YMMV: Scrubs

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Bob Kelso's mix of Jerkass behavior along with his rare Pet the Dog moments mean fans will fairly heavily debate as to how much of a jerk he really is.
    • Some of the fanbase speculates that Dr. Cox is a Jerkass to JD partially because he doesn't want JD to idolize him as he sees himself as a terrible role model.
    Dr. Cox: "You want to be like me? *I* don't want to be like me!"
  • Award Snub:
    • Other than Zach Braff, none of the cast were nominated for an Emmy or Golden Globe. Particularly infuriating since John C. McGinley has had some of the most phenomenal, intense scenes on the show.
    • Case in point: The ending of "My Lunch". How the HELL did that not get him an award or at the very least, a nomination? Sure, his competition were heavyweights like Steve Carell, Alec Baldwin, Larry David and Bryan Cranston, but in 2006 Kevin James managed to get a nomination for King of Queens.
    • And Speaking of Braff, he only got nominated for a single Emmy during the entire run of the show.
  • Awesome Ego: Dr. Cox is the absolute epitome of this trope; each and every one of his bragging rants is a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Broken Base: Season 9. Either the worst thing to happen to the show, or a decent season brought down by Fan Dumb and huge expectations. Some fans look at it not as a Scrubs season, but a Spin-Off like Bill Lawrence originally intended.
  • Crack Pairing:
    • Unusually for this trope, Elliot/Janitor is actually a recurring arc which is explored with genuine depth and sensitivity, despite the fact that it never really goes anywhere.
    • Jordan/Kelso was teased a few times as well
  • Crazy Awesome: The Janitor.
  • Critical Research Failure: For a show that is usually really good about being factually accurate their portrayal of Turk's Diabetes is shockingly ill-informed. Aside from the unlikelihood of a person like Turk developing Type 2 Diabetes, which is usually the result of prolonged obesity, the show treats the illness as if it were basically AIDS - a guaranteed death sentence. At one point Turk even gives a dramatic speech about his Diabetes, musing about how old he'll be when it takes him. In real life Type 2 Diabetes is not only easily survivable with many diabetics living long and successful lives, but it is in fact even potentially reversible.
    • A. Type II diabetes can be caused by any number of factors, even genetic ones. furthermore, regarding his bleak outlook, he works at a hospital. Whenever he see an individual with type 2 diabetes, it is because they are lying on the operating table in front of him, as he removes a limb. He isnt correct, but he is justified in his depression.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: Todd.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Hooch, Laverne, Ted, Doug etc.
    • Denise in Series 8 and 9.
    • In Series 9, Drew, due to his Dark and Troubled Past, Deadpan Snarker attitude and that his character actually is interesting.
    • Jordan, who was orginally intended as a one-shot character, but her popularity made her part of the main cast.
    • The Janitor, which led to him becoming the show's Breakout Character.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Turk's storyline in S06E17 ends with what seems like an Aesop of "Unpopular in school? Get plastic boobs!"
    • The series overall has the aesop of "To be a strong woman, you need to walk all over everyone else and be controlling and dominating." in the form of Elliot and Carla.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • J.D./Cox is the most popular ship in the fandom, despite the fact that JD and Elliot end up together and Dr. Cox has been in a stable relationship with his ex-wife since season 2. It's also kind of ironic because canon-wise, J.D. and Turk are the ones who have a lot of Ho Yay.
    • Believe it or not, J.D./Elliot fell under this for a time. Bill Lawrence has stated that the end of the third season was supposed to definitively shut down that relationship. He eventually caved under fan pressure, adding more Ship Tease between the two in later seasons and having them get back together in the eighth season.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • Many fans weren't happy with Season 9.
    • Even more fans were unhappy with the implication that Gooch had left Ted in one episode of Cougar Town. Worse that she supposedly left him for Hooch!
  • Fountain of Memes: The show in general qualifies as this, but Dr. Cox alone has to go down as one of the biggest meme generators in all of sitcom history.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • John Ritter's line in his guest-star appearance: "I'd love to go to your lecture on heart murmurs! I'm a big fan of those things!"
    • One wonders how comfortable Phill Lewis felt about having to read Hooch's line where he threatened to mow people down in his car. Lewis himself in the early 90's had spent a year in prison for accidental manslaughter after causing the death of a young woman whilst driving intoxicated.
    • In the episode with Michael J. Fox, Cox greets him by asking, "Are you shaking hands nowadays?" In context, it's a reference to the character's severe OCD, and the discomfort a sufferer might feel shaking hands with other people. However, Michael J. Fox famously suffers from Parkinson's, one of the most prominent symptoms of which is hands that shake uncontrollably.
  • Gratuitous Special Effects: There was an Imagine Spot Once an Episode that often featured somewhat elaborate special effects. For instance, in an early episode, J.D. imagines that his head blows up in a scene that would be more appropriate in a horror film, not a comedy/medical drama.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Season 8 was almost universally praised as better than the previous seasons. Better plots, stronger acting, and some really great episodes made this season a great end to the show, despite what season 9 may say...
    • Also, in season 8 J.D. did in fact grow a beard.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: It's more like Neil Says Something Funny. See Throw It In.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The season 1 episode "My Old Lady" is already a Tear Jerker. But Kathy Joosten, now passed away, makes it an additional punch in the gut.
    • Season 4 had Dr. Cox taunting J.D. over the fact that every doctor will eventually be responsible for the death of a patient. Every doctor expect Cox, who is "the exception that proves the rule." Watch this back to back with "My Lunch".
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The Janitor suggested in the episode concerning the Iraq war that they should look for Bin Laden in Pakistan. Lo and behold, several years later...
    • In "My Hero", J.D. sings the praises of Tony Shalhoub for his performance in Wings. Shalhoub later went on to win an Emmy for Best Leader Actor in a Comedy Series for his role in Monk, beating Zach Braff who was also nominated for that category. This lead to his declaration in "My Own Worst Enemy".
    "Suck on that, Tony Shalhoub!"
    • During one of Dr. Cox's epic rants, he names Hugh Jackman winning an Oscar as one of the worst things that could possibly happen in the world. In 2012, Tom Hoopers's big budget adaptation of Les MisÚrables (2012), caused many critics to place Jackman (playing Jean Valjean) at the top of their lists for potential Best Actor nominees/winners. Dr. Cox's relief can be assumed, since the Oscar wound up going to Daniel Day-Lewis for his role in Lincoln.
    • The episode My Way Home, which parodied The Wizard of Oz, and was directed by Zach Braff is an interesting case. Come 2013, and Braff co-stars in Oz: The Great and Powerful.
    • In "My Big Bird," Jason Bateman plays a garbage man/amateur ostrich farmer. In Season 4 of Arrested Development, ostriches are an Arc Symbol and frequent Running Gag.
    • In "My New Old Friend," Kelso tells Turk that he needs to remember that "everybody lies" when they're speaking to a doctor. A year later, this would become the catchphrase of another misanthropic doctor.
  • Informed Wrongness: While the first few seasons were about J.D. learning how to improve himself as a doctor and a person, later seasons progressively were examples of this instead. A controversial example was after he found out that Kim lied to him about having miscarried. While he did do some things wrong in dealing with it (like running out when she wanted to talk), after he upsets her (ironically she was one of the only people to say he had legitimate reasons for it) everyone turns on him when they find out.
  • It Was His Sled: Kelso being revealed to be a heartless jerk was supposed to be a twist in the pilot episode, and the friendly demeanor he presents through most of the episode is all fake. Of course, if you never saw the pilot, but have seen most other episodes, then you already know going in Kelso is mean, and is just putting on an act right from the start.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Dr. Cox. His father was physically and emotionally abusive and showed love by throwing bottles and intentionlly missing and his mother just stood there and watched silently as it happened and it was so bad he can't see his sister without all of the memories coming back. And despite his best efforts to make his marriage to Jordan work, she cheated on him with his resident at the time and he spends everyday in self-loathing and no matter how hard he tries, he can't stop screwing things up that might make him happy and he has to deal with patients dying on him all the time no matter how hard he tries to help them.
    • Carla. She's a control freak and insults and belittles everyone from the lowest member of the hospital staff to the Chief of Medicine on a regular basis and her relationship with Turk is incredibly unhealthy in many ways at times, but at the same time, she has alot of insecurities and her mother dies during the early seasons.
    • Kelso in "My Jiggly Ball".
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • The Janitor, Dr. Cox, and Dr. Kelso. Yes, this show has three of them. The best part? They will occasionally engage in a battle of wits.
    • Turk dips into this during My Turf War.
  • Marty Stu: Massively deconstructed with Dr. Kevin Casey, whose general Stu-ish-ness in all fields, from medicine to surgery to knowing what's wrong with the oatmeal, comes from the fact that he has OCD so severe that he can't stop himself from compulsively obsessing about everything and re-reading things hundreds of times over until he knows everything about everything, which comes at the cost of being able to function normally.
  • Mary Sue: Kim could be considered a parody of one due to how she was inserted into scenes that happened before we even met her character; a series of flashbacks showed her with JD and the others at various important plot points throughout the series. The fact we didn't see her the first time around was explained by the fact that JD apparently can't see women who are wearing wedding rings. Played Straight with how apparently 'everyone' in the hospital loves her, including the men, the women, and the greasers. Then there's the fact she only wore her wedding ring because she was tired of getting hit on all the time. It's hard to believe that she could have been such a popular character when we've never heard of her before.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Baby Sam's daydream. Kelso and Turk with boobs. Nuff said.
    • As a more serious example, there's the episode where Turk does a surgery on a patient who opted to use hypnosis instead of anesthesia. Everything appears to be going fine, but then the patient's eyes open... oh God, that scream...
  • Relationship Sue: Julie from Season 5. She's essentially there as a Distaff Counterpart to J.D. and they hit it off immediately in the first episode. Then it gets subverted in her second where J.D. realises she only sees their relationship as a bit of fun, while he wants serious commitment. The Irony of her being the only girl J.D. had good reason to break up with is lampshaded.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • The Scrappy:
    • Carla isn't well liked in some fandom circles because of how bossy she is and how demeaning and unfair she can be to Turk and how no matter what he does, she will yell at him most of the time and be incredibly condescending and controlling towards Turk, J.D. and Elliot at different points, especially when Turk and J.D. dare to be childish in their spare time and goof around.
    • Elliot is incredibly disliked because from Season 3 onwards, she gradually becomes a huge bitch and does alot of crappy things that she gets away with. Most notable examples include cheating on Sean with J.D. and then guilt tripping him into not telling Sean, assaulting J.D. several times, sleeping with his brother Dan, abusing her power over the interns so she can continue having sex with Keith, treating Keith like crap, leaving Keith and then rubbing it in his face heaps. Less notable examples are being a selfish stuck up brat and just all around insanely neurotic and expecting everyone to work around it.
    • The thing that alot of people dislike the most about Carla and Elliot is that they get away with anything and everything with little consequences no matter how horrible it is.
    • Kim. Mostly due to the fact she lied to JD about miscarrying their child just because she didn't think a relationship would work between them. The fact everyone seems to sympathize with her over J.D. doesn't help and then when he gets back with her for their child's sake and he tries to tell her he's not ready to say he loves her or anything like that, she rips into him and dumps him and then the show immediately makes him the bad guy.
    • Ed the intern, the not worthy of being a doctor whatsoever since all he does is slack off and start stupid trends. Many were relieved when he was pulled from the show due to his actor having commitments with another network.
    • Cole from Season 9, for being damn near exactly the same as Ed, but given more focus. They tried to make him sympathetic by giving him cancer for one episode but it didn't work
    • Dr. Miller was introduced in season 3 as Turk's personal "Dr. Cox." Unfortunately, she had all of his Jerkass qualities and then some with none of the Pet the Dog moments and she was promptly written out of the show after her one season.
    • Carla's brother was also introduced around the same time as a massive Jerkass towards Turk for almost no reason, and unlike The Janitor, his actions come off as mean-spirited rather than funny.
      • However, Turk mistook him for a valet at his mother's funeral, complained about him not knowing english when he only knew a few words of Spanish, forgot to pick him up at the airport, and questioned his masculinity for liking When Harry Met Sally so it's more of a case of Jerkass Has a Point for some.
    • Jimmy the Overly Touchy Orderly.
    • J.D.'s brother Dan. He's an immature manchild who blows into town once in a while to mooch off of J.D., fart, treat J.D. like shit and once slept with Elliot despite knowing that they once dated and also slept with his college girlfriend. He has a few tiny redeeming moments, like when he told Dr. Cox that since J.D. looked up to him in a way he would never look up to Dan, he owed it to JD to be a better influence, helping Dr. Cox comfort J.D. when their dad died and buying J.D. a car.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Seasons 5-7 are generally considered this, though opinion varies on when precisely it set in (halfway through Season 5 is a popular choice) and how bad it actually got. The show leaned more heavily on Imagine Spots, quick gags, cheap jokes, and many of the plotlines fell flat; Season 7 in particular suffered from being cut short by the WGA strike, which prevented many of the planned storylines coming to fruition, along with the network airing the episodes out of their intended order. That said, season 8 is generally considered one of, if not the best, season of the show.
    • And of course, some fans claim that Season 9 is so awful that they're willing to defend seasons 5 to 7 despite having ragged on them earlier.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • No one is perfect and even the best of us mess up in a while. The show is in no way subtle about its Aesop, but it's pulled of with the right blend of pathos and humour that it never becomes grating.
    • Well, that explains the lyrics to the theme song: "I can't do this all on my own/Oh, I'm no/I'm no Superman."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Drew. Being the favorite to Cox, softening up Denise and providing a great backstory made for an interesting character, but was stuck in the hated Season 9.
    • Alternatively, Creator's Pet. Multiple established characters broke character to underline how awesome he is. It did not stick, and this character was part of the reason why Season 9 was hated.
  • The Woobie:
    • Elliot in the first two seasons and some of Season 3. Ted in all of them. J.D. in season 6.
    • Keith Dudemeister. He's an excellent intern, but J.D. hates him and treats him like crap and he then gets together with Elliot who dumps her huge pile of crazy on him throughout half of Season 5, all of Season 6 and then when they're about to get married, she dumps him and then sleeps with him and dumps him all over again.
    • A lot of the patients are woobies, below are just a few examples:
      • Brian Dancer, a soldier who was injured in Iraq whose injuries were too severe for him to continue to serve in the army, which was the only place he felt at home. Even worse, he has the Unfortunate Name of Private Dancer.
      • Elliot's patient Shannon in "My Number One Doctor", she's paralyzed and it's getting worse and worse to the point that she'll be trapped in her own body and unable to move in the slightest and there's no cure.
      • George, a patient in Season 8 who is dying and has no one to be there with him as he dies, so J.D. and Turk stay with him.
  • Tough Act to Follow: One of the main reasons Season 9 is looked down on is that it was coming after Season 8. Many fans feel like Season 8 was the perfect ending to the show and was seen as a resurgence after the lackluster Seasons 5-7. It is worth noting though, that Season 9 does have fans who concede that it is a poor follow up, but a good show in its own right.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Elliot can be this. Despite her massive self esteem issues and her massive amount of issues and then her father cutting her off, it doesn't change that Elliot can be a huge bitch quite often or pushes her issues onto other characters, like getting on J.D.'s case for saving a patient's life when she was going to do it instead because she doesn't feel like she's a doctor. Plus there's all the times she assaults J.D. for the smallest things and it's supposed to be ok.
    • Carla can also be this. She has a ton of insecurities and she is underpaid and not appreciated for her job as a Nurse. But at the same time, she's also a massive control freak who belittles and insults everyone in the main cast and gives out The Reason You Suck Speeches because it gives her a rush to do so and her relationship with Turk is incredibly unhealthy in many many ways with how controlling and insulting she is towards him.
  • Wangst: Many of Elliot's stories in episodes are about her whining about some problem of her's that is usually self inflicted and she tries to drag others into it. Like in My Porcelain God when she has trouble intubating patients when it is something she should be able to do and tries to drag others into it.