Childrens Hospital: "Night Shift"

Childrens Hospital: "Night Shift"

One of the best guys on the Childrens Hospital creative side is Jason Mantzoukas, probably best-known for playing Rafi on The League (weirdly, he hasn’t yet cameo-ed on Childrens). The episodes he writes are usually nice and weird, and “The Night Shift” was no exception. Much like “Ward 8,” which Mantzoukas also wrote, it explored a weird aspect of the hospital, with Nick Kroll (in his second role on the show) as an Eastern European spoof of Luka Kovac from ER as the night shift guide.

Kroll is the master of the ridiculous ethnic stereotype, and he was hilarious as Vilam Geza (that’s how I’m spelling it, anyway) especially in his long monologue about the death of his family during the war. "I dug holes and put my family's body insides of them. I poured premium unleaded gasoline and let the flames lick my face like puppies dog." Echoing his past performance as the child-man of seasons one and two, he instantly connected with Cat, who upon hearing that Vilam became an animalistic killing machine, announces “I. Am. Wet.” Of course, the sex is not quite as dramatic. “Aw yeah, cup da ballz!” is the first thing Vadim says after Cat tries to get herself “mouth pregnant.”

The whole thing quickly descends into frenetic, manic sketches, with Kroll’s The League cast-mate Paul Scheer showing up as Blake’s brother Mr. Tinklebutton (this time making porn in the hospital), Owen and Val raiding the medicine cabinet to get high on speed, and Lola having some sort of nervous breakdown. This is a plotless episode to begin with, but it really disintegrates into nothing at this point, with Blake and Tinklebutton’s conflict never really getting resolved. Not that that matters, but I was beginning to lose interest as everything just went crazy.

But then Owen dies, and I’ll be frank with you readers, even though this is silly old Childrens Hospital where characters die and come back later to work around actors’ movie schedules and the like, I was genuinely worried we were being robbed of Rob Huebel, at least for a little bit. But I also figured it might be attached to how he kept trying to get Val’s card for a magic trick, and indeed it was. The whole thing turned into quite a spectacular closing joke that got in a nice singer-songwriter guitar piece to mock the whole “a major character dies” convention in these hospital shows. But just for getting me afraid for that second, well, I gotta salute the show.

Stray observations:

  • The regular night shift staff were betting on deaths, Sy says. "Wish YOU died in a pool," Owen retorts.
  • "Are you a little brown like me?" "My mother's father is a quarter Armenian."
  • "You have HBS. Hot Boobs Syndrome."
  • Mr. Tinklebutton has a distinct scent. "I thought I smelled chardonnay, sweat, and menthol cigarettes."
  • Huebel and Malin Akerman were hilarious on speed. "Maybe I'll finally start writing that novel tonight!" "I'm gonna punch a kid's appendix right out of his body!"
  • The pregnant nurse is into Mr. Tinklebutton's offer. "Give me 10 grand, and I'll jerk off a horse."