Rob Corddry Shares His 3 Favorite Childrens Hospital Episodes
Call it a meta-morphosis. When Childrens Hospital premiered in 2008, medical dramas like Grey’s Anatomy, ER, and House were its primary—and mercilessly skewered—targets. But as the Adult Swim favorite has progressed, its scope has expanded. “It’s now a parody-slash-homage to TV storytelling tropes in general,” says creator and star Rob Corddry.
We asked Corddry to select his favorite episodes from the recently concluded sixth season, so if you have time to catch only a few of them before the series returns next year, make it these three. (Although considering they’re only 15 minutes each, exactly how busy are you?)
The Plot This fourth-wall smasher was “written” by the supposed winner of the Childrens Hospital Super Fan Contest, Carol Torton (played by Liz Cackowski). In it, Nurse Beth (Beth Dover) is caught in an overly dramatic love triangle with Owen (Rob Huebel) and Glenn (Ken Marino, far left, with Huebel). Plus, some little girl gets a bomb stuck in her butt.
The Parody Clichés of bad TV writing and over-the-top fan fiction are called out, including awkward dialogue, flowery narration, and two supernatural creatures—namely, a werewolf and vampire—battling for one woman’s love. Says Corddry, “There was the fear that people weren’t going to understand that this is written poorly on purpose.”
Shirtless wonder No, it isn’t just you—Huebel is definitely seminude a lot in this episode. “[Exec producer] Jonathan Stern makes it a goal every season to write Huebel shirtless—at the very least—because he’s so pale,” says Corddry. “Huebel’s now just quietly annoyed with it, but he’ll never call Stern’s bluff. He’ll just do it.”
“Just Like Cyrano De Bergerac”
The Plot For his first date with a patient’s mother, Blake (Corddry, in his character’s signature clown makeup) enlists Glenn to feed him romantic lines. Meanwhile, Cat (Lake Bell) and Chief (Megan Mullally) conspire to prank call Sy (Henry Winkler).
The Parody A “phone chain of Cyranos” ensues when Glenn gets help from Owen, who then turns to recurring character Lt. Chance Briggs (Nick Offerman) for aid, and so on.
Dose of Sincerity The Cyrano chain eventually ends with two call-center operators in India who discover the coincidence and begin to fall in love. Says Corddry, “That is definitely the first heartwarming moment in the entire series.”
Intentionally Dated Pop-Culture Reference 1981’s On Golden Pond. “One of our guilty pleasures is referencing something from when we were kids,” says Corddry, who is 44, “even though our audience is largely 18- to 24-year-old men.”
The Plot Glenn trades his work yarmulke for his home yarmulke, literally, when he heads to his parents’ house for Shabbat dinner. There, he encounters his brother (Ben Feldman, left)—who is now engaged to Glenn’s childhood sweetheart (Lindsey Kraft, center).
The Parody “It basically becomes a Woody Allen movie or Neil Simon one-act play about this family that just doesn’t get along, but of course they love each other,” Corddry says.
The Clone Wars “Glenn’s sister’s kids come running into the house, and as the episode goes on, the number of children just grows and grows,” says Corddry. “It starts off with three and then it ends up with like 10 or so.”
Intentionally Dated Pop-Culture Reference In a show of solidarity with his brother, who has just admitted to a crack cocaine addiction, Glenn says, “We all have our vices. I’m addicted to my DVDs of The Commish.”
And Coming Up Next Season…
Continuity is a tricky thing in the Childrens Hospital world. (See: The supposed location of the hospital jumping from Brazil to Japan…and back again.) So even though Season 6 ended with Blake becoming the head surgeon and then firing everyone, there’s a chance things will revert to “normal” for the next go-round. Well, sort of. “Blake finds himself with a completely new staff, equally beautiful and eerily similar looking to the original staff,” says Corddry. “He learns very quickly that he was better off being the least liked yet smartest doctor, because these guys are making him look bad.”
As for high concepts, Corddry says they’re working on a special black-and-white episode that features a fictional 1950s-era television program, The Show You Watch. “It’s like Jack Benny, and one of the most popular sketches they did was a Childrens Hospital sketch. The idea being that Childrens Hospital was adapted from this old variety show.”
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