How The Scrubs Musical Made Grey’s Anatomy’s Musical Episode Happen


Both medical TV shows Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy had musical episodes, here’s how the Scrubs musical influenced Grey’s Anatomy’s. While both recounted the hospital workers’ stories and daily lives, Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy belong to very different genres, and despite that, both managed to include successful musical episodes. However, the earlier medical sitcom actually inspired, in a way, and made possible the later Grey’s Anatomy musical, which centered on Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) and happened in season 7, episode 18, “Song Beneath the Song.”


While creator Shonda Rhimes revealed that the idea to do a musical episode had always been around since Grey’s Anatomy’s pilot, the behind-the-scenes of Grey’s Anatomy season 7, episode 18 disclosed that the network’s executives opposed the idea, which was why the Grey’s Anatomy musical episode took forever to happen. After the cast’s song renditions managed to convince them, feature song producer Chris Horvath was chosen as music director. His expertise in working with storytellers such as actors that were primarily non-singers, which he got from holding the same role for the Scrubs musical episode, proved invaluable, making the Grey’s Anatomy musical episode truly shine in its own right.

Related: Grey’s Anatomy: Why Owen & Teddy Won’t Divorce (Even Though They Should)

How Scrubs Proved Grey’s Anatomy Could Pull Off A Musical Episode

Sarah Chalke as Elliot, Mike Schwartz as Lloyd, Troy Christian as a paramedic, and Zach Braff as JD in Scrubs season 6 episode 6

Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy both share a medical setting, however, how they approached the stories they told was quite different. Nevertheless, both never showed any propensity toward musical performances, although Grey’s Anatomy’s use of music had always been so impeccable that some Grey’s Anatomy songs became famously synonymous with the medical drama. Despite all that, Scrubs season 6, episode 6, “My Musical,” managed to keep the qualities that made it a successful sitcom while also integrating key elements of the musical genre, with its songs switching themes and emotional range, all in all making it an unusual episode, but one that still felt quintessentially Scrubs. The Scrubs musical proved that no matter the genre, musical episodes could work and be adapted into the wider story.

Which Musical Was Better: Scrubs Or Grey’s Anatomy?

Sara Ramirez as Calliope Torres in Greys Anatomy season 7 episode 18, John C. McGinley as Dr. Cox, and Zach Braff as JD in Scrubs season 6 episode 6

Scrubs season 6, episode 6 let J. D. make a point at the end that “in musicals, there’s always a happy ending,” and while that’s also true for the Grey’s Anatomy musical episode, “Song Beneath the Song” still proved an emotional rollercoaster. Not only were Callie and her baby’s lives on the line, but also all main characters were emotionally invested in that specific patient. Adding to that the use of many songs that served as the soundtrack of the show’s pivotal moments or as its main theme, Grey’s Anatomy season 7, episode 18 proved to aptly integrate the show’s core themes with musical performances.

However, one specific feature makes Scrubs season 6, episode 6 the better one. Even without considering how some viewers found the Grey’s Anatomy musical episode polarizing, Scrubs season 6, episode 6’s musical performances had a reason to exist, as a patient was actually hearing everybody around her erupt into singing. While not as traumatizing as the plane crash episode, Grey’s Anatomy season 7, episode 18 still had its usual share of trauma, all in all continuing to be true to itself. Instead, unlike Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs managed to do just the same while also being able to justify the musical numbers, proving to have the better musical episode in the end.

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