Childrens’ Hospital IS the best web series. Ever.
There, I said it. It was predicted right here and let me tell you, this tidal wave of genius has no problem living up to all that hype. This show gives the McSteamys and McDreamys all a collective punch in their McPlace-where-their-catheters-go. This might be the best piece of comedy I’ve seen, in any format, all year. It’s not surprising, really. Childrens’ Hospital has one hell of a pedigree.
It is produced for TheWB.com by Rob Corddry, David Wain and Jonathan Stern. I don’t even know if these guys need an intro anymore. But I’ll break it down for you last remaining comedy neophytes out there.
Corddry is possibly the best Daily Show correspondent ever (next to Carell and Colbert). He was the star of the short lived sit-com, The Winner, and recently had scene stealing turns in Semi Pro and What Happens in Vegas. Wain is one of the many talented members of the comedy troupe The State, star and creator of Wainy Days, and co-writer/director of Role Models. Stern produced the film The Ten (with The State guys), Horrible People, and Wainy Days.
The show is written by Corddry and Stern and directed by Corddry. This, coupled with a cast featuring Corddry, Lake Bell, Ken Marino, Erinn Hayes, Nick Offerman, Rob Huebel, Ed Helms, Nathan Corddry, and Megan Mullally.
If web series were super-bands, Children’s Hospital is Damn Yankees (the lead singer of Night Ranger and Tommy Shaw together?), Velvet Revolver and Audioslave all mashed up into one, but with better results: pure, unadulterated, dark and sometimes a little creepy comedy greatness.
The storyline picks up with Dr. Cat Black (Bell) having just broken up with her boyfriend, Dr. Kirk Rosensweig (Marino). This prompts her best friend, Dr. Lola Spratt to jettison her beau, former cop Dr. Owen Maestro (Huebel). This leads to some sexual (lesbian action!) tension between Drs. Black and Spratt.
Dr. Blake Downs (Rob Corddry) is struggling in vain to use “the healing power of laughter” in a Patch Adams attempt to cure his patients. Holding the madness together is the Chief (Mullally), who has some issues of her own. Drs. Rosensweig and Maestro have their own problems, as well. Rosensweig is battling malpractice complaints involving inappropriate surgeries while Maestro deals with the demands of his former partner. It seems they share a past haunted by 9/11.
And despite the series’ title, the hospital’s staff appears to be administering medical attention to children in horribly inappropriate ways, like a bad dream of some poor adolescent with an ailment. This is all, of course, book-ended by an appropriately shoe-gazy narration.
I write all of this as straight as I can because I don’t want to ruin the jokes. And to say the series is merely funny is like saying Adriana Lima is just “okay” looking. Childrens’ Hospital is one of those comedies where you are laughing at one joke only to miss another. Even the use of the apostrophe in the title is funny. I genuinely believe that this is as good as it gets in the web comedy realm.
The series couldn’t look any more professional. It has the feel of a high budget network show and TheWB.com is setting the bar pretty high here. The only question now is about the release strategy.
Yes, if web series are of this quality, we are going to watch. But, when do we watch? Corddry has his own theory that we’ll watch all 10 episodes at once, like we just received the Childrens’ Hospital DVD from Netflix after we returned the fourth season of Lost. So right NOW, you can watch all 10 episodes on TheWB.com. We’ll see what comes of it, but I hope it works.
Everyone who’s a fan of laughing needs to see this. It’s smart and I hate to see smart series fail (i.e. Arrested Development or 30 Rock, which is doing better, but still struggling to find an audience), so I hope it gets the numbers and moves the original online video industry forward.
Sooner or later, a more homogeneous release strategy for web series is going to come about to relieve any confusion. It’s inevitable. I just don’t want something of the caliber of Childrens’ Hospital to get caught on the wrong end of a strategy. Because if this can’t make it, what can? Normally these kinds of shows only happen in my fantasies, but with Billy Dee Williams and a unicorn thrown in.
I do have, however, one tiny, tiny quibble. The trailer PROMISED me the voice of Stephen Colbert, yet his presence is nowhere to be found. The show doesn’t really need it, but it would have been my Billy Dee and unicorn.
Check out the entire first season of Rob Corddry’s Childrens’ Hospital at TheWB.com.