I’ve always maintained that despite being a comedy first and foremost, the most memorable episodes of Scrubs
are the ones that throw a healthy dose of drama into the mix. The reason being that like most other television greats, the show is character-driven. And it’s the episodes which allow us to connect to the characters on a meaningful level that make the strongest case for why, after six seasons, Scrubs
remains one of the best half hours of television on air. “My Long Goodbye” was Scrubs truly hitting its stride to deliver one of the strongest episodes of the season. For the full recap, just follow the link:
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“My Long Goodbye” picks up where “My No Good Reason” left off, with nurse Roberts in a coma following a car accident. With Laverne’s fate uncertain, everyone finds their own way to cope. Elliot and Keith do something “life-affirming” (repeatedly) and J.D. and Turk take out some aggression with an attempted round of mailbox-baseball at the Kelso residence (“attempted” because Kelso’s mailbox has been reinforced with titanium). Meanwhile, Dr. Cox decides to do something impulsive and shaves his head (for those of you wondering why Dr. Cox was mysteriously bald in “My Night to Remember” only to have hair again in the following episode, it seems that the clip episode was actually filmed after this event but shown out of sequence). In one of the best lines to come out of any episode to date, Dr. Cox takes a jab at the audience’s complaints about his hair over the last season, stating “There… nobody liked my haircut so now they can all just suck it.” Jordan quips back “Yeah, you win,” and then casually mentions that she’s scheduled for her C-section in two hours. Seems she forgot to tell Perry.
Back at the hospital, Carla breaks the bad news to Laverne’s family, while J.D. envisions a “bad-news” robot for situations like such as this one. The robot has a massive system failure and its bereaved robot child disintegrates J.D. when he delivers the bad news. Meanwhile, Elliot checks in on Laverne and tells her what she has meant to her over the years. Carla insists that Elliot shouldn’t be saying goodbye because people have come back from much worse. A moment later an imaginary Laverne walks up to Carla telling her not to let Elliot put any more make-up on her because it makes her look like a street-walker. Seems Carla is having a hard time letting go.
Dr. Cox pulls J.D. aside and reveals that Jordan is about to have her C-section. J.D. has three questions: (1) Can he be the godfather, (2) Did Dr. Cox do that to his head so that the baby would think everyone looked that way, and (3) Why is it a secret? The answer to both of the first two questions is “Stop making dumb jokes” while the answer to the third is because they want to make sure the baby is alright before spreading the word. They’re only telling J.D. because they need his help with something very important. J.D. is so overcome by the fact that Dr. Cox is letting him into his “inner circle” that he ponders this thought the entire time Dr. Cox is explaining what he needs help with. Not wanting to invalidate Dr. Cox’s trust in him, J.D. does not reveal that he hasn’t heard a word. He. then seeks out the hospital audiologist and asks if he can help determine what Dr. Cox said if J.D. mimics his mouth movements. The verdict is “Pick up film for my camera.”
Carla is meanwhile trying to come to grips with seeing Laverne following her around while the rest of the hospital staff is beginning to say their goodbyes. Todd tells Laverne “You were the one woman I would never do because I respect you too much. But if doing you right now could help… I would.” Carla has had it with people writing Laverne off and demands that there be no more goodbyes. Regardless, Dr. Kelso stops by to say farewell moments later, telling Laverne “You were always one of the good ones.” Dr. Kelso then kisses Laverne full on the lips while a shocked Carla looks on from the window. Laverne explains that “They did it once, 20 years ago,” and that Dr. Kelso “Loved him some brown sugar.” Needless to say Carla is horrified.
Jordan’s C-section goes off flawlessly and J.D. gives Dr. Cox the film for his camera. Dr. Cox is grateful albeit confused and asks J.D. if he picked up his son from daycare. J.D. matches the phrase up against his memory of Dr. Cox’s mouth movements. “Dammit! It fits.” He assures Dr. Cox that it’s taken care of while quickly sending a text to Lloyd the delivery guy who then takes Jack home via the speed-metal express. Dr. Cox is about to break the good news about his daughter’s birth when he’s handed Laverne’s chart. A sad look grows over his face and he walks over to her bedside. “Goodbye Laverne.” Nurse Roberts is brain-dead.
Laverne’s family decides to take her off life support and it is just a matter of time before her body gives up. Now more of the main cast begins to filter in to say their goodbyes. J.D. remembers how Laverne helped him through his first loss of a patient as an intern. Elliot offers to have someone cover for Carla so she can say her own goodbyes but Carla says she has stuff to do. Meanwhile Jordan anxiously awaits her flood of well-wishers but Dr. Cox has not told anyone about his daughter’s birth yet, as he does not want the event associated with Laverne’s death. J.D. assures Dr. Cox that he can help stall for time so that Jordan will forget all about how nobody has come to congratulate her on the birth of little “Jennifer Dillon.” Dr Cox asks why that name and J.D. answers that he just thinks it’s pretty, while he thinks to himself “and because she’d be J.D. forever.”
Turk is the next to say goodbye, telling Laverne that if this were a horror movie he’d worry that he were next (and of course that he will miss her). Carla is still wrestling with visions of Laverne following her around. Turk tells Carla that Laverne is getting weaker by the minute but she’s still not ready to deal with it. Elliot and Turk tell her its important to say goodbye to people who mattered to you while you still have the chance and Laverne tells Carla “Maybe that’s why you’re imagining me here. Because you don’t want to do that.”
By this time, Jordan is growing increasingly restless wondering when the people she cares about are going to come congratulate her. Dr. Cox is desperate to stall until after Laverne passes, but a moment later Elliot walks by and her uterus starts glowing. (apparently it always does that when a baby has been born... just go with it). Dr. Cox pleads with Elliot not to say anything but it’s an exercise in futility and moments later the whole world knows. Dr. Cox walks into the ICU and is greeted not by the sad faces he expected but by applause and congratulations. Carla asks why Dr. Cox didn’t tell them and he explains “Call me selfish, but we all love Laverne very much and I didn’t want everyone thinking about her dying every time my daughter has a birthday party.” Carla tells him that “Sometimes when its time for something to happen you just have to let it happen.” Dr. Cox nods and answers “Sometimes it takes a little while to realize that.” And at that moment, Carla realizes its time for her to do what she’s been avoiding and say goodbye.
She’s still not ready but forces herself to talk to Laverne. She tells her how weird it will be to not have her around anymore, “making fun of the doctors and going on and on about Jesus… man I hope he’s real or you’re going to be pissed.” She thanks Laverne for standing by her over the years, making her laugh, being her role model and her friend, and tells her she will miss her. Then she finally finds the courage to let go. “You can ask any doctor,” narrates J.D. “Sometimes patients just hang on until everyone’s had a chance to say goodbye. Laverne flat-lines.
Everyone gathers at a bar and Dr. Cox brings a round for everyone. “Truth be told, they’re on that guy,” and he motions to the Janitor. Elliot tries to infuse some happiness into the situation and tells Dr. Cox “I can’t wait to see that new baby of yours. It must be a mad house with everyone visiting Jordan.” There is an awkward silence as Dr. Cox realizes that nearly everyone who Jordan would want to see is currently sitting with him at the bar. “Oh well, what’s the worst that could happen?” he ponders. Back at the hospital J.D. tells an abandoned Jordan “They’re probably just outside forming a line so they can come in one by one.” Her reply: “Screw it. You know what? You’re the godfather.” After an enthusiastic “YES! IN YOUR FACE!” J.D. asks if Jordan could name the baby Jennifer Dillon. “Sure,” she replies. “What the hell.” J.D. is completely overcome and bursts into tears of joy. Back at the bar Turk says the only thing left to say: “To Laverne,” and everyone raises their glasses as we fade out.
- Ben Maltz