The latest installment of Scrubs had a tough act to follow after last week’s episode, which featured the death of Nurse Laverne Roberts as well as the birth of Dr. Cox’s second child, Jennifer Dylan (J.D. for short). Not surprisingly, the episode delivered, offering up a satisfying balance of both heavy and lighter moments that paid appropriate tribute to Nurse Roberts’ memory while simultaneously shifting the focus back towards the comedic. For the play by play, follow the link:
“My Words of Wisdom” opens with Dr. Cox bemoaning the fact that Jordan has named their newborn daughter J.D. As if on cue, J.D. (the older, slightly more masculine one) bursts into a rendition of “It’s a Beautiful Morning.” Carla and the other attendees of Laverne’s funeral gasp in abject horror. J.D. realizes where he is and quickly snaps back to reality. “Sorry. I was thinking of something else.” Dr. Cox meanwhile, still hung up on his daughter’s name, wants to know why Jordan would do such a thing. She explains to Perry that it was so he wouldn’t be able to hide his spite from the child who would then undoubtedly love her more.
At Laverne’s funeral we sample the reactions of those in attendance. Carla is visibly crushed, Turk (who’ for the first time in the series has begun letting his hair grow in) is supportive, and Dr. Cox stares blankly into space. Doug of course takes the opportunity to brag to the man sitting in front of him that he did Laverne’s autopsy. Unfortunately the man in front of him is Laverne’s uncle. Always quick on his feet, Doug remedies the situation by professing that Laverne had “beautiful guts.”
As we pan to J.D. he imagines his own funeral. A choir sings Eddie Murphy’s classic hit “Party all the Time,” so as to remind everyone how much J.D. loved to party all the time. His last request is a hug from everyone. Dr. Cox takes his turn, professing that he always loved J.D. and should have hugged him a long time ago. J.D. quickly springs to life, the whole funeral having been a ploy to get a hug from Dr. Cox. Not one to be manipulated, even in J.D.’s daydreams, Dr. Cox swiftly snaps the young doctor’s neck. J.D.’s final words: “It was worth it.”
As the preacher delivers Laverne’s eulogy, he beseeches those in attendance to live like Laverne would have lived. As he lists these qualities we see that each one hits home with different people:
“Open your hearts to those dear to you.” Keith gives an enthusiastic amen, while Elliot remains silent.
“Always make sure you put yourself in other people’s shoes before you judge them.” Turk and J.D. both seem to ponder this thought.
“And no matter how busy life gets, always take twenty minutes each day for yourself, so you can reflect on who you are as one of God’s children.” The final statement emanates with Dr. Cox.
The choir sings “Amazing Grace,” as the funeral draws to a close.
Back at the hospital, Turk and J.D.’s nickname for a patient, “Tammy Two-toes,” leaves Carla upset that everyone is already joking and acting as if Laverne was never even there. Dr. Cox however, has already begun to act upon Laverne’s life lessons, albeit in his own unique fashion. Kelso asks Cox for a favor, to which he explains that out of respect for Laverne, he’s taking twenty minutes for himself by encasing himself in an imaginary sound-proof glass bubble. His “me-time” is quickly interrupted however, when Lonnie shows up asking for Cox’s help with a patient. Cox initially resists but is quickly compelled to action when Lonnie asks how long it typically takes for an old woman to bleed to death.
Meanwhile, J.D. and Turk check in on a patient, a young boy suffering from stomach pains, and discover that the boy is deaf. When they attempt to speak with the father they learn that he is deaf as well. They seek out Dr. Cox (who is by now back in his pseudo-fortress of solitude) to ask whether he knows sign language. He gives them the one sign he does know: a self-invented gesture for “Leave me alone for 20 minutes or die painfully;” however, his attempt at momentary peace is once again thwarted when another young doctor bursts into the room frantic over her inability to place a chest tube in a patient who’s crashing. Dr. Cox once again springs to the rescue, his agitation palpable.
J.D. and Turk then manage to track down the one employee in the hospital who is fluent in sign language. The Janitor. And much to their surprise, he’s really good at it. The Janitor then explains how he originally acquired the skill. It turns out that during a high-school stint as a volunteer janitor for the zoo he was inspired by a sign-language speaking gorilla who died of lung cancer after the Janitor introduced him to smoking. When J.D. asks if any of the story is even remotely true, the Janitor replies “I don’t know. Someone would have to read it back to me.”
Cut to Keith and Elliot. Keith is feeling inspired after the reverend’s speech and takes the opportunity to tell Elliot how lucky he is to have her in his life. Elliot; however, doesn’t want to talk about relationships, as she has other things on her mind. Mainly, taking advantage of Keith’s being in a suit to do some role-playing. Keith is visibly upset by Elliot’s dismissiveness but rapidly succumbs.
Later on Elliot is eating lunch with Carla who is still angry that nobody is acting like they miss Laverne. Keith asks Elliot if it would be alright if he skipped their one-year anniversary to meet up with an old college buddy who’s in town. She’s tells Keith she’s fine with it. Seconds later, a virtual who’s who of Scrubs background extras appears as if from nowhere to ask Elliot their one collective thought: “Are you crazy?” Doug (sporting a brand-new gelled-up hairstyle… seriously, what’s up with the new haircuts on this show lately?) asks Elliot if she’s testing Keith. She insists that she’s not and that she’s fine with skipping “some silly anniversary.”
Meanwhile, J.D. has made a remarkable discovery. He believes that the deafness of the boy he’s been treating is a congenital condition, the implication being that they can treat it with a surgical implant. In essence, they can enable him to hear. They prepare to deliver the good news. But as J.D. then narrates, “nothing is ever easy.” Dr. Cox is again snatched away from his alone time when Carla asks him to talk with her about Laverne, Keith tells Elliot that their relationship isn’t working for him, and the Janitor translates for J.D.and Turk the inexplicable response their patient’s father has given to the news that they can help his son to hear: “No thank you.”
In the cafeteria, Keith confesses to Elliot, that there is no friend coming to visit. He was testing her to see how serious she was about their relationship. Elliot wants to know why Keith is trying to mess things up and Keith wants to know why Elliot is only interested in is sex. Dr. Kelso is listening intently because he’s forgotten his paper downstairs and is apparently very very bored. I’ll warn you now folks. Brace yourself because the man is in rare form:
Kelso remarks to Elliot “It’s like he’s the chick and you’re the dude!” Elliot brushes this aside, telling Keith that all he does is “nag nag nag.” Kelso can’t resist the opportunity to chime in once again: “Ha! You nagger!” Enter a very angry Snoop-dog Resident.
S-DR: “What did you just call him?”
Kelso: “A nagger”
S-DR: Grins. “Okay, we’re cool.”
Keith wants to know why Elliot talks to everyone else about babies and marriage except for him. He tells her he loves her and that he needs to know where things between them are headed. Elliot doesn’t know what to say. Keith tells her to forget it and leaves. Kelso then goes for the hat-trick: “Bitches, huh? Whatcha gonna do?”
Jump back to Carla and Dr. Cox. She’s still upset about the lack of emotion following Laverne’s passing. Dr. Cox gives it to her straight, telling her “You can’t tell other people how to feel,” and that no matter what emotions they show on the surface “You don’t know what’s going on in their heads.” The two stumble upon J.D. and Turk who are consulting Ted to see if there’s any legal recourse that will enable them to perform surgery even though their patient’s father is adamantly refusing it. Dr. Cox takes the opportunity to state the obvious: “Ask the boy’s mother.”
Later on Jordan, Carla, and Elliot gather for drinks at the bar. Elliot says that if she really had feelings for Keith she would have told him by now. This time Carla does the straight-shooting: “That’s a bunch of crap.” She tells Elliot that ever since she let herself get close to J.D. and got hurt for her trouble she’s been so scared that she’s sabotaged every relationship she’s been in. And of course, Carla’s absolutely right, though one wonders just how much of Dr. Cox’s “You can’t tell other people how to feel” speech she took to heart.
Dr. Cox makes one last attempt at sitting down for his long-awaited 20 minutes of alone time but happens upon Dr. Kelso sitting and enjoying the paper. He tells Kelso “It must be nice not having everyone want a piece of you,” and that he’s had it with people bothering him incessantly. Kelso smirks. “You love it.” He tells Cox that people don’t do things over and over for no reason without getting some kind of joy out of it. “I’ve been watching you for 20 years champ. Your joy comes from being needed. That’s who you are.” Cox’s expression lets us know right away that Kelso is right.
Jump back to Elliot and Keith. Elliot launches into a long and somewhat disturbing (just trust me on this one) anecdote from her childhood, the moral of which is that she knows that it’s important to speak up when you have the chance rather than live with regrets. She tells Keith that she loves him. She starts to hurry away and we see that she’s crying. Keith calls her back. The two share a smile and then a kiss.
As Turk and J.D. (and the Janitor) send their young patient off to surgery they begin to contemplate how hard it must be for the boy’s father to lose the one connection he had with his son. J.D. speaks to the boy’s father and the Janitor translates. “This must be hard for you.” The boy’s father says that he’ll be alright. He just wants what’s best for his son.
As J.D. begins the closing narration, Carla looks on, smiling, because she realizes that even though no one is talking about Laverne, they’ve each taken her lessons to heart. Elliot finally opened her heart even though it made her feel vulnerable, Dr. Cox discovered who he was as one of God’s children, and Turk and J.D. have managed to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
- Ben Maltz