My Screw Up

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"My Screw Up"
Scrubs episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 14
Directed byChris Koch
Written byNeil Goldman
Garrett Donovan
Featured music"Winter" by Joshua Radin
Production code315
Original air dateFebruary 24, 2004
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"My Porcelain God"
Next →
"My Tormented Mentor"
Scrubs (season 3)
List of Scrubs episodes

"My Screw Up" is the 14th episode of Season 3 and the 60th episode overall of the American sitcom Scrubs. It originally aired on February 24, 2004 on NBC.

It features Brendan Fraser's final appearance as Ben Sullivan. The character had previously appeared in the Season 1 episodes "My Occurrence" and "My Hero."

Critical reaction was very positive. Most notably, the episode was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.


Jordan and Dr. Cox are preparing to throw a party for their son Jack's first birthday. Dr. Cox advises J.D. not to attend the party because Jordan's sister Danni, with whom J.D. had recently broken up, is also coming. Also coming to the party is Jordan and Danni's brother Ben (Brendan Fraser), whose cancer has gone into remission; however he has failed to have routine screenings and Cox advises him to get checked out.

Meanwhile, Turk and Carla clash over removing a mole from Turk's face and Carla taking Turk as her last name after they marry, and one of Ted's band members quits. J.D. is taking care of an elderly man with an irregular heartbeat when Dr. Cox instructs him to run tests on Ben while Cox runs an errand. Twenty minutes later, J.D. is called to resuscitate a patient who has gone into cardiac arrest.

When Dr. Cox returns, J.D. hands him a chart and informs him that the patient died. Dr. Cox angrily blames J.D. and sends him home, despite Ben's efforts to convince Cox that it wasn't J.D.'s fault. Two days later, Cox has been at the hospital for sixty straight hours and it is apparent that Jordan is worried he won't show up for Jack's party later that day. Ben follows Cox around the hospital, apparently trying to convince him to go to his son's party.

Meanwhile, Carla is busy annoying everyone as she is looking for advice: first she is upset because she doesn't know what to do to repay Turk for having his mole removed, but when he asks her to agree to take his name (hoping she would say no so he wouldn't have to have the surgery) she gladly accepts his terms. But after that she is angry that Turk is 'forcing her' to take his name. She asks an annoyed Dr. Kelso for advice; he responds that she may end up missing the mole after it's gone, even though she thinks she hates it. She finally decides that Turk shouldn't have to have his mole removed, and Turk respects her wishes to keep her own last name.

Ben finally gets Dr. Cox to leave the hospital to go to the party, as well as apologize to J.D. for blaming him for the patient's death, and on the way to the celebration tells him to forgive himself. J.D. arrives and asks Dr. Cox if he knows where he is, at which point Ben disappears. Cox and J.D. are shown to be walking into a cemetery where they are joined by Jordan, Danni, and many of the hospital staff. They are not at Jack's birthday party, but instead are attending Ben's funeral. In reality, Ben was the patient who died under J.D.'s watch. Cox, unable to accept the death of his best friend, had been seeing Ben's spirit as if he were alive. The episode ends as a heartbroken Dr. Cox uncharacteristically allows those around to comfort him.

Homage to The Sixth Sense[edit]

In the special features on the Season 3 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 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 when he dies. 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 for the rest of the episode.


Footage from this episode was later re-used in "My Urologist," with Dr. Kim Briggs digitally worked into it (replacing Carla) to verify she was there for Ben's funeral.

Brendan Fraser was supposed to appear in "My Long Goodbye" as Ben, when Carla asked 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.[1]

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 a incident similar to Dr. Cox's and imagines a series of events in which he proves Ben is misdiagnosed and actually well, before realizing it is a fantasy and Ben in fact has leukemia.

Cultural references[edit]

  • 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.[2]
  • In IGN's list of the 10 best Scrubs episodes, "My Screw Up" placed third.


  1. ^ Scrubs TV Show Series on NBC: Find Videos and Season Episode . NBC Online Site Archived 2008-03-19 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". Empire. Retrieved 2008-03-29.

External links[edit]