Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Childrens Hospital: “Childrens Lawspital”

Illustration for article titled Childrens Hospital: “Childrens Lawspital”

Now, you guys all know how I feel about episodes of Childrens Hospital written by Jason Mantzoukas, yes? He has the highest success rate for completely upending the show’s format, and “Childrens Lawspital,” a law-procedural spoof, is a welcome, silly time. I’m shocked that it took the show this long to do a cops-and-lawyers episode, since that’s the only category of TV show more common than the hospital drama, but maybe it was just hard to do it without being hacky. Of course, Rob Corddry has mentioned in interviews that he initially thought of staging season two of Childrens Hospital as a courtroom drama with the same characters, but the Adult Swim pickup diverted his attention from that wacky concept.

Wisely, “Childrens Lawspital” keeps things very simple. Cat and Glenn are off investigating while Lola defends Owen in court—he’s accused of bullying a patient to death by slapping him, and one of his frequent bullying targets, Blake, is sitting on the jury, ready to indict him. There’s some business with a Lamaze class, and it turns out the kid is still alive, but most of the court proceedings are taken up with Lola repeatedly snorting cocaine and screaming at the top of her lungs. The judge (played by Reginald VelJohnson) allows it all, because he wants to “see where this is going.”

There are so many brilliant touches here. It’s revealed that Blake wears a diaper early on in the episode, and at the end, as the other characters ignore him and walk away, they’re murmuring about how he smells like child feces. At one point, a juror realizes that Blake knows Owen, compromising his fitness as a juror, but Blake rebuffs him. Later, when the prosecutor (played by Nate Corddry) does well, Blake compliments him, saying, “Great move, bro.” “Wait, is he your brother?” the other juror asks. Even though the younger Corddry has been on the show before (amusingly enough as “Dr. Jason Mantzoukas”) he was worth bringing back for that gag.

I also liked Glenn and Cat’s nonsensical, weary buddy-cop attitude, which they mostly convey through knowing looks at each other. “Class that teaches how to breathe, huh?” Cat asks of the Lamaze teacher, sarcastically. “What’ll they teach next, swimming?” Glenn snarks back. Sy, meanwhile, turns into the office gossip, clad in a bathrobe and answering his phone saying “Wanna hear the news? You just called me.”

There isn’t the kind of amazing crescendo to end the episode like “A Year In The Life”—instead, the whole thing peters out amusingly and everyone gets to go home having learned pretty much nothing. Blake’s transformation into a bully, for example, just teaches him that yelling at people is the best way to get what you want. I do wish we could have seen his final conversation with Judge VelJohnson (“I for one want to see where this is going. Clowncillor”), but perhaps that’s best left to the imagination.

Stray observations:

  • Blake gets his summons. “The Jews want me to help them go number two?” “It says ‘jury duty,’ not ‘Jew-y doody.’”
  • “I don’t have any pets or friends, I don’t watch a lot of TV and I’m single. So I got a law degree and passed the bar last summer,” Lola explains. “I will totally buy that,” Glenn replies.
  • Lola commands Glenn and Cat to investigate. “I don’t deal in ‘why woulds,’ I deal in ‘you shoulds,’ as in ‘you shoulds go talk to that Lamaze teacher.’” “We wills!”
  • The Brazilian flag in the courtroom is an essential touch.
  • Cocaine makes Lola say the N-word (props to Erinn Hayes for the “nickel” line).