Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Warner Archive Grab TV Bag - CHILDRENS HOSPITAL Season Five ""

Monday, August 25, 2014

Warner Archive Grab TV Bag - CHILDRENS HOSPITAL Season Five

When I stop to think about it, I get a little depressed about the state of the "spoof" comedy and where it stands in popular culture today. The Zuckers/Abrahams crew still occasionally trots something out, but it's never as epic as it was in their heyday. So what we're left with is the mantle of the SCARY MOVIE series and its imitators. These films are the worst possible dreck imaginable and have little to no cleverness to offer in their attempts at "comedy". I used to say to myself, "What happened to the AIRPLANE!s, NAKED GUNs and TOP SECRETs of the world?". And then I discovered CHILDRENS HOSPITAL and realized that that is where the good spoof comedy is these days. Like every other type of quality genre fare, it's gone to television. In the case of CHILDRENS, it went online first and then eventually found it's way to the cult audience it has at the moment. It really is a brilliant, edgy and hilarious program, but that shouldn't be all that surprising when you look at the creative team behind it (as well as the cast). Rob Corddry and David Wain. You'd have me at just those two guys, but throw in folks like Ken Marino, Rob Huebel, Henry Winkler, Megan Mullally, Lake Bell and Erinn Hayes and it's pure comedy gold. This group are an amazing comedic and creative ensemble and what they've come up with is something along the lines of the old POLICE SQUAD TV Show, but in a hospital/medical setting. It's more adventurous and off the wall than that show, but that was something I thought of when I was first watching it.
CHILDRENS HOSPITAL is fearless in that it goes to the most absurd places and completely commits itself. Absurdist comedy is something I just can't get enough of myself so it's always wonderful to see a show that revels in going there all the time. My introduction to the show was a while ago now, but it couldn't have come at a better time. I make a regular practice of watching movies with my son and we had gone through a long running series if comedy films stretching from the Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd through the Marx Brothers and Jerry Lewis. Those all went over really well, but the stuff that got the best response was things like AIRPLANE!  and the NAKED GUN films (as well as the amazing POLICE SQUAD TV show). My son and I were just starting to have to dip into the later-period lesser Zucker/Abrahams output when CHILDRENS HOSPITAL appeared on our radar. It was a perfect natural transition into that show and it was immediately a hit with both of us. My son had never seen THE STATE or STELLA, but I think he'd like them and I could feel the offbeat, awkward sensibilities of those shows creeping into the mix on this one. 
I love to think that CHILDRENS HOSPITAL is continuing the tradition of great spoof comedy started so long ago, but with an oddball bent on a consistently random ( if that makes sense) comic reality. David Wain, Rob Corddry and the creative team behind the show (several of the actors take turns directing episodes too) have this hyper-awareness of genre conventions and cliches that they use to deftly ride the satirical/dramatic line. An awareness in not only the conventions of medical dramas, but of countless other types of shows or movies that they transpose onto the Childrens Hospital staff. One of the biggest and most enjoyable things about the show is that you literally have no idea where it'll go from episode to episode. One will be an Agatha Christie-style whodunit, while another episode is immersed in a scifi thriller plot. Another component that makes the show work is it's speed. No joke or comedic premise for a scene is played too long and each episode moves along at a remarkable clip. The amount of throwaway jokes we found ourselves laughing at were innumerable. It's just a remarkable blend of great comic writer, commuted comic actors and an off-center sensibility that make CHILDRENS HOSPITAL one of the most hilarious and unique shows on TV right now. It is not to be missed if you're a big comedy fan. Season Five features a plethura of groovy cameos from the likes of Key & Peele, Nick Offerman, Weird Al Yankovic, and Jon Hamm. WIlliam Atherton (REAL GENIUS, GHOSTBUSTERS) makes a quick but welcome appearance in one episode!

Here is a neat audio interview that Warner Archive did with Rob Corddry right around the time that CHILDRENS HOSPITAL Season Four hit DVD:
Here is another great interview with show executive porducer David Wain on Jeff Goldsmith's The Q&A Podcast:

No comments: