Scrubs was unlike any sitcom on television. It was one of the most accurate hospital shows in TV history and while it was hilarious, it also provided viewers with all sorts of highly emotional episodes. The series dealt with serious themes like death, grief, denial, disease, heartbreak, and more.
For nine seasons (though most fans don't really count season nine), Scrubs provided us with plenty of situations to make us reach for the nearest tissues. Some of the series' most memorable moments were the ones that made viewers cry the most. To pay homage to the way the show made us feel all the feelings, we've picked out 10 moments that were the saddest of them all.
10 "It Should've Been Me"
A lot of entries on this list deal with death. This one deals with something less severe, but still sad. One of the main threads of the series was JD and Elliot's on-again, off-again relationship. During season six, they were off and Elliot had a long term boyfriend named Keith. He proposed to Elliot and she accepted, only to pull it back so they could get the ring resized.
As everyone waits, friends around the hospital give JD sympathy because they think he still has feelings for Elliot. He denies it. And just as the episode is ending and the song "Stolen" is playing, JD looks around at all of his friends in relationships. He realizes that he is still in love with Elliot. The final shot of JD in the shower with the voiceover, "It should've been me," is a tearjerker.
9 Kevin Casey's Speech
Kevin Casey may not be a character who immediately comes to mind when you think about Scrubs. He only appeared in a couple of season three episodes and he didn't die or have a significant connection to any of the main characters. However, played wonderfully by Michael J. Fox, Casey was the star of one of the show's most emotional moments.
JD found Casey washing his hands and went over to talk to him, but Casey unexpectedly explodes with frustration. He was tired and ready to go home, but his severe case of OCD forced him to wash his hands repeatedly for two hours after his last surgery. The scream he lets out, plus his speech about owning his burdens, really make you feel for him.
8 Dr. Cox And Denise
Get ready for a lot of Dr. Cox because his scenes often had the most heart and weight behind them. As a punishment for not meeting his required hours of community service, Dr. Cox had to work a twelve-hour ambulance shift with an optimistic chatterbox driver named Denise.
Denise's favorite topic to discuss was her son. After accidentally crashing the ambulance and breaking her collarbone, she signs off on Cox's timesheet. He immediately ripped into her for being annoying. Her feelings are hurt, but the episode becomes truly sad when Dr. Cox realizes that Denise's son is dead. That's why she talks about her son often and why a bond with anyone, even Dr. Cox, is vital to her.
7 Dr. Cox On Himself
This is a scene that doesn't last as long as the others, but it packs one hell of a punch. During season one, JD begins to court a patient he met while she was having an MRI done. They planned to go on a date but work kept getting in the way. JD told Dr. Cox that he lost track of time and missed the date.
Dr. Cox recalls that JD kept checking his watch and chose to stay at work after his shift. When JD says that it's the kind of thing Dr. Cox would do, a sad realization comes over his face. Noticing that JD wants to be like him, Cox simply responds, "Do you understand that I just barely want to be like me?" Cue the emotions.
6 Mrs. Tanner Accepts Death
Season one showed viewers that Scrubs was going to be a heavy show almost instantly. In only the fourth episode, "My Old Lady," JD forms a bond with an elderly female patient, Mrs. Tanner, who needs to start dialysis to keep her life going. However, she has a different idea.
At 74 years of age, Mrs. Tanner had lived a long and fruitful life. She doesn't want the dialysis and is ready to say goodbye to the world. JD tries to change her mind but she isn't having it, so he has to accept her decision. Watching him come to terms with the first death he faced in his career is heartbreaking.
5 Mrs. Wilk's Beach Day
Here we go again with an elderly patient who becomes friendly with her doctors. Patricia Wilk suffered from a disease that forced her into an extended stay at the hospital. Miraculously, she recovered from the ordeal and was released from the hospital. Unfortunately, an inept intern made a mistake that gave her an infection, bringing her back to the hospital.
With Mrs. Wilk's immune system already weakened, the infection quickly becomes deadly. One of her dying wishes is to go to the beach one last time. JD and Dr. Cox make her a mock beach on the roof and she loves it. Sadly, she only enjoys it for a day before she tragically passes away.
4 JD And Turk's Night With George
The season eight episode "My Last Words" hit us with an unexpected shot to the heart. It only features two of the main cast members: JD and Turk. The best friends were excited to go out for steak to celebrate their bromance. That all changes when a dying patient named George lies about his family coming to see him.
JD and Turk blow off their big night to spend George's dying hours at his bedside. The three bond over discussions about their fear of death and eventually finding happiness. George gets tired and asks the guys if they'll be around when he wakes up. They say yes, but George never wakes up, capping an episode already filled with teary moments.
3 Carla Says Goodbye
Carla is the primary nurse on the show, but the most memorable besides her is Laverne. She is fierce, hilarious, and completely stands up for what she believes in. In a season six episode, she debates with Dr. Cox about how everything happens for a reason, even if it's terrible. After that conversation, Laverne gets into a car accident and fell into a coma.
The next episode focuses on Laverne's coma and everyone handling the situation in their own way. While the entire episode is sad, nothing tops Carla's tearful words. She reminisces about their good times and the impression that her longtime friend left on her.
2 Ben's Funeral
One of the most memorable guest stars in Scrubs history was Brendan Fraser. He played Ben Sullivan, best friend and brother-in-law to Dr. Cox. Ben is a blast from the first time we see him, giving us some hilarious scenes. We all felt sad when we found out that Ben had leukemia but it was nothing compared to his final appearance.
About two years later, Ben returns to check on his condition and attend his nephew's birthday party... or so we think. The end of the episode reveals that Dr. Cox imagined his friend was with him when in reality he had passed away. Dr. Cox was attending Ben's funeral and not his son's party. The final image of his tear-soaked face as he looked at the casket is haunting.
1 How To Save A Life
Season five's "My Lunch" hit everyone hard. The recurring character Jill dies of an apparent overdose and JD is distraught because he didn't help her enough. Dr. Cox consoles him and they use her donated organs to save three transplant patients. JD discovers that Jill's cause of death was actually rabies, so the transplant patients were now infected. All three die in a heart-wrenching montage set to the song "How to Save A Life" by The Fray and Dr. Cox has an emotional breakdown, especially because the last patient didn't need an immediate transplant.
Dr. Cox's obsession with saving them causes him to rush and results in an infected organ. That scene will leave you distraught on its own. But the following episode, "My Fallen Idol," sees JD deal with the fallout. He does everything in his power to get Dr. Cox out of his funk and when he finally does, you'll be in tears when Coz thanks him to end the episode.