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

Childrens Hospital: “The C-Word”

Illustration for article titled Childrens Hospital: “The C-Word”

My first thought watching this spectacular episode was: “are most of these kids gonna get it?” I myself am far too young to remember the classic M*A*S*H episode “Abyssinia, Henry,” in which Henry Blake was killed off (offscreen), his death announced to a shocked cast, and America’s television audience shed its innocence. It’s not like McLean Stevenson actually died filming the episode, but the way you read about it and see it portrayed, sometimes you think he really did film his final scene and then get shot down over the Sea of Japan.

It’s a truly famous episode of TV, but it aired in 1975 and Childrens Hospital sure has a young audience. Maybe it was wise for scripter Diablo Cody (one of the many amazing writers this show can call upon, who also wrote season two’s “Show Me On Montana”) to have the M*A*S*H spoof be one of the many ridiculous gags in this 11-minute cavalcade, but, at least in my opinion, it was one of the funniest. Plus, this is a hospital spoof show that just relocated its setting to a military base in Asia. I’m surprised it took three episodes for a M*A*S*H homage to air.

Everyone’s prepping for a USO show where Glenn is in charge of booking the guests, for some reason. A plane of celebrity holograms is en route, but they are shot down over the Sea of Japan. Later, a pizza party is also canceled because of a similar incident. “The plane containing all the pizza in Japan has been shot down. There were no survivors,” the Chief intones somberly.

There’s a Bieber-type popstar called McKeever (who asks to be referred to as “The C-Word” for some reason) hanging around, and at one point Chet catches McKeever fever, but really it’s a very rare form of virus. And we get a few glimpses of Cat and some old-school put-downs of Chief (“I’m sure you’re a terrible singer, and people don’t like to look at you, at all”) but honestly, there’s not too much going on for most of this episode.

A couple plots get halfway going—McKeever and his doctor/swagger coach, who develops a thing with Glenn, and Owen being convinced that he’s caught in a time loop just because his morning begins the same way every day. Both of these things get tossed (Owen just has to be told that he’s not in a time loop) but it doesn’t really matter because of the episode’s fantastic ending.

James Adomian did great work last year playing Madonna for a big musical number; this time, he pulls out all the stops, returning as Madonna and also playing Rihanna, Louis C.K., the late Freddy Mercury, and Kate Upton for the USO extravaganza. The Kate Upton performance is especially notable in that Adomian’s head appears to somehow be on a woman’s body, but there’s no doubt his Louie impression is going to go over best with Childrens fans. Adomian is a gifted impressionist who can do a deep roster of alt comedians. Next year I want the show to somehow crowbar his Todd Glass into the occasion.


Stray observations:

  • Blake steps in wet cement. “What is this, some kind of Buster Keaton movie? What’s next, some kind of banana peel?” Instead he runs into a pane of glass. “MY FACE!”
  • The next day, he slips on a banana peel. “I’m pretty sure my bone is sticking out of my fucking leg! Oh my god, I’m so scared!”
  • McKeever’s doctor says she can “take care of any nodules and lumps.” “On his voicebox.” “Yes, on his voicebox, let’s say that.”
  • “Attention staff. Never mind, you’re not worth it. Never mind.”
  • “I’m supposed to be Louis C.K. They could have gotten me, but they got me instead.”
  • “Attention staff, if you’re a Japanese woman with freckles, you know you’ve got it pretty good, right?”