John C. McGinley‘s Dr. Perry Cox was one of the most beloved characters on Scrubs, if not most sitcoms at the time. Because we were used to seeing him stand firm as an emotional block of ice, the few times things broke through and hit him deep were brilliant – most notably in “My Screw Up” and “My Lunch.” However, we were only able to appreciate these moments because he spent most of his time walking around Sacred Heart Hospital waiting to let loose on anyone who tested his extremely thin patience.
Whether he was delivering a verbal lashing in the form of a long-winded, overly-enunciated rant or a quick burn, Dr. Cox forced everyone he crossed (and Hugh Jackman) to make one of two choices: Walk on eggshells or get tough skin.
In honor of McGinley’s 56th birthday, we’re going to channel our inner J.D. and wince through some of Dr. Cox’s most brutal insults.
“Shut Up And Watch.”
Dr. Cox’s very first words to J.D. were, “Time’s up,” followed by, “Shut up and watch,” and topped off with the establishment of a new rule that he’s no longer allowed to speak when they’re in the room together. Lucky for us, J.D. didn’t listen and gave Perry more than enough opportunities to tell him what’s what in the future.
A Parting Gift, Part 1
After years of spending way too much time looking for Dr. Cox’s approval, J.D. didn’t seem to learn his lesson. On his last day as a resident, he came to his mentor looking for some cathartic moment to signify his advancement, but only got a long list of things he barely cares about. Cox was never going to simply give him a halfhearted pat on the back.
A Parting Gift, Part 2
Well, J.D. tried again. This time, instead of coming up with another, all-new rant, Perry went ahead and brought back a classic, with the assistance of J.D.’s going away present, and delivered the same rant he gave in the same exact place just a few years earlier.
Surgeons Equal Jocks?
Dr. Cox made it painfully clear that he didn’t respect surgeons as “real” doctors, because all he thought they did was cut people open and send them on their way. To prove his point, he screws with Todd and left Turk speechless at his fellow surgeon’s idiocy.
Turk’s Identity Crisis
The only person on the show who could even try and step to Dr. Cox in the overcompensating, alpha male department was probably Turk. They even had some built up tension over Carla. So, when Turk tried to pull the “I’m black and naturally cool” card, Dr. Cox did some simple math. Nerdy, white best friend plus Neil Diamond CDs does not equal cool.
Kelso And Captain Kangaroo
Dr. Cox was hard to work under, but even harder to work above, often making things difficult for Dr. Bob Kelso, chief of medicine. This may have been because he had authority issues or because he genuinely didn’t like him, but Dr. Cox even fantasized about Bob taking a trip to hell. Punching him in the face must have felt so good.
Barbie’s Wild Ride
As a teacher, Dr. Cox needed to make sure that his residents actually learned and became good doctors. How can you do that while also trying to appear that you have a heart made of stone? The short answer… back-handed compliments!
No More (Kind Of) Mr. Nice Guy
The residents eventually get too comfortable, managing to forget that it’s their job to save people’s lives. They didn’t take things as seriously as they should have, which brought on the wrath of Perry.
One of Dr. Cox’s specialties was using intimidation and fear to manipulate weak-willed individuals. One of his easiest targets, besides J.D., was Doug.
“You’re Wrong” Song
Dr. Cox always thought (or “knew”) he was right, which, by default, means that almost anyone else is wrong. Just telling them that can get pretty boring, so he came up with a clever way to let Carla know in song.
The Rant Song
The magical, musical episode of Scrubs brought us some amazing moments, such as “Guy Love.” But one of its underrated moments is when it gave Dr. Cox a new platform to explain exactly what it is that J.D. does that annoys him so much. He even brought the patient in for the grand finale.
“You Are What You Eat.”
If anyone could avoid the acerbic snark of Dr. Cox, you think it would be the patients. But they sometimes needed some tough love, and Perry was the perfect person to deliver it. When a patient with dieting issues came back having gained even more weight, Perry delivered the cold hard truth without any sugar coating. This makes me want to hop on a treadmill.
So Many Ways To Say No
This display of the many elaborate ways to say “no” may be one of Dr. Cox’s best rants, and it’s short and easier to memorize than some of the others. Also, this came right after he took a major shot at J.D.’s older brother, Dan, for being an underachiever.
A Long, Long List Of Girl’s Names
The longest running gag on Scrubs is probably Dr. Cox coming up with a mile-long list of girl’s names to call J.D. For karma’s sake, his wife would go on to name their daughter Jennifer Dylan (J.D.) Cox out of spite.
Note: Maybe Dr. Cox actually convinced himself J.D. was a girl. At least that’s what he makes you believe when he gave J.D. a check-up and discovered he had a penis.
“I… Am Lying.”
All J.D. ever wanted was to have a significant role in Dr. Cox’s life. So, when he was asked to be Jack’s godfather, he couldn’t contain his joy. Then, as expected, Dr. Cox pulled the rug out from under his feet and let him know it was never an option.