- In "Beyond Recognition", a patient is brought in after a gnarly motor vehicle accident. He has no obvious injuries, but he's wearing a neck brace and being wheeled in on a gurney, and yet he's chatting away on his cell phone with his boss, as if nothing were wrong!
- When Dr. Michos tries to get his attention, the patient just asks if he can "get some of this stuff off of me" because he's late for his anniversary dinner. His blitheness is nearly impervious to reason; despite seeming to be intelligent and perfectly amicable, he doesn't remotely understand the need for concern until signs of a serious injury start manifesting.
- He also turns out to be a master of Comically Missing the Point:Patient: Look, if I've got a problem, I'll come back.
Doctor: I understand you wanna leave, but you're in a high-risk category for serious injuries.
Patient: That is a risk I'm willing to take, compared to the inherent danger I'm gonna be in if I miss dinner with my wife, doctor.
[the doctor retrieves a photo of the pretty serious accident]
Doctor: This is the "fender bender"; this is what you've just been through.
Patient: Oh my God
Doctor: You see?
Patient: My car. My wife's gonna kill me.
- The revelation that the patient has started swelling beyond belief is almost completely Played for Laughs: The doctor is called back to the trauma bay, and there the patient sits, looking like "a giant marshmallow" and he's texting on his phone, still completely oblivious. And starts insisting once again that he has to go because he's "totally fine".
- Even better, he's so swollen that his wife doesn't recognize him when she arrives, and starts looking around asking where he is, as he sits there waving at her. The shocked, almost fearful way that she approaches him, while he cheerfully recounts the "fender bender" and then reassures her that he's ready to go, is at least as much Played for Laughs as it is Played for Drama. Only when she whips out a mirror and shows him what he looks like does he finally start freaking out appropriately. And to top it off, his response is, "What have you done to me, doctor?!"
- This is almost as sad as it is amusing, but it seems that his denial and inattentiveness apply to all spheres of his life: When his wife arrives, she exasperatedly asks, "He's had another accident?"; his behaviour so far points to him often using his cell while driving. Then, when she takes out her mirror to show him his swelling, she implores him, "For once in your life, pay attention to what's going on around you!"
- The show makes a bit of a Running Gag of how Dr. Christopher Michos never has a chance to eat. In "Heart In Hand", he keeps being torn away from a platter of Greek pastries for a patient who keeps relapsing into anaphylaxis coming tantalizingly close to nabbing the very last one; and in "Beyond Recognition", he gets half a fortune cookie in his mouth when he gets called back to the trauma bay. The way he freezes and asks "Why?" through a mouthful of cookie, and then frustratedly throws the other half in the garbage, is funny partly because it's so relatable. Fortunately, at the end of "Heart In Hand", the patient's family brings him a platter of Greek pastries as a thank you (though they are all eaten by the time he's done saying goodbye to the family); and at the end of "Beyond Recognition", the patient (who has learned a lesson about listening to your body) insists on giving him a fortune cookie from his own meal.
- Michos's interactions with his fortune cookies in "Beyond Recognition":
- "How old are you? Ming dynasty?" [reads the fortune] "'Good things come to those who wait.' Well guess what: I'm not waiting." [he gets the cookie halfway into his mouth when a nurse bursts in and calls him back to the trauma bay]
- His patient gives him a fortune cookie, and he reads the fortune in front of the nurse's station: "Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today." Cue a gong sound.
- Michos's interactions with his fortune cookies in "Beyond Recognition":
- From "Short-Circuited Heart": "How do you get rid of a liver demon?"
- In "Minutes to Live", a patient comes in with a 4-day erection (for reference, you're advised to seek medical treatment after 4 hours), and when the urologist realizes he'll need surgery, she advises the medical student to "hold pressure" until she returns, which entails holding firmly onto the patient's genitals. To distract both of them from the awkwardness, the student tries talking about his astrological sign (much to the patient's bewilderment), sports (even though neither of them is interested in sports), and finally by whistling "Row Your Boat". Soon they're whistling it together. In rounds.
- And then a nurse opens the curtain to give a message to the student, to find him holding the patient's penis in both hands. Cue several seconds of shocked silence.
- In "Man with Two Faces", brand new med student Evan Green is called upon to assist a woman in labour. The patient and her family assume he's a doctor, and he can't bring himself to correct them, resulting in a completely unplanned Bavarian Fire Drill. Even a nurse he enlists for help ends up assuming he's a doctor. In fact, her presence actually helps him maintain the charade, since she has met the patient before, does most of the work, and often reminds Evan what he's supposed to be doing assuming that he's "new" and thus nervous and inexperienced, rather than completely unqualified. The baby is delivered, everyone goes their separate ways, and neither the family nor the nurse is any the wiser.
- He realizes she needs a wheelchair, and rushes off to find one, but every one he comes across is in use or is quickly claimed before he can get to it. When he sees an old man wheel himself to his room and then leave the wheelchair unattended, Evan grabs the wheelchair, replaces it with a nearby walker, and takes off before anyone notices.
- In his interview, Evan admits that during the delivery, he had a hard time seeing what was so beautiful about childbirth, and says that to him it was more like something out of Aliens.
- "Death Breath" introduces two Dr. Jaspers: Identical twin brothers who look so similar that even they sometimes argue about who's who when looking at childhood photos. They used to work in the same hospital, and as if that weren't bad enough, the setting meant they automatically had Coordinated Clothes every single work day. And their first names are very similar: Travis and Travan.
- They did their residency together, and claim that there were people who never knew they were two people for the entire three years they were residents.
- After a number of mix-ups when they first started out, they decided to always wear different-coloured scrubs, and eventually got jobs at different hospitals from each other which, in their words, "turned out to have some real advantages." Their entire subplot centers on using Twin Switching to trip up a drug-seeking patient, by making it look like one doctor is somehow working back-to-back shifts at two different hospitals. The look on her face is priceless; and she can't even get out a single coherent word before fleeing the ER so fast that she forgets her purse. And then on her way out, she passes the first twin, dressed in his civvies, and does a double take. "Have a good day, Ms. Hunter."
- While it's not Played for Laughs, in "Grandma's Back", the first-person view of over a dozen of the patient's family members silently turning to stare at the doctor, waiting for him to give them an update, is a bit funny because it looks kind of absurd.
- In "Pipe in Head", two inmates from the same prison are admitted at roughly the same time. When the first patient disappears into the ceiling, it's feared that he's after the second patient, who's a member of a rival gang. So when a ceiling tile above the second patient starts cracking and moving around, everyone tenses, the patient panics, and the doctor calls for more security. Then the tile is lifted to reveal that it's only one of the prison guards who had climbed into the ceiling to go after the first patient. The others are not amused. "Carl! You scared the crap out of us down here!"
- In "Campstove Stuffing", a patient has gotten his penis stuck in a campstove.
- When he first walks in with his girlfriend, every nurse in the vicinity immediately takes notice, due to the fact that he's dressed in nothing but two beach towels held together by clothespins, and is holding some large object underneath them, over his crotch. They all start rubbernecking to see what's going on, speculating in hushed voices. Nurse Terry Foster wonders to himself if it's some kind of animal in a cage that's bitten his privates and is somehow still hanging on.
- Once the patient is seated in the waiting room, the girlfriend saunters up to the counter, loudly chewing gum, and with a nonchalant grin says, "My boyfriend's got a stove stuck on his [bleep]."
- Reaction Shot of the first nurse, who looks uncertainly at Terry; and of Terry, whose jaw is practically on the floor.
- Terry is less than eager to take this case; he tries to pawn it off on a couple coworkers, who tell him, "We're gonna let you handle this one all by yourself."
- Then he examines the patient: "It just about made me sick. I've seen a lot of blood and guts, but this is just a weak point."
- Once he's asked some standard medical questions:Terry: I've just got one more question: Why?
Patient: [drunk and stoned] Because I was a horny man, okay?
Terry: That's been the downfall of many a great man.
- The story of how this happened: The patient and his girlfriend were out camping, where they were drinking, getting stoned, and making love; and the girlfriend suggested that he stick his penis in a hole in the stove, and she would get under it and perform oral sex. Apparently It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time.
- The patient recounts his unsuccessful efforts to extricate himself from the stove and then suddenly grins and adds the completely irrelevant detail, "So then I smoked a joint." At a loss for words, the doctor smiles and nods as if that were the most natural thing in the world, and replies, "Of course you did."
- The patient turns his body to reenact part of his tale, accidentally worsening his pain. His voice goes up about an octave.
- The doctor suggests calling maintenance to "see if he's got any kind of metal cutters that can cut that thing off":Terry: [alarmed] Cut what thing off?
Doctor: Relax I meant the stove.
Terry: Oh Okay.
- Terry brings in Joe, an elderly maintenance worker. He warns him that he'll see a lot of swelling and possibly some blood. "Okay? You ready?" "I guess so " Joe looks and sounds about as ready as someone with stage fright. Sure enough, he takes one look before hurriedly backing away and saying he can't help. He turns to leave and promptly faints.
- Next, the doctor suggests calling the nearby firehouse, hoping they'll have tools that can cut the stove. "And Terry? Make sure you ask them to send a young one."
- The fireman they send in thinks Terry is playing a prank. "Yeah right, Terry, you've got a real sick sense of humour, you know that?" Terry warns him to be prepared, but the fireman doesn't take him seriously. Like Joe, he takes one look, recoils in horror, and says he doesn't have anything. Then he runs out, collapses into a chair, and starts retching.
- They finally get a break when they page a urologist, who turns out to be The Stoic with Nerves of Steel. His complete non-reaction to the situation, even as he drains blood out of the patient's penis with a large-bore needle, is almost funnier than his predecessors' horrified reactions. And his explanation of what he's going to do is very Comically Serious because of his matter-of-fact, Creepy Monotone delivery:"I'm going to insert the needles into the end of his penis. Then I'll be able to drain all the blood from his penis. Then I'll be able to remove the stove."
- After hearing the above, Terry rushes back to one of his coworkers and begs her again to take over. "Please, please, you gotta help me." "Sweetie, I hate to tell you this, but you're on your own." "Oh, oh please, I'll trade you, I swear." "Nothing to trade!" "What about that drunk guy on 7?" "Not worth it!"
- Not wanting to be the third guy to pass out, Terry crosses himself before returning to the bay.
- After the stove has been removed: "What kind of discharge instructions do you give somebody like that? 'Do not put your penis in a camping stove'?"
- "And I walked back in the room, and the patient was gone. Everything else was gone too, except he'd left the camping stove still in the room, on the chair. I thought, 'Oh great, we can have a cookout later tonight.'"
- The shot of Terry carrying the campstove down the hall, passing by several amused colleagues, and then dropping it into a medical waste bin.
- "Some emergency room nurses are known for working for September 11th. I'm known as the nurse that took care of the stovetop stuffing guy."
- "Campstove Stuffing" introduces Dr. Juan Carlos Abanses, who is said to be the bad luck charm of the ER:Nurse #1: They said last night was really quiet. I guess that's gonna change.
Juan: Yeah, good morning to you too, Susan.
Nurse #2: [seeing him arrive] Uh-oh.
Juan: [voiceover] They call me the magnet. Usually they can have a beautiful day all day long, and they tell me, as soon as I walk in, "Oh, here it comes."
- This is immediately followed in the reenactment by the radio announcing an incoming patient. Nurse #2: "Here we go."
- In "Stabbed in the Heart", Dr. Michos gets a patient who insists on speaking to him directly, in private, rather than do intake with the nurse. The patient introduces himself as "Mr. Smith", which Michos repeats back in a tone that says "You're not fooling anyone." All the patient will say is that he has abdominal pain, and his answers to Michos's questions are very unhelpful. Finally fed up with being stonewalled, Dr. Michos asks, in a dramatic tone reserved for soap operas and crime dramas: "Tell me: Why did you come here tonight
- The patient's response: "I got a vibrator up my [bleep]."
- Michos asks the obvious question: "How did this ?" "I dunno!" "What do you mean you don't know?!"
- Michos leans down and presses his head against the patient's abdomen, where he can hear audible vibrating.
- He asks the nurses to get the patient's chart going:Nurse: Name?
Nurse: First name?
- As he prepares to examine the patient's rectum: "You know, this would be a good time for you to tell me if there are any other surprises down there?"
- Whenever "Mr. Smith" starts having second thoughts about being treated (he's hell-bent on keeping his visit off the record), the vibrator starts vibrating painfully again.
- The patient offers to pay his hospital bill in cash so that he doesn't have to give his insurance information. After phoning the administrator to ascertain whether they take cash, Dr. Michos rallies the nurses:Michos: Come on, guys, the boss is coming in. She's on her way!
Nurse #1: Dr. Michos, what's going on?
Michos: [grinning] Looks like we're going to do some off-the-books medicine tonight!
Nurse #2: And what about the patient?
Michos: [grinning] Patient? What patient?
- Next scene, Michos tells a nurse he's going to talk to the patient. "What patient?" They snicker like a couple of kids doing something naughty.
- Narrator: "By morning, everything had come out fine."
- As the patient is leaving: "This never happened." "What never happened?"
- The patient offers a bribe, which Dr. Michos declines: "But I'll tell you what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna make a donation to the hospital in your name Mr. Smith."
- They receive the pathology report from the gastroenterologist who removed the vibrator: "4.2 cm by 1.3 cm device removed from colon. Pink in color."
- A patient comes in complaining of what she and her family describe as fainting. When she "faints" again in the ER, it leads to this darkly humorous exchange:Doctor: Is this what you meant by fainting?!
Doctor: This is not fainting, this is a seizure!
- In "Halloween in the ER", a doctor and nurse spot a mysterious White Shepherd in the ER. They ask around about it and learn that someone dressed as Little Red Riding Hood had a white dog. They ask her friend about the dog, who says it should be in the car, and takes them out to the car to show them. He opens the door, and before the commercial break the nurse says that what she saw made her "lose it". After the commercial break, we see the boy open the door and pull out
a tiny white chihuahua. The nurse and doctor leave the parking lot laughing.
- Next, they ask the security guard. His face is painted to look like a skeleton.
- In "Stolen Time", one of Dr. Finkel's patients, who presents with knee pain, is accidentally sent to a testicular ultrasound intended for another patient. Not only does he not complain or try to stop them from performing the test, he actually seems in a much better mood afterward. Soon all of Dr. Finkel's colleagues have heard about this, and as a joke they write on the white board: "For a good time call Dr. Finkel with knee pain!"
- Also in "Stolen Time", a patient is in a coma for weeks after most of his vital organs are shredded by a bullet. His daughter, who had been estranged from him, keeps a constant vigil while he recovers. When he finally wakes up, the doctor asks him if he recognizes her. He looks at her and says "No." His daughter is heartbroken. And then he says, "How can I recognize her when she has gained so much weight?"
- In 'Front Seat Baby' a mother has just given birth in her SUV just as it was driven up to the hospital. The doctor gives the dad the scissors to cut the umbilical cord but the dad freezes then begins to gripe about the blood all over the inside of the SUV. Not happy and still holding her baby the mother, while lying on her back winds up and knocks the dad out cold with one punch.
Funny / Untold Stories of the E.R.