Season 3 Episode 14

My Screw Up

Aired Tuesday 9:30 PM Feb 24, 2004 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
1,131 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Jordan's brother and sister return, but Dr. Cox learns that his brother-in-law Ben hasn't visited a doctor about his cancer in the two years he has been gone traveling the world.

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  • Toucing moments toned down by the unnecessary (yet good) comedy

    I know I'm somewhat new to this series since I just binge watch it a few weeks recently on Netflix. But I gotta admit the comedy and drama are good, although sometimes it feels a tad stereotypical and repetitive.

    This episode in particular is good but also makes me a little angry in some ways.

    The particular thing that made me angry is the comedy that seems to tone down those important moments.

    I mean, the first time . learns of Ben's leukemia he's got all those 5 stages of grief, and yet after Ben is dead, he only shows little sign of grief as if Ben is just another patient of his (he plays gin with Leonard the guard afterwards as if nothing the other characters treated as if nothing really tragic happens to him.

    So, when the twist happens, I just kind of surprised yet too sad about it like I should, since the other characters just made some jokes a few moments ago.

    In my opinion this whole it was like going to a best friend's brother funeral after I went to see a funny movies with my other best friend. It in turns create a mixed up feeling of joy and sadness. Which then angers me since I feel it's not sad or touching enough to be a heartfelt episode, yet it's not funny enough to be a hilarious episode.moreless
  • Still. Cry. Every. Time. I. Watch. It.

    Even many years later.
  • A surprising twist that could shake everyone to their core.

    This was definitely one of the best of the series, out of all the twists Scrubs has had in the past, this one by far has been one of the best. I've rewatched this episode 3 times, and I finally think I got it. Ben was alive when he came to Sacred Heart, but the patient that died that Cox blamed JD for, that was Ben. He came for Jack's first birthday but when he got his leukemia checked, that's when he went in to cardiac arrest and died, everything else was in Cox's imagination. I got so much chills at the end of this episode, it literally shook me to my core, and this episode was so emotional, it was shocking. Scrubs is a comedy, but it always has some emotional scene in each episode, whether it's Elliot changing her image, 1 out of 3 patients dying in a hospital, finding out you're patient was trying to commit suicide or cancer in this case. I think what made this episode really sad is that we knew Ben as an actual character, he wasn't just any other patient. Danni, Jordan's sister, also makes an appearance for the birthday/funeral. Basically in this episode, one of JD's patients dies on him, and Cox blames JD. He takes all his patients and wont go home. In the end, it turns out the one that died was his best friend, Ben. Meanwhile Turk & Carla both have something they want to change about each other, but they don't go through with doing it in the end. We get a Carla/Kelso moment, which we haven't seen since season 1. Elliot worries about her newly found Bunyan, as Sean is coming back in a few weeks, and she wants to get it removed before he comes back. She ends up getting it removed in the end.

    All the minor side plots seemed pointless by the end, Ben has died, which reminded me what a great show Scrubs is, amazing episode that has a bit of everything.moreless
  • Not one of the best episodes of the series.

    The best episode of history of TV. Coming from Scrubs Season 3, note that. Who else can think there might be just one slightly better episode than this one? If you think that, you're in denial. "My Screw Up" deserves that title, for me it was flawless. I dislike there are already tons of reviews to this one, and who wrote them are not even close to be as [scrubs] fans as myself. Anyway, I wrote a 're-view'. Everybody here already stated why this is the best of the series, I'm going to skip that part then. So, the episode starts we have JD displaying his gift as a doctor when rubbing Elliot's foot. JD has his bunion face joke. The subplot is quickly introduced when Carla decides to keep her last name Espinoza after marrying. Then is Jordan asking Perry what come up for the adults in Jack's birthday, Cox has his russian roulette joke, JD interrupts asking if he should bring his piñata helmet. And my second favorite part of the whole episode is: "Jordan: The only reason we invited you is because for some reason you have your own SpongeBob Squarepants costume.

    J.D.: It was a gift.

    JD's narration: From me to me!" HAHAHAHA

    It gets funnier when Danni walks in and JD quickly says he destroyed the videotape they made. And there is this hi-larious scene, let's just say it ends up with JD saying "Now I'll never gonna meet Bob Saget." That kind of humor really amazes me, only on [scrubs]. Next, it's time for Ben's grand entrance, he scares the hell out of JD, Ben takes pictures of him while bleeding. All this hilarity already and the theme song hadn't even played yet. So the rest of the episode is just FUNNY. Like Turk's mole talking "Finally a brother can breathe!", the giant afro guy with a hook playing cards with JD "Nice hand. I meant the cards." There is "Yeah! I am the King of Gay Chicken!" The shower shorts! Featuring the complementary shower wallet! Oww! Another LOL moment. "OH MY GOD, HE'S GONNA DIE!" There is the drunken human alarm clock. And this quote, "Listen. My butt is fabulous. A slice of that up here, that's just me spreading the wealth." "You wanna quit then quit. But you sir, are a worthless peon, and you will always be a worthless peon! Sir, you know my band, The Worthless Peons?" Hilarious! And special mention for Ben playing with Elliot as a puppet. Of course, there's more funny stuff to check out. ALSO, Carla looked stunning in this episode!

    I felt like they really tried to make this episode beyond very special, aiming to almost perfection. Every little detail and the humor is top class. It blows me away how funny the episode was and that is just secondary this time, the drama factor was primary, what made the episode. Obvioulsy the best part was the ending that would never get old, and still gives me chills everytime I see it. What a terrific episode, is an honor and pleasure to watch.moreless
  • Scrubs in top form!

    "My Screw Up"

    Grade: A*

    Understandably, this episode was Scrubs came out as a shocker to some viewers when the plot twist is revealed that Ben was the patient who died at the hospital, but the way the writers have cleverly hidden it away from first viewing is amazing. The biggest giveaway is that Ben says that he'll have his camera with him until the day he dies, and that he doesn't have it when he's a ghost. Most importantly though, I think this episode contributes to Dr. Cox's character very well in that he understands that not everyone is perfect and that there's a time for forgiveness. Not realising that Ben was dead also showed us new light to him, understanding the ways of life from Ben's ghost and having to get on with people he sees everyday. The final scene with J.D waking up Dr. Cox with the quote "Where do you think we are?" on realising he is at Ben's funeral was an extremely powerful and moving scene, showing us that even a character like Dr. Cox can have a soft side to him. Overall, the build up was flawless, the episode was funny, and has a brilliant plot twist I didn't see from the start! A must see for all viewers!moreless
Donald Faison

Donald Faison

Dr. Christopher "Chris" Duncan Turk

John C. McGinley

John C. McGinley

Dr. Percival "Perry" Cox

Judy Reyes

Judy Reyes

Nurse Carla Espinosa

Ken Jenkins

Ken Jenkins

Dr. Robert "Bob" Kelso

Neil Flynn

Neil Flynn

The Janitor

Sarah Chalke

Sarah Chalke

Dr. Elliot Reid

Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser

Ben Sullivan

Guest Star

Richard Clarke Larson

Richard Clarke Larson

Homeless Man

Guest Star

Warren Munson

Warren Munson

Mr. Taylor

Guest Star

Christa Miller-Lawrence

Christa Miller-Lawrence

Jordan Sullivan

Recurring Role

Tara Reid

Tara Reid

Danni Sullivan

Recurring Role

Aloma Wright

Aloma Wright

Nurse Laverne Roberts

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • 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.

    • Ben snaps the shutter twice on his camera without taking out the print from the first snap, so the picture he's holding of J.D. in the bushes should have been a double exposure.

    • When J.D. and Leonard are playing cards, Leonard already has cards on the table, lays down three cards, and says "Gin." This contradicts the rules of Gin Rummy; in Gin Rummy, you put down all of your cards at once.

    • Dr. Cox's delusion that Ben is okay and everything worked out in this episode parallel's J. D.'s delusion that Ben is okay and everything worked out in the episode "My Occurrence (1)," in which Ben's leukemia is diagnosed.

    • In the beginning of the episode, when Dr. Cox asks if Ben always carries that camera around, he states "Until the day I die." After his death and in Dr. Cox's subsequent delusions, he is without the camera.

    • Featured Music:
      "Winter" by Josh Radin

    • Ted mentioned that Chris from shipping and receiving (the only one with hair and sex appeal) left their a capella group, The Worthless Peons. However, the next time Ted's band appeared (in "My Best Friend's Wedding"), Chris was still in the group!

    • Bob Saget hasn't been the host of America's Funniest Home Videos for a couple of years, so it doesn't make sense that JD thought the video of him and Danni would enable him to meet Bob Saget.

  • QUOTES (44)

    • J.D.'s narration: the end, the most important thing to accept is that no matter how alone you feel, how painful it may be, with the help of those around you, you'll get through this too.

    • Dr. Cox: Now where is your camera? Aren't, aren't you going to take some pictures?
      J.D.: Pictures of what?
      Dr. Cox: You know. Crying babies. Covered in chocolate. People singing happy birthday to my son, who've never even met him before. You know, the whole routine.
      J.D.: Where do you think we are?

    • Ben: I'm glad you made it. Listen. There is one more thing you have to do for me.
      Dr. Cox: You can't keep me from getting drunk.

    • Dr. Cox: So how come you don't have to get all dressed up?
      Ben: I am dressed up. You see any holes in these pants?

    • Dr. Cox: Those are the most ridiculous things I have ever seen.
      J.D.: You know you're right. I was an idiot to buy these shower shorts. I mean it's not like they come with a complimentary shower wallet.

    • Turk: All right, I'm gonna get right down to it. You tell Carla that my mole is inoperable, I will pay you ten thousand dollars.
      Carla: Turk! I don't want you to do this!
      Plastic Surgeon: The mole's inoperable.
      Turk: The deal's off.

    • Dr. Cox: Benny, I appreciate your concern, but you just don't understand.
      Ben: What don't I understand?
      Dr. Cox: Well do you see all these people here? This is not some kind of senior citizens slumber party. I mean if it was, I would have already put Mr. Foredom's hand in a nice bowl of warm water. But god bless him, he's going to go ahead and wet the bed anyway.

    • J.D.: I got to win my money back from Leonard... You know the guy with the giant afro.
      Turk: Oh. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

    • Turk: You guys, I don't want to do this.
      Elliot: Come on. No one's going to call you names.
      Turk: I know, but...
      J.D.: FACE! Butt-face.
      Turk: Listen. My butt is fabulous. A slice of that up here, that's just me spreading the wealth.

    • Dr. Cox: Hey, hey, Val. You know, you know what's funny? Ever since I started taking care of your patients not one of them has died.
      J.D.: Look. You want to be mad at me, that's fine. I get it. Okay. But Jordan called. And she wants to make sure you show this afternoon.
      Ben: Oh. Right. That thing. Put us down for Ben plus one.

    • Carla: Hey. You've been here for sixty straight hours. You need to go home.
      Dr. Cox: You know what I need. I need people to stop telling me what I should do.
      Carla: Fine.
      Ben: You know what you should do?
      Dr. Cox: Aw. Why are you here?

    • J.D.: So wait. You think this was my fault?
      Ben: Hey, this is an emotional situation. So, why don't you go easy on the kid?
      Dr. Cox: It was your fault. Now get the hell out.
      Ben: Well that was good. That was good listening.

    • Turk: Know what sweetie? I'm fine with getting rid of this mole. But you got to be willing to take my last name when we get married.
      Carla: That's perfect. Of course I will.
      Elliot: And there she goes. Mrs. Carla Butt-face.

    • Dr. Cox: What's the matter with you there, Sheila? You look like Maybeline just went belly up!

    • J.D.'s Narration: Guilt's a funny thing. It can lead to denial.
      Dr. Cox: Kid screwed up.
      Ben: No he didn't. He told you he has way too many patients, he's swamped.
      Dr. Cox: The kid screwed up.
      Ben: Okay. Darn kid!

    • Carla: Oh, thank god you're here. I totally need someone to talk to. Usually I would talk to Dr. Cox, but he's out doing stuff. Course there is always Laverne, but I'm kind of her boss. And I like to avoid getting too up close and personal with staff members who work below me.
      Dr. Kelso: As do I.

    • Ted: Sir, I think I figured out how my problem affects one of your loved ones. It affects me.
      Dr. Kelso: Swing and a miss.

    • J.D.: So you would be a butt-face?
      Elliot: That would be a funny nickname.
      Turk: No it wouldn't.
      J.D.: Yes it would. God, how long does it take, to fill a bottle of pills! I'm sorry Madeline. I hope we didn't wake you. It's just that I have fifty patients and I... That's a code.
      Turk: Watch I'm going to get out of this mole thing.
      Elliot: Whatever, Butt-face.
      Turk: Uncool.

    • Plastic Surgeon: Okaaaaaaaaaaaay. So who wants what, bigger or smaller?
      Carla: My fiancé would like to have his mole removed.
      Plastic Surgeon: That? That's cute. It's like a tickle button.
      Turk: No it's not. It needs to go away.

    • Ben: Hey J.D. My sister Danni is more of a gentle kisser, don't you think? But I find Jordan is loaded more along the lines of teeth and tongue.
      J.D.: Would you please stop it?
      Ben: Fangs.

    • Dr. Cox: Ah Newbie. Perfect timing. I have to run a hundred fifty dollars down to the police station cause Mr. Jinkies the Juggler, who Jordan just has to have to for Jack's birthday party, just got a DUI.
      Ben: Yeah!
      Dr. Cox: Only me. Long story short. Your new job is to take young Ben here by the hand and run every hematological screening test that we have.
      J.D.: Dr. Cox I can't. I'm already covering for Doug. He's on a His-and-Her-Spa-Day with his mom.

    • Mr. Taylor: So should I be worried about the old ticker?
      J.D.: Oh Mr. Taylor. Let me worry about that for you.
      J.D.'s Narration: Oh my god! He's gonna die!

    • Turk: Okay you know what? Maybe it would be better if you focused on how you are doing this for Sean. I mean if there was something about me physically that bothered Carla, I would be excited to fix it for her. I mean it would probably make our relationship even better. And more...
      Carla: I hate your mole.
      Turk: What?
      Carla: What?
      Turk: Baby you said it was your tickle button. You made me shave my mustache.
      Carla: That was before I knew what was under there.


    • Dr. Cox: So Jordan tells me that while you were on your world leukemia tour, you neglected to visit a single doctor, medicine man, or scary shaman with the giant saucers in his ears. Psst. Ben. Turns out cancer's the kind of ailment that you occasionally want to check up on!

    • Dr. Cox: What's weird is that its taken my best friend so long to come and see my son. I mean you get diagnosed with leukemia and then you disappear for two years. What is that about?
      Ben: Well, it went into remission and I wanted to see the world in all its splendor and glory.
      Dr. Cox. How'd that go for you?
      Ben: Ehh. Got some good picture though. Here check it out. Look. Here's me at the Great Wall of China. This is me at the pyramids... What is this? Oh yeah. This was you and me, like eight seconds ago.

    • Jordan: Anyhoo. I'm thinking that you probably shouldn't come.
      J.D.: Why not?
      Dr. Cox: Because her whole family is in town.
      Danni: Hey J.D.
      J.D.'s Narration: Oh my god! What do you say to a girl you dumped three weeks ago?
      J.D.: I destroyed that video tape we made.
      Jordan: What tape?
      J.D.: Now I'll never meet Bob Saggat.

    • Dr. Cox: I tell you what, nothing says good morning like a drunken human alarm clock.

    • Dr. Kelso: I'm just here to get a nasal speculum.
      Carla: I just wish I didn't hate that mole so much.
      Dr. Kelso: I used one of these on my wife once. She's a terrible snorer. She used to keep me up all night. I made her have the surgery but, of course, that just made things worst. But here's a twist: now, whenever she goes out the town, I can't fall asleep without the sound of that gasping, weezing woman lying right next to me. Trust me, if I ever met a Japan air-stewardess who snored like Enid I'd marry her tomorrow. But here's the point: you might find out that thing you hate so much is the very same thing you miss when it´s gone.
      Carla: Thank you, sir.

    • Ted: Well its official. Chris left the band.
      Dr. Kelso: Well Ted, you know what I think? Good riddance to him. You'll find another tenor.
      Ted: Thank you sir.
      Dr. Kelso: If you don't, who cares? You all stink anyway.

    • Elliot: Thanks again for helping me look for Carla.
      Janitor: No problem. I'll check the dumpster.
      Elliot: Ah, we're not looking for dead Carla.
      Janitor: That a girl. You stay optimistic.

    • Dr. Cox: No. Look as a rule of thumb I don't attend parties where the guest of honor has no idea what's going on.
      Ben: That's not true. Remember back when you and Jordan first got married, and we went to go see senile old Grandpa Horty for his ninety fifth birthday party? Remember he kept trying to get the coat-check girl thrown out because she was loyal to the Kaiser.

    • Carla: I don't think he understands that "Espinosa" is more than a name to me. It's my heritage. It's also a candy bar in Equador. But mostly it's my heritage. I just don't want to do this Dr. Kelso, but I already agreed. What do you think I should do?
      Dr. Kelso: Well, Nurse Snickers, until now you've just been white noise. But since you forced me to respond, let me a tell you a couple of things that only a few people know: I haven't paid my country club dues since the third quarter of ninety-seven. But I still tee off every Wednesday at eight fifteen, and take a bare-ass steam when the last putt drops. But more importantly, I really don't care about any of you or your problems. And you can confirm that with Ted.
      Ted: Don't those Espinosa's have nougat?

    • Ted: Dr. Cox. Ah. I'm afraid my band lost a member. So we're not going to be able to perform at your son's party.
      Dr. Cox: Ted. Now even though I never asked you to, that is still just terrific news.

    • Ted: Sir you know my band? The Worthless Peons. Well, Chris from shipping and receiving wants to go solo. We lose him, we lose our sex appeal. He's the only one with hair. What do you think I should do?
      Dr. Kelso: Ted you know my rule about personal problems. I'm not interested unless it involves my loved ones. Or possibly my wife.

    • Elliot: If I do, then from now on when one of you guys look at me all you're going to think of me as giant gross foot. It's like that security guard with the hook for the hand. All everybody thinks when they look at him is, big giant afro.
      Carla: I do think that.

    • Ben: You know something? You have slept with both of my sisters. That means you and I something in common.
      J.D.: I have to get going.
      Ben: Too weird?
      Dr. Cox: Nahhhhhhh!

    • Jordan: It's Jack's first birthday, I want it to be special. I got a petting zoo for the kids. And we need to figure out something great for the adults.
      Dr. Cox: How about a Russian Roulette booth? And here's the kicker. We put bullets in ALL the chambers. That way everyone wins!
      J.D.: Will there be a pinata? Beause I need to know if I should bring my pinata helmet.

    • Carla: Turk? If I decide to keep my last name after we get married, that's no big deal, right?
      Turk: Course not baby. We'll just have one of those modern marriages where the husband and wife don't love each other.

    • Elliot: Okay. I have a huge bunion. Sean's coming back in a few weeks. What am I supposed to do?
      J.D.: Well, I think the obvious answer is to draw Sean's face on it and tell him you grew it because you missed him.
      Turk: Or... it's a simple surgery.
      J.D. Uh, Turk, I think we already decided on Bunion-face.
      Elliot: Cut me the hell up.
      J.D.: Dammit.

    • Dr. Cox: Are you still doing that whole cooky guy who brings his camera everywhere thing??
      Ben: Till the day I die.

    • Dr. Cox: So you haven't noticed that my supporting cast in this theater of hell is a veritable who's who of incompetent puppets?

    • Dr. Cox: Shower shorts?
      J.D.: For the man who has nothing to hide... but still wants to.

    • Jordan: The only reason we invited you is because for some reason you have your own Sponge-Bob Squarepants costume!
      J.D.: It was a gift.
      J.D.'s narration: From me to me!

  • NOTES (1)

    • Nominations:
      This episode was nominated for two Emmy Awards in 2004 for Outstanding Writing For A Comedy Series and for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series. This episode was nominated for the 2004 Humanitas Prize for 30 Minute Category.