In my review of Childrens Hospital fourth season finale “Eulogy,” I asked what the show would do with the hilarious challenge it posed itself by killing off lead character Blake Downs (and his fictional actor counterpart, Cutter Spindell). Not in a traditional, logical sense—this show eschews logic whenever it wants. But for that very reason, it’s going to be harder and harder for Childrens Hospital to top itself as the seasons roll on. The show is always going to be funny to watch, but how does it stay innovative in its ridiculousness?
Blake is dead, and one supreme meta-joke would be to write him out of the series, even though he’s the character splashed on the posters and the DVDs. But that’s almost too easy, really, so instead we have a nice convoluted piece of science fiction, with endless Blake clones clogging up tubes in a basement lab run by Steve Agee. This episode (written by Rob Corddry) has as much fun as it possibly can with an endless stream of Blake death, although it does not answer the question of what happened to Cutter Spindell and how he now lives.
My favorite moment was a newly-born Blake clone somehow producing a gun and pointing it right at his head. Agee was perfectly cast as the frustrated lab assistant just because he’s so hangdog just sitting there. And Jon Hamm gets to pop up again as hospital founder Arthur Childrens, although I could have done with more of his video pontificating on the Cold War and hippies. Also, apparently, Blake was the son of a migrant bean farmer. Good to know. Anyway, the Blake section of “A New Hope” was the most memorable part of a gently funny episode. Childrens always takes a little bit of time to get off the ground with its truly insane material, though.
It’s not that the rest of the gang going to a Japanese military base didn’t have some good moments, like Sy’s definition of the Japanese people (“They squat when they smoke, they have no calf definition, they speak another language”). But it probably should have been given more time in the episode. I don’t love when the show ventures outside of the hospital unless there’s some grand stuff going on, and an aborted sumo wrestling match wasn’t quite enough for me.
Still, Keegan Michael Key made a fun little appearance (his Key & Peele castmate Jordan Peele is a semi-regular on this show), Chet now appears to be fully integrated into the gang (which is great because Brian Huskey makes the best facial expressions known to man) and I liked all the reminders that the show takes place in Brazil (I can never get enough of those). Plus, Childrens Hospital is back. It’s the best show on adult swim! One of the funniest comedies on television! It’s a joy to have it in this otherwise dim summer.
- Blake is mourned, post-shooting by Chance Briggs. “His death was a surprise to us all, except Officer Briggs.”
- Chet doesn’t want to go to Japan. “I don’t like anime!”
- Owen is cool with termites, and termite poison. “It's just doing its thing, trying to make it on this crazy ball of dirt just like everybody else.”
- Glenn remarks that Owen is naturally large-breasted. “I'm on my period, Glenn!”