I was requested months ago to develop a list of my top ten episodes of the TV show "Scrubs." While I made the list and composed an analysis of #10, I failed to do anything with episodes 1-9. I'll use this blog to finish the top ten analysis. Below is the analysis of "My Old Man" from their first season.
In one of the last episodes of the first season, the parents of our favorite interns (and our favorite janitor) make a visit to Sacred Heart. Turk's and Elliott's parents come to watch them present a research paper at a convention; JD requests his dad to visit because he feels left out; and Janitor's father shows up for general terrorizing purposes. Emotions abound as young professionals try to interact with their parents as adults for the first time.
Let's get this out of the way - the performances by the actors guest-starring as the parents were phenomenal. John Ritter (JD's dad), R. Lee Ermey (Janitor's dad), Hattie Winston (Turk's mom), Markie Post and Lane Davies (Elliott's parents) were strong but understated; they were not the stars of the show and they knew how to blend in. There was undeniable chemistry between all the actors as though they really had spent their lives with their respective families.
Beyond the guest stars, there's a theme most people can relate to - we never stop seeking approval from our parents (or at least our mentors), no matter our age. Throughout the season we see JD regularly seeking praise from Dr. Cox, but seeing Turk and Elliott vulnerable like this is new. Cox even helps JD gain a new appreciation for his dad. The Dorian's may not have been super wealthy or very close, but JD seemed to have turned out alright. In the end we know that everyone's parents are extremely proud of their offspring but happen to expres it in different ways. Universally haven't most of us come to understand this at some point?
Lastly, any episode that includes "Surrender" by Cheap Trick is OK in my books.
"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?" - Cox to JD
"I came out to my mother this afternoon." - Elliott "Well, it seems the boys down in Radiology owe me quite a bit of money!" - Dr. Kelso
Through the course of this episode we see the "kids" grow up personally and turn an important corner. There are many personal and professional battles they will face throughout the years. Still, some people need to prove themselves to their parents before they're confident enough to stand up to the world. Even at the end we see Janitor stand up to his dad, who gives him a genuinely warm hug before leaving for the day.
Be brave, young doctors! Eight more seasons of adventures await you.