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Saturday, July 17, 2010

What is Childrens Hospital?

     What is Childrens Hospital?  The title of the first episode, which aired last Sunday on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, is "Hospital Isn't a Place".  Wikipedia tells me that it is named after Dr. Childrens.  It also says that it is a web series for TheWB.com created by Rob Corddry (The Daily Show).  Rob not only gets writing and directing credit, but also is one of the stars, playing a doctor who always wears clown makeup.  Disturbing, yes.  Funny, doubly yes.

     Although this started as a web series (apparently in 2008, from the dialogue), two episodes will air each week for the next month or so.  Each episode is about 5 minutes.  The two this week were divide by a faux commercial for a crime show called "NTSF:SD:SUV", or "National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle."  It advertised a 12 hour season finale special event, so I'm thinking that it isn't real.  Like Childrens Hospital, it mocks a popular television genre.  After all of the webisodes have aired, new episodes will begin running on August 22nd.

     CH spoofs popular medical dramas.  It's biggest source seems to be Grey's Anatomy, as the narration, personal drama, and sex seem to best match that show.  It also pulls from ER and M*A*S*H.  The best M*A*S*H reference was a voice on the hospital loudspeaker asking Captain Pierce to report to Colonel Blake's office, two characters from the old sitcom.  Also, the character who does the announcements is named Sal Viscuso, an actor who frequently did the announcements on the show it copies.  The voice is performed by Michael Cera (Juno, Arrested Development), a big name talent who isn't even seen on screen.

     Cera isn't the only well known personality to populate the medical comedy.  The series stars Lake Bell (How to Make It in America, Boston Legal), Erinn Hayes (Parenthood, Worst Week), Rob Huebel (Human Giant), Ken Marino (Veronica Mars, Party Down), and Megan Mullally (Party Down, Will & Grace).  Some of them have funny names, such as Bell's Cat Black, some have funny mannerisms, such as the Chief's crippling ailment, that seems to be not only undefined, but change throughout the episode.  The first two episodes boasted guest stars the like of Nate Corddry (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, United States of Tara), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), and Ed Helms as Dr. Ed Helms (The Office).  Bell will be reduced to recurring status when the season two episodes kick in August 22nd, but the cast will add Malin Akerman (Watchmen) and Henry Winkler (Happy Days, Arrested Development).

     So, what is Childrens Hospital?  Sadly, I cannot tell you that, or even what it's about, and that makes it hard to review.  I'll let all of those names up there stand for the show, and if that doesn't encourage you to watch it, I don't know what will.  That much talent doesn't come together for crap.  I can tell you, the first episodes were hilarious!  Childrens Hospital airs Sunday nights 10:30 on Cartoon Network.

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