The Todd is a surgeon at Sacred Heart Hospital, where the show takes place. He often delves into rampant sexual innuendo with his colleagues, even during surgery. He once boasted, "They call me 'The Pig' because I say sexist and derogatory things to women." He is referred to by Chief Attending Physician Perry Cox as a "sexual deviant" and is known for turning many sentences into a double entendre or innuendo, once even turning the word "innuendo" into an innuendo with "in-your-endo" and proclaiming he would like to "double her entendre". These are usually of a sexual nature (a skill he apparently works very hard at, claiming he doesn't "just walk into these situations" and that it takes "a lot of hard work"). He claims that sometimes he hides under desks and behind walls for hours until a situation or conversation pops up that he can comment on. The Todd will often use the phrase, "How's your penis?" as a greeting for men. In the episode "My Office", it is revealed that he behaves as he does because he made out with his mother when he was young. The Todd is famous for saying notable comments such as "this is the one with the giant snake" and "I have a hot Italian sausage for you right here".
Despite his frat boy personality, lack of common sense (he had to be reminded of his last name), and inability to spell (he needed to be reminded that there are two ds in Todd), The Todd is a very skilled surgeon. During his first year, Chief Surgeon Dr. Wen ranks him the best surgical intern at the hospital, and he is ranked second place among the surgical residents in terms of surgical skills. His disrespect for internal medicine doctors can be seen in the episode My Therapeutic Month when he says, "Let the medical weenies deal with [the patient's hypertension]. Weenie roast [high] five." Out of all the surgeons in the hospital, Todd is actually closest to Christopher Turk and has stood by him as both friend and defender, though he once betrayed him with a "betrayal five" (slapping him in the chest) to get in their boss's good graces. In "My Best Friend's Wedding", he challenged Carla Espinosa's brother to a fight at Turk's wedding, when he makes another insult in Turk's direction. The Todd also believes that he is Turk's "number one best friend" and that series protagonist J.D. is Turk's "second best friend".
The Todd is apparently a big fan of Harry Potter, and even camped out in a wizard costume while standing in line to see Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. He kept this a secret, telling only Turk (They high-fived on it) until Turk told JD in "My Kingdom".
He also had his own website which he has advertised on the show by wearing a t-shirt with the URL and also talking about it. Currently the site is no longer available at www.thetoddtime.com. The Todd has a unibrow that he waxes regularly. In "My Tormented Mentor", young Todd was played by Carter Jenkins.
In one of his double entendres, Todd implied that he was of Italian descent.
As of the end of season six, The Todd has appeared in 104 episodes to date.
His last name wasn't made official until season 5. In the Season 1 DVD Commentaries (recorded during Season 4) Bill Lawrence talks about how Todd doesn't have a last name, they never gave him one on purpose. "Quinlan" was picked up by sharp-eyed fan from a prop tag on Todd's shirt once in the first season. It was merely a prop and not intended to be an actual name; however, the name eventually stuck. (Sources: Season 1 DVD, the commentary between Bill Lawrence and Rob Maschio. Also the commentary on Season 2 DVD.) In "My Extra Mile" (Season 5, Episode 15), the name Todd Quinlan can be read on a list with rankings for the surgical residents of "Sacred Heart" (he's second behind Bonnie Chang). This is the first time that Todd's surname is officially used in the show.
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The Todd loves giving very powerful, and frequently painful, high fives. For example, in Season 1 when Todd asks J.D. to "show Todd some love," J.D.'s inner monologue reacts saying "I hate showing The Todd love." He then winces in pain upon being high fived.
Todd has invented many high five variants. These Fives are often done with a whip sound effect, and even the Mental Five makes a sound (although the sound effects decline in use after season one and some of two). They are almost always followed by a finger snap.
Some variants include:
- The Face Five - A euphemism for Todd simply having been slapped in the face.
- The Assisted Five - To include a third person physically using another's arm to high five The Todd. When Turk didn't want to five Todd, and Dr. Cox comes along and moves Turk's arm for a high-five.
- The Self Five - Given to himself after Carla and Elliot refused to partake in a high five.
- The Euphemism Five - Given to Elliot after she made a sexual euphemism during a conversation with J.D
- The Inflatable Five - Given to a sex doll that Todd was gifting to Dr. Kelso.
- The Sterile Five - Given to Dr. Wen following a successful operation, without actually touching each other's gloves.
- The Air Five - Similar to The Sterile Five.
- The Helen Keller Five - Given to Turk, both of whom close their eyes thus causing their hands to completely miss.
- The Internal Uh-Oh Five - Given due to Turk opposing the boob job of a young female patient and the plastic surgery head wanting to torment him (Turk)
- The Mental Five
- The "'Twas better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" Five - Given to JD upon learning that Keith has proposed to Elliot.
- The Unfair Five - Used when Todd is not listening to Turk and he turns the last word Turk says (which is "unfair") into a high five
- The Betrayal Five - Used to strike Turk in the chest to hijack Dr. Wen's fetched briefcase at a time when all surgeons were simultaneously seeking Dr. Wen's approval for a promotion.
- The Cyber Five - Given to Turk upon being asked about his visible thetoddtime.com logo t-shirt.
- The Miracle Five - Used to bring a patient in cardiac arrest back to life - apparently. The truth of this is questionable, as it appears in a flashback from Todd's perspective, and other characters seem to consider it untrue.
- The Entire Coffee Bucks Five - Given to every person in the Coffee Bucks.
- Ice Fishing Five
- Fairy Five
- Still can high Five Five - Given to Turk when Carla threatens Todd that she will not let Turk high five him anymore
- I'll miss you high Five - Given to Turk after he decides not to go with the other surgeons to hear about Todd's date with strangely attractive intern.
- Make it stop Five- Given to JD after eating a slice of pie laced with laxatives
- Something-Might-Be-Wrong Five - Said to Turk after stating that he's had an erection all day.
- Fist Five - Using his fist to punch Ted in the arm
- The Duct-Tape Five - When Todd had duct tape on his hand and fived Turk
- Tough Break Five - Given to Ted after he explains that he lost his hair in 8th Grade.
The Todd wears very distinctive scrubs. Unlike the other characters in the show, The Todd's scrubs are cut off at the shoulders leaving his arms in full view, which shows off the tattoo on his right biceps that reads "DOC" . The Todd is mostly muscular, due to the large amount of time he spends at the gym, although, as J.D. pointed out in "My Overkill", The Todd also has some fat around his stomach. The Todd's surgical scrub hats usually have colorful patterns (such as scantily-clad women or streaks of fire) printed on them. He is also commonly seen sporting speedos (frequently referred to in the show as "banana hammocks"), and insists that anyone sleeping over at his apartment has to "hammock up." The Todd exemplifies a common stereotype in medicine: The Scalpel Jockey - a surgeon with great surgical skills, and no intelligence. In one episode he wore an "I ♥ Vagina" shirt. In another episode he wore a shirt that said, "GILF" with a stereotypical picture of a granny next to it.
There have been numerous hints that The Todd's excessive boorishness towards women is over-compensation for homosexuality. In "My Lunch", he even comes out to Carla and Elliot. However, it turns out he is lying, believing that "chicks dig gay dudes." His sexual relations with many women in the hospital is questionable as they all deny sleeping with him yet at least one was pressured into admitting that she did (because she was sad that her dad died), and later in the same episode, he offers his thoughts on the attractiveness of men. In the same episode, Janitor is frustrated at trying to figure out The Todd's sexual orientation and asks "What the hell are you?" The Todd simply replies, grinning, "I'm The Todd." - while he comments to himself on how attractive every person he passes is. In "My Last Chance", he apparently had sex with a piñata that resembled hospital psychiatrist Molly Clock. In "My Scrubs", when Sam the drug addict says in reference to drugs, "Do you know how hard it's been to stay straight?", The Todd replies, "Been there brother!" and looks at his ass.
He makes the clearest verbal reference to his sexual orientation in "My Lucky Charm", when he says "The Todd appreciates hot, regardless of gender", suggesting he is simply bisexual. This is backed up by his comments in "My Lunch".
In fact, The Todd seems to have no boundaries at all when it comes to sex. He states, by way of euphemism, that he would even sleep with a 68-year-old syphilis patient, stating that, "The Todd accepts all applicants, regardless of age or disability." In the episode "My New Game", J.D. imagines the Todd ripping his heart out to save a patient and declaring, "I'm gay!" just before he dies, to which the nurse next to him replies, "I knew it!" In "My Cold Shower", Janitor asks The Todd "God is watching, how many times have you had sex this year?" The Todd replies to this with "bagel" (zero). The Janitor then replies "Who would've thought 'God is watching' would've worked?"
He has photos of male swimmers in his house. When J.D. asks which one he is, The Todd says "Oh, I don't swim." In "My Big Move", he appears to have a "sixth sense" for lesbianism, stating "Something wonderful has happened" when Elliot and Carla kiss, and then soon afterwards "Something horrible has happened" when Turk tells them not to do it again. He also instinctively knew both times that Dr. Clock and Elliot suggested they make out to manipulate the attendees at a board meeting despite his being in transplant surgery the first time and in a shower the second. He has a knack for instantaneously showing up when two women are arguing, urging them on by declaring, "Cat fight!" However, he has also been shown to approve of women talking about male genatalia, when in one episode Jordan says in reference to Dr. Cox's last name, "I love Cox!" he quickly shows up replying "Greatest conversation ever," and moments later he declares that he is needed elsewhere when a woman yells "This sausage is huge!" He also states that he would "do it" with Laverne if it helps her to wake up from her coma. In the episode My Tormented Mentor, where Carla complains about sexual harassments in the hospital, he is seen trying to grab a girl's behind.