Dr. Cox reluctantly hugs J.D. ("My Finale")

In Scrubs, many characters constantly strive for approval from their family, friends, colleagues, mentors, or others. J.D. always yearns for signals and messages of recognition from others, notably Dr. Cox.


  • Since his first day, J.D. seeks the approval of Dr. Cox. He occasionally receives affirmation, but only in rare circumstances. He often misinterprets, or forcibly reinterprets things Dr. Cox does or says to make them seem like approval.
  • Elliot tries to earn the approval of her father Simon. He is a doctor at another hospital, and she entered medicine to prove to him that she could be successful, even if she is a woman.
  • Ted often misinterprets what other people are saying as either praise, or as an insult due to his severely stunted self-esteem.
  • Janitor often sought the attention of "Blonde Doctor", and would go out his way to help her.
  • The Brain Trust members would always strive to please Janitor.
9x6 Duncook Underhill

Underhill sucks up to Duncook ("Our New Girl-Bro")

Sucking Up

5x2 J.D. and interns

J.D.'s interns suck up. ("My Rite of Passage")

Sucking up is a form of blatant approval-seeking. Many characters are natural suck-ups, but others have to (sometimes painfully) force themselves to suck-up for personal or professional reasons.

  • Dr. Steadman always sucks up to Dr. Kelso.
  • Elliot used to suck-up by being super helpful during her first years at Sacred Heart.
    • Similarly, intern Katie Collins always sucked up to the doctors, but also would stab a fellow intern in the back if it helped her.
  • Dr. Tom Bradley constantly sucked up to Turk at New Sacred Heart because he was the Chief of Surgery.
  • J.D. initially thought his group of interns; including Rex, Keith, Gloria, "Cabbage", and Lisa; laughed at his jokes because they were funny, but Janitor showed him it was because they wanted him to like them which resulted in them not having to work as hard. ("My Rite of Passage")
  • Dr. Kelso is sucked up to by Dr. Johnson who is sucked up to by Laverne Roberts who is sucked up to by a cafeteria worker who is sucked up to by a homeless man who is sucked up to by his dog. ("My Rite of Passage")

Comedy Comedic TechniquesPratfallRecurring gagsSlow Motion GirlsNicknames
Drama Dramatic TechniquesMusic
Themes ApprovalEducationFamilyFriendshipLife and DeathLoveMentorshipRivalriesSex
Alternate realityBreaking the fourth wallClip showCultural referencesFantasiesFlashbacksJanitor storyMeta referencesNarratorsStory episodes e
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