I would like to, if I may, tell you a brief, and, if I'm honest, slightly disgusting story (but, that's my prerogative, this is after all my column).
About 10 months ago (give or take), my daughter issued a bowel movement into a potty for the first time. My wife was at work at her hospital, so, naturally, I snapped a couple of digital pictures and shot her an e-mail with the pics attached. I didn't do this out of pride or joy — I figured that the first use of a potty in such a manner was at least terribly lucky in terms of timing and not so much skill based — but rather for two other reasons. First, I thought my wife would be pleased to know that our potty training, at least a little, was progressing. And second (and the main reason), I did it for the laugh. I was sure that my wife would only get a chance to sit down to check her e-mail when she was taking a break to eat something (they work hard during their 30-hour shifts), and that this type of picture was exactly what she wouldn't want to see as she was biting into a sandwich. You might call that cruel, but I think that's definitely overstating it.
Why, you ask, did I tell you that? Because I was watching TV last night and Scrubs stole the joke; they ripped it straight out of my life and put it on the screen for all to see. Oh sure, if you asked them they'd probably claim that it's a common tale, that their iteration was slightly different than mine, or some malarkey about how they never could have known that I sent such a picture to a hospital for my doctor-wife to see.
That all sounds good, that all seems plausible, but I ask you, really, how many people do you think send pictures of first poops like that? Isn't it far more likely that they hacked into my e-mail (or my wife's), found the pictures and thought to themselves "gee, if we get picked up on another network next season because NBC has already announced that this is our last season we could totally use this joke. You know what, this joke is just so funny that we need to do all that we can to convince ABC that as we're all part of the same big, happy, vertically integrated corporation that they ought to sign us up for at least one season so that we can somehow change around the joke but keep the heart of it the same and use it."
What, you don't believe that? You think it was far more dumb luck than anything else? You may be right, I may be crazy, but I'm apparently the sort of crazy that sitcoms need to make the funny happen, and Scrubs last night was definitely funny, from the poop in the potty joke to the appearance of Sesame Street characters to the cookie pants, it all reminded me of just why I like the fact that they hacked into my e-mail, found the poop picture, and convinced ABC, based solely on that, to pick them up for another season.
Oh come on, at least admit that my argument is slightly possible. You can't prove it didn't happen that way.