Following in the footsteps of other popular sitcoms such as 30 Rock and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the hospital-based comedy, Scrubs, will be removing several episodes from streaming platforms due to racial insensitivity. The service Hulu has now taken down three episodes that feature characters in blackface.
The three episodes in question are the episode titled My Fifteen Seconds from season 3 as well as My Jiggly Ball and My Chopped Liver from season 5. The episodes feature Zach Braff's J.D. and Donald Faison's Turk attending a party dressed as each other, while Sarah Chalke's character Elliot appears in blackface during a fantasy sequence. Creator of the series, Bill Lawrence, responded on social media to a user who said that the example set by NBCUniversal and 30 Rock needed to be implemented with Scrubs, with Lawrence replying with "Agreed. Already in the works."
The removal of these Scrubs episodes comes amidst the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and other parts of the world. This has led to studios and creators looking back at their work and apologizing for past mistakes while also removing the racially insensitive material. So far, this has seen several sitcoms take down episodes from streaming platforms, as well as the 1939 Hollywood classic Gone With the Wind being given an introduction to contextualize the portrayal of slavery in the movie.
Scrubs star Donald Faison has recently opened up about the subject, and his feelings towards being referred to as "the Black guy from Scrubs". The actor explained that "It's very, very scary to be judged by the color of your skin. It's happened to me quite a bit my whole life. Even how people describe me on Scrubs. I'm 'the Black guy from Scrubs'." he continued, "You know what I mean? I'm not even 'one of the actors from Scrubs', I'm 'the Black guy from Scrubs'."
Looking at the matter in a wider context, Faison added that "Racism is everywhere. It never left. It's always been here... It's not a surprise that this is going on right now, it's finally coming to a head is what's happening. But it's been here forever. Once you don't take that for granted, and you recognize that there's racism out there, you'll start checking yourself."
Scrubs first aired on NBC from 2001 until 2010, with the final seasons featuring a cast of mostly new characters with the series regulars having moved on to other things. The series follows Zach Braff as John "J.D." Dorian at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital, which is a teaching hospital.
The show focuses on the lead character's unique point of view, with J.D. often drifting off into his imagination, with his daydreams often featuring all sorts of slapstick and surreal vignettes. Alongside Braff, the series starred Donald Faison as Christopher Turk, J.D.'s best friend, Sarah Chalke as Elliot Reed, Neil Flynn as the antagonistic Janitor, and John C. McGinley as Dr. Perry Cox, J.D.'s reluctant mentor. This comes to us from The Wrap.