I feel like most people wouldn’t think about the character development in Scrubs because it’s a medical comedy show, but just because they don’t take things seriously doesn’t mean their characters remain stagnant for 9 seasons, although fans probably don’t like to think about that last season.
One character whose development stood out to me as I made my way through the series was of course the narrator, J.D. The show depicts the problems and fears he has to face in the hospital, accompanied by his inner monologue. J.D.’s prominent habit of daydreaming always ends with a weird comment said out loud which nobody but himself understands. Despite being an enthusiastic, clumsy person with a lot of self-doubt, he is an intelligent good-by-heart doctor, who cares deeply about his patients, as stated by the Wiki page about his character. His friends give him hardly any respect and he’s always mocked for who he is, which I think didn’t help his character because he was insecure to begin with. In addition to that, the daily antics of the tormenting Janitor who goes out of his way to make J.D.’s life miserable, just because he can.
When the show began on their first day of interning at Sacred Heart Hospital, J.D. was extremely insecure and unsure of himself. His best friend, Turk, who was there with him, but as a surgical intern instead of medical like J.D., is much more sociable and charismatic and instantly makes friends. This worries J.D. because he fears he will find a new best friend among their co-workers and replace him. Not only was he insecure about his relationships, he also had low self-esteem when it came to his job performance as well. He looked for mentorship in both the Chief of Medicine and his superior, Dr. Cox, who wanted nothing to do with J.D. However, J.D. constantly tried to please Dr. Cox and would suck up any way possible, going as far to receive validation from him.
J.D was very unsure of himself and I don’t think he was comfortable with who he was. He seemed standoffish and like he was holding back parts of his personality. I know a lot of people do not like how J.D’s character ended up in the last few seasons, but I think he just finally allowed himself to be himself without caring what other people thought of him most of the time and I admired that about his character.
And if confronted, he will always back down as he wants nothing to do with any negative confrontation. This fact, along with his fanciful world of daydreaming, J.D. is a very solid. Despite the many moments of him being lost in his own thoughts, he thrives on the company of others and seeks harmonious relationships. And when it comes to the tough-minded Dr. Cox, J.D. dreams of having this idealistic student-mentor relationship with him and wants nothing more than to have his approval and praise. One of his most consistent traits is that J.D. simply cannot walk away when someone’s in trouble. Dr Cox admitted once that the reason why he first took an interest in J.D. was because he actually cares about his patients.
In Season 3, he pines after Elliot when she gets a stable boyfriend, and does everything he can to break them up so she can be with him. Once he actually gets Elliot, he realizes he doesn’t love her. Danni accurately points out that he has a tendency to idealize women who can’t possibly meet his impossible standards.
Dr. Cox describes him as this because despite all of his flaws, J.D. cares deeply about his patients and his friends and it shows in his work and it draws people in, Dr. Cox included. “The Reason You Suck” Speech: Delivers an epic one in Season 2, but is often on the receiving end of them, mostly from Dr. Cox or Carla.
He learns how to deal with his insecurities as he becomes a better doctor and more confident in his capabilities. As for his relationships, he learns to trust Turk more, but there are times where he still feels like he comes in second to his wife, Carla, which can be difficult for him. Turk tries his best to ensure that J.D. knows he’s his best friend and he wouldn’t want anyone else by his side, but it’s something he struggles with over the course of the show.
Not only that, he finally comes to terms with his feelings towards Elliot, which he couldn’t really figure out for the better part of the show. He wanted her when he couldn’t have her, and when he had her, he didn’t want her. He was essentially the master of wanting what he couldn’t have because he idealized everything to the point where when he had the things he wanted, it turns out it wasn’t what he wanted after all because they didn’t act the way he’d expected. Despite this, he eventually decided he wanted her in his life after having a child with another woman and they got married and had a child of their own.
“My emotional journey began at 5 years old, when I walked in in my parents having sex in a position that later my father would playfully describe as ‘The Jackhammer’. I have a mentor that verbally abuses me every chance he gets and no matter how much I try, I cannot stop constantly narrating my own life. [At that very moment I feared I had divulged to much] Molly, I’m narcissistic, I’m pessimistic, I’m obsessive, I’m insecure and I’m so afraid of intimacy that every one of my relationships is a journey of self-sabotage that inevitably ends in a black vacuum of shattered expectations and despair.”