The Same Side Character Appears In 2 Different Sitcoms (& It Creates A Problem)

Summary

  • Ted the Lawyer’s appearance in both Scrubs and Cougar Town tied the two shows together, creating a continuity issue.
  • Other actors from Scrubs also appeared in Cougar Town as different characters, further complicating the canon.
  • The meta issue of multiple characters sharing the same face within the same world was acknowledged, but it remained unusual.


Sitcom crossovers don’t usually present an issue with the shows involved, but casting quirks can cause problems when two or more series are joined together. Showrunners can create strong working relationships with certain actors, often wanting them to appear in many of their projects. However, some casting choices can affect continuity. Moving a character from one show to another needs to be considered carefully. Otherwise, the world of both shows can become compromised, as some references can go far beyond a subtle wink to the audience.

Bill Lawrence has had a very successful career as a TV creative and showrunner, with his latest hits including Ted Lasso and Shrinking, and he is the type to work with the same actors again and again across his many series. However, an odd casting idea he made with his writing and producing efforts affected the continuity of two of his most popular shows, as it tied them together in a confusing way. Although it could be argued that this decision was intended as a meta-nod from one show to the other, it goes far beyond that.

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Sam Lloyd Plays Ted The Lawyer In Scrubs & Cougar Town

The character ties the two shows together.

Sam Lloyd, who memorably played the side character Theodore “Ted” Buckland on Scrubs, was cast in another Bill Lawrence show when this one finished in 2010. What was interesting about his addition to the cast of Cougar Town was that he played the same character. Ted the Lawyer’s appearance in three episodes of Cougar Town, beginning with the two-part season 2 finale, “Something Good Coming,” essentially confirmed that Cougar Town is set in the same universe as Scrubs.

Ted was used sparingly in Cougar Town, but that didn’t stop him from adding to the canon of Scrubs. Cougar Town took away Ted’s happy ending with Stephanie “The Gooch” Gooch (Kate Micucci), but it also added in the fact that the Gooch left Ted for Hooch (Phill Lewis), another Scrubs character. However, Ted’s default mood in Scrubs was always sad, so Cougar Town was at least consistent with its use of the character.

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Some Of Sam Lloyd’s Scrubs Co-Stars Also Appear In Cougar Town

This created a problem with canon.

Courtney Cox as Jules Kiki Cobb and Christa Miller as Ellie Torres in Cougar Town

Tying together Scrubs and Cougar Town wasn’t an issue by itself, but other factors made the move a questionable one. Christa Miller, who co-starred on Scrubs as Jordan Miller, was also cast in Cougar Town — not only as a different character but as one of the main regulars of the newer series. Miller’s Ellie Torres and Sam Lloyd’s Ted even shared scenes in Cougar Town, adding to the issue. Miller was not the only actor to play two separate characters across both shows, either, as Scrubs regulars Sarah Chalke, Tom Clendinin, Ken Jenkins, and Zach Braff all made appearances on Cougar Town with fresh personas.

Ted being the only named character to stand firmly in both shows raised the meta issue of various people sharing the same face within the same world. The implication was acknowledged in Cougar Town season 3, episode 5, “A One Story Town,” when Ted finally realized that he recognized Ellie and the others, claiming they looked like people from his “old job.” However, this didn’t change the surreal fact that if Christa Miller’s characters from Cougar Town and Scrubs were to meet, it would be nothing short of unusual.

Scrubs and Cougar Town are both available to stream on Hulu.