My Screw Up
|"My Screw Up"|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Chris Koch|
|Written by||Neil Goldman
|Featured music||"Winter" by Joshua Radin|
|Original air date||February 24, 2004|
Critical reaction was very positive. Most notably, it was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.
Jordan, Danni and Ben return to help prepare a gathering for Dr. Cox's son Jack's first birthday. Dr. Cox, having to leave the hospital on a short errand, advises J.D. to keep an eye on a patient of his with a bad heart and take responsibility for Ben as routine tests for his leukemia are started. Turk and Carla clash over removing Turk's mole and changing Carla's last name after they marry, and one of Ted's band members quits. When Dr. Cox returns J.D announces that a patient died after going into cardiac arrest. Dr. Cox angrily blames J.D. for this patient's death and dismisses him. Ben calms Dr. Cox down who towards the end of the show apologizes to J.D.
On the way to Jack's birthday party, Ben tells Dr. Cox to forgive himself for the patient's death, which he does. When J.D. arrives and breaks their reverie, Dr. Cox realizes that Ben is not there, and that they are not at Jack's party, but rather, a funeral; the final scenes reveal that Ben is the patient who died, and that his presence has only been in spirit. The episode ends as a heartbroken Dr. Cox uncharacteristically allows those around to comfort him.
Homage to The Sixth Sense
On the special features on the season three DVD, Bill Lawrence says that this episode is a homage to The Sixth Sense. The film, starring Bruce Willis, is famous for its twist ending, when it is revealed that Willis' character has been unknowingly dead throughout the film. In the film, Willis interacts only with a boy who can "see dead people"; no other characters ever acknowledge Willis' presence. The film allows the audience to assume Willis is alive. Similarly, the audience in "My Screw Up" is led to believe that Ben is alive until the very end, even as close examination reveals that Dr. Cox is the only character who acknowledges him after the point in the episode where he has died. Ben says early in the episode that he will take his camera with him everywhere until the day he dies. After the "patient" dies, Ben doesn't have his camera throughout the rest of the episode, confirming that it was he who died.
Brendan Fraser was supposed to appear in "My Long Goodbye" as Ben because Carla asks Dr. Cox if he had ever seen a ghost. However, Fraser couldn't appear because he was filming a movie. As such, Jill Tracy from "My Lunch" appears instead.
Ben had previously appeared in two Season 1 episodes: "My Occurrence" and "My Hero". It is in these two episodes that Ben was diagnosed with leukemia. In the former, J.D. himself goes through many events with Ben after he is informed Ben is clear of leukemia; however, there was a theory Ben never was rid of cancer and the scene declaring him cancer free was imagined. This was debunked in the very next episode when Dr. Cox declares they did rid the cancer, but was worried Ben had not had any checkups to make sure the cancer has not returned.
- In the locker room where J.D. shows off his "Shower Shorts", on the locker behind him stands "Peace Sam". Sam is the name of J.D.'s father, played by John Ritter, who died September 11, 2003.
- Upon seeing Danni, Jordan's sister, played by Tara Reid, J.D. quickly mentions that he destroyed the video they made when she last visited. The video features Danni hitting J.D. in the crotch with a golf club, a mockery of many entries submitted to America's Funniest Home Videos. J.D. mentions sadly that now he'll never get to meet Bob Saget, even though Saget left the show in the mid 1990s.
- It received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. In 2008, Empire placed Scrubs 19th on their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" and cited "My Screw Up" as the show's best episode.
- In IGN's list of the 10 best Scrubs episodes, "My Screw Up" placed third.