Scrubs is a medical-themed sitcom which debuted on NBC in 2001, focusing on three interning doctors and their adjustments to the pressures of hospital life, as well as their interactions and rather eccentric superiors. The show later moved to ABC in 2009 for its eighth season.
It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
Scrubs was one of several NBC series referenced in the 2002 TV-movie It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, which debuted on that network. After quitting her job at The Muppet Theatre, Miss Piggy is found on the set of Scrubs. However, Piggy isn't a guest star on the show -- she's an extra, playing a dead body. Series regulars Zach Braff (Dr. John "J.D." Dorian), Sarah Chalke (Dr. Elliot Reid), Judy Reyes (Nurse Carla Espinosa), John C. McGinley (Dr. Perry Cox), Neil Flynn (The Janitor), and creator/producer Bill Lawrence appeared as themselves.
The Sesame Street Muppets appeared in the eighth season episode "My ABC's" on January 27, 2009. The episode was written and directed by Bill Lawrence. In the cold opening, J.D. watches Sesame Street with Turk and his daughter Izzy ("It's a good one. The letter's J"). As J.D. notes, "I grew up on the street. No, not the hood. The Sesame Street," so the Muppets appear in J.D.'s fantasies throughout the episode. In the first one, Oscar the Grouch has been appointed the new chief of medicine and pops out of the janitor's cart: "I'll be watching you, John Dorian! My eyes never close!"
The fantasies interrupt J.D.'s adjustments to his aggressive, less than empathetic intern Denise (while treating a young father dying of lung cancer), as well as his new beard. Grover (as Dr. Grover, M.D.) confirms J.D.'s belief that "chicks dig on the extra fuzz" and asks for a high-four (since he only has four digits on his hand). The Todd eagerly complies, resulting in a demonstration of near and far as Grover is flung against the wall. A third features an orange monster, whose x-ray results reveal a hand reaching into his skull: "That explains so many things." Returning to reality after the latter, J.D. asks Turk if he's been having fantasies about Muppets all day too, to which Turk replies "no, I'm straight" (which J.D. says is uncalled for).
Finally, J.D.'s struggle to teach compassion to Denise culminates in the manifestation of Elmo, who volunteers his services. When introduced to Denise, Elmo goes "Hubba hubba" before taking on the role of patient (in a child's patient smock). In J.D.'s mind, this results in dancing and hugs, though he ponders, "What is Elmo? A seal?" In the closing scene, the more downbeat reality is underscored by a slow version of the Sesame Street theme (sung by Joshua Radin). J.D.'s closing monologue pinpoints the subconscious rationale behind his fantasies, as well as the lessons Denise (and her fellow interns Katie and Ed) still need to learn:
“And then I realized why I thought about Sesame Street all day. In a way, you can learn eveything you need to know from watching it as a kid. Like always play nice. Always try your hardest. And even, it's okay to cry.”
To promote the appearance, Elmo and Zach Braff appeared in an online promo.
- Muppet Performers
- Kevin Clash as Elmo
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo as A. M. Monster (Ex Ray)
- Eric Jacobson as Grover
- Caroll Spinney as Oscar the Grouch
- In the episode "My Super Ego," Dr. Cox refers to Nick Murdoch as "Guy Smiley". On the DVD commentary for the episode, Bill Lawrence and Neil Flynn discuss the fact that in the first couple of episodes during the first season, the janitor character was conceived as a "Mr. Snuffleupagus," who might be a figment of J.D.'s imagination. Lawrence and Flynn also discuss their appearance in It's Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and how the Muppets would stay in character in and out of scenes.
- In the second season episode "My Sex Buddy," Elliot, in the middle of watching Sesame Street, reveals that "I had my first sex dream about Mr. Hooper. At least, I think it was a sex dream. He was trying to choke me." In the same episode, Dr. Cox says to Elliot, "It's not like I've always been the centered, well-adjusted Guy Smiley you see walking up and down the halls of this dump ..."
- In the episode "My Musical," guest starring Stephanie D'Abruzzo, "Mr. Shemin" is mentioned in passing, possibly in reference to D'Abruzzo's husband, Muppet writer Craig Shemin. Coincidentally, several of the songs in said episode were co-written by Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez.
- In the April 10, 2008 episode "My Bad Too," Nurse Carla and Dr. Turk discuss the fact that they each have a present for the other person to celebrate the sixth anniversary of their first date. As Carla gets up and walks away, Dr. Cox takes her seat and says to Turk, "So, what's the big gift there, Gordon?" Turk gives him a quizzical look, and Dr. Cox replies, "Black guy from Sesame Street?"
- In the episode "Our True Lies," Lucy Bennett (Kerry Bishé) asks, "What the Fraggle Rock?"
- Among the television credits listed on his resume submitted for his audition for the 2016 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Gonzo included an "uncredited" appearance on Scrubs as "Intensive Care Patient."
In addition to the aforementioned cameos, several performers with Muppet/Henson connections have appeared on the series.
- Jason Bateman played Mr. Sutton in "My Big Bird" (2005)
- Stephanie D'Abruzzo played Patti in "My Musical" (2006)
- Donald Faison plays Dr. Christopher Turk
- Michael J. Fox played Dr. Kevin Casey in "My Catalyst" and "My Porcelain God" (2004)
- Brendan Fraser played Ben Sullivan (three episodes, 2002-2004)
- Sean Hayes played Nick Murdoch in "My Super Ego" (2001)
- Cheryl Hines played Paige Cox in "My New God" (2006)
- Richard Kind played Mr. Corman (four episodes, 2003-2004)
- Phill Lewis played Hooch (four episodes, 2005-2007)
- Heather Locklear played Julie Keaton in "My First Steps" and "My Fruit Cup" (2002)
- Julianna Margulies played Neena Broderick in two episodes
- Christopher Meloni played Dr. Dave Norris in "My White Whale" (2006)
- Maria Menounos played Tamara in "My Extra Mile" (2006)
- Jon Polito played Mr. Summers in "My Female Trouble" (2004)
- Markie Post played Lily Reid (three episodes, 2002-2006)
- John Ritter played J.D.'s father Sam Dorian in "My Old Man" and "My Lucky Day" (2002)
- Keri Russell played Melody O'Hara in "My Turf War" and "My Cold Shower" (2007)
- Rick Schroder played Nurse Paul Flowers (four episodes, 2003)
- Molly Shannon played Denise Lemmon in "My Last Chance" (2004)
- Allison Smith played Millie in "My Big Bird" (2005)
- Nicole Sullivan played Jill Tracy (five episodes, 2001-2007)
- Dick Van Dyke played Dr. Townshend in "My Brother, My Keeper" (2003)
- Hattie Winston played Margaret Turk in "My Old Man" (2002) and "My Best Friend's Wedding" (2004)