A meta reference is when a form of fiction references itself as fiction, or references its own genre or medium. Scrubs usually doesn't go any further than subtle references.
- Main article: NBC
The original network for Scrubs was referenced multiple times.
- In a fantasy, J.D. appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. ("My Own Private Practice Guy")
- Janitor compares J.D. and Elliot to Ross and Rachel, a nod to the NBC series Friends. ("My Fault")
- In another fantasy, J.D. makes a fake PSA against smothering children. ("My Fallen Idol")
"My Life in Four Cameras"
- Main article: "My Life in Four Cameras"
In the Season Four episode, J.D. imagines what it would be like if his life was a traditional multi-camera sitcom. Scrubs is a single camera production and does not feature a live audience or laugh track. In a way, this episode is a jab at traditional sitcoms that don't focus on heavy topics that Scrubs can focus on, such as life and death. J.D. realizes that life is "too good to be true" in the sitcom.
- Main article: Legal Custodians
The fake sitcom Legal Custodians is another reference to the sitcom genre. In the Season Seven episode "My Waste of Time", an ad for the sitcom runs in J.D.'s fantasy. Later, when not in a fantasy an advertisement for Legal Custodians is shown at the bottom of the screen, as if it were a real show.
- Main article: ABC
- In the original ABC broadcast of "My Jerks" J.D. points to the bottom right of the corner and says "that's new!". To the audience, it looks like he is pointing to the ABC bug. In the show, the play it off that he's pointing to Janitor's new watch.
- Ed is obsessed with Lost. ("My Jerks")
- J.D. fantasizes about SportsCenter, a show on ESPN. ESPN and ABC are owned by Disney. ("My Nah Nah Nah")
- J.D. goes to Disney Land with Sammy. Disney owns ABC. ("My Absence")
- The Season Nine episode "Our Driving Issues" ends with a PSA from characters Lucy and Cole about melanoma.
- Although not a direct reference to ABC, the pilot of Scrubs, "My First Day", features a fantasy set in a sitcom. The set is from the series My Wife and Kids which aired on ABC and was produced by Touchstone Television, which also produced Scrubs.
- “Oh, I do love Grey's Anatomy. It's like they've been watching our lives and then just put it on TV.”— J.D. ("My Buddy's Booty")
- “Come on, I know it's tempting to just mail it in, but there's still a lot of people who rely on us week to week. I think we owe it to them to be as inspired as we were our first few years. Now I know we never do great come medical awards season, except for Dr. Shalhoub, he wins everything, but I still think we're as good as anybody else out there.”— J.D. ("My Jerks")
|SCRUBS FORMAT & NARRATIVE|
|Comedy||Comedic Techniques • Pratfall • Recurring gags • Slow Motion Girls • Nicknames|
|Drama||Dramatic Techniques • Music|
|Themes||Approval • Education • Family • Friendship • Life and Death • Love • Mentorship • Rivalries • Sex|
|Alternate reality • Breaking the fourth wall • Clip show • Cultural references • Fantasies • Flashbacks • Janitor story • Meta references • Narrators • Story episodes|