One could say that I watch a healthy dose of Adult Swim. My favorites are Robot Chicken and the Venture Bros but I usually find that I can enjoy just about any of the shows given a few episodes and the inability to change channels. Seriously, the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network produces quality television and stuff you won’t find anywhere else. Childrens Hospital is one such show that explores the lighter side of medicine. As long as there aren’t any clowns in this, we should be okay.
*looks at box* Crap!
The show is different from the first to second season in both length and presentation. However, the characters are pretty consistent, so let’s work that angle. Dr. Cat Black (played by Lake Bell) is the narrator of the show for the first season. She likes to date around even if they are a member of the same sex. At one point, she even dates a six year old (played by Nick Kroll) named Nicky with advanced aging disease.
There is Dr. Lola Spratt (played by Erinn Hayes). She starts off breaking away from the throws of Dr. Owen Maestro’s (played by Rob Huebel) passion. Soon we find out she has a brain tumor (but is totally faking it) which could change her life forever. Meanwhile, Dr. Maestro has to deal with his former police partner, Briggs (played by Nick Offerman) who wants him to come back to the force.
There is Dr. Glenn Ritchie (played by Ken Marino) who dates Cat in the beginning. He wears a yarmulke because he’s Jewish (Get it? Funny right? Okay, moving on). There is the Chief (played by Megan Mullally) who has to use crutches to walk since she is crippled. But for some reason, the orderly are way over the top attracted to her. Later on, she gains a crush on the new administrator, Sy Mittleman (played by Henry Winkler) who is introduced in Season 2.
There is also a new doctor in Season 2, Dr. Valerie Flame (played by Malin Akerman) who should have more exciting tales to tell as time rolls on. But the star of the show? Well that would be the clown face doctor, Dr. Blake Downs (played by Rob Corddry) who believes the healing power of laughter. By the way, Blake, or rather Rob is also the creator, writer, producer and inspiration of the whole blooming thing.
In the first season, the show aired on the web as 4 to 5 minute clips. The Cartoon Network eventually picked it up and aired two of them back to back with a faux commercial in the middle and the wraparound placed on the backside. Then the second season switched to ten to eleven minute episodes which used more of a story and was better at fleshing out characters. This was more effective than random bits and jokes which dominated most of the first season.
However, no matter what form the television show took on, it was more miss than hit. The first season never had the time to drill a good laugh and the second while it certainly had enough time for a joke, it never got to the level I was hoping for. There are jokes to be had and some are even funny. Heck, I think the performances by Erinn Hayes and Rob Huebel would be among the tops in any show. Have I mentioned the loudspeaker sounds like it was ripped from a third Airplane movie?
But despite the show being a muddled mess at times, there is a glimmer of hope. A few of the later 2nd season episodes are pretty smart and actually funny. Almost like they might be learning from their early mistakes. We will see where this shows goes from here, but hopefully the early season issues work themselves out and they continue to produce laughter.
The video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Color is pretty well done considering the small set work. The blues and whites of most of the surroundings are accentuated with splashes of color. There is detail to be had and for the numerous sight gags, it helps the show quite a bit. No complaints here, a very satisfactory television hi-def presentation and Dr. Lola Spratt doesn’t hurt the eyes either.
The audio is presented in 2.0 English Dolby Digital Stereo. Audio is ridiculously uneven in the first season. At times, the volume will be normal and in-line with acceptable levels. Then I swear the people start whispering in hushed tons and you can’t hear a blooming thing. Except, that really isn’t the case. My only guess is that the audio wasn’t recorded very well. Sound effects are okay, but the volume adjust will probably be used more than normal (at least for the first season). English, French and Spanish Subtitles are included.
- Automatic Trailers: Blu-Ray and the Film Foundation
- Adult Swim Wraparounds 5:54 : Five are included here. These were placed at the end of the two episodes when these started airing on the Cartoon Network so they could pad the 15 minute slot. These feature Rob Corddry talking with the audience. Quick tip, these aren’t that funny either. Actually, it is just like a dislocated shoulder. Separated and just laying there. That’s the level of laughter you can expect.
- Dr. Owen Maestro Answers Questions from Kids, Part 1 1:48: We have kids asking questions and Owen Maestro providing answers (but not necessarily to the questions). Pretty funny actually. The albino bit was actually one of the better ones on the show.
- Dr. Owen Maestro Answers Questions from Kids, Part 2 2:09: More questions. Or rather statements and then some questions. Again, pretty freaking hilarious. Can we get some more of these?
- Rob Corddry and Cutter Spindell: The Man Inside the Man Behind Childrens Hospital 7:27 : On to the second disc, and we get an interview/mock interview segment with Rob Corddry/Cutter Spindell (Blake/Clown Doctor), the creator/star of the show. It is not very funny/it sucks. I am still trying to figure out whether I should laugh/vomit regularly with this segment/featurette. Yeah see what I did there/I’ll be performing all week.
- I Killed Cancer Music Video 1:52 : Chauvinistic moment coming in 5, 4, 3, 2: I’d rather have Dr. Valerie Flame dancing on a pole if you catch my drift.
- Outtakes & Deleted Scenes 15:03 : We get some Outtakes along with a few multiple angle shots. Good stuff with Nick Kroll. There are a few awesome deleted scenes too but I do kinda wish they were split up into another featurette. One of the best extras easily.
- Gag Reel 0:55 : The last extra was not a Gag Reel? Okay so more funny moments as we start with a bunch of choking. Oh, I get it, it is a GAG Reel. Okay, not funny.
Childrens Hospital has been renewed for a third season and honestly I think it might flourish after two seasons of figuring out where their place actually is. There is some laughter in these first two seasons and it is interesting to study how the shows improves over time. The two discs have above average video and like the show, improving audio (the first season has a lot of issues in that department).
The extras aren’t bad but they could have benefited from a couple of commentaries and maybe a few more Dr. Owen Maestro question segments. I give this show a very cautionary recommendation on the hope that the third season continues in a positive direction. If it doesn’t, then I have a feeling it might be just like the loudspeaker’s voice: “This is not a Children’s Hospital, it is hardly even a television show”.
Disc One – Season One
A Hospital Isn’t a Place
What is Love?
Listen Up People
Monkeys, That’s All We Are
I’m Calling It
A Very Special Episode
Love – Why Is It That When You’re In It, You Can’t Remember Not Being In It, and When You’re Not In It, It’s Like What Is It?
You Know That Visiting Doctor, the Neuro-Specialist?
Punch It In!
Disc Two – Season Two
I See Her Face Everywhere
No One Can Replace Her
I Am Not Afraid of Any Ghost
Frankfurters, Allman Brothers, Death, Frankfurters
Give a Painted Brother a Break
The End of the Middle
Hot Enough for You?
The Coffee Machine Paid for Itself
Show Me on Montana
You Know No One Can Hear You, Right?
The Sultan’s Finger – Live