screw up face

My Screw Up

"My Screw Up" is the 60th episode of the American sitcom Scrubs. It originally aired as Episode 14 of season three on February 24, 2004.

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

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. Turk and Carla clash over removing Turk's mole, and changing Carla's last name after they marry, while one of Ted's band members quits. Dr. Cox angrily blames J.D. for a patient's death and dismisses him, but Ben calms Dr. Cox down and talks some sense into him, and he eventually forgives 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 at a funeral rather than Jack's party; the final scenes reveal that Ben is the patient who died, and that his presence had merely been a hallucination. 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's 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's presence. The film allows the audience to assume Willis is alive. Simlarly, 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. 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 him that died.


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 because Carla asks Dr. Cox if he had ever seen a ghost, however, Fraser couldn't appear because he was currently filming a new movie. As such, Jill Tracy from "My Lunch" appears instead.

The use of Ben as a figment of Cox's imagination parallels a future episode when Laverne is near death and appears only as a figment of Carla's imagination.

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 cancer in the first place. In the former, JD himself goes through many events with Ben after he is informed Ben is clear of cancer...which climaxes with him realising he is imagining them and that Ben still has cancer, much as Cox imagined Ben to be alive.

Cultural references

  • 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.
  • "My Screw Up" is one of the highest-rated episodes of Scrubs (9.84 out of 10) out of all of the series' episodes on In the number two spot is the episode "My Lunch" (9.77 out of 10) and is then followed by "My Way Home" (9.67 out of 10).''


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