Doug Goodman

Texas Horror Writer. Cadaver Dog Handler.

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I Have A Theory About Scrubs and Superman

Posted by douggoodman on December 20, 2015 at 11:05 PM

It is a month away from Batman v Superman, so I thought now would be a good time to write an "I have a theory" about Superman. In a couple of weeks, I will put out a theory about Batman.


I was thinking about the show Scrubs. Scrubs, if you didn't know, was an always-entertaining comedy about a young doctor working at a medical university. It has a cool opening credits song with one of the most memorable end lines: "I'm No Superman." I want to argue differently. I have a theory that Scrubs is actually about Superman. But before I merge the two stories, I have to talk about an old Superman Annual by Alan Moore called "For the Man Who Has Everything."


"For the Man Who Has Everything" is one of Alan Moore's best standalone comics. It is about Superman's birthday. In it, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman have traveled to Superman's Fortress of Solitude to celebrate his birthday. But somebody else (a villain named Mongul) has arrived before them. He has given Superman a strange plant/fungus hybrid, which is attached to Superman. The plant/fungus monster is called the Black Mercy and has psychic powers (natch). The Black Mercy has the power to give you what you've always wanted by trapping you in a dream-like world where everything works out. For Superman, Krypton was restored. For Batman, his parents were never murdered. Much of the plot revolves around the superheroes living out these perfect lives. I made a connection between the Black Mercy and Scrubs.



JD is Superman. More specifically, he is Clark Kent. Check the letters. What comes after C? D. Before J? K. Switch them around (because this is a backwards world, as evidenced many times over by the backwards chart used in the opening credits). CK becomes JD. Clark Kent becomes John Dorian. And like Superman, Clark is trapped under the spell of the Black Mercy. He is in a world where Superman does not exist, and Clark is the star of this world. Sure, he stumbles and bumbles his way through life, but he is the center of this world, not a secret identity. In fact, he has gone from being a journalist writer to being a doctor. So he is financially successful (or at least, he will be. It seems very "Clark Kent" that even in his dreams, he is a doctor who does not make a lot of money.) 


When you think about the format of the show, it only seems to heighten the idea that this is a dream world. It is full of surreal moments and . dream sequences. In JD's dream sequences, usually everything works out, or at least, life is a lot more fun. This is because life when you do not have Superman's responsibilities and didacts is much more fun. You don't have all of Superman's responsibilities and drama. There are no interstellar battles or worlds to save. You just have to get through the day.


I haven't decided who the other characters are or how they play into this. On the one hand, it seems pretty easy to see some of the characters as interpretations of the people Clark Kent knows. His boss, Perry, is easily Dr. *ahem* Perry Cox, Lois Lane becomes Elliot, and Jimmy Olsen isTurk. Then again, maybe Dr. Cox is Batman and Elliot is Wonder Woman. That would make Turk more like...? I'm not sure. But Turk has a Superman tattoo on his right shoulder, and it appears often enough in the show. This seems like a symbol meant for JD/Clark Kent, perhaps a warning that everything is not right in the world, and he needs to fight this reality to rejoin the real world. He must stop living in his heart, which is how Clark Kent lives. That is why the setting is Sacred Heart, and why Dr. Cox is always trying to get JD/Clark Kent to stop showing his emotions. He needs to think with his head (like Superman) and reject this world that Mongul has trapped him in.


In "For the Man Who Has Everything," Superman is living the perfect life with his wife and children. He works with his father, but there are issues on Krypton. There is a group of what I'd call fundamentalist Kryptonians, who want things to be the way they were. By this point in the story's plot, Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman are getting their butts kicked by Mongul. They need Superman to stop the villain. So Batman shouts at the comatose Superman that they are all going to die. In his mind, Superman hears the fundamentalists making the same kind of predictions:  We are all going to die, and the world is coming to an end! (Remember what happens to Krypton in Superman's origin?) Similarly, in Scrubs, everyone keeps trying to wake up JD. Seriously, watch a few episodes. If they aren't poking him or yelling at him, they are talking about his dreams and wondering how he lives with his head so clouded up with dreams. This all makes sense in the perspective that JD is Superman because they are literally trying to wake Clark Kent up.


Now, the finale really brings this all together. In the finale, JD is finally accepting responsibility. He is thinking with his head. He has a woman he adores and a baby on the way. He is going from character to character, saying his goodbyes. he turns a corner, and the corridor is lined on both sides with all the crazy characters he has encountered while he has been under the psychic entrapments of the Black Mercy. The people he has met (all figments of his own imagination) are all smiling at him and giving him their little catch phrases. And then he turns around, and they have suddenly all vanished.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aT3fVoevbg" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aT3fVoevbg


This is JD/Clark Kent accepting the imaginary world he has lived in and finally starting to wake up from the Black Mercy. In its death throes, the Black Mercy shows him everything that could go right in this world, the world where Clark Kent wins. He gets the beautiful girl, has a child, and has a good life surrounded by people he loves. In the show (see below), he literally gets to watch his future life pass before him like a movie reel.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTVpoT82toY" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTVpoT82toY



I would like to think that once JD woke up as Superman, he knocked the stuffing out of Mongul.


So there you have it: the theory that JD is actually Superman. If you liked it, leave a comment, and soon enough I will put up my Batman theory.

Categories: I Have A Theory

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