Childrens Hospital is a satirical American comedy television series and web series that lampoons the medical drama genre, created by and starring actor/comedian Rob Corddry. The series began on the web on TheWB.com with ten episodes, roughly five minutes in length, all of which premiered on December 8, 2008.Adult Swim picked up the rights to the show in 2009 and began airing episodes in 2010.
The storyline centers on the staff of Childrens Hospital, a children's hospital named after Dr. Arthur Childrens. The hospital sporadically (and usually without reason) is mentioned as being located within Brazil, despite making virtually no effort to conceal that the series is shot in Los Angeles, California. Corddry is part of an ensemble cast portraying the hospital's doctors, which also includes Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino and Megan Mullally. Malin Åkerman and Henry Winkler joined the cast for season two. Previously recurring Zandy Hartig and Brian Huskey were upped to series regulars in season five.
In 2012 and 2013, the series won a Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Special Class – Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Program.
Though Comedy Central made a competing offer, the show was picked up by Adult Swim after Corddry decided the comedy style was not suited for the half-hour format Comedy Central wanted. Adult Swim offered half-hour or fifteen minute time slots, and Corddry chose the latter. The original season one webisodes began airing on Adult Swim on July 11, 2010, in groups of two with a new faux-commercial in between the groupings of two webisodes. The channel then debuted the newly produced season two episodes which began airing on August 22, 2010.
On September 1, 2010 Childrens Hospital began airing on the Canadian television channel G4. In Winter 2013, the show began airing on MuchMusic In Australia Childrens Hospital premiered on cable on Comedy Channel on January 26, 2011, and on the ABC's free-to-air channel ABC2 during May–June 2013.
Cast and characters
The series revolves around the medical staff of Childrens Hospital, featuring an ensemble cast. Within the series, "Childrens Hospital" is a television medical drama, with the real-life actors portraying the actors on the show-within-a-show. For example, Rob Corddry portrays Cutter Spindell, the actor who plays Dr. Blake Downs.
These actors receive top billing in the credits:
Cutter Spindell (seasons 1-4) / Rory Spindell (season 5) as Dr. Blake Downs (Rob Corddry) – he does his job while wearing clown makeup and surgical scrubs painted red in order to appear bloody. He believes in "the healing power of laughter," instead of medicine. The character's outlook on medicine seems to parody Robin Williams' character in the film Patch Adams. His frightening clown makeup often scares the child patients, very similar to the style of "Pogo the Clown," serial killerJohn Wayne Gacy. It is implied in season 2, episode 4 ("Give a Painted Brother a Break") that he considers being a clown his race, and his name is really "Mr. Bojiggles," a reference to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Due to the death of (fictional) actor Cutter Spindell, the character gets brutally killed at the end of season 4. At the beginning of season 5, Dr. Blake Downs is revived (apparently the hospital has a series of cloned clown doctors who are taught 'Blake Downs's' history, so that when one dies another is activated) and rejoins his fellow doctors. (At this point, the part is 'taken over' by (fictional) actor Rory Spindell (also Rob Corddry).
Dixie Peters as Dr. Cat Black (Lake Bell) – ex-girlfriend of Glenn Richie who has a thing for her roommate Lola Spratt. Things became awkward between her and Lola after Cat accidentally sneezed on Lola when making a sexual advance on her. She narrated the show during season one, usually wandering through the hospital, thinking faux-deep thoughts like the characters on Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy. Cat begins dating Little Nicky (Nick Kroll), a six year old boy with advanced aging disease, and she dies giving birth to his child, who also has the same advanced aging disease. In "The Sultan's Finger," however, it is revealed she didn't die, but somehow lost all her previous medical knowledge. She then regains it, and rejoins the main cast beginning with the third season. She briefly takes up nudism at home in "The Black Doctor". In spite of her "thing" with Lola, she rejects Chief's advances in "Ladies' Night".
Just Falcon as Dr. Glenn Richie (Ken Marino) – a Jewish doctor and ex-boyfriend of Cat Black. He frequently wears a yarmulke but never had his Bar mitzvah due to his parents' divorce until the episode "Party Down". Dr. Richie is basically the "playboy" of the hospital having made out with most of the characters (except Sy, and Blake). Dr. Richie first appeared in The Ten, which also starred Corddry and was directed by producer David Wain. Sal Viscuso's first PA announcement on the show is a reference to this.
Rob Heubel as Dr. Owen Maestro (Rob Huebel) – a dim-witted doctor and Lola Spratt's ex-boyfriend. He's a former New York cop who left the force after 9/11. His former police partner Briggs is constantly trying to convince him to come back to the force.
Lady Jane Bentick-Smith as Chief (Megan Mullally) – the crippled head of the hospital's staff who initially uses crutches to allow her to walk, before switching to a walker in the Season 2 premiere. The male staff members at the hospital often make remarks about their sexual attraction to her. In spite of her Choctaw Indian heritage, her name came from the fact that her mother saw it in a Scrabble board and chose it over "whore". She is a parody of Dr. Kerry Weaver of ER and Dr. Gregory House from House. She had a crush on Sy Mittleman but she publicly acts like she hates him so that the staff thinks she's on their side in the struggle against him; they finally get together in the episode "Hot Enough For You?" but no reference has been made to this ever since. In a Season 2 episode, Lizzy Caplan plays The Chief's daughter, who owns her own real estate business.
Lynn Williams as Dr. Lola Spratt (Erinn Hayes) – Cat's roommate and Owen Maestro's ex-girlfriend. Cat is obsessed with her. Lola broke up with Owen by pretending she had a tumor, but he began to believe she was serious. Lola faked her death at the end of season 1 because she broke down after getting too many e-mails. She reappears at the hospital in season 2, but no one understands when she explains she faked her death and they all think she is a ghost. When she finally proves she's not a ghost, she reveals she's a gifted ventriloquist, having pretended to die on the operating table by using a long hum simulating a flat-line sound. She is also an attorney since she had "no pets, no friends, no TV" and passed the bar exam the previous summer, as mentioned in "Childrens Lawspital". She narrated the show in its third season.
Ingrid Hagerstown as Dr. Valerie Flame (Malin Åkerman) – (Season 2 – present), replaces Cat after her death in the second episode of season 2, taking over the duties of narrating the show until the third season premiere, when she is replaced by Lola Spratt. Her secret identity is that of Derrick Childrens. She has a "love-to-hate" relationship with Blake, raping him in "Hot Enough For You?" and punching him several times in "A Kid Walks into the Hospital" when she declares her love for him by "doing really weird things" to his mind. She was attracted to Cat when she took up nudism in "The Black Doctor" and was briefly the love interest of Dr. Brian.
Fred Nunley as Sy Mittleman (Henry Winkler) – (Season 2 – present), is the administrator. He runs the insurance company that owns the hospital. He collects butterflies and seems to have a sexual obsession with them. He is the object of much scorn from the staff who dismiss him as "a suit" despite the fact he genuinely cares for the patients and the hospital. Mittleman frequently has to resist The Chief's come-ons. He is happily married with children and has no desire to begin a sexual relationship with her, but he eventually gives in to her advances in the episode "Hot Enough for You?", although this has never been mentioned since. He was an assassin whose daughter tried and failed to kill him in "A Kid Walks into a Hospital".
Glarian Rudge as Nurse Dori (Zandy Hartig) – (Season 5 – present; previously recurring), Nicky's mother who does not approve of Cat's relationship with her son. After Little Nicky's death she becomes a nurse working at Childrens. She was pregnant in season 3 with the father of the child being unknown until "A Year in the Life" when it was revealed to be Blake (in season 4, Nurse Dori's pregnancy stomach also disappeared).
Chet (Brian Huskey) – (Season 5 – present; previously recurring), the creepy paramedic who has a crush on Chief.
Sal Viscuso (Michael Cera) – (voice only); Michael Andrew Stock in "Attention Staff", the hospital staffer who speaks over the intercom. He typically speaks one line per episode, usually a non sequitur. The character name is an homage to the actor Sal Viscuso, who voiced the unseen P.A. announcer in the TV series M*A*S*H. Cera was finally shown in the episode, "Attention Staff'", as a young boy whose aging process has stopped (appearing as "A Friend").
Officer Chance Briggs (Nick Offerman) – Owen Maestro's former partner, a mustachioed New York city cop.
Little Nicky (Nick Kroll) – (Seasons 1–2), a little boy with a rare aging disease, and later the father of Dr. Black's unborn child. Little Nicky takes on the tendencies of an old man once his disease reaches advanced stages. The disease takes his life in season two. Kroll also portrays Dr. Black's son, who is also suffering from the aging disease.
Dr. Jason Mantzoukas (Nathan Corddry) and Dr. Ed Helms (Ed Helms) – (Season 1), two doctors who usually appear together and make sexual remarks about The Chief.
Dr. Max Von Sydow (John Ross Bowie) – (Seasons 1–3) a doctor who tries to cure The Chief's condition.
Dr. Nate Schacter (Seth Morris) – (Season 1), another clown doctor with whom Dr. Blake Downs develops a rivalry.
Ben Hayflick (Kurtwood Smith) – (Season 2), head of the National Division of Health who is trying to suppress Dr. Richie's cancer cure so that his organization doesn't lose all the money it gets for cancer research; based off the Cigarette Man from the X-Files.
Derrick Childrens (Jon Hamm) – (Seasons 2–3), the son of the founder of Childrens Hospital and secret identity of Valerie Flame. Jon Hamm also plays young Arthur Childrens in flashbacks.
Dr. Brian (Jordan Peele) – (Seasons 2–3; guest appearance in season 5), a black bisexual doctor who left several years ago to consult on Marlon Wayans' show, Black Hospital, he has recently returned to Childrens Hospital. His catchphrase is "Righteous!"
Nurse Kulap (Kulap Vilaysack) – (Seasons 1 – present), one of the nurses at Childrens, most often seen assisting Owen and Glenn in the operating room.
Arthur Childrens – (Season 3), Founder of Childrens Hospital. He only appeared in the 1970s and then stopped making appearances. He originated the quote, "I believe the Childrens are our future."
Rabbi Jewy McJewJew (David Wain) – (Seasons 2–3), Dr. Richie's rival from Hebrew school, and the Childrens Hospital chaplain.
Louis LaFonda (Mather Zickel) – (Seasons 2 – present), host of Newsreaders, a TV news magazine, he covers the "real-life" developments on the set of Childrens Hospital, and the status of the "real" actors on the show, the episodes of which essentially treat Childrens Hospital as a show within a show. He, like Dr. Ritchie, first appeared in The Ten. Newsreaders was spun off as its own show on Adult Swim in 2013.
During the first three seasons, portions of the show were filmed in North Hollywood Medical Center, the same former hospital used for filming Scrubs and several other movies and television programs. As a parody of the live episode Ambush of ER, the season two finale (aired November 7, 2010) was promoted as a live broadcast.
The mock television advertisements presented with the Adult Swim broadcasts of Childrens Hospital season one would tie into future Adult Swim programs, with a series pickup of crime procedural parody NTSF:SD:SUV:: (National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle) reported in November 2010, and Chris Elliott starring in Eagleheart, which premiered in February 2011. The fictional health drink Nutricai was prominently featured in the Eagleheart episode "Double Your Displeasure."
In June 2011, Rob Corddry revealed that Newsreaders, the fictional news magazine featured in the world of Childrens Hospital, was picked up for development into its own program. In May 2012, Adult Swim announced Newsreaders as part of its series programming for the 2012–13 broadcast season, with former The Daily Show co-executive producer Jim Margolis serving as showrunner, developing Newsreaders with creators Wain, Corddry, and Jonathan Stern. The show premiered January 17, 2013.
Corddry has stated that the cast and creative team of Childrens Hospital are working on doing a movie together, separate from Childrens Hospital, with a different story and characters.
Despite the low ratings compared to other cable television series, Childrens Hospital still has received its highest ratings to date on its new midnight (Eastern Time) slot. On Friday, it pulled in 525,000 viewers while Sunday yielded 551,000 (in the 18–34 demographic). Since then, it has once hit the 900,000 mark. Since the start of the third season, the show has been pulling in over 1 million viewers per episode.
^Sandra Kofler (July 12, 2010). "Rob Corddry Spoofs Hospital Dramas With ‘Childrens Hospital’". Wall Street Journal.Missing or empty |url= (help);|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Andreeva, Nellie (November 23, 2010). "Adult Swim Picks Up Crime Drama Parody Series With 12-Episode Order". Deadline. PMC. Retrieved July 19, 2011. "The network has handed a 12-episode order to Paul Scheer's NTSF:SD:SUV:: which, as the title suggests, is a parody of the ubiquitous genre of crime procedurals. […] The project leapfrogged the pilot stage, going from the clip, directed by Eric Appel, straight to series."
^Newsreaders: Series Teaser. Adult Swim. November 20, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2012. "A new spinoff of Childrens Hospital is happening and answers all of your questions about everything, because it's an interview show and that's what it's about. Watch the series premiere January 17th on Adult Swim!"