You still talking to yourself? I thought you'd outgrow that by now.Sam Dorian

"My Old Man" is the nineteenth episode of Scrubs' first season. J.D.'s father, Sam, embarrasses him by trying to be "one of the guys". Elliot's parents are very snobbish and expect too much of her. Carla realizes that she is just like Turk's mother. Janitor's father is harsh on him and makes him do everything he doesn't want.



J.D. is afraid of Janitor's father

When Elliot and Turk learn that they have to present their paper to a board, they get mopey. J.D. is jealous, but once he learns that their parents are arriving, he understands why they are sad. After paying no attention to karma and joking with Turk about his mother coming, he accidentally invites his father to come visit. When Sam arrives, J.D. is upset that he still acts like a buddy to him rather than a father. The next day, when Dr. Cox tosses him a decent idea, J.D. ignores it, but when he gets a chance to think about it, he heeds Dr. Cox's advice and invites his father to his lecture on heart murmurs. Later, in the cafeteria, Sam tells J.D. that he is going to see a good friend off and has to miss the lecture. After getting upset, J.D. starts to think about things from his father's point of view and leaves work early to tell him goodbye.


Margaret Turk meets Carla Espinosa.

Turk's mother, Margaret, and Elliot's parents, Simon and Lily, come to the hospital before the presentation. Turk is afraid to introduce Carla to his mother because he has yet to mention her. When the two finally meet, Turk is surprised at how much they like each other. Carla later notices that the two are very similar and worries that Turk is only attracted to her because she is so much like his mother. He informs her that only their good qualities match, and that he is glad they do. Meanwhile, Elliot struggles with the pressure from her judgmental parents, who don't approve of Sacred Heart. Simon and Dr. Kelso butt heads, and Elliot has to pay at rounds. After getting worried that she only got into medicine because of her father, she realizes that she is happy where she is, and isn't upset that she got there for the wrong reasons.

Recurring themes

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


Dr. Kelso and Simon Reid box.


  • Turk as a small child saying he doesn't want to wear blue scrubs after his mother says blue scrubs would look better.
  • Elliot as a small child crying after her mother tells her that perms are for "trailer trash".
  • Dr. Steadman appears out of nowhere to ask J.D. for a favor and disappears instantly in a puff of smoke.
  • Simon Reid and Dr. Kelso fight in boxing outfits reminiscent of the early 1900s, dancing around and taunting each other.
  • Dr. Steadman appears to J.D., again out of nowhere, this time hanging from the ceiling.



Janitor and his father.

Janitor story

Janitor's dad visits him at the hospital and immediately takes a disliking to J.D. Over the day, he criticizes Janitor and the hospital, acting like a drill sergeant and making Janitor do push-ups because he misses a spot while mopping. At the end of the day, Janitor tells him that he doesn't need to stop by again, to which his father responds that he will see him the next day.

J.D.'s girl names

  • Reba
Look, Reba, if I ask you a question that doesn't specifically deal with a medical issue, you can bet your powdered bottom that I don't want you to answer. Do you understand?Dr. Cox

Guest stars


Alexandra Lee as Young Elliot


     List of music featured in Scrubs

  • "Surrender" by Cheap Trick



A young Turk is scolded by his mother.

Well, you definitely need something. Um, maybe a backbone, or perhaps some testicles. At the very least, a pillow that you could carry around the hospital and just cry your sad eyes out into whenever drama occurs.Dr. Cox

I just freaked out because your mom and I have so much in common.Carla

Turk, I do like that Cuban restaurant.Carla

What's that, a shot at my dad? That's stepping over the line, pal!Janitor

I came out to my mother this afternoon.Elliot

Well, it seems the boys down in Radiology owe me quite a bit of money.Dr. Kelso



Elliot and Turk present their findings.


Dr. Steadman appears from nowhere.

  • In "My Mentor", Elliot mistakes Turk's mother for Morgan Freeman in a photograph, because she has freckles. However, it's clear that she looks nothing like Morgan Freeman.
  • In "My Mentor", Turk tells Elliot that his mother is a Jehovah's Witness. However, in this episode, she doesn't react like a Jehovah's Witness would to Turk and Carla's pre-marital relationship. Also, J.D. references an incident at the Turk household on Thanksgiving, which Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate.
  • In this episode, we apparently meet Janitor's father, but in "My Words of Wisdom", Janitor states that his father died when he was young. This means either that what he said was a lie or that the man in this episode isn't really his father, or both.
  • In a later episode, J.D. confronts the Janitor about this discrepancy, saying, "Wait, I met your father." Janitor responds, "You met a man."
  • Janitor's father is played by R. Lee Ermey. In this episode, he acts much like a drill sergeant: probably a reference to Ermey's most famous role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, or to Ermey's own experiences as a United States Marine Corps drill instructor. "Sound off like you got a pair!" is a line Hartman uses several times in the film.
  • When Sam Dorian says “you still talking to yourself? I thought you'd outgrow that by now.”, it was the first reference by another character to J.D's fantasies.
  • In the scene where Elliot and Turk are presenting their paper, one of the doctors in the audience is Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist and author.
  • When J.D.'s father asks J.D. to pull his finger, the line was improvised, because John Ritter actually needed to fart. Zach Braff had to bite the inside of his cheek to stop himself from laughing.
  • Turk wears blue scrubs in this episode rather than green because his mother says he looks better in blue scrubs, even though surgeons wear green and medical doctors blue. However, Turk's blue scrubs are lighter than the blue medical scrubs.
  • When Turk's mom and Carla freeze, the whole screen is frozen. However, when Carla starts to move, Turk's mom is clearly moving while trying to stay still.
  • J.D. never calls his dad his "old man". He does, however, call him "the old guy", when he says, "I told myself I wanted to let the old guy get some sleep, but even I didn't believe that."
  • In "My Bed Banter & Beyond", Elliot says, "I was sure I wanted to become a doctor." In this episode, however, she isn't sure and questions whether she should be a doctor.
  • In this episode, J.D. starts believing in karma. This belief will have a larger role in "My Karma".
  • In the scene where J.D. and his dad are talking in the cafeteria, the bottle of water appears and disappears between shots.
  • Alexandra Lee (young Elliot) was nominated for the 2003 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Comedy or Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actress Age Ten Or Under.
  • John Ritter and Markie Post guest-star as J.D.'s father and Elliot's mother, respectively. Previously, the two played opposite each other in Heart Afire.
  • This episode was originally scheduled to air on April 2, 2002, but was pushed back a week to April 9.
  • Title explanation: J.D.'s father (or old man) comes to visit.

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