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Monday, August 13, 2012

Don't forget Childrens Hospital

Adult Swim's Childrens Hospital returns for season four with "The Boy with the Pancakes Tattoo." A young boy comes into the hospital with the word 'pancakes' tattooed on his arm. The doctors quickly realize that this boy has also brought a form of airborne amnesia with him, and then they forget. Soon Glenn (Ken Marino) is left alone to figure out a cure before he, too, succumbs to the virus.

Even though Childrens Hospital is only a ten minute show, a lot is crammed into "The Boy with the Pancakes Tattoo," including a ton of non-specific movie references. Glenn wakes up in a supply closet with no memory of what has happened, but his name written on his hands. A virus takes down the staff one by one. There is a twist ending, revealed through flashback. The world descends into chaos.

It is also a supremely funny episode. One-liners zing one after the other in a constantly flood of humor. Some of the best moments: Lola (Erinn Hayes) talking her way through the process of losing her memory; Glenn asserting than an eleven year old is too young to be douchey; Nurse Dori (Zandy Hartig) figuring out her name through the context of Glenn's question; the brain scans being different only in color; the amnesia virus being defeated by being given amnesia; Lola's line about this being one of the craziest Tuesdays she's had all week; sound effects of a door being sealed, even when it's clear that it's still open a crack; Chief (Megan Mullally), Owen (Rob Huebel), AND Lola all thinking they are at a restaurant after losing their memories; Sy (Henry Winkler) randomly fingering a 'code' into the keypad behind him as he slips into his panic room; the fact that clowns can't catch amnesia.

Yes, that is right. For some strange, unexplained reason, clowns are immune. Which means that Glenn isn't the only one who doesn't immediately go down. Blake (Rob Corddry) also remains sane. But rather than helping Glenn, he crowns himself King and tricks Val (Malin Akerman) into believing she is his girlfriend.

And with only a ten minute running time, these are only some of the wonderful jokes. Wow.

Now there are inconsistencies and flubs in "The Boy with the Pancakes Tattoo." Some of them are listed above as the best parts of the episode. In a show like Childrens Hospital, continuity doesn't matter, as long as the actors play their parts well, and this bunch does, better than just about anyone else out there. The only thing that bothered me about the episode was that the virus is airborne, yet Glenn removes his mask when talking to Blake, and it takes Blake shoving Val's spit into Glenn's mouth to infect him.

But that can be overlooked, especially considering how many dots are connected in this episode. There are so many little things, like the pancake through line, or Val's arc, or the guest stars popping up in multiple places that lend such credibility to what they're doing here. It's like someone realized this 'mistake,' and decides the sight of Blake fingering mouths was silly enough to override any concerns. And that person or persons is right.

The point is, Childrens Hospital is crammed with very, very funny jokes and site gags pulled off by amazing comedic actors, an ensemble without exception, all at the top of their games. "The Boy with the Pancakes Tattoo" is a non-stop riot, and it amused greatly. Really, what more can you ask from a show like this? Absolutely nothing.

Childrens Hospital (not a cartoon) airs Thursdays at midnight on Cartoon Network.

If you like my reviews, please follow me on Twitter! Check out my new website, JeromeWetzel.com! Article first posted on TheTVKing

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