Childrens Hospital: "Ward 8"

Childrens Hospital: "Ward 8"

Childrens Hospital is the kind of show that looks at the incredible cast it has available, shrugs its shoulders, and then decides to background half of them and instead have a bananas A-plot in which Nick Offerman's recurring character Chance Briggs investigates a nightmare child ward and gets stabbed and force-fed medication. The best thing is, they totally pull it off, too.

This episode (written by the great Jason Mantzoukas) falls down a little with its other plots, but the return of Offerman as Briggs (former NYPD partner of Owen Maestro) is very welcome and the nightmarish, heretofore unmentioned “Ward 8” was a great spoof of every kind of hospital horror scenario, made amusing by the presence of hardened, stabby children who use coloring books as Kevlar vests. The mustachioed Offerman’s attempts to blend in with Jonas Brothers trivia (he gets caught out when he knows that Bob Seger sang “Night Moves”) are equaled only by his attempts to seem like a hardened child sex criminal. “I got caught jerking off in my neighbor’s attic, so I murdered them.” “Yeah, I hear that. Attics are super-sexy.”

The only thing I missed from Offerman’s plot was that he didn’t get more time to interact with Rob Huebel, who he has excellent chemistry with. And by chemistry, I mean romantic chemistry. They do get one nice flirty line in there, though: “I have an order of sweet and sour cop, with extra mustache.” But I’m still waiting on the episode where those two get married in space.

Sidenote: in the screener I saw, Briggs had a line about leaving Iraq only once they got Bin Laden, which was written before we got Bin Laden (which makes sense, since he was nowhere near Iraq). But apparently that line was changed for the live airing? Damn you, Bin Laden!

Sarah Silverman also guested this week, continuing the in-joke that clowns are a race of people in the world of Childrens Hospital. She played Britches, Blake Downs’ ex, who needs him to heal her kid. I love the clown-race gag, but I feel like they need to find a new angle on Blake using the healing power of laughter, because the climax of Blake just tickling the kid back to life didn’t seem nonsensical enough to me. I realize how silly that sentence reads, but when you have a show this inventively wacky, standards run high!

The brief, handicap-fetish-fuelled affair between the Chief and Glenn Richie was cute until they broke up and he broke his other hand in the door to get her going again. “Use my vagina as a splint!” is probably the best dirty talk ever written; certainly the best ever slipped onto basic cable. Blake’s repeated attempts to kiss Britches during their goodbye scene (a callback to the first episode of the show) were great too. “Are you stupid for a living!”

It feels a little weird to criticize this show and offer a grade, but in all, I think I need the side-plots to be even stranger than these were. Maybe I’m just getting desensitized. I sure did laugh a lot, though.

Stray observations:

"You know the old joke where the patient says, 'Will I ever be able to play the violin again?' and the doctor says 'yes' and the patient says, 'Great, because I've never played before?' Well, your son's heart is failing."

The Chief's door is tough to open, broken fingers or no. "I keep that lubed."

"Did you say BA-ginas?" "No, you did."

"Do you even know what Ward 8 is?" "I do, but tell me as if I was being told for the first time and was being shown images that illustrated what we were saying."

Among Chance's possessions: his Motorola clamshell. and a teddy bear.

"I don't need luck, I'm Chance Briggs...That kid just stabbed me!"

"I'm not attracted to whole people. You are now gross to me!"

"Attention hospital staff. I mean a literal staff, like the kind Moses carried."

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