19 Years On, Scrubs Is Still Teaching Us Valuable Life Lessons
Whether in JD’s fantasies, through relationships or in ordeals faced at work, Scrubs delivered a lot of home truths, and 19 years on the lessons raised in the show are just as important as ever.
The beloved sitcom had a habit of summing up its episodes with a valuable point, usually in the form of a voiceover from JD that began with something along the lines of ‘I guess, in the end…’, meaning more often than not it would actually be difficult to walk away from the show without having learned something.
Some of the insights given are more poignant than others – not many people will have their lives changed by learning that roof toilets can give you epiphanies, or that you should never use a riddle to distract a janitor with a mean streak, for example.
But when it comes to work, friendships, love and life, there’s a few golden nuggets in Scrubs we can all stand to take note of.
The series kicked off on October 2, 2001, and over the eight years with JD at the helm – we won’t talk about the ninth season – we watched the young doctor and his colleagues come to realise that you can get through anything, even a triathlon, with friends by your side.
You might be reluctant to accept help, like JD’s refusal to believe that Elliot could be better than him at work, or even unable to really show your appreciation, as when Dr. Cox struggles after losing three patients, but the show proves that a bit of support and dedication goes a long way, no matter what the circumstances.
The series has been commended for putting a spotlight on men who open up about their feelings and admit to needing help – something that still needs to be emphasised today as the concept of ‘manning up’ leads many people to suffer in silence.
Storylines see characters open up to different extents, with some examples including JD telling Turk he misses him ‘so much it hurts sometimes’, the two best friends embracing their ‘guy love’, or JD calling out Dr. Cox for seemingly ignoring him when he needs support in getting through his dad’s death.
We learn the importance of taking time for ourselves, whether that’s by allowing yourself a good cry in a supply closet or simply lying on the grass doing nothing, as well as how we can be our own worst enemy if we don’t believe in our own strength – as Dr. Kelso puts it: ‘nothing in this world that’s worth having comes easy.’
Considering it’s set in a hospital, it’s understandable there’s a lot of death in Scrubs, but each story often teaches us something about life. Mrs. Tanner shows us to live life to the full, having already completed everything on JD’s bucket list, while George shows JD and Turk how to appreciate the little things, like the taste of a nice cold beer.
The death of Jordan’s brother Ben demonstrates the importance of being there for people when they need it, but his character also provides a lesson that has become more and more vital over the years.
Thanks to the rise of social media, we’re regularly faced with images that people want us to see. As Ben points out in Scrubs, however, posed photos aren’t real, and it’s good to remind ourselves that accidents, arguments and surprises are often a much more accurate depiction of life than the perfectly orchestrated parts.
The hospital-based comedy came to an end in 2010 after changing both sets and stars, though the JD-led version of the show ended with a two-part episode called My Finale in 2009.
Right up until the end of his time as star, the character continued to teach us lessons as he showed us the importance of believing in our dreams and fantasies, pointing out that there’s no one to say they can’t come true.
Considering the show still manages to hit home almost two decades after its initial release, there’s no doubt it will continue to prove insightful for years to come.
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