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    John "J.D." Dorian 

John Michael "J.D." Dorian (Zach Braff)

"I don't think people are meant to be by themselves. That's why if you actually find someone you care about, it's important to let go of the little things, even if you can't let go all the way. Because nothing sucks more than feeling all alone, no matter how many people are around."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scrubs_jd_5020.jpg
The king of Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Simply known as J.D., he is the show's protagonist and resident doctor. The show depicts the problems and fears he has to face in the hospital, accompanied by his Inner Monologue. J.D. may just be the embodiment of a Cloudcuckoolander for his most prominent habit of daydreaming, which almost always ends with a weird comment said out loud which, of course, nobody but him understands. Despite being an enthusiastic, clumsy person with a lot of self-doubt, he is an intelligent good-by-heart doctor, who cares deeply about his patients.


  • Adorkable: He's an incredibly friendly and nerdy guy who has fantasies in his head and narrates all the time in his head. It's one of the reasons his patients and friends like him so much because he's so approachable.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Carla calls him "Bambi" from time to time because he tends to look a deer in the headlights, when his thoughts are interrupted and when he's brought back to earth after he gets lost in his own imagination. He was initially embarrassed by the name but he warmed up to it. The name was embarrassing on two levels, mainly because of the Disney origin but the name also meant "young girl".
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: The smallest thing can cause him to tilt his head up and have a fantasy, no matter how dire the situation is. Elliot and Turk even use it to their benefit on more than one occasion.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Sharply contrasted with Dr. Cox's sink-or-swim approach, and also deconstructed in that it is J.D.'s style of teaching that is considered terrible, stemming from his own personal need for everyone to "like" him.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: When he's around Dr. Cox.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: However eccentric he becomes (and they really pushed this one in later seasons), he is consistently shown as an excellent doctor, with Cox describing him as one of the best he's ever seen.
  • Butt-Monkey: He gets most of the physical comedy and gets hurt offscreen, he ends up homeless at the end of Season 4 until Elliot lets him move in with her and then he ends up homeless again for a good part of Season 6. His friends tend to give him little to no respect and he's always mocked for who he is by pretty much everyone. Not to mention he is constantly tormented by the Janitor who goes out of his way to make J.D.'s life miserable just because he can.
  • Camp Straight: It wouldn't be completely out of line to presume J.D. is gay after his flanderization. His apparently "gay" relationship with Turk has even been addressed as they both insist they don't feel that way at all, even in song.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Season 5 is the best example of this. At first he thinks he's funny, but the Janitor reveals to him that his interns are just kissing his ass (Not literally) by pretending his jokes are funny. Once they stopped kissing his ass, there was an awkward silence as he laughed at his own terrible joke.
  • Character Tics:: He tilts his head and stares off to the side when he flies into a daydream.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: One of his most consistent traits is that J.D. simply cannot walk away when someone's in trouble. Dr Cox admitted once that the reason why he first took an interest in J.D. was because he actually cares about his patients.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Almost constantly drifting off into daydreams, only to snap out of it with a strange comment. Lampshaded later in the series when we see what it's like for other characters to watch him during these bits, with them often becoming bemused or annoyed at having to wait for him to drift back into reality.
  • Cool Teacher: Deconstructed in Season 5 when J.D. ends up showing favortism towards the worst intern and breaking his own rules and gets called out on it by Dr. Cox, after which J.D. does the right thing. Reconstructed in Season 8 when J.D. is finally mature enough to be a tough but fair mentor and he continually pushes Denise to be an even better doctor but doesn't overstep his boundaries.
  • The Cutie: JD's childlike innocence and sensitivity is part of his eccentricity.
  • Demoted to Extra: In season 9, along with everyone who isn't Turk or Dr. Cox due to the focus shifting to Med Students.
  • Did I Say That Out Loud: He always comes out of a fantasy with some kind of comment that makes whoever he's talking to give him an odd stare. And half of the time when he's narrating, he ends up saying something that only makes sense to him.
  • Ditzy Genius: He is an extremely skilled Doctor with a very goofy personality.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride. He's so determined not to be seen as wrong that it backfires on him massively, like when he's too proud to admit that he's never heard of Jiggly Ball to the Janitor.
  • Flanderization: J.D. went from a genuine, though quirky, person into some kind of extremely girly super-geek manchild.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: The Responsible to Dan's Foolish.
  • Has a Type: J.D.'s romantic interests have a remarkable tendency to be blond, beautiful women with weird personality quirks. Elliot, his first love of the series, might have something to do with establishing that trend.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Turk; they've been friends since college and their friendship is so strong that Carla has said sometimes she's afraid that Turk will leave her for J.D. They're so close that most of the recurring or one shot characters have thought they were a gay couple at least once.
  • Hollywood Dateless: It's hard to believe a cute looking guy with a genuinely nice personality finds it so hard to get a date. Word of God says that Sacred Heart is in southern California and someone like J.D. makes up about half the male population so most likely the women of the surrounding town are just used to men like him.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Seriously, he's a very good-looking fellow that managed to score on lots of ladies, but he's still considered very nerdy, sometimes nerdier, than his fellow doctors.
  • Hypocrite: J.D.'s other fatal flaw, especially in regards to his brother.
  • Inner Monologue: J.D.'s inner monologue pretty much narrates the entire series, save a few episodes.
  • Inner Thoughts, Outsider Puzzlement: J.D.'s tendency to get lost in his thoughts has been noticed by everyone around him, and his tendency to sometimes finish his imagine spots by saying something he was thinking about that nobody else was privy to, or with some sort of reaction inappropriate for the situation, has left many others confused and/or exasperated. This trait was also deconstructed, since it was seen that J.D. becomes so lost in his imagine sports that he loses track of his surroundings, and is quite capable of getting himself into accidents or hurting himself if his friends don't look after him.
  • The Intern: During the first season, J.D. was Dr. Cox's Intern and followed him around to learn and apply medical knowledge. At the end of the first season, he became a Resident.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Has several effeminate mannerisms, such as keeping a "hug schedule." It's to the extent that Dr. Cox regularly calls him girl names.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: One of his catch phrases is "I'm a doctor,", and yet half the series he doubts himself or Dr. Cox forces him to doubt himself.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: J.D. wants to care so much about his patients, so it is justified
  • Jerkass Ball: For a Nice Guy, J.D. can be incredibly petty and self-absorbed.
    • In My Ocardial Infarction, he gets angry at Elliot just because she's better at train-wreck codes than him and tried to teach him how to deal with them. When Elliot reminds him that, for the past three years, JD has always been the golden boy while Elliot was the screw-up and now she's finally doing something well, JD outright tells her that "You're the one that's supposed to struggle — not me."
    • Towards the end of season 3, he admits his feelings to Elliot, causing her to break up with her current boyfriend Sean in order to come back to JD...who dumps her after just one episode, because he doesn't actually love her.
    • In My Inconvenient Truth, his brother Dan shows up, having turned his life around since the last time he appeared thanks to some harsh truths from J.D. As a gift to say thanks, he gives J.D. a car - J.D's reply is to smash the windshield in and tell Dan that he's supposed to be the loser in the family.
    • In season 5 he's a jerk to Keith for no apparent reason. He was probably jealous of him for being a good-looking/competent doctor and because he was dating Elliot, even if JD had no apparent feelings for her at the moment.
    • He and Turk repeatedly pick on another doctor (Hooch) with various pranks, just because they want to see his "crazy" reactions and find it funny.
  • Keet: As close as a non-anime character can get.
  • The Klutz: He gets hurt for physical comedy more than any other character, and sometimes his incidents border on Amusing Injuries. His girlfriend Julie was even more clumsy than he is.
  • Loving a Shadow: In Season 3, he pines after Elliot when she gets a stable boyfriend, and does everything he can to break them up so she can be with him. Once he actually gets Elliot, he realizes he doesn't love her. Danni accurately points out that he has a tendency to idealize women who can't possibly meet his impossible standards.
  • Magnetic Hero: Dr. Cox describes him as this because despite all of his flaws, J.D. cares deeply about his patients and his friends and it shows in his work and it draws people in, Dr. Cox included.
  • Manchild: Definitely becomes this after his flanderization. He slowly grows out of it after a talk with Turk after his son is born.
  • Manly Tears: J.D. has cried on several occasions on screen, usually because a patient has died on him and it's hard for him to deal with, but he deals with it anyway.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Elliot's Masculine Girl.
  • The McCoy: A Lot of the time. He is extremely compassionate and genuinely cares about his patients.
  • The Mentor: Becomes this for Denise in Season 8.
  • Morality Chain: Becomes this to Doctor Cox after he becomes Chief of Medicine after Dr. Kelso tells him that the Chief always needs someone to remind him that the patients come first.
  • Mr. Imagination: He narrates to himself and has fantasies at the oddest moments, whether it's because of his narration or because someone's talking to him about something.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Turk and J.D. can sense whenever the other has hooked up. In fact, they even have a Sex-Gong that they ring to let the other one know, even if they are several miles away.
  • Naïve Newcomer: On first coming to Sacred Heart.
  • The Nicknamer: He gives all of his interns nicknames. He also really loves receiving nicknames, even insulting ones.
  • Not So Above It All: Because of his friendly, lovable personality, he comes off as the most innocent of the main characters, but he's actually quite self absorbed and prone to jerkish moments like everyone else.
  • Only Known by Initials: "J.D". He accidentally introduces himself as "Johnny" to Molly once and then when it sticks he berates himself because he hates Johnny.
  • Perma-Stubble: During Season 8. He even lampshades it by noting to Elliot how he's grown more mature since they last dated by growing a beard. By the time Season 9 starts, he goes back to being clean-shaven.
  • Photographic Memory: His gift to Dr Cox when he was leaving Sacred Heart was a giant book of Every. Single. Rant. that Cox had ever given him over the course of several years, almost all of them off the cuff as well of course.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: J.D.'s first onscreen discussion with Turk was about rap music and whether he can say the N word if he's singing along to a song and the word is in the song. He's not allowed to. And on several occasions, he's tried to act black and it doesn't work well.
  • Pungeon Master: J.D. makes really awkward puns, mainly from Season 5 onwards.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: He eventually develops into this in Seasons 8 and 9 when he gets his own interns to take care of, something he learned from Cox and directly comments on.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Delivers an epic one in Season 2, but is often on the receiving end of them, mostly from Dr. Cox or Carla.
    • Gives an understated but no less devastated one to Kim in "My Urologist", which actually causes her to rethink her stance on staying neutral on everything.
  • Salt and Pepper: With J.D. being "Vanilla Bear"
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: He's a foil to primarily two characters:
    • The sweet Sensitive Guy to Dr. Cox's tough guy Manly Man.
    • He's very nerdy and In Touch with His Feminine Side, while his Black Best Friend Turk comes across as the typical jock who likes basketball (Turk can be geeky and sensitive too, but not nearly as much as J.D.).
    • He's also the Sensitive Guy to Dan's Manly Man.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: The Janitor for the entire series (one-sided on the Janitor's part), and briefly Keith in season 5 (one-sided on JD's part).
  • Stalker Without a Crush: He sometimes brushes up against this in his pursuit of Dr Cox's attention, for instance he once admitted to infiltrating his Superbowl party by disguising himself as a pizza delivery guy.
  • This Loser Is You: J.D. doesn't really suck at life, but he does symbolize problems and fears everyone of us has.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: If he could just get that hug from Cox...
  • White Sheep: Both his dad Sam and brother Dan had extreme Manchild qualities, but while good people they simply did not aspire to anything and achieved nothing. Dan later confessed to Dr. Cox that everyone knew J.D. would be something great and urged him to take the role of Mentor seriously because J.D. had no one in his family to look up to.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Changes rather quickly when confronted with reality.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Elliot. After a while, they do.
  • With Friends Like These...: No matter what he does, his friends almost always end up right so he can learn An Aesop. The worst example is "My Perspective" from Season 6. J.D. just found out that the previous episode that Kim miscarried their child and they broke up, he was homeless and he wanted his friends to help him through it like he'd helped them all, but they're all so self-absorbed and he had to "learn" the lesson of not asking for help with his problems.

     Elliot Reid 

Elliot Reid (Sarah Chalke)

Elliot: My therapist thinks my trouble in bed stems from a basic fear of intimacy. But I just think it's just because any type of repetitive motion makes me nauseous. Oh, and since I was a little kid, I've always had nightmares about being crushed.
Carla: That poor shrink.
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scrubs_elliot_4536.jpg
Neurotic but sweet.

Elliot is another promising young doctor, who initially showed signs of fear and low self-esteem as an intern, but has later grown to become a confident, yet extremely odd, doctor in the series. She has a tendency to ramble on about her issues as well as stories about her life, but she's extremely intelligent and takes her profession seriously when she must. Due to a fear of commitment, she has a constant on-again-off-again relationship with J.D.


  • Adorkable: Like JD, she's a pretty good combination of this in her early years. She was very shy, short in stature, and had a tendency to cry under pressure; but her determination to become a doctor kept her going. In the later seasons, she shows shades of this, but it's overshadowed by her confidence and neurosis.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: She's stated her love of ponies and even rode one into work once, though whether it was a flashback or a fantasy was unclear.
  • Ambiguously Bi: She has an occasional habit of flirting with other women when sufficiently drunk, and was apparently very close to her lesbian room-mate in college.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Never assume that a little girl from Connecticut would never fight dirty.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Elliot is this in most, if not all, of her relationships.
  • Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Elliot is a Republican and when she found out Keith was too, they made out and had sex in a closet.
  • Boss's Unfavorite Employee: In the first two seasons she was this to Kelso who liked to torment her and undermine her self-esteem, and it becomes a plot point in the season 2 finale. This is averted in later seasons, after she gains more confidence.
  • Break the Cutie: Mid season two her dad cut her off financially and she had to fend for herself for the first time in her life. This took a toll on her and life didn't start looking up until about season five when she took a private practice job.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite her various flaws and neurosies, Elliot is a competent doctor who impressed a private practice doctor so much that he gave her a job.
  • Butt-Monkey: Even more than JD in the early seasons. She was very awkward, always screwing up and Dr. Kelso treated her worse then everyone else except Doug and he made it his mission to try and break her.
  • Character Development: Starts out very good, but she suddenly becomes a complete foil of what she used to be. Note how she dresses as she becomes more confident.
  • Control Freak: Not as much as Carla but she has her moments, especially when it comes to her wedding in season 6. It becomes a plot point in the episode "My Rabbit".
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While she's a neurotic mess, Elliot's a skilled doctor and a competent fighter. Apple thieves, after all.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: "STOP FINISHING MY AWESOME JOKES!" (J.D.'s "Oh my god" was a genuine reaction by Zach Braff, who did not expect her to get so shrill).
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: She has slipped and fell on several occasions, she gets hurt almost as often as J.D. does.
  • Demoted to Extra: In season 9, along with everyone who isn't Turk or Dr. Cox due to the focus shifting to Med Students.
  • Ditzy Genius: While she's a smart, well-educated doctor, Dr. Cox calls her "Barbie" because of her "ditzy blonde" tendencies.
  • Drama Queen: Self confessed.
  • Extreme Doormat: She is accused of being one by Jordan in the first season. She grows out of it after her Character Development.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: A childhood of harvesting apples gave her enormous finger strength, enough to lay out JD with a single poke to the chest.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Carla. When the series started, they started out on the wrong foot and insult one another a great deal. After the first few episodes, they had a casual friendship and in Season 2, they became much closer friends after bonding over insecurities and they were best friends for the rest of the show.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Her father named her "Elliot" because he wanted to have a son, which is odd because she has four brothers. Her desire to please him is part of what leads her to become a doctor (widely seen as a man's profession).
  • Genki Girl: She was for the most part of the first few seasons highly enthusiastic and quick-talking, tempered with bouts of self doubt. Her enthusiasm was more of a mask. She was very neurotic on the inside, due to bad childhood experience, overbearing parents, etc. She could be considered a Genki Girl later on, the way she pushes her boyfriends about (sometimes literally).
  • Girliness Upgrade: Beginning in the third season. This was due in part to Executive Meddling (as NBC wanted a Hotter and Sexier female lead to better attract the coveted young male viewer demographic), although in-universe it's justified as her getting a makeover to gain needed self-confidence.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Because of her privileged upbringing, she's more on the girly side (just look at her room), is occasionally spoiled, obsessed with her wedding since when she was a child, she likes ponies, and in early seasons she was also shy and sensitive. It helps that in season 3 she starts wearing Hotter and Sexier clothes. She is also a surprisingly strong fighter, is proud of her Tomboyish Name, and has no problem being One of the Boys with JD and Turk.
  • Hollywood Nerd: Despite her short appearance and shyness in the first two seasons, she still looks rather good-looking despite belonging in a group of "hospital nerds".
  • Hospital Hottie: She's number 12 on the 20 hottest female staff members at Sacred Heart and has the most bra scenes.
  • Hypocrite:
    • She was understandably pissed off with J.D for dumping her at Carla and Turk's rehearsal dinner after convincing her to get back together with him, but not only did she torment J.D for a long time after that even when he apologised and tried to make things better, she did the exact same thing to Keith several seasons later by breaking off their engagement, but she had the nerve to play the victim when Keith refused to forgive her.
    • She gets mad at J.D for sleeping with Melody, her old sorority sister, but she slept with Dan and told J.D her sex life was none of his business when he confronted her over it.
    • Elliot is also very intolerant of the personal flaws of other people, yet she constantly brings her personal problems to work. For example, Dr. Kelso lampshades in Season Two that she's barely keeping up with the middle of the pack despite studying just as hard as everyone else, yet she bitches about Dr. Cox not mentoring her while Dr. Cox is still struggling to deal with his own, rather more significant issues of Jordan lying to him about him not being Jack's father. She's also completely willing to dump Molly as her new mentor figure when she realises Molly has awful taste in men, yet Elliot spent the previous season constantly trying to ditch her responsibilities at the hospital to see Sean, or couldn't bring herself to date Paul because she was embarrassed about his job.
  • I Knew It!: In universe. She even has a dance for it.
  • Important Haircut: Elliot's "new me" has different hair!
  • Insistent Terminology: Due to being very uncomfortable with various sexual terms. For starters, she uses "bajingo" instead of "vagina".
  • Jerkass Has a Point: She handles things quite badly with Carla when she chastises her for an error she made and breaks the cardinal hospital rule—Do not piss off the nurses—but she's still right—Carla screwed up and that could have had serious ramifications for the patient.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Masculine Girl to JD's Feminine Boy. Also to her Extreme Doormat boyfriend Keith in season 5 and 6, which is lampshaded by Kelso.
  • Moment Killer: When J.D. and Kim were home from a concert and about to get intimate, she burst into the apartment and ruined the mood. She's referred to this by name.
  • Morality Pet: She is this to the Janitor.
  • Motor Mouth: Talks at the speed of light whenever she gets upset/excited.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Very much so. The writers even claimed they tried to think up ways for Elliot to be in just her bra at least once a season.
  • Nervous Wreck: Anxious, fast-talking, low self-esteem (in early seasons), and often a Mood-Swinger.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: She has four brothers (who never appear on the show) and no sisters.
  • Prone to Tears: In the early seasons she was very sensitive, emotional, and was often hiding in a closet to cry.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Elliot trips over and hurts herself alot, especially from Season 2 onwards. She's the main one besides J.D. that is involved in the physical comedy.
  • Tomboyish Name: Elliot's proud of having a mostly 'male' name, to the point that she's annoyed when another member of staff, Veronica, changes her name to 'Ronni' not long after Elliot arrives.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Her behavior in Season 3, where she's dating Sean, then hops into bed with J.D, who is still in love with her, only to go running straight back to Sean when he unexpectedly turns up. The fact she accuses him of not being a good friend to her when he is angry about the way she treated him is the lowest point. It didn't stop there either in the later seasons with how she treated Keith during the short time they were engaged.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Complains in Season 5 that Dr. Cox "has always been a total bastard" to her, ignoring the fact he punches Kelso out for mistreating her, made her and J.D co-chief residents so they would learn to get on and various other Pet the Dog moments. Not to mention, he arguably has been even worse to J.D than Elliot. Also does it in the later seasons too. It reaches the point where she starts saying she got where she is all on her own with no help from anyone.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Frick!" "Bajingo" (meaning "vagina") and "Kaboodle" in one episode for ass. Strangely, an early episode has her say "vagina" with no problem.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Her dad, though she eventually learns to rely on her own self-respect.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With J.D. After a while, they do.
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     Christopher Turk 

Christopher Turk (Donald Faison)

"You know, I love how kids of divorce really have the market cornered on family dysfunction. But let me share with you a typical Thanksgiving at the Turk household: It starts with my mother yelling at my sister for yelling at my grandmother who's yelling at the television screen, which happens to be the microwave. And then my militant brother Jabari - formerly Bob - gives my father attitude for using the word black, even though he's referring to the turkey. Which, by the way, only got burnt because instead of turning the oven off, my bi-polar aunt Leslie tried to shove her head in it. But you know what we do? We kiss... and we hug... and we apologize for all the things we said... 'Cause a month later, we gonna get together and do it again at Christmas!"
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scrubs_turk_5123.jpg

JD's Black Best Friend, who JD has known since they were roommates in college, and Carla's husband. He's a very skilled surgeon but his arrogance sometimes exceeds his talent. His attitude does come across as a typical jock, but he takes his work seriously and is atypical as a surgeon in that he strives to get to know his patients. He loves basketball, video games, using slang, and making sweet love with his wife.


  • Accidental Misnaming: Kelso thinks his name is Turk Turkleton, which is why he calls him Dr. Turkleton all the time. This was revealed after Kelso got really drunk at Turk's wedding.
  • Bald of Awesome: In one episode, Turk confesses to a patient that he shaves his head because he's going bald.
  • Black and Nerdy: He is both a black nerd (Or "blerd", as he calls it) and one of the show's cooler characters. He actually referred to his cousin as one. One episode had him as a temporary medical resident after breaking his arm and he wore Nerd Glasses to appear nerdier.
  • Black Best Friend: Subverted in the later seasons, where he's nearly as much of a geek as JD is.
  • Book Dumb: He was a C student in high school, but managed to get into medical school and eventually makes head surgeon. He explains that by saying that when he realized he wanted to be a surgeon, he got his head in the game.
  • But Not Too Foreign: He's 1/8 Japanese.
  • Catchphrase: "That's what I'm talkin' about!"
  • Character Development: Turk is probably the only character to remain consistent throughout the entire series. His main development was in becoming noticeably more responsible thanks to having to cope with his diabetes, being married to Carla, and becoming a father. He doesn't have nearly the same level of character arc that J.D., Elliot or even Dr. Cox have.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Occasionally he's this to JD. Mostly he just joins in.
  • Competition Freak: One of his defining traits, not only when it comes to his career but also other not-so-important activities such as basketball.
  • Dented Iron: He gets diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in the fourth season, which shook him up because he has always been very physical and athletic and now has to worry more about his health and diet. He also loses one testicle after his daughter Izzy Groin Attacked him.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: When the Todd finds out that Turk's middle name is Duncan, JD claims it's because Turk's dad loved donuts and he tells JD to stop saying that.
  • Happy Dance: Comes in several named subcategories as well.
  • Henpecked Husband: Carla was always bossing him around even before they get married and it's lampshaded constantly.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With J.D., they've been friends since college and their friendship is so strong that Carla has said sometimes she's afraid that Turk will leave her for J.D. They're so close that most of the recurring or one shot characters have thought they were a gay couple at least once.
  • Hot-Blooded: He's passionate, determined and one of the hammiest characters.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Actually Truth in Television. Studies have shown that surgeons who play video games improve their reaction times and dexterity.
  • I Shall Taunt You: If Turk wins a bet or an argument, he will dance in your face.
  • Large Ham: He has his moments. After beating Carla in an arm wrestling match: "DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU GET, CARLA, DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU MESS WITH THE WARRIOR!!"
  • Last-Name Basis: Even with his wife. But then, that's nobody's business but the Turks'.
  • Lovable Jock: The first impression of him from co-workers is that he is a Jerk Jock, which is, of course, wrong.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: A plot point in "My Dirty Secret." He's used to having frequent sex, and when Carla decides to wait until their wedding night to have any more, he's not happy.
  • Manchild: Has his moments, especially when he's goofing around with JD.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Mostly black, but 1/8th Japanese.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Turk is really fit and is shirtless the most out of the guys outside of Todd.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Turk and JD can sense whenever the other has hooked up. In fact, they even have a Sex-Gong that they ring to let the other one know, even if they are several miles away. He can also tell when JD and Elliot have been hooking up by the way they nod at each other and when two male orderlies are getting together just from a look.
  • Only Sane Man: When he and JD are not being Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • Perma-Stubble: His shaved head has this.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Turk used to take ballet; the other surgeons were a bit surprised at first then give him a pass when he waves this off as agility training for sports but give him crap about it when JD says that he not only enjoyed it but also loved wearing the tights.
  • Salt and Pepper: With Turk being "Chocolate Bear"
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to JD's Sensitive Guy. JD is very nerdy and In Touch with His Feminine Side, while Turk comes across as the typical jock who likes basketball (Turk can be geeky and sensitive too, but not nearly as much as J.D.).
  • Small Name, Big Ego: At the beginning of the series his confidence outweighed his actual skill, it was humbling to learn that several other surgical interns were actually better than him (such as The Todd). In fact, it was only J.D.'s encouragement to spend more time with his patients that put him good enough to get a Surgical Attending position. But by the end his leadership ability became his greatest asset, nearly everyone in the hospital nominates him to become the new Chief of Surgery.
  • The Spock: No matter how often he appears to care about his patients, he'll still say he works better without emotion or attachment.
  • Surfer Dude: Probably the first impression one gets from him

     Perry Cox 

Percival "Perry" Ulysses Cox (John C McGinley)

"I did it, I'm a genius, I'm a huge brain in a ripped-up body, I am Jesus H. Cox M.D..."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scrubs_cox_1717.jpg
Not your average Mentor Archetype

JD's mentor (much to his chagrin) and resident doctor of Sacred Heart. He comes across as a typical Dr. Jerk with a huge ego to match. However, he believes his hard teachings mold interns to competent doctors and he cares more about treating patients that deserve help rather than the budget of the hospital. He has a tendency to rant on about anything that ticks him off even slightly.


  • Abusive Parents: He once states that his father's primary way of showing him affection was intentionally missing when he threw bottles at his head.
  • Aesop Amnesia: You'd think he'd learn to respect Turk's skills after he performed pre-natal surgery on Cox's daughter, but Turk still has to earn his respect multiple times
  • Alcoholic Parent: His father was this and often took it out on him and his sister. It was so bad that it's difficult for Cox to be around his sister because it reminds him of those experiences.
  • The Alcoholic: It's a major part of his character that he does drink a lot. It really comes to the forefront in "My Fallen Idol." Jordan claims that Jack's first full sentence was "Daddy drinks a lot".
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Delivered by J.D. when Cox is talking to Ben at the event.
    • He also managed to deliver one to Jordan in an argument, which rendered her speechless and unable to come up with a proper retaliation. Needless to say, he was overjoyed.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • With Jordan. Zigzagged as it is stated early on that they both like being mean (to both each other and others). They really care for each other but still hate to admit it and given the personality of both of them, it's not that surprising.
    • He sometimes shows this towards JD, kinda. Especially the final episode, in which Cox defends JD from (set-up) false bad claims shows this.
    • With his sister, too. They spend the entirety of her episode arguing with each other, before he admits the reason for this isn't because of her newfound religion, it's because being around her reminds her of their lousy childhood, but he still loves her and wants her to be part of Jack's life.
  • Break the Haughty: Big time, in the episode "My Lunch".
  • Broken Ace: When Cox says he's the best, nobody disagrees with him, but he has some huge issues.
  • Brutal Honesty: The basis of much of his snark.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: This is actually a plot point in that he is too good of a doctor to get fired but he absolutely hates the bureaucracy of the hospital and jumping through hoops to get promotions that would get him anywhere besides a basic staff attending doctor. J.D. is the only person to make him understand that his attitude was getting in his own way and he slowly starts taking on leadership positions that let him make a difference rather than just complain about it.
  • Byronic Hero: He's a brilliant doctor and an excellent mentor to JD, but he's very anti-social, prefers to be miserable, and grew up with an abusive father with a drinking problem he inherited.
  • Character Development: He suffers the least amount of Flanderization in the series and manages to grow as a character while keeping his original nature.
  • Character Tics: His habit of touching his nose. John C. McGinley stated that this is an homage to Paul Newman's character in The Sting. He also holds his hands together behind his head whenever he's worried or stressed. This is lampshaded by Carla at one point where - after showing him that he's not reaching his patient - she asks if he wants to put his hands behind his head. He does. He also bumps his shoulder into people (usually J.D) after giving them a dressing-down. J.D once tried to do the same back to him and ended up getting knocked to the floor when Dr. Cox didn't budge.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He gives snarky one-liners when he isn't ranting.
  • Deuteragonist: In the earlier seasons, the show focused on his personal life and explored his issues a great deal as a contrast to J.D's.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Spends the first season pining away for Carla, but respecting her relationship with Turk enough to never make an advance to her. While she herself helps him get over it by the next season, for the rest of the series, a handful of occasional lines and scenes indicate that there are still some lingering feelings on his part.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy: He really likes his appearance and one episode explores this, it never becomes a problem though because the right level of ego is important to his success and he knows it.
  • Dr. Jerk: He's a fantastic doctor, but he has a short fuse and gives insulting speeches to a lot of his patients and to his fellow staff members.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Percival, which is usually shortened to Perry.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: Lampshaded in one episode.
    Carla: You don't like Cox?
    Jordan: No, I love Cox.
    The Todd: [appearing from nowhere] Best conversation ever.
    Jordan: That's the problem.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: His first, middle and last name are all odd in their own way. Percival "Perry" Ulysses Cox.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Sometimes gets "Per-Per" thrown at him, usually from J.D. or Jordan.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In "My Drama Queen," he reprimands JD for thinking that one of his quips had homophobic undertones.
    Cox: I would never compare you to the gays. I like the gays; I like their music, I like their sense of style, I especially like what they've done with Halloween.
    • He calls Dan out on sleeping with J.D's ex when their father died and tells him he's the worst brother ever.
  • Flanderization: His treatment of JD. In early seasons he made a few token gestures of appreciation to J.D. for his work, making it clear the Jerkass behavior was to push him to do his best. From season 6 onwards it becomes very hard to see if he even likes or respects J.D. at all (he gets better in the last episode of season 8, "My Finale").
  • Freudian Excuse: For having Abusive Parents, he developed incredibly well, and one may forgive him any Kick the Dog scenes.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • With the Janitor thanks to their mutual dislike of JD and Kelso as well as their snarky personalities. However, the Janitor still has a vendetta against doctors and Cox is included.
    • With Dr. Kelso. For two people that can't stand each other, they sure have lunch together or hang out in the break room together a lot. After Kelso retires, he and Cox go from this to just secret friends. Eventually everyone finds out, so now they're just good friends.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Downplayed. JD and Carla like him (especially JD), but Elliot and Turk are not too fond of him most of the time although they respect him as a doctor (and vice versa Dr. Cox can't stand them but reluctantly admits they are good at their jobs).
  • God Complex: Look at his character quote. He even admits it.
  • Good Is Not Nice: He'll save your life if you're a patient and help teach you if you're an intern, but he is very abrasive and has little patience for most people.
  • Good Parents: Despite his many flaws, most of the time he's a fantastic father for Jack and if he's not, he works on being a better father.
  • Grumpy Bear: Always pessimistic and in a bad mood which fits his character's attitude.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He gets the Hair-Trigger Temper when the plot demands it, or otherwise he's just a Grumpy Bear. His temper is a plot point in the episode "My Mirror Image".
  • Has a Type: Has a thing for strong women who don't take any of his crap. He prefers them brunette, but is happy to settle for a blonde ball buster.
    Jordan: Let me guess, let me guess - dark haired, domineering, doesn't take any of your crap?
  • Heroic BSoD: "My Lunch", due to three patients dying due to organ transplants from a woman infected with rabies. The third patient hit him the hardest since he wasn't in a desperate state and could have waited a little longer. Dr. Cox spends the next episode just drinking on the couch and only says 20 words the whole episode and most of them are in flashbacks.
  • Hey, You!
    • Kelso = Bobbo or Bobcat
    • Elliot = Barbie
    • Turk = Gandhi
    • JD = Newbie, every girl name in existence (Except for the names of female characters in the show.) On at least one occasion he literally called JD "Girl's Name". And on one occasion he calls JD by the names of famous dogs after some rumors of bestiality.
  • Hollywood Atheist: He constantly mocks religion and acts like he's superior because he doesn't believe in religion. He himself lampshades this on several occasions. Despite this, he often talks directly to God in his rants, including thanking God for having his back even though he technically didn't believe he exists. At one point, he becomes determined to convince Laverne that everything is a coincidence and, typical to Cox, pushes it way too far. Laverne gives an epic Shut Up, Hannibal! speech telling him why she needs there to be a God and a bigger reason behind the things that happen to patients. He softly offers an apology and stops pushing the issue.
  • Insufferable Genius: Is there a moment when he doesn't brag about his skills as a doctor? Let it be granted, because he really is that good.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • He frequently lambasts people with harsh but true facts, for instance he lays into Elliot when she wants to ditch a severely ill patient to go on a date by pointing out he's rarely at home, himself, despite having a newborn son and keeps missing out on Jack's first moments, but that doesn't matter - the hospital comes first.
    • He rips into J.D and Turk for showing at the hospital drunk when they were on-call and sends them home in disgust.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite his attitude and speaking to everyone—coworker and patient alike—with disrespect, Dr. Cox genuinely wants to help people and when he's incapable of doing so it affects him strongly. Also, the finale of season 8 revealed he truly did like JD after all, though he admits it when he thinks JD isn't around.
  • Kindness Button: Despite being an abrasive individual, Dr. Cox does have standards and when he sees someone around him cry (especially if it's because of him), he usually goes out of his way to make them feel better. When he meets Denise, an annoying paramedic who never stops talking, he gives her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before realising that the son she kepts talking about is Dead All Along, so he softly apologises and brings around his son Jack for her to spend some time with. When he and Dr. Kelso decide to break Molly's indominable cheerfulness, they take pleasure in it until she starts to cry, and Dr. Cox immediately owns up to messing with her on purpose, and when Dr. Kelso publically nearly drives Elliot to tears, Dr. Cox responds by punching him in the face and offering Elliot some encouragement before going home to spend time with his son.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: He's a very bitter and miserable guy, but if he's your doctor, he will do everything in his power to save your life.
  • Large Ham: He gives very enthusiastic speeches about how amazing he is and makes sure everyone hears them.
  • The Last DJ: In some ways he's a deconstruction of this trope: he lives for his job and has far too much integrity to kiss ass and play the games needed to climb ranks in the hospital. That in turn leaves him locked out of any chance to change things, and the more he complains about how the hospital is run or goes outside the rules to help patients, the closer he comes to actually getting fired for good and being unable to help patients at all. It takes a whole range of people trying to give him wake up calls and several opportunities falling into his lap before he realizes that he can get himself into a position of authority and improve certain things without compromising his integrity.
  • Last-Name Basis: Usually referred to by his last name.
  • The McCoy: A lot of the time, especially when with Kelso.
  • Meaningful Name: He's named after a knight of the Round Table and a famous Greek hero, which is fitting, given JD's idolization of him. "Percival" is particularly meaningful, given his Knight In Sour Armor tendencies, and his commitment to helping patients at any cost.
  • Mr. Fanservice: And he's very much aware of it. Off camera, McGinley worked quite hard on it and even gave advice to other actors.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • He's hit with this hard in "My Lunch", when he accidentally kills three of his patients when they receive organ donations from Jill Tracy, who had rabies.
    • When he repeatedly challenges Laverne's religion, only for her to hit him back with a particularly poignant Shut Up, Hannibal!. He gently apologises and drops the issue.
  • Narcissist: Dr. Cox admires himself in every reflecting surfaces.
  • The Nicknamer: He gives all of the main cast except for Carla a nickname that he prefers to call them by and rarely ever calls them by their real name, you can actually count on one hand how often Dr.Cox calls them by their real name outside of fantasies. See Hey, You! for what he calls people.
  • No Respect Guy: His perception.
  • Odd Name Out: Perry is the only one in the Cox-Sullivan family whose name does not start with J, countering his ex-wife Jordan, and their kids Jack and Jennifer.
  • Parental Substitute: To JD. Supposedly, he hates it. Although from a certain point of view one wonders if he knows he's not the best role model for JD and is encouraging him to not see him as one. However, Dan (JD's older brother) confronts Dr. Cox at the end of the episode and pretty much says that despite the tough-guy act, Dr. Cox geuninely enjoys being looked up to by the newbies and being their idol, while also telling him to take that responsability seriously. Jordan also tells Elliot in the fourth season that it really bothers him that she no longer goes running to him for help as much as she used to. Arguably, he really does enjoy getting to steer people on the right path.
    Cox: (exasperated) "Let’s break down the kid’s support system, shall we? He’s got me, an emotionally-crippled narcissist, and he’s got YOU (JD's brother Dan), an emotionally-crippled narcissist who’s soaking in a tub of what by now has to be mostly your own urine! […] And I have got to believe that the two of us together, TOGETHER Dan, we can make it at least halfway to one legitimate adult!"
  • Perma-Stubble: In season 5, he has facial hair for the majority of the season which turns into a Beard of Sorrow when he has a Heroic BSoD due to him accidentally killing four patients. He shaves it off once J.D. helps him recover and bounce back.
  • Pet the Dog: Whenever the heart of gold shows itself, Dr. Cox has one of these moments, mostly with J.D. or Carla.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: The tiniest thing can set Dr. Cox off into a rant, mostly in the earlier seasons though.
  • Reality Ensues: Dr. Cox's tendency for snarking and insulting his patients and everyone around him is detrimental to his personal life and career and outside of J.D. and Carla (And even they get sick of him) and Jordan (Who got back with him because she was pregnant with Jack), no one actually likes him. They sure respect him a great deal as a doctor, but they don't like him.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: The exact reason why he hates Kelso.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to JD's Sensitive Guy.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Mainly justified in this approach; he wants his interns to learn, as quickly as possible, that lives depend on them, and that eventually they must rely on their own skills rather than outside assistance. He does have his limits and will step in when the interns really needs his help (which he decides).
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Hugh Jackman. Also Dr. Kelso, especially in the early seasons.
  • Stepford Snarker: He's incredibly snarky and one of the funniest characters on the show, but as it turns out, he's incredibly broken and miserable and has very little to be happy for and even after he gets back together with Jordan and they start a family, he's still broken.
  • Stern Teacher: To the interns, and especially to his med students in season 9.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: While he was always a jerk, he still cared enough about J.D. that he didn't even wait for J.D. to come to him for support about his dad dying before attempting to help J.D. deal with it. But in Season 6 he suddenly seems to outright hate J.D., mocking him for having a condition where he passes out when he poops and refusing to help J.D. get through a difficult time because he doesn't consider it nearly as important as what he went through in season 5. He gets better, but this is definitely the lowest moment for the character.
  • Tough Love: This is part of his Sink-or-Swim Mentor shtick.
  • Ultimate Job Security: He's a major Dr. Jerk to the extent that House may have been Inspired by... him. Except that Dr. Cox has been disciplined. He even got suspended from the hospital in the fifth episode. The only reason he hasn't been fired is his ex-wife is on the hospital's board of directors. Plus he's a damned good doctor. And Kelso admitted that he needs him in order to balance out his own focus on the bottom line on occasions when an uninsured patient really does need care.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: His response in Season 6 to J.D. helping him get through his accidental killing of three patients is to mock J.D. for being homeless and having a condition where he passes out. He also shows no sympathy to J.D. for being lied to about his baby being miscarried.
  • Verbal Tic: He reeee-hee-hee-hee-hee-ally stretches out words when he's ranting. Also uses "there" as a filler word quite often.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Becomes this with Kelso in Season 8, since they have gone from arch enemies to friends.
    • He more or less has this with J.D. and Carla, who he snarks at a great deal and Carla always snarks back and J.D. sometimes snarks back, but when they desperately need him, Cox pulls through for them.
    • More Co-Workers then Best Buds with Turk, but Turk is the only surgeon that Cox respects and trusts and they bond over being fathers and over their mutual interests in sports and being competitive. They insult each other so very very often though.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: J.D. desperately wants his approval, which pisses Cox off a lot. Subverted with his father though, one of the happiest day of Cox's life was when his father died.
  • With Friends Like These...: With J.D., he hurls abuse and snarks heaps at him and 99.5% of the time, he never uses his real name. But at the same time, Dr. Cox greatly respects him and considers him to have the potential to be an amazing doctor.

     Carla Espinosa 

Carla Espinosa (Judy Reyes)

"Well, you're a surgeon. So, you've got the god-complex, the cockiness, the whole "married to the job" thing. You're cute, but you're very, very aware of it. You have no idea what I'm like, so all of your feelings for me are coming from down there [points at his crotch]. But most of all, I'm looking for the real thing; and you're nothing but a little boy who's not used to being told "no." So there's a bunch of reasons. Pick your favorite."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scrubs_carla_5541.jpg
Just breathes Team Mom

She's the Spicy Latina who's the resident nurse of Sacred Heart and wife of Turk. Carla molded JD and Elliot over the years with her tendency to be there for them, which has resulted in their friendship. She can be rather hotheaded to people and feel like her friends are overwhelming her with her quirks, but she cares about them and it shows.


  • All Women Are Prudes: Zig-Zagged. Later seasons imply she wants sex far less often than Turk does, while earlier seasons imply she had a very active sex life before meeting him, because "I was single, I had needs." Elliot even asks her if "jumping" a patient is unprofessional, to which Carla agrees; when Elliot asks if Carla ever has, she replies "Lots of times."
  • Almighty Janitor: Even before she had a position of power as a head nurse, she had considerable sway over goings on at the hospital. Several episodes showed that nurses, despite being lower ranked than doctors and getting less respect from the general public, can make or break a hospital. Because Carla is held in high esteem among her fellow nurses, she had far more power than one would guess, and even Kelso at his worst never tried to pull rank with her and always made sure to curry favor with the nurses.
  • Ambiguously Bi: In "My First Step" she expresses interest in her and Turk having a threesome with a pharmaceutical rep played by Heather Locklear. Though she appears embarrassed when Turk actually does ask Locklear's character for a threesome.
    • In "My Private Practice Guy" when Elliot puts on a sexy show for a patient suffering from sexually aroused narcolepsy, Carla says, "Now that's sexy".
    • In "My Cold Shower" she has an Imagine Spot of being married to Elliot and says "Life would be so much simpler".
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: There's an episode where her inability to tell jokes that are funny is one of the central focuses. Note that this doesn't mean she can't be funny: as Cox says, when she's being sarcastic or getting up on her high horse she's hilarious, and has beaten even him in snarkiness. Having to tell a joke with a setup, punchline, and needing good delivery, however, is not one of her skills.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: If Turk so much as looks at another woman, she goes nuts and yells at him.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: To everyone (Turk, J.D., Elliot, Dr. Cox), as to be expected from the Only Sane Woman and Team Mom.
  • Control Freak: She tends to be very controlling and dominating in her relationships, whether those are sexual/romantic relationships or her friendships with others. This includes a willingness to use sex as a weapon in a romantic relationship.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She's the snarkiest character after Dr. Cox, Jordan, and Kelso. It's usually while criticizing J.D., Turk, Elliot or Dr. Cox.
  • The Dreaded: Comedic example, but not even the Janitor has the guts to say anything bad about her, despite the fact that he's twice her size, could easily snap her like a twig, and is the the trope namer for Almighty Janitor. (Keep in mind the Janitor once snapped his fingers and a bunch of the custodial staff showed up out of nowhere, grabbed Dr. Cox, then left him Bound and Gagged in the morgue after Cox crossed the Janitor. Despite having that sort of power, he treads lightly around Carla.) Even Kelso from the early seasons, before he was softened up, avoided getting into a direct confrontation with her, especially when it pertained to work matters.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: She feels the Doctors take the Nursing staff for granted and most of the time she's right and often points it out.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride. Carla is a very proud person and is also certain that she is (almost) always right and has the unique insights that other people need in order to straighten out their lives. This has resulted in her ego backfiring on her on several occasions.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Elliot. When the series started, they started out on the wrong foot and insult one another a great deal. After the first few episodes, they had a casual friendship and in Season 2, they became much closer friends after bonding over insecurities and they were best friends for the rest of the show.
  • Flanderization: Her trait of giving advice got flanderized as time passed. In the early seasons, it was to help struggling interns, residents, or even friends that needed her guidance; in the later seasons, she forcibly gives her opinions whenever she has the chance and once admitted that taking the moral high ground "is like crack for [her]".
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: In one of JD's dream sequences, as a Shout-Out to Mortal Kombat and X-Men.
  • Gossipy Hens: With Laverne.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Carla has a tendency to mix English and Spanish together at times.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She'll go off at someone for their quirks at the drop of a hat for the slightest thing, like J.D. and Turk goofing around in their spare time.
  • Hospital Hottie: She managed to get it on with Turk in the first episode and was crushed on by Dr. Cox so she definitely has a hot factor to her.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While very bossy and stubborn (and becomes more of a Control Freak over the time), she's also caring and protective of her friends as well as the interns, sticking up for them when they make mistakes.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: At the drop of a hat. Elliot can do this to Turk just by being Carla's friend.
  • Mama Bear: So much so that she once admitted that being the mother figure to the rest of the cast was "like crack" to her.
  • Morality Pet: The only person Dr. Cox treats with anything resembling respect.
  • My Beloved Smother: While supportive and mothering to the new interns, Carla admits she can go overboard, particularly when she senses that they're outgrowing her. Her slowness in recognizing JD's need to stand on his own two feet causes one of their few major spats.
  • The Nicknamer: Calls JD "Bambi" sometimes, mostly in early seasons.
  • Oblivious to Love: In season 1 she was oblivious about Dr. Cox's crush on her.
  • Only Friend: To Dr. Cox, at the hospital. Aside from Ben, she's the only one who he'll call a friend without hesitation.
  • Only Sane Woman: The sanest of the principal cast and mostly everyone else who works at the hospital.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In-universe. For a nurse Carla has a lot of power in the hospital, and this was BEFORE she was head nurse. Lampshaded by JD's monologue after one episode where the only doctors present were himself, Elliot and Turk.
    JD: (Inner Monologue while he, Elliot and Turk walk out the hospital) "Tonight we practically ran the hospital. But tomorrow, we'll go back to being the most under-appreciated people here."
    Camera goes past them and focuses on Carla.
    Carla: "Hey guys, wait up."
  • Parenting the Husband: When Carla first meets Turk's mom, she's creeped out by how similar they are.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She tends to hand these out to people somewhat regularly. "You know what your problem is?"
  • The Reliable One: At the hospital, she's Head Nurse and she has an amazing memory when it comes to the patients and what they've been given. In her personal life, she's more or less the den mother for J.D., Turk, and Elliot. She also keeps Elliot grounded and prevents Elliot's neuroses from screwing up her life.
  • Rightly Self-Righteous: If everyone else in the clinic wasn't as nuts as she viewed them, Carla's characterization would likely lean more as a Never My Fault Control Freak.
  • Sitcom Character Archetypes: The Sage. Rarer than Cox, but still apparent.
  • Spicy Latina: Get in her way or hurt her friends and she will give you a full dose of her temper.
  • Team Mom
    Carla: "You think I enjoy being den mother to all of you!?"
    (Everyone gives her a "Well duh" look)
    Carla: "Okay fine. It's like crack to me."
  • Women Are Wiser: Nine times out of ten, any problems that arise in their relationship are caused by Turk. On the rare occasion that Carla is the cause of the problem, she'll get her way anyway. For example, an episode where Carla learned that she had to compromise with Turk instead of making all the decisions herself ended with her getting the car she wanted anyway; that's right: in the end, Turk was the one who made the compromise.

     Bob Kelso 

Robert "Bob" Kelso (Ken Jenkins)

"Dr. Dorian, do you not realize, that you're nothing more than a large pair of scrubs to me? For God's sake, the only reason I carry this chart around is so I can pretend to remember your damn name!"
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scrubs_kelso_2493.jpg
He may not look like the devil...

The Chief of Staff of Sacred Heart, Kelso is a snide and grumpy old man who allows improper practices and makes strict rules for the sake of the hospital's budget. However, he does show some care to certain people, even if it's extremely rare and his decisions in the hospital aren't always easy to make for him.


  • 0% Approval Rating: Everyone, absolutely everyone at Sacred Heart hates him, to the extent that when Dr. Cox tricks everyone into thinking Kelso is dead in the episode "My Kingdom," their reactions range from indifference to joy; resident Butt-Monkey Ted openly cheers and dances around in celebration. This is toned down later in season 8, especially after he leaves the hospital.
  • Bad Boss: He treats Ted as his punching bag, he treats the Interns like shit and he's just an all around asshole to everyone.
  • Big Eater: To a realistic degree.
  • Character Development: The early seasons largely presented him as a Jerkass that was only interested in money, but gradually he was shown to have far more depth to him.
  • Cool Old Guy: At the beginning of the series he was quite the opposite, however he evolves into one after he leaves the hospital, in the last few seasons.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: In "My Drug Buddy", he ended up becoming quite friendly with Carla after giving her a ride to work one day and found he liked her, but when he noticed that being friends with her was making the rest of the Nursing Staff isolate Carla, he purposefully goes back to treating her like crap again so she won't lose her friends.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Primarily with Dr. Cox and Interns when they screw up at rounds.
  • Dirty Old Man: He loves Asian prostitutes and he's proud of it.
  • The Dreaded: Especially seen when he interacts with the Interns.
  • Dr. Jerk: He treats everyone below him pretty badly, especially the Interns and Ted.
  • Flanderization: His goofiness. In later seasons it became his main personality trait.
  • Genghis Gambit: An odd variant. His solution to the hospital staff spending too much time arguing about the morality of the Second Iraq War, make them all unite in their mutual hatred of him.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Primarily in the earlier seasons, but he had a tendency to complain about alot of things and he was just plain unpleasant.
  • Hard Head: According to The Janitor, who was a paid a few bucks to whack him in the head with his mop handle, it just made him angry.
    Janitor: He's got a skull like a mountain goat.
  • Hidden Depths: In "My Tuscaloosa Heart" it's revealed that he used to be a musician and write love songs. This is made especially poignant when it's revealed that Bunny, the woman he wrote about, is the wife who now hates him.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: In his Day in the Limelight episode, he specifically states in his narration that he often takes on the role of the Jerkass to unite the staff. When he temporarily drops it, the entire staff is torn apart, nearly killing a patient who he cares deeply about.
  • Insistent Terminology: Refers to Turk and Carla as "Mr and Mrs Turkleton". Even when Turk points out that isn't his last name.
    Turk: "Sir, you do know my last name isn't Turkleton?"
    Kelso: "Not yet, Turkleton. Not yet."
  • It Amused Me: When he switches a cup of decaf for regular that Turk was going to give to Carla, he remarks as he leaves "What a fun day."
  • Jerkass: He cheats on his wife and keeps her doped up on anti-depressants, openly dislikes his gay son, and treats his staff like crap.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Dr. Kelso is generally depicted as a ruthless, heartless bastard, it is sometimes noted that he does have hard decisions to make between demonstrating humanity towards the doctors and the patients versus the overall welfare of the hospital as a whole. J.D once notes that while he'll never like or respect Kelso, he also wouldn't want to have to make these decisions himself.
  • Kick the Dog: Pretty much all the time, especially when he appears with Ted to the point that while everyone else tries to save Kelso's job Ted is absolutely elated when he retires.
  • Last-Name Basis: Usually referred to by his last name.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's very good at playing people to get what he wants and it's revealed in Season 6 that he manipulates everyone to hate him so they stay united.
  • Mean Boss: He's a full blown jerkass who abuses Ted, constantly harassed and belittled Elliot in the earlier seasons and has no respect for anyone who works for him.
  • Mentor Archetype: In late season 7 and throughout season 8, after retiring he is able to drop the "mean bureaucrat" facade and tap into his years of experience as Chief of Medicine and as a doctor in general to guide the characters. In particular, he helps Dr. Cox with understanding the responsibilities that come with being Chief of Medicine and teaches J.D. that he needed to be what Dr. Cox was to him, a thankless Morality Chain.
  • Necessarily Evil: Crosses over with Zero-Approval Gambit and Mean Boss. As the Chief of Medicine, Kelso has to do what's best for the hospital, even if that means some patients end up dying as a result of his decisions (though in practice he is quite happy to look the other way when the staff treats those patients in spite of this).
  • Papa Wolf: Lapses into Hypocritical Heartwarming, but while Kelso complains repeatedly about his son Harrison, only he is allowed to; when he and Dr. Cox are offhandedly making fun of their sons, Dr. Cox makes a joke about Dr. Kelso's son, who retaliates by forcing Dr. Cox work with Ted all afternoon. Cox is baffled by this until Jordan explains:
    Perry: We were sitting around, making fun of each other's kids—
    Jordan: No, you made fun of your kid, he made fun of his kid, then you made fun of his kid. You never make fun of somebody else's kid.
  • Parental Abandonment: His father left him and family when he was a child, using a bicycle. As such he hates bicycles.
  • Pet the Dog: Though when he retires Kelso tells Ted "Thanks for everything" and when he eventually leaves the hospital makes sure to give Ted a fond farewell.
  • Plausible Deniability: In later seasons it's shown that he is fully aware that his staff often treat patients behind his back even if they are ordered not to (such as if they are terminal, don't have insurance etc.) and he pretty much lets them off with it, or publicly punishes them while privately being happy they did it. As Chief of Medicine it's his job to run the hospital like a business and Sacred Heart is often shown having financial problems on top of that, but as long as he makes a show of being ruthlessly tight-fisted he doesn't have to answer awkward questions if patients are treated "under his nose" to the Board of Directors.
  • Put on a Bus: Subverted twice. When he's forced into retirement in season 7 he seemingly leaves the hospital for good, however season 8 keeps him as a regular by having him hang around the hospital coffee shop all day. At the end of season 8 he decides to leave Sacred Heart to become a doctor again else where, even taking his favorite chair from the coffee shop with him. Then come season 9 there's a Time Skip and he takes a teaching job at the new hospital after his wife dies.
  • Race Fetish: For Asian women, to the point of having an Asian Babymama.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!
    "Write this down, Perry. I'm old, and I honestly don't care what people think about anything I do." (farts) "That was me, folks!"
  • Shipper on Deck: During "My Happy Place", he admits that it's nice to see J.D. and Elliot dating again, even though they were officially still in a platonic friendship at this point. Him pointing out that the two basically do everything that a couple does except have sex prompts the two to have a serious conversation about whether or not they should get back together. When they admit to each other that they're scared of moving forward, partially out of fear of what others would say about them, Kelso interjects that they should just do what makes them happy. It proves to be enough to inspire them to reignite their relationship.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: To Cox, especially in the early seasons.
  • The Spock: His primary role. He is all too willing to coldly sacrifice individual patients for the good of the hospital. However, its been shown that he really doesn't enjoy it and he gets moments that bring him closer to being The Kirk.
  • Straw Misogynist: Often shows a sexist streak; on one occasion, he chose Turk to go to Mexico on Doctors Without Borders instead of his rival Bonnie Chang simply because Bonnie was a woman.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Compared to the other main characters and most people who work at the hospital, he's by far the most cruel and malicious (closely followed by the Janitor...Depending on the Writer).
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Sort of. He's always a Jerkass, but in early seasons he was more of a heartless bastard with nearly no redeeming qualities, while in later seasons he lets out a few hints of warmness and Hidden Heart of Gold every now and again. It was stated outright that he had to be the bad guy as the Chief of Medicine, otherwise the hospital wouldn't function.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He loves his muffins.
  • Tragic Bigot: In "My Five Stages" it's revealed that he's apparently this toward... bicycles. More specifically, to anybody who associates with them.
    Kelso's Father: Son, Daddy's got to move on. And I just want you to know that since the car is in your mother's name, I wouldn't be able to leave the family forever if it weren't for your bike.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Becomes this with Dr. Cox in Season 8, since they have gone from arch enemies to friends.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: In one episode, he lets himself be hated because it rallies the staff together AGAINST him, letting them focus on caring for their patients instead of arguing with each other.

     The Janitor 

"The Janitor" (Neil Flynn)

"You seem unhappy. I like that."
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scrubs_janitor_7578.jpg

The Almighty Janitor who has a dislike of doctors, especially JD. When he's not tormenting JD at every chance he gets, he tells zany stories (which are mostly lies) to the staff and helps out Elliot when he can. He's also insane.


  • Abusive Parents: Implied from most of the times he's actually telling the truth about his past, which include things like his parents sticking him in a cat carrier.
  • Adam Westing: One alternate character interpretation is that the Janitor is in fact Neil Flynn, hence explaining why he appeared in The Fugitive playing Neil Flynn's role. Of course for this to work, Neil Flynn would have had to fallen down on his luck and been forced into becoming a hospital janitor which is inline with other examples of Adam Westing.
  • Almighty Janitor: The Janitor is so devious, underhanded and omniscient it borders on a superpower.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Being called stupid.
    • Almost anything J.D. says or does, apparently.
  • Breakout Character: The reason he appears after the pilot episode is because he was such a big hit and he started interacting with the other characters because of his popularity.
  • The Bully: To J.D. for the entire series. He goes out of his way to harass and make J.D.'s life harder just because he can.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In-universe example. In the Season 9 premiere, Turk states that the Janitor didn't know JD was leaving the hospital for good. Upon being informed of this, the Janitor just disappeared and no one knows where he went. Doubles as a Call-Back to the show's first season, where he was originally supposed to be a figment of JD's imagination.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Increasingly so. He often comes up with the craziest stories (mostly lies). Among other things, he has his own squirrel army. He also doesn't believe in the moon, he thinks it's just the back of the sun.
  • Consummate Liar: Is very good at telling lies and stories; even those he's duped before tend to fall for his tricks again and again.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He tends to be very snarky in his making J.D. miserable or in response to things J.D. says. This dialogue from the second episode:
    J.D.: How's it going?
    Janitor: I'm 37 years old, and I'm a janitor; how do you think it's going?
    J.D.: Now, there is nothing wrong with being a janitor.
    Janitor: Really? Thank you. You...you've turned my life around. I'm gonna have to go tell my janitor wife and all our janitor kids that life is worth living; and that comes straight from our hero, Dr. Whoozitz.... Dr. Nothin'.
  • Death Glare: To J.D. for not helping him move (Actually breaking into an Asian couple's apartment and robbing them) and to Carla for not giving him what he wanted.
  • Depending on the Writer: Is The Janitor extremely dedicated and proud of how clean he keeps the hospital, or is he a lazy psychopath who pulls pranks on the staff all day, drinks on the clock, and never cleans as "a lesson"? For that matter, does he really hate JD and single him out, or is he a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who just enjoys messing with everybody for fun's sake?
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A big fan of this. Especially to JD.
    JD: "Oh, it looks like I did something wrong. I guess this means you'll decapitate me for it, right?"
  • The Dreaded: It's been shown twice he can make whole crowds do whatever he wants, just out of fear.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: "His Story III." The Janitor feels like he doesn't make a difference in the hospital, but then a paralyzed patient he spent the episode talking to thanks him for treating him as a person and not as an object.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite all of the horrible things he's done to J.D., some of which could have permanently injured or killed him, he parts with J.D. on good terms.
  • Enemy Mine: He and JD worked together to help Ted get a girl though this alliance ended when Ted got the girl.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Even his Hospital ID lists his name as "The Janitor".
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even The Janitor has enough of a heart not to hassle JD after his dad died.
  • Evil Is Petty: While more of a Jerkass than actually evil, the Janitor went out of his way to screw with JD and make his life miserable for eight years simply because JD accidentally lodged a penny in the door.
  • Flanderization:
    • While he gets more screen time and Character Development over the years (he was barely a Satellite Character in season 1), he goes from a mysterious strange janitor guy to a literally insane and sociopathic character. Played for Laughs obviously.
    • His early pranks on J.D. were mostly harmless. In later seasons many of his pranks are physically dangerous or even potentially fatal.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Dr. Cox. They're bar buddies and they're the only ones they can speak to on an equal level about hating people.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: When J.D. tries to convince the others to attend Janitor's wedding, he says “I know the Janitor isn't exactly a friend to us, but he is a part of our family. A horrible, horrible part”.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Everything JD says to him is taken in the most insulting way possible.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: He does make a small difference, but for the most part he goes out of his way to piss off and make everyone's life miserable except for Elliot (Who is his Morality Pet) and Carla (Who he fears).
  • Hidden Depths: When Carla finally manages to gather the whole hospital staff for a group photo, Janitor ruins it with a strategically angled mirror. Turns out he didn't do it For the Evulz, he did it because nobody asked him to be part of the picture and it hurt his feelings.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Carla when they interact, though he does loom over a lot of the other female interns as well.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Type B... more or less. He told Elliot that she was the only person on the hospital staff that treated him as a person. Neil Flynn also theorized that the Janitor's pranks were a very odd way of showing overtures of friendship to JD.
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not a jumpsuit, it's a shirt and pants!
  • Jerkass to One: He makes a point of tormenting JD while leaving everyone else alone (unless he's provoked). He sometimes even uses this fact to make JD look bad in front of everyone else.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though we see the Jerk aspect 99.9% of the time because of how much he tortures the staff, he genuinely likes Elliot and will do his best to help her out. He's also quite fond of and supportive of Ted.
  • Karma Houdini: He can do almost everything just because he's "the Janitor" and he (almost) always comes out on top.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: He gets his comeuppance in "My Own Personal Hell" and "My Perspective", probably the only episodes where the Janitor's pranks on J.D. backfire and J.D. finally gets the last laugh on him.
  • Lack of Empathy: Again, towards JD. He IS capable of empathy- in one episode, he spends it talking with a bedridden person who requires a computer to speak to keep him company. He often sticks up for Elliot or "Blonde Doctor."
    • He does cut J.D. slack on occasion. He chose to be cordial when J.D. was coping with his father dying, admitted that he was an actor in The Fugitive after J.D. gives him a particularly scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech, and stood up for J.D. on a particularly difficult roadtrip to see Kim's ultrasound, though he was suffering a concussion during that last bit.
    • The one thing about him that's definitely true is that he was a world class hurdler since he managed to do a 100m hurdle in under 10 seconds to assault J.D.
  • The Nicknamer: He nicknamed J.D. "Scooter", Turk "Black Doctor" and Elliot "Blonde Doctor" and almost never uses their real names.
  • No Name Given: Lampshaded and obviously played for laughs. In the season 8 finale, the Janitor apparently reveals his name to JD, but as soon as JD leaves, someone else walks by and calls the Janitor by a different name. Word of God says the name given to JD, Glen Matthews, is his actual name. Also at Turk and Carla's wedding it appears he actually did give his name to Danni, who says Hey Glenn while Ted and Doug fight about which of them she is referring to, having both made out with her recently and competing over who she is giving more attention to. Then again, the show's creators have occasionally said (probably joking) that they don't know any more about The Janitor than the viewers do, that he just showed up on the set one day and everyone was too afraid of him to tell him to leave.
  • Not So Above It All: While normally immune to insults and the like, he will become genuinely sad when told he doesn't make a difference.
  • Odd Friendship: His "Brain Trust" buddies: Ted, Todd, and Doug, of all people.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Has some moments of this with Elliot and Ted. With the latter, for a while he's the only person that actually makes an effort to be nice to him.
    • His goodbye words to Laverne as she's dying.
    • When J.D.'s dad dies, he actually doesn't bother him out of respect, merely glancing at him and letting things drop.
    • In "My Clown", he's actually seen in the Children's Ward entertaining some kids. Of course, that also involves shoving J.D over, but it's still rather cute.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Subverted slightly. He gets promoted to the main cast in Season 2 and, simultaneously, the theme for the first few episodes was expanded, allowing the Janitor to be present in them. However, a few episodes into the season, the intro was shortened back to its original length/style, meaning that he was no longer featured in them despite remaining a main cast member throughout the show's run.
  • Satellite Character: In the first season he only exists to be JD's tormentor and never really interacts with anyone else. This changes starting in season 2, when he becomes a main character and has regular interactions with the rest of the cast, although he still torments JD at every chance he gets.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Turk informs him J.D. doesn't work at Sacred Heart anymore, he drops his mop and walks out of the hospital, never to be seen again.
  • Screwy Squirrel: To J.D., given that his primary role in the series is to screw with J.D. and make his life hell. He also screws with the rest of the main cast, but not as much.
  • Secret Test of Character: Informs JD in the finale that the reason for all his pranks are because JD failed one in the Pilot. Turns out the penny in the door fell out of JD's pocket accidentally and the Janitor saw it happen, but punished JD because he kept lying about it.
    Janitor: It was a test of character. You failed. And you lost out on a wonderful friendship.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Declared a prank war on J.D., ever since the first episode when J.D. accidentally lodged a penny in the door.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Lampshaded in one episode when Carla flat out tells him he has delusions of grandeur. Deconstructed in "His Story III", which explains he acts this way because otherwise he doesn't feel important.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: When it comes to how he treats J.D. At first it's just harmless pranks and some minor harrassment, or payback for J.D. being a jerk to him first. As the seasons went on, his actions escalated to kidnapping, abandoning J.D. in the wild on his own and several forms of assault that could have proven fatal. And he does this without remorse and it's Played for Laughs.
  • Troll: He really seems to love messing with J.D.
  • Ultimate Job Security: He never does his work, and is constantly pulling pranks or messing with people in other ways, to the extent that he trapped JD in a water tower for an entire day and got off totally scot-free. Of course, it turns out that the main reason for his security is because Dr. Kelso openly doesn't care what the hospital employees did as long as the money rolled in and he got to enjoy the perks of his job. Upon Kelso's retirement, he's replaced by Dr. Maddox, who actually acts like an administrator, having the Janitor fired on the spot when she sees him trip JD in the hallway.
  • The Unfettered: He'll do just about anything to make JD's life difficult. Case in point: in the season 4 finale, he goes so far as to take a bite out of his own laxative-filled pie in order to trick JD into thinking it's safe, ending with the two sitting side-by-side in the crapper:
    J.D.: Who would do this to themselves?!
    Janitor: Totally worth it.
  • Wacky Guy: Easily the wackiest character in the show, which is really saying something.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In one episode, J.D suggests they don't always have to fight and could be friends. The Janitor sarcastically asks J.D if he wants to go to a baseball game, and after J.D storms off, the Janitor reveals he'd actually bought tickets.
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