Scrubs had to scrap banana hammock, medical marijuana plotline when the show switched networks
During a “Scrubs” reunion panel at Vulture.com’s Vulture Festival in Los Angeles, creator Bill Lawrence, and co-star Zach Braff revealed a few plotlines that had to be cut when the show, which aired from 2001 to 2010, moved from NBC to Disney-owned ABC.
Lawrence and Braff, as well as some of the other co-stars and castmembers, reminisced about some of the jucier plotlines, and one character, in particular, that was hit hard by censorship during the move. Braff said “When we moved from NBC to ABC we were no longer allowed to show Rob in his banana hammock. We had to frame above his penis,” speaking about Robert Maschio’s proudly sexual character Todd. Lawrence added, “In the Bahamas episode he comes out and flexes on the beach, and we had to blow up that shot because it showed the banana hammock.”
It wasn’t just flagrant male sexuality that received the ax though. At the time an entire plotline about medical marijuana had to be cut because Disney didn’t want to go there. As a rule, the network didn’t clear content about drugs.
“We only shot one thing ever that Bill had to throw out,” Braff shared. “That many years ago they were like ‘Medicinal marijuana? Get the hell out of here!’” The first season to air on ABC, the show’s eighth season, premiered on January 6, 2009.
“This is how screwed up network television is,” Braff explained. “We had this story about getting medicinal marijuana for somebody who was having trouble with chemo and cancer. So to make a point, I said, ‘What if the patient was a virgin and decided they want to have sex for the first time and Carla and Elliot wanted to go looking for a male prostitute for him?’ They said, ‘Oh, that’s fine.’ We could get a prostitute, just not medicinal marijuana.”