My wife and I just watched through the 8 seasons of Scrubs. I know there’s a 9th season, but I can’t really count it.
Scrubs is one of my all time favorite TV shows. I love the character development, the stories, the imagination, the development, the relationships, and the setting. I specifically relate well with J.D. because he’s very imaginative, he has a running internal monologue, he isn’t always a perfect hero, and (relevant to when I started watching the show) he struggles with his relationships. Here are a few lessons I picked up from watching through this show (for probably the 4th time).
1. “Being a man doesn’t mean being a stereotype.”
J.D. is always made fun of by Dr. Cox for being emotional, wimpy, un-manly, etc. He’s always called by girls names. He isn’t a sports fanatic like Turk. He’s not a heavy drinker, or an emotion-bottler like Dr. Cox. I’m not a big sports fan, I’m not particularly tough, I can be pretty direct about my emotions. I like relating with others. I’m a hugger.
2. “Relationships change and require maintenance.”
J.D. goes through several dating relationships. He experiences his best friend getting married and having a child. He dates his other best friend, off and on, and ends up marrying her. He struggles with having an older brother who is a loser, but ends up becoming successful. He has a child and has to work to spend enough time with his son. His mentor and father figure is constantly demeaning and distant, but eventually reveals his admiration for J.D. All of this is a result (fictional or not) of a character who refuses to give up.
3. “You can’t give up.”
Leading off from the previous lesson: J.D. doesn’t give up on his patients. Turk and Carla don’t give up one each other. Dr. Cox ends up getting back together with his ex-wife and having 2 kids. The Janitor harasses J.D. until the end of his last day. Ted keeps coming to work. Dr. Kelso goes back into medicine after retiring from Sacred Heart. J.D. ends up with the girl that the viewer always knew was the right one for him. Even when the characters do give up, it becomes an object lesson for the episode, revealing the dangers of not following through.
4. “Everyone gets burned out.”
Pretty much every major character in the show has a period where they get totally burned out, and need time to recuperate. And it’s totally okay. Their friends are there for them. Their loved ones help bear their burdens.
5. “Find the humor in life.”
Sometimes finding humor in things can be callous. Sometimes it’s insensitive. Sometimes it’s ill-timed. But it helps. For J.D., humor helps him cope. It’s a break from the horrible events of the hospital. It’s entertaining (and relatable). It helps him come up with ideas. Scrubs is a large part slapstick, unrealistic humor. That’s okay. It also has a large component of relatable humor. In the first season Dr. Cox explains that sometimes you have to make light of a situation if you ever want to be able to return to work after a bad experience.
6. “Be a dreamer.”
Find things to dream about and work toward them. Share your dreams with others. Embrace your failures and find opportunities to succeed next time.