would be the dance party that occurs in "My Mirror Image" (Season 6, Episode 1).

When J.D. is at home with the mother of his child, he desperately tries to call Turk for moral aid. Unfortunately, J.D.'s new ringtone is the catchy chorus from "Bye Bye Bye" by 'N Sync, and the entire staff at the hospital is too busy dancing energetically to the music to allow Turk to answer the call. It finally takes a visit from Dr. Kelso, where he angrily reminds the staff that they need to be professional, to break the spell of the song.

Later, we see J.D. once again trying to call Turk. This time, even Kelso has joined in on dancing to the ringtone. We see a pregnant Carla twerking, Todd with his shirt off, and Kelso and Elliot grinding next to each other. In the end, even Kelso has to admit the song is "pretty catchy."  

Ted's first appearance

Pretty much anything Ted Buckland (Sam Lloyd) does on "Scrubs" is guaranteed to elicit laughter. Ted is a sad sack of a lawyer who has a strained relationship with his mother, a strained relationship with his colleagues at Sacred Heart, and a strained relationship with his boss Dr. Kelso. 

The very first time audiences meet Ted in the show's pilot episode lets us know just how pathetically hilarious this character is going to be. While a fresh-faced J.D. dreams of helping patients at Sacred Heart, he is forced to listen to Ted instead repeatedly tell all the new trainees that getting sued is a very bad thing. Ted then attempts to make a joke about "dead patients," and his terrible delivery of the joke, followed by confused silence from the interns, only further emphasizes that this guy is not a people's person.

But the best part is that when Ted is finished with his lecture, he goes wordlessly into a corner in full view of the trainees and sits there clutching his forehead in misery. Nobody is left with any illusions that he might actually enjoy working at Sacred Heart, and it only served to underscore the grim conditions facing J.D. at his new job. 

Elliot pranks hard

A lot of the comedy surrounding Elliot stems from the fact that she is an uptight person who often goes way overboard when trying to stay loose. Since J.D. is in many ways the opposite, audiences knew that when Elliot and J.D. moved in together, their vastly different personalities would make for excellent comedy.

In "My Buddy's Booty" (Season 5, Episode 11), we see that J.D. has taken to playing harmless pranks on Elliot to celebrate their living together. This includes pouring freezing water on Elliot while she is having a hot shower. Wanting to fit in, Elliot pranks him back ... by dropping a live raccoon onto J.D.'s head while he is taking a shower. 

The joke is further heightened later in the episode, when J.D. has occasion to take his shirt off. When an intern asks what the livid red marks on J.D.'s back are from, he replies, "Those Jason, are the panicked scratches of the adolescent raccoon, who until animal control can get into my home, is currently residing in my sock drawer."   

Jordan scares everyone

As bitter and sarcastic as Dr. Cox is, he found a tough opponent in his ex-wife Jordan (Christa Miller). Despite their contentious relationship, the two did ultimately love each other. But that did not mean Cox wasn't afraid of Jordan, as was evidenced in "My Friends with Money" (Season 6, Episode 5).

When Turk has trouble finding the right words to help Carla with postpartum depression, he turns to Dr. Cox for help. Cox points out that Carla is unlikely to listen to any men on this topic. As a last ditch effort, Cox is forced to call in the big guns ... literally. The water in a cup ripples, we hear heavy footsteps coming down the hallway, and set to the song "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder, we see a heavily pregnant, unkempt Jordan enter. 

A visibly afraid Dr. Cox tells Jordan she looks pretty while she glares at him. But despite her messy appearance, Jordan does come through for Carla in the end, and helps her see that she needs professional help to deal with the after effects of the birth of her child. 

J.D.'s dream date

J.D's overactive imagination has been a source of never-ending comedy on "Scrubs." Particularly because he often dreams up situations where he is at a disadvantage, like the time when he imagined himself and Turk as superheroes, but saw himself as Robin instead of Batman. 

In "My No Good Reason" (Season 6, Episode 14), we see another instance of J.D.'s imagination running on overdrive when he tells Turk about a fictional date he had with Turk's hot babysitter, Heather (Mircea Monroe). The date starts out fairly normally, and J.D. even manages to start making out with Heather. 

That's when they are greeted by Kristin, a popular girl from J.D.'s school who turned him down for homecoming and prom, even though he did not ask her to either one. Soon, J.D., Heather, and Kristin are having a three-way when three high-school bullies from J.D.'s school walk in as well. They congratulate J.D. on becoming a stud, announce they are gay together, and go off to "bang."  

Finding out about Dr. Cox and Kelso

Many shows either get into a rut or jump the shark in later seasons. "Scrubs" managed to stay the course throughout all its seasons by sticking to some long-running storylines (like J.D.'s desperate need for Dr. Cox's approval) and modifying others (like Dr. Cox and Dr. Kelso becoming friends after being enemies for so long). 

One particular scene in "My Lawyer's in Love" (Season 8, Episode 8) perfectly summed up the evolution of these two storylines. Cox and Kelso are no longer trying to keep their new friendship a secret from the other characters. Kelso goes so far as to tell J.D. that he and Cox are like brothers now. This sets J.D. off, as he tearfully says to Cox, "I do everything for you, and you still won't let me in?"

To needle J.D. further, Kelso also informs him that last weekend he and Cox went to the movies to watch a rom-com. At first, J.D. tries to keep his feelings under check. But finally he ends up screaming at the top of his lungs and flinging his food across the room.