Childrens Hospital: "The Black Doctor"

Childrens Hospital: "The Black Doctor"

Man, this show is hell to take notes on live. The jokes come very fast and thick, and many of them are tied up in references to previous episodes' jokes that you don't really need to know (but are even more welcome when you do). The meta-tastic premise that Childrens Hospital is a TV show that has been on for many years and used to feature a black, afro-wearing doctor called Brian (played by Jordan Peele, formerly of MadTV), was part of the main plot tonight. But even if you hadn't seen last year's great News Readers "behind-the-scenes" episode, you probably figured out the gag pretty quickly.

Brian's re-appearance led us down a rabbit hole of race jokes that mostly centered around Blake and his clownhood. We've long understood that clown is a race on this show, but we never got just how oppressed they were supposed to be. The casual pile-on of horrifying segregation gags in the first few minutes when Blake comes to stay at the Grey's Anatomy-style setup everyone is now living in was just fantastic. "There's a special sink in the corner, for you and your clownfolk to use if they come over," Valerie helpfully reminds him. They also have to eat their meals below the table, speak only when spoken to and can't vote and so on. As Blake complains to Brian, at least black people have a president to look up to, James Monroe. Plus, even black gays have it good -- "Look at Will Smith!" he notes, a fantastic line that feels snuck-in and almost made me do a spit take.

Nothing was specifically being parodied with these jokes, I felt, except maybe some sort of super-sensitive race-relations episode a serious drama might do. Even Marlon Wayans' show Black Doctor doesn't have a particular analogue (but we need to see more of it and his famous catchphrase). And the whole thing petered out even with the ridiculous sight of Blake being black underneath his clown makeup. But it's always fun to see a show like this try to outdo itself with every racial joke and just keep piling them on.

Plus, the spoof of the Grey's Anatomy living situation was dead-on. Meredith's cavernous house with unlimited bedrooms for as many sex-partner-swaps as you'd like was always a baffling location. And even though I think we've seen people like Glenn and Owen and Cat in other living situations (didn't Cat used to live with Lola?) this is Childrens Hospital. So not only does that not matter, but it actively should not be acknowledged. Cat's spacey-sexy quality is taken to the logical extreme this week by having Lake Bell be naked for the whole episode, which is fine by both me and Valerie.

To call it a B-plot would be doing it a favor, but so what? Lola's "well, everything was resolved" internal monologue at the end cheerfully acknowledges all of the crazy plot developments that have built up over the last ten minutes, which of course will be disposed of by next week's episode. The missing shotgun, mentioned in one scene and dismissed just as quickly, was my personal favorite.

Stray observations:

Brian's labels for the hospital staff: "Insecure slut (Cat), I know you're bulimic (Glenn), you're my nemesis (Chief), I don't really know you (some guy), I've always loved you (Lola) and last but not least, pass (Blake)." I think I got that right.

"Did you guys hear that thing about sports?"

And later, "Did you hear about that thing about politics?" "Don't even." Glenn and Owen then go off to shower together; Val takes hers on the way to work.

Brian likes Lola's "Legs that go all the way up to make an ass out of themselves."

"Wayans? Taught him everything he knows." "You probably only taught him what it's like to be a black doctor." "You got me!"

"I can show you all the things Marlon Wayans taught me. About having sex."

"If I give the word, you're going to be on the black list, if you get my double meaning."

"Blacks have been enslaved for tens of decades!"

Blake's journal specifically mentions he would never kill any of his friends. "I feel terrible," says Cat.

Matthew Perry's guest appearance/blank stare at the end: very welcome.

"Me so horny. That sounds racist, but it's true."

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