'Scrubs' Boss on Why He's Not Looking to Revive the Comedy

Scrubs Reunion Vulture Fest - Getty - H 2018
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for New York Magazine

Scrubs will not be the next show to be revived — at least at no point in the near future.

Eight years after the medical comedy signed off (after seven seasons on NBC, and then the final two on ABC), creator Bill Lawrence and stars Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Christa Miller, Donald Faison, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins, Judy Reyes and John C. McGinley reunited for the first time as a group at Vulture Festival. And when Lawrence was asked about bringing the series back, he admitted he has reservations.

“I would do anything to get to work with not only this group [but the entire crew]. … It was the best time in my life,” he said. But “sometimes reboots — not all the time — feel like a money grab.”

Lawrence acknowledged his loyalty to the team behind the show meant that if they needed to do it again, he’d jump to help them out. But right now, there isn’t a clear story in his mind. “If we ever do it, we’ll do it as a short little movie or something else,” he said. “I think the problem from me is I would just want to see where everyone is. I would want to see where their marriages are [as opposed to a huge event].”

The still-close cast reflected fondly on the series, which could be be laugh-out-loud funny before turning a scene on its head — which allowed for the actors to portray nearly every emotion imaginable.

Jenkins pointed to season three’s “My Screw Up,” where the show plays a narrative trick to reveal the death of a vital character, as being an especially impressive showcase for McGinley’s Cox. “You turned on a dime,” Jenkins marveled to his former colleague. “Just on an instantaneous [realization]. That’s a great trick.”

The ability to dive into the darker material came from an early gamble the show made with season one’s “My Old Lady,” where the opening voiceover shares that statistically one out of the three patients admitted will die. Instead, all three perish.

“The first call we got [from the network] was, 'Do they all have to die?'” Lawrence recalled. “[Then it was], ‘If they all have to die, can it be people we want to see die?' The fact that we were able to do that show early [was important]. … Once we got permission not from the network, but the audience, we continued for the rest of the show.”

But not everything was endorsed by the show’s networks. When the comedy moved to ABC, they were no longer allowed to show The Todd (Robert Maschio) in a Speedo. “I had to frame above his penis,” Braff recalled of navigating the limits while directing an episode. “Rob’s banana hammock was not Disney approved.”

A planned storyline about getting medicinal marijuana for a patient who was dying of cancer was also nixed after a few scenes were shot, Lawrence revealed. He pitched an alternate take “where the patient was a virgin and they wanted to get a male prostitute. And they allowed that.”

While most of the cast was convinced that was the only real thing to get cut, Faison reminded them that an early episode of the series revealed that Cox and Jordan’s (Miller) marriage dissolved after they lost a kid. (After NBC vetoed that, it was retooled so they split due to emotional distance and an affair.)

And though the show may be gone, it still lives on. In addition to its syndication and streaming on Hulu, Turk’s famous “Poison” dance — which Faison revealed was improvised the day of filming — was recently added to the popular video game Fortnite.