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Jaw-Dropping Facts About ‘Scrubs’: 12 Crazy Behind-the-Scenes Secrets

Find out who improvised most of their lines and other secrets about the set!

Medical dramas have had a hold on audiences for decades, but, as you’ll see in these facts about Scrubs, there is no series quite like it.

The star-studded cast, and the heart and humor that’s laced in, kept the show running for nine seasons. From 2001 until 2010, fans were captivated by the medical sitcom and for you — and them — we’ve uncovered these 12 facts.

The Emmy-winning series follows a group of new medical students working at Sacred Heart Hospital, learning the ropes of working in medicine. Check out these crazy facts about Scrubs.

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1. The show was filmed in a real hospital: Facts about Scrubs

Facts about scrubs
Cast of “Scrubs” (2001)

If you’re a Scrubs superfan, you may have noticed that the hospital looks pretty authentic. That was no mistake: the show was filmed inside the real thing, the sets constructed inside North Hollywood Medical Center, a decommissioned hospital that was active from 1952 to 1998.

Unfortunately, just one year after the series ended, the hospital was torn down, so if you were looking to pay the set a visit, that is no longer possible.

The hospital used in the pilot was different than the one used in the rest of the series. But when creators decided they wanted more of a real-feel to the set, they started to use the abandoned North Hollywood Medical Center, which looked like an under-funded, run-down center.

2. Many of the sets were also built inside the hospital

Speaking of the hospital, almost all of the indoor sets — like apartments, bars and bedrooms — were built inside the abandoned hospital.

Aside from the few other locations, the cast hardly left the building to film. And apart from the sets, many of the production facilities were in the hospital: The fictional Sacred Heart housed the writers room and the cutting room, among others.

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3. Real doctors approved the show’s storylines: : Facts about Scrubs

Doctor smiling; facts about scrubs
Zach Braff in “Scrubs” (2007)

A lot of medical dramas have storylines involving crazy cases, but to make sure that the situations seemed medically accurate, the show’s creators did research into real cases, and they consulted actual medical professionals. Although many of the cases were somewhat grounded in reality, they were often tweaked to add some comedy to the situations.   

4. The Janitor was supposed to be a figment of J.D.’s imagination

Janitor, portrayed by Neil Flynn, wasn’t originally meant to be a series regular. He was originally intended to only be visible to J.D, and, in fact, season 1 only shows him speaking to J.D., but after writers realized he was a fan-favorite, the character became a regular.

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5. Neil Flynn improvised a lot of his lines

A part of what made Janitor such an unforgettable character was the fact that Flynn ad-libbed a lot of his lines. The actor would come up with funny quips in the moment while filming, creating the wacky and unpredictable character. Actually, many of the scripts would say, “Neil makes something up and then exits.”

6. Zach Braff and Donald Faison are friends in real life

Two friends smiling
Zach Braff and Donald Faison in “Scrubs’ (2001)

Zach Braff and Donald Faison, who play best friends on Scrubs, are also very close in real life. The duo recently starred in a T-Mobile commercial together with Jason Momoa, which aired during the 2024 Superbowl commercial. In 2020, Faison and Braff started their own podcast, Fake Doctors, Real Friends with Zach and Donald. For each episode of the podcast, they watch one episode of Scrubs and discuss. They even bring in some of their beloved cast members for interviews!

7. Zach Braff shadowed real doctors: Facts about Scrubs

Two doctors sitting
Zach Braff and Ken Jenkins in “Scrubs” (2006)

Before filming for the series started, Braff wanted to get his character just right, so he chose to shadow real doctors to see what their day-to-day life was like and how they handled certain situations. Braff even interacted with real-life patients while shadowing.

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8. Real patients would come onto set for treatment

Since Sacred Heart was set in an actual abandoned hospital, real people were convinced it was a functioning hospital. The cast and crew have shared that people who had real injuries would end up at the set, thinking they could receive treatment.

Of course, when the actors, who were all dressed as doctors, told them it wasn’t a real hospital, people were often confused.

9. Sam Lloyd was in an acapella group in real life

The group, The Worthless Peons, which included Sam Lloyd’s character, Ted Buckland, are a real acapella group. The quartet is called The Blanks and has all of the same members as the on-screen version.

They banded when they all met in college and stayed together through the show’s run and after. The acapella group also released several albums after the series ended.

10. The janitor had a real name: Facts about Scrubs

janitor; facts about scrubs
Neil Flynn in “Scrubs” (2001)

Part of the mystery surrounding Janitor is the fact that his name was never revealed. Going only by “the janitor,” kept an air of mystery around the character. But in the series finale of Scrubs, fans finally learned the janitor’s real name: Glen Matthews. However, fans are mostly happy that Flynn’s character went by the one-word title as it added to his strange qualities.

11. There’s an error in the opening credits

The original opening credits, which feature an x-ray sign with the title of the show, were incorrect. The photo of the x-ray is actually backwards, and it stayed that way for nearly five seasons. It wasn’t until Kim Briggs (Elizabeth Banks), says “That’s backwards. It’s been bugging me for years,” and turns the film around in the revised credits.

12. Dr. Cox’s monologues were learned very quickly

Dr. Cox, who was played by John C. McGinley, often had some very lengthy monologues in some episodes. One of the crazier facts about Scrubs is that McGinley often had very little time to prepare his speeches prior to filming them. A lot of the time, the actor would receive the script the night before and sometimes he would have less than an hour to prepare.

McGinley even sound-proofed his dressing room so that he wouldn’t be distracted when learning his lines. Since Braff and Faison would often be goofing around on set, McGinley decided he needed to concentrate in quiet.

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