When you have no idea what to binge-watch next, I’ll always gladly lend a helping hand. You see, binge-watching ain’t easy; it is an art form and I have honed my skills over the years to razor sharp perfection.
So today, I want to recommend Childrens Hospital on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block (even though I’m still bitter at CN over the loss of Young Justice and Green Lantern TAS).
First off, it’s Childrens Hospital and NOT Children’s Hospital because it was named after Dr. Arthur Childrens, the man who first established the clinic. It just so happens that they treat children there, but you see, that’s the type of humor we’re dealing with. Michael Cera does the voice over work for the man in charge of the PA system and his announcements are often fourth wall breaking comments that none of the over-sexed staff pays any heed to because they’re too busy inadvertently killing/treating their patients or gossiping about the other doctors. The whole series is a parody of every other medical shows out there, ranging from Scrubs to Private Practice. In fact, the entire show is filmed on the same abandoned hospital as Scrubs and they do the same “walking through the hallway” inner monologue bits that Zach Braff used to do. It’s not that subtle about the materials they borrow, but they do them justice by putting their own spin on it.
It also adopts a lot of the melodramatic tropes that medical dramas and soap operas have used in the past including doctors who die, but come back miraculously a few episodes later, or doctors who reveal themselves to be the long lost sons of the first director of the clinic. This is the brain child of Rob Corddry and he himself is a twisted parody of Patch Adams; he’s a bonafide clown (they’re treated as a race in the show) and he tries to use the power of laughter to treat his patients (they seldom work on non-clown population). They cram everything into the fifteen minutes time slot they’re allotted on Adult Swim, and maybe half the material will carry over to the next episode while everything else is purposely forgotten.
It does so much in so little time, but it’s effective. It throws everything at you for fifteen minutes and when it ends, it leaves you laughing hysterically and wondering what the hell it is you just watched. It is also the ultimate binge-watching show since each episode is only fifteen minutes and there are only 45 of them. That means marathoning the entire show should take you less than half the day (considering in DVD format, the episodes will be even shorter without all the commercial breaks). Also, the show pretends like you’re just tuning into a series that’s been going on for over forty years and the actors play the actors playing the roles. For example, Malin Akerman’s character is a Polish actress named Ingrid Hagerstown who can’t speak a lick of English, but memorizes all her lines in Polish phonetics to portray her character, Dr. Valerie Flames, in the show. Yes, it is that crazy.
It’s also got tons of strange cameos including John Hamm, Ed Helms, and Eva Longoria. A lot of the times, they’ll have strange, head-scratching appearances that seemingly don’t make much sense, but that’s the beauty of it. You’re laughing before you even realize why you’re laughing at all.
It is on Cartoon Network.
You may think I’m being vindictive, but no. They’re historically bad at keeping any sort of momentum going for a lot of their shows and the way they schedule or renew them is a strange and tedious process. It’s been confirmed that they’re coming back for their fifth season, but no news on when it’s coming back.
It is one of the best “real” shows that Cartoon Network has put out and I suppose this type of format would only work on this particular channel. Yes, I hate them, but it also gives the creators a ton of down time to retool their material to offer us the best possible show. Give Childrens Hospital a chance and if you happen to hate it, you’d only have lost fifteen minutes of your precious time.
Here’s a little clip from the show before I go. It’s their homage to Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.
Written by Daniel Lee