Sometimes this is all I need from Childrens Hospital. Some gentle spoofing of the frequent partner-swapping enjoyed on your standard medical soap, a kung-fu fight scene between Henry Winkler and his assassin-programmed daughter, and a sight gag so extraordinarily nuts your mind boggles when the show tries to pull it off the second time. If you don’t know what I’m referring to there, then I feel bad for you, but it’s Lola “dressing up” as a plastic skeleton and wheeling herself around the hospital in secret because it’s “on lockdown.” It’s a series of absurd, barely-justified situations, and it’s all the funnier for it.
“A Kid Walks Into A Hospital” actually had a spine of a plot to it, as the episode suggests. There’s a mysterious coma patient who keeps disappearing and reappearing, and it turns out to be Sy’s daughter, programmed by the league of assassins he used to belong to, sent to kill him by his vengeful wife. Even for this show, the whole thing is utter nonsense. Some plot developments are so thin that the joke becomes their thinness—Lola is forced to push a big red button every 10 minutes to keep a kid alive, and when she realizes the whole thing is fake, she’s told by the kid that “everything is connected” and we’re given a meaningless montage to justify it.
It doesn’t make any sense, and it’s barely trying to, and it’s all the funnier for it. This isn’t a brilliant high-concept masterpiece, but it is a laugh riot from start to finish. As of this week, Val and Glenn are making out, but apparently it’s all some ploy to make Blake jealous, which confuses Blake as much as it does everyone else. (He mostly gets punched in the face over and over again for his troubles.)
Meanwhile, Owen is tempted by Lola’s younger and sexier sister Maxine (played by Abigail Spencer, who has played Young Chief before and a flame of Don Draper’s in Mad Men, but I remember her best as “Blah Blah” from a classic How I Met Your Mother). That whole thing doesn’t really go anywhere, but the repetitive and increasingly ridiculous ways the show drags Lola away from their scenes are hilarious in themselves. At one point, Lola convinces Chet to press the magic button for her, but then he’s summoned away by Sal Viscuso’s voice for no particular reason.
Sy’s showdown with his daughter was obviously terrific from a physical comedy perspective, but I actually got the biggest kick out of his scenes with Nurse Dori, who keeps screaming and yelling at him like a crazy person apropos of nothing and then switching back to normal at the drop of a pin. Even at the end, when she’s alarmed by Sy’s daughter’s dead body, she’s quickly reassured that there’s nothing to worry about.
At the end of the day, sometimes Sal Viscuso says it best. “Remember, this is all taking place within a Puerto Rican midget’s fart. That is all.” Childrens Hospital is limitlessly silly, and it can still find a way to make that seem original.
- Maxine needs Owen to train her in doctoring. “So, where are these ropes?”
- Dori is more interested that it’s Sy’s 60th birthday. “Happy birthday, I have to needlepoint you something!” “I’m a 42 short!”
- Lola convinces Chet to press the button. “I’ll pay you.” “Oh, with kisses?” “No, with money.” “You’ll at least give the money kisses?” “Whatever.” “Whatever, she’ll do whatever.”
- Val keeps going back to one idea. “Well, Blake’s been punched again. Thoughts?”
- Owen says Maxine’s mouth tastes like people. “What kind of mints do you use?” “Hot dog mints.”