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Since I was a kid, I've been able to sleep through anything — storms, sirens, you name it. Last night, I didn't sleep. I guess I get a little goofy when I'm nervous. You see, today isn't just any other day. It's my first day.J.D.'s narration

"My First Day" is the pilot episode of Scrubs. J.D., Turk, and Elliot begin their internships at Sacred Heart, where they meet the staff of the hospital, including Nurse Carla Espinosa, Dr. Perry Cox, and Chief of Medicine Dr. Robert Kelso. J.D.'s feud with The Janitor begins.


J.D. playing with shaving cream before his first day.

John "J.D." Dorian, a young doctor fresh out of medical school, rises from bed and heads to Sacred Heart Hospital for his first day of his medical internship. Upon arriving and receiving complicated requests from a nurse, J.D. comes to realize that despite all of his schooling, he doesn't "know jack."

Ted gives a speech to the new interns.

J.D. and Chris Turk, his best friend through college, attend a legal presentation by the hospital's lawyer, Ted Buckland. Dr. Robert Kelso, Sacred Heart's chief of medicine, enters and tells the interns to think of him as their "safety net." In the break room, J.D. and Turk meet Elliot Reid, another medical intern. Shortly after, J.D. and Elliot meet Dr. Jeffrey Steadman, their resident. J.D. then meets nurse Carla Espinosa while helping push a patient on a gurney. In the patient's room, Dr. Perry Cox rudely enters and demands that J.D. place an IV line in the patient. After J.D. fails to do so, Dr. Cox forbids him to talk to him ever again. During rounds, J.D. keeps his secret that he had a nurse perform a routine procedure for him. A tardy Elliot is asked a question by Dr. Kelso, and J.D. whispers the answer to her and asks her on a date, which she agrees to. Dr. Cox yells at J.D. during his break that if other doctors find out that the nurses are doing all of his procedures for him, he'll be fired on the spot.

Meanwhile, Turk seems to be having a great first day. He has made a new friend, Todd Quinlan, and he is excited that he was able to reach into a person's body. J.D. comments that surgical interns are like the jocks of the hospital, whereas medical interns are "the chess club."

J.D. is a deer caught in headlights because he doesn't know the answer to a question during rounds.

The next day at rounds, J.D. is lost for an answer to one of Dr. Kelso's questions and looks to Elliot for help, but she steals the spotlight. While working on a patient, Turk tells J.D. that they should move out of their apartment and find new roommates, an idea that J.D. agrees to, but internally hates. J.D. responds to a page about heart failure. As he is sprinting toward the patient's room, he realizes that he is still too nervous to be in charge, so he hides in a closet, where he finds Elliot hiding as well. J.D. tells her off for back-stabbing him and cancels their date.

Dr. Cox frightens J.D. by telling him that he might kill someone. Elliot complains to Carla that all of the men at the hospital are disrespecting her. Carla tries to be nice about it, but Elliot goes on the offensive, attacking Carla for nearly sleeping with Turk in the on-call room. Carla quickly retaliates by saying loudly that Elliot is "out for herself."

Turk at the hospital on his first day.

J.D. spends his first night on-call that evening. An elderly patient, Mr. Burski, dies, and Nurse Laverne Roberts tells J.D. that it happens to every doctor. The emotional strain of his first night on-call is put to rest the next day when Turk tells him that he actually wants to continue living with him. Shortly after, Dr. Kelso denies a request by J.D. to skip an autopsy and yells at him for it. Kelso mentions that he sees interns as nothing but "a large pair of scrubs." J.D. is shocked and begins to wonder who the "good guy" in his story is. He is then paged and runs to a room where Dr. Cox is helping a patient. Dr. Cox tells J.D. to insert a catheter. J.D. panics, but Dr. Cox coaches him through the procedure. J.D. then decides he wants Dr. Cox to be his mentor.

As J.D. is finishing his shift, Elliot apologizes. Although he tells himself he can never forgive her, he instantaneously does after she kisses him on the cheek. J.D. then walks toward the hospital's exit, satisfied that he got through his first three days "without looking like a complete idiot."

Recurring Themes

     More: FantasiesFlashbacksJ.D.'s girl namesJanitor's pranks and lies


J.D. and Elliot on the set of My Wife and Kids.

  • J.D. and Elliot race through the hospital. J.D. wears a track jersey with "33" on it and dumps coffee on his face as if it were water.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Steadman says "I'm a tool" instead of talking, and later "I'm a dork."
  • J.D. and Elliot appear in a sitcom on the television in the break room. The set happens to be the one from the TV show My Wife and Kids.
  • J.D. is a deer in headlights and is hit by a semi-truck after Dr. Kelso asks him a question during rounds.
  • Hearing Turk and Carla in the on-call room, J.D. imagines The Todd watching.

    "Maybe there's a penny stuck in there."J.D.

  • Dr. Kelso has a deep voice and flames for eyes.

Janitor story

The Janitor attempts to fix a broken door, and J.D. suggests that it might be broken because somebody put a penny inside the door's sliding system. The Janitor immediately wants to pin the blame on J.D., and tells J.D. that there will be trouble if there really is a penny in the door.

Later, the Janitor shows J.D. a penny and tells him, "I'm watching you." This is the main event that causes the Janitor to start picking on J.D., something not resolved until the end of Season Eight.

Guest Stars


     List of music featured in Scrubs

  • "Away" by Leroy
  • "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick
  • "Over Me" by Tricky
  • "Please Forgive Me" by David Gray


Dr. Cox asking Carla about her perfume.

I know what you're thinking.Elliot

Your butt looks like two Pringles hugging.J.D.'s narration
No, you don't.J.D.

Carla, can I ask you a personal question? Do you spray the perfume on or do you just fill your bathtub up at home and splash around in it?Dr. Cox

I smell nice.Carla

Janitor decides that J.D. is the enemy

The door's broke... every fifth time or so it don't open.Janitor

Maybe there's a penny stuck in there.J.D.
Why a penny?

I don't know.
Did you stick a penny in there?

No, I was just making small talk.
If I find a penny in there, I'm taking you down.



  • This episode was nominated for the 2002 Casting Society of America (CSA) Award for Best Casting for TV Comedy Pilot and the 2003 Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Episodic Comedy.
  • The first spoken line on the show is by J.D., and he says, "I'm the man." The episode ends with J.D. repeating this line. He and his fantasy son also say it in his sitcom fantasy.
  • The Tylenol scene foreshadows a similar scene in the last episode of the series. The drug is named by its brand and not by the accepted generic name: acetaminophen.
  • The scene where J.D. does the catheter procedure was shown again in "My Urologist" with Kim Briggs edited in.
  • In J.D.'s first fantasy, where he is racing Elliot, we see The Janitor cheering for him at the finish line before the character is introduced.


1x1 first Carla.png

  • This episode was filmed at a hospital in Glendale, California. All other episodes (up to Season Eight) were filmed at the former North Hollywood Medical Center. The hospital in this episode has since been torn down. Certain scenes in the pilot were re-shot (to re-tool Elliot's character) and these were shot later, at the North Hollywood Medical Center; these include Elliot and J.D. racing on the stairs.
  • The X-ray with the show's title shown in the beginning is turned the wrong way (the heart should be on the right side). This was an intentional mistake put in by creator Bill Lawrence to represent the core idea of the show: young doctors in over their heads.
  • The scene with Dr. Cox and J.D. in the lounge is the scene that actors auditioning for the parts of Dr. Cox and J.D. had to perform.
  • Neil Flynn was not intended to be a regular on the show, but because of how well he said his lines and improvised the line "I'm watching you," he was made a regular — even though he was only allowed to talk to J.D. in Season One, because if the show was canceled, he was going to be a figment of J.D.'s imagination.
  • At first, Scrubs was pitched to ABC, but it was turned down. It was picked up by NBC, but moved to ABC in the eighth season.
  • Special thanks were given to Dr. Jonathan Doris and Dr. Jon Turk, medical experts who (obviously) influenced J.D.'s and Turk's names.
  • The original script called for Dr. Cox to be pushing a dead woman around in a wheelchair, but the studio required they show the woman was not actually dead. (Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald)

Continuity errors

Elliot wearing glasses.

  • Elliot says that every male in her family is a doctor, and lists her grandfather, father, and brother as examples. However, it is later revealed that Elliot has four brothers, not just one, who are all doctors.
  • Elliot's characterization is much different here than in the rest of the series. Here, she is hyper-competitive but much more competent (or at least competent-appearing) than she would be again until later in the series. She also lacks several of her trademark mannerisms, such as speaking extremely high and fast when agitated. The following episode begins with a scene about Elliot's quirks in order to establish them retroactively.
  • This is the only episode in which Elliot wears glasses.
  • This is the only episode in which the title theme plays during the end credits.
  • In this episode, Dr. Cox calls J.D. "J.D." instead of a girl's name.
  • In the scene when Dr. Cox and J.D. are in the doctor's lounge, the elderly woman in the wheelchair is not wearing glasses when she is in the foreground, but when the camera angle switches and she is in the background, she is wearing glasses.


The elderly man Dr. Cox calls a gomer.

  • Dr. Cox calls his elderly patient a gomer, which is an actual medical slang term from The House of God by Samuel Shem. Gomer stands for "Get Out of My Emergency Room", and is used to refer to elderly, demented patients.
  • The patient in the M.R.I. machine in the scene where Turk decides to continue living with J.D. was cast as Lonnie in Season Three.
  • The Janitor is similar to Gordy, the janitor in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Gordy is always trying new tricks to get the weasel, just as the Janitor does to J.D.
  • When Turk first meets Elliot, he says "Eeellliiiiooott" and points his finger at her. This alludes to the movie E.T., where the main character, a boy named Elliot, is approached by E.T. in the same way.
  • In the first scene, J.D. is wearing a T-shirt for Clone High, a former show by Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence.
  • The scene where J.D. does the catheter procedure was shown again in "My Urologist" with Kim Briggs edited in.
  • The scene in which the Janitor is struggling to open a door is seen again in "My Last Day" however in that episode it is jammed because of a paper clip whereas in this one it's a penny.